I tried using my laser engraver to strip paint and mark the metal.

The paint stripping worked remarkably well.

I also tried using some dry moly lube as an engraving agent. This also works well. The laser can't touch metal, the metal acts like a mirror unless much more powerful than I have.

In album 1/22/17

Using the laser to strip paint.

One pass doesn’t do a great job, but the 2nd pass does.

I did a test with a quarter of the tin at different number of passes. Top is 4, bottom is 1 pass. There is a cut across just to check the pass count.

Two passes at this speed and power.

I burned the tin to darken it. I also used moly lube to label it. I accidently labeled the wrong side.

Adventures of a door.

Over the last few weeks, my front door has gotten a little blue.

I think it turned out pretty good. My wife picked out the color, I just applied the paint. I don't think she realized that I am going to get some white letters for above the door and label the door "Police call box".

Having seen all the kids and junk I've crammed inside, it is indeed bigger on the inside than it would appear.

In album 5/24/16

I've been wanting the Learning Herbs Herbal Remedy Kit for several years now….

I've been wanting the Learning Herbs Herbal Remedy Kit for several years now. They just had a 50% off sale, so I got it. It really helps that Bella is almost as interested in Herbal remedies as I am. So I justified the kit as much as for her as for me.

This weekend we opened up the kit and started making stuff out of it. We got the Echinacea Tincture started – that takes 6 weeks. We also made the Healing Herbal Salve.

The kit came on Friday, so that night I put the herb mix into my crock pot to infuse and we went to dinner with friends. I let it cool in the crock pot over night and turned it back on in the morning to heat back up for the next step.

The girls and I made up the salve in the morning. I chose to use different containers than what came with the kit as I want to use the little tins with some other salves I've already got the oils made up for.

We also put a tincture and a glycerite I made earlier this year into a couple of the dropper bottles in the kit.

It's pretty neat to have my 5 year old tell me some of the properties of the plants as we are making the salve.

I've spent a lot of money at LearningHerbs.com over the last couple of years, but it's worth it. Not only for myself, but for my kids.

In album Home Made Salve

Some of the Learning Herbs Herbal Remedy Kit. I had already taken out and used half of it by this point that the photo was taken.

I used the crock pot on low to infuse my herbs into my oil. I think it runs just a little bit warmer than I want, but I can address that with either a mechanical timer to just on/off cycle it so it runs cooler or to build an actual heat controller for the crock pot.

I used my french press to separate the oil from the herbs. Works great.

My double boiler bowl is actually a dog bowl. Cheap stainless steel that won’t trigger an argument with my wife over her good kitchen gear.

I made a tin, 2 baby food jars, and the big jar that came in the kit. I chose to use the other tins in the kit for other salves. I can’t EVER follow directions.

More exciting than watching paint dry, watching salve cool.

A work of art!

The kit came with labels. A very nice finishing touch.

Ava's room

When we bought the house, there is one room we referred to as the 'stupid room' as it was the smallest room, biggest closet, and 2 doors. We set it up as an office and library. Worked great.

With Ava, we decided that the time had come, the office is going away, it's the nursery. We'd discussed the very thing when we bought the house. 

So, this had the last of the original carpet. So I replaced the carpet. Katie ordered a wall decal set that I made work with the crib. 

Today I hung adjustable shelves so the largest closet in the house can be put to better use. It's a mix of baby stuff and kitchen stuff. 

In album 2014-12-28

The new carpet is much better. I put down extra padding so it should be extra soft for babies and standing changing diapers.

I really like the decals. It makes the room look nice.

And the closet. With this installed, I am DONE with this room. Only a 6 month project?

Some nasty dirty carpet. I painted the walls before replacing the carpet, knowing I didn’t care about the old stuff.

Did a pretty good job of getting the carpet the right size. Not much left over.

I’d bought carpet laying tools when I bought the house and layed the other carpets. I am 1 extension set short. So I improvised.

I decided to 'fix' a blanket I got from freecycle

It is a military wool blanket. I love wool blankets for camping and hanging out outdoors. I don't much care for the olive green – even though green is my favorite color.
So I dyed one side of if grey. I couldn't find anybody else online (just a short search) that dyes a single side of a blanket. So I made it up as I went along. I'd picked up some Dharma Trading 'Twilight grey' and basically painted it on for lack of better description. 
Normally you soak whatever you want to dye, but that will get the whole thing. So I mixed up the dye, water, vinegar (a mordant, helps the acid dye work) and a bit later, soap, for better 'wetting' of the blanket.
I am really, really impressed with how it turned out.

In album Dye single side of wool blanket

The green is still green, the grey, is a dark forest green.

Something I’ve done with the grey blanket is made it more water resistant.

water beaded up in the center, soaked in on the lower right.

I’d treated the grey blanket last year with lanolin. The oil that naturally occurs in wool while the sheep are wearing it, It’s what keeps sheep dry in the rain. In one context it seems silly that it’s taken out, but the wool can’t be dyed with it still in the fibers. So I add it back, and make the blanket more water resistant.

I am dying my green wool blanket grey.

I am spraying the dye on. I am using a spray bottle rescued from the recycling. It works just as good as the ones that cost $3 – probably because it did cost $3, but full, not empty.

I mixed up the dye, vinegar, and water into a juice container rescued from the recycling, and poured it in a little at a time with the funnel. The second batch I added a bit of dish soap to ‘wet’ the wool. The dye spray was beading on the fibers, the soap helps it soak deeper into the fabric.

The light grey in the upper right is the dye as sprayed on. I worked it into the blanket surface so I got better contact with the fibers instead of the spray just sitting on top of the blanket.

I want a mildly dappled effect, so I heavily dappled the blanket with the dye. It spreads out, so the effect is much more subtle when dried.

I hope…

In order to set the dye, I microwaved the blanket while it was still damp. I misted the dye side with the dye right before folding it dye side together and rolling it up. Microwave the daylights out of it in couple minute bursts.  I took it out, and re-rolled it with what was on the inside on the outside so I get even steaming of the dye.

I re-folded the blanket and nuked it some more. It was probably cooking a dozen 2 minute bursts.

I stuck it into a kidde pool to wash. This is the moment of truth… did the dye bind to the wool or will it leach out?

The water just barely tinted, so the dye fixed to the wool! YAY!

Hanging to dry. The color is better than I expected. I really like the dappled effect, very subtle.

The still-damp blanket in the house. I really really like the dappled effect on the folded blanket.