Tuesday, 2 September 2014

First Day of School 2014

The (hopefully) last First Day of School picture for Chuck.  Grade 12 this year!!

And this year, grade one at the French Immersion school for Buddy:

 He wants to be a Mountain Climber when he grows up :)

Cuppa, by a quirk of birthdays, has one more year of preschool:

 When we asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he replied "Grandpa."

We are waiting for the bus

One other eighth grader got on the bus with Buddy this morning, but it was his first day at that school too.

Good thing about the bus.... there is no time for tears

Apparently, the bus loops back around and goes back past our stop, and stops on the south side of the road.  So I guess if we miss it the first time, we can catch it on the way back. 

For comparison, here is back to school 2013.

Monday, 1 September 2014

$1.40 hanging storage unit

There's not much you can buy with $1.40 any more. Even penny candy is 5 cents now, but you can build this storage rack for $1.40 and get change back. What you store on the rack is up to you, and the dimensions of the tool will determine the dimensions of your storage rack. Mostly this project relies on scrap materials and geometry to  make up a great storage rack.

To build your rack you will need some scrap materials:
  • A backer-board - I would say about 6" X 4" is the smallest you can go, but any piece of scrap should work.
  • A hanger arm - the longer, the more you can store, but be careful that the loads aren't too heavy for your backer-board.
  • Some dowel - size depends on the weight of what you want to store. For the rack above I used 1/4". For canoe paddles I used 3/8". Garden tools might take a heavier dowel than that. Each 'arm' above used 3' of dowel. (3' of dowel costs $0.70 at home depot)
  • 4 screws to attach the arms to the backer boards.
  • Some glue.
And a handfull of tools:
  • Drills (one the same same size as your dowel, another a little bigger than the diameter of your screws. - I used a drill press)
  • Saw - I used a compound mitre saw, but you could use a handsaw.
  • Hammer to tap dowel in place.
  • Ruler and speed square for layout.

I had some scrap cedar and some scrap pressure treated boards around, so I used them for my project. Were this going into the house, or someplace on display, I might use hardwood or something more exotic. I might even look for matching scraps.I started this project off intending to only make 1 arm on my project, but a second one evolved... Things like that happen.

Our first step is pretty simple. Cut the hanger arm off at 45°. See. That took longer to type than it took to do. This is going to be an easy project!

Now measure the width of the handles of whatever you want to hang. Using a speed square make lines parallel to your 45° cutoff slightly smaller than the width of your handle, but wide enough that the shank of the tool/paddle/thing will fit in the space between. If you look in my title pic, you can see what I mean - the orange (cheap) screwdriver is being held in the concave section of its handle because it is top heavy with all its extra bits, but you can see how the racks work, and space your lines accordingly.

Measure off the edge of the board "about that much" and make a tick on each line parallel to the edge of the board. To be honest, I just laid my ruler on the board, and whatever thickness the ruler is, that's how far off the edge of the board my line is.

Turn the speed square, and make a mark on each line where the speeds square touches the first set of marks. Wow. That was a lot of geometry/measuring/layout stuff. Lets get back to tools.

Grab a drill (or drill press) and drill holes at all the marks you made. The hole size should match the size of dowel you bought.

At this point I decided to go with a double-hanger, so I got another scrap of cedar to match the first, clamped them together and used piece 'A' as a template to cut holes in piece 'B'.

Now I sanded everything smooth and removed all my layout marks. I also rounded off the corners on the boards and softened the edges so there would be no chance of splinters.

 With the hanger arms done, I moved over to the chopsaw and got a stop block set to cut dowel.

The pieces of dowel need to be twice as long as the thickness of a tool's handle, plus the thickness of the board. If they are too short, the tools will fall off the rack. Too long and they will get in the way. A happy medium is that the dowel is about 1/4" longer than the tools when the tools are hanging on them.

After you cut the dowel, lightly sand the edges to round them, and then get ready to glue them into the holes in the hanger arms. (chisels are for test-fitting only - rust optional). Have a ruler handy when you do this step. You want all the dowels to line up when installed, and none to stick out too much.

With all the dowels in place, and the hanger arm assemblies complete, we can turn our attention to the backboards. I almost made a mistake and put the arms too close together on mine, so my layout got a little messy. Also - this is going in the garage, so I didn't even try to fancy up the board, but if this was going in the kitchen to hang whisks and spatulas, i might do some toll painting or make an ogee on it. Garage storage - meh. It can be ugly.

Anyways, figure out where you want to put the arms so they look nice and are functional, and drill 2 holes slightly larger than the screws you plan to use. I used deck screws.

put a dab of glue on the back of each arm, and screw it to your backerboard, and voila! storage rack complete. Now you are faced with one final dilemma... How to hang it. I can never decide whether these should hang with the arms pointing up (gives a good view of the bottom of the tools) or pointing down (gives a good view of the handles) In the end I decided to go with pointing down.

Also since I was installing mine on pegboard, I drilled a pair of giant holes for the pegs to go through. With pegboard, I find that bigger holes work better for some reason. They are a lot more forgiving.

And here it is all loaded up and ready to go.

TaDaa - seriously, this post took longer to type than the racks took to build. Stop reading, and go get started!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Chuck Heads to Camp

Chuck is getting big. I mean next year she is legally an adult, so thats sortof a big deal. Right now she's still a kid though, and kids get to go to Summer Camp. Chuck has gone to a lot of summer camps in the past. As a girl guide, as a friend, as a lot of things. This year, she went as a cadet.

To be honest, she comes home in, like, 2 days, so she's been gone for a while. I've just been lazy about blogging.

Anyways, here are the Chuck heads to Cadet Camp photos. She comes home soon. I'm looking forward to her being back (and I'm a little jealous that she got to go to camp without me)

As you can see in the picture above, we drove her to the bus in our super-awesome Mercedes Diesel. It is super awesome. This picture is mostly about the car.

This pic is Chuck squinting because I turned around so the sun would be at my back. That meant she had to squint. 

Not long after we took those pics, the officers and the bus, and a bunch of other kids arrived. Then it was time to throw the bags on the bus, and check everyone's paperwork.

After that it was a big hug from a little brother...

And another hug from another brother...

And then she boarded the bus, and with a wave...

She was gone. Bye Chuckles... we can't wait for you to come home! We've missed you!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Flowers, Flowers, Everywhere!

Its getting late in the summer, but I thought I would quicklypost a photo dump of whats blooming in the back yard. Leaves are starting to look bug-chewed, and some things are growin gbetter then others, but what looks good looks really good. Here we go...

Front: Stella D'Oro Dayliliy
Back: Explorer Rose - Samuel Champlain

Lower: Rudebeckia (Black-Eyed Susan)
Back - Daylily - (Black Cherry?)
Upper: Echinacea (Purple Cone Flower)

Hosta Sum & Substance (One Year old)
All our Hostas have yellowed this summer. I am confused.
(Back: Tomatoes as filler plant)

Tomatoes with bumper crop

Daylily - No idea what variety this one is, but I love it.
We've brought it with us through 5 moves. Flowers as big as your hand!

Apple Espaliers reaching upwards. Many are above the third cross on the bamboo.

Another washed-out hosta. I need to research what is going on with these. I also need to weed this garden.

Massive Rhubarb! It just keeps growing!

More plants are budding and in the next week or two we should see our late bloomers all jump into action. Mulch went on sale this week too, so I think I know what my chores for the next couple weeks will include... making tomato sandwiches and watching the kids weed and mulch the garden!!