This is what I am Making Today


I wanted to show a little something I have been doing besides playing guitar and watching How To videos on YouTube.

Since I have the time to do some stuff I don’t often do I chose to show a baby rattle. With the Great Melt of family Sterling going on I wanted to find a way to save these old family treasures. At least as far as the patterns are concerned. This rattle is made from two Tea Spoons.

  1. The bowls of the spoons create the top and bottom of the rattle vessel.
  2. The two handles create the handle it self.
  3. And the scrap from the bowls is just enough to roll out the rib/side of the vessel.
  4. The spoon bowls and rib are rolled quite thin, 24 gauge, and could be thinner
    The vessels are 1" - 1 1/4" in diameter, depending on the size of the originals.
    They could be smaller depend on your design idea.
  5. When I assemble the rattle there is a very small hole in the bottom of the vessel
    used as a vent to allow for soldering the bowl vessel together with out fear of it
    exploding. And that hole is used to add pieces of 1/2" x 10 gauge round wire
    scrap for the noise makers.
  6. The handle, when soldered on is done in a way to obscure enough of the hole to
    keep the noise makers from escaping.
  7. I have assembled yhese several ways. The last few I have built the vessel first
    and then attached the handle.

For all the fun I have had developing this item I don’t believe these guys are financially a very practical item to carry. I have gifted family and friends as many as I have sold. But for me they dazzle judges at shows and for every one I have sold enough interest was developed for other products. And I like to think I has saved a bit of an old tradition that I would not like to see go away.

Don Meixner


Beautiful !

I’ve turned my attention towards making masks to breathe through. Since a lot of what we do generates harmful dusts, and dust masks aren’t available, I started wondering how hard it would be to come up with a substitute. And I thought it might help to figure out something that could help people fend off the virus, or contain it if they’re coughing and sneezing. I have no way of knowing exactly how well they will work, but I figured they’d be better than nothing. Comments and criticisms are welcome; it would be good if we could work out something to help us all get through this thing.

So I got busy today and made a couple more masks with 2 different designs. The first one was based on a Melita #4 coffee filter. I used a 14.5" piece of baling wire (regular black steel tie wire) to make a hoop held together with a piece of 3/32" brass tubing at the bottom (this is inflexible, so it shouldn’t be at the top, where the wire needs to bend to conform to the nose). This becomes the frame of the mask. z(If you don’t have brass tube, I found that the tube inside a ball-point pen is also about the right size, but avoid the part that has ink in it.) The coffee filter was big enough to fit over the hoop with about 1/4" of paper to spare. I applied some Nori paste to this area with a brush and folded it over the wire and let it dry (probably a glue stick, white glue, or just about any paste adhesive would work). After that, it was a simple matter to sew on a couple of elastic bands: I found that a 15" piece worked for the top and a 14" one for the bottom. This fit me about right, but each face is different so if you know who you’re making the mask for it’s best to measure first. I don’t think this mask will protect people from virus-laden droplets as well as a real N95 one, but it’s better than nothing, especially for people who are sick and at risk for spreading the virus by sneezing or coughing.

My second mask was made from a HEPA vacuum bag. HEPA filters are supposed to capture 3 micron particles, and are also able to capture smaller ones because these nanoparticles act differently - zig-zagging around instead of passing straight through (see: ). The bags I ordered, “Riccar Simplicity Type H Canister HEPA Vacuum Bags”, came from and cost $15.99 for a pack of 6 each (I’m sure there are other places to get them if Fred’s runs out). They are about a foot long, but I cut off about 5.5" from the end without the inlet for use in my mask. I used a hoop made from a 15.5" piece of wire, which seems about right for the diameter of the bag with the pleats folded in. I made this one so the pleats ran vertically, which provided more padding for the nose when folded inside over the wire. I hand-sewed the bag material over the wire using an overhand stitch, and attached the elastic bands with the thread. This was more work to make, but not that hard. I have hopes that this will be about as effective for self-protection from droplets and aerosols as an official N95 mask, although I can’t guarantee it, of course.


That’s really nice and so creative! I think I see some stamping on the top of the rattle, but I can’t see what you’ve done very well…might be cartoons of kid’s faces? Would you like to post another picture so we all can see it clearer? You’re an inspiration! -royjohn

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Here you are Roy

All of the earliest rattles I made have this stamping pattern. Emulating I hope a Merry Go Round. The stamps were made by my father and Cecil Dick, the Cherokee Smith who taught Dad and by extension I suppose, Rob and I. The small Sun stamp in the middle of the pattern is what has been my Hallmark for years.



Highly creative…thanks for sharing.

Beautiful…great way to keep family treasures and share them forward…