I'm not sure what this is after I put it all together, so the title is a bit wordy.
This project started when I found a dead Turtle Shell after all the flooding had finally receded. The shell was in pretty good shape. The turtle had only left a few dried up leathery bit and pieces of bone so I put it on an ant hill hoping that would take care of the rest of the fleshy parts. A month later, no change. Time to take matters into my own hands.
A quick search on the internet and I found that most people will boil them. So I did and, man, did it stink up the house! I can't imagine what it would have smelled like if I had had an entire fresh turtle in there, Whew!
Here's the bits of fleshy stinky bones left over.
Uh oh, this turtle has scales and the boiling heat has them falling off. So, I searched the net again. It turns out that to keep the color of the shell it's best to save the scales if they come off and then glue them back on afterwards. Sounds like a lot of work, and not for me! Screw it! With the use of a toothbrush and my trusty thumbnail, I managed to clean it all out, scales and all.
Beautiful color on the bottom.
I decided to stain it and the only stain I had on hand was cherry. Here's the first coat, I don't think it's dark enough.
Here's the bottom after a coat of cherry stain. Luckily the colors are still there.
Since I like to do my projects with whatever I have on hand (read: too cheap and lazy to go to the store and buy it) I decided to darken the stain. Back to the old "www" and I came up with the idea to grate up your average charcoal briquette and mix it into the stain.
Much better, maybe another coat!
Now this looks much more like a natural turtle shell. Success!
I left the bottom side light colored and then I sprayed the whole thing, several coats, with a matte finish to help preserve it. Now what to do with it? Back to the net. I found this really neat VooDoo Windchime thing that someone else had made. So my design was based on that.
It was made from all natural things, so I scoured the yard for materials. First off they used some really rough jute string. I didn't have any, but I did find this. It's the leaves of a Century plant that we had pulled out and let die. See the fibers? Hmm...
This is the plant. We have a bunch of these in the yard, very easy to grow, babies shooting out everywhere. I'm not sure if it's called a Century plant or not but it is a member of the agave family.
So I stripped a bunch of fibers out and quickly taught myself how to make the fibers into ropes. This picture here is done by twisting the fibers down your thigh until it wraps itself into a nice piece of twine. I eventually learned to place two fibers together in a Y. Twist one side, flip one over the other and do it again and again until I had a nice length of rope. It came out rough because this is not the ideal fiber for the job but rough was what I was going for anyway. You'll see those later.
The "VooDoo" part? Old chicken bones. I scrubbed them up and gave them a coat of stain also.
Now I gathered all my materials to see what I had to work with. The homemade jute twine is on the left.
The "War" part? How about I make some Indian looking dart things. These are the tips of the dried up Century plant and some from these huge mother-in-law tongue plants I have. Awesome.
Here's one tied to the feathers. That takes care of the "Indian" part.
Here is one "dart" stabbing my VooDoo home grown gourd.
So I put it all together with some seashells for the "Florida Windchime" part. One good thing about my design is that it is held all together with just twine. I can take it apart at any time and re-do it if I want. And the turtle shell is still intact, no holes.
Here it is complete. What'cha think?
Indian VooDoo Turtle Shell Florida War Wind Chime
Now these thorns have me intrigued. What else can I make from them? Hmm...