When I Daydream

My boyfriend, Joe O’Leary, is a very talented composer of piano music. I have made a video of him playing one of his compositions, ‘When I Daydream’.

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Chess Board I

I have been working on a chess board. I am making it using solid wood rather than marquetry, out of purpleheart (A.K.A, peltogyne) and a lighter softer wood. Purpleheart is an extremely dense wood from Central and South America, which has a purple colour.

I first cut a similar rectangle out of both the dark and the light woods with the table-saw and cross-cut, and used the planer-thicknesser to make the thickess identical.

I then cut the wood into strips on the table-saw, and glued them together in alternating stripes.

Alternating stripes of wood.

Alternating stripes of wood.

I did it in two halves intially, because that was the length of my clamps. Once all eight stripes were glued into a solid piece, I sliced it up the other way on the table saw.

The wood sliced once more.

The wood sliced once more.

Then I rotated every other slice 90 degrees and reglued.

Chequer board

Chequer board

Chequer board

Chequer board

The next job will be to add a border and then sand it down and varnish.

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MPs and Twitter

How keen are MPs of each political party to engage with social media?

I thought this might be an interesting question to examine. I’ve been gathering some Twitter usage data over the last week, and realised I was able to attempt an answer.

Graph Showing the percentage of current MPs on Twitter over time, by party

Percentage of current MPs on Twitter over time, by party (click the graph to enlarge).

If you can use the joining of Twitter as a rough measure of the uptake of the social media as a whole, then it is clear that the Liberal Democrats are more eager than the Labour Party, while the Conservatives are the most sluggish.

Proportionally, nearly twice as many Liberal Democrat MPs are on Twitter as Conservative MPs. The current proportion of Conservative MPs on Twitter is similar to the Liberal Democrats in September 2009.

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Settlers of Catan

Our Settlers of Catan board has at some stage got damp, and the hexes have curled. This causes us no end of problems trying to get the board assembled without overlap, let alone when balancing roads on the gaps between tiles. I thought it would be a fun project to mount it onto wood.

I bought a large block of rosewood for a ridiculously small price (£5), which was large enough to make bases for the game and the expansion. I started out by cutting a column from the block on the band-saw, and then cutting it into a hexagon-section on the table saw with its table at 30°.

Hexagonal-Sectioned Column

Hexagonal-sectioned column

I then set the band-saw fence at an appropriate thickness and sliced the column up like a piece of salami.

Stack of Hexagons

Stack of hexagons

I then cut the edge shape on the band-saw. I decided to use straight-edged holes and prongs for the jigsaw pieces for simplicity.

Edge Shape

Edge shape

This was then sliced to make the six edge pieces and four extension pieces. I removed the jig-saw holes with a chisel, and then sanded each one until the best fit was obtained. Some ended up looser than I wanted, but it was a very difficult thing to be precise about.

The board in plain wood

The board in plain wood

Extended board

Extended board

Then I sanded all the pieces, and mounted the cardboard. They were extremely difficult to glue as the card was so warped. I had to clamp the pieces in stacks of six or seven to hold the card against the wood, but the process of clamping invariably caused the card to slip on the wet glue. The best method I found was to let the glue dry half-way, and then clamp.

The finished board

The finished board

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Cambridge Botanic Gardens

We went to the Botanic Gardens in Cambridge today, giving me another chance to play with the macro lens. I found it to be amazing at portrait photography too! I think this is the best picture of Sarah that I’ve taken.

Sarah

Sarah

Insect

Insect

Bee

Bee

Dragon Fly

Dragon Fly

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Macro

I’ve recently bought a macro lens (100mm prime, F2.8). I’ve been missing macro photography since I sold my old Sony Alpha and bought the Canon, so I was very excited when it arrived.

It had its first outing in the back garden. It’s amazing how much wildlife there is around if you look.

Fly on Geranium

Fly on Geranium

Hoverfly

Hoverfly

 

Rose

Rose

Geranium

Geranium

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House Sign II

The sign is now complete and is on the wall. It has been given a roof, three coats of wood preservative, and three coats of varnish. So hopefully it’ll survive the British weather.

House Sign

House Sign

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Making a Sign

We seem to have a recurring problem. Because our house has a name and not a number, visitors and delivery drivers struggle to find it. Therefore, I have been making a new large sign to put on the front.

To make it as easy to read as possible, I wanted to ensure there was a lot of contrast between the background and the letters. I’ve carved it from a piece of sycamore, which is a very light-coloured wood, and I’ll paint the letters black.

This is a stop-motion animation of the carving process, taken over a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. When I’ve finished weather-proofing, varnishing and painting, I’ll publish a picture of the final result.

It’s best in HD.

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Home for Easter II

Some more photographs from Easter.

Nana

Nana

Sarah in Therfield Woods

Sarah in Therfield Woods

Dad and his Hat

Dad and his Hat

Sarah on a Cannon

Sarah on a Cannon

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Home for Easter

This Easter I went to stay with my family and a couple of friends. We went to Ely for the day in beautiful weather.

Ely Cathedral

Ely Cathedral

Ely Cathedral

Ely Cathedral

Blackbird in a Fountain

Blackbird bathing in a fountain

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