Friday, December 24, 2010

The Elf On the Shelf....

.... had an accident.

Irving got a hold of him.

... which resulted in great panic from Mister e who was very concerned that The Elf On the Shelf (that is the elf's name and is said in entirety when the elf is referenced) would not be able to make his nightly journey to Santa to deliver his daily report. So I stayed up far too late (2am-ish) and adjusted and reattached the arms. I didn't have time to make a new tiny hat... so he's sporting the triage look for the rest of the holidays.

The husband would also like me to mention that this elf is his from when he was a little boy... making it doubly important that I finish the hat repair before we pack him away for the rest of the year.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Sparkle...

Finally, after being sick for over 3 weeks, we felt well enough to finish decorating the house. The living room has looked like this for the past 2 weeks, and the kids were getting ancy about the lack of general decoration. Of course, the house had not been properly cleaned in over a month due to being at the farm for a week and a half and then being sick for the following 3 weeks. Here was what we started with Saturday morning:

After much cleaning, dusting, plant moving, we opened all the decoration boxes and began.

The kids took over the piano with the assortment of Christmas stuffed animals. Fortunately Mister e is terrified of the ones that play music, so they were left in the box. I am very happy not to have to listen to all musical stuffed animals playing simultaneously.

The bar all alight with lights and festive glassware. The Egg Nog cups are a vintage find by the spouse this year. He and Miss E LOVE Egg Nog. I think they are on their third jug for the season.

This vintage nativity belonged to the spouse's grandmother. Most of the figures are chalk. The animals are blow molded plastic with their original prices tags of 15 cents still on the bottom. The barn is cardboard. The kids want to play/rearrange everybody all the time. I hope it survives the season. We haven't put it up in a few years.

The mantel sparkling in progress....

Our vintage aluminum tree with its rotating, color changing light....

We have three gorgeous vintage glass tree toppers that I wanted to display upright on the mantel. In order to keep them up right and not become a casualty of broken glass, I had to fabricate some holders. I wandered through the craft racks of Jo-Ann's (not my favorite fabric store on the planet) and found these wooden wheels and bought some dowel that fit in the holes perfectly. No gluing required.

Ta da....

I am sore and tired today because I haven't done that much moving for a month! I am still coughing and wheezing if I go from outside (cold air) to the inside (warm air) too much. There's more to show too... I'll post more later. But the overall effect is very festive and the house is so pretty.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Have you ever wondered what the inside of a VCR looked like?

Well... I found out today. We have a rather large collection of VHS tapes which we are gradually replacing with DVDs. However, my precious Star Wars movies are still on VHS. Our VCR's are starting to expire. They no longer rewind well or in some cases at all. So this morning, I popped open one of the bad boys and fixed it.

Ta da....

I had to take the front panel off at which point I found all sorts of broken plastic bits inside rendering the outside buttons useless. So I'm leaving off the panel and having this rather exposed looking circuit board with buttons.

I went back and labeled them with permanent marker. Looks a bit Steampunk if you squint. I was trying to get into the motor which is located directly underneath where the tape rests. So I took the bottom off too...

A bit of a dead end really. But a rather interesting texture with all that soldering.
So here is the actual problem. You can see in the picture a little bit of a blue mark and a circular rub mark. The rub mark was caused by the driving gear (which is the white gear in the picture and it not engaged) rubbing against the housing. I put some machine oil in there a got it working again.

One of the tapes still wasn't winding well, so I took it apart too. Each tape has 5 screws, and that is really all that is holding the whole thing together. It is really amazing that they last as long as they do.

Once you have everything open, you can't bump anything or it falls out. And there are these hair thin springs, that if you sneeze would go flying. I worked with pair of tweezers to put some springs back in place, and then carefully put the top back on, clamped it in place and screwed it together again.

It worked long enough to get all my Star Wars tapes rewound, but further testing this evening revealed that it was not working again. So I will be removing the entire housing and just letting the whole thing sit open, so I can see if it is actually rewinding or not. If not, it will be open and I can drop in some more oil.

When I was in grade school, Dad brought home an old TV set. My sister and I were set up each with a set of small screwdrivers, wrenches, and soldering irons. We spent an entire day taking the whole thing apart down to the circuit boards, transistors, resistors, and anything else that could come off. We sorted everything into little piles. It was a lot of fun and very interesting. It left quite an impression on me... as to this day, I love to take things apart and see what is going on inside.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Finally got some sewing done!!

Of course it involved about 3 hours of ironing and mending before I had things cleared off enough to work.

The new dog needed dog beds. The first one didn't turn out quite right, so I'm only posting the large pillow bed. The inner pillow is made up of a shell fabric with a Goretex laminate. So if the dog pees on it, the pee won't soak into the polyfil inside. One of the benefits of working in the athletic industry. I have loads of technical fabrics.

The completed cover has a super soft minky-like brown fabric on top with a red twill bottom. Of course it has a zipper in it, so it is removable and washable.

The recipient seems to approve.

I also managed to finally sew up some shoe bags!

I have purchased a few pairs of shoes that come with super lightweight non-woven tear-if-you-breath-on-it "fabric". I love the idea of shoe bags, but they need to be somewhat durable. They save LOADS of time when packing. You don't have to clean off the soles of your shoes, or pay attention when you are packing them in your suitcase. So I made 6 bags... enough for 3 pairs of shoes.

Now that things are tidier down here, maybe I'll finally get some more clothes done.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Halloween Creepies

Here are my darling goblins contributing to the creepy Alice in Wonderland theme.....

The little Cheshire Cat turned out well....

This creepy guy was on the front porch...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tis the season....

Cat peelings....

.... and PVC pipe.....

..... these are a few of my favorite things!!!

will post more as the evening wears on....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Meet the Irving

This is the Irving....

He joined our household last weekend from the Oregon Humane Society. He was described as being "extremely lovable and people oriented, a bit of a lap dog, and a love sponge". He came from California as part of the Second Chance program. He has been in shelters since early August and was not adopted in Bakersfield, CA, so he was sent up here to Portland around Oct 13. We adopted him on Saturday, Oct 16. Bakersfield thought he was a Long Hair Chihuahua... NOT. Oregon Humane Society thought he was a Spaniel Mix... closer. He has an unusual color for a small spaniel. The only small spaniel (other than the cocker) with a blonde coat is the Tibetan Spaniel. But Irving has long legs and a long body, so there might be some Pinscher mixed in. We are guessing a German Pinscher. So for now we are just calling him The Tibetan Love Sponge.

Irving the Tibetan Love Sponge needed a run or kennel. We had nothing for the first night... so he slept in bed with us. The next day we cleared a space and began work.

We emptied and moved the compost bins. Here they are sitting empty in the backyard before they get reinstalled.

We added this fence by using a pre-fab picket length and cut it apart to make a gate and small fence section.

However, we discovered a challenge with the width of the Love Sponge's chest and the distance between the pickets.
Here is a visual representation of the geometry set before us:

.... which means that the line marked with CD can EASILY fit through the line marked with AB. This was remedied by the speedy installation of additional pickets who's line should have been marked with something like "I can't believe that I have to go back to the hardware store again" line.

The resulting fence contains the Love Sponge and still looks rather sharp. It needs a proper coat of paint.... it's raining, so the painting will probably happen sometime in April.... but the run is functional and and is easy to use.

Lot's of nice cedar chips smell great and will hopefully keep the fleas down. Those suckers love damp bark to hibernate in.