The joy of PVC pipe: Marshmallow guns!

We made another Howtoons DIY project: Marshmallow Shooters out of bits of PVC pipe. It was so amazingly easy!

Marshmallow shooters

First Moomin and I made a list of the PVC parts we’d need. At the hardware store, we got a few 3 foot lengths of pipe, which was extremely cheap. We also bought enough slip connectors to build 2 guns, and as an experiment, I bought all the pieces to try making a threaded pipe gun as well. It takes a while browsing all the bins of parts to pick out the right sizes, in this case 1/2 inch pipe and connectors, and to make sure all the joints are slip joints, not threaded!

We bought a small, racheting, pvc pipe cutter for about 15 bucks.

When we got home we laid out the plans and started marking 3 inch lengths of pipe to cut. The pipe cutter was *definitely* easier than using a hacksaw!

The best bit of this was: I didn’t have to do anything but provide materials. All of the cutting and assembly was easily done by all the kids who made the shooters, from 5 years old up.

Then, Iz came over with a bag of mini marshmallows. She made a gun too. Onward to the great marshmallow shooting!

Marshmallow shooters from pvc pipe

Then our next door neighbor came over too. I had to give up my gun! While the threaded pipe made a decent gun, the parts were more expensive, so I’d just stick with slip joints in future.

Everyone wanted to modify their guns and make new things. So we went to the *other* hardware store, the local tiny one, to get more pipe and connectors and ice cream on the way… Pipe was a dollar for 5 feet so I bought 10 feet of pipe and another 10 bucks worth of various connecting bits!

We ended up making guns for all our neighbor’s small cousins too. So, if you do this project, I recommend you just buy about 20 feet of pipe and way more connectors than you think you’ll need! Everyone will want one! They shoot marshmallows all the way across our backyard, over the fence, and into the driveway over the cars. There were marshmallows all over the roof. It was epic! The only down side was, with the 90 degree weather we had a lot of melty splodges on the cars and sidewalk. Luckily the kids picked up most of the solid marshmallows, and our baby raccoons and probably some rats and possums took care of the rest by the next day!

I think next we may buy a lot more big lengths of pipe to make a huge “marble drop”.

Geek Lab at BlogHer 09: Hold my hand please!

Can’t wait for BlogHer!

I’ll Be Geeking Out
I'll Be Geeking Out

Mostly I’ll be in the Geek Lab area, so look for me there and say hi!

Lately I’m having a little trouble with mobility even in my ultralight wheelchair, so I will be asking people for a push or a holding-hands tow, whenever I can! If you want to hold my hand, I’d be super happy! Just don’t pat me on the head or kick my tires.

Any time I’m loitering in the geek lab or the hallways, please feel free to ask me techie questions, about your blog setup, templates, code, web hosts, and so on. And, of course, about the ad network or BlogHer Publishing Network. I’ll be “on” as much as possible to be helpful to everyone at BlogHer 09! (Picture Lucy from Peanuts behind her advice booth: The coder is “in”.) Yes, I will get down and dirty and look at the back end of your blog, right now, if I possibly can! P.S. I really like chocolate.

Here’s my plan for BlogHer 09:


8am breakfast with Newbies
9 – 10 Welcome and icebreaker
10:30 Geek Lab! I will bounce between the CMS/Drupal session and the WordPress session.
11:45 Birds of a Feather lunch (which one! Feminist, LGBT, political)
1:15 Geek lab – probably the CSS or an advanced/CMS session – or just loitering
2:45 I will do a Geek Lab session on Dreamwidth, an open source project that forked the LiveJournal code. Want to become an open source developer working on a big project to make great social & blogging tools? Devs are mostly women and very welcoming to newbies.
4:15 Community Keynote (so good!)
ROOM SERVICE PARTY IN MY ROOM lying down exhausted. Are you a hermit? Do you need a rest? Come with me! This is where I weep gently in exhaustion before getting drinks.
6:30-8:30 Cocktail party
8:30 Sweeet & OUT loud – Queerosphere party at the Crimson Lounge in Hotel Sax
Then, more “room service party” for the Lizzard! ie, lying in bed in my room quietly communing with my beloved laptop!


8:30am Breakfast
10:45 Geek Lab – either the .htaccess stuff or loitering
12 noon – Lunch! BOF to be determined!
1:30 Geek Lab – definitely the PHP session. Yay phpwomen and oh, how I love function pages as a resource for learning. The examples and comments there are so good.

2:15 STUPID UNIX TRICKS or LOVE YOUR COMMAND LINE – I will give whirlwind tour of beginning Unix and then share some super useful tricks with awk and grep. Grep your log files!

3:00 NOT IN THE GEEK LAB – I’ll be in “Burning Questions about the BlogHer Publishing Network”. It’s my job!
5:00 Closing Keynote – Who We Will Become (I think this is where Eszter Hargittai is gonna talk and I’m totally her fangirl. Don’t miss it…)
6pm is another fabulous cocktail party which I’ll miss because… I’m going to…


The Windy City Rollers are playing on Saturday night, about a 10 minute cab ride away from the Sheraton Chicago, at 525 S Racine Avenue, doors open at 6pm, bout starts at 7pm. Buy a ticket and come with me and team member Ada Hatelace! I love how her team number is “1337”. Anyway, come and we’ll liveblog the roller derby!

Windy City Rollers links:

Facebook page

Derby Nerds!

Sunday: Brunch?? and I fly out from O’Hare at 1:30. See you!