Death of Rats

Terry Pratchett is one of my favourite authors, and so when I saw this little guy at Joann’s, I just had to get it and turn it into the Death of Rats. Here’s how I did it:

He’s made of some sort of plastic, so first I used a heat gun on his arm, to get it into a better position for holding the scythe. First I twisted the lower arm to get the hand in to the right orientation, then I did the shoulder and upper arm to lower the arm a bit, and finally I heated the hand and wrapped it around my dowel rod to get a nice grip. Since he’s going to be wearing a robe, it doesn’t matter that his bones are now a bit deformed.

For the scythe blade I took an empty tea light, cut out the bottom and then straightened out the remaining strip. I free-handed a blade shape on a little piece of card, traced it out on the metal strip and then cut it out. I used a couple of dabs of low-temp hot glue to attach it to the dowel rod, which I had already cut to size and painted a darker brown.

Uh-oh, he’s lost his head! I discovered that he was made in pieces and screwed together at various points. This was super convenient, because I wanted the blue pinprick in the eyes effect and this made life a lot easier. I took the head apart, drilled a hole in each eye and then dabbed a bit of black paint around the holes, and inside the skull (the theatre tech in me insisted).

For the lighting, I got a 3v blue LED, a battery case for a 2032 battery and a small slider switch. I cut a hole in the back of the head for the switch. Once I get the hooded robe on it, it won’t be noticeable. After testing my connections, I soldered everything together and added a couple of daubs of hot glue as insulation (couldn’t find the electrical tape), and I glued the battery case to the inside of the skull.

Here he is with his head back on.

I still have to make his robe, and I’ll post a finished picture of him once I’m done.

Reuse

A couple of years ago I started knitting on circular needles almost exclusively. I had bought a set of KnitPicks interchangeable circulars and they changed my knitting life. The cord they use is lovely and flexible. It made using the magic loop method for small diameter circular knitting a delight. Add to that the fact that I have, more than once, accidentally stabbed myself in the mouth when knitting with double-pointed needles (In case you’re wondering, it’s during the switchover. I hold on to the spare with my teeth, and then as I go to grab it, I’ll sometimes end up jabbing it into my tongue or lip – I’m really smooth like that), and magic loop just seems safer. Later I also started using circulars for flat knitting. It’s especially useful on trips. If you drop a needle, you don’t have to go diving after it, it’s right there, attached. One of these days I’ll sort through my knitting supplies and give away all the needles I don’t use anymore. But I’m keeping one. I’ve discovered a new use for the long aluminum needles – they make great back scratchers!

I’ve set my tumblr to import into this blog so I can have it all in one place. So, there’ll be lots more Doctor Who, Lizzie Bennet Diaries and random silliness.

ETA: A failed experiment. The plugin would only do the initial import, not sync the two blogs, and I haven’t the time right now to fiddle with the code to get it to do that. So, I’ve put this blog back the way it was.

I don’t like the time change

I don’t like taking the dog for her walk until it starts getting light. Last week, I was able to take her out around 6:15am, which meant I could get to work between 7 and 7:30 and get off work around 4 (yay!). This week, I’m back to having to wait until after 7 to take her out, which means I’m getting to work later, and off work later (boo!).

The only good thing that’s come out of the change so far is that, as I’m still waking up around 5:30, I’ve got extra time in the mornings, so I’ve been able to get some recording done before work, while the house is quiet. 🙂

Auditions for My Fair Lady on Monday. I’m trying out for Eliza. I can reach all the notes, and I can beat the pants off anyone else auditioning on accents, but we shall see. I tend to get cast in very minor roles or in the chorus in most musicals (twice in non-singing roles!)

Christmas at the end of January

My b-mum sent me a note before Christmas to let me know she’d sent me a small package by snail mail, but when I got back from CA, it wasn’t there. I was bummed because I thought the neighbourhood vandals had struck again and nicked it off the porch. But! It turns out the post was just really, really slow. Got the package today and had a lot of fun trying to get into her mad packaging (re-using bits of an old amazon box and lots and lots of packing tape!). I’ve been giggling and grinning for the past half hour at one of the items in the package… a Discworld wall calendar. Hee! 🙂

Feliz Día de Reyes!

I bought a Rosca de Reyes (King Cake, to non-Spanish speakers) today, to share with my housemates on the occasion of Epiphany. In Mexico, King Cake is eaten on Ephiphany, which is the celebration of when the Three Wise Men arrived to worship Jesus. Which makes sense to me, with a name like “King Cake”. In the Mexican tradition, whoever gets the slice with the figurine of the baby in it, has to throw the Mardis Gras party later in the year.

My poor dog is confused

I’ve rearranged almost all the furniture in my loft and my poor dog doesn’t know what to do with it. She’s figured out where her bed is, at least.

I’d been thinking about doing this for a few weeks now. I have new housemates, and the one directly below my “office” (it’s an attic loft, spaces are designated by furniture arrangements) has been running the bathroom extractor much more than the previous one. The roof vent for the extractor is right above the office, which means that when it’s running, I can’t record. So I’d been thinking of moving the office to the space catty-corner from where it had been, which just happened to be the “bedroom”; unfortunately, it couldn’t be a straight swap, because there’s a column in the office corner that makes that space smaller than the rest of the corners, so I had to move three corners… bedroom to “dining room/spare bedroom”; spare bedroom to office, dining room to open space in the middle of the loft, office to bedroom.

While I was going to be moving stuff around, I figured I’d try to make myself a better recording booth. Several months ago I built a frame for a booth out of 1″ PVC pipe. It looked ok just by itself, but when I covered it with soundproofing blankets it got a bit saggy. It ended up being a glorified dog house for Lucy. Then I had another idea. Pegboard sheets (I can get 2′ x 4′ sheets at the hardware store) covered with acoustic foam tiles, attached in pairs with binder rings (which I had been using to hold up the blankets in the first booth). The tiles came at the end of last week, and I finished attaching them to the pegboards Friday afternoon. I used adhesive spray, but I think I’m going to have to go back with a hot glue gun, because a few have already come loose. I’ll need to test it first, though, to make sure it won’t melt the foam.

I started off with eight pegboards, which made a 4′ square. On the floor inside I laid four interlocking rubber mats (like you see in children’s playrooms), but once I had the four panel pairs up around it, and the mic inside, I found it a bit cramped, so I added the final two mats (which I’d been saving for blocking knitting projects) to make a 4′ x 6′ little room, and hung two of the sound-blocking blankets across the spaces between the pegboards.

I’m quite chuffed. I need to get a small table, and a second monitor to go with the secondary keyboard and mouse I already have, so I’ll be able to leave the laptop outside the booth, but still be able to read off the screen, and control it from inside. And maybe a little stool instead of the chair.

Consequences

A bunch of us went to a karaoke bar after strike yesterday. My first time, because until now I’ve only ever sung karaoke at Beth and Marcel’s parties (not that I ended up singing last night… the line was kind of long). It was fun, and we may have been a little too loud. We got a few dirty looks from the regulars. But this is the first time in ages that I’ve been in a place that allows smoking and I’m living with the consequences this morning. I haven’t been this stuffed up since my allergies wore off at the end of last season.