Saturday, April 6, 2019


In 2016 my family went to Sweden where my husband is from. It is an expensive trip so we really try to see and do a lot while we are there.
Old house in Skansen 
One day we went out for a Viking day at the national history museum.
The kids got to try their hand at some Viking activities.
But one thing they found was a game called Kvarn.
It might have been all the walking around they had already done that day, but when they sat down to play it they could have sat there for hours. So I made a note to try to recreate it at home.

Through a little research I found out that this is the same game as Nine Men's Morris, a game I had heard of but never played before. It is a very old game with roots back to the roman empire.

So I knew I definitely wanted to make my own version.
I started with an unfinished wooden square.
I designed the layout of the board in OpenSCAD so that each spot could fit a button magnet.
I finished the wood with a dark stain and affixed the 3Dprinted pieces and magnets.
I printed simple instructions to glue to the back and covered the whole thing with layers of Helmsman polyurethane.
We raided my bottle cap collection for playing pieces.
 But I also include a bottle opener so that you can make new pieces.

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Monday, March 25, 2019

Tiny Eggs

I am a maker. I love my projects, but I also make a lot of food. Every once in while a food crosses the line into a "make".

Today that food is the Scotch Egg.

If you ever find yourself with tiny eggs, the scotch egg is the perfect use for these little guys. 

Traditionally it is a British picnic food which means it is hearty and travels well. And if you are wondering why a vegetarian would bother making something like is always fun to put food inside of other food, but I also have 2 teenagers and protein that is hearty and travels well is a good thing to have during this time where they sometimes are growing inches overnight.

So scotch eggs...

Basically a hard boiled egg.
Wrapped in sausage.
Then fried.
You can imagine the reason I use tiny eggs is because these get rather large if you make them with regular eggs.

The actual recipe:

Tiny Eggs (ask for them from a friendly egg farmer)
Gimme Lean Vegetarian Sausage
Panko Breadcrumbs
Oil for Frying

Hard boil the eggs, approximately 6 minutes. Peel the eggs and then chill them. Take the Sausage out of its wrapper and form a ball slightly smaller than the hard boiled egg. Flatten out the ball and place the hard boiled egg inside. Wrap the sausage around the egg, sealing it completely. Once you have the eggs wrapped, chill them again. I personally don't mind all the "chilling steps" because it gives me time to clean up between steps. Prepare the oil for frying, you can deep fry or pan fry, just make sure you have enough oil that you will be able to reach halfway up the wrapped egg. Set up three bowls, 1 with flour, 1 with raw egg, and 1 with breadcrumbs. Roll the sausage wrapped eggs in the flour, then the egg and lastly the breadcrumbs. Make sure each step covers the egg completely, we are really trying to seal it well. Place the egg ball in the oil and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. You can eat right away, or put in the refrigerator for later. They can be eaten cold, or warmed back up. My favorite is to warm them up and eat with a green salad. Or stick them in my kids' lunches.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Succulent Life

I live in a house full of very creative individuals. That means constant projects and ideas flying everywhere. Mostly (aside from the mess) this makes me happy. I love that my kids are always finding new ways to engage themselves and my husband and I totally encourage them trying new things. But sometimes their ideas get ahead of themselves, like when they bought some succulents over Christmas.
The kids had big ideas about what a nice succulent garden they would make, together. Together is the kicker. Here it is February and they have still not agreed on a "together garden" and the plants are sitting in a box on my kitchen table. So I decided to start designing some planters with my favorite 3D software, OpenSCAD.

It was a lot of fun playing around with the geometry.  My constraints were having enough room to hold a plant and wanting to be able to print the shape without supports. That gave me a lot to play with.
But of course nothing mom designs is good enough for their plants. Maybe at some point I will post what they come up with for their plants. 

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Monday, February 18, 2019

Making it click

Recently, my dad has lost mobility in his left hand. As you can imagine this makes lots of everyday tasks difficult. I thought it was perfect timing when I came across this posting from Adafruit.
I downloaded the file from Adafruit, but ended up ordering different size magnets from Amazon, so I knew I would need to do some tweaking to the file.

Doing some digging we found that there were many variations of these adaptive shoelaces on Thingiverse. My husband and I checked them out, played with the files and printed a few.

We wanted to make sure the final product was easy to print, strong and easy to use. We ended up with this 4 magnet design created in OpenSCAD. With this design we are able to drop in the magnets as the file prints so they are securely enclosed.
We tried these on a couple of pairs of sneakers and they worked with different sizes
To use unlace all but the bottom holes on a pair of lace up shoes. 
 There is a tapered side and a flat side. These are designed to use with the flat side up, this makes unbuckling easier and gives a cleaner look.
 Loop the laces through the holes on each side of the bracket and the shoe holes. There will be leftover lace.
Once both sets of brackets are laced up use adjust the fit to your foot, and then lace the extra length of lace back through and out of the way. 
When you have the right fit, the shoes will be easy to put on and off but stay securely closed while walking
Link to Magnetic Shoelaces on Thingiverse

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Toilet Paper Roll Seed Starter

Atlanta is preparing for snow, but I'm thinking of spring.

I always keep a garden, but since 90% of what I grow gets eaten by my kids the moment it is ready, I try not to spend too much on my plants. That means I start what I can from seeds.

Usually I start my seeds in egg cartons. But last year I had a bunch of leftover saved toilet paper tubes and my 3D printer and thought I would see about creating something to start my seeds in those tubes.  

The benefit over egg cartons would be that I could develop longer roots, and I would also be able to transplant the entire tube.

There were a couple of problems that needed to be solved as I worked on this problem. 
First I could not just create a "foot" to hold the tube because the damp soil would cause the tube to unravel. I also could not just create a solid tube because it needed air circulation in order to not rot.

Eventually I came up with a fun working design. and successfully grew seedlings I was able to transplant directly into my garden. I was able to reuse my holders from last year and even add some more designs. Now I have a new way to recycle my toilet paper rolls and start my garden.

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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Wrap It Up

No-Sew Cord Wrap

So a year or so ago I was looking around at different types of cord wrap projects and I loved the simplicity of the cord taco.

I tried my hand at making my own and was very happy with the results, but of course I had to try to improve the process. I ended up using magnetic fasteners and iron on patches to make a no-sew cord wrap that is both easy to make and very durable.

Now my kids end up stealing my phone charging cord all the time because it is in the best shape and always easy to find. So for Christmas I am getting them new cords and making them their own cord wraps.

I only need 3 materials:

Magnetic Fasteners like these from Amazon:

 2" x 3" Iron-On patches also available on Amazon but I grabbed them at Walmart.

And last some sturdy fabric, I find material from old blue jeans to be very useful.

The 2"x3" patches are the perfect size as is, but you can also cut larger patches to different shapes.
The magnetic fasteners have legs that slip through small cuts made in the patch.
Use the back plates that come with the fasteners are to mark where to make your cuts.
Slip the fastener through the front of the patch and place the back plate behind the patch (shiny side), then bend the legs out.
Flip the patch over and iron it onto some sturdy material like an old pair of jeans or canvas. The patch will secure the fastener and keep any material from fraying.
Once the patch is fully secured (iron both sides) let it cool and then cut around the edge and wrap it around a cord.
I use washi tape to personalize the chargers to make sure my kids know which one is theirs.
And there you have it, perfectly organized cords. Easy to hang and keep track of.

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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Better Than a Gold Star

One of the first designs I made for my 3D printer was the Swedish Heart design.

I had always loved making folded paper hearts with my kids and wanted to make a Christmas ornament in that style.
I used my favorite program OpenSCAD and some math and created something I really loved.

Even now this is my favorite design and the earrings made from it are the best selling item in my Etsy shop.
But I’ve never made a necklace that I’m really happy with. 

3D printing is great for earrings where being lightweight is an advantage. But I always feel the necklaces need more weight. Which is why I started experimenting with resin.
I’m still working on creating the right resin and PLA necklace, but in the meantime decided to try Shapeways.

Shapeways is a 3D printing service that allows you to print your designs in many more materials than I can print at home. So I took my design for a 3D printed Swedish Heart Necklace and sent it to them to have printed in rose gold plated brass.

I couldn’t be more thrilled. The original estimate on delivery was almost a month but it arrived in half that time. The necklace turned out beautifully. It is a great weight and seems really well made.

Shapeways allows you to put up your designs to sell, so I will put up a few designs I think would look good in materials I cannot print in. I will probably put up the matching heart earrings and try to justify to myself buying the set.

But being able to send out my design and have it printed somewhere else in a new material really makes me feel like I have leveled up as a designer.

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