I have a trip on the calendar for the 4th of July for a trip with a buddy (who isn't…

I have a trip on the calendar for the 4th of July for a trip with a buddy (who isn't a ULer). My wife sent me to Aldi's for some ground beef, and I saw a few things I just had to have. A 40oz stainless water bottle and the Adventuridge Lightweight Foldable Backpack.

The backpack really reminded me of a small version of the G4 DIY ultralight bag. I've been meaning to make that bag for a few whiles. Just no time and a lack of ambition.

This bag is $10 and folds into itself. The back is padded, and the straps are double layer, but not padded. I figure I can rip open the seam, add my own padding, and sew it back up as good as new. Suggestions on a padded shoulder strap material?

There was also a black and red version. I picked this bright (like bright blue car bright) blue and silver one because I have some 'twilight grey' fabric dye I like to use to tone down bright articles. It should match my Kelty Hip Bag I posted here a few months ago.

I stuck it on the scale and it comes in at under 11oz or a touch over 300 grams. It claims 7.9 gallons which is 30 liters or 1825 cubic inches. A kids bag in size, really, but I suffer from fill-er-up-itis so a small bag is just what I need. I also have kids… so when I start going with them, they will have a bag to use as well.

I do plan on mating it to my Kelty hip bag with some clips so they function as a single bag. The Kelty is a great hip bag and will do the load bearing bit. This new bag is for the lighter stuff like the sleeping bag, hammock and such.

In album Aldi’s Ultralight backpack

This photo is pretty close to the true color of the light blue. It’s actually brighter yet to the eye than to the camera.

10 3/4 oz for a 7.9 gallon backpack. The best part? $10!

306 grams (including the cardboard tags). It folds up into itself nicely as well.

Turn it over, and you see it’s a backpack that really looks like that DIY G4 backpack I’ve seen plans for online. And it folds into itself so I can stash it nicely when I am not using it.

The outside is nice and simple. The over-flap has a zipper pocket like is very common. The color is very bright. Florescent lighting doesn’t really capture it.

The back is padded, but the straps aren’t really padded. I figure I can open up a seam, add some padding, and re-sew the seam on the straps.

I gave the brand new bag in a dye-dunk to try to tone the brightness down and make it more closely match my Kelty Oriele bag. The gray is a tad purplish, but this dye does that. I think a second round and I may have it tinted quite nicely to match. Also check out that big 40oz stainless water bottle for $5 at Aldi’s as well.

The hip pack has clips for shoulder straps. I plan on clipping the new bag onto the hip pack and using the hip pack like the waist belt. The heavy stuff can go into the lower bag, the light, bulky stuff can go in the new bag.

I decided to 'fix' a blanket I got from freecycle

It is a military wool blanket. I love wool blankets for camping and hanging out outdoors. I don't much care for the olive green – even though green is my favorite color.
So I dyed one side of if grey. I couldn't find anybody else online (just a short search) that dyes a single side of a blanket. So I made it up as I went along. I'd picked up some Dharma Trading 'Twilight grey' and basically painted it on for lack of better description. 
Normally you soak whatever you want to dye, but that will get the whole thing. So I mixed up the dye, water, vinegar (a mordant, helps the acid dye work) and a bit later, soap, for better 'wetting' of the blanket.
I am really, really impressed with how it turned out.

In album Dye single side of wool blanket

The green is still green, the grey, is a dark forest green.

Something I’ve done with the grey blanket is made it more water resistant.

water beaded up in the center, soaked in on the lower right.

I’d treated the grey blanket last year with lanolin. The oil that naturally occurs in wool while the sheep are wearing it, It’s what keeps sheep dry in the rain. In one context it seems silly that it’s taken out, but the wool can’t be dyed with it still in the fibers. So I add it back, and make the blanket more water resistant.

I am dying my green wool blanket grey.

I am spraying the dye on. I am using a spray bottle rescued from the recycling. It works just as good as the ones that cost $3 – probably because it did cost $3, but full, not empty.

I mixed up the dye, vinegar, and water into a juice container rescued from the recycling, and poured it in a little at a time with the funnel. The second batch I added a bit of dish soap to ‘wet’ the wool. The dye spray was beading on the fibers, the soap helps it soak deeper into the fabric.

The light grey in the upper right is the dye as sprayed on. I worked it into the blanket surface so I got better contact with the fibers instead of the spray just sitting on top of the blanket.

I want a mildly dappled effect, so I heavily dappled the blanket with the dye. It spreads out, so the effect is much more subtle when dried.

I hope…

In order to set the dye, I microwaved the blanket while it was still damp. I misted the dye side with the dye right before folding it dye side together and rolling it up. Microwave the daylights out of it in couple minute bursts.  I took it out, and re-rolled it with what was on the inside on the outside so I get even steaming of the dye.

I re-folded the blanket and nuked it some more. It was probably cooking a dozen 2 minute bursts.

I stuck it into a kidde pool to wash. This is the moment of truth… did the dye bind to the wool or will it leach out?

The water just barely tinted, so the dye fixed to the wool! YAY!

Hanging to dry. The color is better than I expected. I really like the dappled effect, very subtle.

The still-damp blanket in the house. I really really like the dappled effect on the folded blanket.

I recently printed a prosthetic hand for a little girl back home, where I grew up….

I recently printed a prosthetic hand for a little girl back home, where I grew up.  I did this as part of http://enablingthefuture.org/ 

It took a couple of months to get this done as I was working with a few other programmers in the evenings to create a website that allows for easy(er) prosthetic hand creation. With our new website, about a dozen simple hand measurements need to be typed into the page, and select some options, like what style hand, and you get the printable files, already sized correctly. It's magic! An awful lot of work was done by other people to get us to this state where we could put this site together. 

This hand was the first hand created with this new site. When we tweak the site based one the lessons learned on this hand, it will be announced to the public soon.

My 4 year old LOVED helping put this prosthetic together. She is quite proud of herself for helping a stranger in this way, as she should be! she even gave her own toy hand to the little brother, so he would leave big sister's hand alone.

The family of the new hand owner, including grandparents showed up and my parent's place to help put the hand together.  Over the course of 2 days, we assembled and fitted the hand.

I believe that part of the mission of http://enablingthefuture.org/ is to truly enable this little girl to overcome her handy-cap. By simply giving her an assembled prosthetic, she would be no better off than if her parents had purchased a commercial prosthetic (although the family would be a great deal poorer buying an expensive prosthesis). With the whole family taking part in assembling the hand, they truly own the prosthetic – if it breaks, they know how to fix it.

To take this mission to completion, we will be having a fund-raiser in a few months to raise money to purchase a 3d printer of her very own.  She will then be able to create new hands that fit, as she grows up. She can also take her future into her own hands (pun intended) and design improvements and special purpose hands for herself which she can share back to the community if she so chooses (I can hope, but I will not dictate).

In album 2014-06-25

My 4 year old assistant LOVED helping build this hand.

Showing how bending one’s wrist is supposed to make it work.

So very pink!

The finished hand.

The spaghetti monster ate my printer. The black thing sticking out on the right side is supposed to be around the hot end.

The dyed palm and the undyed guantlet. Chicago screws are used to hold the pieces together.

Such a sweet little girl, she let the little brother of the recipient  have her black hand.

Some sodas have phosphoric acid and some glass cleaners have ammonia. These are supposed to treat the nylon and allow it to take and hold onto the dye better.

My 4 year old helping dye the finger pieces. The dye is in the plastic bag. The bowl has hot water to warm up the dye bath. Checking on the color. It starts out really purple looking.

Leaching the excess dye out of the big parts which ended up printing more porous than the finger parts.

Tilting the wrist will cause the fingers to curl up.

The padding is some leather I glued in. It’s probably Elk. Soft, but a little bit grippy.

I am hot pink iron man!

Pink and Chrome!

I ordered a copy of the POCKET REF 4th edition by Thomas J

Glover. The book truly is a small book. I decided that I needed to make a case for it to keep it nice as I intend to haul it around with me.

A sharp knife, some scrap leather and an hour, and I have a handy little reference that should stay nice for a long time and not need to be recharged!

In album POCKET REF Leather Cover

The finished book cover. I decided not to dye it black. It took me an hour to make, start to finish.

Flipping through my new favorite book! The case opens up so I can take the book out. Should keep the cover nicer, longer.

Well, the book fits, but I think I can do better than this.

The bits and pieces I need for making a cover for my Pocket Ref. A piece of leather out of a ‘scrap leather’ bag from a hobby store, a sharp knife, a cutting mat, Neatsfoot Oil and Dye.

The leather was an assortment grab bag. I was lucky I had a piece that was big enough I could make something work. There was another piece with a color I liked better, but I couldn’t get something I liked cut out of it.

Works this way…

And it works this way…

I used the cutting mat to mark the cut lines. Just slide it along on the edge. Visible marks on the suede side of the leather. I also oiled  the finished side at this point so the oil has a chance to soak in before I dye it.

Measure twice, cut once. Cut isn’t perfectly straight, but it’s good enough for me.

I cut a belt and a belt loop out of the short side fold overs.

The book just sits in this case for safe carrying.

Fold and mark the tie strap locations. The little triangle is from whatever this was to be originally. Alignment marks or something.

Some strips from trimming the edges to fit better are tied on the inside.

A tidy wrap for a tiny book.

I have had a belt for over 10 years

It's getting pretty tired. I've been looking for a replacement for about a year, but haven't found one I like at a price I am willing to pay.

So I made one. Tandy leather has a Steampunk Belt Blank. I bought it on their recent 'gold' sale. I also got some neatsfoot oil and black dye to finish the belt.

I dyed it and distressed it so it looks good to me.  All black, subtle tooling, yet some contrast so more than a casual glance will show how awesome the pattern really is.

Now to forge a belt buckle… I love making stuff!

In album Steampunk Belt

The parts I bought to make my belt. Oil, Dye, and a belt blank.

2nd round of dying. The deeper stamping is dyed a 2nd time for a deeper color.

You can see how badly stretched my old belt is. It’s necking down in a couple of spots and is just generally tired.

Detail of the distressing vs the straight dyed leather.

First round of dying.

Tried to do a panoramic of my old belt and new belt.

Top to bottom. Old belt, dyed belt end cut, dyed & distressed belt.