I’m used to travelling with with a lot of camera equipment. I like having a kit of several lenses, some audio recording equipment, and at least one backup camera, just in case. However, now that Heidi and James are with me, and James requires a pretty sizable collection of accessories, support equipment, and backup clothing just of his own, I tend to carry a lot less production gear. Of course, if I’m travelling for work, I generally have a bag or two like this one, but on our last family trip, all I brought was an H2 recorder and a tiny point-and-shoot camera.
Of course, I still wanted to take along spare batteries and an extra memory card. The problem was that I didn’t really want to throw all this extra stuff in my pockets along with my phone, wallet, knife, and then James’ toys, pacifier, teething gel, extra socks, discarded shoes, bits of windscreen that he has chewed off of the H2, etc. And so to make all the camera gear fit into a single, easily grabbable item, Heidi made these nifty pockets for the neck strap. Each pocket is simply a loop of 3″ elastic threaded onto the strap, sewed shut on the bottom, and then sewed partly shut on the top. That little bit of stitching at the top of the pocket keeps card and batteries extremely secure inside.
For a girl who lived in Colorado for 23 years of her life, Tennessee landscape and scenery is breathtaking. Where Colorado is strong, open, rugged, and dry bordering on barren, Tennessee is lush, humid, dense, teeming with growth and greenery, and spring comes sooner than I ever thought possible.
Last week we celebrated our second wedding anniversary. How we can have been married forever, and yet 2 whole years have flown by so quickly is a mystery I may never solve. But to celebrate this special day, I found a beautiful park about an hour away from us, near Nashville. In Colorado we would call this an “open space,” but here in Tennessee such a thing is simply unheard of. It’s only where a tree has recently fallen that there’s briefly any open space. Every square inch of ground seems to be teeming with growth; some of it wild, some of cultivated, but life pops out of every corner. Now, back to the park.
There were biking, hiking and equestrian trails, a bull frog pond where I spotted no less than twenty healthy specimens (each croaking out its unique sound that Isaac says is like a loose banjo string), little creeks and streams bubbling merrily, beautiful stone walls covered in soft moss, May apples bobbing in the small breeze (I’m sure one of these days a little fairy is going to peek out from under one of these cute little umbrella-looking plants), squirrels darting from branch to branch, cardinals chirping… with a sleeping baby in my arms, and my dear husband by my side, this idyllic afternoon in May couldn’t have gotten any better. Keep reading to see more pictures.
Now that I’ve been working with our CNC machine for a little while, I’ve begun accumulating various tools to make my various jobs easier. I’ve tested a lot of different types and makers of bits, experimented with a bunch of different ways to mount work to the table, and here are several things that I use every day:
- Freud Straight Flute bits: great for thinner sheet plastic
- Countersink Bolts + Wingnuts: for attaching jigs
- MDF & HDPE: cheap machinable jig material
- 25ft Tape: for measuring big things
- Ruler: for measuring small things
- Calipers: for measuring tiny things
- Pens and Sharpies: to write on everything
- Notebook: to write down everything
- Wireless Keyboard: Remote control of terminal
To be perfectly honest, the most useful things on the table are those last two. I really needed a notebook to keep track of all my settings and measurements, so I could flip back a few days to see what depth I was cutting this jig at, or what that toolpath was supposed to look like, or what feedrates I’ve already tried with a certain bit – without taking the time to load up the files on my computer.
I also wanted to drive the machine without walking back to the computer. There are several options for professional CNC remote controls, but this $15 keyboard works great – once you memorize the key commands for Shopbot’s software. Now I can move, jog, and calibrate the machine from anywhere in the shop. Anyway, all of these little things things have sped up my workflow enough to have time for side projects like this: