Friday, November 26, 2010


I'm an armchair inventor of sorts. I've never cobbled together a Rube Goldberg contraption that cooks my breakfast, but I have designed and built an Irish harp or two.

And I can turn a broken umbrella into a kite.
My favorite umbrella, only days before it met with destruction.

My eight-year-old son broke my favorite umbrella by trying to use it as a parachute. The wind blew him off the wall before he was ready to jump, and the umbrella ended up at the bottom of the heap.

End of umbrella.

Instead of throwing the umbrella away, I put it in the corner of the Cove. Someday, I thought, that broken umbrella is going to be a kite.

Yesterday my daughter and I took the old umbrella apart. The carbon fiber rods made perfect material for a kite framework.We were trying to make a fish shape, but it turned out more like half an ice-cream cone with wings.
I sewed the umbrella's triangular panels back together into a sail and my daughter stitched the sail to the frame. The outer layer of the umbrella made a perfect tail. We attached it with a fishing swivel.

Here's the thing with kites: Anything can be a kite! You can make any crazy shape you like. It's a matter of attaching the string at a good angle to the sail, and then adding just enough tail to keep it stable. After a little experimenting with the harness, I found the "sweet spot" for the string and the kite took off.

Not bad for a broken umbrella.


rebecca said...

you amaze me my friend!

Michelle said...

That is soo cool!

Robert said...

LOL Wow, what a great idea! And the final answer to Russell's question is as I suspected. "Let the kids keep playing with it!"

Kathy said...

What a great kite! In reading your post, though, I couldn't help but wonder how that eight-year-old you were talking about fared in the failed attempt to be a parachuter... Hope he fared better than the umbrella! Creativity obviously thrives in your home - from thinking an umbrella would make a great parachute to thinking it just might make an even better kite! ;-)

Rebecca J. Carlson said...

The child was fine. You might say the umbrella nobly sacrificed itself to break his fall. Thus it earned its reincarnation as a kite.

PSPatterson said...

You're someone I want to hang out with in the apocalypse! You, my friend, are brilliantly creative. You could turn a tin can into a diesel engine if you so desired!

LeishaMaw said...

You are awesome! I wouldn't even have thought of that. Can I be you some day?