Oh, Almost.

The embroidery on the shirt is done. Finally. I swear, the small things can take bloody forever and ever. Not quite finished, the dread wash test is up next, here’s hoping it survives well. The designs are from Urban Threads.  Serpents are 6″ x 5″, little black heart 2.5″ x 2″. Shirt is Liz Claiborne, bought at Goodwill, natch. Click for full size.

© C. Ford.

Alright, That’s On The Creepy Side.

The Deep Sea Diver Giant marionette began his journey through the city starting in the Old Port Friday afternoon. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC).

While I delight in gigantic, mechanical spiders and dragons, I’m not so delighted with gigantic humans. We naked apes are a dangerous species, and seeing humongous, mechanical humans leads me more towards uncanny valley. I don’t find the idea of human giants charming. That said, they were all over Montreal for the 375th Birthday celebration.

Giant marionettes are taking over parts of Montreal starting this morning, with a larger-than-life street performance as part of the city’s 375th anniversary bash.

The marionettes, one of which is five storeys high, were made by a French company called Royal de Luxe. They made their Montreal debut today, winding their way through the city streets and along the river.

You can read and see more here.

Namahage!

Etsuko Ichihara’s Namahage in Tokyo.

In Japanese folklore there exists a beast-like deity called the Namahage. It can be found all over Japan, taking on different appearances and even names depending on the region. Although harmless, it exists to scare those who are lazy or wrongdoing out of their bad habits. Inspired by this tradition, media artist Etsuko Ichihara decided to create a modern-day version of the Namahage specifically for Tokyo, and unleash in onto the streets of Shibuya, Harajuku and Akihabara.

In the traditional Japanese ritual, men would dress up in demon masks and parade through town, visiting houses along the way. They typically yell phrases like “Are there any crybabies around?” or “Are naughty kids here?” But the Namahage have been known to admonish adults too. And by acting as a scary rule enforcer, Namahage played the important role of strengthening family and community ties. This became a critical part of Ichihara’s “Namahage in Tokyo,” a city where many young Japanese men and women immigrate too from rural Japan, hence diluting the bonds between family and community.

Ichihara’s Namahage is quite spectacular simply as a costume. Its mask consists of a camera and drone, perfect for scanning and locating lazy gamers and otaku. It’s the work of sculptor Hiroto Ikeuchi. The rest of the costume too, in which Ichihara collaborated with fashon label chloma, is beautiful in its modern interpretation of a traditional deity.

This is all so wondrous and imaginative! I enjoyed every moment of the videos, and what great gods to play with, too. Some very nice knife wielding, too!  I loved the imagining of Namahage in Tokyo to have incorporated a camera, given the large role surveillance plays in all our lives anymore. That would definitely make Namahage’s job easier. Via Spoon & Tamago.

Affordable Quadcopter Kits.

BW® DIY F450 4-Axis RC QuadCopter MultiCopter Frame Airframe Kit.

The latest MAKE newsletter has a good rundown of the top 5 affordable quadcopter kits. Drones are fun, but they are also on the spendy side, so it’s good to know exactly how to spend your money.

Drones have become so popular that lately it seems everyone has one. Why wouldn’t they? Today’s models are practically flying on their own, creating breathtaking images and videos, and offering a fun way to get away from your daily tasks and problems.

However, since you are reading this, I guess you are not here to talk about the ready-to-fly (RTF) drones, right? You are more of a DIY kind of a person who would rather spend your hard earned free time messing with the parts and tools, and customizing your bird to be a unique reflection of your personality.

This hobby, as you probably already know, tends to go hard on your budget, and demands a certain level of understanding of the subject. This is exactly why I decided to help out and talk about the affordable quadcopter kits that will not make you rob a bank in order to afford them.

Before I get to the actual kits, you need to know how to find the one most suitable for your needs.

Wander over to Make for the full review!

Lovely, Sharp, Pointy Stuff.

There was a knife I had planned to order for myself, but in the way of things, Mister’s birthday sneaked up on me, and as I didn’t quite have the money saved for the sharp and pointy I wanted for him, I hastily ordered this one for him. Beautiful  knife, and I love that marlin spike. Folded, 4.5″, Spike, 3″, Blade, 3″. Mister is happy, and that’s all that matters. Click for full size.

© C. Ford.

Cool Stuff Friday.

When the makers of the live-action remake of Kiki’s Delivery Service needed bicycles for the film they turned to one man: Nobuyuki Tani.

Beautiful, gorgeous bicycles! There are definitely three of them I’d like to have, if wishes were fishes and I had a net.

In his studio in Chigasaki, a coastal city in Kanagawa an hour Southwest of Tokyo, Tani hand-assembles all his bikes. With a careful attention to detail and an emphasis on materials, Tani sculpts his unique creations into functional, ridable works of art. He was commissioned to create all the bicycles for the live-action adaptation of Kiki’s Delivery Service (2014). Tani created the fantastical flying bicycle but also the bread maker’s bicycle and Tombo’s regular bicycle.

Tani also collaborated with Ishinokura Shoten to create 3 models that are produced at larger quantities. Vintage parts procured from around the world come together with custom-parts to create 3 distinct rides that are both beautiful to look at, but entirely functional. With just the right amount of whimsy, these bikes look like they’ve come right out of some imaginative fairy tale.

Pictured above is the “Matiere” model (158,000 yen). It’s a geographically neutral city bicycle that is all about materials: wood, leather and iron.

You can read and see more at Spoon & Tamago.

Ever wonder about soy sauce? Wonder no more!

screenshots from the film “The Birthplace of Soy Sauce”.

Soy Sauce is said to have originated in China and then brought over to Japan by a Buddhist monk who settled down in current-day Wakayama Prefecture in 1254. Using the abundance of clear, spring water from the town of Yuasa he began producing a type of miso that he had learned about on his travels that had been used to preserve vegetables. A byproduct from this process – a liquid that collected in the barrels of the miso paste – was soy sauce. And this is how the town of Yuasa became the birthplace of Soy Sauce.

In a masterfully-produced short film, Japanese filmmaker Mile Nagaoka walks us down the streets of Yuasa and into a traditional soy sauce manufacturer that’s still producing soy sauce almost exactly the same way it was made more than 750 years ago. You can almost smell the rich, fermenting flavors of soy sauce waft out of the screen.

After originating in Yuasa, Soy Sauce is thought to have made its way to Kansai, where it became popular. In fact, there is documentation of a large 18,000 liter (about 4800 gallons) shipment of soy sauce from Wakayama to Osaka in 1588. What is thought to be Japan’s first Soy Sauce manufacturer had opened shop just 8 years earlier and is actually still in business.

Via Spoon & Tamago.

Last Light from Colin Rich on Vimeo.

The NatGeo Travel Photographer of the Year comp is up and running! Get those photos in, people!  The Grand Prize is a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos Islands!

Work, Work, Work 76.

A bit further on today. Total Hours: 1,075. Skeins Used: 158. Oh, and I heard that Hedgehog Handworks was closing, and unfortunately, it’s true. That’s a bit of heartbreak. I did manage to grab 2 more beeswax hedgehogs (oh, they smell glorious. Makes your day better having a huffable hedgehog) and a couple of packs of Bohin 22s. Probably be a bit of a wait for them, but that’s okay.  Like all arts, embroiderers have specialist gear and tools, and there’s often lively debate over the best this or the best that. Needles, of course, come up often. While there are different viewpoints as to the best, Bohin always comes out at or near the top. Fabulous French needles. Click for full size.

© C. Ford, all rights reserved.

Cool Stuff Friday: Octobot!

Harvard University Octobot.

Researchers at Harvard University have designed a soft 3D-printed robot that can move on its own, powered by a chemical reaction, instead of electricity or batteries.

Shaped like a cartoon octopus, the Octobot contains no electronics or other hard parts, relying instead on a silicone body that houses a fluid-filled circuit.

Previously, soft-bodied robots had needed to rely on rigid components for power. But the Octobot uses hydrogen peroxide as fuel.

The liquid flows around a network of pre-printed hollows in the robot’s body, and creates a reaction as it passes over platinum embedded inside. This produces gas that inflates and moves the arms, to propel the robot through water.

You can read and watch more here. Do I need to say I want one? I want one.

No-To-Scale Studio.

Malaysian design office No-To-Scale Studio has issued a satirical proposal to President Trump, suggesting a radical means of representing the US-Mexico border: a 1,954 mile-long dining table.

Citing “logistical, financial and nationality” limitations, the studio’s design claims to be cost-effective in taking a domestic item and scaling it to massive proportions.

While the proposed slab of “continuous polished marble” may prove costly, diners will bring their own chairs in order to participate.

You can see and read more here.

Neri Oxman, Lazarus Mask.

Neri Oxman and the MIT Mediated Matter group have unveiled their latest collection of 3D-printed death masks, designed to contain the wearer’s last breath.

The Lazarus masks, described by Oxman as “air urns”, are modelled on the facial features of the deceased individual.

Each 3D-printed structure encompasses colourful swirling patterns that have been informed by the physical flow of air emitted from their last breath.

“Traditionally made of a single material, such as wax or plaster, the death mask originated as a means of capturing a person’s visage, keeping the deceased alive through memory,” said the team.

You can read and see more here.