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.