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Arts Building House Insanity Making

Sewing Desk

I’ve been trying to use a bunch of old scraps to make a new table for my sewing machine. I had a lot of great plans for how I was going to do this. And I can also tell you that I failed at most of my plans. But I do have an acceptable table that seems to work. Most of the things that failed were part of my plan to make it easily disassembleable for moving. So that’s ok. I did learn a lot from these failures, so it’s not a big deal. Pictures below. I like it though I haven’t yet done any sewing on it. But it’s a definitely improvement over what I had been using.

The finished table with the machine on it.
The wood on the right is some old oak flooring and the rest of the top is pine. The “frame” of the tabletop is maple.
I wanted it all on wheels and this was my big failure. The sleeves I put in the legs to hold the wheels were too short. If i tip the table on just two wheels, the sleeves will definitely come out.
The wood is all junk, repurposed from other projects, so there are lots of extra old holes in some boards, which I’m fine with.
Categories
Building House Insanity

No Idea What I’m Doing

I bought an old house, which I love, but which needs a ton of work. And I tend to put things off until they’re really a problem. A few months ago, it rained a lot and there was a lot of water in my basement. After taking a closer look, I’m pretty sure that the problem is due to a leak in my gutter that lets water drip down the side of the house. And this has been happening so long that it has pretty much worn away a lot of the mortar between the bricks. So, my plan, fix the gutter and then repoint the bricks. (*sarcasm)Easy peasy.(*sarcasm)

First issue is I have to get up to my gutter. Years ago my brother and I bought an extension ladder and I thought that I had used this to get on my roof. After he brought it over, I quickly found out that it was a 20′ ladder and about 8 feet too short to get my on the roof. So, fixing the gutter was out for now. I have to figure out another way to get on the roof.

However, the bad mortar joints came down almost to the ground. So I thought that I’d just give it a go and see what happens. I had already bought the lime mortar that my house needs, so all I needed to do was add water and put it on. This is what I thought and it shows that I had and have no idea what I’m doing.

Mistake #1 was I dumped the entire bag of mortar into a bucket, added a half gallon of water and mixed it for five minutes. I should have done this in smaller batches because it was really hard to mix and I didn’t get everything at the bottom mixed. So I had to add more water and mix later. Thing I think I did right was I didn’t add too much water. All the videos I watched pretty much said it’s a very dry mix, so I didn’t add too much add too much water.

Mistake #2 is I didn’t chisel out any mortar. For a lot of the joints, so much mortar was already missing that I don’t think I needed to chisel any out. Because I didn’t chisel out any mortar, it was really hard for me to put mortar on without smearing it all over the front of the brick, which you’re not supposed to do (mistake #3).

At this point, I’m tired of counting my mistakes. Needless to say, I basically made a mess of it and I can prove it by the pictures below. However, I am hoping that what I did will prevent any water coming in over the winter. Then, I will do a more thorough tuckpointing job (or I’ll hire someone) to do the rest of the house next year.

The last thing I’ll mention about this is that I didn’t really do very much, but it took me probably 6-8 hours of work and I was crazy sore at the end of the day. So it was definitely hard work, but it wasn’t awful. And I do believe that hard work pretty much always pays off, so I’m glad I did this. I learned a lot in the process.

This is the first bit I did. Very sloppy.
I got a little bit better as I moved up.
On day 2, I made the mortar too wet and it got sloppy again.
This is the area that’s bad, under the leaky gutter. Mistake #n is I also didn’t match the color of the existing mortar very well.

The last problem is again that I didn’t get all the way up to the roof. So there is a large section right under the gutter that still needs to be repointed, but I have no way to do that right now. One other thing I learned is that I’m not a fan of extension ladders. They make me really nervous. I need to look into getting some scaffolding that will get me on the roof.

Categories
Arts Building House Insanity Making

Still Not Square Part II

I made another box and it’s still not square. Again out of boards I found in my basement. I tried to be a little more artistic with this one. Not perfect, but I’m happy with how it came out. My intent was to have a box to put my off-season clothing in. I’m not planning on going into the box very often. But I found an old hinge in my basement, so I used that for the top.

Categories
Arts Building House Making

Still Not Square

In addition to not being able to make a square quilt, I also can’t really make a square box in woodworking. However, that doesn’t stop my from trying. I had some cedar boards and some old oak floor boards, so I decided to make a box. I wanted to have a box to store out-of-season clothes in, since I’m currently using a garbage bag in my room. I thought it would be good practice to try to make a nice box. Sadly, I didn’t succeed in making it square. Nor is it level. I’ve ordered some casters for it, so I should be able to use them to make it level. As for the lack of squareness, it’s not a big deal, except for the fact that it bugs me that I can’t make a square box.

Categories
Arts Building Family Making

Latest Quilt

I just finished a baby quilt for my brother and brother-in-law. John’s friend Richard picked out the great material. I’m fairly certain I would have gone with more plain, solid colors. So it was great that he picked such great colorful ones.

My skills are getting better, though they’re still not great. All my corners don’t match perfectly, which I’m ok with. To me, that’s a sign of a handmade quilt. My corners are getting better, but they’re still not good. I think I’m just going to have to buckle down and do a bunch as practice to get better.

Categories
Arts Books Building Family Insanity Making

My Latest Big Project

My cousin retired and she really likes Dr. Seuss. I came up with an idea for a gift and then I came up with the idea of me making a movie of me making the gift. And then it sort of evolved. This is the final gift.

Categories
Arts Books Building Computing Making Music

Ideas

It’s weird. I’ve just spent the past two hours making myself a calendar. I was wondering how to design it and it just popped into my head that I have pictures from the early 2000s to now. Why don’t I use some of my own pictures on my calendar? And then find some quotes I like and put them over the picture. It’s a really simple idea, but I love it. I’m going to get a calendar that has motivational or inspirational quotes and I can look at pictures of things I’ve done which brings back those memories. Totally going to make me happy.

I had wanted to read a book tonight, but I finally got my bluetooth speaker working with my laptop. So I felt that I had to listen to music. I can’t really read when there’s music playing that I can sing along to, so I gave up reading pretty quickly. Then I was thinking that I need to start tracking that I’m eating vegetables, so I need a calendar. And making calendar on the computer is something I can easily do while listening to music. I don’t know why, but now that I don’t have a tv, I feel like I’m getting more and more good ideas for projects. Or maybe it’s just that I have the time to do them, since I’m not sitting in front of a tv. All I know is that I’m loving getting more and more ideas, so I hope they keep coming.

UPDATE: Just printed the calendar. I have a cheap printer and it says it prints on 13×19 paper, which technically it does. But on a few pages, everything was a little skewed. So I think it has a hard time handling paper that big. But it’s printed and hanging on my wall and I love it!

Categories
Arts Building Making

Project Time

I’m getting back into doing DIY projects at home, which makes me very happy. In general for the past few months, I’ve been thinking way too much about work and not doing things that make me happy. I’m shifting things back into proportion that will make me happier. The other day I finally bought myself a new sewing machine. It will get delivered soon, which makes me happy. And I’m going to use it for a big new project, which should be fun. I’ve also made a few stools for my brother’s pub, which was fun. I still wouldn’t call myself a good woodworker, but I’m improving which is all I can ask for. Still haven’t done much welding though and I would like to get into that. But today I spent a good chunk of money on supplies for my new hush-hush project that’s going to be a gift for someone. I’m looking forward to working on that for the next few months.

Categories
Arts Building Making

New Speaker

I bought this speaker yesterday to give to my Mom.

I bought the speaker because my Mom wants to listen to my brother’s podcast, but her ipad doesn’t get loud enough for her to hear. My brother bought the JBL – Xtreme Portable Bluetooth Speaker and recommended that I buy it for my Mom, which was my intention. However, when I got to Best Buy, I found it cost $300, which was a lot more than what I wanted to spend. Instead I found the one above, which I bought for basically $100. I charged it last night and have been listening to it and it should work fine. But I’m not crazy about this speaker.

I understand that this is entirely a portable speaker, so it runs on a battery. The battery is recharged using a usb cable. So periodically, you need to plug it in to your laptop. When I was looking at these in the store, a guy came up to me and started talking about these speakers. He said that the usb cord only charges the battery. So if your battery is dead, you can’t just plug this in to your laptop and use it. You have to wait for the battery to charge. And in a year or two, when the battery no longer takes a charge, the speaker will be garbage because there’s no other way to run it. I’m not sure if he’s right, but he said that he has the jbl one that my brother has and had wished that he knew that before he bought it. If that is true, and I’m leaning to believe that, it’s really poor design. So I was looking for something that I could just plug in to use. I get that it means it wouldn’t be portable at that point, but at least it would be usable if the battery died.

Then I started to think about how I’d use the speaker and I realized that for me, portability isn’t that big of a deal. But I like the idea of connecting via bluetooth. I mainly have Apple products and I have an airport express that is connected to my stereo to use, so I could play sound via that. But, it limits me to Apple products, like iTunes. I listed to lots of podcasts and I’d like to be able to play them on my bluetooth speaker. And I could use iTunes for my podcasts, but I like using Clementine. And I’ll be honest, part of this is that I want to move away from Apple products. This could be an entirely different post, but Apple is moving in a direction that I don’t necessarily want to go. As an example, they’ve taken most built-in connections off of their laptops. You get a single usb-c connection. Then you have to spend even more to buy all these dongles to do things that used to be built-in. I still use my ethernet connection a lot. I’m a system administrator and have to check if jacks are live or not. I also use usb a lot. I really don’t want to have to carry a handful of dongles everytime I go to someone’s office to check things. Right now, I need to be able to support Apple, Windows and linux. My macbook pro has been great in that I can run virtual machines with each of those operating systems, so I check things in all of those. The one improvement that I would like from Apple would be to be able to get more ram to make my virtual machines run better. I’ve upgraded my macbook pro from 2012 to 16gb of ram. Five years later and that’s still the most I can get. In fact, I bought a new (to me) macbook pro from Apple’s clearance section because it still had usb connections. It doesn’t have the network one, but Apple has definitely given up on that port. In my mind, I’m thinking this is probably the last laptop I’ll be buying that I’ll use at work. Once I’m not longer working, I can use whatever OS I want and these days I’m leaning toward linux. And so I’ve been looking at programs that I want to use that run on linux. That’s how I found Clementine and it’s worked fine for me. So getting off this tangent I just took, I like the idea of a bluetooth speaker because it doesn’t care what the OS is.

I haven’t been able to find a bluetooth speaker that I like, so my idea now is to build what I like. I like the YouTube channel Kirby Meets Audio and I actually bought some plans from him. It looks like a fun project and I think it would be exactly what I want. We’ll see how it goes.

Categories
Arts Books Building

Birthday Project Result

I took my book out of the press this morning. It’s not perfect, but it’s not at all bad for my first attempt.

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The cover looks good.

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This is my first mistake. I glued the cover paper too much to the text block. I think I maybe did 1/4″ of glue. It should have been much less.

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Here you can see a bit better that I glued too high on the cover.

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And I made the same mistake on the back cover.

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The back looks good. But the cover overhangs the pages of the book too much. I think instead of adding and extra inch of leather for the cover, I should have just added and extra 1/2″ to fold over.

But, by and large, I’m happy with the result. And now, I’m going to start using it as my own cookbook.