Quick Fix: TV Remote button

IMG_7904Has your remote gotten to the point where Hulk strength is now needed to turn the TV on or off? That’s where our remote was at until today. I had previously cleaned the remote out not so long ago, so I knew the issue wasn’t due to a build up of dust or gunk from having an accidental spill. Something needed to be done about the contacts, in particular, the “power” button since it was the only problematic one.

Using a spudger or guitar pick, you can try to get in an unhook the plastic latches that hold the remote together. Once you’ve unhooked enough, it should pop open. The contacts in most remotes are composed of a composite of graphite and rubber. Using one of my son’s pencils, I gave the “power” contact a little refresh. Use a pencil with more B than H… I think this one is a 2B (but have no way of verifying it since my son sharpened off the label). Alternatively, you could cut off a small piece of aluminium foil and glue it to the problem contact.

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After putting everything back together, the button was once again in working order!

The Saggy Drawer

The drawer third from the top in the kitchen had begun to feel quite stiff when opening and closing. After tolerating this for a period of time, I got around to pulling the whole thing out for an inspection. The wooden base of the drawer had become so warped, it now resembled a shallow bowl. The stiffness felt when pulling on the drawer was now the base of the drawer rubbing against the frame. The pressure also caused the chipboard to give way, and it was barely holding the base in place. Now that they were no longer useful, the worn edges of chipboard were pulled away and tossed.

IMG_7817.JPGThe solution I found on Google to mend the warp was to iron the base. I covered the base with a damp towel. My steam iron was set to it’s highest setting and filled with water to get the steam going. I then set about ironing the base flat, working from the edges to the centre. After about 30 minutes of ironing, the board had flattened out. It was then placed in an area to sufficiently dry with bricks to weigh it down.

IMG_7822My original idea for fixing the drawer was to use some scrap wood that I could find and nail it in place to act as a brace for the drawer. But since ironing out the wood seemed to take care of the issue, I just hammered it back in place. Previously, a drawer I had repaired simply popped out again due to the weight of whatever was in it. So this time around, I hammered the nails into the drawers at different angles. If any pressure were to cause the base to slip, the nails would keep it in place.

Admittedly, the third drawer did contain some of my more weightier utensils… like a meat tenderizer and rolling pin. But after repairing the drawer, I’m more confident now that it’ll hold…  until we decide to move at least.

The Pergola Predicament

Since moving into this rental late last year, it quickly became apparent that things were beginning to fall apart in the backyard. The sunshade had already begun to come away from the pergola leaving rusted nails littering the yard… a minor safety concern, but nothing that a bit of vigilance couldn’t handle. Then the storm hit…

Sometime in February a crazy storm hit Perth providing the city with an unexpectedly large amount of rainfall. Once the storm had passed, the condition of the pergola became a lot more difficult to ignore. The sunshade had completely blown over and was now ready to greet whoever would exit through the back door. The beams for the pergola had warped to the point where they completely left the nails that used to hold them in place. And most of the wood has aged and is wearing away. The whole thing really needs to be replaced by the landlord, but I have little faith that it would get done immediately… so armed with a hammer and a ladder I got to work.

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All the nails were pulled out and the sunshade set to one side. The beams were turned upside down and set aside. To ensure that the sunshade was not going to come loose again, the beams were placed on top of the sunshade and everything was nailed back in place… using the original nails. After a day of work, the backyard now seemed less chaotic.

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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Mini Apple Pies

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If you’ve been reading some of my past posts, you might begin to see a pattern when it comes to my cooking… Do things that are quick and easy. And that’s kind of how this got whipped together.

When cleaning out my fridge, I’d noticed a jar of “apple jam” (in quotes because it was jam according to the friend that created it… and although it was sweet, it better resembled chutney) had begun to form some mould at the top. After scooping away a larger than necessary portion to be rid of the mould, I had to decide on the spot what I would do with the remaining “jam”… and remembered there was still puff pastry in the freezer.

After removing a sheet of puff pastry and allowing it to thaw, it was cut into eight squares. I then pressed each square into a cup of a cupcake tray. The apple mix was then spooned into each cup and the pastry was then folded around it to form a pseudo-crust. The pies were then thrown in a pre-heated oven at ~200º for about 15 minutes.

Being the first attempt, I was prepared for failure but I was confident the puff pastry would work out as I hoped… and it did! When serving them up to Owen, a squirt of whipped cream was added on top.

In the future, I may create my own Apple Jam… stayed tuned!

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!

DIY Car Boot Fix

At some point last year, I started having a problem with my car boot…. It would occasionally fall on my head. My car is a 2001 Ford Ka… so it’s inevitable that there’d be bits and pieces that need to be replaced every once in a while. And now it was time for the gas struts holding the boot up to get replaced.

Buying a pair of gas struts retail for around $99AUD… but I don’t do retail. I managed to find the struts I wanted from eBay for $25.86AUD and would take about 3 weeks to deliver from the UK. I’m not usually in a hurry when making these kinds of purchases, so the order was put through and patience employed…. it took about 6 weeks to arrive in the end.

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Installation was quite simple. Brace the boot… I ended up using the interior shelving and a chopping board to keep it up. Using a flathead screwdriver, you prise out the clips holding the strut in place. I found that once the clips were removed, the strut could be pulled off quite easily. Refitting the new strut was just as simple… press it on and done.

Now… a helmet is no longer require to get the shopping bags out.

Easy Frozen Yoghurt

IMG_7793.JPGPurchased some popsicle moulds from IKEA… back in 2014… our first year back in Australia. They had been sitting in kitchen drawers in 3-4 different homes before I finally decided to make use of them!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups frozen fruit
  • 1/2 cup greek yoghurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons honey

What originally prompt my motivation into creating these was seeing a half full punnet of strawberries that were now getting quite “soft”… to the point that my son no longer had an interest in looking at them. Not wanting to see them go to waste, they were popped into the blender with 2 bananas, as a substitute for the frozen fruit, along with the other ingredients.

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Once the mixture had become smooth and creamy, it was poured into the moulds and left in the freezer for a few hours. After which, Owen had a try. In the photo in which he seems to be enjoying it… he really did not in reality. The bananas I had used weren’t quite ripe enough and left that sourness behind. Next time though, I’m sure they’ll work out.

Original Recipe

That Fantastic Sound!

squeak!.jpgSome advice for everyone… keep a can of WD40 or some kind of machine oil in your home.

But if you don’t have anything at the time and need to take care of something immediately, you can improvise. During our last trip to China, we stayed in an apartment in Zhuhai. Zhuhai is located in the southern provinces and can often get humid. One of the first things I noticed was the noise coming from the bathroom door. On closer inspection of the hinges, the humidity had caused both top and bottom to develop substantial amounts of rust… with the wear now creating a very unpleasant noise. Since I’m a light sleeper and was couch-surfing next to the culprit, it was something that needed to be addressed as soon as possible.

My temporary solution was… cooking oil applied with a q-tip. Keep in mind the term “temporary” because although it will lubricate the parts immediately and take care of the issue, cooking oil can eventually go rancid and gum up after being exposed to the air for an amount of time.  In any case, it did the trick and I wasn’t unexpectedly woken whenever someone needed a pee!