We thank Dan Osborne for sending in these photo’s of his deck upgrade
We thank Dan Osborne for sending in these photo’s of his deck upgrade
Here’s a great site on how one firm installs a synthetic ice (high density polyethylene) surface
Touring some of the local hobby shows and speaking with some of our younger customers, I’m finding a growing interest in robot building.
In routing around the Net I happened upon John Palmisano’s site, TheSocietyOfRobots.com
John offered me these thoughts on getting started and what’s available on his site:
Robots today are no longer only made out of traditional tin and steal.
Instead, an ever increasing number of robots consists of large
quantities of plastics – not just for aesthetic casings but also as
main structural components. Societyofrobots.com covers all aspects on
building your own robot, including materials and structural
* * *
So, Plasticguy says check’m out!
Artist THOMAS BROOMÉ as created a life size sculpture (called THE LOW RES MAN) in painted acrylic glass, of a man built up with 1x1x1 cm cubes (pixels). The man has a innerlight which makes him seem like he just stepped out of the screen-based world into ours.
By Joseph Holst
Building a light box is easy. In fact, I could just post the photos with no explanation and 95 percent of people would be able to sort it out with no problem. But for the other 5 percent and for the sake of being thorough, I’ll post a few words of instruction.This thing isn’t really rocket science at all. I think it’s more the technique that people would be interested in. I’ve received a lot of e-mails asking about the light box so I hope this will be a help to anyone wanting to stay inside during the winter months and take shots of random stuff from the fridge.
Here’s a nifty tip from Canadian Woodworking (don’t forget to visit their site!)
by Ted Duquette
Here is how I make lettering templates out of 1/16″ plexi- glass. I use a computer to print out the lettering patterns first (you could also draw them by hand). The trick to cutting Plexiglas successfully is to buy the type that has the brown paper on both sides of the Plexiglas.
You can glue your pattern on to the brown paper or you can draw the lettering right onto the paper. I use a #5 scroll saw blade with 12 teeth per inch to do the cutting. I set my saw at about half speed. If you only have a full speed saw, it can still be done but you will need to take a lot more care to ensure clean cuts. Take your time when cutting out the lettering – remember this will be the master template for all your future lettering. If you can’t get the brown papered version use un-backed Plexiglas. However, before you start cutting cover the glass with masking tape. This helps cool the blade while cutting so the Plexiglas doesn’t melt. I have made about two dozen of these lettering guides in different sizes and fonts and use them a lot in the shop.
The weather is clearly changing as nighttime low temperatures dip to the 40s and the tree leaves start to change colors and get ready for their autumn dance to earth. You can smell the cooler fall weather, and meteorologists are talking about wind chill temperatures again. The first frost and then the first freeze normally arrive in the next two or three weeks on the calendar.It’s time to start planning for any tropical or annual plants you want to save and bring inside for winter. Some plants may be too large to save, but you can take stem cuttings to root and carry over for spring. Most tropicals need to be kept near windows in good light if you are going to try to winter them in the house.
Many people look at the killing fall freeze as the end of a special season or memory and a chance for a clean palette to start their garden anew next spring. Others can’t bear to lose beloved plants, large porch or patio gardens, or special plant collections.
You can save a few plants in your house, but space and access to light often limit the number of plants you can bring in the house. This makes a hobby greenhouse the best option.
A hobby greenhouse can also be a fun way to produce vegetables through the winter, to grow seeds and cuttings, to start transplants for next spring or to start a collection of orchids, begonias, bonsai or the special plants of your choice.
You can buy a kit greenhouse at local stores or via the Internet, or you can build a greenhouse frame and cover it with a number of greenhouse skins or glazings. Decent kit greenhouses start at about $1,000 and go as high as $20,000. Most of the inexpensive kits are made of lightweight galvanized metal or polycarbonate extrusions and are covered with plastic film or single-wall polycarbonate panels. The frames go up in cost as the metal frame gets heavier or you switch to aluminum frames or painted frames. A few kits use redwood or cedar wood as the frame, but more than 85 percent of the kits sold use metal frames, which probably offer the most strength for the money.
The earliest types of greenhouses that used more glazed glass are still available but not used as often because of the glazing cost and because it takes more structure to support the glass. Glass is available in 1/8-inch-thick tempered glass and in energy-saving insulated glass panels. The most popular glazings these days are single-wall corrugated clear polycarbonate panels or the energy-saving twin-wall polycarbonate in 6- or 8-millimeter-thick panels.
Some kits still use corrugated fiberglass, and newer kits use the more expensive corrugated or twin-wall acrylic panels that will stay clear longer. Greenhouse-grade ultraviolet-resistant polycarbonate panels offer the most strength, durability and light transmission for the money.
Twin-wall panels save almost 30 percent to 35 percent in energy. Greenhouse copolymer plastic film is the least expensive glazing. When you install two layers and blow air between the layers, greenhouse plastic film is one of the most energy-efficient choices.
If you build your own wood or metal frame or convert a garage, shop or other building, you can buy good greenhouse glazing to put on your frame. You can use 4-foot-wide corrugated polycarbonate panels that install by overlapping the panels and screwing them to the frame.
You will need heat in your greenhouse. A unit heater is usually the best choice. Natural gas is generally the cheapest commercial fuel, followed by propane. Electric heat is the cheapest to install but costs the most to operate.
Even if you only use the greenhouse in fall, winter and spring, you will need ventilation, as all greenhouse owners very quickly appreciate the power of solar energy. You can provide winter cooling with side and roof vents or with a motorized shutter on one end and an exhaust fan on the opposite end.
It is usually best to automate the ventilation on a thermostat, because we often need cooling near the middle of the day even in the winter. It is not unusual to have the fan come on to ventilate on a 40-degree or 45-degree day. If it is clear and sunny outside, it is possible for the greenhouse temperature to rise to more than 100 degrees because of solar radiation if you are not ventilating.
You will probably need to add shade cloth and an evaporative cooler if you want to use the greenhouse in summer.
Although you can buy hobby greenhouses from mail-order catalogs or over the Internet, I would encourage you to buy this specialized equipment locally for the best advice on frames, glazing materials, sizing, heating and cooling equipment and shade percentages for this area. There are several good suppliers in Oklahoma City and Tulsa that would be familiar with our area’s conditions to help you select the right hobby greenhouse for your application and crops.
Now is the time to plant pansies, viola, ornamental kale and cabbage and to select and plant spring flowering bulbs such as tulips, crocus and daffodils. This is also a great time to mulch your more tender hardy plants to help insulate their roots and protect them for the winter ahead.
Rodd Moesel serves on the Oklahoma Horticulture Industrial Council and the Oklahoma State University agriculture dean’s advisory committee. He is a former president of the Oklahoma Greenhouse Growers Association. E-mail garden and landscape questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Acrylic (with brand names like Acrylite, Plexiglas, Lucite, Optix) is an excellent material for supporting your super cake creations.
Clear acrylic is an FDA approved material and its edges can be polished to a glass-like shine.
There’s two grades of acrylic: cast and extruded. For your larger flat pieces you can save money by asking for extruded acrylic. If you need near-optical perfection then you’ll end up using cast acrylic – a bit more expensive but absolutely faultless. How do you glue everything together? You need acrylic glue – click here for an article that might help you.
Here’s some ideas I found on line (click on the images to go to the website):
Photos by NATALIE CAUDILL/DMN
Debby Luttrell holds the finished quilt from the Patchwork Party 2007. Ms. Luttrell owns Stitchin’ Heaven, in Quitman.
If you think the quilting bee is a thing of the past, think again. The venerable art of patchwork is alive and well, thanks to a modern-day cyber circle that’s the brainchild of Debby Luttrell, owner of quilt shop Stitchin’ Heaven in Quitman, 100 miles east of Dallas.
It’s an example of how an old handicraft is evolving.
Sensing that camaraderie and a mutual fondness for hearth and home were common threads, she launched the twice-annual Internet event called Patchwork Party, inviting quilting enthusiasts nationwide to participate, compare notes and admire the finished works of a select group of shops.
“I had dreamed up a similar concept to use as a marketing strategy at a trade show, and I took it to the Internet a couple of years later because the time was right,” Ms. Luttrell says.
The first sewing soiree was in August 2006, and word quickly spread. Patchwork Party Fall 2007 – appropriately themed Home for the Holidays and featuring a vintage red, green and black color scheme – is in progress.
Although the traditional medium for quilt block templates is paper, acrylic templates are recommended by Patchwork Party participants.
At the heart of this online gathering are 12 stores from throughout the country, each with its own collectible quilt block. Patterns for the quilt blocks are by quilting designer and author Marti Michell of Atlanta, whose focus is on “quilting for people who don’t have time to quilt. We take traditional blocks with basic geometric shapes and try to put a twist in them.”
In addition to its own quilt block, each store has its own suggested quilt design for assembly of all 12 blocks, viewable via that store’s link to Patchwork Party 2007. Participants can collect the dozen block kits and, if they choose, purchase a separate finishing kit to follow a store’s quilt patterns. The finishing kit consists of everything else it takes to complete the quilt, such as sashing, binding and alternative fabric to make a center pattern or other signature element.
Paper patterns are included in the block kits, although Mrs. Michell’s acrylic templates are recommended by many shop owners and participants because they’re more durable and wrinkle-proof. And in the current quilt world, they’re also more collectible. Her acrylic templates, which are sold separately, don’t have to be cut and pinned down like the paper version, although paper is the traditional template medium.
Participating quilters who prefer not to replicate any store’s quilt design can mix up the blocks any way they wish. Ms. Luttrell says some quilters buy all 12 blocks or just a few to blend with squares of their own design. But most participants tend to buy all 12.
“It’s fun for them when they get 12 packages from 12 stores,” says Kimberly Jolly, co-owner (with her husband) of Fat Quarter Shop in Manchaca, near Austin. “It’s like Christmas.”
Fat Quarter is one of three quilting shops in the Patchwork Party circuit that are online-only operations.
“The stores are all over the country, so it gives us exposure to stores we would not normally have exposure to,” says Diane Patterson, a veteran Dallas quilter. She’s been quilting for about 12 years, and her quilting club meets for a retreat at Ms. Luttrell’s bunkhouse every year.
“The wonderful thing about this program is it allows you to get to know other stores,” says Kim Bicksler of Dallas, a participant in all the Patchwork Parties thus far. “I knew about Stitchin’ Heaven, but I got to know 11 other stores. I just got another newsletter and there was another kit that I just have to have, and they’re all the way out in Georgia.”
Seasoned quilters and novices alike are serious about this skill. “What we aim to do is a really simple quilt so that people would be able to finish it by Christmas,” says Ms. Jolly. “Our goal was to gear things toward the beginning quilter. Each of the stores is different, and each comes up with its own niche audience. That’s part of the fun; they can pick whatever they like.”
As an eight-year quilting veteran at 33, Mrs. Jolly is a living example of the younger audience this pastime continues to attract. “We’re seeing very hip colors from the ’70s, and more and more young quilters are quilting because they can find fabric that’s not ‘grandma’ fabric.”
Most of the stores also offer their own patterns for other items such as table runners, placemats, Christmas stockings and pillowcases that coordinate with the quilts.
Ms. Luttrell says that during the spring event, which ran from Valentine’s Day through Memorial Day, more than 24,000 quilt blocks were sold, averaging 2,000 per store. Nov. 30 is the final day for purchasing the current set of blocks. Expect something different this spring.
“In the quilting world, fabrics come and go really fast,” adds Ms. Luttrell. Of the popular Patchwork format, she says, “It just shows that quilters are Internet-savvy.”
Nancy Myers is a Dallas freelance writer.