i’ll be giving a talk at re:publica on friday here in berlin, come hang out and see what projects are on my life-long to do list. it’s nice to be back in town, somehow home is not just where the bandwidth is. i have plenty of stuff to blog about and a plethora of pics to share from my last three weeks of travels, more on that later. hardhack has a sign-up form, and the workshop list is shaping up to be incredible. in the meantime, come say hi on friday at re:publica.
i’ll show some felted led fabrics, knitting and spinning with electronics and i’ll show some step-by-step ways to build your own circuits into wearables and washables. entrance is 5 euros, but the c-base (where the event is being held) is always a good place to support. hope to see you there.
the only thing worse than painting a room with double vaulted ceilings a shade of blue verging on black is painting it back white when you move out. happily it only took one coat and a few touch ups because i splurged for the pricey paint. this past weekend also included a lively poker night, replete with red wine and white russians, to make up for the three days of painting. yes this means i’m back to documenting the near past, but this summer’s festivities aren’t done being cataloged, so the next post will jump back in time again.
this weekend i refurbished the inside of a purse that i bought at a flea market back in the early fall of 2006. the gross lining and pocket material had to go; it was smelly sticky and positively disgusting. the purse however, is an awesome shape and i needed one in black. it also fits my subcompact laptop: a consideration i never overlook. i finished all the lining and pockets (fake leather is tough to stitch into). the next project is making the purse as teched out and interactive as possible. mods that will happen to this black handbag include: wifi sniffer embedded in the strap, mp3 next track button for my nokia embedded in another strap, headphone port in the front pocket so you can store headphones there too, and more. you can check out the photos of the purse mods as i complete them at the blackpurse keyword on smugmug.
at the same time this weekend i decided to make myself a knit insert: a bag that can go in a bag but that can semi-stand on its own. it’s simple and black but the inside is slippery to not damage yarn fibers. check out the knit insert here.
sometimes projects take longer — much longer — than anticipated. one such project is the bed project, aka the bed project from hell. well, today, on my first day off that came consecutively after another day off, i managed to get back into a woodworking mood. it helps that i no longer have people over after a rash of houseguests, but the two consecutive days off were the clincher. thanks dear employer, i couldn’t imagine getting things done without this highly esteemed gift: the weekend. (if that sounded sarcastic, it wasn’t, i love my job and yes i do love my new two consecutive days off!)
pictured above: what i finished today is the right hand frame of the bed, all of this will be covered with foam and dark grey fabric and will fit on the frame/legs that i completed months ago.
pictured below: the frame (that came with a mirror) that will be the frame of a purple tufted satin headboard mounted landscape-wise behind the bed.
If you learned on a rock solid sewing machine and ever since have lamented the plastic creations that pass for sewing machines nowadays, you will understand why I needed this gadget so badly. A Singer Featherweight, reputed for solid forward and backstitch, can even outlive its owner. All this one needed was a new belt, some oil, a needle, and voila, a stalwart sewing machine for decades to come.
The extra bonus on this model, the 222k, is that the main work table of the machine slides off to reveal an arm that allows one to stitch edges on sleeves and other tubes of fabric. This machine is basic, but it’s the machine I’ve been yearning for since learning on a Singer Featherweight when I was a little girl.
The Magic Phone is one of those projects that seems to either mystify people or make them say: Cool! Make me one too!
Basically, it’s two phones mounted into a vintage rotary phone. One of the phones is a wireless home phone that works on the DECT standard and the other is a cellphone. The rotary mechanism’s switches are decoded by a custom-designed circuit which then “pushes” the buttons on either of the two phones inside. The circuit is compact because it uses surface mount components and therefore can leave plenty of room inside the rotary phone for the original bells which are rung using the vibrating function of the cellphone. The DECT phone’s battery powers the circuit and the cellphone uses its own battery. If you are at O’Reilly’s EuroOSCON in Brussels next week, I will have the phone with me for the Make event on Wednesday night. I have quite a few photos up of the Magic Phone and the first part of a detailed how-to can be found on Engadget here and the second part here.