Happy Christmas

Friday 25th December 2015

Happy Christmas from Lost In Thought!

This looks best full screen.

This is 45 hours of time-lapse photography compressed into a minute and a half. We used three of these magic snowmen from eBay (I love eBay), which work in the same way as those crystal trees that were so popular when I  was a kid.

It's a saturated solution of potassium phosphate, which is drawn up into the paper snowman and then forms crystals as the water evaporates from the snowman's extremities.

See you in the new year!



Recent posts

Making lace

Friday 18th December 2015

If anyone wants to teach me a new skill, I'm all ears. So I was really excited when a friend, Denise, who is one of Britain's most experienced lace makers, asked if I wanted to learn to how to make bobbin lace. But pretty soon I realised how incredibly hard it is!

A 'simple' bracelet

Densie taught me how to make a 'simple' bracelet, which wasn't at all. Bobbin lace involves twisting pairs of turned wood bobbins together in a specific pattern to make the lace textile.

Denise's studio is absolutely full of bobbins, thread, books and of course lace.

Her bobbins range from simple wooden ones to complex designs made from exotic patterned hardwoods, intricately carved bobbins made from bone, and some that are several hundred years old.

The starting point was a template, or pricking, which has holes showing the positions of the pins.

My bracelet was made up of nine pairs of 'passive' thread and one pair of 'worker' thread, which was blue.

The passive pairs are pinned at the top of the pricking, and then the worker pair is threaded through them by twisting the pairs of bobbins together.

It's extremely satisfying once you get it right, but rather tricky to get there.

After you've completed one square, the pattern changes to four set of plaits, and then back to another square.

This repeats until the bracelet is long enough to go around the relevant limb, and then small eyelets were tied into the ends to fasten it.

All together it took me about five hours to make this, and I'm very proud of it!


A fancy bookmark

Next Denise suggested I make a torchon bookmark. This was considerably harder and took me several months to complete. I kept getting stuck, finding that the pattern had broken down and I had to unpick it several times before I finally got the hang of it. During this time I got extremely frustrated and nearly gave up while I was in the Learning Curve Dip, but finally mastered it and now I'm looking forward to starting my third piece.

If you have a skill you think I'd be interested in learning, leave a comment below!



Recent posts


Friday 11th December 2015

I always laugh when I hear people struggle to spell words phonetically, when they say random words starting with that letter instead of the standard (if dull) NATO phonetic alphabet.

I've been collecting a list of confusing words that don't start with the sound of that letter, just to confuse people further.

I'd like to find some better words for some of the letters, if you've got any more add a comment below! 

Thanks to Bryan for his suggestions, do you have any more? Leave a comment below.



Recent posts

Google Cardboard

Friday 4th December 2015

Virtual reality has been the next big thing since I was a kid, but I've yet to be impressed with it. What I do love is Google Cardboard, VR on a budget!

It was released last year, but I've only just got around to buying one.


Where to get it

You can buy all sorts of fancy viewers, but I bought mine for £4 from eBay (I love eBay). It comes flat-pack and takes all of two minutes to assemble.



Now just download some VR apps like the awesome-for-three-minutes RollerCoaster VR, put your smartphone into the headset and be amazed!


I know it looks terrible but it's quite a lot of fun :)



Recent posts

What's this about?

Hi I'm Mat and I'm addicted to new hobbies. I used to think this was a bad thing but now I'm embracing it.

Writing them all up in this blog encourages me to finish projects, and helps me keep track of which ones I've tried.

Also in Making things...

Making salt from seawater

Making salt from seawater

When I told a friend I was going to make salt, her reaction was 'why bother?'...

Also in Things to do with your kids...

Code Club

Code Club

I read about Code Club when it first started in 2012, and we've just finished our first term of teaching it at Lostwithiel School...