E-textiles: LED Bracelets

bracelet_star-320_smallFor these LED bracelets we used the following: felt fabric in different colors (from amazon.fr), LED lights (from amazon.fr), conductive thread (from Kitronik), 3V Coin cell battery holder with the latch (from Kitronik), 1 x CR2032 Coin Cell Battery and velcro strap and/or snap buttons.

To start with, cut a rectangular shape from felt fabric. Make sure that it is long enough for the wrist of the bracelet holder. Then cut another slightly slimmer piece of the same length for color effect. Design your circuit: how many and which color of LEDs you’d like to have. Sew your circuit.

The basic E-Textile LED circuit is very simple. It is created by placing the LEDs in parallel with the battery holder. You need to attach the + sides from the battery holder with the + side (longer leg) of the LED and the – sides from the battery holder with the shorter leg of the LED. We’ve used a battery holder with the latch in these projects for easier switching on/off.

After your circuit is functional, cut some shapes from a colorful felt of your choice. Cut a small hole in the middle of them and slide them through the LEDs. If they slide out, attach them with few stitches.

Lastly, to fasten the bracelet, attach a piece of velcro strap or snap buttons for each end of the bracelet.

See this excellent Blog post on How to Make Basic E-Textile LED Circuit from Kitronik for additional information on circuits and LEDs.

E-textiles: Custom Design Cushions with LED Lights

etextiles_pillowcase-320_smallA group of young fashion engineers gathers on Saturday afternoons to design and create e-textiles; bracelets, soft toys or other accessories using conductive materials and LED lights. The design process starts with thinking about the functionality of the creation; Which materials will be needed and how to assemble everything together.

Items needed vary depending on a project. For these custom design cushions we used the following: felt fabric in different colors (from amazon.fr),  sewable LED lights (from Kitronik), conductive thread (from Kitronik), 3V Coin cell battery holder with the latch (from Kitronik or Lilypad), 1 x CR2032 Coin Cell Battery and filling (organic wool from amazon.fr).

We first designed the cushion’s artwork, then cut the patterns from a sheet of felt and sewed them on another sheet of felt (in this case size of a sheet was 30x30cm). Secondly, we decided where the LED lights should go and designed the circuit. It’s good to test if all the components function by connecting them with the crocodile clips. Thirdly, we sewed the components on the cushion with the conductive thread. Make sure to do it right – check the Sparkfun Tutorial on Conductive Thread and Conductive Thread – 10 Tips Youtube video by Adafruit Industries. Lastly, we stitched together the patterned felt sheet and a blank one leaving a small opening for the filling on one side and closed the opening when the cushion was nice and puffy.

 

A Modest Summer Bucket List

fruit-640_mediumThis summer, I’m officially a summer bucket list follower. A dear friend of mine told me about the challenge – a collection of wonderful tasks that helps kids stay away from the screens and not get bored during the break. Reminding us all about the small things in life that matter, not to speak of helping us parents to figure out some creative, yet fun, summer assignments for our children.

It’s not always necessary to travel to the furthest corner of the world to make the vacation memorable as running through sprinklers in mum’s old hometown on a hot summer day is a blast!

repair-640_mediumSummer vacation at its best cuts us away from our everyday routines at home. Kids can enjoy outdoor activities and dive into their relaxing summer reading, and in one of Finland’s multiple lakes,  instead of wrestling with their homework or playing Fortnite in a tiny Parisian apartment. We, adults, can communicate in our mother tongue rather than mumble in multiple foreign languages.

Decelerate, breath and actively engage in purposeful activities; Granddad’s well-equipped garage provides an ideal venue for fixing a second-hand bike. This red devil is ready for the adventurous summer rides!

sunset-640_medium

Astonishing sunsets, home-made pizza,  and visiting the ice cream truck, Jätskiauto, have been the mouth and eye-watering experiences of July. Trying some tie-dye techniques and painting the story rocks will be the creative actions of August, not to mention familiarizing with all track and field disciplines, swimming in different lakes and visiting the local library.

 

Endless Source of Inspiration

smileycafe-640_mediumI’ve troubles in finding inspiration. I’m sipping my morning coffee in a beautifully designed Parisian coffee shop while writing this post. Flavor of the Belleville coffee and the ambiance of Bleu Olive should toss me into it, but no, it’s no go, again today. The energy of a young adult has vanished long ago, and bourgeois lifestyle might have drained the rest of it like those dementors in Harry Potter, who gradually deprive human minds of happiness and intelligence.

Or maybe it’s the urban way of life. Running back and forth – being busy. Too many stimuli. Personal characteristics add up to this lack of motivation – tendency to overdo and get tired, trouble in finding a perfect balance between labor and leisure. Labor meaning not only work but strenuous physical activity in the form of any sports. I do tell my kids that downtime is critical, but my example is contradictory.

Google search provides me with many self-help lists for finding the inspiration. According to many disconnecting and giving yourself a pressure-free moment or creative expression would do the trick. Also contemplating everything you’ve learned and achieved and how you’ve made a positive difference in the world would fill the bill.

I’d add recalling your goals to this list. Those reasons that pushed you to the exercise at first place. I’ve scribbled mine in a notebook and will revisit them right now.

Out of the Box Thinking

colorful-640_medium“Creativity is more important than knowledge.” I’ve loosely quoted Albert Einstein to my children. “Does it mean that we don’t need to go to school but we can just build lego or play computer games instead?” Why not, if somehow through that play, the basic concepts and rules of math, sciences, and living in a society would be transferred to you. School, in general, provides a wide variety of information: we learn the basics of math, sciences, languages, history and geography. We practice our social skills by being a part of a community; We learn discipline and to respect the rules. An excellent school also provides nurturing for the curious minds and makes them want more.

Knowledge can thus be acquired by learning from books and from people, but when the imagination steps in the new inventions are born. Creativity is our inner quality that can be fed and knowledge provides nourishment for the innovation. Without knowledge, there is not much to innovate on. Hence, learning is a key and creativity will define the door it will open.