Friday, March 30, 2018

I made a cardboard box

We just got home from Singapore!

What fun we had spending time with the grandparents, eating glorious food, swimming and shopping. Returned in elation yesterday to sunny skies and snowless roads and thought, "I can do this. It's practically spring!" 

Alas. This morning, it snowed. And the weather forecast promises more snow by Easter. And it was grey and overcast today. 

What. Is. This. Trickery.

Nevermind. Let us talk instead about cardboard. 

This is a Yamaha guitalele that was a gift from my lovely cousin Ash. It's a (6-string) guitar that's about the size of a tenor ukulele and which is tuned a 4th up to the standard ukelele tuning. We thought it would be a good transition instrument for the kids when they want to move from the uke to guitar. Meanwhile, though, I get to play it. I always feel simultaneously inspired and wretched after hearing the people in my family play the guitar because they make it look so easy. On this trip, some of them got together to jam with Emily on her uke. It was such fun to listen to them bond over music.

But I digress - we were talking about cardboard. This guitalele came with a soft fabric case which, while pretty, wouldn't be anywhere near adequate for the long plane ride home to Minnesota. I didn't want to splurge on a proper hard case, so I made a traveling box. 

I used random cardboard Mum had lying around. Yes, apparently my parents hoard cardboard too. I totally approved. We couldn't find any long rulers in the house, but Mum found a wood shim, so I used that to draw semi-straight lines and eyeball the measurements. Here is the finished masterpiece. Not exactly award-winning aesthetically but still a sound design (ha, pun) functionally - a very snug fit so the instrument doesn't shift around in-flight and a box-flap opening at the wider end for customs inspection.

Nothing like a bit of cardboarding to make a vacation complete, eh? 

Anyway, we carried the box on board the aircraft and stashed it in the overhead bin (so much better than being crushed in the hold), where it kept good company with several other ukuleles belonging to a group of college-ish musicians on the same flight. None of them had their own cardboard traveling boxes, sadly - only hard cases and gig bags. Pity.

Incidentally, I am happy to report that the box made it home safe and sound (the guitalele did, too).  


  1. I haven't heard of a guitele, but it sounds like a fun instrument! My 5yo Anna has a ukelele she wants to learn to play. I need to look onlkonfor lessons..

    Nice case! I made a less nice version of this to add protection to my hard violin case when we moved.

    1. MaryAnne: We're loving our guitalele! It's about the size of a tenor ukulele (i.e. much smaller than a 3/4 size guitar) and has an incredibly warm, bright sound. It has 6 strings like a guitar, and the tuning sounds exactly like a guitar but 4 tones up. If you play guitar, it would be like you put a capo on the 5th fret (if I counted right).

  2. I loved that phrase..."apparently my parents hoard cardboard too"!!! How marvelous that your daughter shares strumming fun with family members! Such happiness in great memories. And now the guitalele is safely at home, thanks to a Mom who has a great imagination.

  3. Really lovely. I've recently taken up learning the ukulele and it's so much fun to get together with a group to play and sing. Another Singapore visit been and gone, and I didn't run into you once - I was even at the Textile Centre last week! I always wonder if I'll run into you one day when I'm stocking up on thread and zips.

    1. Hi Katie!
      Believe it or not, we never found the time to visit the Textile Centre on this trip, although we wanted to go quite badly (we need satin ribbon to make more twirling ribbons for this year's Kids' Craft Fair). Next year, then!


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