Thoughts on jewellery

Cool things, Uncategorized

While I was in America at Bay Area Maker Faire, I managed to meet the amazing Mary Etta West, who designs pcbs to *be* jewellery. In Berlin I happened upon some manufacturers of extreme close up cameras doing a surface mount soldering workshop.. on jewellery.

So of course, my autism demands that I focus wholeheartedly and intensely on jewellery (jewelry if you must, American chums).

First, Mary Etta West, aka LightningHawk. She designs pcbs and you’ll recognise a fair few of her boards – the LilyPad Proto Snap, the Sparkfun Weatherbit, and many others. She’s used her skills to make the most gorgeous jewellery with programmable lights under the nom de plume (nom de circuit?) Desert Bloom. Add a 3-d printed cover and you’re pretty close to geek nirvana.




Also, I clearly have an inability to pull a normal face in photos. L-R Angela Sheehan (@the_gella), Mary (@_LightningHawk) and me (@tanurai).

One of her pieces *may* have made it back to the UK. Via Berlin, where it was greatly admired.


For more about her designs, visit

Impending Forrins


It turns out that May and June are very busy.

Shortly I’ll depart for San Francisco. I will be writing for both Pimoroni and Make. I’ll be presenting talks at HDDG and at Make itself, and popping up at the Bring a Hack meetup. Air travel kinda stops you whoofing all your cool stuff into a car and just turning up with a bag of tricks, so the Americans are going to have to deal with an idiot Brit turning up with a bag of trash and a headfull of ideas.

Been Busy…


So since Christmas things have been a bit frantic. I’ve been updating twitter, but not this page, not as much as I should do. I’ll try to force myself to do a post a week, but don’t hold me to it.

A sort-of mini world tour is imminent, and although hectic there are some places I’ve been wanting to see ever since I got into this Maker lark. I’ve had to turn down some things (why does everyone hold an event on the May Bank Holiday weekend?) and other events because burnout is a Very Real Thing.

So – what have you missed?

January – How does that work?

I got a bit obsessed with finding out how our boards work, and delved into the ins and outs of components. Some tutorials came out of that, and you can find them at the Pimoroni blog.

During this time, the wonderful and talented Ruth Amos and Kisha Bradley were campaining for #girlswithdrills, so of course I bought a t-shirt to support the cause, and took a rather awkward photo wearing it. (And yes, I know one of those is a screwdriver, not a drill.)

In nicer photographic images, I rediscovered crochet thanks to the geeky hooker’s pattern for a Porg. I couldn’t stop making them.

Crocheted porg held in my hand, a bit lumpy but otherwise looking as annoyed as the porg did at chewy

Lasers also got a look in, and thanks to a pattern on thingiverse I am now the proud owner of some Portal earrings. I really do love plastic weld glue, it literally melts the surfaces of your acrylic together for a rock solid hold.

Portal earrings made from laser cut perspex and mirror.

I designed my current twitter avatar, which is a pixellated version of me. It was fun, but ridiculously constricting. Got hooked on Shenzhen IO, which is a brilliant if rather frustrating game that is a simulator of designing and programming circuits. Why I didn’t just learn to design pcbs, I dunno. It was in a Steam bundle and I’m impressionable.

In nail news (which might be why some of you are here, who knows? I discovered thermochromic gel polish, which has pigment that changes colour with changes in temperature. Here’s a gif.

In fact, as I write this I’m wearing lime green – bottle green thermochromic varnish. It hasn’t lost it’s appeal!

Went to BETT and saw loads of cool people, ideas, and innovations, and got some more insight into what we need to be doing to make STEM subjects more accessible. I also gawked quite enthusiastically at the Wall of Microbit!

Oh, and we had some little connector pins called Pogo Pins delivered at work, so I did a video with Sandy about how to use them.

And to end the month, I got a fever.

Turns out January was quite busy… the other 3 months will have to wait for the next post.