Maker Changes The World One Plant At A Time

By Combining Technology & Gardening, The Plant Doctor Is Shaping The Future Of Indoor & Outdoor Horticulture

plant-doctor-potAkin Yildiz has a mission: Change the world, one plant at a time. Through the Plant Doctor, a non-profit, open-source online research laboratory specializing in electronics and plants, Akin is shaping the future of indoor and outdoor horticulture.

But he didn’t always have such clarity in vision. In fact, after earning his degree in business management, Akin didn’t know what direction to take. He was working in a restaurant, teaching guitar and taking odd jobs. But gardening was on his mind.

“Gardening was a hobby, and I always wanted to teach people about gardening,” he says. “I wanted to make it so easy that anyone could just get up and do it without any hesitation. But I had no idea how to go about it.”

The Evolution Of A Maker (And A Movement)

The reason most people don’t garden, according to Akin, is that they either don’t have time or they are scared to fail. There’s also a broad segment of the population with no electronics or programing experience. He saw a need in the market and wanted to address it.

“Plants and electronics are two very important fields of human life, yet most of us know so little about them,” he says. “I believe to truly solve this problem, we need a game-like environment where the end user learns as they complete it.”

But there were no DIY kits that focused primarily on plants and electronics. Until he changed all that in 2014 with the Plant Doctor.

The Plant Doctor offers electronics kits that teach you how to build circuits, how to program computers and how to garden—a total beginners guide to the world of plants and electronics.

Akin says that most adults have little time to learn new skills like programming to pass onto their children, so he designed the educational kit to be easy to learn and suitable for any age group (non-toxic, solder free).

“Imagine receiving a box,” he explains. “Inside you have electronic components that can communicate with plants. You put together these color-coded components, like a puzzle. Once completed, you activate the computer and learn how to program it. You are now left with an instrument that can teach you how to garden.”

plant-doctor-grow-lightsSeveral kits are available from a simple plant pot that is completely mobile to serious systems with a box that can automate the watering and lights. He has even created a device that can be attached to an existing pot that monitors conditions and will email you when the plant needs, water, light or a temperature adjustment.

All Plant Doctor instruments are open source hardware and software, so anyone in the world can use them. No previous experience is necessary to assemble, program or garden—just plug and play. In just one weekend, you can learn how to program and build circuits that can implement this automation technology to your garden or home. Check out all the plans on Instructables.

plant-doctor-electronicsAkin’s vision to bring together nature and technology in a simple, non-harmful way is catching on. His Instructables page has garnered 600,000+ views and has thousands of followers. He has started a crowdfunding campaign to further develop this project and bring more awareness to smart plant technology around the world. And he’s also consulting and teaching.

“We have been offering in-person and online workshops to ages between 6 to 60+,” he says. “People who have never programmed or built circuits are now able to walk away from a two-hour-long class knowing enough to automate their homes, greenhouses, workshops—experiencing programming and circuit building first hand. “

The Bigger Picture Of Sustainable Food Production

Akin says his vision to teach the world how to program, build circuits and garden has gained attention over the last year and resulted in many conversations around the globe. Both experienced DIY greenhouse farmers and total beginners in plants or electronics are discussing the bigger implications of combining gardening with programming.

plant-doctor-future-vertical-garden“Imagine a giant building in the middle of the city, a building just for plants and to grow food vertically,” he says. “Vertical farms are the future of gardening. They require less resources, less space and yield higher crops than regular outdoor gardening methods. These buildings will become more common in the very near future.”

With smart plant technology getting more attention everyday, Akin says that automated food production will become more available to residential housing. “This technology will offer many new jobs in the near future,” he says. “This is why we offer our DIY kits so the next generation can grow up knowing how to program and control this technology. And by making it open source software and hardware, we are able to make it more accessible to a bigger population worldwide.”

The Plant Doctor educational tools are a glimpse to what the future holds. And what an interesting—and hopefully green—future it will be.

 

Decorate For The Holidays With These Festive Laser Cut Ideas

Ideas To Spark Your Imagination & Get In The Holiday Spirit

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Need to add some good cheer to your Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Festivas celebrations? It’s not too late to make some cool Yule products to sell in your Etsy shop or give your friends, family and coworkers. But you gotta make by these deadlines.

Feeling uninspired? No worries. We got ya covered. Check out these laser cut ideas to spark you imagination and get you in the holiday spirit:

Shall We Play A Game?

Obsessed with gaming? Or know someone that is? These ornaments will have gaming fans raving.

With shapes that are familiar to anyone who has ever played a video game, these eight Video Game Controller Ornaments (left) salute some of the great gaming systems.

The perfect complement to the Video Game Controller ornaments, this set of 10 Video Game Console Ornaments (right) pays homage to the boxes of yesterday and today that give so much enjoyment.

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Check out all ornaments available in the Ponoko Showroom.

Bow Ties Are Cool

Dr Who says bow ties are cool. And men with style are paying attention. But when GQ compiled 10 Ways To Rock A Bow Tie, they left out one thing: Wooden Bow Ties.

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Etsy seller LuccaWorkshop has tapped into the trend to create laser cut wooden bow ties that add a sense of fun, fashion and whimsy to make a statement all their own. Create your own designs to make a perfect gift for the man that has it all.

A Nod To Mod

Natural wood tones, refined lines and minimalist silhouettes are the hallmarks of mid-century modern style. If this is your design aesthetic, then overly kitschy holiday ornamentation just won’t do. Go for simple, geometric shapes like these from Ponoko maker Eight Seven Central.

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First, they had Ponoko laser cut the birch to create the ornament shape. (Which is cool on it’s own.) Then they hand print the retro graphics to add a hint of color and complete the look. Check out the silver ornaments here and the red ornaments here. Then give mod a nod by designing your own mid-century ornaments.

Oh Tannenbaum

No room for a real tree? How about a stylish laser cut one instead. We love these from Crate and Barrel because they have such great design sensibility. With traditional evergreen shapes to drippy branches to birds in the boughs, take a cue from these arbiters of style and incorporate the best features into your own original designs.

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Don’t Have Much Time On Your Hands?

Add that personal touch without starting from scratch. We’ve got you covered with free designs available from the Ponoko showrooms. You can download and customize these nifty designs created by awesome designers.

Check out these sweet crystal and star ornaments from the Cartonus Showroom.

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Or go for a simple shape and add an engraved message for your loved ones.  These decorations from the ShoppingZen Showroom are the perfect for adding engraving.

All ready for a White Christmas?  Make it even cooler with this free snowflake design from the Chromatophobic Showroom.

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Want To Make Something Right Away?

Avoid the Christmas crowds and shop from home.  Support a designer and buy a product directly from their showroom. As well as great Christams decorations, there are heaps of designs in the Showrooms that would make great gifts.  Browse the Ponoko Showrooms for those special presents today.

Why not add an endearing woodland creature to a nature-inspired holiday theme?  Check out  the Wonting Showroom selling these oh-so-adorable felt laser cut ornaments. They even come with a cute hand-printed card with greetings on the back

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For those of  you that enjoy adding that hand made touch, the GirlontheRocks showroom has a great selection of cross stitch ornament kits available.

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Make Your Holidays Shine

Designing and making your own holiday decorations adds that personal touch that makes the season special. So have fun with it. And from everyone at Ponoko, may your holidays be merry and bright!

Get Making Now >>

Maker Finds Success In $300 Billion Wedding Market

How THE little BLUE CHAIR Differentiates Itself By Branding Weddings

Weddings are big business. BIG. In fact, the global wedding industry is topping $300 billion (and growing every day), with U.S. spending contributing $58 billion of that. So how does a budding company differentiate its offerings and really standout in this crowded market? With some creativity—and great design.

Finding Passion In Printing

Hope Johnson, founder of THE little BLUE CHAIR (TLBC), has always been inspired by an old world, organic touch. Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she incorporates her southern surroundings, organic textures and textiles into a suite of wedding products that includes semi-custom and full custom wedding favors, table numbers and stationery.

While Hope says she has a strong appreciation for the handmade, an unearthly attraction to the handwritten and an undeniable love for love, she didn’t set out to be a stationary designer. No, her initial major at Louisiana State University was something much less artistic: Business.

But after nearly failing freshman economics, she changed her major to Fine Arts, which evidently was not a surprise to her friends and family. She focused her course training in printmaking…and spent a lot of time in the basement of the LSU print lab. From silkscreen to lithography to intaglio to bookbinding and letterpress, a labor of love was born.

Bringing A Couple’s Story To Life

Fast forward, and Hope acquired a couple letterpress machines and built a studio where TLBC creations come to life. But designing wedding stationary is a highly competitive business. That’s why Hope takes a different approach (perhaps those business courses were beneficial after all). She thinks bigger, beyond providing the tangible invitation.

“Every day, I am faced with the task of bringing a couple’s story to life,” she says. “My clients are often creatives themselves, bombarded with inspiration from every angle—an overload even. My job is to dig deep to the roots of the couple’s story and put that on paper.”

If that sounds like a daunting task, it is. An endless amount of creative energy is put fourth for each project, fabricating inspiration from beginning to end.

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“I call myself a stationery designer, but really, and maybe not officially, I’m a wedding branding designer,” Hope explains. “I brand the wedding from start to finish with much more than just the invitation.”

Much more indeed. TLBC offers custom stationery design, specialty assembly, fine cotton papers, letterpress printing, “will you be my bridesmaid?” cards, wood etched address stamps, hand painted detailing, vintage stamps, silkscreen, wedding day gifts, vow prints, wedding party accessories—and all of the other things brides forget they need.

Hope says that couples often use aspects of what she has created to have other key pieces made for their big day. “I help curate a ‘collection’ of items to bring that brand, that story, to life,” she says. “I often bring a second layer of texture on top of the paper with specialty made wood-cuts. Those same familiar pieces may be found in and around the big day.”

What started with just paper has turned into a number of pieces—from cake toppers, wedding-day signage and reception décor—that help orchestrate a couple’s story from engagement through the big day. And that’s where Ponoko comes in.

Expanding Product Offerings With Laser Cutting

Adding customization makes TLBC products standout among the hundreds of other wedding stationery suppliers, and Hope’s creativity plus unique sense of style needed the right supplier match.

“Texture plays a large role for my inspiration,” she says. “I have a very organic feel to most of my work paired with a natural color pallet. I often find a suitable need to bring in wood aspects to achieve a certain level of emotion and to get that natural, textural feel many of my brides opt for.”

To attain this authentic aesthetic, she knew mass-produced, off-the-shelf wedding items wouldn’t work for her clientele: Couples that have impeccable taste, appreciate a nicely hosted gathering, and have a vision and story to tell.

With a quick internet search, she found Ponoko. After discovering the streamlined making process, Hope could easily navigate her work into a space where she can see, quote and order in a timely manner.

“These solutions have allowed me to easily and affordably introduce custom products as opposed to the mass-produced options that scour the internet,” she says. “Since finding Ponoko, I’ve been able to introduce a new line of options for my clients, from wood cut assembly details, cake toppers, wedding signage and more. I can easily reorder, alter materials and see what works best for the job.”

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To see more of Hope’s creations, check out the collection of custom work, DIY projects, etiquette help and wedding planning tips at thelittlebluechair.com.

Setting A Foundation For Years Of Happiness

So what does a blue chair have to do with weddings? More than you think.

It began as an actual little blue chair sat on to unwrap Christmas gifts. The sentiment of unveiling and the surprise element of the package became the foundation of the business.

Hope continues to aim for the simplicity in her work, with an appreciation for imperfections. Between illustration, organic typefaces and letterpress, that goal seems to be accomplished again and again.

Her clear direction and design aesthetic have created a solid base for her business to continue growing. Here’s to living happily ever after.

 

 

Make Oh-So On-Trend Light Boxes

New Material: Opal Acrylic Is Re-Released In The NZ Catalog

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If you want to light up someone’s life, then you need to be making with the re-released Opal Acrylic. With its popularity in the USA, we’re now bringing it back to New Zealand for all the makers down under.

Why Opal Is A Great Choice

Since it’s the first single color 2mm acrylic in NZ, makers benefit from a lower base material cost. Additionally, the thinner thickness is faster to cut through, so it costs less to make the same design on 2mm than on 3mm. Double cost savings. Sweet!

Opal Acrylic is slightly translucent, making it perfect for projects where the objective is to diffuse light—such as electronics projects, signs and lamp shades. Or make a light box to really be on-trend.

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How Etsy Sellers Are Using Opal Acrylic

RoKDesignStudio has made this lamp from natural oiled oak, complemented by red twisted cloth vintage wire and opal acrylic for light diffusion. Use it on the floor, bookshelf, table or anywhere else where a mood light can be placed to create atmosphere.

What Else Can You Use It For?

Opal Acrylic isn’t limited to functional light sources. It can also be used artistically. Helen Reynolds, a Wellington-based artist, created a series of work exploring cloud shape and formation, including a sculptural installation she created with the help on Ponoko’s laser cutting service. See behind the scenes of how she did it in the article “Creating Cloudscape Sculptures From Laser Cut Layers.”

Acrylic – Opal

The acrylic tends to pick up light on the edges, which gives off a kind of subtle glow. And the color of light can easily be changed by using different colored light bulbs.

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Learn more about Opal Acrylic and get a Sample.

What bright ideas do you have for making with this re-released acrylic? Would it be functional…or more artistic? We’d love to hear all about it. Share by leaving a comment below!

 

New Ultrasuedes: You “Can” Touch This

3 New Shades Of Ultrasuede Added To The USA Materials Catalog

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Forget what M.C. Hammer says. When it comes to our three new shades of ultrasuede, you can touch this.

Why Ultrasuede is Special

A synthetic microfiber fabric with a natural-looking suede surface, ultrasuede is sooooooo soft that you can’t keep your hands off it. In addition to its tactile appeal, the new black, bone and red colors are beautiful aesthetically too.

Ultrasuede is special because being synthetic means it’s a vegan alternative to leather—so it’s great for carnivores and herbivores alike. And since the polyester used in ultrasuede is recovered from pre-consumer waste, it is appealing to those with environmental and sustainability concerns.

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Ultrasuede – Black

Black is a great choice to compliment stationary.  You can make items such as book covers, bookmarks, document pouches and business card holders. Incorporate it into branding with items such as clothing labels and hangtags. Or make fashion accessories such as bags, purses and wallets.

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Learn more about Black Ultrasuede and get a Sample.

Ultrasuede – Bone

We love this natural color, which has a great contrast when engraved. You could even combine the flexibility of ultrasuede with hard materials to give designs added texture and depth. However it is used, ultrasuede looks beautiful with engraved text, design—or both.

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Learn more about Bone Ultrasuede and get a Sample.

Ultrasuede – Red

Use red for a pop of color. If you’re obsessing over ultrasuede (like we are!), you may also want to check out the three colors we debuted in August: Caramel, Coffee Bean and Executive Gray. To see all the materials currently available, check out the USA Catalog.

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Learn more about Red Ultrasuede and get a Sample.

Are you as stoked about these new ultrasuedes as we are? Give us a shout in the comment box and let us know what you can’t wait to make with these new materials.

 

A Maker’s Christmas: Order Holiday Gifts By These Deadlines

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Santa is a busy guy. He is a maker, ya know. So do the guy a solid. Help out his elves and create some cool Yule products to sell in your Etsy shop or give your friends, family and coworkers.

So if you want your Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Festivas celebration to be full of good cheer, then you better get your designs ready to start making! Your festive items take time to make, so place your order by these deadlines. You don’t want to be left with a lump of coal in your stocking!

Laser Cutting Order Deadlines
Standard Making & Shipping Speeds: Last Orders by Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Upgraded Making & Shipping Speeds (charges apply): Last Orders by Monday, December 12, 2016

Metal Machining (PCM) Order Deadline
Standard Making & Shipping Speeds: Last Orders by Friday, November 18, 2016

3D Printing Order Deadline
Standard Making & Shipping Speeds: Last Orders by Friday, November 18, 2016

What’s the difference between standard and upgraded? With standard making and shipping speeds, there are no extra fees for production or shipping if you order PCM or 3D printing by the November 18 deadline or order laser cutting by the November 25 deadline.

But what if you miss the deadline because all the stock in your Etsy store sold out? Or if you went to the mall and realized that you can’t get your mom another snowman sweater because she’ll disown you? Not to worry, you can upgrade to faster making speed and expedited shipping so you don’t miss out on the holiday festivities. This means you can wait to order…but only if you don’t mind spending some extra coin!

Also, delivery dates are dependent on shipping locations. To make sure your order is under the tree in time for Christmas, check the Estimated Delivery Date provided when placing an order. If it’s after December 23, then adjust the making speed or shipping speed (or both) until your preferred delivery date appears.

Holiday Making Inspiration

Not sure what you want to make? Need some inspiration to get in the holiday spirit? This Instructables tutorial will show you how to make laser-cut holiday decorations.

To see what kind of Christmas items sell on Etsy, check out CraftyLou2’s ornaments and baubles.

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And don’t forget to check out the Ponoko Showroom where you’ll find ideas for snowflakes, candle luminaries, this Christmas Tree Ball Ornament With Stars—and more.

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Remember: Christmas is the busiest time of year for us as well as for carriers, so things can take a little longer to make and ship than during the rest of the year. Don’t wait to make. Order by the deadlines and receive all your custom products for selling or personalized presents for gifting in time for your special celebrations. Get started today. You don’t want to end up on the naughty list!

 

New Materials: Brushed Gold On Black Acrylic

Just Released In The NZ Materials Catalog

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Do we have a golden ticket for you! Now you can add some bling to any project with our new 1.6 mm Two Color Acrylic – Brushed Gold on Black. The first gold colored option for New Zealand, this acrylic features a metal-like, brushed-gold finish on top with a smooth black finish on the bottom.

Since the two-color acrylic engraves beautifully to reveal the black underneath, it’s perfect for making jewelry, signage, front panels on electronics and holiday decorations. Snowflakes are super pretty!

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You can also make “golden tickets” for wedding invitations or use them as event VIP tickets.

For the ambitious, make golden tickets to kick off a special adventure for friends and family that would make Willy Wonka proud. (And there’s no purchase of Willy Wonka chocolate bars necessary. But you may start singing “I’ve Got The Golden Ticket” like Grandpa Joe. Don’t say we didn’t warn you…)

Acrylic – Two Color – Brushed Gold on Black

Learn more about Brushed Gold On Black Acrylic and get a Brushed Gold On Black Acrylic Sample.

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With the addition of this new two-color acrylic, we now have 23 acrylic colors (some with multiple thicknesses) currently available in the NZ catalog. And if you love the gold and black combo, you’ll also want to check out Brushed Silver On Black Acrylic and Matte Black On White Acrylic to see how these cool graphic qualities can be added to designs.

 

What kind of golden projects do you want to make with this new material? Share your ideas by leaving a comment below!

 

New Materials: 3 Two-Color Acrylics With Matte Finish Top

Just Released In The USA Materials Catalog

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Just in time for the holidays: Three new 1.5 mm Two-Color Acrylics have made their debut in the USA catalog. With the addition of Red On White, Blue On White and Green On White, you’ll be happier than Buddy the elf when he finds out Santa is coming to town.

This material is special because it gives you the ability to “print” directly onto the material by engraving away the matte top layer, making it great for products that need text or graphics along with the unique shape you get with laser cutting.

Christmas tree ornaments, name badges or holiday baubles are just a few of the things you can make with this new material.

Acrylic – Two Color – Red On White

Learn more about Red On White Acrylic and get a Red On White Sample.

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Acrylic – Two Color – Blue on White

Learn more about Blue On White Acrylic and get a Blue On White Sample.

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Acrylic – Two Color – Green On White

Learn more about Green On White Acrylic and get a Green On White Sample.

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To see all the acrylic colors (some with multiple thicknesses) currently available, check out the USA catalog. While the majority of our acrylic sheets are smooth, these three new two-color options have a matte top to give you more options for bringing designs to life while tapping into the matte-finish trend.

 

What do you think? Got any ideas for what you want to make with these new materials? Tell us about it by leaving a comment below!

 

Jewelry Designer Makes Magic On Etsy

The Moon Lab’s Laser Cut Creations Combine Science + Pop With A Side Of Quirk

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What happens when spirituality, science and pop culture combine forces in the universe? A little magic is made.

The Moon Lab is a unique Etsy shop with a style and flair all its own. “When starting with jewelry design, my challenge (and also my desire) was trying to create pieces that I personally had always wanted; things that don’t exist; things you can’t find anywhere,” founder Aeryn explains.

And she has succeeded at creating a collection of stainless steel pieces that have become her signature style. What’s interesting: Stainless steel wasn’t her first material of choice.

“When considering what type of material to use, I first thought about using colored acrylics,” she says. “I did some searching online, and that’s when I came across Ponoko and saw the laser cut acrylics, wood and also stainless steel. There are a lot of people selling acrylic necklaces, but I hadn’t seen the type of things I had in mind done in stainless steel.”

Aeryn thought it seemed like a great idea, so she chose stainless steel for her designs. “My first run of stainless steel pieces from Ponoko came out so wonderfully that I kept submitting designs and ordering more,” she says. “The look and thickness of the stainless steel is absolutely perfect for my products. They came out beautifully and very unique.”

An Eclectic, Artistic Mix

A graphic artist living in Burbank, California, Aeryn says her Etsy shop has an eclectic mix of themes unified by consistent design aesthetic. The inventory rotates because the things she loves varies so much, but right now the collection features a little bit of spirituality, science, old school gaming, movies and anime.

You can see her spiritual side in the Flower Of Life (left) and the Hamsa (right) necklaces.

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The Flower Of Life is a geometrical shape composed of multiple evenly-spaced, overlapping circles arranged in a flower like pattern with six fold symmetry like a hexagon. According to Token Rock, the perfect form, proportion and harmony of the FOL has been known to philosophers, architects and artist around the world.

In New Age thought, the Flower Of Life has provided what is considered to be deep spiritual meaning and forms of enlightenment to those who have studied it as sacred geometry. “The patterns recurring in nature depict space and time,” Aeryn explains. “It’s a template from which all life flows.”

The Hamsa—a symbol of an eye embedded in the palm of an open hand—has been variously interpreted by scholars as a Jewish, Christian or Islamic amulet, according to My Jewish Learning, and its magical form continues to be shrouded in mystery.

While scholars debate nearly every aspect of the Hamsa’s emergence, it is recognized today as a kabbalistic amulet and as an important symbol in Jewish art. “The Hamsa is known to protect against the evil eye,” Aeryn explains. “A powerful amulet indeed!”

Inspired By Science

Science is another theme Aeryn explores, and there’s no shortage of inspiration. She recently added three new pieces to the collection to pay tribute to the works of Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla and Carl Sagan.

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What attracted Aeryn to these scientific greats? “Einstein is one of the greatest minds of our time. Tesla, the inventor of free energy, is a man ahead of his time. And Sagan will take you on a trip through the cosmos,” she says. “I was tired of seeing names like ‘Jessica’ on these necklaces, so I switched it up with something a hell of a lot cooler!”

She has also tapped into some scientific symbols that serious mathematicians, chemists and fans of The Big Bang Theory will fall in love with.

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Pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, seems a simple enough concept. But as Live Science explains, it turns out to be an “irrational number,” meaning its exact value is inherently unknowable.

“Computer scientists have calculated billions of digits of pi, starting with 3.14159265358979323…, but because no recognizable pattern emerges in the succession of its digits, we could continue calculating the next digit, and the next, and the next, for millennia, and we’d still have no idea which digit might emerge next. The digits of pi continue their senseless procession all the way to infinity.”

Wearing 3.14 around your neck sounds like the ultimate expression of number love. For even more fun, Aeryn says to make sure you wear the necklace on March 14th while eating pie. Or wear it backwards because, coincidentally, it spells PIE!

If that doesn’t make you smile, then perhaps you need more serotonin—the molecule associated with making you feel good—in your life. If you’re feeling a little down, this necklace (middle) that details the molecular structure of serotonin will certainly cheer you up.

Alchemy, the precursor to today’s chemistry, is a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy that aims to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life. Perhaps wearing this necklace (right) will begin the process of transforming something common into something special.

Fantastic Pieces For Entertainment Fans

The worlds of gaming and anime are full of characters that are ideal for being turned into jewelry pieces for fans, and Aeryn has tapped into this appeal to add a whimsical element to her collection.

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For the retro game lover, the Lakitu Cloud (left) pays tribute to Super Mario Brothers. “This is the special item you always saved for World 8!” Areyn says. “Gotta get past those pesky air ships, and this little cloud made it possible.”

For Final Fantasy fans, the Cait Sith (middle)—everyone’s favorite moogle-riding, crown wearing cat—is a must-have accessory.

Kodama—spirits in Japanese folklore that inhabit trees—are “the cutest characters from Princess Mononoke,” according to Aeryn. They are signs that a forest is healthy, so wear it in good health.

A Childhood Dream Comes To Life

Aeryn has created a lot of original designs as well as ones inspired by movies or TV shows she loves. But her favorite piece is something she has wanted ever since she was a little girl: A necklace inspired by the film The Secret of NIMH.

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“It’s this amazing red medallion with an inscription on the back,” she says. “I had to hunt around for the perfect cabochon to use for the red stone, and when I finally finished the piece it really felt like an accomplishment to me.”

Magic In The Making

Aeryn says she wanted to create unique items with a touch of magic, so she started her Etsy shop to share that magic with everyone. “I feel a connection to the moon and stars, basically just the heavens at night, and I wanted the shop name to reflect that,” she explains. “I’ve been an artist ever since I can remember. I’ve always loved the ability to just create something I want to own whether it’s a shirt, a plush toy, a drawing or a necklace. To be able to craft and create things brings me joy, and I’m grateful for this gift I was given.”

What can we expect from The Moon Lab in the future? “My shop will always be an eclectic mix, because the things I love vary so much,” Aeryn says. “But right now, a little bit of science, a little bit of quirk, a little bit of pop culture, and a little bit of magic is what you’ll find at The Moon Lab!”

 

Laser Cut Toys For The Big Boys

Serious Fun With Drones And Robots

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What is it about building robots that is so much fun? If you ask a kid, you will likely get a meaningful answer… however when it comes to grown men the wide-eyed fascination of youth has developed into a serious pursuit of quirky techno-novelty. In recent years, drones have joined the venerable robot as one of the top projects for big boys to tinker away at.

Through laser cutting, the design process for both drones and robots is streamlined and fully functional prototypes are just a mouse click away.       (more…)