How to Build a Better Mousetrap?

Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Psalm 19:1-4

Okay, everyone knows I like to cook. And bake.  And did I mention I like to cook and bake?  And also bake and cook.  But I also like crafts…or used to.  I may have gotten a bit burned out because for a time crafting was my business – and it kind of ruined my taste for spending time making things.

Several years ago I started working in the project management field. And discovered I love it!  And that spurred me to get my master’s degree in project management. And now I work as a senior project manager with a team of really talented folks at a great company.  So my days are filled with root causes, finding the source of truth, and figuring out how to solve  myriad odd little problems that crop up during every project.  It’s wonderful!  And in many ways it fills some of my creative need. But lately I’ve been itching to play with paper, or color, or draw – just do some kind of craft!  My mama is in a nursing home battling Parkinson’s disease and I bought her some colored pencils and “adult” coloring books – to exercise her hands.  And I have to admit, so we could color together.

So the other thing that’s happened to me recently (and I’m sure it’s happened to many of you), is that I discovered this amazing website called Pinterest.  It’s filled with awesome things that people find on the internet.  There are categories for every interest.  Normally I just look at the cooking stuff, because there are so many wonderful idea. But recently I’ve been perusing the craft categories. And is it FUN!  There are so many, many talented and amazing artists out there, and I am astounded by the new ideas I see.  I used to think there were no new ideas.  Boy, was I wrong.

So late last night, after spending a wonderful few hours having dinner and socializing with my friend Sarah, I was pumped up and couldn’t sleep.  Of course I jumped on Pinterest and started looking at all the fabulous craft ideas.  I learned how to make rainbow jello, for example (and this will be perfect for a party I want to host for some of my friend’s kids).  But the thing I got the biggest kick out of was the lady who does crafts using mousetraps. She calls them Magnetic Mousetrap Clips, and she has a wonderful lesson on how to make them on her site. You can see her tutorial here: http://suzyssitcom.com/2012/02/feature-friday-magnetic-mousetrap-clips-tutorial.html. And I highly recommend you visit her website.  It’s filled with fabulous ideas.

So today I made some of my own.  Now, they’re not as pretty as hers, and I got paint all over everything, but I think I’ll get better at this.  I plan on making them as stocking stuffers (I love getting handmade things, and I don’t know if everyone feels that way, but I’m going to assume they do).  Also, she used clip art and I used stickers.  I embellished a bit with ribbons and paper.  Some of mine have their edges wrapped in ribbon and some in paper, and I backed all of them with paper.  I don’t know why, because you won’t see the back.  Also, I used dollar store moustraps.  But I think I’m going to try the brand name traps (Victor) because they have nice routered frame around the edges and I think may be slightly larger. We’ll see. I’ll post as I get better at this, but for now I’ll show you what I did in an evening. I haven’t applied Mod Podge to all of them yet, and I am also going to spray them with a shiny fixing spray when they’re finished.

The one on the left has one coat of Mod Podge.

I may have forgotten to mention I like bright colors!

Here’s the back of one of them with magnets attached.

And here’s one in use. Suzy showed them holding keys, and all sort of other things.  I also think it would be cute to nail several of them to board that’s just slightly taller than the mousetrap and put it by the door to hold various and sundry items.  The springs are strong! Snapped my fingers a few times and had them go skittering across the table more than once.  Made me wince a bit because of their intended use.  Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want any mice in my house (ewww – although we have had them occasionally); but I hate killing them!

Speaking of which, that reminds me of a “funny” story.  Our house is over 100 years old.  It’s just a little square house but it has some interesting features like a real honest to goodness root cellar with a dirt floor.  We actually had well water up until about 10 years ago when the pump died (this is about 3 miles from Minneapolis proper, mind you, it’s not like we’re in the country!).

So anyway, generally a fall tradition is to put out mouse poison (I know, I know, but if we don’t stop them it’s not good).  Some of our furnace vents are flush to the floor, so I put the poison in there – the little buggers use the ductwork as their pathways if they get in the house).  Generally I’ll see maybe one or two mice when it gets cold out.  They eat the poison and we don’t see them again.

A couple of years ago we had a bitterly cold winter. I put out the poison and checked it every few weeks, and to my enormous suprise it never got eaten.  And I mean through the whole winter I never replenished it.  I couldn’t figure it out!  So springtime comes around (early spring), and Jim, my husband, was out in the shed that’s about 30 feet from our back door.  He keeps all sorts of things in there.  He came in laughing and told me that he had left one of the dog beds in the shed.  And when he went out there, he noticed that the stuffing had been totally pulled out and he couldn’t figure out why – until he moved it and a huge family of mice ran out the door!  He looked around a bit more and discovered that he had left a bag of grass seed in the shed. Those mice had been eating the grass seed all winter and using the dog bed as their home – he had left them a warm, comfortable and safe mouse hotel with all the food they could eat.

I’m so glad I wasn’t out there when all those mice came running out – I think I would’ve fainted.  Really, I don’t mind the odd mouse now and then, but I don’t want to see bunches of them running around anywhere near my house!  Jim says every house gets a mouse now and then, but I think he’s just telling me that to make me feel better.  And frankly, I wouldn’t mind if he set up a hotel for them every year, as long as he’d be the one to chase them out in the spring!

It was really great to use a mouse trap for something other than killing a little mouse, so thanks, Suzy for this clever idea!


2 thoughts on “How to Build a Better Mousetrap?

    • Suzy, they are just terrific! And totally inspiring. I’ll look at household items much differently from now on. Years ago one of my favorite things to do was to decorate and empty paint can (you can buy them brand new at hardware stores). You can wrap them in pretty papers or corrugated cardboard and they look so cute. I thought it would be fun to go back to that idea and put a handful of your mousetraps in them to make a fun gift. You can use the smaller cans a pencil holders and such. Thanks again! Kim

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