Fixing a Christmas Tree

8 December 2012

There are many problems in this world that Google can solve. This, apparently, is not one of them.

While taking down my Christmas tree last year I was most dismayed when a whole layer of branches snapped off in my hand. Being 1am on twelth night at the time, I decided to pop it in the box and deal with it next year. Next year is… well, today.

Oh Noes Tree

I rather like trees. They’re like the little friend who pops over every year and stays in your living room. If it had a face, it would be full of smilies. It seems a shame to throw away a perfectly good decoration due to some shoddy plastic work.

So here I am, attempting to fix a Christmas tree. The individual branches are still intact, I just need some way to attach them to the central trunk. I have some 5mm aluminium wire left over from another project that I think will do the job. It’s bright pink. I need to get some duct tape though. Or green electrical tape.

Perhaps I am a little bit insane. I did consider this while sitting knee deep in dismantled branches.

I also need to figure out how to get a set of pink fairy lights on a curtain rail while still being able to actually use the curtains. For now, this remains a mystery.

Mount Doom

19 August 2012

Woah, I’ve been pretty busy with Other Stuff ™ recently so haven’t been writing much on here. Apparently it’s summer outside. Who knew?

I bought a new bag last week. It’s *huge*. Alas it has not pockets. Anyone who’s had a bag without pockets is probably well versed in the art of how every useful thing ever invented like phones and MP3 players always manage to find their way right to the bottom of a mess like this:

Bag Without Pockets

Cue Internet Time, looking for a way to add pockets to a bag, and we find the concept of the bag organiser.

[Pattern] from TheGivingFlower, via CraftApple

Bag Organiser


Bag Organiser Filled

Aside: The bloody stupid wasp fromt he last post is still in here. The double patio doors are wide open but it keeps trying to fly through my ceiling.

Anyways… this should make my bag a lot neater.

Bag With Pockets

… I’m not convinced, I think my bag’s a little too big for this to work. We’ll see when I take it out for a test run tomorrow, so long as I can actually find my phone in there without emptying half of the thing then I’ll be happy.

Okay aside 2: the wasp has DISAPPEARED. It was nowhere near the door when I lost sight of it and I haven’t seen it in 10 mins. Really want to get out of this hoody now, it’s boiling in here. With all the doors and windows open my current cost meter reckons it’s still 31 degrees inside.

Back on topic, I also made some other stuff since I last posted. There was a cushion but that wasn’t very exciting, though the fabric I found in a random cute little shop in Caterbury is awesome.

Butterfly Cushion

And I finally finished some handwarmers I started sometime last year but it’s totally the wrong time of year for those. I’d just been putting off finishing them and finally gotten around to it.

[Pattern] Morgaine Fingerless Mittens from blueoceanspureskies (via Ravelry)


Okay, so the wasp wasn’t actually a wasp, it was an enormous housefly. And by enoromous I mean like proper mega ultra huge. After working out that it wasn’t actually capable of stinging me horribly it was rather easy to persuade it to vacate the premises with a broom. Admittedly I didn’t expect it to land *on* the broom, thus letting me walk it over to the nearest open window but hey, that made things a heck of a lot easier.

I’ve never been stung by a wasp before, but from what I’ve heard it’s not something I’d particularly want to happen either.

Late to the Party

19 August 2012

I totally forgot to put up shots of the finished terrarium. Which is odd, considering I’m sure I remember writing a blog post about this. Hm…

One Terrarium

It’s grown in a bit since then.
Terrarium Two Months On

The locals are rather happy with the arrangement.
The Dinosaurs Who Live In The Terrarium

I went a bit nuts over houseplants this year. The remaining dinosaurs from the pack live with a Pachypodium Lamerei (Madagascar Palm) on my windowsill though I’m not entirely clear on how big this mini palm tree is actually going to get. I got some twisty twirly lucky bamboo and a few succulents, including this one:

Pink Jellybean Succulent

…which dropped all its beans and I was very sad. I also picked up some moss balls becuase I thought they were cool.

Marimo Moss Balls

They live in a jar because my fish will eat them.

In other news I hate insects. There’s a wasp in my flat and I’m now in a hoodie and jeans in case it tries to get me before it finds its way outside. It’s 31 degrees in here. Not cool.

WIP 26-04-12

26 April 2012

Amissia - Sigh - WIP

That Drawing I Occasionally Redo

25 April 2012

Ekishima Redraw 2012

This Weekend Needs More Terrarium

22 April 2012

Just did that thing when you leave the room, come back and notice a herd of dinosaurs standing on your mousemat…

Dinosaur Herd

Welcome to my weekend obsession. I don’t even remember where this started. I’ve been fighting a pretty persistent algae outbreak in the fish tank and somewhere between that and watching the weird java fern leaves sprouting roots for lots of plantlets the recurring question came up of what to do with this:

The Tank

It’s Kio’s original tank. Too small for most things to live in, I considered putting a Siamese fighter in but wasn’t sure about keeping the temperature constant in such a small volume of water. And after careful deliberation I decided I didn’t want to maintain another filter so that ruled out an aquatic plant tank.

Which landed me firmly in the strange little world of gardens in glass jars. Terrariums. Have a peek in this [Flickr pool] to see what I mean. Ferns, mosses and similar green things. A layer of gravel, activated charcoal, soil and off you go. I was worried about the gardening charcoal coming in huge expensive boxes and ending up with a stupid amount leftover until I found out that the stuff goes by another very familar name:

Cheap Carbon

This entire project has thus far cost me the princely sum of £3. Now all I need are plants!

Naturally in the middle of all this I found another glass-like container:

The Unsuspecting Candle Holder

Okay so it’s technically a candle holder and it’s in 2 separate pieces, but if I glue them together I could make another mini one… and I can see this two-day obsession getting out of control very very quickly if I don’t get it over with soon.

What does this have to do with dinosaurs? Well something’s got to live in there hasn’t it? Most people have deer and unicorns, I’m having dinosaurs. Because they’re awesome. Don’t worry, only the brachiosaur and the triceratops will live in there so I won’t have to worry about them eating each other when I’m not looking. And there’ll be plenty of foliage so they won’t fight over food. I bet they’ll make perfect tankmates.

Alas I can’t get to a garden centre this weekend, and Homebase didn’t have anything suitable. So I stuck some of the tiny bits floating around the top of the fish tank in a jar to appease my need to put something, anything, in glass this weekend.

Baby Aquatic Plant Jar

They might not do so well, I’ll keep an eye on it and chuck them back in the tank if things start to look a bit rough. I’ve forgotten what this was supposed to achieve, I think my brain mis-routed somewhere between deciding this second tank wouldn’t be for aquatic plants and noticing these tiny ones that might be perfect for it.

As final note: never, ever go to Asda on a Saturday. No it doesn’t matter that it’s near Homebase. Or that there’s a bus stop right outside (on the wrong side of a dual carriageway with metal railings down the central reservation and 5 mins from the nearest crossing point). For the shop will be full of trolleys and bizarrely, shelf stackers, who between them will block virtually every attempt to access a shelf as you wander around this maze of an unfamiliar supermarket trying to figure out where everything is. Unless you like to go from zero to frustrated in 4 mins, in which case go right ahead.

Acrylic Paint Test

9 April 2012

Stumbling on this earlier in the week [Kidrobot: The EPIC Custom Collection Of vinyltoyz] put me in the mood to finally do something with that blank vinyl DIY model I picked up last month. One tiny obstacle to face though: I can’t paint. The plastic’s well suited to acrylics so I had a bit of a read around the internet this weekend about how to obtain gradient effects. Had a bit of a play this afternoon with somewhat mixed results:

Gradient Acrylic Paint Test

The red seemed to work best, kinda funny seeing as it’s the cheapest paint of the lot. I don’t think I’ve nailed getting the water dilution right to pull this effect off. The purple Vallejo gave a nicer finish when I got it right, but it kept drying too quickly to do the blending properly.

Polystyrene Paint Test

The model’s quite small though, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to work this effect in while staying in the right area. I’m gonna borrow an airbrush and see what kind of effects I can get with that. I don’t really know what you can do with one but it’ll be fun to try. Squee, new thing to play with :)

(Aside: what the hell is my upstairs neighbour doing? It sounds like they’re re-arranging furniture. Again!)

I also picked up a paint marker:

Posca Paint Marker Test

This thing is brilliant, you don’t need to put any pressure on it at all to get a nice smooth line but the nib drives just like a normal pen so it’ll be much easier for me to get details in than with a brush. I think I might need a narrower one though, it soaks into this paper so it’s kinda hard to tell.

Last Minute Day Out in London

30 March 2012

Got up bright and not-so-early to go to London for a day of exploration and general getting-out-of-the-houseyness. You could say 9am isn’t that early but when you were up till 4am planning your trip at the last minute then yeah, 4 hours sleep does make 9am look a little bit bleurgh. Id’ve travelled earlier if the railcard’d let me; somewhat suprised that they’re not vaild until 10am on weekdays, kind of a pain when you’re travelling far but come to think of it I should’ve remembered from last time I travelled on a Friday.

So yes, first up was the Science Museum. I’ve been there before a few years back, but I only got there 1 hour before the doors closed so I decided to go back and finish it. Turns out, that might’ve been the interesting half and it was a little bit dull until I hit the section about the human brain and identity, that part was kinda cool.

It was another fantastically sunny day so I headed up to Hyde Park for lunch. Okay I never would’ve thought it would be hard to find a sandwich shop near a major tourist attraction but it took 15 minutes and 3 maps to land me at a tiny kiosk that did the job. It was an awesome day for it though, I sat on the grass by the river watching the swans, ducks and boats go by. In my quest for somewhere to sit I walked past the Diana Memorial Fountain, but time was pressing on so I didn’t go back for a proper look.

Getting totally lost in Covent Garden I ended up running facefirst into a Kidrobot store. I haven’t done the last vinyl yet but picked up a cute little cube dude in a teacup and another custom DIY job, this time a tiny zipper pull. Blindboxed, so you get either one of a multitude of cute little animals, a random lighting bolt, shuriken, or… well… a bright green poo.

Munny Zipper Pull - Green Poo

What the heck am I supposed to do with this?! (and why is it green?)
Oh I know, maybe I could polymer-clay its ass and turn it into an iced gem. Or a snail. Though it might be poor taste to make an iced gem out of poo. Note to self: don’t buy blindboxed assorted figures. Unless the assortment is just a colour change, that’s okay.

Also in Covent Garden I found a quirky little store selling all sorts of notebooks, erasers, cute things and the tiniest lego sets known to man.

Nanoblock Tiny Lego Set

I had to have one :) Those blocks are about the size of my thumbnail. The other sets had more pieces, but I liked this one because it’s blue.

I stopped by Forbidden Planet but I was all silly-thinged out by that point so I didn’t buy anything and headed on to the British Museum, slightly later than planned. Covent Garden seems like a great place to meander randomnly around, but any attempt at navigation is foiled by long, long roads that run in both directions from a single point. I swear I went down this one road 3 times until I finally got my bearings.

So the British Museum. I’ve never been to this one before, and it was *amazing*! So many things crammed in there from all over the world, most of them pretty damn huge. I spent ages wandering around the Assyrian section, walls lined top to bottom with engraved reliefs of all sorts of things.

Assyrian Relief

Nereid Monument

(I gotta say, HTC’s cameras could use some work. I took some more pictures but they didn’t come out much better. Second note to self: next time, take actual camera. :S)

I got there at 4pm worried that I’d not left enough time (or got this trip backwards), but lucky for me the place is open late on Fridays. If I’d realised there were free tours in the evening I would’ve joined one, but I missed that memo and wandered around the Greek, Egyptian and Enlightenment sections until 7pm, by which time I was getting a bit tired and decided to head back in search of dinner and a nice warm cup of tea.

The person next to me on the train home was knitting. I never did figure out what she was making.

Another Sunny Day

29 March 2012

Sunny Day At The Beach - WIP

I’ll be inking this later.

Sketches in the Park

28 March 2012

Spent 3 hours sitting out in the sun this afternoon, rather nice for the middle of March.

Park Sketch 1 - Ekishima


Park sketch 2 - Amia