Ursula Sadiq

"Hey, how did I get here?", asks the once and future geek. "Each step made sense along the way, didn't it?" Didn't it?

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I *know* I always feel good when I finish a project. Why do I instead sit on my butt most days and let inertia settle in? Dunno. But anyway, today I did a thing.

Sometime back I ordered some fast fashion for next to free from one of those websites. I can't remember if it was Shein, or Ali Express, or Temu or whatever. I have a young teen, who sometimes NEEDS OMG NEEEEEEDS! something or other from such a site. Sometimes I acquiesce to the need, then typically pad the order with several too-cheap-to-be-real items. And sometimes those items are clothes. But sizing is a crapshoot. I used to order off the site's sizing list, but almost always it came in too small. So I size up these days. Of the 5 dresses ordered, 1 went straight to goodwill (cause it felt like it was made from a shower curtain), 2 pretty much fit, 2 were sized for a MUCH heftier body than mine. And the one pair of pants were cut for a 6ft tall person. Ok, maybe a 5'11" person - and I'm 5' even.

And today, a mere 3 weeks after they arrived, and 2 days after retrieving the sewing machine from the depths of my basement, I hemmed the pants and took in the oversized dresses. The fun thing about altering cheap clothes is there is no pressure to get it perfect. I did not get it perfect - but it's perfect enough to wear. Yay me!

Tomorrow I'm hemming some sweatpants I've have for 3 years that I love but are 1" too long. And I also hemmed a pair of shorts for a neighbor. Doing the things!

So I'm feeling good about life just now (despite being stood up for a scheduled call). I think I'll get some wine and play Baldurs Gate.

colorful botanical fabric pants

Checkout the glorious pattern on this pair of $6.81 pants! (I looked it up. SHEIN.) And that straight hem!

My kid has since informed me that we will not be ordering from Shein in the future, because of their purported sketchy business practices. Now I know.

Next on my docket to write about is Florida. But instead, gentle reader, I will talk about a glorious weekend of doing nothing. Nothing except watching season 2 of Bridgerton on Netflix and declaring to my offspring that I will be dressing like those society ladies. She asked: when will I dress so? I answered: For the rest of my life. It helps that the leads have skin approaching my complextion.  Visuals here. Representation, yo!

So today I’m up predawn and in my sweats because I have to do the school dropoff then head to the gym. One must workout if one is to fit into a regency silhouette.


The other thing I did this weekend is make a box on my trusty laser cutter. We’re doing a belated holiday gift exchange at work, where we are all exchanging mugs. I know very little about my coworker so I got her a mushroom mug because *I* think it cute. I did ask around and learned she likes Alpacas. So I AI’d (midjourney) a bunch of Alpacas for engraving, and made a box for the mug.

4 sketches of alpacas (under a mushroom umbrella, in front of a frame, in a flowery hat, and  in the mountains with an easel.)
Laser cut box with engraved alpacas and a hint of a mushroom mug inside.

It feels nice to stretch the maker muscles now and again. I’ve slowed way down and am undermotivated these past few months. Which is okay, I know. But I also know I feel better when I have a project to make.

Florida notes will likely also not be done tomorrow. After kiddo dropoff,  I drive 2 hours for a typewriter pickup. My typewriter obsession is cooling, partially because they’ve become a demand on me instead of just a joy. The sit and judge me, saying “When are you going to get on with fixing us, Tinkeress?” I’m working on working on it, you marvelous machines! So it’s cooling, but not so much that I won’t drive 4 hours roundtrip to pick up a new and delightful one!


It’s fun to sing to the tune of “Lollipop, Lollipop.”
The contents of the box cannot possibly live up to the box itself! But the box can't be used to consume coffee, so there's that.
Tell me about your laser cutter. If I were going to purchase one, what do I need to know?
I have a glowforge. Which is a great machine for a hobbyist. Less great if you want to make a business out of it. It's a bit pricey but it's also really really really easy to use. It takes household power, Wi-Fi, and a window to vent out of.

if you want I know more let me know and we can chat about it

I think I'm going to write a manifesto. Largely because I like the thought of answering the constant "what are you up to?" questions with "writing my manifesto". Step one, look up what manifesto means. I'm guessing it is writing down what you want to manifest. 

I have learned in recent years to take February off. "No Fun February" is what I need to recharge after the holidays, which for me started early November and won't wrap until February 4. (Philly! Thanksgiving! New Orleans! DC! Christmas! Philly Again! Richmond for NYE Decemberween! DC Again for sheep* knapping! DC again again for sheep brain updates! NYC for Golden Fest! E's Birthday! DC again again again! . . . plus things I may have forgotten). It was wonderful, but I'm worn out.

So when February hits, I'm planning to slow it way down. Way way down. Meaning, not leaving the state (i.e., Delaware.)(ok, maybe once); not drinking alcohol (ok, maybe twice). It's time to get back on top of my life. I'm going to cook more planned meals, go on more walks, read more books.

But more than that, I'm putting forth a goal to create something every day (with upto 3 days off). This will mostly be with my laser cutter, unless something else inspires. And also, a goal to write a manifesto (whatever that means).

There, I said it. Now that I'm posting this, I'm changing the title from "Commitment Issues" to "Commitment Issued".

*BTW, I have a large plastic lightup talking sheep named Aries Ramball, now in my living room. 

1/23 '19 2 Comments
I love your sheep.
He's really cool. And we have like 12 sets of voiceover files we can cycle him through, though I prefer this Barry White inspired one.

He and his herd are usually available for events and outings btw, but ya gotta pay transport and labor. (the rest of his herd is now DC based, but I predict a diaspora is coming soon)

I've been working on a project that is bringing plastic talking lightup ridable sheep to Burning Man.

I got drafted into making the corral. I designed a barn too, but it got nixed. We made signage for the corral. I spent july asking and asking for people to draw me sheep, robot sheep, sheep robots.  . . and then turned the submissions into signs. I'm still working on ones that says "Baa means Baa" and "Sheep consent to photos, but ya gotta check if the attending humans do". Here are some of the signs art:

With some other sheepsters, I spent yesterday making 5 flags for the corral.  I am very proud of these sheepy flags <3 <3 <3

Also, since I have a glowforge laser cutter in my basement, I offered to make swag. Sheep coaster sets: 

And Sheep pendants (matchbox for scale):

This project has been a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to seeing it all come together out in the desert at the end of the month! It's about flocking time!

PS: The sheep themselves look like this. And they talk, each of the dozen sheep have different voices/personalities :-)

8/6 '18 8 Comments
That's awesome!
I boggle.
I'm so far behind on OPW but HOLY BALLS this is the greatest thing ever! I love the flags, I love the signs, I love the schwag, and I love the sheep, and I love saying "plastic talking lightup ridable sheep."

Matt just squeeeee'd and fist-pumped unironically in pure enthusiasm. Can't wait to see 'em for realz!
Dessine-moi un mouton.
How about an elephant in a boa-constrictor?
So...are you the originator of the idea, or just one who is participating? I saw a post on my book of faces feed that was singing the praises of one person in particular as the one (seemingly) wholly responsible, and it left me somewhat...miffed.
This is fantastic!
thank you!

It's time to make camping swag again!

A week or so ago, I went with some campmates to the Renwick Gallery, which is part of the Smithsonian, in Washington DC.  The Renwick is currently hosting an "Art of Burning Man" exhibit. Highly recommended. Inspiring. (In case you are wondering, my camp is called Balls Camp. We favor Ball Gowns.)

I saw a trinket there that inspired me to make a more complex necklace for camp swag than I have in the past. Not saying the designs won't continue to evolve, but I'm pretty happy with it. . .and I'm starting to wonder what an acrylic version would look like. . .

4/14 '18 2 Comments
These are beautiful.

Sometimes I wish I had the constitution for Burning Man.
Ya, I hear you. Mostly I camp here on the east coast, because trekking to and enduring the desert is so much effort. A bunch of localish regional burnereque events have sprung up over the years, so I am much more likely to hit a few of those a year instead of the big burn.

I do so love patches. But I've never ever made one (or had one made). So I'm attempting to remedy this.

Last night, I made a design. Today, I'm going to find someone to make 100 of them for me. Hopefully this design is "patchable". And that patch makers are affordable.

UPDATE 4/17: The proof is here. Me likey!

4/11 '18

So I have some friends who march with the local 501st Legion, First State Garrison.

They wanted to engrave helmet stand bases. The stands are stainless steel. I've never tried steel on Glowforgeous Splendiferous, so I'm heading down that rathole. 

First, I did the design file, and a quick cut on wood.  Meh.

Then I tweeked the design file, redid it, again on wood. Better!

But now I notice there are issues with the font where characters overlap. Meh. 

Now discussing with my friends the next steps. Space the font out? Color in the overlap spots? A different font all together??

I also did some research that suggested a coating to use before you attempt to laser steel. So I got a bottle of Dry Moly Lubricant Aerosol Spray. Yup, I'm buying Moly. :-P  . . .My Moly arrives tomorrow. So maybe tomorrow night I'll be etching steel! Assuming I can sort the font issues by then. 

3/25 '18 3 Comments
That's a goofy bug in the Glowforge software. Definitely report that as an issue. (It's related to rasterizing polygons using an even/odd method as opposed to a winding method.)
I didn't even think about reporting it. Will do. . . I just combined the shapes in the design file to make it go away. . . now I'm dragging my feet on doing the actual steel lasering. . .but soon..soooooon.
That is very cool. It's also territory I have not tread - even a little.

It occurs to me that I never posted finished photos of what I did with the silhouettes I posted about last month.

So here:

I made a cuttouts of my campmates and framed them. I did this 4 times i n various color combinations, and have 1 more to make. (I stopped because I ran out of frames). I made several because some of my campmates wanted their own copies. Here are 2 of the finished product - coffee mug included for scale

And then, with the silhoutte of my daughter, I assembled a wall hanging, and then attempted an inlay. The inlay is not as perfectly flush as I would like, but I'm fine with it as a first try.

So yes, having fun with the Glowforgeous Splendiferous. 

3/24 '18 3 Comments
This is really cool!
Sweet toy
What ^they^ said.

Well over a year ago I bought some mermaid print fabric with intention of making my daughter a nightgown. Today, I finally made it.

I goofed the pattern some, but it's a nightgown, so there is a lot of room for slop. (actually, I didn't so much goof the pattern as pick the wrong pattern, then tried to correct for this after the first few parts were already cut out.)

Anywhoo, she's sleeping in it tonight. Warms the cockles, it does :-) 

3/11 '18 5 Comments
I love the flared skirt. That is one fancy nightgown.
Yeah! I love how the flare of the nightgown is reminiscent of a mermaid's tail. So cute!
I love it! What does she think of it? That's a fun fabric.
It's cool fabric - she picked it! She usually likes the clothes I make her, including this one. Sometimes she likes them too much - I made her a play long costume skirt (un-hemmed, just a circle with elastic) and she keeps wanting to wear it to school. . . . I don't actually try to make real clothes, just PJs and costumes. And the occasional flag.
There's nothing better than an appreciative recipient, is there? :)