Thursday, March 22, 2018

The GlowForge of Awesomeness

Last Thursday I finally took delivery of my GlowForge. I ordered it about a year and a half ago, when it was in pre-production, but post-Kickstarter, so I was at the bottom of the delivery list.

Since it was delivered later in the day, I didn't have time to do much more than open the boxes and check for damage (a wise precaution, as the main box arrived with a sizable rip and two missing handle locks). Friday we were gone all day, so the boxes sat in our library, tantalizing me. Saturday morning I woke up and built a box to lock the GlowForge in when it's not in use. I could have done this earlier, but I wanted to wait until I knew it was on its way, and by the time I received the shipping email I didn't have time to build the box before the GlowForge arrived.

Why did I take the time to build a lock box before setting up the GlowForge? These little boys.

While cute and lots of fun, they are not very trustworthy around machinery and electronics. Or much of anything, really. The box is to protect them from the laser of the GlowForge, but also to protect the GlowForge from the boys.

Locked up tight- the cable runs through loops that are attached to the base of the desk, the box itself, and the wall. Fingers crossed that that's enough to keep the boys from tipping it over or opening it up.

The GlowForge is a laser cutter that can cut, engrave, etch, etc various materials. I originally bought it to etch/engrave leather, but since then I've found a number of wood projects I want to do as well.

When I was researching laser cutters a couple years ago, I almost bought one out of Australia, but the lower price couldn't compensate for the lack of instructional and technical help and the fact that it didn't look very intuitive to use.

I'm not very technically savvy; I have to work hard to figure out mechanical and electronic things (give me hand tools any day), so intuitive is important.

The GlowForge, on the other hand, looked much more intuitive and had a forum set up already. And the demonstration videos were pretty impressive, so I bit the bullet and paid the higher price.

in the box, ready for use

Setting up the GlowForge Saturday afternoon showed me I made the right decision. It was super easy to set up, even for someone like me who isn't technically savvy. After the setup process is complete, you can make three different projects to try out the capabilities and explore the creation process for each project.

The tutorials have you use Inkscape for the graphic design elements, but I'm used to Photoshop, so I did have to spend some time figuring out Inkscape. I tried it out a few years ago and ended up deleting it because I couldn't figure out how to use it, but this time I'm doing a lot better. Maybe because now I can see the similarities to Photoshop, which I've been using for awhile now, but hadn't used as much the first time I tried Inkscape.

So there's a bit of a learning curve in figuring out how to get the GlowForge to do what I want it to. I had some problems cutting out an image that I'd engraved, but I've got it figured out now (I think).

Here's what I've been working on:

first: the GlowForge ruler 

The first project on the GlowForge site.

the paper is masking that protects the wood, leather, acrylic, etc from scorching

second: square maple syrup tag 

Different from the second project on the site, but more in line with what I wanted to do. This is the one I had a hard time figuring out how to cut out.

third: round maple syrup tag

Similar to the third project on the site, which was a gift tag created in Inkscape. I imported an image I created in PicMonkey to Inkscape to add the final details. Once I get more familiar with Inkscape, I'll try to do more creating from start to finish in Inkscape.

The round maple syrup tag turned out the best, and I'll be making a couple more to attach to small jars of syrup that will be distributed to friends and neighbors.

I have more projects lined up, but have to find time to squeeze them in among everything else I'm already doing. I knew this was going to be an issue, but this is the type of creating that I've been missing while focusing on building my online businesses, so it's good to do some creating again.

Want your own GlowForge of Awesomeness?
I have a GlowForge Basic, which is currently out of stock, but they have some GlowForge Pro models in stock and ready to ship. Yes, they're pricey, but you can get a discount of $1500 if you use this link to order (I'll receive a commission as well, at no cost to you). This offer is only good until they sell out of their current stock, so if you've been waffling back and forth for awhile, now might be the time to jump in.

with the masking still on

masking off

Monday, March 19, 2018

Weekly Mileage

Sunshine found tiny little flowers that you can suck a drop of nectar out of

Like the week before, I rode my bike twice last week. I'm sticking with 5 miles each for a bit longer- I'm still feeling the lack of fitness. Thursday we stayed home all day, waiting for a very special delivery (more on that in my next post), that was, of course, delivered two hours after the stated delivery window.

starting our hike with a choo choo train, as one does

Friday Sunshine started a new session at her co-op, and she's taking classes all four periods this time (she's just done two classes in each of the last two sessions). But her second and third hour classes were canceled because the teachers were out of town (they'll be made up at the end of the session), so we had three and a half hours between the end of her first class and the beginning of her fourth class. I'd thought about going home and coming back, but that was more driving than I wanted to do. Instead, we went for a hike and had a picnic lunch.

checking out the frog pond- the tadpoles were very good at hiding, but we saw them when they moved

I restrained myself and allowed the kids to stop and explore as we hiked. I can be a bit too goal-oriented on our hikes, though I've been working on it. Really, we need to have hiking days and exploring days. Hiking days we do some exploring while hiking, while on exploring days we do some hiking while exploring.

cute kiddos!

Getting back to our hike, we checked out the frog ponds and saw some tadpoles, which I didn't think would happen. It's been cold lately, but maybe the warm weather before our current cold snap was enough for them to start growing. A visit to this park is never complete without a stop by the giant poplar trunk (which sadly is looking very worse for the wear).

After that we hit the trails and hiked about a mile and a half. The boys and I hiked this trail a few months ago, but this was Sunshine's first time. I keep forgetting how expansive the trail system is, so we don't come very often. The boys and I can start hiking here after we drop off Sunshine at her co-op, but then Sunshine misses out on both the exploring and the hiking, so I need to figure something out.

one final choo choo train on the way back to the car
After our hike we went to the Monticello visitor's center to use the bathroom (there's not one at the park), and then went down to the discovery room on the lower level to kill some more time. Everyone had fun, but the play food and fireplace occupied the boys for a lot longer than I thought it would. They kept making stew, dishing it out, eating it, and then making more. We ate a lot of stew :)

I didn't squeeze a run in on Saturday because I was too busy playing with what was delivered on Thursday. So much to do, so little time.

Weekly Mileage
Monday- 5 miles on the bike
Wednesday- 5 miles on the bike
Friday- 1.50 miles hiked
    total-11.50 miles

3 hikes towards #52hikechallenge
47.60 foot miles towards #365milechallenge
45.00 bike miles towards #365milechallenge

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sunday Funny

Have you seen the tumblr Reasons my Toddler is Crying? A dad documented all the funny reasons his toddlers were crying, usually for reasons we view as silly, but they see as near life-and-death.

River and Sunshine didn't hit the terrible 2s until they were 3, making them the terrible 3s (tyrannical 3s?). Ocean is an over-achiever and at 2 and a half is solidly in the terrible 2s. The up side to waiting a year is that Sunshine and River were a bit more mature and therefor better able to handle what life throws at them.

Ocean, on the other hand, does not have that extra bit of maturity, and we can see it in his behavior and how he reacts to different situations. Mostly he over-reacts or has completely unreasonable (though frequently amusing) expectations. Thankfully he usually calms down if we leave him alone and give him a couple minutes to process the situation.

So here's some reasons my toddler is crying:

1. I opened the string cheese package and he wanted to do it (even though he can't)
2. The apple he pulled from the bag doesn't have a stem (really. it's happened multiple times)
3. I gave the red plate that he considers his to River (it was the end of the world on that one)
4. He wanted me to carry him, but I strapped him to my back instead of carrying him in my arms- see the sad face at the top of the post
5. Bobby (his blankie) is all wet and he wants a clean bobby (Bobby is wet because he chewed on it and slobbered all over it. I swear he's teething or something- that kiddo produces so much slobber.)

Monday, March 12, 2018

Weekly Mileage

our fearless leader will show us the way, with the help of that map he's intently reading

I actually have mileage to report this week!

On both Monday and Wednesday I did 5 miles on my bike. It's been almost two months since the last time (back in the middle of January), and I could feel that hiatus. Despite that, it felt really good to get back on my bike, and bike miles add up so much quicker than foot miles :)

checking out the river- nothing special today, but still fun to look around

Thursday the kids and I went on a hike at the local trails park. It wasn't a super long hike, but that was a good thing because the hills were killing me. Well, I had Ocean on my back while going up the hills, but it was very obvious that I have lost so much strength and fitness. I know this, and have seen the evidence at other times, but they're still painful reminders.

We explored this root ball from a fallen tree and discussed whether a fox lived in that hole behind Ocean
the kids said yes, I said no

Three workouts in one week is a good start towards rebuilding my fitness and strength, so now I need to make sure I keep it up from here on out.

Ocean caught some leaves with a stick, and when he showed them to me, he said they were marshmallows.
Guess he's craving some s'mores.

Weekly Mileage
Monday- 5 miles on the bike
Wednesday- 5 miles on the bike
Thursday- 1.69 miles hiked
    total-11.69 miles

2 hikes towards #52hikechallenge
46.10 foot miles towards #365milechallenge
35.00 bike miles towards #365milechallenge

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunday Funny

 Cute boy! Notice the placement of his hand- he's holding onto the handle of my bike.

He decided I needed help with my bike, so he stood on the bench next to me and held onto the handle. I think he was worried I'd fall over, though there's no chance of that with my bike trainer on the rear wheel and the wheel stand on the front.

The next time I was on my bike, he came down and joined me again, making sure I didn't fall over. Such a sweetie!