I’ve been wanting to make laser cut wooden pieces for a while and recently decided “Okay, let’s do this.” I read through all of the instructions of how to set up the files on the Vector Etch site (the biz I used to do the laser cutting) and thought it was definitely something I could do. I painstakingly added all of the outlines to the drawings I’d already done, thought about the designs, made the lines the right size. The fun thing here is that I use Inkscape, it’s free software but is a little bit of a nightmare to use sometimes. I think I spent about 20 hours setting everything up and even then some of it went haywire converting to Illustrator at the other end.
I’m really pleased with the results and how fine the details are. There are still a few products coming to this range, some of these were first printed in the first lot but didn’t turn out right (bummer) and others I hadn’t event though of for the first lot.
I spent a fair bit of time sorting out the pelvis, below, and I’m so happy I did as I really love how it turned out.
Intestines never disappoint me and I’m really happy with this guy. He’s about 3 hours of work.
The last time I made Brain Earrings (of the needle felted variety) was in 2012. They were something I made quite a few pairs of over a few years and I had become a bit tired of making them. Making small brains like this is a bit of a challenge. Half they time they don’t look very good at all and I’d started making them bigger and bigger, to get better details. I wasn’t really happy with the size or the process and stopped, for 4 years.
Recently I got to thinking about them again. Why? I don’t know. I just decided to give it a shot. Forget about all of the OTHER work I need to do and spend way too long making brain earrings. Yeah, they take forever!
The brain earrings come with a little glass jar so you can store them like a brain specimen, also available in my shop.
This Pituitary Gland in a jar has been in and out of my Etsy store for quite some time. Years ago it was in there with the original photos and just hung around, and then it was out of my store for a while waiting to have new photos taken and lazy me never did. I’ve only ever sold one.
I remember making the Pituitary because I got a “convo” (the Etsy speak for a message within Etsy) asking me to make one. In the early days I would make anything and everything people suggest without taking an order or getting them to pay as it was a great way to get ideas for new pieces. (This is also why a thymus is sitting my shop.)
What I love about the way I have made the pituitary is the red and blue threads. I’ve almost always used the same shades of blue and red, I’d sometimes pick up a different shade but also return to my same favourite DMC colours.
Anyhooters, after finding this guy again I’ve also decided to make a brooch. I find myself getting back into making and experimenting with anatomy again after going on a bit of a journey off my path. Not that taking a detour here and there isn’t useful!
My partner and I absolutely love the Taiwan Style Beef Soup from Yang’s Cuisine (Pinelands road, Sunnybank Hills). The soup is unbelievably delicious and I’ve wanted to know how to make it for long a while. Recently I spotted the Campbells Soup bases (the tetra packs, like the stock) which include a Chinese base. I grabbed one while they were on special and set about making my own Taiwan Style Soup and oh my was it delicious!
Soup Base (Chinese)
Dumplings (we got some frozen ones from woolies, pork ones)
Noodles (I used dried Udon)
Beef Stock Cube
I slow cooked the Beef Chuck in about 200ml of the soup base plus a beef stock cube and extra water (enough water to come up the sides of the beef but not submerge it). To this I add fresh ginger and garlic roughly chopped and chilli flakes (to taste!) This cooks for about 7 hours.
In the last hour I chopped a carrot and popped this in. The Yang’s soup has one wedge of barely cooked carrot but I added quite a lot to this and they were well cooked. Cunning Fellow pointed out my error.
In the last 30 minutes I started to boil the rest of the soup. I par boiled the dumplings and the noodles in plain water before plunging them, and the beef and carrot and the liquid from the slow cooker (I strained this liquid) into the soup. I allowed all of this to boil away until the dumplings and noodles were done. Throughout this I checked flavours and did add extra chilli and a bit of extra water.
I’ve been playing around with Shrinky Dinks for about 4 years now after learning about them in a Hands On Brisbane class. Hands On Brisbane is my “day job” and one of the perks is learning all sorts of crafts (I have to be able to assist the facilitators).
I started making Your Organ Grinder pieces from Shrinkies soon after. I use an old refurbished Canon printer at the moment. Oh and FYI, you can’t use the ink that is made for archival printing, or the high quality art printing. Just the regular printing ink.
If you want to learn how to make your own Shrinkies you can check out the process I use for shrinking and adding doming resin in my instructable here. If you are in Brisbane I sometimes teach Shrinkie Dinks workshops and Resin workshops at Hands On Brisbane so join our mailing list, here.
Images above are Uterus Earrings, Dodo Earrings, Tapeworm Brooches and Dodo Brooches all made using the shrinky dink with doming resin technique.
Simmone and Andrew are both passionate makers and teachers.
Simmone is the coordinator at Hands on Brisbane and also teaches many of the workshops helping people learn new skills.
Andrew is a long term electronic tinkerer that creates things like The Asteroid Belt and games for the Uzebox like Tornado 2000. He regularly teaches people how to make electronic things. More to the point, over the years he has taught scores of people how to write computer games.
That is where the Uzebox DTV comes in. The Uzebox itself is an awesome platform for learning to write games on, however many people are intimidated by having to build it themselves. The Uzebox DTV is pre-built, so you can use it immediately, without having to know how to solder. It will help build the Uzebox community, and hopefully can help get YOU involved in writing games, and sharing them with your friends.
Sometimes you just have to make something new. Making new products is always a gamble but there is an absolute joy in making something new. That feeling when you are working on something new and it is going well. That is what I live for.
I picked up some of these hoops a while ago (and recently grabbed more). I’m slowly choosing anatomy to fill them using calico and the stem stitch, one of my favourite embroidery stitches. I think the next one will be a kidney.
I’d be moaning to Andrew, my partner, about wanting a proper upstairs computer for a while. I had a laptop but when I used it for work it always crashed (every 5 minutes, no kidding) and it was a laptop. Andrew found me a Brix on Gumtree and we got that going. Cue setting up a monitor, keyboard, and mouse at the dining table.
I knew I wanted a desk that could slide under the couch so I could go full-on couch potato when working in Inkscape and Fusion360. I find working in these programs a little stressful so I wanted to be able to lean back and relax whilst working.
I showed Andrew a few examples of what I was thinking. We decided on the shape below. To the left is the unpainted desk, to the right the painted finished version.
The top of the desk is varnished Plywood. The legs that slide under the couch have “castor cups” underneath to slide around the floor on. The body of the desk is 50mm by 25mm RHS (Rectangular Hollow Section Steel) painted with some shitty no undercoat paint, not the best choice as it isn’t great quality but it’s good enough for now.
I’ve already got heaps of couch time use out of the desk as well as been watching iView and weaving tutorials.
Ugh! Taking product photos. It’s one of the biggest challenges of selling online. Each improvement in photos means I want even more improvement next time and then when it’s not working out, well that stinks!
I’d been taking really terrible photos for a while. The colours were off and the products were not clear. See, I’d been sitting somewhere slightly different and didn’t even realise this was the problem until one night just before I went to sleep (and was lamenting my terrible shots and how I might fix them) it came to me, I’d been in the wrong spot! Phew, I’ve changed back to the old spot. The pics still aren’t perfect but I’m working on it!