Laundry and Sawdust

With this mountain of folding I will contend, also ironing and putting away. 

Little else accomplished today but playing with children and commencing work on my saw horses. Speaking of, I have concluded that I do not have the requisite carpentry skills and tools to produce a pair of quite this level of functional beauty.

Though I have taken some inspiration from their design to include in my own more traditional pair.

Set up both phones tethering to take advantage of Telstra’s free data day. Noticed two hours and one tenth of the monthly quota too late that one computer, despite showing connection to the its phone was still using the home internet. Curses!


Managed another sketch card last night, now more than half way through that set. Aiming to have the rest of those and the castle card done within the next three weeks. More to do tonight.


Dead green #housefly on the living room windowsill. #fly #diptera 12mm

A photo posted by @liatach on




Build Complete


Feels like an age since I started this project. Today after many delays the hens are doing their job admirably laying waste to the fields of cat head sprouts that have sprung up after the recent rain. There were lots of delays some quite unavoidable but three months from inception it is done. There are plenty of other projects waiting in line and I’m planning on attempting video of one or two.

For this evening here is the build process. There were a number of design alterations along the way. It all started with a rusted out old motorcycle crate piled among the bricks.

The crate is visible to the right of this panorama of the yard as we found it. PANO_20151224_092052 In speaking to our neighbors, the local motorcycle shop and family friends they offered some newer crates free of charge.

I saved this quad bike crate from the scrap heap and began with the idea of a box without a base.



Of course there was no bloody ply at the tip when I went the looking this first time. So I had to buy one sheet. Being frugal I managed to find a layout that would give me all the pieces I need from that one sheet. My only electric saw is a jigsaw so my edges leave something to be desired in perfect straightness.



The old motorcycle crate was cannibalised for many parts including the gate beginning here.


I built two the same, at the time it seemed unlikely that we would have the properties fences to a state where the hens would be allowed out during the day so I was planning on a primary tractor and an additional run section.


First sides going on.


Realising that I am never going to be able to keep it as square as I want it without a base. I for the time being abandon the idea of the extra run and attach the base section.


When working without a base side pieces were hanging from the top.


With the addition of the base I added an extra end support I had into the middle and hung the sides on it instead. The gate hinge support is also reinforced this way.


Material constraints left me with a gate hinge too short to extent the whole height. In the background the awning brackets in fabrication.



Awning brackets mounted


Side awnings on. The rear has to wait until roof hinges are done.


Main entrance and detail.


Beginnings of the roof stripped from a very heavy piece of the motorcycle crate.


Edges attached, applying insulation with ‘help’.


Locking the Styrofoam jigsaw in with aluminium tape.


Coating the underside in foil.


Ready for roofing.


Scrap roofing iron from among the debris cut with a hand angle grinder forms the cover.



Lots of sharp edges to deal with.



Sitting in place.


A tiny ten minute tease of rain stained and warped some of the ply.


Roof hinges on.


Cleaning up timber edges prior to painting.


Everyone helps paint, while the enthusiasm lasts anyway. Free paint is the best paint.


The best wheels found up until this point die under pressure. I was hoping they were solid rubber as there was no valve visible. Not to be.



It takes two more trips to the tip and a lot of trial and error to find better replacements. In the mean time wiring began. Using off cuts and old crumpled spare pieces from the farm this was frustrating and slow work. Compounded by the fact that we were having great difficulty finding someone to sell us point of lay hens.


A view into the roost. Nesting boxes from an old Ikea shelf and scrap ply.


Wiring continued an hour here and there for ages.


News that hens would be available in a week put the pressure on to finish the job. Painting the door, ramp and wall extension using a very smelly old enamel found in the shed.


Ramp in place. Thriving fresh crop of catheads visible in the soil here.


Interior shot. before floor wire.


View from the front before and after wall extension.

IMG_0555 IMG_0556

The previous wheel axle holes are no longer useful.


The new wheels require an altogether different kind of mount.


Of for a drop grinder.

IMG_0560Ready to weld.


Calling in help from my brother in law for this job. Snapped with welding goggles on of course.


I put the wire floor in so that the hens can be contained during moves and they will be safe if and when a fox gets into the enclosure at night.


Job done. Last couple of additions today not yet photographed. Gravity water container, hatch so the hens roost door can be opened without entering the enclosure and modifications to the nesting area in the roost to make it a little cosyier. I’ll edit them in at a later date.



Our hens are Isa Brown rescues from an egg farm which disposes of its hens at one year of age. Waiting to establish dominance order before assigning the names we have chosen for this batch. Georgie, Porgie, Pudding and Pie.

20160328_Easter2016_3620 sml


Bonus build…

Ancient crank shaft from the metal heap in the back yard


plus plow blade from the farm


 plus a little sugru,


equals distinctive bird bath.IMG_20160328_175848

Sugru was still drying at dark so testing will wait for the morning.

Eyeing some much needed sawhorses for my next build. Not that I think I can produce a pair like that.




A couple of extra details. As with everything but the one sheet of ply, the hinges on the roof and the boxes of screws, the latches are found, rummaged or reused from somewhere else.


My but those hens can do a number on an interior. two choose to sleep in the nesting boxes two on the bar.


Access hatch for releasing and containing hens without entering the enclosure. Needs a better latch but the local hardware in a now atypical experience have none.




The bird bath holds water and there is spoor to suggest that it has been in use today. No witnessed visitors yet though. The water stains pretty quickly though, I may need to strip it back and seal the dish. Also visible is the new path still in need of edging on this side and fresh sheet mulching on the other.








Colouring In


A less productive day today.

N and F went to the farm. L had one on one swimming lesson during which I managed to swim 650m (200m freestyle). L’s water confidence is continually improving but he cannot swim independently yet. Despite sunscreen we both had a touch of sun and were pretty zonked out all afternoon. We spent some time drawing and colouring together and I let him indulge his latest obsession Lego Marvel Superheroes for a while. They are an improvement over Power Rangers but only marginally.


This is going to take me a while, particularly so as it is an activity to make me draw with L & F more. It was cheap at the post office a week or two ago, broke it out for the first time today.

I actually made the first five of twenty six planned images of an ‘affirmations’ colouring book with intention of releasing the whole on amazon for a dollar in the months prior to starting this blog. I’m not going back to it, I’ve missed the boat for the colouring book mania and I’m not a huge fan of the idea, I just noticed that most of what was available was to my mind not really designed with adult colouring in mind. Meditative detail and pattern were what I would look for, not so much the affirmative words that I chose for these to match the most obvious markets. In truth I am a little perplexed by the explosion of adult colouring as a normal activity, but I am grateful in this instance as it means I get to do a collaboration with one of my favourite artists and keep the result to hang on my children’s walls.


So here is my small contribution to adult colouring anyway if you do any please send me a picture of your results. Click through for full sized versions. I am not revisiting them but if I were ‘Peace’ would be most likely to receive a major overhaul.








Focusing on updating copyright text on all so far completed cards this evening.

Also had an idea for a simple, pretty mobile/ VR/ AR game this afternoon. Not telling here after all I’ve already discovered one of my designs made real by someone else before I got around to them. ‘Cosmic Boom’ the concentric circles piece half way down the page here is the design of a piece I sketched two years ago, I’d have used different media but the effect would have been near identical.





Tutoring flyer complete

Paving is backbreaking hot and unpleasant labour, but my oh my the results are pleasing.

We’ve made good progress on the areas between the laundry tank and washing line as well as plotting out a looping path through the orchard for bikes.

So much more work to do.

Tonight I’ve finished my tutoring flyer. Channeling some early playbill style. Some information redacted for web display.tutoring-flyer-for-web


Booked a First Aid & CPR refresher in Dubbo for Feb 2nd. It has been a while since I have had to pay for my own, schools usually cover the group’s cost. This course is going to bite for the cost of accommodation the night before as well as travel. Still better than letting it lapse and needing to do the whole two day again.

About to kick card production to another level. Here begins the first week in which I try and bring to completion multiple whole cards.


Happy New Year!

Come on 2016, it is going to be an exciting year. Love to all near and far, may 2016 bring you joys, triumphs and many many laughs.

A very quiet night here, I was the only member of the household still awake for 12 local.

I used to really like NYE. I have many times stayed up for the dawn of the new year, particularly so when at the Woodford festival. This is not so easy or desirable with small children in the house and as I’m on morning duty I’ll keep it brief tonight.

We are going out to the farm tomorrow for a big family gathering.

N was laid low with a migraine for much of the day, the boys were their usual delightful little whirlwinds of emotions. One moment paralysed with laughter, the next incandescent with fury. I didn’t accomplish as much ad I otherwise might have liked to, though the day had its moments. Like F curling up on me and falling straight to sleep having declined bed moments before.

Made a card for my stepfathers birthday today. Which would have arrived late anyway but I blew it at the last minute so I can share that one. I’ll have to make another to send in the morning.



some other images of the day


Expressive #Pareidolia in children’s chalk scribbles.

A photo posted by @liatach on



Mummified mud dauber wasp. Approx. 45mm in total length

A photo posted by @liatach on

Also finished a few more card thumbnails. Almost ready for the next phase.


Still packing

So much stuff. The Tyler Durden line ‘Things you own end up owning you’  has never felt more true. We got rid of a skip full of junk in May after the flood and we have another load piled beneath the house ready for the tip. Even so despite giving away as much as people are willing to take, we still have So Much Stuff.

The yard and under the house are complete. The living rooms, bedrooms and office are complete. The kitchen is still not done despite N’s heroic efforts today. Of course there is still a litter of odd items strewn between rooms yet to find their way into a convenient box. Tomorrow will mostly be cleaning except that:

We have a big day on tomorrow. Birthday breakfast with my mother, packing and droping stuff to friends. Seeing Star Wars and yet more packing & cleaning. We will make it… just.


Had to invest some energy in finger splint design as the previous version wasn’t cutting it. Another modification or two away from perfect. I can use the finger but I mustn’t bend it at the first join until the bone can knit. Ligament will probably require surgery and I’ve begun the work cover lodgement to help with that. Probably not going to be easy to find an orthopedic surgeon west of Dubbo though.



Game On

Today I play tested a number of very interesting board game and card game concepts and agreed to be the principal illustrator for one in particular.

You can expect to see a fair bit of concept art relating to that project here over coming months.

The creator and I have made a written agreement with broad terms to recognise our good faith negotiations with each other, we have allowed time to make sure the creative relationship will work and have divided expected responsibilities and expectations.  One of the key terms of our agreement is to seek a much more official contract before money or intellectual property is formally exchanged.  So I’m now on the hunt for a suitable contract, something like this one, to use without engaging the services of an IP lawyer at this already extremely expensive moment of my life.

If anyone knows a good IP lawyer I have a couple of things I would like to run by them. At my own expense of course.

Incidentally I’ve never been particularly huge on board games but I’ve been so surrounded by people who are and for so many years that a certain amount of passion for them seems to have rubbed off on me.  I know enough to say if you have not experienced board games other than Cluedo and Monopoly you owe it to yourself to try one of the new generation of games that are actually fun.

Rough concept forest tile. My pen ran dry and I am struggling to keep eyes open so I’m not going to refill and continue I’m foing to bed.



By agreement I am going to try and channel a bit of the style of the indomitable Mike Mignola into my work.

With a quick hue shift to reduce the contrast some.


On Swimming, Reading and Graphic Design

It’s the final week of school. Tidy trays are packed, classrooms are striped bare.
We have had our long free swim and yes of course I joined in. On Thursday we will feast as a class and conduct our Secret Santa exchange. On Friday we will clean desks and classrooms and then put a film on for the students while the teachers feast.

Today I was taken off class again to put finishing touches on the template of a project for admin. This Chatterbox will be the interactive display tool for the new 5 year strategic plan at WESS. There are a number of fields still needing filled in and my template has spaces and text boxes ready for them.




This design also features my update of the school’s logo which I completed in my own time mostly out of irritation last year. The original had been hand painted and it seems that at some point somebody had live-traced a low quality scan. I made a number of subtle modifications and fixed a bunch of missing or garbled details from the original.

school logo fix


I had a discussion with my sister who is also a teacher a weekend or two ago in which we both expressed dismay at the present push for earlier and earlier instructional tuition in Australian schools. Today she shared an article, which I think I have seen quoted elsewhere but had not until today read.

Key quote:

Studies have compared groups of children in New Zealand who started formal literacy lessons at ages 5 and 7. Their results show that the early introduction of formal learning approaches to literacy does not improve children’s reading development, and may be damaging. By the age of 11 there was no difference in reading ability level between the two groups, but the children who started at 5 developed less positive attitudes to reading, and showed poorer text comprehension than those children who had started later. In a separate study of reading achievement in 15 year olds across 55 countries, researchers showed that there was no significant association between reading achievement and school entry age.


I maintain that forcing children to read before they want to sets them up for a lifelong distaste for reading rather than a lifelong love of it.


Good sleep and lack thereof

Yesterday we had the best sleep-in in 3 years. 8 am and not a peep out of either of our infants. By which point we were at the “should we check on them” stage.

Last night however… The worst night in months. L had a melt down about one and then F was up for almost two hours after that. I’ve been in a fog all day, in addition to the muscle ache from climbing yesterday.

A project I still haven’t taken beyond prototype.
The prototype is now a bit the worse for wear 2 years later.
I would like to take this and a few other similar ideas to production out of recycled and biodegradable materials.

My cardboard Christmas tree design:


Process shot.


This terrbily back lit shot seems to be the only one I have from the first build set that shows it assembled but not covered in decorations.


It was all about papercraft that Christmas. These papercraft polyhedra formed our basic gift to practically everyone that year.

Digitising the design is still in process. I hit a hurdle in creating an even helical shape to take slices from in the 3D programs I was using. Just the other day I think I may have found a workaround care of a project the amazing and crazy J Mantzel was working on. He is famous as the creator of a very cool toy as well as a house with a trampoline floor.



Light shade

The end of reporting is in sight.

Tonight I share my Great dodecahedron light shade design.

Great dodecahedron lightshade

Completed over 2 years ago.
I was just last weekend struck with an idea for how to easily close the bottom opening in such a way that it would still be easy, when necessary to change the bulb.

I’ve yet to find a satisfactory way to make the joins without the fold shadow, other than 3D printing anyway. 

Great dodecahedron lightshade

Also note I’ve swapped to Flikr embeds in preference to Instagram. As with all things Fbook related Instagram has a developed a bit of a reek of puritanical distaste to it.
#Freethenipple being but one example. 


Here’s a video I’ve seen freebooted more than once:

Keeping it short and sweet tonight.