This maker took these simple pieces.. you won’t believe what he did with them

UselessKit

OK, I’ll admit that the Useless Machine (a.k.a Useless Box) makes me laugh every time I see it. A while back we decided to create our own version. Being huge supporters of the Maker movement we decided to write an instructable and give away our designs for our Useless Machine. That’s right… with just a few commonly available parts you can build 1, or 100, of these unique, fun, addictive toys. Check out what you can build yourself with just a few easily available parts.

Now, we know that a lot of folks don’t have access to a laser cutter yet. We hope there are more and more available at maker spaces across the country but, for now, we decided to offer the item as a kit so that access to the cutter does not hold anyone up from building their own. We hope you take the time to check out the instructable and build your own. You can always get the kit directly from us if you don’t yet have access to the cutter. We hope you will build your own and share it with us. We’d love to see what you make!

 

 

A lazy Saturday… for some

Dogs relaxing at Orange Kat HQ

Dogs relaxing at Orange Kat HQ

While the name of the company may be Orange Kat, we love our dogs, too. Jack and Diane love to hang out with us in the shop. They have us trained pretty well. We keep an extra stash of cookies close at hand when they need a treat. Our treat is knowing that our faithful pups are nearby and keeping us company.

ATouchOfColorado

A Touch of Colorado

ATouchOfColorado

Orange Kat was recently introduced to A Touch of Colorado in Belmar. They’re located at 7170 Alaska Dr, Denver, are open 7 days a week and carry unique goods made in Colorado by hundreds of artists and small manufacturers. We were amazed by the wide variety of items that Holly and her staff have collected. We picked up a new cookbook full of Colorado inspired recipes and a couple varieties of Devil Dog Brew coffee which is delicious! Admittedly, our favorite characteristic about the store is that they just became the first location in Colorado to carry our military line of tribute plaques and ornaments.  Shopping A Touch of Colorado is a fantastic way to support local businesses and artists without having to visit dozens of stores.

Special People

flag

The two most frequent questions we’re asked is why “Orange Kat” and are we military veterans. Our name Orange Kat was chosen to memorialize our 16 year-old cat, Gizmo Joseph aka Jo Jo who left us in 2012 and to also honor our 2 orange kittens who adopted us later that year (King Aslan and Princess Jewel). We changed the spelling to “kat” to make the name fun which describes many of our products.

As for if we are veterans, no we are not. Both of Jo Jo’s grandpa’s are military veterans as are several of his cousins and uncles. We fell into making military themed products and our appreciation for what these wonderful individuals give deepens every day.

We have the opportunity to virtually meet online many great people who serve not only in the military, but for local police and fire departments along with other areas of the government. The vast majority of our interactions are online and the Colorado Country Christmas Gift Show we attended this past weekend is the only venue at which we get to meet veterans and their families in person. Seeing the pride of a person’s service in their and their family’s eyes is a truly beautiful and humbling experience. We met folks from both Denver and Arapahoe County’s Sheriffs Offices, firefighters from Loveland and service-people from nearly all of our country’s branches of military.

One family in particular really touched us. To give us the spelling of her nephew’s name, the aunt of Capt. Dustin Lukasiewicz, removed a memorial bracelet with his name from her wrist. She told us that Dustin’s helicopter went down in Nepal while rescuing others after an earthquake devastated the region earlier this year. After the show closed that evening, we found this article  detailing the exemplary life Dustin led.  Judy’s nephew is the very definition of a hero. His actions remind us of how fortunate we are to have such selfless, brave and willing people to serve our country and to know how this man affected  the lives of others so far from home is amazing and inspiring. We hope you’ll take a moment this Veteran’s Day to read more about Dustin and say thank you to the courageous people who choose to serve.

The Kat and the Fox

 

Nube

It’s been an amazing year since we attended our first Colorado Country Christmas Gift Show last November! As we load the Kat Mobile to set-up at the Denver Merchandise Mart tomorrow we’ve been remembering the trepidation we felt not knowing what to expect at our first large gift show. We were at the very bottom of a sharp learning curve and feel much more relaxed this year. We decided to narrow our focus and bring just a couple of our product lines which includes our military, civic and fraternal gifts along with our glassware and the ridiculously popular “useless machine” (and the assemble yourself useless machine kit). Even more exciting is that we’re going to feature the Artic Fox Stained Glass product line made by a dear personal friend of ours. In recent months we began providing some laser work for Artic Fox and, as the new year approaches, we hope to deepen that relationship and collaborate to produce some truly unique designs combining mediums that are not traditionally paired. We’ll keep in touch over this busy weekend and hope to see you at the Mart!

Jo Jo’s Voice

Kittens

Jo Jo the Orange Kat mascot has lost his voice, so to speak. You may have noticed that for the last 6 months, our blog has been regularly updated by Devin who gave voice to our special orange guy. It’s with mixed emotions that we congratulate Devin on his new job in what has become a very difficult field to enter! Devin will be joining the Montrose Daily Press and will have the opportunity to put his hard-earned degree in journalism to use. To the Montrose Daily Press, our loss is your gain. To Devin, we can never thank you enough for your hard work these past 6 months. Happy writing and happy tails!

The Snowy Days of October are Upon Us

Snow_in_Colarado_in_the_United_States_of_America

Winter is coming. Soon the snow will come to bury the remaining orange leaves lying on the ground, and I’ll have a hard time blending in. But that’s okay. The blinding white of the snow just makes my orange fur stand out that much more.

With that said, make sure you’re prepared for winter. So here’s a few tips for the oncoming, wet, cold, snowy months.

  1. Make sure to keep your pets inside, where its warm and dry. Us animals may have fur coats, but they only do so much.
  2. Make sure you have good winter clothes. Snow boots without holes, adequate coats, hats and gloves are a must.
  3. Ice scrapers for your car. Mornings can be stressful enough when you want to sleep in (which I can, not to rub it in), but they’re even more stressful when your windshield is coated in ice.  Additionally, here’s a guide on how to remove windshield wipers frozen to the windshield.
  4. Three things: snow tires, snow chains, black ice, and careful driving. Have at least one of the first two, watch out for the third, and practice the fourth as much as possible. This last one is important year round, but especially so when the roads are slick.
  5. If, for whatever reason, you have your windows cracked while driving, make sure you roll them all the way back up before exiting. If you don’t, you’ll come back to a car interior whose windows are frosted like a cold mug at a nice restaurant.
  6. Before you travel, make sure to check out a weather forecast. It’s no good setting out thinking you’ll be traveling down a dry road and then getting caught in the middle of a blizzard.
  7. If a blizzard is coming, make sure to stock up on food that you don’t need electrical appliances to cook. You may not get a hot meal on a cold night, but at least you’ll have something to eat.
  8. From AAA’s winter driving tips, keep your gas tank at least half filled to prevent freezing gas lines.
  9. Cat litter makes for good traction, whether you need to walk on an icy sidewalk or your car’s stuck in mud. And to think I do my business in the stuff!
  10. The Center for Disease Control has a page with good suggestions for winter health that I haven’t covered here. Be sure to check it out!

Meet Some Other Colorado Businesses

You know folks, one of the best ways to do business is to do business with other businesses so that you can exchange business. In this spirit, we’ve been working with two other Colorado establishments: a wonderful Aspen Creek Cellars in Bailey, and Luna’s Mandala in Conifer.

A homegrown winery set right next to the Platte River, Aspen Creek Cellars offers a large selection of wines, as well as winery tours and on-site wine tastings, a venue for private parties, and wine club membership.

We’ve known them a long time because they were one of our first customers. We engrave their wine glasses and bottles, and their on-site store carries some of our glassware products, with more on the way.

Luna’s Mandala offers “unique gifts and clothing inspired by nature,” according to their website. In addition to clothing, jewelry, and other unique items, they carry our Mountain Creek Naturals cleaning line, as well as our aromatherapy sprays. In fact, their inventory recently started offering the aromatherapy gift tote, which includes the Awaken, Blissful, Harmony, De-Stress, and Relax scents.

Make sure to stop each of these stores online and in person to check out the selection; buying locally means you’ll save on shipping!

Fun with Google Trends

Hey, everyone, JoJo the Orange Kat here. In doing this blog, I’ve been told about the importance of search terms and search engine optimization and have been doing my best ever since. In trying to be hip to this, I recently learned about a nifty program called Google Trends, which shows the popularity of a given search term through a five year basis. I decided to plug a few key words in, see what it came up with, and share the results with you.

Early on we were a little bit far from the search term, but over the years we’ve been closing the gap, as seen around June 2014.

According to this chart, at least, the name of our business has actually become more trend-worthy than custom plaques. We must be doing something right! It’s probably because I’m the mascot….

Like with the military gift category, Orange Kat has seemed to gain relevance with that of useless machine curiosity.