Saturday, November 6, 2010

A lovely Saturday morning in Ohio

First snow this year! I really love the winter season through the end of the year.









Saturday, October 23, 2010

Evolution of the Dining Room. . . part 1

Here is what our dining room looked like a few years back . . .





And now with big thanks to our latest Craigslist 'Sweet Deal' . . .




We picked up this very nice cherry dining table and 6 matching padded chairs for $175 !

Hurray! We can eat at a real table now!









Sunday, October 17, 2010

To the person who keyed our 2007 VW Rabbit. . .



I don't like you very much.

I hope dragging something down the whole side of our car that we worked for made up for you not getting enough hugs from dad and mum.

Good day to you.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

We love craigslist. . .

I really love craigslist. . .
pretty much do our shopping via craigslist and garage sales. Except for food we go to aldi's and marcs, which are kind of the garage sale of grocery stores...well the food isn't used. Anyways. . .

What we've had is about 6 plates and bowls we got from the Dollar Store. And they started breaking from Microwaving and such.

Got a stoneware 10 setting dish set for $10 (12 big plates instead of 8 though)



2 types of bowls, mugs, large and small plates.


Sweeeet



Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Great Potato Misfortune

So there was some degree of misinformation or lack of research on my part with this whole potato box thing. Because potatoes do not grow up the plant very far, even if you bury it.




Removing sides



Potatoes down in the bottom 6 inches where the dirt is.



Our full crop. . . so worth it!


They tasted great at least, so there's that. . .

Next year, if there will be any potatoes planted, it Will be very different. 


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Project: "I love cats, I just can't eat a whole one by myself" or "Kitten Holding Cell"

2 so-called abandoned kittens hanging out at my dads.

Sister wants an outdoor cat (or 2).

I helped her make a 'Kitten Holding Cell'




Had some vinyl screen laying around, used jigsaw to cut out the lid.


Electric staplegun to staple down screen. Bend over tips. 



Insert Kittens.






ƒin !



What I've been up to - Marble tile front entrance

Media shelves are mudded and ready for prime & paint. I'm just waiting to get the material for the actual shelves so that I can paint them at the same time as the drywall.

So I decided to do another project that had been put off long enough.





Got this marble tile from lowes for the same price as most not so nice ceramic so we got it for our front entryway.






This tile leveling system is great for granite and marble tiles. 
Because these tiles have a clean edge you want them to definitely be nice and level otherwise its way more noticeable. A tile like in my bathroom floor, which is ceramic but has a tumbled edge detail. isn't quite as noticeable when not perfectly level. That being said, this world isn't perfect and I've learned to ease up sometimes on  making things perfect. There is a level that you can get to where only you notice the really close up details because you were working on it, that other people will not see observing from a 'safe' distance. The trick is not pointing out these mistakes after the job is done...oops.






There is a T-mold transition piece to go over the tile and laminate floor gap but I have to order another section of it. Will post pictures when that is installed.


Also I ended up buying a surge protector/receptacle-in-one. Worked out to be the easiest solution because either way I had to put a single-gang box with a receptacle in it. So why not skip all the other wiring nonsense in this case since I had an outlet on the wall beneath this one to wire into.







This is basically what I got except I got it from home depot and it goes with their 'structured wiring' system for home networking, a/v and garbage. I just used the receptacle and put in an old-work single-gang box. Its hidden pretty well when standing at normal height. (6 foot that is, ehem :)  not a word Ryan!



Tuesday, August 31, 2010

error error error

I'm not very happy at the moment, this picasa thing has really messed me up. Only the first few blog posts have their pictures missing, so that is all well and good. But the whole way I was uploading them from the Picasa program got messed up, and there seems no real way to make it work that way again.

It just made the process of uploading the pictures to picasaweb.google.com several more clicks difficult. It may sound petty, but it was a big deal. And now its a hassle

If this were a normal hosted site, the pictures would be in a folder on the server, and have the name I uploaded them with. I could simply upload them again as long as they are still in the camera's name format of 100_4697.jpeg   The camera just names them based on number of pictures ever taken.

In that scenario, after clicking on a picture to view it larger,  you might see something in your address bar like this:
www.jonofalltrades.com/blogpictures/100_4697.jpeg


Whereas picasa web albums even if I delete the whole online album, make one the same name locally and set it up to sync automatically when I add pictures to it, (Like It Was Working Originally Before The All Too Easy Delete) it still names it differently because of a simple url like above it looks like this:

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/CE2O5aB01eyRYedpk0cNiA?feat=directlink
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_Gac4CINlgYg/TH2usdWUx-I/AAAAAAAABiw/1U8Dyz-krN4/s144/100_6655.JPG
So in all the gibberish they change something so that I cannot go back to how I was unless I want to re-add the pictures to all the ( I know not that many) posts I have to this point manually to match the Brand New Gibberish

In case you could not tell, this is a rant. Not even that good of one. Except that I am quite annoyed, and it's helping me.

Its a very good reason to get site hosting now. Just not the way I wanted to go about making that switch one day, If ever.

So in the end, Picasa isn't doing that great a job keeping in sync web and local albums when if you hit delete on the local album that is synced online and it slowly starts deleting them online, Then you hit cancel. It loses all knowledge of what used to be. Importing the online album doesn't do it, and downloading the online album through picasa's menus. . . doesn't do it. It still turns out to be a new album and New gibberish.
If everything that I put up can this easily be undone because I'm working via Free channels, then I'm not sure where that leaves me, oh wait. . .yes I do!

Annoyed.

Just letting anyone know that cares.

Error, error error. . .

Okay we all know that computers work exactly how we want 100% of the time right?

Literally, I got 3/4 of the way through typing the above sentence and this happened, I KID YOU NOT!




Yes you see what I did, One screen went all Red, and the other all black. I guess the computer wanted to freeze.



Ok now this is another screw up completely unrelated to what I was just going to post.... I was using Picasa 3 and through an "apparent" mis-click, I started deleting the jonofalltrades online album.  Whatever, I completely know which album I Said to delete. Anyways, after I make sure all the pictures are back online, I will write what I set out to. Luckily the pictures are all numbered by the camera and I have everything I upload in a certain local folder so uploading them will be a cinch, besides waiting on slow internet. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Living Room A/V setup - Part 2 update

Got the Front speakers done now.




Bought a strip of metal from home depot to hang the front speakers off the tv.

I cheated and went to work (machine shop) to shear these to length and drill speaker wire holes, slot out the mounting holes.




Shearing




Milling holes for speaker wire and slotting mounting holes to allow for adjustment.




Speaker wire holes










The center bracket really needed to be a half inch or so longer. But I'm not going to buy another piece just to fix this as somewhere down the road when I upgrade speakers these won't be usable anyways I'm sure.





The right and left speakers I used an 1½" spacer to bring the speakers back flush with the front of the screen.


And you can see that I used split-loom to hide the speaker cables all the way to the wall.


Next is to get the power cable into the wall and into a surge protector safely. I'm going to be doing a homebrew/diy version of the Powerbridge

Basically you should Not run the power cable that goes into a tv or computer behind the drywall. Reason being that the cable could get warm and over time without the heat escaping, insulation become brittle, etc etc, house fire, Insurance not cover because of a code violation. etc etc. You get the picture.

So I will post about this when I actually do it.

Meantime you might want to check your Flat panel tv (if you  have one) and make sure the power cable isn't getting (pretty) warm. If it is you need to get a thicker gauge cable.

In my case, I need a 16 gauge cable for my 50" plasma because the 18 gauge was heating up. I'm not sure but maybe with 42" you can get away with the 18 gauge wire which is more common, for computers and smaller pc monitors, etc.
I tried a 16 gauge that came with my PC upgraded power supply, and it seems to be fine so. . .

Later

Friday, August 27, 2010

Living Room A/V setup - Part 2 update

Got the 2 surround (rear) speakers mounted.





Using these mounts by Sanus



Next I will be making little brackets to mount the left/center/right speakers to the plasma, using this strip from Home Depot.




The bracket will attach to extra TV mounting holes in the back of the plasma, at the bottom of the TV.


Didn't get around to sanding the mud  in the media shelves yet. 



  

Thursday, August 26, 2010

We all knew this day would come. . .



I had to clone myself to get some stuff done quicker. . .




Hopefully now we can get some more done on these projects and make blog posts in the same day.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Living Room A/V setup - Part 2

Part 2 is the built in shelf that I only had a hole in the wall for back when drywalling the rest of the house.
You see it in the pictures in Living Room A/V setup - Part 1 as a dehumidifier box in the wall.

The hole goes into the garage.

Couple of cell phone shots of the framing going in.





Using 2x4 's that have been sitting around too long,
twisted boards do not make for a pleasant project.




Finished attaching drywall.

Ran an outlet into the media shelves that will sit below the first shelf, hidden from sight. This is where I will put a powers strip/surge protector. And another on the upper right hand side so that you won't see it either while sitting viewing the tv. If you can't tell I get nit-picky about wires and things being "just so".  Also ran some video cables to the tv. As well as 5.1 surround speaker wires around the room.

When I get to the shelves, which there will be 4 of,  I'll leave a space at the back so that any go-between cables/ power cords can fall down the back and stay out of sight.

Next I'll be mudding it up and installing/making a couple speaker mounts.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What I've been up to - Living Room A/V setup - Part 1

This is our living room right now. Well, as it was. . .



About a year ago our awesome friend (who, oh by the way, introduced me to my wife), got this Pioneer 50" 720p tv from a job-site for free because it was Non-working.
He looked at it a bit, figured it was the power supply that was dead, but didn't want to shell out the $380 or so for a new replacement part from pioneer. Plus he already has a better plasma than this one.

When asked if I wanted it, the tinkerer in me couldn't say no - "A broken power supply? That's IT?!"

It turns out that pioneer actually had lots of problems with this power supply failing in these tv's and they made newer boards to replace the original.
So I began using saved searches on eBay to email me when new parts were posted for the PDP-505HD or compatible model PDP-502MX, along with the more specific part numbers off of the circuit board itself.

Finally a year later someone posted what I was looking for starting substantially lower than 'new from pioneer' prices. I ended up winning the power supply for $114 shipped. Only hoping that this would work.

Well it turns out that it did in fact fix the tv much to my enjoyment.


10 year old Pioneer 50" Plasma - $114

Articulating wall mount - $42 on eBay


Can you believe that around 2001 when this tv was new, people were paying between $10,000 - $13,000 for one of these?! Wow! Talk about being on the wrong/early-adopter side of the technology curve. . .






Considering that you can get a really nice new 50" plasma for what, under $800 easily now? 


Part 1 - Done!





Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blanching Garden Fresh Vegetables for Freezer Storage

Blanching serves a few purposes.


  • Stops enzymes that destroy the freshness of your vegetables: non-blanched veggies will lose color and flavor around 5 weeks of being frozen.
  • Removes dirt and bacteria
  • Removes some of the strong flavors (Nyssa thinks that just picked/uncooked beans taste "Too Beany!")
Too Beany Beans ? :)

They kind of are, but good to eat a few fresh picked.

Some steps are bean only for obvious reasons.

1. Wash and Snip off ends of beans.  ("bean only" step, get it?)

Decapitated beans


2. To make sure that all the vegetables are blanched properly, boil 1 gallon water for 1 pound of vegetables.

You don't need to be precise of course, just make sure there is plenty of water for them to float around in.

Not like when you forgot to boil enough water for pasta and had to add more tap water, wait for it to boil and subsequently over or undercooked your pasta while turning everything else you were preparing to mush while it waited. Or was that just me. . .

The good news is you can just keep using that boiling water to do a bunch of the same vegetables. Just top off the pot if you slopped a bunch of it out trying to remove 3 beans (like me) and make sure its boiling hot again.

3. After you boil them for 3 minutes (green beans), put them right into Ice water for at least 3 minutes.




4. Bag 'em and freeze 'em.

Boom, done.

The beany beans did taste great right out of the ice water after blanching. Less beany, but fresh and delicious.

As for salting the water before blanching (<-see at the bottom of article) I don't have an opinion at this time. . . so you choose


A list I do not take credit for of times for blanching various vegetables in Boiling Water.


  • Green Beans, 3 minutes
  • Broccoli, chopped or stalks, 3 minutes
  • Beets, small, 25-30 minutes; medium, 45-50 minutes
  • Brussels Sprouts, small, 3 minutes; medium, 4 minutes; large, 5 minutes
  • Carrots, tiny, whole, 5 minutes; diced or strips, 2 minutes
  • Cauliflower, 3 minutes
  • Corn on the cob to freeze on the ear, small ears, 7 minutes; medium ears 9 minutes; large ears 11 minutes
  • Corn on the cob to cut for whole kernel corn, 4 minutes-cool and cut from ear.
  • Corn on the cob to cut for cream style corn, 4 minutes-cool and cut from ear, scraping the cobs.
  • Greens like spinach, 2 minutes
  • Shelled Peas, 1½ minutes
  • Snow or Sugar Snap Peas, 2-3 minutes
  • Summer Squash like zucchini, slices or chunks, 3 minutes; grated, 1-2 minutes.

Garden Update - Tuesday 8/10/10



Oh, another worm? Did you want some green cherry tomatoes mr. worm/future Mothra?!







NO! Bad Worm.. Die!


:)



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