The Transfiguration

everything is sacred

Archive for the ‘crafted things’ Category

Madeye of the Day #2595

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Madeye of the Day #2595

My costume isn’t ready yet, but several of my workers appeared in Harry Potter getups today. Xiao had a pretty spectacular Madeye Moody costume, complete with the bulging eyeball. It worked very well on him, though the eye skewed his glasses, leaving him with perhaps half an eye to work with. The magic eye was left behind when Xiao ran off to the dentist, but it kept on staring anyway.

Laurel has very graciously been working on my costume all evening, and in the meantime I’ve been slogging through some code I’ve been meaning to write for a long time. It’s nice to see things come together.


Written by Umbrella Man

October 30, 2015 at 10:48 pm

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Faces of the Day #2570

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Faces of the Day #2570

Laurel would probably be happy to put up Halloween decorations in July, but now that we’ve reached October she can get all the pumpkins and bats she likes without feeling self conscious about it. We have two big pumpkins sitting outside our door, but until Halloween creeps near we’ll have to leave them whole. In the meantime, we have these two baby pumpkins smiling for us – Laurel’s on the right, mine on the left. They have these snaggleteeth, of course, because jack-o-lanterns eat too much candy and never brush their teeth, but the sweets still keep them happy.

spikes and lava bits

Written by Umbrella Man

October 5, 2015 at 11:11 pm

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Craft of the Day #2557

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Craft of the Day #2557

Anna is visiting California for another wedding. She’s getting a lot of them these days, it seems, but it does mean I get to see her again, so perhaps I should try and convince more of her high school friends to tie the knot.

Life is busy for everyone, so we had only a few hours free today, like last time.

There is another reason for this visit, though, which made it less bright than we would have liked.

We learned last week that Lauren is in the hospital, recovering from a serious medical condition. No one saw it coming, and she is too young to be so hurt. The doctors are giving her the care she needs and she should be fine, but of course we are all going to worry for her until we know that she’s healthy and happy again.

Today we made a care package to send to her: photos and mementos of the time we all spent in Santa Cruz; tasty goodies; collages made in part from the pieces of our old home. Laurel, who has never even had the chance to meet Lauren, spent the afternoon felting an amazing little unicorn for her, complete with rainbow main and tail. I’ll send out the package soon, and I hope it brings Lauren some cheer while she recovers.


Here, also, is the next yearly video, uploaded at the beginning of my eighth year of this project.

It’s been as distinct a chapter as any so far: the conclusion of App Academy, the beginning of my first full-time job and the start of a new career, moving into a new home with Laurel. I’m in a completely different place in life than I was a year ago, more grounded than I’ve ever been. It’s a good thing, but I feel like I’ve lost contact with a lot of friends in the past year – or at least I spend much less time with many of them than I used to.

Life is too busy and I miss everyone. Last year I think I figured out how to subsist; in this next year I want to connect with people again.

before the mystery ends

Written by Umbrella Man

September 23, 2015 at 1:18 am

Crane of the Day #2533

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Crane of the Day #2533

Over dinnertime conversation, Laurel tore a bit of foil from my naan nest and flattened out the wrinkles with the bowl of her spoon. Everyone at the table wondered what she would make with it, expecting a sculpture to appear from the newly immaculate slice of aluminum. Laurel was a little surprised by this; she was just running through some idle motions while the conversation flowed.

Eventually, inevitably, the scrap of foil was trimmed to a perfect square and fashioned into a crane, because the human brain is built to create meaning from disorder and Laurel has a particular talent for it. The crane stands on the fig-tree tablecloth downstairs right now, resting in the dark, and we’ll see it again when morning comes. I wonder where it will fly from there.

safely walk to school

Written by Umbrella Man

August 29, 2015 at 11:45 pm

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Dragon of the Day #2501

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Dragon of the Day #2501

We made this little monster for a Team Building Exercise this morning. This was our challenge: from teams of six, two would be chosen to study an example Lego dragon for two minutes. They then had to teach the rest of us how to build it.

Building Lego sets by example is hard even if you have the model right in front of you; working from memory of a few glimpses is nearly impossible. People tend to remember general impressions of an item’s shape, while Lego sets are so heavy on little details. We were told that the dragon had claws, wings, a spiked tail, fire coming from its mouth – things we were could likely have guessed. Those who had seen the true dragon were pressed to remember exactly how it had been assembled: which hinges joined the wings? were the teeth on the bottom or top of the jaw? what pieces shape the face?

Halfway through the challenge I was allowed to see the dragon, and while I had a good sense of what the head was supposed to look like, I couldn’t fathom how to actually piece it together. In the end we mashed the pieces together however they would fit, leaving our dragon with this peculiar tooth-mustache. Other teams had equally strange faces – some little more than gaping skulls, barely recognizable as heads – but just about every managed to build reasonable bodies for their dragons.

There is some lesson in psychology hidden here – there is a certain way that people build models in their heads, and the similarities and differences between everyone’s ideas about the dragon start to outline that thought process.

Whatever the moral, we now have a fleet of dragons guarding the office, which only makes things better.

miiverse bubbles

Written by Umbrella Man

July 28, 2015 at 10:29 pm

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Familiars of the Day #2054

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Familiars of the Day #2054

These creatures have been sitting in a box in my home for a few days now, but I let them wait unseen until Laurel could see them. Over the last semester she’s been designing them and their little world for her thesis; it’s hard to imagine what it really felt like to see her creations brought to life.

I’d like to see the whole project be built into something complete and playable. Even with all of Laurel’s hard work, that’s a long ways off, but perhaps it will be real some day.


Written by Umbrella Man

May 8, 2014 at 12:45 am

Pear of the Day #2018

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Pear of the Day #2018

This is one of Laurel’s creations, a pear cast for her glassblowing class. It’s part of a set, and rather weighty to hold; carrying the entire bunch as well as a fog machine for her critique was no easy task. That feat has left her injured shoulder particularly unhappy, so I came over this morning to help her get through the day.

I wish I could just sap the injury away, but that’s out of my power. I’ll do what I can to make her recovery easier.

build a snowman

Written by Umbrella Man

April 2, 2014 at 1:19 am

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