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A 3D Christmas

Now that all of the Christmas gifts that I mailed have finally arrived and been opened, I though I would share some of the fun things I made this year. Wanting to put my 3D printer to use, I looked on-line for gift ideas I could print. I found several useful ideas. My go-to source for printing ideas is Thingiverse. They have an incredible number or free printing files.

Among Us Ornament. During our Thanksgiving family video conversation, my adult sons wanted the entire family to play an on-line game called Among Us. While I didn’t really understand the game (perhaps because I became a ghost about 15 seconds into the game), the boys seem to enjoy the game. For a creative gift, I found a pattern for making the characters from this game. Thinking that they would make nice tree ornaments, I created a remix of the pattern that had a ring on the helmet to attach some ribbon for hanging.

After printing these, I found out that there are several fun “hats” that the characters can wears. So, I decided to remix some more patterns to make some hats to fit over the ring for each. These were really fun to make.

Can Holders. I would have put individual names on each of these, but the customizer in Thingiverse was not functioning at the time that I made them. There was an existing customized file for the Green Bay Packers. So, I made several of these for family members who are Packer fans. The rest were printed without a label on the handles. These are useful for several reasons (1) keeps a cold can away from your hands, and (2) helps identify which can is yours. I made 18 of these in various colors.

Battery Boxes. In these boxes, the batteries load from the top and the ramps inside feed the batteries to the opening at the bottom of each box. I made 14 sets of these in various color combinations.

Christmas Tree. These trees store flat and add a nice decoration for a small space.

I already have some fun ideas for next Christmas.

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Quilting with Shadows

Earlier this year, I wrote about a wall quilt I made that depicted the skylines of Minneapolis and St. Paul. This quilt was made as a retirement gift for a friend who spends a lot of her time volunteering with various organizations, serving on foundations and helping her friends and family members within the Twin Cities. She truly has a heart of giving and I was hoping this quilt would show her that the people around her appreciate all that she has done.

After completing the quilt, I decided to make a few more wall quilts before giving it away. Being in a study club with five members, I realized that if I were to give her a wall quilt for retirement, the others in the group would know what to expect when they retire. Thus, four more wall quilts were completed over the summer and fall. And, while she retired at the end of 2019, I was recently able to gift this wall quilt to her.

One of the other wall quilts I created was for a friend who will be retiring at the end of 2020. When thinking about a theme for her quilt, I kept coming back to how often she posts pictures of her family, especially her children, and the great ways the all interact together.

Her family represents several heritages and she loves to travel. So, the quilt design I selected was a piecework pattern called “Trip Around the World”. This classic piecework pattern involves using uniform squares, radiating out from a center. While this pattern looks time consuming with all the squares, using strip quilting makes this pattern super easy!

The colors of the quilt were based upon colors in a fused glass plate that she purchased from me a few years ago. At the time, she said the colors matched her home.

I also wanted to depict her family in the quilt, but without detracting from the beauty of the piecing. To do this, I decided to use the quilting to show her family.

The entire quilt was first quilted with a rather simple swirl design.

After that was completed, I quilted a shadow of a family. To design the quilting of the family, I used a photo of a family of five jumping and expressing joy. Each person of the “family” were quilted with a different color of thread.

A sixth member of their family is also included in the quilting. Eighteen years ago, at just under the age of three, one of my friend’s daughters passed away from childhood cancer.

I know that she is still in the minds of her family, so I wanted to include her as well. In the shadow quilting, I stitched a girl on a swing. She is seen swinging on each side of the family, thus, creating somewhat of a circle around the rest of the family members.

This was an enjoyable quilt to make and even more enjoyable to recently gift it to my friend. I wish her a wonderful retirement!

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Child and Doll Visors.

One of the joys of working with children is when they express their joy in seeing you.  That has been especially true this summer.  For many children, a visit to the dentist has been the first trip away from home and family this summer.  For that reason, some are really excited when they come to our office.

I recently saw one of my favorite patients.  While only eight years old, she has already expressed interest in being a dentist when she grows up.  She is always excited when she comes to the office.

That was no exception this summer.  Even with all of our extra protective equipment on, she was still excited for her visit.  In fact, she was so excited, that she went home and made personal protective equipment for her doll. So sweet.

Her imagination gave me the idea to make child and doll sized face shields like the ones I was making for my office.

Since I didn’t have any young children, I used the average size head for an eight year old and adjusted my STL file.  The shield I made was 6″ in diameter and fits a head 16-20″ in circumference.

Not having any dolls around the house (the result of raising four boys), I went on Amazon and purchase a doll for myself.  Perhaps I just want something to play with.  Or, perhaps I am planning for future grandchildren.  In either case, I now have a Journey Girl doll that graces my sewing room.  Measuring the size of the head, I adjusted the STL file to make a shield that is 4″ in diameter and will fit the head of an 18-20″ doll (American Girl, Journey Girl, etc).

To complete the  PPE ensemble, I also printed appropriate sized ear savers.

After printing a Doll set and a Child set, I gifted these to my patient.  She loved them.  Her mom sent me numerous photos of her pretending to be a dentist, complete with her doll as her assistant.

Given how much she enjoyed the face shields, I thought maybe other children would enjoy being like their mom or dad, or the favorite health care worker.  Thus, I have posted these on Etsy.  If you have someone who might like a set, you can purchase at the link.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/851392013/child-sized-or-doll-sized-face-shield?ga_order=date_desc&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=child+face+shield&ref=sr_gallery-2-22&organic_search_click=1&col=1

 

Becoming a Mom.

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Thirty years ago today, at 11:08 pm CDT, I became a mom.

That single day changed my life in so many ways.

Someone once told me that they felt sorry for the oldest child in a family.  Being the first child in a family kinda means that you are the “trial child”, the child on whom each parent learns what it means to be a parent.  Having no manual or rule book, we have to learn as we go.  However, while my oldest may have taught me the most, I feel that I have learned from each of my boys.

Over the past thirty years, I have learned patience, perseverance, negotiation, and many other life skills. These skills have helped me in all aspects of my life.

Being the mom of four boys, I quickly learned that planning is very important to be able to accomplish everything that needs to be done in a day, all the while understanding that my plans may change at a moments notice.  This gave me the incentive to learn to be organized but adaptable – something that has been necessary over these past couple of months.

Being the mom of four boys, I quickly learned how much energy they can have. This gave me the incentive to enroll them in sports and other activities and to help them to enjoy these endeavors.

Being the mom of four boys, I quickly learned that having them play outdoors helped to keep the house cleaner and the boys to sleep better.  This gave me the desire to learn more about plants so that I could be gardening while supervising their outdoor activities.

Being the mom of four boys, I quickly learned how to build forts.  This gave me confidence to build other things, like trellises and gazebos, and to tackle home remodeling projects.

Being the mom of four boys, I quickly learned how much they could eat, and how expensive feeding them would be.  This gave me the desire to learn to bake, to cook, and to make my own preserves.

Being the mom of four boys, I quickly learned how busy life can be.  This gave me the encouragement to daily find time for myself, something that is still important in my life.

Being the mom of four boys, I quickly learned that I could not do things alone.  This has given me an appreciation for my husband and gratitude for his love.

Being the mom of four boys, I quickly realized that every life at every age is precious. This has given me a gratitude for the grace shown to us by our heavenly father each and every day.

Some days it feels like it was just yesterday that my oldest was a newborn baby.  Other days, it feels like it was so very long ago. There are many ups and downs being a mom. But, I would not change it for anything.  Happy Birthday, Tim!  I love you.

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Family & Birthdays

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Yesterday was the twenty third birthday of my third son, Ben.  Happy Birthday Ben!

We were blessed to be able to celebrate the day with him.  Well, okay, maybe just the evening. I have been spending most of my time writing up protocols (Covid-19 Business Plan, Respiratory Protection Plan, etc).  All the government regulations can be a bit overwhelming. Ben spent his day doing classwork on-line and preparing for finals.

But, since he is at our home and not in Brooklyn, I felt we needed to do something special for him.  So, he selected a recipe for me to make – Vegetarian Ramen (Bon Appetit), I did some shopping and together we made the recipe.  We did need to leave out some things due to my allergies. This did turn out very tasty.

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Some pecan pie for dessert and a long family conversation with my sons who live out of town was an enjoyable way to spend my evening.

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Frogs – In the Garden (& Clinic?)

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For those that are unaware, I am a pediatric dentist by profession.  I work with a group of seven doctors and 37 staff.  Nearly all of the procedures we perform (tooth cleanings, filling, crowns, etc) create an aerosol.  This is problematic in the current viral pandemic because the aerosol could put everyone at risk.  So, we know we will need to change our PPE (personal protective equipment) when we reopen our practice.

Because all of the PPE is being directed to medical facilities, as a dentist, it is nearly impossible to obtain face shields and masks.  In anticipation of this being a problem, when my son came home from NYC, I spent some time talking with him about 3D printers and how to use one to make our own masks and face shields.  I am very fortunate that, as an architecture student, he has lots of experience with several types of printers.

With his help, several weeks ago I purchased a Prusa printer kit. I ordered a kit for two reasons.  First, it was less expensive and I could get a better printer for less cost.  And, more importantly, the cost of the kit was just below the limit for having to pay import duties.  The kit took 18 days to arrive.  I am really glad I ordered when I did, because the estimate now is 5-6 weeks.

When the kit arrived, we needed to build the printer.  Okay, to be honest, it was mostly my son who put it together.  But, I did do a couple hours of the process.  The kit was like trying to build a house sold by IKEA!  The manual for putting it together was 225 pages long.  Fortunately the directions and photos were excellent.

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It was exciting when the build was completed.  The first thing we printed was one of the sample files that came with the printer.  It was a tree frog.

Since the plan is to print things for use in my dental office, I wanted to verify that the printed items could be sterilized in our office steam autoclave.  I took the frog to one of my offices and tested it in the  autoclave.  The plastic filament was not impacted by the heat or the steam.  However, I forgot that the frog was printed as a hollow form with air trapped inside.  So, when the air heated up and expanded, it caused the belly of the frog to pop out.  I now have a pregnant looking frog!!.  This should not be a problem with the other items I plan to print because they do not have a large space with trapped air.

I am in the process of testing out different face shield and mask ideas.  I’ll give an update on those in a few days.

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In the meantime, and keeping with the frog theme, I thought I would give some information about a new piece of garden art that is in my flower bed.  Over the winter, one of the glass projects I made was a really cute frog.

The construction of this was somewhat similar to the turtle that I made last summer (July 14, 2019 post). It has a copper understructure with copper wire legs soldered and the glass attached to the copper.  When making it, I didn’t want to mess around with creating a custom slumping mold to “shape” the frog.  So, I left the glass flat.  Once the flowers start growing, I think this will be really cute in my garden.

Who knew there were so many inspirational quotes about frogs (google it and see for yourself)!

The person behind the Mask

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Wash your hands, practice social distancing, stay home and, now, consider wearing a face mask when outside of your own home.  These are the recommendations from federal and state governments during this current pandemic.

While following this advise, we can loose connection to the people around us.  We all need to reach out to our family members – our older parents who have had their ability to interact with their friends severely limited, our children (even adult children) who are home schooling or working from home, our friends whom we can’t see but can certainly talk with over the phone and internet, and our neighbors.

Everyone has a story.  And, while we are wearing our masks, we should consider their story and do what we can to help where needed. 

With the current recommendation for mask wearing, my son asked if I could make a couple masks for his girlfriend who works part-time at Target.  Her story is that she is a high school senior.  Like so many students, she is now separated from her friends and doing on-line classes.  And, she will be missing out on all the fun activities of her senior year – senior prom, senior project presentations, graduation, grad parties, etc.  On top of that, two weeks ago I implemented a quarantine for our family.  So she has not been able to spend time with my son. She is also working very hard at her part-time job.  To help support her, the least I can do is make some masks. 

Using the pattern described at North-Memorial-Health-homemade-healthcare-masks, I made some masks.  My son wanted plain black.  His girlfriend wanted a red one and a yellow one. 

This pattern has an internal pocket to insert a piece of HEPA filter material to  improve the effective filtration.  I also modified the mask slightly to add a nose wire for improved contouring to the face.  After topstitching around the entire mask, I stitched a channel 1/2″ from the top of the mask.  A pipe cleaner folded in half and inserted it into the channel can be molded to the bridge of the nose.  

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Masks made from my fabric stash.

When thinking about making masks, I thought it would be nice to try to make some fun animal faces.  Using my Bernina DesignWorks software, I created a few patterns.

A couple cat faces:

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Black cat, Rabbit, Bear and Dog:

 

I may try some other embroidery ideas soon.

Home

Over the past days, the governor of Minnesota has issued numerous executive orders that have impacted my life, the latest of which is Emergency Executive Order 20-20.  This order directs Minnesotans to “Stay at Home” for the next two weeks. Since my dental office is shut down and my son returned from NYC,  I have already been staying home.

With some of my unexpected free time, I have finally finished a quilting project that I started a while ago.  The inspiration of this quilt came from my sister-in-law.  Last summer, she asked me to design a wall quilt of the Paris skyline for her to make.

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Brief directions to make the background of a skyline quilt.

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After I designed her quilt, I thought I would make something similar – a wall quilt of the twin cities – Minneapolis and St. Paul.  For the background of the wall quilt, I followed the instructions I had written for my sister-in law, except I used blue batik fabrics from my stash, rather than purple.

The background was loaded onto my quilting frame and quilted with evenly spaced horizontal lines.

For the skyline, I found several images on-line.  By combining ideas and removing most of the white areas,  I had a nice skyline of Minneapolis and St. Paul. 

After importing these images into my Cameo software, I cut the pattern of the skyline out of starched black cotton fabric that was sandwiched between Heat-N-Bond Lite and freezer paper.

These silhouettes were then ironed onto the background. Using several different quilting fill patterns, I then quilted detail to differentiate each of the individual buildings.IMG_4391IMG_4392

Because the Twin Cities are known for the numerous parks and parkways, I added  green fabric along the bottom edge to depict the landscaping of the cities.

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The wall quilt was then bound and ready to hang. 

Over the past week while looking at the wall quilt, I felt it needed something more.  Last night I augment the design with some “bling”.

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With the help of one of my sons, I found a Star Constellation Chart. Using 3 mm heat transfer rhinestones, I replicated the constellations that would be visible over the Twin Cities. I also added some rhinestone on a few of the towers. 

Hometown wall quilt complete!

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As I went for my walk this morning, I was reminded that this may be my “hometown” for now.  And, my home may be impacted by the events of today. But I need to look past today’s news and worries about tomorrow, and take comfort in the fact that my hope is not bound to the circumstances of this world. In short – this world is not my home – my home is indeed in Heaven.