DIY Flycatcher

Now that the weather has warmed here in Australia, I’ve had to reestablish a fly catching device in the kitchen to grab those insects that are far too interested in my tomatoes.

IMG_8435.JPGIt’s simply an old plastic bottle that’s had the top sliced off and reinserted into the base of the bottle…. with some Apple Cider Vinegar at the bottom to serve as bait. Although this setup worked quite well earlier in the year, I decided to make an alteration to the last design. I found that the mouth of the bottle top was too large and the flies that were supposedly caught still had the ability to fly out again if they were crafty enough.

IMG_8431.JPGTo remedy this problem, I attached a piece of plastic bag to the top secured with an elastic band. A small hole was cut to allow flies to enter the bottle… but small enough so they wouldn’t be able to fly out again. This has proven to be a lot more effective… and after a day, several flies were already seen floating in the vinegar.

Avocado Germination

About a year ago, I saw a post on Facebook describing a special device created to grow avocados from seeds. It was essentially a piece of plastic that floated on top of the water that also allowed the base of the seed to be submerged. In my opinion, it was another excuse to sell off a piece of plastic. I asked myself this question… isn’t it possible to just use what’s available to construct something similar? And a new project was set.

I found a plastic tray that once held cookies and cut off one of the segments. I then carefully cut a circular shape at the bottom to hold the avocado seed. This was then pressed into the opening of a glass jar and then filled with water. I was careful to notice the water levels to ensure that the bottom of the seed was constantly submerged in the water and would add water if too much had evaporated.a

After a couple of months, a root started to form until it reached the bottom of the glass jar. The original jar lacked depth and didn’t allow the root to grow further… which was also why a stem wasn’t forming as I was expecting. I then shifted the seed to another jar, and the root very quickly extended in length.

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The seed in the new jar

 

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Finally beginning to sprout after many, many weeks

 

It was also at this point that a stem has begun to sprout from the top of the seed. In another week or 2, this seed will be ready for some soil! Will post the progress in the future.

DIY Compost Bin

If you haven’t seen War On Waste by ABC, I highly recommend you take the time to do so. It gives you a look at how wasteful we are as a society, but also an idea of what an individual can do to change that. In one particular episode, it was pointed out how much food waste ends up in a landfill, decomposing and producing methane. No longer wanting to be part of the problem, I decided to create my own compost bin out of an unused storage container.

 

 

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Using a drill, holes were created around the bin and in the lid to allow air in.

 

 

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The bottom of the lid was sawn off to create an access door at the bottom of the compost bin. I used duct tape and velcro to secure the “door” to the bin. I plastic tray is placed near the door to capture any loose “juices” that may run out of the compost (and would need to be thrown back in).

 

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The compost bin required access from the top to dump in materials, so using a hacksaw a makeshift “lid” was created. The original (grey) lid was then hot glued in place.

 

 

 

Lego Fidget Spinner

Since my son has been going to school, I’ve had a different way of handling each coming “fad”. When he wanted to buy Pokemon cards because all the other kids were trading, I took him away from the collection aspect of the cards and introduced him to the actual card game. Now that fidget spinners are the latest craze, I refused to give into the hype…. the last thing the world needs is another poor excuse to sell bits of plastic.

So an idea was seeded into Owen’s young imagination… why don’t you make your own “fidget spinner” with what you have available? I let him know that I had seen people making their own spinners using Lego. I then dived into his collection of Lego and created my first version of the “spinner”… something that worked (badly) but gave him enough fuel for his creative juices to come up with something better. After playing around with a few different versions he managed to come up with something that spins quite well (but not as good as ball bearings).

 

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Owen spinning and posing

 

 

Don’t Throw it, Fix it! School Pants

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Even though winter has just started, it has felt like we were already a good month into it here in Australia. During this transition, my son made the switch from shorts to pants. Then I began to notice that on the daily, he was going to school with holes in the knees. Once I gathered his pants to investigate, I found that all 6 of his pairs of pants had holes. Owen has a habit of rubbing his knees on the ground when he’s got a little bit of residual energy to release.

I never had much luck with the iron on patches (although looking back, I was probably using them incorrectly).. and was looking for another solution. Since Google is my friend, I went surfing on the web for a solution and came across something I’d never known existed…. fusible webbing! This allows you to fuse 2 bits of material to each other. Since I’m not a fan of throwing things out unnecessarily. I have been holding onto a pair of school pants that Owen had outgrown with the intention of creating patches for his other pants.

 

After making a trip for the fusible webbing (spent ~$14AUD for 100cm x 50cm), I grabbed the pants with the largest hole. Since the hole was far too large, and not wanting the materials to fuse at the knee (and not allowing a leg to get in) a small patch was cut for the inside and a large diamond for the outside. A portion of the webbing was cut to match the large patch then placed over the hole. Using a steam iron for about 10 seconds to melt the webbing, the hole was now sealed and Owen took this prototype to wear to school the next day.

When I went to pick him up from school, my first task was to inspect the patch. One of the corners of the patch was coming loose… probably why most iron on patches are rounded (D’oh!). And since the material is a little thick and will fray, the patch will still need to be stitched. My second attempt is below… and hoping to work on my stitching skills very soon.

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The Right Glove FAIL

 

Whenever I have a pair of gloves for dishwashing… I seem to have a habit of quickly creating holes in the right one. I began setting these aside with the hope that I could one day reuse them. Trying to find a fix on Google proved unhelpful… it was time to problem solve.

My initial idea was to make use of the caulking gun and patch the gloves up with a bit of silicone and off cuts from one of the worn rubber gloves. I typically create holes on either the thumb or index finger of the glove, so I cut a matching finger thinking that should do the trick! But after allowing the appropriate amount of time to dry, what should have stuck together… did not.

Despite being sure it would work out, the silicone and rubber weren’t bonding like I’d hoped. My next thought was to use some rubber cement from a bike repair kit… but I was having the same issue. It just wasn’t going to bond. It was during this that I realised I was going about this the wrong way. The outside of the glove was clearly rubber, but the inside was lined with a different material.

I went back to the silicone, flipped the patch and applied enough to cover the hole. After drying, it seemed much more stable than previously and after washing a load of dishes, my hand remained dry. Success at last!

EDIT: …. or so I thought. It has partially peeled away a few days later. What can be done? Leave a comment if you have an idea

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DIY Breadcrumbs

When it comes to food in our household, we try our best to use everything and not allow anything to go to waste if it can be avoided. Often, the ends of our bread loaves aren’t given much love when sandwiches are created and are saved in a bag in the freezer. Once that collection has gotten large enough… we turn those unwanted bread ends into crumbs.

The bread is laid out on one of my large chopping boards and covered with a tea towel… allowing it all to get stale, flipping the slices over once it’s dried on the initial side. I had them out for about 2 days before I felt that were ready for the blender. After blending in batches, we had breadcrumbs ready to go.

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Trash or Treasure? The TV

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Sometime last week when taking out the bin, I found this out on the side of the road… A 32″ Sony LCD Plasma TV. “It must be broken” was my initial thought… but there’s another opinion that I have regarding many of those that live in my vicinity… “More money than brains”… and let’s be honest… in this day and age, there’s a lot of ignorant people about.

I let that thing sit there to get a good suntan for most of the day before I decided to bring it into my place in the afternoon. On initial inspection, I could see how this TV can lose value in the eyes of someone else. It is now considered to be old… analog signal… without a set-top box, you aren’t able to watch free-to-air TV on it (something you could easily pick up for around $20). It also did not have HDMI inputs… something most people in this day and age are using to connect their devices. Being a plasma, this set will also be a serious drain on electricity.

That’s the cons out of the way. On the upside, it has a VGA connection and PC audio input socket available as well as component inputs. I hooked up the PS3 with a component cable to test the picture… and was able to get 1080p resolution. TV worked fine and was able to link it with a universal remote controller that I had in my gadget stash.

My friend recently moved into a unit that had a TV… but turns out that particular TV wasn’t working properly. The Sony left on the side of the road was able to find a new home!