Jolly Hearts

I sometimes carve interlocking hearts from a single block of wood, as wedding presents. In this case, I think the wood came from an off-cut of a lovely looking banister rail that we used to make a leg for a folding desk on a friend’s narrowboat. It’s got a beautiful rich colour, and I’d be interested to know how it oxidises over time – I suspect it’ll get redder than the fresh-cut colour.

Presentation can be an interesting problem. In this case I part-polished a shard of oak, recovered from decades of burial in anoxic stinky creek mud and naturally stained. Beautiful stuff, takes an incredible polish. A buttery ribbon, and it’s all ready.

Shoulder puppet – Beauregard

For some reason, the idea of a pirate with a pet sea slug seemed dreadfully amusing. Of course it would perch as a parrot might, be brightly coloured, and wave vaguely around in response to passers-by.

This translucent and delightfully frilly nudibranch has trembling antennae and can rear its body up from the wearer’s shoulder – see the video.

Starting with a length of aquarium tubing, I hammered half-toothpicks halfway through the tube to anchor thermoplastic vertibrae. These brace the articulating wire cable, so that it can pass from the head, down the length of the body, and rejoin the base tube at the tail end, which carries it down to a discrete handle. Sandwiching foam sheets around the tube made a base for the body, floaty gauze fabric fleshed it out, and guitar-string wires make satisfyingly twangy antennae.

The whole thing can be mounted on the shoulder with a thermoplastic bracket over or under clothes, and the handle’s surprisingly comfortable and easy to use.

I love thermoplastic.

Ram’s horns

I hope to find the making-of photos for these some day (and confirm creation date), but this is a lightweight pair of ridged, textured ram’s-style horns, mounted on a broad headband. Suitable for costumes including demons, tieflings, aliens, monsters, sheep (presumably), puck, satyrs, and Tim the Enchanter.

These started life as a cardboard box (or three), which was cut (with scissors) into 2 sets of 45 circles, each 0.5mm different in radius. Then I used the pair of compasses (spikes both ends) to pierce the centre and an extra hole, and created similarly pierced small squares to act as spacers.

Each of these sets was then threaded onto a doubled-over piece of wire, starting with the smallest and with cardboard spacers between. Once I was happy with the conical structure produced, I twisted them into matching spirals, attached them to big bits of card, and set to work with plaster-of-paris impregnated fabric – mod rock, I think it’s called? This stretched nicely over the splayed ridges of the cardboard (although the excess water did imperil the structural integrity of the ridges), and smooshed down into the grooves. Once two layers of that had set hard, I added another layer of plaster to conceal the fabric texture. Some tea to dull the brilliance, twisting the wire into the latticework of a broad plastic hair-band, and I had a truly epic pair of horns to wear around the place.

It’s surprisingly easy to style my hair to conceal the band, and they look very solidly rooted.

I’ve been using these at least a couple of times a year since I made them, and they’re comfortable and light enough to wear all night, although people will want a go with them :P They’ve borne up pretty well, but the plaster is flaking and the headband starting go give up.

Photo is a hungover ‘steampunk alien’ me, with ‘space nazi’ Scary.

Google pannier

Well, the gorgeous pannier in the shop looked like being over £120, so I decided to make do and modify… I took a Google Science Fair 2011 tote, and with a few tweaks turned it into a lightweight almost-free pannier bag.

The main changes have been to insert a bamboo strut to brace the top and U-shaped bamboo strip to shape the side, then darting the bottom to ensure there are no excess corners to flop about and get caught in the spokes. A pair of clipped straps for holding everything in, a shoulder strap for hauling it about, and thermoplastic clips to attach it to the bike, and I’m pretty pleased with it! Time for a test run…

Tree box

After mentioning part of a plot kicking around my head involving a tree in a closet, Alia requested a little cupboard with a tree in it for her birthday. I found this little key cupboard in TKMaxx, and have finally got around to assembling it.
Perhaps 4 hours, lots of scratches and some happy later, here is a cupboard with a tree in it, for hanging earrings and other jewellery on.

Lime Green Lunch

I was feeling the need for a new lunch sack.  The design is perfect for making drybags, but in this case the ripstop nylon, although eye-catching, is distressingly permeable.

That’s a gallery, inserted…