For my birthday a couple of weeks ago, my sister came up with the idea of getting me a 3D pen.* (I think she Googled “birthday gift ideas for crafty people who have everything.”) I was surprised and excited when I opened it, since I always love trying something new.
A 3D pen prints in three dimensions, so it’s almost like a 3D printer that you hold in your hand. Instead of ink, you load it with long coils of plastic called filaments. The pen melts the plastic and you’re able to write with it in any direction.
My pen came with filaments labeled PLA, which stands for polylactic acid. This kind of filament is made from renewable resources like corn, tapioca or sugarcane, so it’s sweet-smelling when it melts and it’s considered the more environmentally friendly 3D printing material.
(My 3D pen can also handle oil-based ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) filaments, but those supposedly produce strong fumes and aren’t as safe for home use. But that’s enough science talk!)
When I first experimented with the pen, I didn’t know how to stop the flow of plastic. It flew out of the pen in a steady stream and hardened into an ugly coil. I finally managed to switch it off, and I was holding a twisted piece of hard plastic that looked like a Barbie-sized candlestick.
On the advice of my handy husband, I watched a YouTube video and learned how the buttons worked.
Sure enough, I could stop and start the flow of plastic as needed. It also ran on three speeds, so I could work slowly around a difficult part and speed up when colouring in a larger area.
Then I actually started making some really cool stuff …
Sometimes you can’t see a project’s flaws until it’s too late, and there’s nothing left to do except … start over again.
That was the case with our living room photo ledges. I’d decided, three years ago, to take down our floating shelves and replace them with wooden photo ledges. I loved the idea of swapping out frames whenever I felt like it — without making dozens of holes in the walls.
When I built our first set of photo ledges, I used skinny 1×2 and tiny L-brackets so the cost was just $15 for two ledges. They looked pretty good, but I didn’t think about the fact that skinny ledges wouldn’t give the frames much room to lean back against the wall. They were almost standing straight up, teetering precariously behind the small front edge.
Coupled with the fact that our living room gets very strong cross-breezes, this meant photo frames would suddenly pitch themselves off the ledges and smash on the hardwood floor. I’d lean the frames back up — minus the shattered glass — and we’d forget about the problem until the next sharp breeze sent another one tumbling down onto the couch.
So when my Handy Husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday a few weeks ago, I knew exactly what he could give me: new 8×10 frames and for him to build me thicker photo ledges that would let the frames to really LEAN …
Our kids head back to school in 15 days. (But who’s counting?)
I can tell they’re ready for it because yesterday they actually argued over who got to wash the new Tupperware lunch containers. Once I stopped laughing at the fact that they were FIGHTING TO WASH THE DISHES, I told them one person could scrub while the other rinsed, and then they’d trade.
They did, and they were very pleased with their work.
I dried them off and started to label them, and then I realized I’d need to clean out our “school lunch container bin” before I added our pretty new pieces.
YUCK. We’d gotten lazy over the summer and kept randomly tossing in ANY lunch container, so it was a disaster.Read More