Monthly Archives: April 2008

Jim’s DS Box

So here’s what Jim want­ed me to make him.

A box for his Nin­ten­do.

handmade box for nintendo DS

It’s sim­i­lar to the fold­ing box. In fact it start­ed out like the fold­ing box but then I closed up the sides so that it would be eas­i­er to use the DS while it was still in the box. (Hence the drop front.) In this case the back side cor­ners are closed only by the book cloth lin­er. If I had it to make again I’d glue the side boards togeth­er.

The box is closed with a but­ton and a loop of elas­tic.

closure for blue DS box

All togeth­er not bad for some­thing I made up on the fly.

One thing that I love about drop front box­es is how they seem to be a part of what­ev­er they hold rather than just inci­den­tal to it.

Paper Boxes

I got a kit for mak­ing a paper box last week. It was from Books by Hand. They have a num­ber of kits for mak­ing books/albums and box­es using book board, book cloth, and dec­o­ra­tive papers. Ben Franklin sells the kits. Most­ly they sell com­plete kits but if you scout around you can find kits labeled “Just the Pieces” These con­tain just the die-cut book board pieces and the direc­tions you sup­ply your own paper and book cloth. I bought the kit to make the Japan­ese Fold­ing Box.
I used some cel­ery col­ored book cloth and a piece of silk screened paper that I had in my stash.

green japanese folding box closed up

It’s inter­est­ing because it unties and lays flat.

green japanese folding box untied and open flat

You build the box by fold­ing in the sides and then the fold­ing over the tops and tying. Kind of like this:

green box partly folded up

There ends up being a lot of extra board wrapped around what­ev­er you’ve got in there. Still it’s cool that it all falls flat when you undo it. think this would make a great con­tain­er for a book or a set of cards.

In fact Jim came up with a great idea for some­thing to put in it…


There’s an mag­a­zine called Anten­na, that show­cas­es “street wear” Some­thing that, as a mid­dle aged white lady, I know lit­tle or noth­ing about. How­ev­er, the mag­a­zine is a trea­sure trove of images of things (shoes, sweat­shirts, tooth­brush­es(?)) laid out against a white back­ground.

magazine photos of sneakers

Each issue has sev­er­al pages of — shoes.

Some of which were cut out and attached to a mod­el of an accor­dion fold book­let with a pock­et turn-up on the bot­tom that had then had a bunch of tri­an­gle pop-up sup­ports fold­ed in.

pink popup of shoes that kick

If manip­u­lat­ed care­ful­ly the shoes kick in and out. I feel anoth­er book com­ing into focus. Though per­haps with­out the hot pink back­ground. Or maybe…

Busy Weekend Down on the Farm

We did way too much farm stuff this week­end.

We’ve known that the chick­en coop need­ed work before it could house the new lay­ing flock. We got car­ried away. Or rather the chick­en coop got car­ried away. We moved it from behind the barn out to the house-side edge of the pas­ture. We’ll be able to build a big­ger yard there with­out hav­ing to make it wonky shaped to leave room for the trac­tor to get in and out of the barn.

It’s amaz­ing what you can do with 2x8s some chain and a rea­son­ably capa­ble trac­tor!

Here’s what it looked like:

pulling the chicken coop

And here’s how we made it work.

skids chained to the tractor bucket.

The 2x8s and cross pieces are screwed togeth­er to make a pair of skids and then chains are hung on the buck­et of the trac­tor and it’s all lift­ed just a bit to get the front edges clear.

Then it’s a slow pull and a bit of tricky maneu­ver­ing at the end (we turned the coop 180 degrees) and the coop is now in it’s new place.

the coop in it’s new location

It also go a bit of new wall, a quar­ter sec­tion of new floor and a new pop-hole door. Oh, and some gut­ters! Now it needs paint — bad­ly. The only draw back to the new spot is that it is vis­i­ble from the house. So chick­en coop aes­thet­ics now mat­ter!

That all hap­pened Sat­ur­day. Sun­day we sheared. It’s amaz­ing­ly fast for such hard work.

shearing Satchmo

That’s Jim hold­ing Satch­mo by the head and Jason Black try­ing not to get kicked. Satch hates hav­ing his feet touched!

Trivia I Need

ColourLovers post­ed a list of all 120 Cray­ola cray­on col­ors and their (approx­i­mate) hex and RGB codes. The list was com­plied by Aaron at Col​orSchemer​.com.
1930’s box of Crayola Crayons

I am now going to waste sev­er­al hours cre­at­ing a cus­tom Pho­to­shop palette of these col­ors.


BTW When did the Cray­ola site change so much? I remem­ber it as being a much sweet­er and less loud­ly mar­ket­ing dri­ven place. They do still pro­vide nice images of their prod­ucts.

Birdfeeder Design and a Good Use of Website Animation

I’m a fan of bird­feed­ers and clever prod­uct design. The Architect’s Bird­feed­er, designed by Doug Patt Pratt, is good look­ing and an intrigu­ing engi­neer­ing solu­tion.

architect’s birdfeeder

The key fea­ture — it ships like flat-pack fur­ni­ture but bet­ter because it goes togeth­er with­out that nasty cheap lit­tle hex wrench thing.

The ani­ma­tion of the assem­bly of the bird­feed­er on the home page of the site is bril­liant.

  • It takes up only part of the page — good for those on slow con­nec­tions as you can start using the page before the ani­ma­tion fin­ish­es load­ing.
  • It offers infor­ma­tion about the prod­uct that can best (per­haps only) be com­mu­ni­cat­ed using ani­ma­tion.
  • There’s very lit­tle excess infor­ma­tion in the ani­ma­tion. Just a lit­tle sparkle toward the end of the assem­bly on the hang­ing wire. Very effec­tive in sig­nal­ing the end of the process.

I first saw this in one of my RSS feeds (can’t find it again — drat) and I’m hop­ing that I can get one. Though with the pub­lic­i­ty I wouldn’t be sur­prised to find that they are sold out. I’m not sure how well it will work in the ridicu­lous amount of rain we get here in the win­ter but as a sum­mer feed­er feed­er it’s going to be aces.

Opinion — Good Cop Have a Doughnut

This week­end was garage and barn tidy time. Which inevitably results in a trip to the local trans­fer sta­tion.

Load up the flatbed trail­er and hitch it up to the adven­ture truck (don’t for­get to take a dog along!) and off we go.

40 min­utes lat­er we pull onto the scale at the trans­fer sta­tion and the cheer­ful lady looks us over and says “Hey you just slid right in here didn’t you. Nice job with cov­er­ing your load.” and I’m think­ing well duh.

  • First thought- it’s the law that you have to cov­er your load and
  • Sec­ond though — yeah I know no-one else does it but I don’t feel like being that kind of ass­hole.


  • Oh, third thought com­ing up here. That state troop­er that we saw sit­ting at the cor­ner…

covered load

That’s right — tak­ing advan­tage of the first nice week­end of the year to do a lit­tle lurk­ing out­side the trans­fer sta­tion tick­et­ing the Escalade and Avalance dri­vers for uncov­ered loads.

Note that here in the pro­gres­sive Pacif­ic North­west we do not have “dumps” we have trans­fer sta­tions. Because we sure as hell aren’t keep­ing our trash here. Also note that irony of the fact that we who live in the mid­dle of nowhere must dri­ve into Kirk­land (trendy mid­town) to get rid of our junk.

One Finished and One Not-So-Much

Work on the bal­loon sell­er pic­ture is com­plete. You can see a full-size dig­i­tal ver­sion here.

(no small ver­sion today — can’t get it to resize cor­rect­ly — maybe tomor­row)

The image in the gallery is a dig­i­tal ver­sion that I made for Jim to use on his desk­top. It mim­ics the effect of being print­ed on Arch­es 140 CP water­col­or paper by using a col­ored back­ground and an applied tex­ture. It’s much clos­er to the actu­al print­ed ver­sion that I can get with a cam­era.

Anoth­er of the Oax­a­ca pic­tures that I’ve been work­ing with is not so com­plete.

I start­ed with this pic­ture of the old pow­er house in Vista Her­mosa that is now the Taller de Arte Papel Oax­a­ca. (Art paper work­shop — mak­ers of very cool hand­made papers.)

jim’s original photo of the power house

The block­ing for the piece isn’t great on screen:

murky art work

It prints as an even murki­er mess. I think the prob­lem is los­ing the detail in the shad­ows in the foliage. I’m going to leave well enough alone for a while and work on some oth­er images. I like this one too much to just aban­don it but I’m not mak­ing any progress for the moment.