Just a short one.

Not much going on with the lab today. I used my metal stamping kit to make a brass address plaque for the door. The one shown below is the best of five tries. I’ve never done metal stamping before and it is harder than you would think to get a decent result.

Here it is in place next to the door.

I also added some more items to the shelving in the back, courtesy of some charms I found at Michael’s.

I have to choose what I would like to start on next, as I need some shipments to complete this piece. I am between using either this alarm clock, though I have no idea what to put in there:

Or this little store I picked up at an antiques store on Cape Cod:

I’m thinking a corsetry shop or a millinery?

What do you think?


Almost done with the lab and my first ever video!

I got a lot of work done on the lab in the last few days.

The chemistry table is still in the works but I have completed the test tube rack. Each test tube is made of a piece of very thin plastic tubing that I cut to fit into the test tube rack. I then used a dress makers pin to fill the tubes with paint. How, you may ask, did I do this? Simply watch the 20 second long video below to find out:

Tiny bits of tubing.
Dress maker’s pin.
Getting paint into tiny test tubes.

Once all the paint was in, I sealed the bottoms of the tubing with glue and inserted them into the rack.

The table seemed to need something else and I realized there was no clear way to get gas to the burner, so I made a little stove/gas canister. Some of the steps I used to make it are shown below.

Copper paint.
Silver paint.

Once the stove was built, I started on the lighting. I am, yet again, awaiting supplies but I chose these little amber bottles and some clock hands to hang the lamps. There will be one on each side of the lab. The LEDs will go inside the bottle and it will hang from the clock hands.

The lights and the titration vessel are the last of the items for this project. Unless I decide to add stairs leading up to the door and decorate the inside of the door as well.

I don’t know if I won, but he’s upset too…

Today, I had an email argument with an Etsy shop owner. It seems they took exception to my negative review of their shop. I’m sorry, but if you can’t tell the difference between a shipping address and a billing address, and you don’t know what Apple Pay is, you should not be running an online business. They sent my order to my billing address, which means my order is wandering through the postal system and may never be found. He claims that I never gave him the shipping address. And I explained that Apple Pay automatically populates the shipping address attached to the card you use.

His response: I don’t know what Apple Pay is.


It ended with me informing him that the negative review will remain until I either receive my order or a refund, at which point I will edit it. Though I have to say, neutral is the best he can expect. I also told him the conversation was closed.

Meanwhile, I worked on the tiger skin rug tonight. I have been working on it in the background, when I don’t have the time or supplies to work on something else. It is about half done now.

I have learned a few things while making this rug. First, when you are working at this small a scale, every mistake you make is huge, and a huge pain in the ass. Second, work goes even more slowly on miniatures than in regular sized patterns. Third, I HATE evenweave fabric. From now on, it’s all Aida all the time. The evenweave is more like linen and it SHEDS. Little bits of fluff get all over the place. In my stitches, in my throat, in my eyes…and that happens even though I am wearing both glasses and cheaters. Aida is a smooth cotton that does not shed. If I weren’t so far into this project, I would start over on Aida. However, I stubbornly press on. Victory or death. But preferably victory.

Experiments are underway.

Things made a giant leap forward in my miniature lab this weekend. I completed the entomology table and the wall above it, created a new bookshelf for the back wall and stocked it with books, specimens and spare equipment and got the chemistry table mostly ready. I need to go to the drug store for the worlds smallest eye dropper so I can get some chemicals into the titration vessel and my test tubes, if they ever arrive.

The entomology area.
The new bookshelf.
The chemistry table with ringstand and burner.
The equipment set up.
More equipment for the chemistry experiment.

I was quite pleased to discover that the plungers on the syringes could be removed and “chemicals” could then be added. I did this by painting the ends of the plungers and allowing them to dry before reinserting them into the syringe bodies.

I also finished watching the lecture series about the Black Death. It was truly disgusting. My fellow biologists out there will love it.



Today was one of those days. Not the kind when everything goes wrong, but the kind when everything that happens is unsatisfying. It was beastly humid where I am and we had a torrential thunderstorm in the early afternoon. The rain cooled the air down a bit, but somehow managed to make the air even more humid. I might have said this would be impossible this morning, as at 7:30 am you could practically wring the air out. See, unsatisfying.

For this reason I didn’t do much today beyond completing the specimens I want to put on the wall. Here are most of them. I forgot to take a picture of the fifth one. If you want to know, it’s another dragonfly.

I still need to figure out how I want to light the thing and more shelving.

The Black Death.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a huge (HUGE) nerd. While I have been working in the lab and on the lab, I have been watching/listening to a 24 part lecture series about the Black Death. It seemed apropos to what is happening in the world today. I have to say I am grateful that covid-19 does not have a 60% death rate and we are not burying people in mass graves or dumping bodies into the local rivers, hoping the water will carry them away.

I spent some time trying to make a very small lab coat today, but I was unsuccessful. All was going well until I got to the sleeves and collar and then everything went pear-shaped, a Victorian expression that means everything is fucked.

Instead I focused on the biology side of the lab and made some “specimens” out of jewelry findings and paper. I also picked out some interestingly shaped bits of wood that I painted blue and will use to mount more “specimens” onto the wall.

There is even a specimen on the microscope now.

I will need to choose a specimen for the mounting tray and I quite like how the notebook looks there. I might add my test tube rack, but I haven’t decided yet. I’m thinking of possibly adding more shelves for books and equipment as well. We’ll see where things go.

I heart chipboard.

I couldn’t find a design for a ladder or for stairs that would work in the space, so I decided to design one. I based my design on the companionway on the ship I used to live on (a story for another day). Companionways are great because the combine features of both ladders and stairs. They are narrow and fairly straight up and down like ladders, but they have stair-like rungs so one can run up and down fairly quickly. Also one does not need to descend facing the companionway as one does when using a ladder.

I started by cutting two pieces of chipboard that were 0.5 cm by 9 cm. I cut one end of each strip at an angle so that it would rest flat on the clock floor. I cut the other end off flat at just over 7 cm long. These would be the side supports of my companionway.

Next I cut the steps from the chipboard. I cut five or six pieces 2 cm by 0.5 cm. I painted all the pieces with copper metallic paint. The steps were glued in place at the same angle as the bottoms of the side supports. This keeps the stairs flat and parallel to the floor.

Here’s the completed ladder:

I also decided to add some copper detailing to the chemistry table. One needs a relatively impermeable surface in case of spills.

Not quite rose colored glasses…

We are getting down to the details on the laboratory. The inside of the clock is looking like something now. The telescope is installed and I have begun figuring out the positions for the rest of the furnishings.

To keep things going in the steampunk vein, we needed some goggles. Plus, one should always be aware of safety, and have your personal protective equipment available.

Rivets, thin wire, and some actual faux leather were used to make the goggles. Plus, of course, some inexplicable gears. I made three versions

Protection only
A pair with unknown function, though I imagine the gears would move different types of lenses into place.
And a pair with a side light and magnifier lens.

They look great with the hat

Interior design.

I have been making some progress on the interior of the clock. The platform for the telescope has been completed.

One must have safety measures in place.

The railing is made from clock hands, necklace chain, and some jump rings. It has been glued into place at the bottom of the clock face.

The coat rack has been completed as well. As I said previously, the rack is made from a painted bamboo skewer, some gears, and a bead. The pegs are the ends of painted fancy toothpicks.

The walls needed some decorating, so I added a schematic on the wall above table that will contain the chemistry experiment.

Every scientist needs a job aid from time to time…

I have also been working on the lab tables, though they are not yet ready to be photographed. Also, I will need to build some sort of ladder so the telescope can be reached.

It may seem odd that my imaginary scientist has so many things going on in her lab. Back in the day, most scientists didn’t specialize, they studied whatever interested them. They, of course, were not all brilliant, but those that had their own labs could work on whatever they chose, when they chose. Papers were published and presented to various colleges, scientific societies, and salons. Discoveries and inventions were patented and sold to companies, corporations, or governments. It seems odd that that’s how it would be in our heavily regulated society of today. There were no regulatory agencies so it was pretty much anything goes, which allowed for great flexibility. Unfortunately, it also allowed for great abuses to take place. Remember, this was before World War II and the Geneva conventions. Human experimentation was allowed.

Not in my tiny lab, of course, but it happened.

The machinery of the stars

More work on the star chart in the laboratory tonight. If you are going to claim you are steampunk, you need to have a bunch of inexplicable gears around. Also, I wanted to make the holes in the clock face look like part of the scene and not detract from it. Here’s how the star chart looks now:

I also used more inexplicable gears to make a stand for the telescope. It took me three tries, and, of course, the design I liked the least was the one that worked.

The telescope began life as a pendant.

Once that was finished, I worked on the coat rack for a while. The glue and paint needed time to dry. I’ll finish that piece tomorrow evening. The coat rack is made from a painted piece of a skewer, two gears, a rivet and a black bead. Back in the day, coat racks were made this way so that one had a place to hang one’s hat. I will add the pegs for coats tomorrow as well.

My final little task for this evening was to add “arsenic” to the little glass jar labeled as such. Arsenic, shown below, is metallic looking, so I used black glitter sand to make mine. Then I glued the cork in tightly because spilled glitter is no joke, and I can’t go shedding glitter all over the full size lab in which I work.

This is what arsenic actually looks like. Thank-you Wikipedia.

Now, normally I wouldn’t use Wikipedia for research, but as I didn’t need a scholarly article about arsenic, Wikipedia is fine for my purposes.

One tiny jar of ground up arsenic. My scientist could poison a small town with that much…

That’s it for tonight. I’m hoping to manage more than 5 hours of sleep.