Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Magic Swami Goldfish Tank

How do you turn a basically boring goldfish into a fascinating spectacle to behold? Through the magic of fish tank decor — extreme fish tank decor! At the end of this post you'll find a link to a free PDF template so you can tinker with your own fish tank or fish bowl.

Here are the basics on how the fortune-telling process works:

Here is the magic fortune-teller fish tank I created for my fish Lazlo.

Click on image to see larger version.

Use bits and pieces around the house to embellish your tank and create your curtain. My materials (I have very cool stuff around my house) include broken bits of an antique Chinese lantern, jade Buddha-head beads, gold tassels, fabric, green glass beads, and trim.

The procedure: Ask a question with the curtain closed. Open the curtain, and your fish's position in the tank is the key to reading your fortune or receiving mystic answers to your questions.

Here is the tank with the curtain opened:

Lazlo's mystic answer is "Yes."

A one-minute video (complete with haunting soundtrack) explains the back-story behind this invention:

Click on link below to view video

To download a template for the magic fortune telling panel, get a free 2-page PDF by clicking here: Magic Swami Goldfish Tank Templates.

The templates also include a much simpler, modified fortune-telling system suitable for fish bowls. The fish bowl system involves three medallions that may be fixed to the outside of the bowl using mounting wax or a dab of water-soluble glue.

Two-sided medallions for magic fish bowl

Fortune-telling fish bowl

The downloadable templates also include little gilded frames announcing "Intermission" and "The End" as well as a blank frame on which you may write the name of your magic goldfish. As always, have fun. Otherwise why bother?

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Pocket Garden: Where Geek Meets Eco-Chic

The very geeky, eco-chic pocket garden

Here is the latest false product from Stuff You Can't Have, and since this will never hit the market we're going to teach you how to make one for yourself. The classic geek accessory, the pocket protector, has been married to the idea of a miniature, portable garden. How green (or geeky) can you get?

The dimensions below are for a standard pocket garden and will fit into the pocket of your average man-tailored shirt. If you want to wear your pocket garden with a specific shirt or a shirt with different-size pockets, adjust the dimensions accordingly. The only supplies needed are vinyl, needle and thread, potting soil, and plant seeds.

Click on image to enlarge

In this first example of a pocket garden, we've used chalkboard vinyl left over from a previous project (Experiments with Chalkboard Vinyl), and we've planted an assortment of herbs.

Fill with potting soil, plant seeds, and water.

As the seeds are growing and when your pocket garden is not in active use, water as needed and prop it upright near a sunny window.

Pocket herb garden. You may want to add a loop on the outer flap for a small pair of scissors so that you may snip fresh herbs to enhance your meal while dining out.

The pocket garden in action. Because chalkboard vinyl was used it is possible to write messages on the front flap.

Below is a second example of a pocket garden with a slightly different design. This time around we've planted morning glory seeds.

Slightly different design

Sprouting morning glories

Morning glory pocket garden in action

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Rice Cracker Pin

Senbei pin

Make a pin in less than five minutes. All you need is an artfully crafted food item with a history that dates back over a thousand years. This pin is made from a senbei, a traditional Japanese rice cracker, first introduced to the scene in 737 AD. This one incorporates peanuts that look like scattered leaves. When you hold the senbei up to the light at the right angle, you can see that it has a bas relief embossed pattern on front and back.

How long do senbei last and will this pin hold up over time? I made this pin at least fifteen years ago and it has been knocking around in an over-stuffed drawer where I recently rediscovered it. Who knows? With care it might last another thousand years. To make the pin, all that is required is a beautiful senbei, a few minutes with a pin backing and a little silicone glue and the result is a new piece of jewelry.

Pin backing glued on

The final picture shows you the scale. It makes a striking (and feather-light) brooch centered on a black silk knit T-shirt. I believe I found my senbei at a museum restaurant. I ate one and wasn't impressed with the flavor, but was alert enough to snag a second one for a jewelry project. You may find your own senbei during a visit to San Francisco's Japantown, online, or hop on a plane and go to the source.

Scale: a large but feather-light brooch

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