In 2012 I made something each week

This is the transcript of a video I tried to make about my year of making something each week, but after two full days of trying, iMovie completely refused to insert the images where I wanted. I really wanted to close this project with a video overview, and had been planning it for weeks, but it just didn’t work, making this last (53rd) week the only one week I failed to create something. But it was a bonus week, and I made multiple things some of the weeks, so maybe I still succeeded…

At the end of 2011 I felt that I wasn’t being creative enough, so for 2012 I set myself a challenge to make something each week. I set a few ground rules: making dinner doesn’t count; making the bed doesn’t count; making friends doesn’t count. 2012 started on a Sunday, and I counted that one day as week one. I made this little owl, and it sat on my desk at work the entire year to remind myself to make something each week.

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A few weeks I really had to rush to make it before the end of the [sic] deadline. There were only two weeks I was really unhappy with: This robot made out of play-doh, and this stupid lego car.

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Other weeks were better planned and executed, especially around the holidays. I painted Easter eggs for Easter, I carved a pumpkin for Halloween, and for Christmas I made chocolate popsicles for Christmas dinner dessert, and I made gift tags for the gifts.

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At the start of the year I thought that my lazy, less creative, weeks would all end up being drawings on post-it notes, but it turned out to be a lot of cakes, and muffins, and cupcakes. (I think I just realized why I gained a lot of weight this year…)

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The easiest weeks were the ones where at the end of the week I realized I had created something without even trying and without thinking about it. There was this time when everyone was playing Draw Something, and I made lots of drawings in those weeks, and they all counted.

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I played Minecraft for a few weeks, and the buildings I made on creative mode were some of the most time-consuming projects I did all year. [Oh, just wait until you try to edit this video…]

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Remember this Google Doodle which was basically a Moog and you could play music on it? I used that to make a crude rendition of the Doctor Who theme song.

(Click image to listen. It wasn’t very responsive, so I came in too late on the second track.)

Two more weeks this year ended up being Doctor Who-music themed. First I tried to record different parts of a string quartet one by one on violin, but that didn’t work very well, because when I listened to the first part I couldn’t really hear the rest anymore.

But that did lead me to find the Doctor Who Fan Orchestra, which is a virtual orchestra around the world where everyone plays their own part through [sic] a click-track, and I participated in their latest project and made a video for that as well.


The hardest weeks to keep up with the project were the weeks where I was travelling. When you’re travelling it’s just so hard to stick with a routine, but I managed to do it. I have a little travel notebook that I take with me whenever I travel, and I would just draw pictures during dinner when the deadline was approaching. I drew my meal at Epic Burger in Chicago. I drew the three wise monkeys in Nikko, that we saw earlier that day. And I drew my trusty travel companion Squishy Cow in a tacqueria in San Francisco.

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I was at the tacqueria with Andrew, and he said “I hope you don’t draw me”, but I didn’t have to, because I already did that in week 5, when he moved to San Francisco in the first place.


There were a few more things that I gave away as presents. This little notebook for my mom, these chocolates for Steffi, and this cake for Lou.

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I also got another three more weeks of craftiness out of my trip to Japan. I made some origami birds. I made these little meerkats out of nanoblocks, and I made a video about the entire trip. I also made sushi, but that was before I went.

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I didn’t make everything alone. Jonathan helped to decorate this cake and to make this social activity game for SciBarCamb.

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I used Melissa’s kitchen to bake some muffins.

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I had a voucher to do a workshop at Lush to make some sort of face cream, and that was also a group activity.


These [LED paintings] were part of an audience participation thing at a Geek Cabaret. That wasn’t the only time I made something at a party. I also made this phosphorescent necklace out of glow-sticks at a gig.

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If making things at parties is weird, how about at work? I made this little advent calendar – both the image and the functionality – for the website I run for work, and I also redid the banner for our facebook page.

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I also made a Twitter header for my own Twitter account, but I don’t really like how that turned out.


I did some home decorating as well. I spray-painted the drawers in this little cabinet [with chalkboard paint]. I covered the lid of this box in green shreds from magazines. And I made three miniature paintings: a flower, an octopus, and a raccoon. And I decorated this ampersand.

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I got an iPad halfway through the year, and the drawing programme Paper became one of my favourite things to work with. [I made] this cartoon about the game Settlers of Catan; another cartoon about Elgar’s backyard chemistry lab, plus an illustration I needed when I gave a talk about Elgar and his lab; an image to illustrate a blog post I wrote; and the view from lunch in Nice, when I didn’t have my little travel notebook with me.

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Most of my drawings on the iPad were done with a stylus. Before I bought one I tried to make one, and I found some tutorials online. I figured out how to do it with conductive foam and Sugru, and I made this Doctor Who screwdriver stylus. It doesn’t work very well, but it was fun to make.


I made a few more things with Sugru: this little whale that holds on to headphone cords, and these cable clips.

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A few things were inspired by the internet. I started the year by also trying to keep up with Code Year, and I didn’t manage, because I really didn’t have time anymore, but I did learn just enough javascript to be able to make a little programme that translates DNA sequence into an amino acid protein sequence.

(Click the code to try it out)

I also made a finishing stamp for Ze Frank’s A Show, and I even used that to sign the Finishing Book, indirectly, when the person who had the book when it was in London attended the event where I gave the talk for which I made this image. I know, it’s confusing. Don’t worry about it.


Finally I made these New Year’s wish scratch cards from a tutorial that I found all the way at the beginning of the year. When you scratch them, they say that 2013 will be the best year yet, and I hope that’s true. In 2013 I’m going to stop forcing myself to make something each week, but I do feel a lot more creative after doing this for a year, and I think that was ultimately my goal. Happy New Year!

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One thought on “In 2012 I made something each week”

  1. Alyssa says:

    Wow – what a great goal and accomplishment! Congrats!

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