Here are easy to follow directions for making baskets. Baskets are loved by everyone, and making them once soon turns into a hobby, whether for fun for yourself or for gifts. Everyone loves baskets. They can be found in almost any home, either serving a purpose such as holding fruit or magazines, or as a decorative accent hanging from a pot rack. Today they can be easily found in any store and range in cost from very inexpensive to rather pricey. Baskets may be optional in the home now, but at one time they were absolute necessities, and early settlers and pioneers had to make their own.
With the easy availability of baskets today, we don't need to scavage the countryside for materials to make them, but many people do it anyway. The reasons they make their own baskets range from wanting to be self-sufficient to creating a unique gift for someone to therapeutic stress relief.
If you would like to try your hand at basket making, for whatever reason, supplies are widely available. Almost any flexible material in nature can be used and craft stores offer a supply of machine made reeds and splints.
Before we take a look at how to weave baskets, let's take a look at basket making materials. Below is a list of natural materials along with brief instructions on how to prepare them for use.
Cattail leaves and/or stalks: Gather fully grown in early fall. On leaves, cut bottom base off and hang to dry. Before use, soak 5 minutes in lukewarm water.
Corn husks: Gather the inner leaves of an ear of corn when it is ripe. Hang to dry for one week. Before use, soak 5 minutes in lukewarm water.
Honeysuckle vines: Vines need to be at least 1 year old and should be cut between fall and early spring. Boil vine for 4 hours and then remove bark. Before use, soak 20 minutes in lukewarm water.
Vines (grape or any pliable vine): Gather vines when they are not producing (late fall to early spring). Hang to dry in a cool, dark place. If bark loosens, peel it off. Before use, soak overnight in lukewarm water.
Pine needles (brown): Pick needles (5"-12" long), on any dry day. Wash in warm soapy water and lay out to dry. Take time to make sure they are clean. Before use, soak until pliable in lukewarm water.
Daffodil leaves: Gather leaves when they are full grown and green. To keep their green color, spread them out to dry in a dark place. Spray lightly before use.
After any of the above materials have soaked the prescribed length of time, wrap them in a damp towel as you are working so they don't dry out or over soak. Here we will look at making a basket from vines.
To make a basket from a vine you will need about 10, 3' long piees and around 15, 4' long pieces of vine. (These amounts are rough guidelines, as the thickness of vines and tightness of weave will affect actual amounts needed.) Choose the thickest pieces (around 1/2" diameter) to make the frame. Lay 3, 3' spokes on top of 3 bottom spokes to form a square cross. Using a piece of the long thin vine, called a weaver, fold it so one end is shorter than the other. Loop it over top spokes and then weave it over and under bottom spokes. (Weave it over 3 spokes, under the next three, over the next three, etc.) You should do this at least 3 times. Once you have, you can begin weaving it through the spokes individually. To add a new vine, or weaver, simply insert along the side of a spoke in between a previous weave. As you are adding and weaving, you will start having more space between the spokes. At this point you can cut new spokes and insert them to fill these spaces. Begin weaving them immediately into the pattern.
When you have made the bottom 6" wide, you should lightly dampen the spokes until they are flexible enough to be turned upward, and continue weaving as you make your sides.
To finish off the top edge, bend the spokes over and weave them amongst themselves one at a time. For example, take one spoke, bend it to the right and weave it over the one next to it,then under the next one, then over the next, etc. When that spoke has woven itself as far as it can, do this with the next one, and then continue until they have all been secured down. With scissors, snip off any ends that may be unsightly or sticking out.
These instructions can be adapted to work for almost any of the other materials.
Instructions on how to properly set up and test your scuba tanks, including safety tips.
Scuba cylinders, sometimes referred to as tanks or bottles, are the heart of the system that allows divers to remain underwater and explore the ocean realm. These devices come in a variety of styles, sizes, colors and material. From steel, to aluminum, to fiber reinforced, the variations in design lend the individual cylinder to specific requirements set forth by the manufacturer. As with any life-support equipment, it is always best to follow the manufacturer guidelines and have a professional, certified, technician service the device. What follows here is the basic information needed to set up and test a scuba tank/cylinder and is in no way designed to be a short-cut or replacement for professional service.
Proper handling of a scuba cylinder is important for the longevity of the cylinder itself and for the safety of the diver. Avoiding scratches, dents, or sudden impacts to the cylinder is necessary to ensure a long service life. External damage can weaken the cylinder, unseat the valve or cause the cylinder to not properly connect with other equipment, namely the first-stage of the regulator harness.
When setting up at a dive site, it is a good idea never to leave a tank standing unattended. Most divers prefer to lay their tanks on the ground/sand to avoid any damage to the tank or injury that could occur by the tank suddenly falling over. Tanks should only be kept upright if they are secured, such as on a dive boat or a dock equipped with cylinder restraints. Keep in mind that while resting the tank on its side is best, it is important to make sure the valve area is not covered with dirt or sand. A good accessory is a valve cover that can be kept in place until it is time to attach the first stage to the tank valve.
When attaching the first stage of the regulator harness to the tank valve, be sure to make sure the connection is free of debris and water. Stand the tank upright and support it with your body or have it braced against something (by this time, most divers will already have the tank attached to their BCD or buoyancy compensating device). Loosen the yoke screw and slip the ?A-clamp? over the tank valve. Make sure the first stage seats correctly against the o-ring on the tank valve. Tighten the yoke screw ?hand-tight? only. Slowly turn the air valve on the tank to its open position, being prepared to turn it back off if any problems arise. If no problems are noticed, open the air valve all the way and then turn it back one-half turn. At this point most divers will draw a few test breaths from their regulator to make sure everything is connected properly and no unusual resistance is noticed.
Once the first stage is connected to the tank/cylinder, and the tank secured to a buoyancy compensating device, again place the entire system on its side or have it secured in restraints. With the added pieces of the scuba system, the tank will become even more susceptible to falling over. Proceed with helping others set up their scuba systems and then prepare for a day full of diving and exploring the ocean realm.
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