Entries in geeky (3)


Red Blood Cell Ornament

Because everyone needs a Christmas tree covered in blood, right? Multiple sizes will soon be available for sale in the Etsy Shop ... get your anisocytosis here!


Hematology Fabric

Last year I stumbled across Spoonflower, a web based business that takes your digital artwork and prints it on a variety of different fabrics for you. I tried my hand at creating designs for my own use. It's harder than you think! Getting a complex design to tile properly is the hard part, and I fought with photoshop for many hours until I figured it out. It's a little bit addictive, really. It's bad enough that I have boxes in my studio stuffed full of fabric scraps. Now I can design my own? Dangerous!

One of the designs that I made a while back was something I thought would be fun to sew into a scrubs top I could wear to work. Since I work in hematology, I spend a good deal of time looking at blood smears under the microscope. I turned a digital image I took with a camera-scope into a repeating pattern and had Spoonflower print it for me. At right is the single tile image I made, it's what normal (healthy) human peripheral blood looks like. To see it repeating, click on the image and it will take you to my design on Spoonflower. I'm a science nerd, I admit it. I finally got around to buying a couple yards of this fabric for myself and I'm sewing the scrubs top tonight. I have grand plans for making other fabric designs like this using various hematological diseases that display characteristic morphologies. Then my co-workers can try and figure out what disease I am today! Did I mention I was a nerd? Yeah. I did.


The Pee Towel

I've always got a lot of little projects going on in between larger projects. I'm going to tell you about one of them and you're probably going to call me a nerd. It's okay, I can take it. Besides, it's true.

My day job involves many different things. One of the least glamorous is urinalysis. You know when you go to the doctor and they make you pee in a little cup? That cup eventually makes its way to someone like me, who runs all the tests on it. Part of urinalysis is a microscopic examination, and one of the microscopic elements we look for is crystal formation. Urinary crystals result from a supersaturation of the urine with some particular substance. That substance can precipitate out to form distinctive crystals.

The most common crystal we see is calcium oxalate, which usually does not indicate any sort of disease. Often it just means you've been eating a lot of vegetables, though sometimes it can be associated with kidney stone formation. At the vet's office, calcium oxalate crystals are seen in the urine of pets with ethylene glycol (anti-freeze) poisoning. The dihydrate form looks like little square envelopes, as in the photo at right. I've always thought they were pretty.

Get your very own PEE TOWEL! So why am I telling you all of this? Well! There's this great company called Spoonflower that will take your digital artwork and print it on various different fabrics. So I whipped up my own digital rendition of calcium oxalate crystals seen in pee and had it printed on linen-cotton canvas by Spoonflower just so I could sew the fabric into ... PEE TOWELS! Get it? Not tea towels, but pee towels ... yeah, okay, I told you I was a nerd. But it makes me laugh, and if it makes you laugh as well you can find your very own pee towel in my Etsy shop.