Monday, August 4, 2014

Make It New Monday 8/4/14... foam blocks to lap counter

Is it really that time again?  Time for Make It New Monday?  It is incredible how quickly the month of July flew by and the first Monday of the new month rolled around. 

If this is your first time visiting, or you've been here before and need a quick reminder, let me briefly explain...  On the first Monday of the month I post pictures of a project that I've done that repurposes, recycles, or reworks in something in some way, and you get to link up with me.  Turn a planter into a hummingbird feeder?  Link up!  Turn a sweater into a hat and gloves?  Link up!  Use paper towel tubes to make napkin rings?   Link up!  As long as it starts out like "this" and ends up like "that".  The sky is the limit.  And please, please remember that perfection is not needed!  REMEMBER?!?  Good!

This month's project is purely functional, born out of mild desperation.  I hadn't even intended to use this as a post but because all of my project materials have been jammed into a closet awaiting new accommodations (I will explain in a bit) I didn't have a whole lot of choice.

I've started swimming laps as part of my summer exercise regimen and I needed something to help me keep my count accurately.  I am not a very good swimmer so I found it difficult to swim AND keep count at the same time. 

My swimming partner has a system of counting her laps based on the different strokes she uses.  Side stroke, breaststroke, and a few others that I don't know the names of.  She used to be a lifeguard so she's really good at all that.

I have one stroke.  It is called "just don't drown".

So after toying with different options, I came up with an idea based on a bracelet that I had made for myself to keep track of speed increasing increments while walking.  Yes, folks, my brain goes a-wandering and I forget. 

Here's the bracelet...

How it is used is this... For each speed interval I did, I would move a bead around to the opposite side.  When all the beads were moved, I was done.  Simple as that.  The elastic band fits very snugly through the hole in the beads so there is no unintentional slipping.  That's important, trust me!
For the lap counter I needed something that was heavy enough to stay put, yet buoyant.  Just in case. 
What kind of beads are able to float and are cheap, too?  Hmmm... How about making my own?  I have hundreds of little foam cubes that my grandsons play with, why not use those?   I could drill holes in them then string them together and make some sort of frame to keep them stable. Hubby suggested PVC. 
Brilliant idea, hon! 
So we gathered the materials...

It took just a few minutes to come up with a design, not very long to put it together, and this is what we ended up with...

It works much like an abacus.  I move the cubes from left to right, one at a time, then after I finish 20 laps, I flip it over and slide them back one by one again.  Simple! 

I like simple.

I have the cubes grouped by color in fives so that a quick glance can tell me how many laps I've done or how many I have left to go.

The string through the middle is the same elastic that I used for the bracelet, by the way.  Works like a charm!

I started out this summer only able to do 10 laps but with consistent practice and great encouragement, I am up to 60 laps (as of 8/1/14).  74 laps is a mile.  I'm gonna go for it and try to reach that by the end of summer!  It will take me about an hour to do it and I'll be exhausted but it will be completely worth it.

And just so you know that these had previously been used for another purpose, check this out...

One of the boys left his teeth marks in a block.  And it makes me smile.

{Why are almost all my project materials shoved into a closet with no organization whatsoever?  We have decided to have cabinets built to house my stash, and I had to quickly move it all out of the way for the builder to get to work.  He never showed up.  So now we are in the process of finding someone new.  And there is all sits, a massive junk pile.  I'm so thankful that it is behind a closed door!}

Now it is your turn!  Link up and let us see what you've been doing!
Don't forget to grab my button.

My Not-So-Empty Nest


  1. You are so clever, Joanne!! I don't know that I'd have thought of such a thing in a month of Sundays! The little bite mark might be the very best part. :)

    I am putting on my thinking cap, but I don't think I have made anything new the entire summer. We have been too busy having fun, I guess.

    1. It was a joint effort between my husband and me so he gets some (just some) of the credit! Continue with your summer fun-having! I hear it is going to get "normal" in our area soon. Heat and humidity!

  2. I don't know what I am more impressed with. The laps you are swimming, or the device you came up with for counting. BRILLIANT! LOVE the teeth marks too. I have just created a new sewing area by moving things around and using a cabinet to store fabric that was storing books, but I did buy a new sewing chair too so don't know if it counts, lol. My post will be up tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of your day!

    1. I sure hope that means you'll be linking up, Debbie! Reorganizing/restructuring absolutely counts as a make it new project!!

      The teeth marks are my favorite part of the project :-)

  3. That is a good practical creation. Inhave to tell you how impressed I am by your swimmng that many laps. That's wonderful! Do you have more stamina for the remainder of the day, once you recover that is?

    1. Why, thank you, Vee! I am pretty amazed that I have been able to do that many laps. Actually, I swim in the evenings but I am sure ready for bed when 9pm rolls around!

  4. I love the creativity...necessity will do that :) I may very well steal the walking bracelet idea once the weather cools and I'm able to walk outdoors.

    1. I have plenty of beads in a wide variety of colors... but probably so do you! :-D If you want any just let me know. I can bring some. After I fish them out of the closet!