Once there was a little Nick called Daddy

We often make up stories when putting Amelia to bed. Recently, she’s also been making up stories which she tells us as she falls asleep.

The other night, she told this one to Heidi:

Once there was a little Nick called Daddy. “Sigh, I’m bored.” said Daddy. “I know, how about the shops?” said Amelia.” “No.” said Daddy. “How about the beach?” “Hmmm, that’s a bright idea!” The end.

She has  made up many stories since, but that one remains my favourite.

3 Months

It’s been 3 months since my last post – which was part of my (now defunct) daily creative journal. Shortly after that post, I fell horribly ill and then (after I was all better) I decided not to continue with the creative journal. Plainly, it was more of a chore and distraction (rather than fuel for my creativity). It turns out that I do a lot of creative things everyday anyway, and they require a lot of my time and attention.

(I think Ben was a little disappointed that I stopped, but I feel that it’s better to try something and then decide to stop rather than: never trying it, stubbornly continuing with it despite your dissatisfaction, or simply continuing without considering if you want to.)

Much like the last couple of years, the last few months have been full of challenges, opportunities, and work, work, work. Parenthood and Hungry Sky have been keeping me busy and very occupied (in my thoughts and feelings). I think constantly about parenting and business, and often discuss these topics at length with Heidi and Minh respectively.


In the backyard.
In the backyard.

Amelia has grown from a baby into a toddler. She seems incredibly clever to me. (Although I’m not sure that her any of her actions are out of the ordinary for children her age.) At 16 months, she feeds herself, runs around, plays with toys (her favourite is the shape sorter), turns pages on books and happily yells out some of the words (Me: “Is Spot under the bed?”, Amelia: [lifts flap in book] “No!”).

It was particularly interesting seeing how her play with the shape sorter progressed. She quickly realised that the round shapes didn’t require any particular orientation in order to fit through the round holes. So she would tip the shapes out, immediately grab the two cylinders, pop them into the round holes, and then give herself a clap. A few weeks later, she had sorting all the shapes down to a fine art. She would grab the shapes in matching pairs with two hands so that she could put them in promptly one after the other. As Heidi would say: “Clever bunny.”


The other day, Minh was surprised to see that we had sent our 50th invoice. I think it was for an app, or possibly to the Art Gallery. Either way, I suppose that it was a milestone of sorts… for it to be business as usual… if that makes sense. Writing quotes, undertaking work, sending invoices – it’s our day-to-day work, and (like Amelia with her shape sorting) we’re getting it down to a fine art (or at least a standard routine).

Maybe that’s why we had to make some changes. I always imagined that we could use contracting as a starting point (to bootstrap the business), rather than an end goal. Minh and I made some changes to our business partnership, which has resulted in 1/3 of our time (and 50% of my time) being allocated to developing products (rather than undertaking contracts). That’s the idea anyway. In reality, I’ve been working maybe 75% (and soon around 100%) on contracts by bringing forward contract days. The corollary is that I’ll likely be working on products for all of July. Woohoo!

In regards to speculative projects, we’ve been working on an indie printing business (for card games) and I’ve also working with a few others to put together a shared working space for Perth game developers (the Department for Being Awesome). There are a few other projects we have cooking, but I can’t say much about them yet unfortunately.

2013-05-13 17.31.01
Cards we produced for Andrew Hawkins as part of a speculative printing business.


It’s strange how when things change, it quickly becomes difficult to remember what they were like before. I remember not being a parent, but I can’t really summon how it felt to have even a day without interacting with Amelia. Likewise, there are many other aspects of my life that I’ve left behind and can barely remember. There are very few that I miss though.

I used to get terrible headaches well into my late twenties. These were often preceded by a sense of detachment (including loss of proprioception) and periods of intense deja vu (fairly disconcerting) but also absolute clarity (quite useful at times). Heidi called these experiences “Aura“, which seemed to fit the bill. I imagine she has some idea what she’s talking about, being a doctor and all. They used to upset me, but now I miss them. Odd how things work out. I’d even take the headaches to get them back.

Day 24: Green

It’s not easy being green. Work only with green-colored materials today. Try working on a green surface for a real challenge.

I had a bit more time today, and tried to stick closer to my primary theme: papercraft, with an eye to creating assets for a papercraft game.

Green. Green. Green. The first thing that entered my mind was grass, which led me to the idea of game tiles. I’m not sure if a papercraft hex grid would ever be practical, but I wanted to give it a go.

When considering options, I recalled that I really don’t like the feeling of paper tokens – they feel very flat and have clear cardboard edges. I didn’t want the tiles to feel like that, so I designed them with a bit of volume and in a way that lends itself to soft textured edges when folded and glued.

Anyhow, here is the final result:

DSCF1185And a printable design so that you can make your own if you so desire:



As always, here are some process shots. They show how the tiles are constructed to have soft edges (no hard folds, just bending and gluing):

Final note: My cutting mat is green, so I suppose I get free brownie (greenie?) points today for sticking to the daily theme.

Day 22: Waste not

Waste not. Dig in a recycling bin for all of today’s material.

We were at a function tonight, so this turned out to be a very quick late night craft journal entry after we got back (and just before more work and then bed).

I found some interesting boxes in our recycling bin. Bruce seemed to like this box in particular:

DSCF1169It featured a cute dinosaur on the back:

DSCF1171I figured that just cutting out the dinosaur wouldn’t really qualify as papercraft, so I just cut out the head and then used a cough syrup box to form a body:

DSCF1173The full-colour head looks a little weird on the matte white body though. Maybe I should have just created an entirely new figure in white (inside out cough syrup box) cardboard…



Day 22: Create a bridge

Create a bridge. Connect two things in a creative way. It could be small enough for an amoeba or big enough for an elephant to cross it.

Just another quick one today (in collaboration with Heidi).

A paper bridge:


For a teacup or mug:


And a teabag fisherman:


Date 19: Something that floats on water

Create something that floats on water.

My first thought was to make a papercraft frog, but then I decided to go with something related, but a little different in composition: a lillypad with flower.

I used Inkscape to create basic shapes with subtle gradients and a little bit of texture. I then cut the shapes out with my Silhouette Portrait. After a few additional manual cuts, I stuck it all together with some help from Heidi.

I think that it worked out rather nicely:

DSCF1060There aren’t as many different process shots today since we’ve been having issues with our camera. What isn’t shown is that the pad and petals are actually cut from their bottom edges to their centres, and the bits on either side of the cut are overlaid and glued together in order to form a nice curved shape.

I was happy to see that it did indeed float on water. However it wasn’t long before the paper started to curl and water started to leak onto the lilypad. Thankfully, we managed to snap a few photos before the water distorted it too much.

Day 18: Things you find in your car

Work with things you find in your car.

There wasn’t a great deal of paper in my car, and most of it was in the form of parking tickets and ATM receipts.

I noticed that the Bankwest receipts feature orange logos and black text, and I wondered if these could appear as unique markings on a papercraft cat. While eyeballing the excellent Ceiling Cat papercraft from tubbypaws, I winged cutting, bending and gluing my own version.

And here is the end result… a disembodied cat head… on a parking ticket:


Day 17: A potato print

Make a unique print by cutting a potato or sponge, and use it to stamp on a material of your choice

Since today’s focus was on stamping, rather than designing a unique papercraft, I decided to use a paper toy blank. In this case, Walter from coriandr.com.

I was in a bit of a rush today (lots of work to do tonight), so I cut a few corners (literally, my paper cutting was pretty rough). I think that it turned out alright though. The important thing is that it got done. 🙂

So here is potato Walter. Let’s call him Ponder. He’s pondering where he came from:

DSCF1042And wonders if it has anything to do with this potato corpse. Little does he know… that potato died so that he could live!


I’m not sure that I would ever choose potato as a medium, but it was interesting to do some print-making again. Top tips:

  1. Use ink, not finger paints (see gallery below, it really didn’t work!)
  2. Don’t use too much ink. Blot most of it off and then do the final print to ensure softer colours and a less bleed.