Nov
30
2014

New Shop on Etsy

Just to try something different, I just set up a new shop on Etsy. There’s currently only one item for sale there, but this should be an interesting experiment.

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And my first listing? A wooden playing card holder for kids.

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Nov
15
2014

A Special Birthday Video for My Wife

My wife was having dinner with a friend, and while the kids and I ate supper without her, I had an idea for a birthday video for my wife. The only problem: her birthday was the next day.

I explained the premise to my children, and once we cleaned the table, my two oldest kids began illustrating the characters, and I sat down to formulate a script. 15 minutes later, the script was finished. Ten minutes after that, the illustrations were complete. Next, we recorded the vocals on my iPhone (mostly in the utility room – lots of sound dampening clothes hanging up to block the noise of the twins). Everything was going exceptionally well – my six year old’s monster drawing was a perfect fit, my nine year old daughter nailed the script after just one read through, and the twins were contentedly coloring.

After just a few minutes, we had all the major pieces we need to pull the video together.

We took a break to play before putting the twins in bed, and afterwards I started “cutting out” each of the illustrations in Photoshop. Another break to tuck in the big kids, then I took a minute to do vocal sound effects. I wasn’t sure how the sound effects would work, but I think they add a lot of fun to the piece. I have exactly zero experience with layering sounds, but the audio came together nicely.

After that, hours of animating video in After Effects. By 5:45 am, I was ready to render the video and pick up some milk for breakfast.

I love how the project turned out – almost exactly like what I had in my mind.

But the best part was Keri and the kids’ laughter when they saw the the video later that morning.

 
Oct
28
2014

Paper Skull Mask

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Since I’ve been pretty useless with the kids the past two years, dressed up like Boba Fett, my wife asked me to do something different this year. I figured I wouldn’t dress up at all until I saw this amazing paper skull mask template on one of my favorite blogs. Like the instructions say, it took about 3 hours to complete, and it’s wonderful.

I didn’t intend this to be a creepy mask, but in the dark, it’s a little terrifying. I think that I’ll probably end up making paper fox masks for Keri and I instead.

 
Oct
25
2014

Dollhouse Project

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For my daughter’s 9th birthday, we bought her a Real Good Toys dollhouse kit. Since she enjoys projects like I do, we assembled it together, and we had a blast.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pics during the first 6-8 hours of the project – dying shingles, painting each part, gluing the walls together, and and installing some wall paper. Suffice it to say that it was a beast of a project. It took over a week to complete, but she and I were both very pleased with how things turned out.

 
Aug
29
2014

Boba Fett Scratchbuilt Jetpack

It’s been a couple of years since I built my Boba Fett suit, but over the last few weeks I’ve been working on a jetpack. There’s a reason that I put this part off – it’s an incredibly difficult part to build from scratch. But since the unpainted resin kit costs $350, I chose to make the pack out of sintra and upholstery tubing which I managed to pick up for free. Other than that, it was just the cost of Bondo, spray paint, some wooden balls, liquid mask, and a few wooden dowels.

This was my first time to do something so elaborate, but I’m very pleased with the results.

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For a full writeup, see my full list of instructions on Instructables.

This project has been featured on:

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Jun
13
2014

Trying to Lose Weight? Three things to avoid eating at all costs.

Call it a conspiracy of the food industry, if you will, but these three items are rarely discussed when it comes to weight loss. If you’re trying to manage your weight, here are three things you need to avoid eating in order to sustain a healthy diet.

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Item One: Jacks

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Believe it or not, these tasty morsels can actually wreck a diet that is otherwise going well. Like chips and other snack foods, it’s hard to just eat one or two. Once you open a box, most people will impulsively finish the whole thing. Don’t put yourself in a losing situation.

 

Item Two: Drano

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During any diet plan, there are often times you’ll begin to feel intensely thirsty and dehydrated. While your first instinct may be to dig around under the sink for this sweet libation, repeated studies have shown that the effects of this beverage are actually hazardous to your health. Don’t listen to your thirst – grab a tall glass of water instead.

 

Item Three: Razor Blades

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Contrary to common belief, razor blades are not actually considered a whole food. Though they may be low on calories, most health experts agree that razor blades are highly processed and may be the easiest way to wreck your diet.

By avoiding these three items, you’ll be well on your way to a heathy and fulfilling food plan that will enable you to achieve your weight loss dreams.

 
May
09
2014

End-of-Year Project

Vance decided that he wanted to make a 5 foot long hammerhead shark, so… that’s what we made.

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Apr
30
2014

Coolest Stuff

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Love the vintage tech made up of Lego bricks. Check the whole set out here.

 

 
Apr
12
2014

My Visit to Israel (Part 7)

This is the seventh part in a multi-post description of my recent visit to Israel. To start from the beginning, go here.

We started off the morning with a great breakfast at the Inbal hotel, then packed up our bags and headed to Bethlehem for our final day of shooting video. Since our Jewish guide and van driver were observing Shabbat, we connected up with a Christian guide and his friend, a Muslim driver.

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The Garden of Gethsemane is a heavily visited location, so we knew that we would have to capture video for that spot in a different place. This olive grove outside of Bethlehem was the perfect location for some peaceful footage.

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This little boy got some candy from our thoughtful Campus Pastor, Mike Baker.

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Beautiful almond tree in bloom in the middle of the olive grove.

Once shooting was done, we drove to the Shepherd’s Fields where the angels brought the message of the birth of the Messiah, Jesus, to the shepherds. Unfortunately, like many places, our large tripod bags called a little too much attention to ourselves, and we were turned out when we didn’t have express permission to shoot video in that location.

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So we headed into Bethlehem, the city of Jesus’ birth, and as we scouted out a nativity-looking location, we went ahead and shot a video overlooking the city.

Click here to read more »

 
Apr
12
2014

My Visit to Israel (Part 6)

This is the sixth part in a multi-post description of my recent visit to Israel. To start from the beginning, go here.

The morning of our fifth day was started early so that we could get to the Garden Tomb, one possible location of Jesus’ tomb, before the rest of the public would arrive and make our video shoot impossible.

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Up the path to the entrance to the Garden.

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Inside the Garden. The entrance to the tomb is in the middle of the screen above.

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Inside the tomb.

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Video of setting up for a shoot at the Garden Tomb.

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From the garden, we also had a view of the area that could be the location of the crucifixion – Golgotha.

Leaving the Garden Tomb, Chad Funk and myself split off from the rest of the group to visit the City of David, the oldest part of the city, and in particular Hezekiah’s tunnel.

King Hezekiah built this aqueduct, channeling water into the city, in preparation for an Assyrian attack after he refused to pay tribute. Biblical mention >>

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Here I am, with a GoPro harness strapped to my chest. This was one of the things on my wish list for the trip, and I was fired up that we were able to make it work.

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Standing in the area that many believe to be the ruins of David’s palace.

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Another view of the palace ruins.

Click here to read more »

 
Apr
12
2014

My Visit to Israel (Part 5)

This is the fifth part in a multi-post description of my recent visit to Israel. To start from the beginning, go here.

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Another delicious breakfast in Efrat where we stayed.

After breakfast, we headed east towards the Jordan River. On the way, we passed through the desert, and as we drove through this area, we could see Bedouins and their camels.

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We passed by the modern city of Jericho as we neared the Jordan River.

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This area is built up to accommodate the large number of visitors that come to this site each day. The Jordan River plays a significant part in several Bible events such as the Israelites passing over the Jordan with the Arc of the Covenant, Elijah being taken up to heaven, John the Baptist’s ministry, and the baptism of Jesus. Biblical mentions of the Jodan River >>

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Setting up for a video shoot at the Jordan River. The ropes denote the border between Israel and Jordan.

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Click here to read more »

 
Apr
12
2014

My Visit to Israel (Part 4)

This is the fourth part in a multi-post description of my recent visit to Israel. To start from the beginning, go here.

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The city of Jerusalem sits between the Mount of Olives and Mount Zion. Here we are standing on the Mount of Olives and looking down on the city of Jerusalem. All the small boxes in the foreground make up a cemetery.

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This valley is called the Kidron Valley, and the small strip of green in the valley on the right is Gethsemane, the garden where Jesus and his disciples were praying on the night of Jesus’ arrest. On the left of the city, the area outside the wall is where the City of David once stood.

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The Campus Pastors at the Mount of Olives.

Video panorama from the Mount of Olives.

From the Mount of Olives, we went back into Jerusalem into the Muslim Quarter and the Via Dolorosa, the path which in Latin mean “Way of Sorrow”. This passageway has been held to be the path that Jesus walked with His cross before his crucifixion.

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Click here to read more »

 
Apr
12
2014

My Visit to Israel (Part 3)

This is the third part in a multi-post description of my recent visit to Israel. To start from the beginning, go here.

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Our third day in Israel began as we awoke in the beautiful small town of Efrat, the home of the Old Testament characters Ruth and Boaz. Biblical mentions of Ephrath >>

Every entrance door post in Israel, including each of our hotel room doors, had a mezuzah (pictured below – excellent Wikipedia article). These were sometimes ornate and occasionally modern, like above. These fixtures each contain a piece of paper with the passage of Deuteronomy hand copied onto it by a scribe. The Jews believe this fulfills the requirement of the Old Testament teaching to write the words of the Scriptures on your doorposts. As far as I could tell, there was no way to open up the container to read the Scriptures inside.

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Breakfast was at a local cafe. The food was absolutely amazing, and our host for the morning, Rabbi Shmuel Bowman made these mornings in Efrat a favorite part of my trip.

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Rabbi Shmuel accompanied us on our drive to Jerusalem.

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The next few photos are on the grounds of the Jerusalem Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem.

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One of the box cars used to transport Jews during the Holocaust.

Click here to read more »

 
Apr
12
2014

My Visit to Israel (Part 2)

This is the second part in a multi-post description of my recent visit to Israel. To start from the beginning, go here.

Next up was the ruins of the city of Capernaum (map) on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. This is the town where several New Testament stories take place, my favorite of which is the story of the four guys who brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus by digging a hole in the roof. In my photos you’ll notice a very modern (spaceship-looking) Catholic church structure that was built over the ruins that some believe was the home of Saint Peter. Biblical mentions of the town of Capernaum >>

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The ruins of the ancient city of Capernaum.

Quick video panorama of the area.

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The Catholic church building built over the ruins of the tiny room that might have been Peter’s house.

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The tiny house under the Catholic church building.

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Fish-eye view from the inside of the Catholic church. You can see Peter’s house through the window in the bottom of the church building.

Here in Capernaum there is also the rebuilt ruins of a Jewish synagogue (the white structure). The Bible mentions Jesus teaching in this synagogue at the beginning of his ministry and that the people who heard him were amazed by his teaching.

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Click here to read more »

 
Apr
11
2014

My Visit to Israel (Part 1)

It’s been several weeks since I joined several other pastors from Faith Promise on a trip to Israel. Our time consisted primarily of visiting locations to film for our upcoming Easter series, but it also afforded us some time to visit a few locations not included on film. As the time since the trip continues to increase, I’ve finally set out to jot a few notes to accompany the huge number of photos I took in an attempt to share the details of the trip with those who are interested.

For those unfamiliar with the geography of Israel, the land where a huge portion of the Bible is located, it can be a bit overwhelming at first, but just understanding the location of the major bodies of water in the area has been very helpful to me and will make your reading of Scripture much less irritating.

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Israel is just northeast of Egypt, is about the size of New Hampshire, and is mostly contained between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. I’ve linked the map above to the location in Google Maps, so you can look around and zoom in, if you’d like.

We flew into Tel Aviv, the city that is in the location of the biblical town of Joppa, well know for being the port town from which Solomon’s cedar logs for building his palace and the first Jewish Temple were received. It’s also the town where Peter was staying when he had his vision of the animals descending in a sheet. Biblical mentions of Joppa >>

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From there, we drove north and east to the west coast of the Sea of Galilee in the town of Tiberias (map). The sun had already set when we arrived, but a few of us walked around the area of the nearby boardwalk. This is the place we slept there for our first night. I remember being particularly touched with the thought that this ocean at night was a common location for Jesus and his disciples, and the event of Jesus calming the storm was specifically on my mind. Biblical mentions of Tiberias >>

Click here to read more »

 
Mar
08
2014

Tauriel – Fighting Elf Lady Costume Instructions

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Both my daughter and oldest son decided that they wanted to dress up as Lord of the Rings characters for their birthdays. My son’s costume (Frodo) was easy to pull together using a costume and elements I bought online, but when my daughter decided she wanted to dress up as Tauriel, the fighting elf lady from Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit movies*, I discovered that there aren’t great costumes for that character.

So, I made it myself using some wood, an old green shirt, some fake vinyl leather (on hand from my Boba Fett costume), and a store-bought leggings and boots (both on clearance).

 

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This gray sparkly boot was pretty far from what we needed, but some brown spray paint did the trick nicely.

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Masking off the soles and insides of the boot – to get them ready to paint.

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I used one of my daughter’s shirts as a starting point for the dress. We were very limited on fabric, so I ended up using pretty much every bit of my old shirt.

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Spray painting the black leggings with brown spray paint.

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Preparing the “leather” parts. Here I’m making the upper part of the boots.

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Drawing out the first dagger.

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I clamped the boards together and used a reciprocating saw to cut them out. (One day I’ll have a ban saw.)

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Shaping out the top dagger using a sander.

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Cutting notches using a box cutter.

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Finishing out the details of the dagger.

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After applying spray paint.

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The finished costume!

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*My kids have never seen any of the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings movies. They’re still pretty terrified to even watch Disney movies right now. But we have read all the books together.

Here’s some additional pics of my son’s Frodo costume.

 
Mar
08
2014

To Be A Hobbit

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Dec
29
2013

Bilbo Baggins

A few photos walking through the process of my latest drawing party illustration.

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Dec
06
2013

Working with Clay

One of my favorite things about my job is that I get to work on a very wide variety of tasks and projects. But, this promo graphic for our upcoming kid’s event took things to a new level.

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And since I couldn’t resist, we went ahead and put together a short stop-motion video for promotion as well.

 
Dec
03
2013

A Few Recent Projects

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Kind of as a joke, and partially just for fun, I doctored up this Pop Tarts image with an imaginary new flavor.

 

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A series of large outdoor directional signs.

 

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Creating logo guidelines for the Faith Promise brand.

 

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Digital mock up of large signage in the Lobby area.

 

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Signage concept for children’s space. Final installation pics here.

 

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Concept mockup on hardware.

 

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Illustrator concept design.

 

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Mailer design.

 

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Wall signage design.

 

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Emergency signage design.

 

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Booklet design – InDesign