Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fix Your Couch

The level of destruction exerted on your couch is will determine how much must be replaced. In this case, only the tops of the cushions were... eaten.

First, remove the cover from the cushions.

Next, using a seam ripper, remove the damaged portions of the cushions. Set the removed portions aside, you will use these as a pattern for the replacement fabric.

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Balsamic Garlic and Goat's Cheese Tart

20130618_000758.jpgThis is a delicious garlic tart that has the amazing flavors of carmelized garlic, reduced balsamic vinegar, thyme, rosemary, and goat's cheese.  It does take a while to cook, but if you're planning to have guests over, can be made ahead of time and enjoyed piping hot or at room temperature.  Even if you're cooking for two, this dish has enough to give you wonderful leftovers.  20130617_202544.jpg13 oz puff pastry
3 medium heads of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1 tbsp olive oil
5 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup of water
3/4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1 tsp chopped thyme, plus a few sprigs for garnish
4 1/2 oz soft, creamy goat cheese
4 1/2 oz hard goat cheese (goat cheddar or goat gouda is okay)
2 eggs 
6 1/2 tbsp heavy cream
6 1/2 tbsp creme fraiche
black pepper

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Build Fake Batteries to Run Electronics On AC Power

Build Fake Batteries to Run Electronics On AC Power

If you have any gadgets that only use batteries, and don't accept AC power, you can convert them to run on the grid by building a fake battery pack and hooking it up to a power adapter.

Jason Poel Smith wanted to run his electronic baby swing off a wall outlet, but it lacked a standard barrel jack. This hack isn't for the faint of heart, so if you aren't comfortable with electronics, it might be better to sit this one out. Basically you'll need to convert an off-the-shelf power adapter to wire directly into the fake battery pack, which will involve soldering on resistors to match your target voltage. Once your power supply is ready, you can cut your fake batteries out of dowel rods, then add some screws to each end to act as the contacts. Finally, wire up the screws to your power supply, and pop the battery pack into your desired gadget. For complete instructions (you'll need them), check out the source link.

Convert Battery Powered Electronics to Run on AC | Instructables via Hackaday

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Cooking - Pot & Pan Lid Holder

20130407_141112.jpgAndrea and I were having a hard time putting down the covers to our pots and pans while cooking. The one pictured is 13" in diameter and not only was it heavy, it was difficult to put down due to a lack of space or burning your forearm. So.... I looked at Walmart for a holder of some kind in the clearance aisle. There were many different shelving brackets that may have worked for our smaller lids but not for this giant glass beast. Eventually I found a bike hanger for the garage... its padded, strong, and long enough for this large lid. After installing the new holder, I placed a couple nails in the back (see last picture) to hold the lid if it got bumped or was too front heavy. Since the holder has been installed, cooking has been much easier especially with multiple things cooking. Just lift, place, stir, and continue cooking.

Oh yeah, the steam on the lids does not drip off of the lids pictured because they have lips or ridges on them. However, make sure to shake off the flatter pot and pan lids before placing so moisture or sauces don't drip behind your stove.

"If it ain't broke, make it better!" - Chris W.

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How to Make a Smart Baby

As many projects start, I found random parts that were laying around my room, and bought a couple additional things.

The parts are listed in the photo, but here are a few notes to help explain things:

I used an Arduino Duemilanove. You can use any Arduino as long as there are 7 digital (3 of them PWM), and 1 analog I/O ports. 

The control knob I used fits the 1/4" shaft of the potentiometer. Make sure you buy a knob that has a set screw so that the baby can't easily pull it off the toy.

The resistors you need depend on what LEDs you use, what brightness you want, and desired buzzer loudness, etc. For the red 3mm LED (used for on/off status) I used a 390 ohm resistor. I used a 330 ohm resistor in the buzzer circuit so that the 'buzz' wouldn't be extremely loud. I used a 10k ohm resistor for the pushbutton switch and the rocker switch. For the yellow LED I used a 300 ohm resistor, and for the RGB LED I used 770 ohm resistors because the LED was super super bright. 

I used 3 screws to attach the Arduino board to the case, 2 screws to attach the buzzer and 4 screws to attach the back plate. Screws work nicely because the threads are big and grab into the plastic case. Use whatever sizes fit your components. 

Everything should be available for purchase at RadioShack, although they're also available at higher quality stores.

For tools you will need a soldering iron and 3D printer. If you don't have a 3D printer you can mount the switches into a box or send your file to a company that can print the case for you. You'll also need odds and ends like a screwdriver, wire cutters, solder...

Here are links to the parts I used:
Momentary pushbutton switch
Rocker switch
Control knob
3mm red LED
Arduino Duemilanove
Rotary potentiometer
Yellow LED 5mm
9v battery connector
Toggle switch
Heat shrink
Replicator 2 3D printer
Solder station

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The Cat Launcher - Energetic Cat's Workout Toy or Just a Lazy Owner

Here I'm glad to present to you my next invention!!! - The Cat Launcher

This toy is for your cat or dog or other lovely friend that is going absolutely CRAZY to chase a moving object! 

With this crazy machine you pull the string away from it ... place the string with the SHINY object at its end in front of the cat ... back off ... and ... press the launch button!

And then what you see is an animal desperate to catch the attractive bow!

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