Monday, March 03, 2014

Fan Re-Do

This project took way too long!  But I am in the mood to finish up some of my UFO's (Un-Finished Objects), because I want the space back.  This fan project started with a box fan that I had inherited from my Great-Aunt Marie.  It worked well, but over time the plastic grating on the front and back began to disintegrate leaving openings large enough for little fingers or dog noses.

The fan is probably from the late 70's judging by the font on the dial plate.  I took it all apart.

You can see from the pictures that there was a lot of scratched up paint.  I took a picture of the fan motor, so I would remember the correct order for the wires.

I sanded, primed, and then sprayed the entire metal case bright orange which I did not take a picture of.... so moving on.  I chose a 1/2" hardware cloth for the new protective screening.  I folded under about 2" all the way around.

I had to crimp each wire individually to get a flat fold.

I attached the screen to the fan box using sheet metal screws that were longer than the original screws.  The screws go through these cool large washers and then through a felt washer that I made out of wool felt.  I thought there might be some vibration problems, so I added the felt washers.  Maybe overkill, but it works well and is quiet.

The I had to replace the handle, as the original plastic handle disintegrated.  I used the heavy belt webbing.  I tried initially to use rivets through a set of the big washers.  The spouse assisted with this part.

Unfortunately the rivets were too small and pulled through the belt webbing.  So I switched to machine screws and these capped nuts.


Ta da!  The finished fan... in all its blowing glory!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


I have been interested in combining textiles and circuitry.  I love both apparel and technology passionately and often let one interest slide in favor of the other.  I remember sometime in the late 90's while working at adidas, a manufacturer came in with a melton and leather letterman's jacket with a giant LED and embroidery eagle on the back.  It was not the most tasteful execution of the intersection of technology and garment, but it did get some gears rolling in my brain.

A few years ago a former colleague connected me to Jennifer Darmour of Electric Foxy and I collaborated with her on this project:
I did all the garment designing, pattern making, and prototyping and some material sourcing.  Jennifer did all the circuit designing and stitching of conductive thread and fitting on the model.  She used the Lilypad system by Arduino which is designed for garments and is washable.  You can buy the Lilypad and Arduino systems and other components at SparkFun.  Which is what I did!  I bought the Lilypad Design Kit:

The packaging alone is swoon-worthy!  And the lid closes with a magnet too!  This is clearly a message that it is time to get going on learning this technology.

The next sign was the announcement on Howard Rheingold's Twitter feed of a HOMAGO Geekout on using this very kit!  There are four separate links in the previous sentence that will take you to all the answers.

The Geekout was presented through Google Hangouts-on-Air.  There were nine of us in the class plus Howard and Angela from Spark Fun who explained the contents of the kit and led us through a simple project.  Here we are in process of the Geekout:

And the final project!

... lit up with 3 LED's.  No short circuiting and everything works.

I even got out the meter to check resistance on the conductive thread and a few other things.  This project focused on creating the circuit properly to achieve lit LED's.  There are other ways to do this same thing with all the hardware and stitching hidden.

Woodland Creations

Before Christmas we discovered the Woodland Knits book by Stephanie Dosen.  Both E and I fell in love with the hat on the cover.

... and wouldn't you know it!  I had all the yarn on hand for this project!  I would not call this project a stash buster as you need very little yarn for the antlers and the interior of the ears.  You only need one skein for the hat and ears.  I used some free yarn that came with a Knit Rowan subscription.  It is a beautifully soft wool that has now all been knitted up.

I am also loving this Dragon Watcher's Hood too!  It is cozy but not hair smashing.  

I need something like this when I am walking across campus in the winter.  This last December was very cold.  I would get my hair, make-up and self all fixed up only to put a hat on and trudge across the cold, wintery landscape with eyes watering to arrive at my building looking no better than I did when I rolled out of bed.  I think this hood could change everything!  Will get back to you on that.

On a further note, my eyelashes have grown back!... mostly.  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Time off... again

As you can see, there has been a break in posting activity.  This happens when I return to Portland after teaching and have the holidays.

I did get a new driveway put into the property last fall.  We can now drive in and out without fear of sinking into mud, or missing the driveway and putting ourselves in the ditch.

We did some more tree and brush clearing over Christmas and, of course, more marshmallow roasting!

I accidentally burned off half my eyelashes.  I was packing the branches tighter so they would burn better and what do you know?  They did.  Quickly!  My skin didn't burn, but my eyelashes are much, much shorter and were curly... until that part broke off.  New eyelashes take 2 to 3 months to grow.  I am working on growing new ones.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Continuing Work

I have been burning piles of dead wood, brush, and old wood that is so spongy and dry that you can barely carry it without it crumbling into a pile of wood dust.

Last week the family was here too, so we roasted hot dogs and made smores.  Eventually we gave up on the graham crackers and just focused on the marshmallows and chocolate.

The individual above ate the majority of the bag of marshmallows.  Good thing he had a lot of exercise that day.

We continue to find treasures.  This is a really large metal wheel about 3' in diameter.  Unfortunately I don't have anything in the picture for scale.  It is very heavy and will take some work to get it propped up for another picture. When I do, I will add something for scale.  Until then, it needs to dry out so we can get the mud/dirt out of it.

I have also made more piles.  I asked the neighbor if he wanted some free wood.  He said "Yes", so I said "Great! Bring your chain saw." He showed up and cut through a large amount of dead wood and branches growing toward the road like a rabid beaver through a forest of saplings.  In less than an hour, I had a stack of wood for more than two piles.  The neighbor didn't want the wood.  It wasn't straight enough for splitting.  Apparently I need to learn more about wood quality.

After all that work, my arms were sore and didn't want to operate properly, so I took some time off and made this!

Actually the necklace took less than an hour, but the first time I tried it with supplies from Michael's it didn't work.  So I ordered the proper crimp ends from Fire Mountain Gems... which is AWESOME!!! and the best place to buy things.  Plus they ship super fast.  The picture is a little low rez so not all the details are visible.  

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The Little Man's Dirt Cake

Mister e requested a dirt cake for his birthday this year.  I fulfilled his request as best as I could:

My mom helped me.  It is actually a sour cream chocolate cake that has been cut up and layered with chocolate mousse.  Technically it is a trifle.  I did not have a trifle bowl which is glass with straight sides... so I made do with this.

The top is crushed chocolate wafers.  What would the world do if Nabisco stopped manufacturing these things?!?!?  There is an assortment of gummy worms and gummy spiders and chocolate candied rocks.

The dirt cake was for the kid party.  I made a small, blue gravel cake for the family party.

... sort of an earthy cake theme this year.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Stump Removal and Tractors

 So what happened between these two pictures?

We brought down the Caterpillar to drag out a stump.  It overheated on the way down.  It wouldn't start the next day.

So then we brought down another tractor- the HD11 (orange one).  Dad used the HD11 to pull out the Caterpillar (yellow one) so we could jump start it.  Once it was started (and filled with plenty of radiator fluid), we left both tractors running (just in case either wouldn't start again) and drove the Caterpillar back to the shop for maintenance.  It overheated again.

Then we used the HD11 to finally get that stump out.  It is a small stump for so many tractors.

However..... on the way back to the shop, the exhaust pipe came into contact with an over hanging branch.

It is not supposed to be bent at the that angle... not even for aerodynamics.  Eventually it just came off.

It now has a brand new exhaust pipe.... but now won't start.  Good thing we got that stump out.

Have you ever seen one tractor pulling another?  Watch this video and see it in action!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

More cleaning and pile making

Continuing work on my project down the road.... I make many piles of brush and tree parts.  It looks like some rare dry-land beaver is building air dams across the property providing a series of wind breaks that it can scurry between.  The piles have to be small enough and far enough apart that they can be burned individually (later in the fall) without everything going up at once.

Sometimes my dad helps me.  He is on the wheel tractor... dragging a section of the roof.

Treasures from the ground...  I unearthed these while cleaning out the root cellar.  I can't believe the 2 quart Atlas was in one piece.

This is the interior of the root cellar currently.  I have taken a break from this project for a bit to work on the new driveway opening in the hawthornes, but will be back to continue scooping out dirt and stones and hoping to find more treasures.

This is the new driveway space before....

And this is it after.....

There was a lot of activity and some equipment breaking in between.  That will be an entire post on its own.

5 gallons of broken glass anyone?  There is a lot of broken glass and metal in the ground.  I couldn't come up with a clever use for this much broken glass...

But I know someone who could....

... Irwin Mainway.