Day 6: The first fruit or vegetable you spot

Look in the kitchen and work with the first fruit or vegetable you spot.

Just a quick one today, since it’s getting late and I’m back to work tomorrow.

I opened the refridgerator and saw a carrot, so I made a papercraft version of it. This particular papercraft didn’t work out so well  (I cut the shapes by eye and fudged some extra cuts when they didn’t line up). The most notable problem is probably the poor colour matching between the original (vibrant) carrot and the scanned-then-printed version.

DSCF9525 DSCF9526 I may look into better calibrating the printer/scanner. Although I wonder if it’s more an issue with the process of scanning with the lid open. Maybe I could use something like a piece of plain white paper draped over the carrot while scanning, or just calibrate the colours by eye when editing the graphics. Hmmmm… next time!

Speaking of next time, I had the idea that this may have been easier if I cut the carrot up prior to scanning. In that way, I would have all the required faces scanned more or less front-on and ready for reconstruction. I gave this a quick burl, but don’t have time to make a papercraft out of it. (Also, one of the pieces rolled over!) Anyhow, here is the scan:

Scan 12

I reckon that approach will work quite well actually. Next time!

(In other news, I just realised that my papercraft could look a little lewd. Oh well.)

Day 5: Take a five-minute walk

Take a five-minute walk, then make something using whatever materials are available where you’ve ended up. Leave it there for someone else to discover…

I bought a Silhouette Portrait electronic cutting tool a number of weeks ago and have been looking forward to using it for something other than test cuts. So I decided to bend the rules for this challenge by printing and cutting some things to take with me.

We live in the suburbs and there are a number of nearby parks, so I pondered what would suit those environments and be a pleasure to discover. Miyamoto’s Pikmin immediately sprung to mind, and I found some nice promotional images suitable for paper cut-outs.


Heidi and I took the cut-outs down to a nearby park just before dusk so that we would have good lighting for photos. She arranged them into a small scene and I took a few snaps. I think that it all turned out rather well. I wonder if they will be discovered.


Here are some process shots, from the cutting software to the arrangement on site:

Day 4: What do you collect?

What do you collect? Work with a collection of objects you have in your home (or borrow a friend’s if you like).

This is actually the challenge for Day 5, but we decided to switch things around since today’s scheduled challenge would require us to go for a walk and it’s too late for that since we can’t leave a sleeping baby at home alone!

My first thought for this challenge was to do something with my video game collection. I also wanted to return closer to the theme of papercraft. I dug into a box of old games and picked out the game cartridge for Super Mario 64 – a landmark game that made a lasting impression on me.

I scanned all sides (rolling the curved side along the scanner as the sensor moved) and combined the scanned images into a flattened version of the cartridge. Taking that to the cutting board, I improvised some tabs for gluing and made a papercraft cartridge.



As a bonus creation, I decided to also scan Heidi’s collection of airline teaspoons. (There are some real gems in there, including Ansett Airlines.) I like how the heads of the spoons blur away in the scanned image.

Scan 7 copy


Day 3: Something out of paper, but…

“Make something out of paper, but don’t use scissors, or glue, or draw on it.”

Heidi and I got out the wrapping paper box for this one. We found some party streamers and tried laying them out on the ground in different patterns. I tried to make a face, but even the slightest breeze (ie. from moving my legs) was enough to upset the crepe paper. That and it was going to have to be huge! So I settled for an eye instead.


Here’s an angled shot. It makes it look a bit more… like a cult symbol.

DSCF9468 Afterwards I still wanted to make a face, so I tried my hand at freestyle paper tearing. I started with a normal A4 paper and tried to tear pieces away in order to leave a single piece that looks like a face. Upon reflection, it would have been easier to just tear a bunch of different shapes and then arrange them to form a better-looking face.


Three days in and this creative journal is already teaching me to be less of a perfectionist. I’m not particularly fond of anything that I’ve made so far, but I don’t have enough time to iterate or start again – so it’s been more of an exercise in trying something out, posting it, and then moving on to whatever task awaits tomorrow. Until tomorrow!

Day 2: Your favourite animal

Today’s creative journal inspiration: “What’s your favourite animal? Use it as your inspiration today.”

I like cats.

Keeping with the themes of papercraft and getting things done, I figured that I would build something that I’ve been meaning to for quite a while: a stereo viewer for my iPod Touch.

Minh and I bought a pair of reading lenses a while ago with this in mind. Here’s a picture of the original testing we did. When held very close to the eyes, these lens do a great job of focussing each half of a side-by-side stereo image.


I initially thought that I would make an fov2go, but the lenses I have appear to be too small (that, and the fov2go build look fairly complicated). So I just winged it.

The lens remind me of cat eyes, and I decorated the viewer to be even more cat-themed.

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Overall, the viewer works quite well (with a rather convincing 3D effect) despite the image bleed (because I didn’t put in a central divider). If you make a similar device, you can easily test it by searching for “yt3d” videos on YouTube. (Interestingly, there’s a full-length 3D version of Titanic on Youtube… although it’s not in English.)

If anything, making this has just made me want a Hasbro My3D. They’re currently cheap to buy in the US (presumably since they were made for the last generation of iOS devices), but shipping to Australia is awfully expensive. On the other hand, I think they’re cool and you can make games for it using Unity3D… hmmm… maybe I’ll just wait for my Occulus Rift.

Day 1: Something that fits in the palm of your hand

It’s day 1 of my 365 daily creative journal. (See my previous post for more information).

Today’s task was to: “make something that fits in the palm of your hand using only materials in your immediate environment.”

I happened to be in the dining room for this challenge, so I used a table cloth, some nearby Christmas wrapping ribbons, and a few food items and plates from the kitchen. I arranged them into something that I could photograph, cut, and fold into a simple character. (The camera and printer are in the living room, so I figure they count as my immediate environment.)

Anyhow, here are some process photos:

And a final shot of my creation in the palm of my hand:


I learnt that superglue doesn’t really adhere to photographic paper (on their side) and that I probably would have been better with a plain background (rather than using the plates, which added texture). That being said, the plates were handy for spacing – I rolled the top plate along the table to check that the radius would match the four square plates placed side-by-side.

2012 wrap-up

I usually end the year with a bit of a retrospective and considered plans for the next year, but I think that this time I’ll just give a brief recap of the months which are undocumented on this blog, and mention a few minor things that I have planned for this coming year. (Hmmm, maybe that isn’t so different after all.)

So here’s what you’ve missed:

  • June: A family trip to the UK. I learnt to appreciate the phrase “Make hay while the sun shines”. The weather reiterated the concept on a daily basis.
  • July: A long stop-over in Thailand. Amelia met the extended family and I caught up with an old school friend.
  • August, September, October, November: Work!
  • December: Work!… Oh, and a couple of weeks off – in which we further child-proofed the house and took care of some general gardening and cleaning. Yeah!

As you can see, I’ve been pretty busy with my business partnership: Hungry Sky. There’s also the day-to-day excitement of being father to a baby who has learnt to play, crawl, babble, eat all sorts of things, and walk while holding your hand.

Here are some random photos:

I find it amazing that Amelia’s already more like a little girl than a little baby.

Oh, I almost forgot about those minor things that I have planned for this year. In general, I want to spend more time just getting on with things. I tend to waste a fair amount of time deciding on the details of what to do. In the end, it’s better to just get things done – whether or not the result is “optimal”.

Bearing that in mind, I’m embarking on daily creative activities which I will post to this blog. I bought a book and everything. Check it out:

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There’s more information on the Make Something 365 website. I’m still not entirely decided upon a theme, but I’m thinking: Papercraft. 🙂

Leisure programming

Nowadays, I usually write technical blog posts over on the Guts Up! blog. However, I figured that I could write about some weekend leisure coding on my personal blog instead. (Also because I haven’t written anything here for a while!)

The great thing about leisure programming is that I play around with technology that (being prudent) I may not try out for commercial work. I’ve discovered most of my favourite design patterns, libraries, and languages via programming in my own time – and most of them do eventually make their way into my work code.

Today I decided to try out the (fairly recent) support for CoffeeScript (an elegant programming language) on nodester (a free nodejs server hosting platform).

Here’s a quick rundown of what was involved:

  1. I started by following instructions from the official blog post on how to setup a CoffeeScript project on nodester.
  2. Looks like the the code snippet indentation is wrong (or not displayed properly in my browser), but it’s a quick fix.
  3. The blog post notes that the fixed port will need to be changed to a nodester-provided port. Also a quick change.
  4. Hmmm, getting a 503. Check the log file. Turns out the coffee-script package isn’t installed on the remote server.
  5. Finally get it working by adding a package.json file (defining the nodejs version and adding a coffee-script dependency) and running: nodester npm install [appname]

(I’ve omitted the appname because it’s kind of a surprise for someone. Although it’s probably something that is easy enough to find out.)

Now that it’s working, I create a git repository on bitbucket and push the code there for version control. When setting up the nodester app, I created a local git repository (and “nodester” remote for deployment), so this is very straightforward. I just add the bitbucket repository as the remote origin, and then push the local git repository to it.

So now I have a small CoffeeScript server program that can deploy to nodester, with code hosted at bitbucket. All free and online. Good stuff!

Hmmm, I’m not sure what I really wanted to illustrate with this blog post. Maybe that there are very few barriers to getting web services up and running, and that programming is essentially the process of solving a series of (mostly very small) problems (usually by researching solutions and following instructions).