The Cat Pack – A Tribute to Starscream 2011-2019

We have been fans of Olan Rogers, the creator of the animated series “Final Space” and have enjoyed watching his sketches and stories over on his YouTube channel, many of which featured his beloved furry sidekick, Starscream. Unfortunately, Starscream passed on to the happy hunting grounds not long ago, which prompted Olan Rogers to release a final printing of Starscream-inspired apparel on Star Cadet.

We were lucky enough to snag one of the Cat Packs before they all sold out, and we so inspired by the majesty of the contents within, that we decided to make our own majestic tribute video featuring the Starscream teeshirts and majestic music recorded by J’s high school string ensemble. MAJESTIC!

Mr Olan Rogers, sir, we stand with you. We paw a Kraft Single. We’re in this together.

P.S. Here’s a picture of own Thundercats pawing a Kraft Single in honour of Starscream, the most majestic of felines.

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Advent 2017: Day 15

I wasn’t planning to have such a busy Friday because I was still tired from yesterday’s shenanigans, but it was just so nice and breezy this morning, we just had to get out of the house! Additionally, the ArtScience Museum was having one of their Family Friday deals where kids go free, and you know how much I love a bargain.

After five hours of walkabout, Little E developed some nasty blisters on her heels from her sparkly but poorly constructed sneakers (yes, I’m looking at you with a frowny face, Skechers!). So, we went to get her some nice new sandals from a kid’s shoe shop called “Hopla!” at Cluny Court.

P.S. We are following the Advent calendar from Truth In The Tinsel this year!

P.P.S. Check out our other Advent posts here with lots of crafty fun for the season and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

The Paper Stone: Stationery for everyone (and a Giveaway!)

In my life, I have been truly privileged to have the opportunity to befriend some very talented individuals, and this includes my friend, Allison, who is the chief in-house designer at The Paper Stone.

The Paper Stone is a local stationery store selling beautifully and thoughtfully designed wares from notebooks to stickers to bags to mugs. A trip to The Paper Stone is like going to stationery heaven. Every nook and cranny of the store is filled lovely things – all of very high quality and surprisingly affordable (Unlike some other super-expensive stationary stores selling fancy Swedish and Ozzie-made things – support local, I say! Singapore Boleh!)

Lovely things from a lovely person

Lovely things from lovely people

Allison was kind enough to pass me some of The Paper Stone’s gorgeous stationery before our recent trip to the UK this year, and the kids and I were so happy receive so many pretty things! Thanks, Allison!

Little E and J went into raptures over the cute little animal erasers from The Paper Stone. I’ve always loved animal erasers because they remind me of my primary school days, when my form teacher would give out fancy shaped erasers to those who had done well in class and we would hoard these treasures and play games with them underneath our desks. J and Little E played with those little creatures for hours, creating stories and adventures for them.

Playing cat-and-mouse

Playing cat-and-mouse (Animal erasers SGD$2.90, 2B earth friendly pencil SGD$1.00)

I think these pretty pencils (they are made out of recycled newspapers! Cool, huh?) and fun erasers (made out of top grade material that makes minimal shavings – wonderfully tidy for messy writers) would make great stocking stuffers or wonderful additions to a party bag! Much more long-lasting and sweeter than tooth-rotting candies.

J and Little E also really like their journals from the ‘Just Lines’ range, which (despite their name), contain more than just lines in them. This range has 160 full-colour pages and is a mixture of ruled pages and black pages, with some pages containing plenty of space for journalling and for doodling. I especially like the map at the back of the book!

More than 'Just Lines'

More than ‘Just Lines’

I like the spiral bound nature of the ‘Just Lines’ range which means that the book’s pages lie completely flat when on a writing surface, making it easier for writing and drawing. The hardcover protects the book from rough use, works well as a makeshift writing surface and the elastic band keeps it securely shut tight when being transported. This makes it a perfect notebook for travel journalling!

I particularly like the nice thick pages which hold up well when using small amounts of wet glue – it makes a wonderful scrapbook for my kids love sticking mementos of their travels inside. Markers and paint don’t seem to soak through easily either, so it’s pretty decent for art journalling too!

The ‘Just Lines’ range comes in many different designs, suitable for both boys and girls of all ages – and grown ups too! There is a Little E just loves her travel journal with the ‘Charm Necklace’ design – I quite often catch her running her fingers lovingly over the embossed surface of the book.

J chose the ‘Toy Soldiers in the Park’ design for himself, which has a fun and busy cover! When we’re travelling, sometimes I play a game with him that is a kinda cross between ‘Where’s Wally’ and ‘I Spy’ – one of us will pick a soldier on the book’s cover and the other has to guess which soldier it is. It’s a game that entertains for hours on the plane or in the car.

The ‘Toy Soldiers’ design also comes in a whole matching range of  products – pens and pencils, pencil cases, backpacks, ring binders, mugs, and stickers! I think a selection of these would make a great ‘back to school’ gift set to get kids excited about the first day of school.

If you’re looking for a simple ruled notebook for penning down thoughts, stories or recipes, then the ‘My Story’ range is just the thing – it’s super cute and a real bargain at only SGD$4.90!

I got all nostalgic over the ‘A Day in London’ series which sports all the iconic landmarks of London on the front cover! J and Little E were very excited during our trip to London, especially when they recognised some of the landmarks from my notebook.

The Paper Stone also has a range of cute silicone luggage tags with the London Bus and London Guard design on them which are very eye-catching!

Writing 'My Story'

Writing ‘My Story’

The ‘My Story’ range (as with all of the paper products at The Paper Stone) uses finer paper that is thinner and lighter than the ‘Just Lines’ range – so it works great for pens, pencils and markers. Each page is a delicious cream ruled with grey lines, and is just a joy to scribble on! There’s nothing like the rustle and smell of paper to get the creative juices flowing – and it helps that my pens and pencils never snag on the smooth, matte paper surface.

I really appreciated the rounded corners of the notebook and pages which suits clumsy people like myself who are highly prone to papercuts!

The Paper Stone has also very recently launched their online store which offers free local shipping for orders over SGD$50 and a hefty 20% discount off all online orders! Just enter the code ‘TPSONLINE’ at checkout!

If you prefer the more tactile experience of shopping at their brick-and-mortar stores (conveniently dotted all around Singapore), I really recommend purchasing the TPS membership card which is a prepaid card which gives you more bang for your buck. Not only are you entitled to exclusive membership discounts and promotions when you flash your card in-store, but you get extra credit every time you top it up – for example, the SGD$55 card actually has a stored value amount of SGD$58! Not bad, huh? It would be a pretty great gift for the stationery and scrapbooking addict in the family!

A Special Giveaway for Owls Well Readers: The Paper Stone is generously sponsoring a whole load of great prizes to be given away on Owls Well! Hurrah! TWO lucky Owls Well Readers will win a TPS Membership card each (worth SGD$58) and FOUR lucky Owls Well Readers will each win an exclusive The Paper Stone goody bag containing some truly gorgeous items carefully handpicked by The Paper Stone’s designer, Allison. 

To take part in this fabulous giveaway just complete the following: 

1. Be a fan of the Owls Well Facebook Page

2. Be a fan of the Paper Stone Facebook Page

3. Leave a comment below and tell me which design and product from The Paper Stone you like best, and why! Don’t forget to leave your Facebook name and your email address so that I can contact you if you win – or if you’re really shy, you can email your details to me separately at 4owlswell@gmail.com

4. (Optional) To increase your chances of winning, share or reblog this giveaway on any form of social media that you fancy and leave a comment below with the link!

(This giveaway is open to anyone with a Singapore mailing address and ends on 29 August 2014. Winners will be picked via Random.org – just make sure you complete the 3 required steps!)

Update: This giveaway is now closed and the winners have been emailed. Thanks for playing!

Lightsaber Bow – Droo’s Notes

Okay, so Droo saw my post on the Lightsaber Bow and decided that it was so very technically incorrect that he needed to write his own to correct my completely inaccurate depictions of his skill and craft. I believe the phrase used was, “Some kind of lightbulb? Some kind of lightbulb?! I’ll have you know that I had very specific lightbulbs in mind!” So, without further ado, Droo’s notes:

I am fascinated with the manipulation of light for the purposes of display and quite often forget that what I see as normal physics is usually never known or seen by most people that do not need to understand the inner workings of the universe. I envy them, because mostly, I have found the only reason to know the inner workings of the universe is because you need to oil the gears turning the crystal spheres.

The design has gone through several iterations, even before I pulled out my notebook to work out which ones would require a Mr Fusion to be strapped to a violin. The “laser bow” is currently in the grey area of engineering, between prospecting for parts and calculating the various requirements to decide which of the two current contenders is less likely to result in personal injury. I have at all times tried to use a continuous light source. Although I love LEDs, I think that this project requires more than a string of dots. The person who is going to enjoy the bow the most is James, so if it breaks the illusion of a light sabre, then the project is a failure.

Castor and his cane.  But mostly Castor.

Castor and his cane. But mostly Castor.

The original idea was similar to the Castor’s light cane from Tron Legacy, made from Perspex. This was doomed to failure from the start, as mentioned by Becky, due to the requirement that it has to be able to play a violin.

The second iteration (and currently under development system) is a regular violin bow, bound with Electroluminescent tape. This is a thin sheet of plastic with a layer of phosphorescent material that is excited to the point of illumination by an alternating electric current. Since it is essentially a long, small capacitor, it can be paired with an inductor to make a tuned resonator, oscillating at the operating frequency of the electroluminescent tape. The major problem is the size of the inductor is in the ball park of 2-16mH, which needs about 500 metres of copper.

A new idea, suggested by Becky, is a fibre optic bundle, finely sanded to emit light. This goes back to the problem of flexing the bow, as there are few adhesives that would last under such circumstances and still hold glass. I have modified the idea and I am now looking for a hollow braid rope, made out of fibre optic plastic. This will allow me to slip a cover over the bow and not need me to worry about individual fibres peeling off. The ideal braid would be similar to the very cheap hobby rope, such as:

Twisty rope stuff

Cheap Nylon Braid

This will allow me to go back to the Mk1 version, but allow the bow to flex. It would also allow the colours to change (just in case J pulls a Samuel L Jackson and demands a purple light bow[1]). Currently this version is in the parts prospecting stage, as I am looking for a hollow braid rope, about one and a half metres long, of fibre optic plastic. I may have to make a rope braiding loom and weave one myself[2], but that just means that I can start selling them.

The next challenge will be the electronics on the bow. If I can power the lights, then I can move on and start to do very small scale electronics to control the light source (although the thought of soldering components that are 0.2mm to a side scares me. I can only do down to 0.8mm at the moment)


Becky’s Addendums:
[1] J does want a purple bow ala Mace Windu. Purple is his favourite colour.
[2] Y’know, I can weave. I own a loom. Just saying.

Duelling Cellos Lightsaber Bow

I’ve been given to understand that J is convinced that he’ll get a special Lightsaber bow for his violin if he becomes good at it.

I see no reason why he shouldn’t have one, so I’ve consulted my friend Droo about the construction of such a bow. Now, Droo isn’t just any engineer. Droo is the engineer. He is descended from a long line of engineers that I’m almost sure dates back to the design and construction of the Pyramids [1].

Droo’s original design for the lightsaber bow involved using some sort of lightbulb cabled to the back of the bow by means unknown to mundane folk like myself. The bulb would be bright and use up very little energy, but the weight of the bow would be far too heavy to J to lift. Plus, we soon discovered that violin bows need to be able to bend, something that such a bulb could not do. The vibrations of the music might also cause the glass to shatter, which would not be safe.

The second design was an idea I came up with. Droo had purchased a roll of lights for sticking up around his house so that he could find his room at night. The lights wouldn’t exactly give a clean, singular light like in the video, but it would have the same effect as fairy lights – besides which, they could also be programmed to blink, or change colours. However, the lights were also fairly energy intensive and needed a large battery pack. We briefly considered using a paper battery as the power source for the thing, but such things haven’t quite hit the common market yet and would blow our budget right out of the water.

Droo’s latest design, and one that I have the greatest hope for, is based on the Ben Kokes light up engagement ring. Check it out.

Since the bow needs to bend, we’re probably not going to use copper or a string of LEDs, though. Uncle T has suggested finely sanded fibre optic lights, so as not to injure J’s eyes. We’ll make a little bracelet for J to wear when playing his violin that contains the transmitter.

We’re still working on the whole weight/largeness issue. I expect we should be finished with this particular project before J turns six.


[1]Not the Sphinx, of course. The construction of that thing was taken over halfway by shoddy contractors.