Monday, November 13, 2017

IKEA Hack: Billy Bookcase, Harris Style

Jennifer is writing this post due to the fact that Wes knew he would geek out and get way too wordy.  Pictures were curated by Wes, though.

Here's a before and after of our bookcase.

Wes became intimately acquainted with sketch-up.

Pretty accurate and amazing.

Then, he added blue and lights in sketch-up.  Wes claims that the modeling reduces mistakes and trips to Lowes.  I have my doubts.

There was a lot of painting, mudding, and sanding.  Like, SO much.  We learned a lot about how important mudding and caulking is.  Our friends, the Russell's, sacrificed Aaron's time and Jamie's patience :) during much of the building of this.

Finally done!  Right?

Nope.  Not even close.  Wes built it modular so he could relocate it upstairs.  Here's some pics of that delicate process.

Back upstairs!  More mudding, caulking, sanding, and painting.

Wes spent almost as much time researching LEDs and transformers as he did playing...I mean working with sketch-up.

Some of the how-to pictures with LEDs.  (Wes mumbled something to me about mentioning to you how he converted ac voltage to dc and wiring in a remote control function.) 

More how-to pictures.  Wes is very proud and excited about this lighting affect.

Finally!  Finished!  For real...except waiting three weeks for the wax to cure before we loaded it up with books.

Seriously, though, I love it so much.  It makes me so happy and really adds something to our loft library.  Certainly, our kids will be readers growing up with this 10 feet from their bedroom doorways, right?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Still Cookin'

I started cooking from the New Betty Crocker Cookbook in Sept. of 2004, so Sept. is where I pause to review my progress.

190 recipes left, 66.1% complete.

Here is my progress for the past year.  My efforts were greatly invigorated by the completion of my wooden/steely chart that now hangs in the kitchen.

13 years of cooking, so far . . . 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Jen flew off to North Carolina to visit her mother for Mother's Day.  I had my booklet, one page for each day she was gone with instructions: address to Blueberry Farm, dentist appointment, pickup and drop-off times.  I was good.  I could do this.

Suddenly Scarlett said, "Daddy, my big robot project is due this week!"  I smiled confidently and flipped through my packet.  There was no mention of robots.  She was quite insistent and after a dig through papers on the desk we produced the neglected task.  It was indeed due Monday morning!

It's okay, we'll keep it simple . . .

Objective / Market / Requirements / Brainstorming
Make a big demo robot with poster and four little robots with four little posters for the robot market.

Concept Selection
We almost went for the little garden helper with grass on his head and a gardener's belt complete with seeds and a water hose.  I was rooting for the glowing mechanical butterfly with the fiber optic wings.  This was the point where Scarlett realized she couldn't make all of these but had to choose.  It was time for some tough decisions.

Preliminary Layout
Scarlett went away on her own and came back with this adorable fellow.  The "go-to-bed robot", note the lighted eyes and the singing along with rocket fire from the bottom or I suggested possibly adding wings.  Either way we had the vision and spent the rest of Friday procuring the needed materials.  Construction would start right after church.

Detailed Drawing
I may have pulled this together at church with my iPad . . . what? I was listening. 
(The rocket fire is last week's father-son upside-down-camping-trip fire.)

With the definitive layout in place it was time for the shop.
Scarlett is doing a great job learning to solder.
Caution: Watch out for flying molten hot metal!


This girl is having too much fun.  She repeatable kept giving me little hugs, telling me how much fun she was having and what a great dad I was.  I'm not going to lie it made me feel all warm and fuzzy :)

It's alive!

Carving his model number

Dream Bot: Little Blue 553

And now a word from the engineer

Project Documentation & Marketing
(No job is finished until the paperwork is done.)

One of the items she was required to put on her poster was the warranty.  After I explained the concept she wrote at the bottom, "Warranty:  if my falt I will fix. if your fault you fix."

Now that the demo model is done, all we have to do manufacture the robots required for her market day . . . there's still time . . . back to the workshop!

She calls the little ones "Mummies"

This girl is ready to share!

All packaged ready for sale!

Good luck Scarlett! I'm sure we will make a profit.  
At least we would if they weren't using fake market money! 
Thanks for letting your Daddy help out. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Eggs & Cheese Complete!

Completed the Eggs & Cheese Section, 22 recipes (see far right)

Here are a few pics of some of the recipes.  Eggs Benedict and the Vegetable Frittata were by far the family favorites.

Eggs Benedict

Vegetable Frittata

Eggs with Kielbasa

Quiche Lorraine

Chilies Rellenos Bake

Classic Cheese Soufflé

Broccoli on Pizza! You think I wouldn't NOTICE!

Chunky Vegetable Pizza with Cornmeal Crust

Spinach Phyllo Pie

Great little helpers!

Betty Crocker Cookbook Progress:  
336 recipes complete; 225 to go; 59.9% Complete