Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Timbuk2 Makeover

While there are many arguments for and against a consumer driven economy, here are the two issues that relate to this project:

#1 - When we (by which I mean me of course) want something new, we really really want it.  Wanting something generally has little or nothing to do with needing it.
#2 - There's little incentive for manufacturers to strive for durable products because it means we won't need to buy their products as often.  In the rare case that someone does make an awesome and durable product, it makes it harder and harder to justify the "wants" portion of #1.

I think Timbuk2 makes awesome bags.  I've had my trusty laptop/work bag for 4 years and other than the velcro needing to be cleaned, it looks brand new.   New... as in: there's no reason what-so-ever for me to even think about purchasing a new one.

Still looks just like this picture from the REI website:
Except for the neglected velcro area:

But, but... there's prettier ones, and I can like, design my own and pick out fabrics and they'll custom make if for me and I'd be supporting the US economy and stuff... (does that sound whiney enough?)

I'm serious about the designing your own bag part.  It's a fun interface to play with: CLICK HERE.

Below is the one I designed a few weeks ago (I'm told the available fabrics change every few months).

It's awesome
I designed it myself
Quality product (I know this first hand)
Made is USA
Ships in 2-4 business days!

It's $200! (I picked a lot of upgraded features, you can get a custom bag for much less)
I already have a functionally similar bag :(
The customizable bag options don't include one with a back passthrough for rollie-bag luggage handle and I use that feature all the time when traveling for work
It's still $200. (audible sigh)

Instead of being seduced by my lovely dream bag, I went to the fabric store and picked up similar fabrics and reflective piping ($9.92 with tax). I also used a zipper from my stash and ironed interfacing to the back of the fabric because that houndstooth-ish fabric was clearly going to fray.

I started by sewing 3 panels together based on the width of the current front of the bag, then used a rotary cutter to cut across the width of the panel to add a zipper from my stash (that is my one complaint about my current bag, there's no external zipper pocket for my phone/wallet/boarding pass)

I just traced the curves of the existing front panel of the bag with a marker (too lazy to make a pattern).

And that velcro cleaned right up with the narrow end of a hair comb!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Spray Paint Saturday: Rainbow Mirror

It seems that all passionate spray painters remember how they got hooked.  My post-college roommate introduced me to the world of possibilities than can only come in a can.  Her introduction to spray painting was much more interesting than mine, as she picked it up from her grandfather.  He liked to tinker in the garage and always had paint around.

My very first spray paint project was a thrifted lamp about 7 years ago.  I just recently donated that lamp back to the Idaho Youth Ranch Thrift Store from where it came... but the silver paint was a serious upgrade from the condition it came in.

This sad old mirror came from the Youth Ranch's by-the-pound facility (think one man's trash is another man's trash waiting to be spray painted).  The frame is hollow plastic so it couldn't have been more than $1.50.  I don't have a photo of the mirror frame in its original 1970's brown color, here it was primed with white:

I used colors of paint already in my stash, with the exception of the yellow... $4 can of paint+$1.50 mirror, still a heck of a deal!

I had imagined that I would allow the paint to dry in between colors, but there was no need.  I dove right in.  The frame was already primed with white primer, so I sprayed glossy white, then went straight into the yellow, green, and blue.  I'm not sure if it's because the blue can was almost empty, or because the paint is thicker, but that layer of paint splattered a bit.  I grabbed the green and did a light spray over the color transition and covered the issue.

So there it is, guess I missed my calling to be do graffiti art.

Whats the first thing you ever spray painted?