Saturday, October 25, 2014

Hi-Tech Sprouting System: Recycled CD Cases

A new kind of hi-tech start-up

As wave after wave of technology hits, we commoners get stuck with the dregs from the previous wave. Remember CDs? Remember CD cases? Now that I store and transfer everything on memory sticks (aka jump drives) or external hard drives, I'm left with a stack of unused CDs and a couple of boxes of plastic cases. The result? A very easy make project. I'm betting you have all of the materials on hand.

Start with an empty CD case. The little inverted "well" should be on the bottom. If you don't have this kind of CD case don't worry. This is a highly adaptable project. Cut a paper towel as shown below.

Fold paper towel as shown below.  Remember the well is always at the bottom and should be near that bottom fold.

Place lentils or other small beans inside the bottom fold. For faster results, soak them overnight first. Close the fold over the beans, then dribble water over the entire paper towel.

Dribbling water into the well and then tilting the case draws the water up to soak the entire towel all over again. As noted above, this should be done at least once a day. Keep that paper towel damp! Place in an area with light but not in direct sun. Near a window is nice. Sprouts in progress are shown below.

 It is possible to do variations on the original. For example, it's easy to make this a hanging sprout garden as shown below.

As a final embellishment, I used some colored plastic filters (see Photo Filter Window Treatment for more ways to use these filters, and ways to score sample books of them for low or no cost). A little water dabbed on the back of the filter holds it in place within the plastic case.

Case embellished with photo filters

The final step? Once your sprouts are grown, harvest them, toss them on a salad, and start the process all over again.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Creative Paranoia: Embellished Flu Masks

Flaunting a custom flu mask

About two years ago I tackled hand-stitched, embellished flu masks as a series of thematic art pieces suitable for display (see Fabulous Flu Masks). This current pass at flu masks was serendipitous and the result is a fun and easy DIY project that can take off in just about any direction that suits your fancy.
Free flu masks from Kaiser

On a trip to Kaiser for an annual checkup I spotted stations everywhere with dispensers of antibacterial lotion and free flu masks. Who could resist? The results are shown below. Wearing one of these could make the next trip through an airport a lot more entertaining. These may also serve as a cheap and easy approach to Halloween.

Cat (or dog) mask

The cat mask simply involves a black magic marker, a few scraps of felt, and a glue stick. The result is suitable for the disease-wary of all ages.

Ready to go through airport security

The next mask is an abstract of floating orange balls, fashioned from a salvaged, cheesy floral ornament, along with a little scotch tape on the inside to secure the wires. The result is satisfyingly alien and disconcerting enough to ward off fellow passengers.

Abstract, vaguely alien flu mask

This last mask, fashioned from old typewriter keys secured with a little silicon glue, is a bit more ominous.

"Stay Back"

Being perfectly clear

Try your hand at creating a few flu masks of your own. 

Taking a new passport photo

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