Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Promote a Healthy Bean Garden with a DIY Trellis

Promote a Healthy Bean Garden with a DIY Trellis

Beans are a practical and healthy addition to any garden, but they grow best when they have something to climb. Sure, you could buy a trellis, but it's extremely cheap to build your own.

All you really need are some long poles and twine. Michelle Reynolds at Made+remade suggests bamboo, but long dowel rods, or even PVC, would probably work just as well (though they wouldn't look as nice). Basically, you need to tie together a few tripod-like structures with the rods, and hang two additional rods across the top and bottom of the installation. Once everything is secure and firmly planted in your garden, run a single long strand of twine in a zig zag pattern across the entire structure.

Once you're done, wait for your bean plants to sprout, and then manipulate them onto the loops of twine to "train" them to climb. In no time, the whole structure should be filled with the edible products of your own backyard garden. For some great pictures and a step by step guide, be sure to click through the source link.

Make a Simple Bean Trellis for Your Garden | Made+remade

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Easy variable voltage power supply

P1210590 2.jpgP1200565.JPG-A 30-32v power adapter. (Mine is salvaged from an old printer)
-A DC-DC buck converter. (1$ on ebay)
-A LED panel voltmeter. (2$ on ebay)
-An audio spring terminal. (0.40$)
-A potentometer, the same value as the one of the converter, mine is 10K (0.60$)

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Camp Fire Starters

fire-1.JPGIf you're camping - you want to make the venerable camp fire. Normally, you gather twigs, leaves, pine needles - anything flammable to use as tinder to start the fire. Maybe it’s been raining all week and everything is soaked to of depth of several miles into the earth's crust and you'd have a better chance of lighting up a snowball in Hudson Bay than staring you fire so you can toast your wiener right now.
Make a few no-fail fire starters out of household debris ahead of time, and have a safe and happy camp fire on your rain-soaked outing.
And remember: only set fire to objects that actually belong to you. Camp responsibly, or Smokey the Pants-Wearing Bear will come for you...

First: gather materials for your fire starters.

1 cardboard egg carton
12 pinecones
A large handful of lint from the dryer
Some used-up old candles or piles of candle wax.

You will need to melt the wax, and you will need a double boiler setup for this.
Any wax used in a saucepan or cooking pot will make the pot unusable for food. So, a good way to handle this is to find an old saucepan at the thrift store and use it, or you can also melt the wax in a clean glass pickle jar set into a pot of hot water.

fire-2.JPGMelt the wax in a double boiler setup with the heat on the medium setting.
Use a glass jar or thrift-store pot - whatever is most convenient for you. Wax can scorch and burn if its melted directly on the heat source, which is why it must be melted on a pot of boiling water. This is why it makes a great fire starter.

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Five Best Exercise Headphones

The best headphones for sitting at your computer or in your home listening to music may not be the best headphones to put in your ears while you're jogging around town. Activity will make them fall out and noise isolation or closed ear models will make it hard to hear your surroundings, but you still want good audio quality for your money. We asked you for the best headphones for those workout sessions at the gym, and here are the five best, based on your nominations.

Earlier this week we asked you which headphones you thought were the best to wear when you're about to go for a run or hit the gym. Audio quality is just one factor in those situations—comfort, fit, price, flexibility, and durability are all also important. You offered up more nominations than we could highlight in one post, but here are the five models that stood above the rest.

When you need a pair of headphones that fit well, work with just about any device you might have, and still sound great, but you don't want to spend a ton of money for something you're going to exercise in, the Yurbuds are a great option. Yurbuds feature their patented "TwistLock" technology, which the company ensures that your in-ear headphones will never fall out, even while you're running, working out, doing aerobics, lifting, whatever. They're also designed to allow in a little more ambient noise than other models, so you're still aware of your surroundings while you're biking or jogging, which is always a good thing. It also doesn't hurt that they're designed to both be comfortable (Yurbuds claims the design avoids "nerve-sensitive areas of the ear," so you don't get that burning feeling of having something stuck in your ears too long) and sweat and water resistant, so a strenuous workout doesn't mean you have to dry out your headphones too.

Many of you specifically mentioned the $30 Yurbuds Inspire models, and the $50 cloth-corded Yurbuds Ironman Inspire Duro (available for just over $40 at Amazon) as great, all-around options that won't break the bank, won't break your heart if they get lost at the gym, but also won't make your music sound terrible while you're exercising. In fact, those of you who nominated the Yurbuds almost universally praised their audio quality as well as their comfort and snug fit.

We're no strangers to the Bose IE2 in-ear headphones—you liked them enough to nominate them as one of the five best overall in-ear models not too long ago. They may be pricey, coming in at $90 direct (and $117 for the MIE2 model that includes audio controls and a headset). The Bose IE2 and MIE2 both sport Bose's StayHear swappable ear tips, which Bose claims will keep them from falling out of your ears even during strenuous activity. They include several sets so you can experiment and find the one best for you. The MIE2s are perfect for listening to music on your phone while you're out running or working out, but still give you the option to answer incoming calls when you need to.

Those of you who brought up the IE2s and MIE2s specifically praised Bose's build quality and the design of the headphones, and pointed out that it's good to be able to buy one great set of earphones and wear them both when you hit the gym and when you're on the train on the way to work, instead of having to swap out different ones for different uses. Plus, whatever you might think about Bose, they make decent audio products, solid enough that you probably won't be disappointed with them, and with care they'll last for a long time.

Jaybird's Freedom and BlueBuds X earphones are both Bluetooth models that do away with wires and let you rock out wirelessly while you run, lift, or otherwise get your daily exercise in. The Freedoms, shown above, are $100 retail but will set you back closer to $77 at Amazon, and offer a flexible strap to keep them connected behind your neck, have clear, easily-pressed on-ear controls for volume and pairing, and allow you to answer calls with a quick tap while you're on the go. The microphone is even built into one of the earbuds so your caller can hear you clearly. They also include sport cushions and multiple ear tips so they stay in your ears and fit comfortably. The BlueBuds X on the other hand, are a different, more traditional earbud design that will run you $170 retail (and at Amazon) but Jaybird says are the pinnacle of wireless earbud technology. You still have a connecting strap, but the audio and call controls have moved to a smaller control pod along the cable. The BlueBuds X also have been designed to compensate (according to Jaybird) for the inevitable sound quality degradation you'll get passing audio over Bluetooth, and sport over-ear and in-ear fitting options so you can wear them the way you choose. The sport cushion and multi-sized ear tips are still there to keep your ears happy while you wear them.

Those of you who nominated the Jaybird models praised their battery life (8 hours between charges for the BlueBuds X and 6 hours for the Freedoms), their broad compatibility and easy setup, and the fact that they stay in your ears no matter what type of exercise you're doing. In fact, Jaybird has videos of people working out wearing their earphones to prove the point. The other thing that's important to note is that Jaybird prides itself on not just engineering earphones that are friendly for exercise—that are water and sweat resistant and comfortable to wear—but that also sound really good. They put a lot of attention into audio quality, and it shows—which it should, for the price point.

If you just haven't been able to find a set of in-ear headphones that work for you, or that really do stay in place while you work out, Decibullz may be the answer. The company prides itself on their custom-molded headphones and ear tips that won't fall out, because they're designed to fit your ears and only your ears. You have the option to buy their headphones, which are the models we'll talk about, or to buy just the custom molded ear tips and attach whatever earbuds or IEMs you already have to them (assuming they'll fit). Decibullz's headphones will set you back $40 direct for a pair with the Decibullz custom-molded ear tips along with them. Keep in mind though that Decibullz's claim to fame is their ear tips, not their headphones, so while they'll work with almost any device you plug them into, the remote control pod on the cable is designed for the iPhone. The ear tips on the other hand, are really spectacular, and are only $13 direct on their own.

The ear tips are DIY, so you get them, heat them up in the microwave, and then attach them to your own earbuds—as long as they're the type that support replaceable rubber ear tips. Many of you pointed out that once you got a set of Decibullz tips for your own earphones, you never had a problem with them falling out again. Our friends at Gizmodo reviewed the headphones not too long ago, and-as you can tell by their headline—didn't care much for them. The tips however, they loved—and we have to agree with them there.

The Motorola S10-HD Bluetooth wireless headphones put the Bluetooth radio, battery, and other electronics in a firm band that goes around the back of your neck while you wear them, and fits snugly to your head. The earphones themselves fit right into your ears, and feature on-ear controls for volume and music playback, not to mention buttons to answer and hang up calls and pair with your smartphone. They're sweat proof and water resistant, and have actually been on the market for a while, so you can score a pair for $68 at Amazon, much less than their original $90 list price. You'll get about 8 hours of continuous play time out of the S10-HDs before you have to recharge the battery, and despite their look, they're only about 1.5 ounces.

Those of you who nominated the S10-HDs pointed out their solid bang for the buck price, lack of wires or cables, and the fact that they make decent headphones as well as workout headphones, even taking Bluetooth into consideration. Plus, many of you pointed out that the way the band fits around the back of your head means the earphones don't slip out of your ears easily, and a quick wipe-down with a towel cleans them up nicely without having to dry out cables and such, and the audio quality is really solid without being so loud or over the top that you can't hear your surroundings.

Now that you've seen the top five, it's time to put them to an all-out vote to determine the community favorite:

Honorable mentions this week go out to Skullcandy's In-Ear models, which many of you called out for walking the line between affordability, audio quality, and solid design, but not so expensive or so great that wearing them while you exercised or ran around town jogging was a problem for you. Many of you didn't specify which Skullcandy model you preferred, but we imagine the Titans or the 50/50s were some of the models you had in mind.

We also have to give an honorable mention to the various Sony in-ear models that were nominated. No specific models got enough nominations to make the top five, but there were enough Sony nominations to warrant a mention. Specifically highlighted were the Sony Active Style (MDR-ASxxxx) series, in-ear models with a unique wrap-around band for each ear that makes sure they won't fall off while you exercise. Some of you praised Sony's other models with over-ear adapters so you didn't have to trust the headphones to stay in your ears while you worked out, and those of you who don't like in-ear headphones at all praised the Sony MDR-Q68LW for being a solid clip-on model that rests on-ear instead of in-ear.

Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your personal favorite, even if it wasn't included in the list? Remember, the top five are based on your most popular nominations from the call for contenders thread from earlier in the week. Don't just complain about the top five, let us know what your preferred alternative is—and make your case for it—in the discussions below.

The Hive Five is based on reader nominations. As with most Hive Five posts, if your favorite was left out, it's not because we hate it—it's because it didn't get the nominations required in the call for contenders post to make the top five. We understand it's a bit of a popularity contest, but if you have a favorite, we want to hear about it. Have a suggestion for the Hive Five? Send us an email at!

Carnival Pendant - Wire Jewelry Tutorial

carnivala.jpgAt certain angles, the pendants made in this style remind me of the tilt'a'whirl my friends and I used to ride at the fair every year when I was a kid. At other angles, for some strange reason, I just want to tie dye them. They make me remember all those times when I would burst out laughing for no reason at all, and keep laughing and laughing and laughing. For me, they evoke a feeling of sheltered innocence. The kind of freedom you feel as a child running through the county fair, looking for the next “thrill” to ride, or twirling round and round in circles until you become so dizzy you fall, laughing with glee.

This tutorial teaches you how to make a relatively simple border wrap and embellish it whimsical woven swirls. So far I have not been able to duplicate, exactly, any of the designs I have made in this style. For that reason, please do not think of this tutorial as directions that are set in stone. They are really more of a set of techniques combined in a certain way to achieve a certain type of look. These pendants can end up elegant and graceful, fun and spirited, modern and industrial, or anything in between!

 For the pendant in the photos, I am using round wire for the frame wires. You can also use square wire if you prefer. Also, if you are not able to get half round wire in your area, you can use 22g round wire that has been hammered to slightly flatten it. Just be sure to hammer it as evenly as possible all the way down the full length of the wire.

You will need to use my Basic Weaving Techniques tutorial as a reference to complete this project. You can find it here:

• 25’ of 28g Round Dead Soft Wire
• 7” of 20g Half Round Half Hard Wire
• 54” of 20g Round Dead Soft Wire
• 1 25mm round cabochon

• Chain nose pliers
• Round nose pliers
• Wire cutters
• Flat nose pliers
• Bent nose pliers
• Ruler
• Marker
• Tape (optional)

1.jpgCut the 20g wire into 6 equal pieces (about 9” long). Separate the wires into 2 groups of 3 wires. Using the tape, wrap each group in three areas. One wrap on each end and one in the middle. Take care to be sure that the bundles, when wrapped, lay flat and no wires are crossing.

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What You Can Learn from Your Pharmacist

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Headphone jack for your Turtle Beach Wireless headsets

Ever wish two people could listen to your wireless headset without disturbing others in the room?

Ever wish you could just put the headset on the couch and listen on a lightweight pair of earbuds?

Well now you can!

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