October 02, 2006

embracing the sweetgum tree

We have this tree in our front yard. It is an annoying tree. It is annoying because it's limbs are somewhat brittle and break easily and it also drops nasty little spiney balls all over the yard. It is a Sweet Gum tree.

For several years it has been a pain and I have grumbled and complained about it. But this year it was part of my list of goals to revise my attitude toward the sweetgum tree. So I took it upon myself to learn a bit more about it.
Did you know sweetgum balls have the same stuff in them used to make the vaccine against the bird flu?
Well it does.
Did you know crafters really like those little spiney boogers? I didn't.
And that people in certain parts of the country have no idea what a sweetgum ball is?

Well anyway, after discovering that they are good for crafting, I made a new goal of finding a few crafts to use them for. This spider is my first. Next up a holiday wreath!


Girl said...

Add me to the list of people who have never heard of a Sweetgum ball.

Looks cute though.

Too bad I don't like crafts...hee hee hee

zann said...

To view a sweet gum tree along with it's sweetgum balls you can go here. I think they mostly grow in the south from what I've heard

phinner said...

I had no idea those were from the Sweet Gum tree. Around these parts, they're terror for the older folks who try to walk without falling from stepping on them!!!

Your spy-dur is soooooo cute!!! Didya spray paint? The googly eyes are a great touch as are the pipe cleaner legs.

What's its favorite candy??? I'd go for the Reeses! : .)

Great work, Zann!!!

Ragged Around the Edges said...

Oh, trust me, in these parts, we too curse the sweet gum tree. And the Walnut tree. However, you certainly have made lemonade out of lemons. I love the spider. What a crafty way to use them. Your creativity evident yet again.

zann said...

The syd-dur's favorite candy must be the Reeses as it has already eaten most of them.

Sweetgum balls as well as walnuts and acorns to pose a hazard when stepped on.
I did indeed use spray paint, but one could also use acrylics and a big brush (which had been my original plan). After bringing spiders to work for my co-workers to deter pesky sales reps... I have ended up passing the craft and a baggy full of sweetgum ballson to my co-work Girlscout Leader to be used as a project for her troops.

phinner said...

Doncha just love when you are inspiration! Now I'm off in search of sweetgum balls! Halloween is my favorite holiday after all, so I hope you don't mind me copying your idea!!!

And this just popped into my head...Prickly cherries! Madretz and I have this thing with cherries, so lets see if my idea can come to fruition, haha!!!

Thanks, Zann!

zann said...

If you need a few sweetgum balls I'd be happy to send you some, just email me if through my profile if you do.

The cherry idea is great - their stems even look somewhat cherry-like. The spider idea wasn't mine anything I think I had seen it done with something else and just decided to try it.

Cate said...

Zann, I love the spider! It's a great use of sweetgum balls. I think they're the same thing that's in the yard next to my son's house. I'll be making a trip over there!