Random Bits of Projects

November 19, 2010

Tiny Little Black Bug Infestation? (You might have weevils.)

If you are reading this, then you might have been noticing tiny black bugs all over your house. They look sort of like fleas that crawl slowly but do not jump. I think these are a type of weevil. When you get a few, like roaches, you will have a lot. How do you get rid of them? Where did they come from? This article is about how I dealt with them while at the same time not harming my pets (or children if you have them). It is not an overnight solution, but I finally got rid of them using this method, to the point that I might not have  a picture for you any time soon. This also saved me from getting the bug guy in. Always the budget. Sigh.


April 7, 2010

Photography of small items: Use glass to eliminate shadows and basic camera/light/photo editing settings

Ever need to get a picture of a small object, such as jewelry, and not have those pesky shadows under it? Or need to eliminate as much background as you can? I found a few methods that helped without having to buy expensive equipment. Its not anything that has not been discovered but I hope to help those who are in the same position I was in a few weeks ago at the time of this posting and stay on budget. I am not an expert. But I luck out here and there as you can see in this picture to the left.

Recently, I opened an online shop for my handmade jewelry and other items. Right now, at the time of this posting, there is not much listed because I have had to learn how to take decent pictures of small objects that are crisp and clear for a potential buyer to look over an item (and the time spent learning this has kept me from making any advanced jewelry-ack!). Not so easy unless you can go out and buy everything needed for the best possible set up. I have to do it on a very tight budget. So over the next few weeks I will post a series of articles on some tricks I have learned or of sites I have found useful.

In this article I would like to talk about using glass under your object.


December 12, 2009

Making a Hula Hoop and Connector

I recently came across an extremely fun way to get a full body work out (very much needed). I get bored easy with “traditional” exercising so I needed something fun to do and to learn at the same time to keep my mind busy. I also need something that does not cost me much money. Hooping! It is often referred to hoop dancing and is starting to become popular in many countries for both men and women (and it can have you doing some sexy moves regardless of your body shape). All ages can do this. There is a great video showing and adorable white-haired lady hooping at hooping.org to prove it.
This is not the hula hooping you may have done as a kid. More on this later in another post. Here, I want to show you how to make your own hoop.

You can buy some fantastic hoops online and I will share a few links  near the end of this post along with a coupon I found. But when you first start learning, you will be rough on your hoop. Building your own can be much less expensive in the long run and you can also experiment with different diameters to suite you. You may also feel less protective of this hoop, allowing you to relax and just have fun trying to learn.

There are several kinds of materials you can use (see hooping.org link below), here I used coiled PVC. It was all I could find in my area though it might be a little more difficult to use. Once you find the materials, making the hoop is easy. It is the connector that can cause some problems. It has to fit and not leave a flat spot in the hoop. Though, you can use a hoop that has a flat spot, it looks funny and may goof up a few moves.


November 24, 2009

Juggling: Wrapping the Handle when Making Green Clubs

If you enjoy juggling balls you might have had the urge to start juggling clubs but do not want to spend the money on a set until you have gotten the hang of it a bit. Or you do have a nice set but would like to have a set that can get beat up from practicing or lending out to people who wan to try it. There are inexpensive sets out there that are not comfortable on the hands but work fine. But if you have the time to construct  your own, you can get several sets for the price of even the inexpensive clubs. Also, you can customize them to look how you want. They work well and are not too terribly harsh on the hands. You can adjust the balance and how they look too.





August 5, 2009

Keep your laptop computer cool! (Alternate uses for common objects)

cookie sheet

You might have noticed that a laptop computer can get very hot. It is a good idea to put it where it can get good air circulation to cool it down and extend its life. You can buy items for this purpose. Some simply elevate the laptop above the desk and others have fans built in to further circulate air underneath cooling off the laptop. With the latter you have to be careful that the computer fans connect to where the fans are located on the platform or they do not work as well. This can cause confusion for matching one to the computer and many are not cheap for what they do. The former version can likely be made from something laying around at home.


May 7, 2009

Fix Firefox crashes when opening a PDF file


Vs. PDF files

(now Firefox 3.5.7)

Update: January 2010. I tried something new. I uninstalled adobe pdf reader completely and installed Foxit Reader. So far it works with Firefox without crashing. There was a slight freeze for about 2 seconds but then it worked. I would like to try it out with more pdf files through Firefox (and both Windows 7 and Vista) before I say this is definitely the way to go, but I thought I would throw out a heads up real quick. If you do not want to wait for me to experiment more or want to read about it, you can get this free at http://download.cnet.com/Foxit-Reader/3000-10743_4-10313206.html?tag=mncol

It is also a fast install without jumping through the hoops that Adobe does. It said it was installing a toolbar but I do not see evidence of one. Do be sure to uncheck the Ebay install by doing a custom install. The program works much like Adobe.

Update: May 20, 2009. Well it was working after I did what I put below. Now it is crashing again. Go ahead and try this but I will post what fixes it this time when I get around to messing with it again. You would think it would stick. Hmph.

Original post:

If you use Firefox on a PC (nothing against Mac, this is just what I use) and have been having problems opening PDF files, this might help. Mine would freeze up any time I opened a PDF link to view with Acrobat. (There is rumor that the latest version of Acrobat does not work with Firefox so I am using 8.0.)

Since the plug-ins offered to bypass this had terrible reviews, I went to the support section of Firefox on this topic (finally) to try and fix this. It took forever going through each troubleshoot. Seems like this is a common problem (yet Firefox is still worth it).  Here is the one that worked for me. One of the others on the list may work for you so do try the link above if this does not work. Just be sure you have a few minutes to kill.


April 3, 2009

Adding yogurt starter without clumps

Here is a quick, easy way to add freeze-dried yogurt starter to your milk without clumping.

I was making a batch of yogurt this morning and was thinking about my post on making yogurt that I need to go back and polish. As I was adding starter, I realized maybe I should add this little detail as a separate post, instead of including it only in the main post, for people who already know how to make yogurt.


March 8, 2009

Convert an old-style filter cartridge for the new Tetra model. Save money and customize!


(Finally a post!! Woohoo! Geez, long title huh?)filter-cage-new-filter

Some of you out there may be thinking of getting, or have bought, a the newer version of the Tetra, Whisper filter for your fish tank. The type that hangs over the back. The price of the filter cartridges that go with these new ones are expensive when compared to the old models that you can buy in bulk and assemble yourself. This might be putting you off. Or you have several old cartridges laying about you need to use up. Or you maybe your store does not carry the replacements (recently here). Well there is a solution! (Insert happy noises here!)


December 31, 2008

Adding Salt to a Freshwater Aquarium

(Last post of the year!  Happy New Year!!!! I hope 2009 brings health, happiness, and security (in manyfish-blue-alhi2 forms) to everyone.)

The other day I was researching how much salt to add to our main freshwater aquarium containing an adult Black Ghost Knife fish (1/2 teaspoon/gallon or a little less for an adult) and remembered a common mistake people new to the hobby tend to make. (Yay! Something to post!)

Common Mistakes (in no order):

  • Using the wrong salt
  • Adding salt to the tank the wrong way (directly to a filter or dumping in directly all at once)
  • Adding too much salt after a water change


December 11, 2008

Pet Cage – Build Your Own


Last update: March 8, 2009. More details about the cubes finally added in the “Materials” section.

Do you need a cage that has a lot of room, is safe, and will not cost you too much money? Here is a great method that has worked wonders for two house rabbits I have fostered (future posts). This cage may also work for small dogs, guinea pigs, chinchillas (?) and a variety of medium sized pets that cannot fit through very tiny places. Read and decide if it will work for you. So far it has been tested on rabbits (personally) and small dogs (from discussions) that I know of.


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