Boing Boing 

Hands-free workbench magnification

This is a 5-inch diameter magnifying glass mounted on a swing arm, and the assembly has a vice clamp to mount itself to the edge of a table or desk.

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The Big Book of Maker Skills: tools and techniques for building great tech projects

I know Chris Hackett from my days as editor-in-chief of MAKE. This guy knows his stuff.

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The Vintage Tea Party Book: complete guide to hosting your perfect party

This whimsical, girly, and very informative book covers two of my favorite topics – vintage style and traditional English tea. Author Angel Adoree (yep that’s her name) owns and operates Vintage Patisserie in London where she hosts adult tea parties with a retro spin. The Vintage Tea Party Book includes Angel’s recipes, beauty tips and decorating ideas for the perfect tea party at home.

The Vintage Tea Party Book is separated into chapters for planning brunch, afternoon and evening events. Included are very British-y and easy recipes such as Lemon Scones with Lavender Cream, Onion and Potato Flowers, Crown of Lamb, and Engraved Earl Grey Truffle Hearts. There are also sample invitations, how-tos on retro make-up and hair styles, like the Victory Roll, and directions on how to make your own Queen Elizabeth stencil for wall decorations (a must for every English party!).

With all these helpful tools at your fingertips, The Vintage Tea Party Book makes planning your next extra special celebration easy and fun.

P.S. Even more old-school tips and treats are included in two other books from the same author – The Vintage Sweet Book and The Vintage Tea Party Year. – Carole Rosner

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

The best introductory Arduino book just got better

arduino-book

Arduino is on open-source electronics prototyping platform that lets you make interactive stuff without having a degree in electrical engineering. For about $25 you can buy a credit card sized circuit board that has input connections (for buttons, knobs, light sensors, microphones, humidity sensors, fart detectors, Internet signals, etc) and output connections (for servo motors, LEDs, buzzers, speakers, stepper motors, vibrators, etc). You write programs on your computer to tell the Arduino how to process the input signals and how to activate the output components. This program is uploaded to the Arduino's microprocessor, making it self-contained.

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The magic tidier KonMarie teaches how to fold your T-shirts

Kelly Coyne of Root Simple wrote about following the clothes-folding advice of Marie Kondo, author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

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How to win at rock, paper, scissors

In 2005 a Japanese electronics firm decided to sell its collection of four French impressionist paintings. Christie’s and Sotheby’s courted the company. The CEO asked the auction houses to play a game of Rock Paper Scissors to determine who would sell the paintings. The representative for Christie's researched Rock Paper Scissors strategies, and used the advice of one of his co-worker's children: “Everybody knows you always start with scissors.” This proved to be good advice in this case, because Sotheby's chose Paper. Christie's sold the paintings for $17.8 million, and earned a $1.9 million commission.

William Poundstone (author of many books I've enjoyed, including Big Secrets, Fortune's Formula, Prisoner's Dilemma, and an entire book about Rock Paper Scissors) starts off his article about Rock Paper Scissors strategies with the above anecdote. He looks at strategies involving statistics (in pro tournaments Rock gets thrown 35.4%, Paper 35%, and Scissors 29.6%), doublethink, tells, scripts, and pattern recognition. His conclusion:

  • Scissors is the least popular choice, and men favour rock. Both are reasons to choose paper in a one-shot match.
  • Announce what you’re going to throw and do it. Most players figure you won’t go through with it.

How to build a 1-string cigar box diddley bow

If you like what you hear, build one. It will take practice to play as well as Justin Johnson does, but even a rank beginner can make good music with a diddley bow. (Watch Justin play a full song at the 16:00 minute mark). (Thanks, Kent!)

Making a uniform for daily wear

Over at Root Simple, Erik and Kelly (authors of The Urban Homestead, a book that was inspirational to me) made a list of resolutions for 2015. They are all great goals. The one that interested me the most was Kelly's intention to make a uniform that she could wear each day instead of having to choose a new outfit every morning. She wants to base it off this cool-looking 1920s Russian Constructivist outfit.

The uniform fantasy has been with me for a long time, although the uniform type changes. I’ve never taken the leap into wearing a uniform, though, for two reasons. The first is simply that I’ve been too lazy to construct a uniform. The second is that it is a rather eccentric move– adopt a uniform, and you become known for wearing that uniform more than anything else.

I suppose that if you’re super famous, like Tom Wolfe (white suit) or Erik Satie (identical velvet suits) you can wear the same thing every day and nonetheless your work and your personality will rise above that eccentricity. But I’ve feared that if I wore a uniform I’d become one of those strange local characters, like “the kilt guy” or “the bathrobe lady.”

Still, I do like the idea of fashioning a garment which suits all of my needs (fit, comfort, pockets, good fabric etc.) and making it my very own.

Make wooden pliers with 10 cuts from a single block of wood

David Warther shows how he makes working wooden pliers with a single piece of basswood. "There's nothing to it. It's just trial and error. It took me a few packages of bandaids to learn. And it might you, too."

[via]

WATCH: Life hacks for kids

Our family friend Sunny is a great ukulele player and project maker. Here's here new web series, Life Hacks for Kids.

WATCH: Make a cool spinning pencil toy

Arvind Gupta, master of making toys from trash, shows you how.

Make a Christmas Krampus!

Just in time for the Christmas season, Bob Knetzger has instructions to build your own tiny child-nabber.

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Improved Mid-Century Modern rocking chair

chair-openerMy book Maker Dad has instructions for making this Mid-Century Modern rocking chair. The design is based on a chair that was built around 1950 by Alexey Brodovitch, a designer who was the art director at Harper's Bazaar from 1934 to 1958. I built Brodovitch's chair and discovered that it was not very sturdy. I changed the design to have better support, and a few iterations later came up with a chair that felt more robust.

Last week Edward Reading sent me photos of the chair he built with his son. He improved on my design: "I counter-sunk the dowels about half the thickness of the plywood, and glued them for additional support. I also notched the sides to receive the 8" brace, and glued that in as well." Good job, Ed!

Here are photos of his chair:

chair2

chair3

chair6

chair7

chair9

chair10

chair11

Ed's son is holding the peg trick, which you can see in the above video.

Buy Maker Dad on Amazon

Cards for brainstorming product design

Tina Aspiala’s KnowCards are packs of cards with simple descriptions of components you can use to understand or design new products.

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How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding and Maintaining Your Home

How Your House Works is a great visual resource and introduction for anyone not acquainted with the workings of a house and is a great companion for more in-depth DIY guides.

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The Handmade Skateboard: design and build a board from scratch

I have instructions for making a longboard in my father-daughter DIY book, Maker Dad. This book, The Handmade Skateboard by Matt Berger, is a deep dive into making skateboards. It has step-by-step instructions for designing and building several different kinds of boards, and I love that he included his two young daughters in the book. It’s loaded with tips about making skateboards that could apply to many different kinds of woodworking projects.

See sample pages at Wink. While you're at it, check out Wink's 2014 Holiday Gift Guide!

Favorite self-tracking apps and the best mushroom book

In this week’s episode of the Cool Tools Show, Gary Wolf, Co-founder of Quantified Self, shows us how his favorite Quantified Self inspired apps help him stay consistent, motivated and aware about his most important daily routines. If you’re struggling to keep your healthy habits in check, this week’s episode may help you diagnose where those dips in motivation are coming from.

A smart way to make even stitches when hand sewing

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A classic instructional cartooning book

It’s easy to like cartoons. It’s hard to draw them (at least something better than stick figures). Sometimes the best cartoons are drawn out of basic shapes and lines that look easy to draw by anyone, and yet it takes genius to draw like that. And genius is the word I use to describe the author’s drawings and teachings in this classic book.

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My Maker Dad book is $2 on Kindle

My book, Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects is just $2 as a Kindle right now.

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Easy to Make Solenoid Engine

I want to make one of these.

Space Buckets: DIY indoor gardening units

A "space bucket" enthusiast named Agustin let me know about a DIY community that grows chives, basil, dill, peppers, cherry tomatoes, and cannabis in stacked 5 gallon plastic buckets equipped with lighting and ventilation systems. The photo gallery of builds is impressive.

Inexpensive, No-Blind-Spot Rearview Mirror

NASCAR drivers and law enforcers use custom wide-angle rearview mirrors to avoid head-swiveling. You can buy a wide-angle mirror that attaches over an existing rearview for $60, but you can make one for about $12 and a few shop scraps. By Phil Bowie and Larry Cotton.

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The life-changing magic of Tidying Up

If something doesn’t spark joy, get rid of it. Marie Kondo on the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing

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WATCH: How to remove a ring stuck on a finger with dental floss

Everyone should know how to do this.

How to make vibrating alarm clock underwear

randofo says: "The Goodmorning Underwear are a pair of panties that vibrate to wake you up in the morning. This project is a continuation of my ongoing efforts to further the field of electronic underwear... This particular project came about because I finally wanted to make a garment that my girlfriend would actually want to wear. While it may be hard to believe, when I made the Clap Off Bra it was not really for her."

How to charge your phone with a 9-volt battery

The Crazy Russian Hacker makes a cell phone charger with a 9 volt battery. [via]

Best way to cut open a pomegranate

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Cigar Box Guitars: the ultimate DIY guide for makers and players

As one of the founders of MAKE magazine, I’ve made quite a few physical objects. Nothing has been more fun than making guitars out of cigar boxes. The amazing thing about them is that they aren’t difficult to build, are fairly fault-tolerant, and yet sound good! David Sutton’s book is a perfect introduction to the world of cigar box guitars. He gives a history of them, profiles makers and museum curators, and provides step-by-step instructions on making three different types of cigar box guitars (including how to make your own pickups to electrify your homemade instruments). There are color photos on every page. Cigar Box Guitars: The Ultimate DIY Guide for the Makers and Players of the Handmade Music Revolution by David Sutton

Take a look at other beautiful paper books at Wink. And sign up for the Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Make this nifty indoor boomerang

From Futility Closet: a cool little paper boomerang.

Mathematician Yutaka Nishiyama of the Osaka University of Economics has designed a nifty paper boomerang that you can use indoors. A free PDF template (with instructions in 70 languages!) is here.

Hold it vertically, like a paper airplane, and throw it straight ahead at eye level, snapping your wrist as you release it. The greater the spin, the better the performance. It should travel 3-4 meters in a circle and return in 1-2 seconds. Catch it between your palms.