Fun Stuff:

Having projects to do is not only enjoyable and fun, but it is also good exercise. Obviously, much of what you do depends on your interests, strength, range of motion and others factors. Try not to look at an activity and right away believe it is beyond your ability. Think positive. Besides jigsaw puzzles I enjoy painting and making things such as  birdfeeders, birdhouses, snow gauges and other projects. Like so many of the activities we do, it may require some thought before you begin and modifications as you go along. I am fortunate that I can use a portable drill, although I must be extremely careful and I never use it when home alone. Changing drill bits can be a problem but there is a tool available called a Grip Wrench which can help with that. As with many activities the more you do the better you get at it.  Many of the things made can be given as gifts to the people who help improve your life. Most are very appreciative because they know the effort that went into making them.

 

Years ago someone purchased a flag kit for me and was I surprised how well I could paint. Prior to the "accident" I was left-handed but recovery was better in my right arm; so I became right-handed. After the first flag, my son cut pieces out for me and I painted and glued them together to make some smaller flags. I have also bought small stars and made a “Betsy Ross” flag. Flag kits can be purchased online from sites like JB Wood Products.

 

Bird feeders are also doable. A log feeder is pretty simple and straight forward.  You’ll need a couple drill bits, a 1” and ¼” wood bit; however, if you don’t care to put perches on the feeder you can skip the ¼” bit. I use perches because they allow a greater variety of birds to use the feeder. Log feeders can be made from tree branches but the drilling will be harder in hard wood. I buy a cedar fencepost, which is softwood, and have it cut into 14" or 16” lengths. A section is held steady by either a table vice or a bar clamp while the drilling is done.

 

Right now I’m making birdhouse gourds. Grow or buy some goose neck gourds in the fall and let them dry until early spring. You can buy gourds and get instructions on the website Amish Gourds. Besides drilling and sanding you also can paint them. Birdhouse kits may also be purchased as kits online.

The drill I use is the Skil Model #2887-05. It is extremely user-friendly. There is an auxiliary handle that can be placed on the right or left side of the drill which greatly increases control and pressure. It comes with two separate batteries so one can be charging all the time. The fact that it is battery-operated not only makes it portable but eliminates the concern about an electric cord. The variable speed lets you control the speed of rotation of the drill bit which allows careful and accurate drilling. It has a  3/8" keyless chuck for quick bit changes. The bit is tightened and loosened by gripping the chuck sleeve and turning it in one direction or the other. This is impossible for me to do so I use a Grip Wrench. You can get one in any hardware store or online for about $15. This tool will grip the chuck sleeve and allow the sleeve to be loosened or tightened.

My workbench

Take a minute and look carefully at the things on my worktable. Notice in particular the modifications that have been made such as the frame on the tabletop and the grip material on several of the tool handles. These are just some ideas. Good luck with your own projects.

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Flag

Painting flag

Log feeder

Log feeder plans

Red Bellied Woodpecker>

Painting gourd

Gourd birdhouse

Cooper's Hawk

Swallow nesting box

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