Over Bed Table Refurbishment

A table in need of a little love and elbow grease.

Two close family members recently returned from an overseas trip in the midst of the COVID-19 shutdowns, and went into mandatory self-isolation for two weeks. One is on paid leave but the other is working from home and asked us to buy find a secondhand over bed table.

After a fruitless search of secondhand stores I remembered they had an old one in their garage I might be able to resurrect.

I schlepped the table home and stripped it completely before cleaning all the parts and checking the mechanisms. It was actually in pretty good shape but in disparate need of a refresh.

I stripped and repainted the metal parts with a Rust-Loeum grey primer, and cleaned all the plastic end-caps and wheels. My wife cleaned the tabletop, and I used a liberal amount of cyanoacrylate (Super Glue) to reseat the rubber edging in place. I changed two old replacement screws that were too long with new and appropriately sized replacements, and reassembled the table.

Refurbished table.

I had fun bringing the old table back to life for them, and it cost less than $10. Now I need to get on with my on projects.


My Art Assignment #1

In 2014, Sarah Urist Green and John Green created The Art Assignment to explore art and art history. The channel initially featured established and emerging artists who created art assignments for anyone to complete as a path to understanding their art practice. The site expanded to explore art through a variety of different forms but it is the Art Assignments that inspire me to dig into my tool boxes and make something.

I plan to complete each of the 68 assignments, in no particular order, and I started with this one.

Become Someone Else

That’s Me on the left, and Him on the right. Me, I’m the creative type, I just want to make things and travel. I’m drawn to the weird and strange things in life, and care very little about other people’s opinion.

Not Him, he’s punctual, dependable, hard-working and just a little old-fashioned in his views and opinions. He’s also the bloke who finances Me in my life.

Thing is, six years ago I was Him and he was Me. I enjoyed his life, and the unique experiences and opportunities his career provided me. But now I prefer to just be Me, I earn less money but I’m richer for time and freedom I have to be Me. Oh, occasionally I pull on the old uniform and head off to be Him again and raise a few extra dollars. He’s good like that, self-sacrificing to fund my travel dreams.

I like Him, I’d just rather be Me these days.


My Manifesto Review

As we entered the last year of this decade, my social networks lit up with people posting their best of 2019 and decade reviews. Instead of reviewing the past year I reviewed the manifesto I wrote in 2015 (see above).

Amazingly I found each item continues to resonate with the person I am and where I want to continue developing my life. That’s not to say I always fulfilled the spirit of the manifesto in recent years. In particular I struggle to not accumulate things, and definitely own more not fewer things than I did when I wrote it five years ago.

Colleen and I continue to buck convention. In 2019 we attended our first Steampunk events in Australia and New Zealand, making new friends with like-minded makers and dreamers. I follow a lot of cosplayers on social media but never really understood the excitement until we got involved with Steampunk.

Buoyed by our success we made Star Lord and Captain Marvel costumes for OzComicon in Sydney. We had a lot of fun, and I see cosplay being a big part of our future adventures.

We travel extensively every year but in 2019 we took shorter trips within Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia. This allowed us to be more reactive and visit family or attend events at short notice rather than planning one big travel adventure. It also brought into sharp focus our preference for cooler climates, and longer stays in each place (minimum 1-4 weeks).

Longer stays allow us to take a breath and just enjoy the view from a quiet cafe or park bench instead of rushing from sight to sight. It also allows us to discover local events and learn more about local culture and lives. Often these adventures result in small adjustments to the way we live our lives and the way we view the world around us.

My creative outlets have been sporadic, long fallow periods followed by intensely creative weeks. My mind tends to create new projects constantly, and seems to create a roadblock in my head that stalls all progress on current projects. This year I am using The Art Assignments as a creative muse to keep me moving forward and provide the momentum to complete my fallow projects.

Ok, that’s enough self reflection, time I started making things.


Making Indy’s Satchel

Indiana Jones' Satchel
My replica of Indiana Jones’ satchel.

Scrolling through Market Place listings on Facebook I found two old army bags that looked similar to Indiana Jones’ satchel in the films. Without further research I grabbed them both for $20 (Australian dollars), and drove across town to pick them up.

Although similar neither matched the Mark VII screen used prop, one is a Mark V and the other a Mark VI (pictured above). A Mark VI is used in one scene in Temple of Doom but both are similar enough to use for cosplay or display purposes.

I removed the original shoulder strap, and replaced it with a 25mm (one inch) leather bridle strap cut to a length of 1625mm (65 inches). Each end is secured by a Chicago screw (also known as screw or binding posts). A slide, in this case an altered buckle, is used to adjust the strap length to get the bag sitting right on the wearer’s body.

That’s it, I will probably weather the strap to match the well-worn bag and I am looking a for a more screen accurate slide. A quick but satisfying build to get me back into making stuff after a few months of procrastination.

I gifted the Mark V satchel to my Replica Prop Forum Secret Santa recipient, and the Mark VI is for my personal collection. Now what items do I need to put in it?


FG8 Tiger Moth: Paper craft Model

Procrastination is a beast to master, and this project has been hiding in a drawer for nearly four years. I bought several model kits in Tokyo but I had only completed one small kit before this week.

Miyazaki’s film, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, is a classic and this model of the Red Pirates ship captures the beauty of his art and cinematography. 

I had set everything up to film the whole build but a focus error left me with a few hours of unusable footage. So I’ll just leave at this short fly-around of the finished model.


Quarterly Maker Box curated by Adam Savage

1:48 Scale Model of Adam Savage's Cave

1:48 Scale Model of Adam Savage’s Cave

I recently received the Quarterly Maker Box 08 curated by Adam Savage (Mythbusters,, and spent a couple of hours building this 1:48 scale model of Adam’s Cave adding a few creative touches to enliven the space.

Tested reached out a few days ago for permission to use my photo in the video for the next Quarterly Maker box curated by Adam, and I am very happy to share it with you today. The first box was the best curated box I have ever received, and I am looking forward to the new one arriving next month. Check out the video.


Christmas Tree Torture Test

Maker’s Muse Christmas Tree Torture Test

Over at Maker’s Muse, Angus designed a Christmas Tree Torture Test for us to test our 3D printers. I successfully printed it on my Cetus Extended at 90% size (to fit on the bed), 0.2 layer heights in fine detail. The print took 13 hours, and I think it did an outstanding job. [Read more…]


Turning Worn out Jeans into Useful Things

A Whale and a Bag

On a recent trip to New Zealand I wore out a good quality pair jeans but most of the material remained in good condition. I looked around for ways to recycle the material  and decided to try my hand at making a stuffed toy and a bag.

I created the whale first, and really tested my amateur sewing skills. It’s not perfect but it has lots of character and my Grandson enjoys it.

The bag seemed a more straight forward sewing exercise but it also tested my skills and my wife’s patience as she guided my efforts.

What did I learn?

Even the simplest activity requires some planning effort, creating a new object out of raw materials requires a very clear plan to ensure you don’t spend as much time fixing mistakes as I did with these projects.

Turning useless object into something new and useful is a rewarding experience, and one I wish to repeat often in the future.


Roots of Evil

ForestSeeing the young woman standing at the trailhead, Nathaniel could not believe his luck.

Hi there, I don’t usually see other hikers in this part of the forest.
Really, it looks so beautiful I could spend an eternity out here.
Nathaniel thought that was a distinct possibility.
I’m Nathaniel.
I’ve been hiking out here for thirty years, I’d be happy to show you the best trails.

She smiled, and held out her hand.

Laurel. Are you sure I’m not intruding, I’m guessing you usually prefer the solitude?
Not at all, just keep it to yourself so the forest doesn’t fill up with the family picnickers.
We’ll head north, there is a beautiful clearing about five miles away you’ll love.
Cool, led on.

Nathaniel set a brisk pace, despite his advancing years he still found strength amongst the trees but Laurel never faltered as he pressed on up the trail. After ninety minutes, they emerged into the clearing opposite the largest tree Laurel had ever seen in these parts.

It’s so beautiful, Nathaniel, like a little bit of Eden was left here to tempt us.

He pulled a water bottle from his pack and smiled, everyone he brought here had the same reaction. It is beautiful he thought as his eyes fell on the tree.

Let’s take a break.
Ok, you set a cracking pace. I usually leave partners straggling once I stretch out but not today.
Fresh air and regular exercise is the secret to a long life.
Not much of a secret but most people ignore what they know to be true.

She laughed, dropped into the tree’s hollow and leaned back while Nathaniel pondered his next move.

The forest is so lush around this tree, it’s like someone has been cultivating the ground.
Yeah, my favourite spot. I spend a lot time just sitting in that hollow communing with the tree.
You don’t strike me as the hippy tree hugger type, Nathaniel?
No, but it is nice to meet someone who appreciates the power of the forest.
Nathaniel stood and patted the tree trunk, and looked into Laurel’s eyes.
This tree just seems to speak to me, makes me stronger.

He could feel his pulse quicken as he stood over her. Laurel leaned forward to get the water bottle from her day-pack when she felt a sharp pain against the back of her head. Instinctively she rolled on to her back, and brought her arms up to meet the Nathaniel’s next blow and kicked out to push him away.

Nathaniel had mistimed his first strike, and now found himself fighting someone his equal in strength and fast enough to repel his next frenzied attack.

Nathaniel did not set out to become a serial killer, he didn’t even remember why he killed Peggy that lazy Sunday afternoon in 1980. Driving out to the forest for a hike, he saw her standing beneath the overpass and pulled over to offer her a ride. She smiled, threw her bag in the back and hopped in front with him. He remembered thinking he might get laid but the rest of the day is fuzzy.

His next clear memory is standing under the oak tree, Peggy’s lifeless body at his feet. His every nerve ending tingled with excitement, heart pounding and feeling powerful for the first time in his life. But as the euphoria faded he started to panic and buried her in a shallow grave at the base of the tree before running back to his car.

After a week of panicked sleeplessness, Nathaniel returned to the clearing and found scavengers had scattered the remains. He gathered the bones, dug deeply into the soil and reinterred her before collapsing exhausted into the hollow of the tree. A sudden calm enveloped him, he could barely recognise the freshly camouflaged grave and most hikers never travelled to this part of the forest. No one would ever find her he thought and smiled for the first time in weeks.

Nathaniel never understood what drove him to kill so mercilessly for the next three and half decades. Manipulated and cajoled by an ancient power, a black power literally rooted in the fabric of the earth. It existed at the beginning, the temptation of Adam and Eve occurred in its shadow as did the slaying of their son Abel. It compelled the weak-minded and frightened to offer blood sacrifices to their deities and gods then feasted on the bloody harvest themselves.

In simpler times people recognised their power, and religious observance propagated beneath their spreading branches. Trees, they believed, embodied the spirits of life and growth providing fuel, food and shelter to all. They placed food and idolatry at the base of their god-trees in tribute but their priests urged ever greater sacrifices, human sacrifices.

In the 1st Century AD, Roman historian Gaius Cornelius Tacitus described the Germanic practice of human sacrifice. Gathered in sacred groves or under a sacred tree, the pagan priests would offer their bloody sacrifice to appease their gods. The Vikings, Gauls and early Britons all butchered their enemies and kin, sometimes decorating the trees in their bloody remains. The blood flowed into the soil where the tree roots accepted their sacrifice, and the trees whispered their encouragement to everyone listening in the darkness.

Christianity ended deliberate human sacrifice so the trees found new songs to sing, seeding sedition and hatred throughout civilisation. Murder and war continued to feed the beast but people lost sight of the trees, and their part in the bloodshed. We thought the great trees stood passively amidst the self-inflected misery of human existence. The Lone Pine at Gallipoli, the trees of Delville Wood at the Somme and the Poplar of Victory in Stalingrad all flourished in the wake of human carnage. A bloody sacrifice given unknowingly to the trees by the people who heard their silent siren call. The root of all evil has never been money, it’s always been the trees standing silently around us.

Laurel deflected each blow with practiced calm but knew it was only a matter of time before Nathaniel broke through her defence. As he pressed closer she struck out with her legs and crashed Nathaniel’s balls under her heel. He screamed out in agony, dropped his club and fell back against the tree.

Fuckin’ bitch, he howled.
Fuck you Nathaniel.

Laurel leapt to her feet grabbing the club, and swinging with all her strength against Nathaniel’s temple. His head jerked right, and blood sprayed across the ground as he tried to roll away. Laurel was quicker than Nathaniel, and her next strike caught him squarely at the base of his skull. The blow crushed his skull, and he fell face first into the thick underbrush as Laurel pounded his head like a stake into the ground.

Fuck you!
Fuck you!
Fuck you!
Fuck you!

Until finally she stepped back exhausted, breathing rapidly, her heart pounding and without realising it laughing maniacally as she looked at Nathaniel’s shattered skull. She tossed the club aside and slipped back into the tree’s hollow. Laurel felt powerful, and despite the grisly scene a wave of contentment and satisfaction swept over her.

The tree seemed to hold her in a warm embrace, and she lolled her head back against the trunk. She didn’t understand why she felt so happy or why she knew Nathaniel had to be buried beneath the tree. She just knew she had to feed his blood and bones to the forest. She pulled over his backpack, fished out a folding shovel and started to dig into the soil.

I could spend a lifetime out here, she thought, and for a moment thought she heard the tree whisper back.



Photoautomat Berlin – A new book


Colleen (my best friend and wife) and I recently spent three months in Berlin, exploring the nooks and crannies and living like Berliners. We discovered Berlin’s love for the old passport photo booths, and decided to create a series of portraits.

Photoautomat Berlin is the collected portraits matched with photographs and locations of each of the booths. Click on the link below to purchase a copy.