I have a new completed project to share.

‘Bohdi the Yeti’ was one of a number of holiday projects I set myself over the last break. Videos of some of the other holiday projects will follow in time.


I am currently working my way through the enormous backlog of footage captured during the build, editing and uploading the build vids to my new Youtube channel.

The first two build process videos are up and the third will be up by the weekend.


I am also doing another editing pass on the build videos for L’s Sir Vader costume and bringing them across to the new channel as well. Obviously work has taken a big toll on my energy and ability to maintain this blog with the regularity I would like, but more posts can be expected as the next few video’s go live.






Finding Obi shirts

Finding Obi

Second shirt entry is up on Woot. But I’ve made tactical errors.

I’ve had to use half tone black dots for shadows to stay under the colour limits.

I didn’t think to export images at appropriate resolution with the shadows appearing as they will in print and when the image is shrunk down to the size used on the site as above, a weird moire pattern appears and besmirches the image.  I also misunderstood one of the idiosyncrasies of the lodgement process and have ended up with a tiny and uneditable thumbnail.

🙁 Frustrated.





Back to It

The holidays as ever have flown past. We spent five lovely days in Canberra with my mother and step father and a night on the road in each direction, once with family and once at a motel. I’ve logged a bunch of our experiences over at Trip Advisor.  We had some particularly special meals out, saw more than a few museums and galleries and visited all the best playgrounds in town.

After months of talking and circling around ideas, trying to decide where and how we want to live. Including keeping voting tally sheets with pros and cons for each destination on the kitchen cabinets. We have decided that we will stay in Australia. The where in Australia bit remains nebulous, but we are effectively ruling out living in Scotland, Europe or Asia for now. I am still coming to terms with the next bit but it is likely that we will need to stay in Cobar for the duration of 2018 to build capital. Our key criteria in looking for a place to buy and build are quality school for the boys, proximity to family, proximity to a capital, affordability, proximity to wilderness, mountains, sea as well as climate stability, vulnerability and habitability. Nowhere meets all needs.

I’ve started a list of every good or interesting state or alternative school in Australia. As expected apart from a few really exceptional state schools I hadn’t encountered before, it is a pretty short list at the moment. I’m hopeful of being able to add more before we begin narrowing it down.

I’ve resolved to devote more effort to developing my creative abilities to combat the latent ennui of life out here. Finishing things is critical to progress for me and today I finally put finishing touches on two projects that have been lingering on my drive for years and months respectively. Both are being used for T-shirt design competitions the first is here on Threadless.

The second will go up on Woot! for a relevant competition opening there early tomorrow morning. Link to follow. Edit: It seems the relevant WOOT comp wont open until Thursday.


Votes are greatly appreciated on both. As with many such sites the winning entries get about $1k US, some store credit and a portion of all sales for the life of the design on the site.

Tomorrow is the first day of term 2 for me, though my student wont be back until Wednesday. As Tuesday is ANZAC day Monday is student free and hopefully productive.



A rough draft of the Black order set

Teaching myself Tinkercad so as to be of use as a teacher of it for my students, who will be learning the program so that the 3D printer can be put to work. It is a basic and quite powerful modelling program. The controls are a little bit idiosyncratic and it has a tendency to dump the user back the main menu when doing hard operations, though it has so far not lost progress doing so. My first self set challenge is an Order vs Chaos chess set.

I splashed out and bought a couple of rolls of printing filament from these guys mid week so that I can get some personal printing done at work guilt free.

On Saturday N and I made the Dubbo run leaving the children with grandparents. A shockingly expensive shopping and very long drive later we made it home safe and have cupboards chock full with food and a shed full of timber and paints for projects.

I’ve been commissioned to build a set of portrait photography boxes and among the supplies purchased were two sheets of 12mm ply cut down to fit in the car. This project provided me with the first opportunity to put my mitre saw to use and my what a pleasure that machine is. All pieces are cut and ready for building and I even ripped down some off cuts to make parts for a nesting box. Assembly to happen later in the week.

Tuesdays are staff and year level meetings each week, meaning that I am usually not home until near six. I have found out that there is a Judo class on from Seven in the school hall on Tuesday evenings. I would like to attend but the mental hurdle of returning to work is a big obstacle. Wish me luck.


A few links to share from the last few days:

A beautiful representation of the causes of Global Warming.

Finalists of the Smithsonian Photo Competition

Do Want: Colour 3D Printed scale models of astronomical bodies.

I periodically return to the works of Simon Stålenhag (Sale site) Disturbing, fantastical and somehow totally believable they conjure a deeply uncomfortable alternative world. Someday I’ll commit and buy a print. I just haven’t settled on which yet.







Build VLOG

Spent the evening editing 2+ hours of footage down to this 8 min build video.

Then over an hours wait to upload.  Much to learn about framing, editing and well, carpentry.

Chicken tractor handle build:





Finished ‘The Long Utopia‘ a bit underwhelming to be honest. Glad to be back on ‘Religion for Atheists‘ More on both another night.



Thwarted again…

My giant Fresnel lens has a linear focal point.

It is better than the focal point on the previous lens I salvaged but not, as I had hoped a spot focal point. The frame and stand are finished and at some point I will attempt to remove the linear diffraction grooves and turn it into a spot lens using this method. As it is the lens would be great for solar cooking but that is not sufficient for what I have in mind. I should have taken some photos of the testing but it’s not like it was dramatic.


The sun guide bracket is visible in this image. Basically a bracket perpendicular to the lens’s surface with a whole the shadow and bright spot from which allows alignment to the sun.


Salvaged timber throughout as usual.


Last day with visiting family members, nice barbecue and long talks. Four year immunisations for L, car registration transfer hurdles completed.

Ready to paint.






Family tour of the farm, feeding cows, admiring the dogs exploring abandoned machinery piles.


Had an hour or two to build in this afternoon and knocked up a frame for my biggest Fresnel lens  Hoping to have a stand made tomorrow to test it with. The previous lens of this type I found didn’t have a tight round focal point and although I still own it it is unsuitable for my purposes. This one appears to have a round focal point. None I have yet found has the clarity I have seen others find online. though it is not as clear as I would like it to be. Again while making this I was practicing taking a shot for every single step of the process, right up until I forgot and did three or four things in quick succession without thinking. I think I need to film rather than photograph builds.  Stand and test run tomorrow. If I’m lucky this baby aught to be able to produce temperatures in excess of 1000ºC at focal point. 


Painting again tonight. Decided I’ll push on with colouring even though principal line work is not 100%. It is easy enough to add detail layers over the top.  Progress:




It takes him six minutes to get to the point but dammit if he doesn’t make it very well when he gets to it. I find FriendlyJordies caricatures strained but occasionally funny. As I understand it he lives in PM Turnbull’s own electorate so he has plenty of reasons to be angry.


Change in the Air

‘This changes everything’ is an astonishing book. Clearly a book I have been needing to read for some time. I’m at about 7 of 20 hours in and I am just blown away. No other document I have ever read about climate change has ever spoken so clearly about the hard realities of facing climate change, nor has any other document at the same time offered such reasonable hopes.

I don’t yet know what my response will be, it is very clear to me that I have become too complacent, too apathetic, too comforatable looking away. I will not ignore it any more, what I will do remains to be seen.

I write this five weeks before my family and I fly to the other side of the world, around Europe and back like the comfortable twenty percenters we are.

I am increasingly aware that global warming is not presently the headline issue it needs to be in both Australia’s and Americas elections this year. America at least has one potential candidate who is treating the issue with seriousness here in Australia neither of our majors want to talk about it and The Greens present marketing isn’t I’m sad to say, going to rock the status quo.


I just love rockstar statistician Hans Rosling have some more if you liked that one. Start with my favourite and the close second.

Build Complete

Finished my saw horses which involved almost a complete rebuild of the first. My joinery leaves a little to be desired, but they are solid, square and built to fit me. Nice and tall at almost 800mm high so I don’t have to bend over to much but also not so high that it is uncomfortable to brace a piece with a foot. I was keeping a build log but I abandoned it in a fit of pique at my carpentry ineptitude, I’ll persevere with the next project regardless. Thinking of trying to film it in fact. There is room in the design for a cross brace between the legs but it doesn’t appear necessary at the moment.


All timber scavenged from the tip, screws from my now dwindling collection.  Looking forward to using them in the next project.


No painting last night making up for it this evening, pressing on with the castle.





Attended my first mass today. Church is church, they sang some songs, children fidgeted and ritual cannibalism was practiced.

What struck me though, was why is it that Australian churches are so ugly?

Maybe I’ve been listening to too much De Botton but the construction and layout of a space is very important to how we treat it and how we feel within it. Australian churches are from my admittedly limited experience overwhelmingly ugly.  Resembling as they so often do, municipal amenities buildings with ‘modern’ pipe framed steeples, or fiberboard 70’s spaceships dropped from considerable height. I have been in a generous estimate maybe fifteen Australian churches in my life and maybe to or three times that many elsewhere in the world. Perhaps my visits have not been characteristic but they are my anecdotal experience.

The Church I was in today is a lovely red brick classical nave with white crenelated turrets and a vaulted wooden ceiling. But… everything within it was shabby, kitch and often fake. Clearly the church has in the past had a wealthy and active congregation. These days however the impression is of hastily completed repairs and half measures, dodgy AC units sitting out of plumb on walls whose paint is marred by the cord marks and paint chips left by the removal of the previous and the the sagging conduit lazily tacked on to provide power. The tacky and now probably half a century old electric votive candle stand. The mishmash of Christ imagery. Here a screen printed British medieval madonna and child on a one piece vac formed plastic frame and canvas. There are poorly painted three quarter scale plaster of Christ offering benediction luridly painted but for his alabaster skin in a manner that recalls the recreation of how the Greek classical sculptures may have looked. The signs of the cross hung at uneven spacing around the hall. The whole set dish cast in waxy green/grey resin. All of left me kind of saddened at the state the building has been allowed to wallow into. Where is the glory?



It is not fair to compare the local church with far more impressive European equivalents many centuries older than the local but I still found the whole experience underwhelming. Compounded no doubt by having to repeatedly shush impatient and bored seven year olds around me.

I am looking forward to some days back in the secular system in term two. As grateful as I am for the work I’ve had and the days I’ve already locked in at the catholic for next term. I am very clear that religious education is not my home.


A reminder that the game I am working on as well as some others from the mind of Jack will be available for playtesting this weekend at this event. 

No creative output so far today other than designing a new art activity off the cuff in class this morning.  The plan called for colouring pre-printed .jpg artifact ridden grey mandalas during religion time. I had students draw their own by tracing around the edges of interesting shaped objects within the classroom in black marker to make mostly radially symmetrical patterns which they then coloured in. Some pretty results though I didn’t think to take photos unfortunately.



Juvenile #truebug with great #pareidolia on its back. 10mm #hermiptera #insect #macro

A photo posted by @liatach on