making

So it’s February and I haven’t posted since, oh, I don’t know, December?

Yeah. I win the flaky blogger of the month/year/decade award. I have this superpower where I just kind of fall off the radar for a while. It’s completely unintentional. I think when you are naturally a loner even a simple blog post is being too social.

I’ve been doin’ stuff though!

Check this sweet guitar I painted out! I got the old mexican made fender from my friend Cody. It was a bit beat up, which made it the perfect candidate for my first guitar re-haul project.

So I sanded it down.

Sanding in Process.

And painted it.

My Strat

Now you might be asking, “Jenny, why those colors?”

And I say, “ROCK AND ROOOOLLLLLLL!” But seriously, I’ve wanted a gold guitar since I fell in love with The Band watching The Last Waltz. Robbie Robertson played this shiny gold and black guitar and I thought that was awesome. But being me, I couldn’t copy it straight, I had to do it my way and I really like that color blue.

To cap off my geekiness I altered the headstock. The Fender F is a lot like the way I sign my J’s and I just couldn’t resist.

Yeah, I'm a geek.

So there you go. That was my big project for January to keep me away from the interwebs. And it worked. Perhaps a little too well. Next I’m working on a Gibson Les Paul style guitar kit. The thing comes with the wiring complete but the body and neck of the guitar unfinished. All you have to do is figure out how to make the body beautiful and stick it together. I’ve decided to go for a subtle steam punk look which I haven’t ironed out yet. I’m really excited to hammer out the style and design but first I need to do this revising my book thing.

*sigh* my life is so hard.

…I was being sarcastic if you couldn’t tell. I’ve got a sweet deal. 🙂

So yesterday I had an unexpectedly awesome day. My dad is helping out with a group called Minddrive. Its a really cool program that takes a group of underprivileged city kids and with the help of a group of professionals they build an electric car. This is the second year of the program and one of the cool things they do is go to a bunch of trade shows to show off their work. Here’s what they’ve been working on for the last couple of months. It’s pretty awesome. (please excuse the bad picture of the awesome car)

So yesterday they were down at Union Station for the KC Maker Faire. I love Make Magazine, its in my RSS feed, and I read it everyday but somehow I missed that this weekend was the Maker Faire in KC.

It was a lot of fun. Tons of different kinds of projects and groups were showing their creations. My favorites were all of the 3D printers. I really wish I had the need for a 3D printer for prototypes but alas I’m not a mad scientist yet. Soooooon, but not yet. And yesterday I took another step toward scientific villany, or heroism.

I learned how to solder! Soo awesome, and really easy! Now I’ve just got to spend some quality time with my electronics kit so I know what I’m doing.

The comic you see in the corner of the picture was an incredibly helpful and informative how-to for beginner solderers. I found it online at MightyOhm. One thing I adore about the maker culture is the general desire of makers to help everyone around them hack their world.

It’s a good thing. Check it out!

The last couple of days have been project time for my dad and me. We finally cleaned out part of the unfinished section of our basement and have started setting up a nice little workshop. I’ve always loved making things, I just usually don’t have the equipment/space/money/time to do a whole lot. Well, I guess I have the time, but I do try and finish the important things first. i.e. the second Mercator book.

The space is perfect, it even has a garage door to wheel in and out ambitious future projects. (I have my eyes on our aging riding lawnmower.) I’ve even used the space before for cool projects. Back in 6th grade we were required to come up with a project for our Egyptian History unit and I built a four foot tall sarcophagus with a mummy and scepters painted gold with researched hieroglyphics and everything. I had a lot of help, but I had a blast. Needless to say, I aced it. I even made the local paper with the project. I wasn’t trying to over achieve, I just thought it’d be fun.

Yesterday we cleaned out all the junk, re-organized, got rid of cobwebs, and swept out the mouse poop. Today we bought a nice heavy vice and grinder and mounted them with bolts on the work table. There is still a lot to do, but it’s a nice start. Soon we’ll have all our tools organized and join the table to the wall for stability and with a little extra lighting we’ll be in business!

Astrolabe.

Now that’s just a cool word, don’t you think? Sounds…magical. Or something.

They look pretty awesome too. This particular one is round. I didn’t even know they came in “round.”

But here is the real reason for this post. This particular video came across my path by way of Lifehacker. I’ve always wondered how these shiny brass navigation/time tools worked. Human ingenuity at its finest. Someday I intend to build one for fun (a.k.a. an SCA project)

I was saving all of these for the new blog I’m working on for the Mercator Mapmaker website, but I’m getting tiered of all the open tabs in my browser. I have a tendency to keep “important” webpages in open tabs for months at a time, time for a bit of clean up, and as a bonus my boring little blog gets new content! Yay!

First we have a fantastic BBC Series The Beauty of Maps. It’s brilliant, check it out and see for your self the awesome power and beauty of maps!

Here are the rest of the episodes conveniently organized on a single webpage over at visualnews.com

Next is a little time-lapse video of making a map of the London Underground out of string. As with nearly everything on Vimeo, it’s beautiful and creative. Perhaps I’ll play with the idea myself someday mapping the movements of all my characters across Threa.

String map from fsm vpggru on Vimeo.

And finally a couple of super cool posters. Words and maps together at last…er…again! Thanks to Bookshelves of Doom for this one!

You can buy them here along with other cool literary themed posters.

Well, that’s it for now. I’m still working on all that video from Mount Ayr and StarFest, my computer is getting old and cantankerous and my patience is limited. Hopefully I can wrangle it into spitting out what I want soon. 🙂

I love learning how things work. I always have, but in the last year or so I’ve discovered Make Magazine and I fell in love with the maker scene. As a result
my dad got me this electronics kit from radio shack so we could get a feel for how they work before we tried our hands soldering anything. The goal is to someday be able to understand, design, and build real live working circuits.electrical components learning toy

I’m completely stoked! There’s nothing like knowing that you built something cool yourself. 🙂