Botanical Lamp Shade

by Cassie, May 6th, 2012 | 2 Comments

My old lamp shade didn’t survive the move to Seattle. When I was looking for a new lamp shade, I was inspired by a neat lamp shade I saw on Etsy that was decorated with dried plants. I followed these instructions for making my own lamp shade.

On one of my hikes around Seattle, I gathered some plants to decorate my lamp shade.

Gathered plants

Then, I dried the plants for a couple weeks.

Drying the plants

After the plants were dried, I arranged the plants on my lamp shade and glued them on. After the glue had dried, I applied a protective coat of  clear acrylic sealer spray.

Finished lamp shade

Lamp shade lit up for the first time

XRT Playlist Generator: A Project I Thought Would Be Cool But Actually Wasn’t

by Jonathan, December 18th, 2011 | No Comments

Back when I lived in Chicago, my favorite radio station was XRT. They played all the interesting, undiscovered bands. Sadly, all the radio stations in Iowa are owned by clear channel, so they only play the latest corporate-approved megastar. XRT’s website has a list of all the songs they’ve played in the last day. So I created a program which takes that list, finds those songs somewhere out on the internet, and generates a playlist of it all. To try it, paste the url http://www.jonathankoomjian.com/projects/xrt/playlist.m3u into your computer’s music player.

After I finished this project, I discovered XRT has gone all baby boomer on me – now they mostly play The Police and Natalie Merchant :(

The one saving grace of the whole endeavor is that sometimes the program gets random covers of the song it was aiming for. And it turns out the covers are way more interesting than the originals. Here are some of my favorites:

Hey Jude performed by a marching band:
http://anchorbaybands.org/music/Marching%20Band/CBML_HJ_BMBS_Live.mp3
The cranberries song in korean
http://lapulce.freeflux.net/files/audio/01-faye-wong-dream-person-cantonese-.mp3
Diana Ross sung by by 2 Japanese ladies who don’t know any English:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTvVMjnBePM

Fun with Cameras

by Jonathan, November 10th, 2011 | No Comments

Since getting back from South America, Cassie and I have been going through a bit of camera withdrawal – we took an average of 43 photos a day down there, but now that we’re back to our normal lives, and there are no mountains or palaces to photograph, we’ve been trying to come up with unusual ways to photograph the everyday stuff around us. Here are three that turned out well.

1. Ride with the Roomba – this is the view from the roomba as it cleans our apartment. Its a time lapse video 4 times faster than real life.

2. 24 hours of the view out our apartment window compressed into 45 seconds.

3. View from the dome of the Iowa State Capitol.

Pennies on Train Tracks

by Cassie, March 25th, 2011 | No Comments

Jonathan and I had never put pennies on train tracks, so we decided to go try it out last weekend. We placed several different coins on the train tracks going through Water Works Park in Des Moines. Unfortunately, the trains do not come by very frequently, so we were not able to see the train run over the coins. We returned the next day, and none of the coins were still on the tracks! We looked all over, and then we spotted one of our coins! We managed to find all our coins, and every coin had been run over by the train! It rained the night before, so we think the rain may have knocked the coins off the tracks.

These are the pennies we put on the tracks, and they were completely flattened.

The coin on the left is a nickel, and the coin on the right is a quarter. Both coins were also completely flattened.

We placed a couple other coins at another spot along the tracks just beyond a bridge. These coins were still somewhat recognizable as coins and did not seem to have been hit with as much force as the other coins. We think this may have been because the train slowed down for the bridge, but we’re not sure exactly why these coins turned out differently. The smooth side of the coin was the side that was set face up on the tracks. The other side was rough with some bumps on it.

This is the smooth side of the coins.

This is the rough side of the coins

SavvyGoose.com

by Cassie, February 12th, 2011 | No Comments

Last year, I started working on a start-up, SavvyGoose.com, and we launched the site last week! Each weekday, SavvyGoose gives away an awesome prize and also offers the prize a discount. Check it out, and sign up to win a prize! Unfortunately, according the contest rules, immediate family members are not allowed to enter the sweepstakes. :( But, you can still buy the prize at a discount.

Hippie Coffee Table Makeover

by Jonathan, June 5th, 2010 | 2 Comments

Cassie and I both though our coffee table was way to squarish and old fashioned. So we transformed it into a rainbow colored hippie coffee table :) We also added bean bag chairs and the hanging christmas lights. Our apartment is starting to look more and more like the ultimate dorm room :)

Before

After - Our new rainbow hippie coffee table!

After - Our new rainbow hippie coffee table!

After - Our new rainbow hippie coffee table!

After - Our new rainbow hippie coffee table!

After - Our new rainbow hippie coffee table!

After - Our new rainbow hippie coffee table!

Float On

by Jonathan, March 30th, 2010 | No Comments

Yesterday I read an article about a guy who recorded a time lapse video of his back yard over the course of an entire year. I thought it would be a fun project to try. Except I’m not that patient. So here is my time lapse video of my back yard over the course of yesterday afternoon.

Making a time lapse video isn’t hard. I used a Canon Powershot connected to a Ubuntu laptop. Here are the commands:


#Take a picture every 10 seconds
gphoto2 --set-config flashmode=0 --set-config beep=0 --set-config imageformat=2 --capture-image-and-download --interval=10

#Make sure images are named sequentially
x=1; for i in $(ls -tr $(ls -rt *JPG)); do counter=$(printf %04d $x); ln "$i" img"$counter".jpg; x=$(($x+1)); done

#Convert to a .dv movie (dv worked better than mpeg for me)
ffmpeg -f image2 -i img%04d.jpg -target ntsc-dv movie.dv

Kite Aerial Photography in Des Moines

by Jonathan, February 7th, 2010 | No Comments

This past summer Cassie and I got a kite and attached a camera to it. We set the camera to continuously take pictures until it ran out of memory. The images turned out way better than we expected! Here they are:

Our kite has 1000′ of line, but the highest were were able to get the camera is about 460′ above the ground. Amazingly, we never dropped the camera, or had the kite fly away. We only had one mishap- We were flying the kite next to Gray’s Lake, which was really crowded that day. We were in an industrial area we weren’t sure we were supposed to be in. After about an hour, a cop car comes our way, pulls up besides us, and the two cops get out. We figured they were going to kick us out, but then they started laughing. They said someone had called 911 to report a UFO over Grays Lake!! By this time it had gotten kind of dark, so the kite line was invisible, and we were behind some trees away from the park. So someone saw this big black diamond hovering over the lake and assumed it was a UFO. Anyway, we showed the cops some of our photos, and they thought it was really cool :)