Wednesday, October 2, 2013

50 Pounds of Dimes vs. 50 Pounds of Quarters

Which would you rather have... 50 pounds of quarters or 50 pounds of dimes? Which is worth more?

I would think dimes have more worth per ounce so that would have been my pick. Ten cents packed into those thin little things. But I was wrong. I weighed 1 pound of each...

1 lb. Nickels = $4.60

1 lb. Dimes = $20.20

1 lb. Quarters = $20.50


50 lbs. Nickels = $230

50 lbs. Dimes = $1,010

50 lbs. Quarters = $1,025

Not much difference between the dimes and the quarters. Supposedly, the silver content should decide their worth but our coins haven't had any silver in them since 1964.

Every once in a while someone will tell me I have too much time on my hands. Those are usually the people who suffer from a deplorable lack of curiosity.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Painted Guitar

Had an old guitar that College Man's grandfather gave to me for painting on a long time ago. The neck has a crack where it attaches to the body at the back.

I sanded the gloss off of it with 220 and wiped it down with a damp sponge. Used regular ole craft paint on it. Still needs a clear coat.

The silver part is my son, College Man's style. I browsed his facebook photos till I found one of his sharpee designs that I thought I could mimic. Mine isn't executed nearly as well as his. The blue part has the lyrics to Desperado painted in darker blue. The sides are a gorgeous turquoise.

Finally. A plan comes together...
Shoes: goodwill, 3 years ago.Hat: ebay, 4 years ago.Chair: garage sale, 1 year ago.Painted the guitar: last night.Goose neck lamp: bedroom, just now.

Sure needs some John Lee Hooker star stocks though.

All in one so I can pin it...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

DIY Drinking Water Filter with Aquarium Charcoal

UPDATE: In the Spring of 2016, my town's water treatment plant was destroyed in a massive flood that also took out a highway. Our town was without running water for one week while we awaited an emergency mobile water treatment truck rented from New York. After the truck arrived, we were still on a boil water notice for many weeks and very restricted water conservation use.

Fortunately, the water filter experiment in this blog post was already under my belt from a few years prior. I boiled about two gallons of water each day and then ran it through the filter explained below, to remove the small but visible debris. I let it drip into a tall tea server that had a spout. We used the boiled and filtered water for cooking, making tea, and for safe potable water for my dog. This was something we would not have been able to do with a small unit attached to the faucet. And the tiny amount of charcoal in the store-bought faucet filters (about two tablespoons) could not have handled this situation.

THE ORIGINAL BLOG POST... I've been filling up water jugs down at Cool Clear Water. Tastes great; I love it. But I drink a lot of water and would really like to not go down there with so many jugs every week or haul one of those big honkin' bottles back and forth. So I bought one of those "Pur" water filters that snaps on to the faucet. The water did NOT taste good. It tasted terrible. If it doesn't taste good, I'm not going to drink it. I want crisp, clean-tasting water.

So I happened to have a big tub of activated charcoal for aquarium filters. I rinsed it, and rinsed it some more, and some more and some more. Took a lot of rinsing for the water to stop being gray. Then I drilled a tiny hole in the lid of this tall smartwater bottle you see in the photo, cut the bottom off the bottle, turned it upside-down into a glass jar with a coffee filter, filled the water bottle with my rinsed charcoal, and poured my "pur" filtered water into the charcoal.

A tub of activated charcoal for aquarium filters is waaay cheaper than the pur or brita pitcher filters, which contain only a tiny amount of charcoal.

The water is sitting in the bottle while it slowly drains through the tiny hole in the lid (the longer the contact with the charcoal, the better). It is passing through the coffee filter (to catch any remaining charcoal dust, even though it's healthy for you - people even eat charcoal tablets for health reasons), and into the glass jar.

It tastes pretty good but I still like the reverse osmosis water from Cool Clear Water and will probably continue to get my drinking water from there.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

How to tell if your son is Puerto Rican

When you go to Google and type "How to tell if your dog is", the first two choices that pop up are "pregnant" and "Puerto Rican". After ascertaining the possibility of my dog, Jewel, being pregnant after the butt-ugly dog debacle (a whole other story), I, of course, went back to see if my dog was Puerto Rican.

This is what I found...

And, of course, I shared all the above information with my family...

Mom: OMG, is Jewel Puerto Rican???

Me: I'm afraid so. That's exactly how she dances. And she barks with a Spanish accent.

College Man: I'm Puerto Rican too!!

Me: We'll need video confirmation.

College Man: That can be done. I have a sombrero.

Me: ¡Ay caramba!

(One week later)

How To Tell If Your Son Is Puerto Rican...

That is NOT my kitchen, by the way. (No offense, College Man).

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Clay pot bird houses on vintage-look sign

My husband, Johnny, built this awesome bird house for me. He always wants to put a nice, thick coat of paint on everything and get it looking as new as possible. I convinced him to give it to me "raw" so I could do a little vintage whapah! on it. It's hard to tell if he actually likes things looking old and weathered when I'm done with them or if he's just going along for the sake of peace.

  • The back is 1x12 pine, cut two feet long at the high point.
  • The roof tops are 1x8 pine.
  • He used a masonry bit to cut the hole in the bottoms of the clay pots.
  • A circle of wood was cut to fit inside the large opening of the pot.
  • Holes were drilled into the side of the pot to fasten it to the wood circle with screws and washers.
  • Four screws come through the back of the sign board into the wooden circle to hold the clay pots to the board.
Here is a blow-out sketch that might help...

The wooden circle sits just inside the clay pot. The washers and screws go into the drilled holes in the side of the pot, and into the wooden circle to hold it in. More screws come in from the back to hold the wooden circle to the back board.

I drew the screws too big; make sure yours are just the right length to go through the back board into the wooden circle but not so long that they go all the way inside the bird house and poke the poor bird to death.

I painted the back board with watered down craft paint so plenty of wood grain would show through. I free-handed the logo but I've seen pretty awesome ones done with those vinyl stencil printer-cutter things (I don't have one and don't even know what they're called). Then I roughed it all up with a sanding block. I'm going to attach it right onto the outside of the house in a little niche near the front porch.

Aged it a little more with some oak polystain. Wish I had kept the polystain off the pots though; they looked better before. This would be the "don't do the stupid thing I did" portion. Get your backboard looking just the way you want it before you attach the pots. This was an afterthought for me though and I accidentally got stain onto the pots and then was like "Screw it" and covered the pots too. Now they're too shiny.

(But I still like it)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Finger Crack Friday

I used to have a blog called Finger Crack Friday. It only had three posts...

We're about to say farewell to the dilapidated trampoline. I made this little video for the kids...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Homemade Gatorade Mix

This is a recipe I originally published on my old blog Texas Tootbloom. The homemade gatorade (homerade!!) entry had lots of hits every week. I was with my mom when she bought a tub of gatorade powder mix this week and that stuff's not cheap. So here's the recipe again.

My kids and I had taste-tested all the experiment stages until we came up with this winner:

1 pkg. unsweetened Kool-ade mix
2 quarts water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt substitute (for the potassium)

Most homemade gatorade recipes that I see online just say "salt" but the potassium in the salt substitute is important to get the electrolytes benefit that a sports drink provides.

We like the lime kool-ade with this mix but the grape was blech. Haven't tried it fruit punch style yet. And the lime comes out that awesome radioactive green. We've also doubled the recipe and used one packet lime and one packet lemon.

I've also seen a lot of recipes call for 1/2 cup of orange juice. They say it's for the citric acid but the kool-aid mix already has the citric acid. So we throw our gatorade together just like you see it above and it's just right.

Grams is sugar in 8 oz.:
Gatorade - 13.6
Homerade - 12.5

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Kokopelli Color Inlay How-to

We got an awesome surprise in the mail yesterday. A couple of relatives sent along a little moolah to help cover what I owe for materials on Mom's wheelchair ramp.

I was digging around for some thank you notes and was like "Let's make some cool little thing to send with it!" We've been cutting scraps from the bookshelf build into neat things and this particular cousin likes Kokopelli so, of course, every time we see a kokopelli thing, we buy it and give it to her so she probably hates kokopelli now, but hey! here's another one.

The above tchotchke is what we came up with. Cousin, if you're reading this... uuuh, surprise! I'm putting it in the mail tonight.

Here's how we made it...

I marked a funky little spear-end on a cedar scrap, Johnny cut it and made a nice flat bottom for it to sit on.

I sketched a little Kokopelli

Hollowed him out a little with a dremil tool.
Sanded off the pencil marks and smoothed the rest of the piece
with a rough grit sandpaper, then a fine grit sandpaper.
Rubbed it down with tung oil to bring out the woodgrain and
make it shine a bit.

Outlined the inside edge with black craft paint.
Also painted the inside white so the color paints would be nice and bright.

Pardon me while I whip out my handy dandy metallic craft paint.

Painted him fairly randomly with metallic blue, green, purple, and copper craft paint.

Squeezed some two-part epoxy into a coke lid and mixed it with a toothpick.

Cut the point off of another toothpick so I could scoop up the epoxy and
drip it into the cut-out, right on top of the paint.

You can see the lights shining on the epoxy here.
Let it cure overnight and Shazam! awesome little color inlay Kokopelli tchotchke!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Drawing, woman on a city street

One of my drawings
Pencil on Paper

The original sold to my college band director many years ago. He bought it for his sister; he said it seemed like her. I wonder, sometimes, if she still has it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Building a Wheelchair Ramp for Mom

My 65-year-old, previously very independent mom, suffered a stroke on Thanksgiving Day. She was in Baylor Dallas for 10 days, then an acute stroke rehab hospital for 20 days, then an assisted living rehab place for another 20 days.

She had just bought a new mobile home last year and, though we had been looking ahead to building a nice deck on the front for her, it still had the little portable steps at the front door. We needed to build a wheelchair ramp before she could go home.

Mom is a retired police secretary. Some of her law enforcement and city hall friends pitched in to buy lumber to get us started.

Before we began, I spent several days browsing photos at The Texas Ramp Project, reading ADA guidelines, and planning things out. was helpful with it's line drawings for each section. Although, wherever I felt there was a sturdier way to go, I did my own thing.

In fact, I was so concerned about it being sturdy and long-lasting that I decided to forego the thick plywood that was provided for us and used 2x6 solid lumber for the decking. We made so many trips to the lumber yard and heated up my credit card so much that it shrank to 1/4 it's former size and now ducks and dodges my fingers when I reach in my purse.

Concrete footings that will hold the 4x4 posts.
That's my awesome husband Johnny.

Posts are up for the 8'x8' deck. Used 2x8's for the beams and joists.
Will add two more posts to the sides so that the perimeter has a support every 4 feet.

Break time.
Whose drink? That's right.

We wound up adding a 4 foot extension for the wheelchair landing.
Mom's door is 38" from the ground. Wheelchair ramps are supposed to be
1' long for every 1" up. That would mean a 38' ramp.
We managed to squeeze out 26' from the center of the deck to the end of the house.
If we had gone from the right hand side of the deck it would have only been 22'.

More posts up for the ramp. They have a cross beam that the ramp sits on.

One of the coolest new products we found and used were
these Timber Tite construction screws at Lowes.
Ceramic coated steel, self driving. They went in like a hot knife through butter
with no pilot hole and no splitting of the lumber. Expensive but worth it.
They're bigger than what the photo looks like.
We used them to attach the support beams to the 4x4 posts.

Another view of the ramp.
We coated every piece of  lumber in Thompson's Water Seal as we went.
We found some with Honey Oak stain already in it.

2x6 ramp decking going down.

Gettin' there.

Goofy cat.
There was some debate as to whether that was Mom's cat Hungry Jack
or the neighbor's cat named... wait for it... Cat.

Hungry Jack when he was still showing up to be fed.
We haven't seen him since about mid-way through Mom's hospital stays.
He's a mean, bossy turd but Mom loves him.

We were being rained out toward the end, with only a few days left till Mom came home.
When things dry up, we'll need to go back and set the last few posts, finish the rails,
and water seal that little end piece.

See the railing at the bottom, sitting on the decking? That's an ADA requirement so that a walker
or the wheels on the wheel chair don't slip off the edge.