Gweek Podcast!

Gweek PodcastI am very excited to announce my guest appearance on the latest episode of Gweek, one of my long-time favorite podcasts from boingboing.net, hosted by Mark Frauenfelder and Dean Putney. My morning routine isn’t complete until I’ve had a few cups of coffee while perusing the latest posts on Boing Boing, and I never miss an episode of Gweek.

As an avid listener, I’ve often been compelled to run out and explore many a gadget, website, book, movie, graphic novel, or various other neat stuff recommended by Mark, Dean, or any of their interesting guests. It was a thrill to be a guest myself and share some of my own favorite things with them. I’d like to thank Mark and Dean for having me on the podcast. It was such a blast! You can read more details about it and listen here.

 

Arrr! Pirate Treasure Box Wood Burning!

Pirate treasure boxLittle by little, I’ve been painstakingly working on my very first wood burning project: an old wooden box that I’m making into a pirate treasure chest for my son. As usual, I had no clue what I was getting myself into, so I vastly underestimated the time and patience that would be necessary to finish such a “simple” new project. I finally just finished the centerpiece on the front of the box. While it took a lot longer than I anticipated, the results have been well worth the time, and the smell of lightly burning wood has been an added bonus that perfectly compliments autumn weather.

The ship is a design from Etsy shop Eleitheliel, which I’ve used with permission. Thank you Emily and Hannah! Please be sure to check out all of their awesome, original ink drawings and other wares at their Etsy page!

Once all of the wood burning is complete, I plan to adorn the box with some gritty parts, like this iron lock that I purchased on eBay. I may even modify the box so that it glows when opened. Aye mateys–stay tuned for more project updates, though I reckon it may take me until next ‘international talk-like-a-pirate day’ to finish it!Lock

Wood Burning Pirate Ship

Jazzy Cat walks the Plank

 

Maker Dad, Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects

As my daughter has grown, we’ve moved up from simple paper and glue crafts to working through more involved project books. I’m now always on the lookout for good project books suitable for the whole family. One of our favorites that we’ve found is Mad Professor, by Mark Frauenfelder. We’ve done several of the projects, such as the Shrunken Head, Old Tyme Robot, and Mini Glideabout, which the kids loved, but the dog–not so much. 

Shrunken Head project from Mad Professor

Shrunken Head project from Mad Professor

Now Mark has a new book that we’re even more excited about, called Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects. We’ve already completed our first project–astro ice cream. When I was young, I only remember completing a handful of projects from the project books that I had. Many were too complicated, used exotic chemicals, or were just plain boring. I’d pick the coolest ones (often repeating them) and then move on to something else.

When I flipped through Maker Dad with my daughter and asked her which projects she wanted to tackle, she said all of them! So did I! For a family project to work, everyone has to be interested and engaged, and this is where I think this book stands out. All of the projects seem challenging, educational, and fun for kids as well as parents.

We’re especially excited to make a Friendstrument – an instrument you play with a friend. We’ll be  sure to post our finished product. If you’re looking for a great family project book, be sure to check out Maker Dad.

Challenging the Dixie Cup Tower Record on RecordSetter.com

My daughter and I currently hold the world record for largest Dixie cup tower on RecordSetter.com. We unseated the previous record holder of 91 cups by stacking a 136 cup tower, only to blast it apart with our Nerf arsenal.  There are all sorts of records on RecordSetter.com, from the very serious to the downright bizarre. Examples include most catches juggling four balls while swimming, and most fiery bricks broken with one bare hand in 30 seconds while playing an electric guitar.

Anyone can create and upload a new record or challenge a current record. So what are you waiting for? Set your own record, or if you’d like, break ours!

Barbie Birthday Party Photobooth

Barbie Photobooth

My daughter’s birthday is just around the corner, and we’re making all the preparations for a Barbie-themed party. Party planning for girls of kindergarten age not being my specialty, my wife assigned me the task of building a Barbie toy box to be used as a photo booth. I love playing with cardboard, so this was a perfect task for me. In what was clearly a matter of fate, my neighbors had just bought a patio set and were discarding a huge cardboard box in their weekly trash pile. Upon closer look, it turned out to be three-ply cardboard. This is a cardboard aficionado’s dream come true! We’re talking cardboard that is quite possibly sturdier than the body of my compact car, and certainly far superior to the flimsy, run-of-the-mill cardboard that my son used to build this couch bridge.

Using two of my favorite tools, a jigsaw and a hot glue gun, I cut and refolded the box into a suitable shape and size. I finished it with some spray paint, taped some wrapping paper for the background, and cut out and glued some letters. Voila! An afternoon of work and now we’re open for business.