things to do with bamboo...part tres

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Our bamboo reaches much higher than Jeff can climb,
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grows so tightly entwined,
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and the thin, spindly branches, growing out of each node of every stalk,
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makes cutting it back an extreme undertaking---but a necessary one for the surrounding trees.
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Honestly, we don’t mind the workout. I can’t imagine wanting to trade our bamboo for a few more lazy and care-free days a year.
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And if we didn’t have it we would never have learned, first hand, what an incredible plant bamboo is.
And, we wouldn’t have been forced to come up with so many things to make with it:
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like the planet’s smallest crystal balls…
(ok, not really crystal---they’re glass, one inch in diameter)
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bamboo shot glass / sake cups
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the nodes of each stalk (or culm) of bamboo are solid, and in between the nodes, the bamboo is hollow.
So to make a cup, or vase, or mug, you cut just above one of the nodes and that end becomes the bottom of your container.
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Speaking of mugs, these are made from a different bamboo stand that grows down the road from our house. The bamboo is larger in diameter than ours. These mugs are almost 4 inches in diameter. I’m really fond of this larger bamboo and have quite a few of these stalks that we haven’t decided what to do with yet. I suppose I’m hoarding them…
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With the thin branches, Jeff has made hair sticks …
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that can often be found in my hair…or on the back of the couch…or nightstand…or shelf in the bathroom…or dining table…or the bookshelves…or by my computer…
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Beads were glued to the tops…
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and the other ends were sanded to a point.
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And the rainsticks…Jeff has made plenty. This one was made quite a few years ago. They were popular at the festivals we use to participate in.
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They are made by drilling holes down the length of the bamboo, in a spiral, through one side and out the other.
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Then he would poke wooden skewers through the holes and glue them in place.
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One end is solid (from the node), in the open end he would pour in dried mung beans. (Of course, he would always tell people they were Skittles.)
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Then he would close up the other end with a piece of wood he had cut and sanded down to fit and glue it on top. And that is how you make a rainstick.
When you tip it over, the beans hit the skewers, inside, as they fall down the length of the bamboo and make a sound just like rain.
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Jeff creates the carved designs on the sides, free-hand, with his dremel tool.
Today’s designers are loving bamboo as an eco-friendly material. Often, I’ll check out and run a ‘bamboo’ search. Today, I found a really cute and clever idea by sung-un chang. They call it the Boo Bag
---it’s a reusable grocery bag made from bamboo fabric, fits in its own bamboo container which is used a handle for the bag when it’s in use. I love cleverness.
I also like to check out the Bamboo Arts & Craft Gallery provided by the Bamboo Arts & Craft Network Culmunity (<—that’s cute) at where members from all over the world share their projects and ideas of treasures made from bamboo.
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But right now, our bambusa is waving goodbye.
I am always on the look out for bamboo ideas. If you ever come across any exceptional uses for our lovely grassy friend in your travels, I’d love to hear about it.
(Here are part uno and part dos of our bambusa series, in case you missed it.)


  1. I'm absolutely blown away by your photography!!!!!! Each time I visit, your photos lift me, touch me, evoke strong feelings. Such amazing beauty!!

    I didn't realise how tall bamboo can grow! Rainsticks... how magic that is! And do you sell the hair sticks? I browsed your shop but I couldn't find them? Perhaps I just missed them!

  2. I totally agree with Kate! You should sell the hair sticks because they are beautiful. Your photography is beautiful and I love how you captured the bamboo. Your pictures could be hung as wall art....great job :)

  3. Thank you, so much, for the photography compliments. It really means a lot to me coming from both of you. :-)
    The hair sticks are actually one of many things Jeff has made over the years that we still have a small supply of, particularly from our renaissance festival days. With the exception of the assorted favorites of mine that I wear on a daily basis, the few sets of hair sticks that remain are simply boxed away. I should get them out and put them in our etsy shop….and, that is exactly what I will do. (thank you)

  4. ooo, i was just thinking how popular the little cups would be for children's play kitchens! (you can see where my head is!) i love all of these bamboo creations!!! oh, and i thought you might be interested to know that bamboo fabric is actually manufactured - not all natural. i just found this out (via a blog, naturally): <3

  5. Cups for a play kitchen set---I love that! Of course *you* would come up with that. :-)
    That blog posting about bamboo fabric is very interesting. I never thought about it before, but I can imagine how much chemical processing it must take to break down bamboo (yuk). Years ago, when I was making paper from recycled scraps of paper, I tried breaking bamboo down to a workable pulp for paper making, but wasn’t successful and gave up after many weeks of soaking it in the creek, boiling, and pounding. I know there must be a way to do it naturally without chemicals; bamboo has been used for centuries in all sorts of textiles---but it was labor intensive, I’m sure.

  6. oh. my. GOODNESS! how incredibly inspiring! and knowing that bamboo is a sustainable resource makes it even better!
    thanks for sharing this goodness!