My first novel!
This is a 20-page narrative, written for my twin nieces, about the escapades of a pair of farmyard reprobates – Duckie and Chickie. It has been variously described as “disgustingly adorable” and “a scientists’ approach to Getting Along”, but you can’t listen to everything the critics say.
I started it with the strong idea in mind of two characters who have differing abilities, but work together to get in and out of mischief.
Apparently I have to write another one for next Christmas… and until they’re 18. It’s a lot of work, but I do want to find out what was shining on that island…
Brushpen, watercolour, digital jiggery-pokery and InDesign, printed in hardcover through Blurb.
Duckie and Chickie Afloat – pdf for web
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…
Thermoplastic melts at around 60*C, so you can put the kettle on and prototype parts to your heart’s content. When it’s cool and solid it becomes opaque white, so when it’s clear you know it’s ready to work.
I wanted something that was relatively easy to detach, but would hold the bag close to the frame of the rack on either side – the position’s different on either side, so it needs to have some play, hence the design of these clips.
The rubber bands can easily be replaced when they perish, just startle a postman.
It does the job! It’s got a nice amount of play, I’m hoping that it’ll do well in travel over the lumpy roads.
More thermoplastic makes clips to hold the pannier to the frame. The top hem now includes a bamboo strip to brace it.
The two clipped straps are adjustable and can be swapped, so hopefully they’ll hold what they need to. The third strap is for hauling the bag around, but isn’t so long as to be dangerous.
In a shouldery-carryable configuration.
Attached to my trusty steed.`
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.
Marshalling the forces… Wire, pliers/clips, and a rough idea of what I’m trying to do.
This all needs to fit in there…
I think the branches looked pretty awesome at this stage…
A lot of twiddling later.
Twisting the branches to accept their shiny load
Painting inside the box with blackboard paint
Testing the fit in the box, some adjustment required. Also sculpting the foam ‘ground’ (with scissors).
Adding stars using puff paint – couldn’t get the lid off my glow in the dark stuff.
A sheet of fleece wrapped around the foam, tucked in and stuck with double-sided tape.
No-one would ever expect there’s a twee in that cupboard!
One happy customer.
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.
A long thin rectangle of ripstop nylon, some boning (as for clothes), webbing and clips.
I wrapped either end of the fabric around the boning a couple of times, sewed it up into a bag, attached the ends of the boning and the webbing together, capturing the clips.
To get an idea of the scale.
Rolling the top over seals the bag neatly, and takes up slack so the contents don’t rattle.
It makes a decent carry-handle!
When empty, the bag is incredibly slim – I can even wear it as a choker, or wrapped twice around my wrist.
Not quite Doof-ready.
That’s a gallery, inserted…
Sometimes it’s just really nice to have new pens…
It ended up a bit odd, to some people’s minds, but hey, I love it.
Having new pens is always a lot of fun… I started with a black and white still life photo on my kindle, then went a bit doodley…
The household of four active, outdoorsy and outgoing people (with guests) accumulates a truly mind-boggling array of coats, jackets, hats, shoes, boots, brollies and other highly useful detritus. The coats especially thrive in the oddly-shaped cupboard under the stairs, forming thick mounds over the rack of coathooks, like very well-insulated stromatolites. I assume they feel at ease in the dark and chill.
However, it’s ruddy infuriating trying to find a coat when they get three or four thick, co-mingling with their brethren from other hooks until extracting your jacket is like finding one particular onioney layer in a sock full of onions. Ahem.
The solution! A stray pull-up bar, to the rescue! It’s much sturdier than your standard curtain rail, so in conjunction with a large number of coathangers it can support the weight of a whole bunch of coats. It’s also so much more user-friendly: you can differentiate coats at a glance, and even extract them without climbing into the cupboard and engaging Coat-thulu in hand-to-hand combat!
Now if only we could devise a way to head off Shoemageddon…