A Dust Collector!

Bob's Tongue

This is Bob. Bob will find the ONE pile of sawdust in Jay’s workshop and walk through it multiple times. Not only did he act as a dust ‘collector’, but also as a dust ‘spreader’. So for Christmas I decided that I would splurge and get Jay a real dust collector.

I did my research because I wanted one that would really work and wouldn’t break after a few uses. As the sole vacuum operator I also wanted one that would keep the majority of the dust under control. Oh, and since the work shop is in the basement I also needed it to be ear-friendly. It costs a pretty penny to meet all of these requirements, but I think that I managed it:

Dust Collector Box

I ordered this a month before Christmas, but it was back ordered until February. Poor Jay had to content himself with drooling over the user’s manual that I had printed off for him. Don’t worry, he didn’t actually read it! I would hate for his Man Card to be erroneously taken. He just looked at the specs so that he could figure out what he would have to do regarding the electrical outlet, etc.

The week it shipped we had gorgeous weather… until the day it was delivered. It poured all day, as you can tell from the picture. There was only one way to get it into the basement: in pieces through the outside entrance. I guess that even then it almost didn’t fit. Jay had to end up taking apart some of the already assembled pieces.

Dust Collector Parts

I have no idea how he managed to get it all downstairs by himself, but this is what I found when I got home from work. Don’t be fooled, those pieces are heavy! At least I was assured that it was heavy duty.

Dust Collector Assembly

The corner was all cleared out and ready for the new occupant. But first it had to be assembled (and parts of it had to be re-assembled!).

Dust Collector Frame

This is Jay’s favorite part. He loves putting things together.

Cyclone Dust Collector

This is a cyclone dust collector, which is a two-stage machine. That means it will be better at getting most of the dust that is being created.

Assembled Dust Collector

It only took Jay a few hours to get it all together. I helped him with parts of it, but then I had to run out to choir practice. Once this part was done he started in on the next phase:

Dust Collector Piping

He is running piping along the wall with gates and ports to each of his machines. He has even done some design work when it comes to the fittings:

3d Printed Elbow

He 3D printed his own elbow connection for the router table…

3D Printed Adaptor

… and the adapter for the pipe that leads to the router table.

This is still in process. I believe he has more adapters and connectors to 3D print, plus he has to rewire the basement to put the dust collector on its own circuit. I’m sure it won’t be long before that is done as he’s very anxious to begin using it.

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How To: Easter Wreath

Every time I opened my front door to get the mail I would see the very wilted Christmas wreath hanging on it and think, “I need to do something with that.” Then after shutting the door I would forget about it until the next time I went to get the mail. Usually I don’t keep anything on the front door, but then as I was doing some inspiration research I came across this picture:

Cross on wreath

I really liked this! I felt the cross was a little big, but I loved the contrast of the grapevine wreath against the white flowers, which to me look like crocus.

I decided I was going to make my own wreath using this one as my inspiration.

I needed materials, though, so where did I head? Hobby Lobby, of course! (Have I mentioned that I’ve been going through severe Hobby Lobby withdrawal since July? After switching jobs I no longer work close enough to run there during my lunch break. It’s been a real boost to our checking account, but a severe drain on my mental health.)

Grape Vine Wreaths

I started out with a smaller size grape vine wreath. I bought two of everything so that I could make Karen one for her birthday.

Wreaths - Flowers

Then I divided up the flowers I had purchased. I really wanted calla lilies, but they were very expensive (and I’m kind of cheap). So I bought one bunch of white star-gazer looking lilies and then a vine of purple flowers that I thought would really dress it up.

Now, I admit that I don’t have any kind of style and a lot of the time when I get an idea in my head I just keep throwing things together until it either works or ends up in the trash. I hoped this one wouldn’t end up as another failed project!

Wreaths - Decorating

I played with the arrangement of the flowers until I thought they looked good. I then wire-tied them onto the wreath. It was my original thought that I could use wire so that if I decide to change things out it wouldn’t be too difficult. I ended up having to use hot glue, though, so there went that idea down the drain.

Wreaths - Finished

This was the final result. I used a purple and ivory sheer ribbon to make the bow and then glued it on the bottom. Jay helped me make a couple of hangers for the back, and I added the cross in the middle. It wasn’t my first choice of cross, but there wasn’t a large selection of crosses that really called to me. If I’d had more time I would have just had Jay cut one out with the CNC router, but this was a last minute project.

I guess it looks okay. You can’t really see it from the road, but oh well. It was a nice little experiment. And as a parting thought I’ll leave you with the passage that is on the cross:

Wreaths - Isaiah Cross

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Spring Cross Update 3-6-18

I promised that I would show you what this cross will look like when I’m done.

Spring Cross

Isn’t it pretty??! No, there aren’t any roses in it, but you have sunny happy flowers! In my eyes they are much better than pumpkins and acorns!

The last time I shared this project with you this is what I had done:

Spring Cross 2-21-18

The daffodil was fully stitched (not back-stitched) and I was working on the purple flowers to the right.

Here is where it stands:

Spring Cross 3-6-18

I have filled in a little green and am working on the purple to the right of the daffodil. I have also moved my fabric on my Qsnap so that I can work more towards the right side of the pattern.

I realized the other day that on this cross I’ve just started working on the right side of the cross without even thinking about it. On the other three crosses I worked towards the left and then went clockwise around them. I start working on the last one and suddenly I’m going backwards!

Either way, it makes me happy to be working with pretty colors again. 🙂

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Review: Ergonomic Crochet Hooks

Project Linus Blanket #8 Dec 2017 - Autumn in the Pumpkin Patch

If you’ve been following my blog regularly, or you know me in person, you know that I’ve been crocheting blankets for Project Linus. It gives me something to do while watching TV, during long car trips, and even during jury duty.

Growing up my mom always used, and still does, the steel or aluminum crochet hooks.


I started out using these, but I found that it caused my hand to cramp much easier and I was literally rubbing the color off of the hook.


(I tarnish my cross stitching needles quickly, too)

I wanted to crochet for long periods of time so I started looking at the other options. I didn’t want to use one of the acrylic hooks because I prefer how the yarn glides over the metal post of the hook. I do have a wooden crochet hook (which I love), but that also cramps my hand quicker. I decided to try one of the ergonomic hooks.

Ergonomic Crochet Hook

Now, if you’ve been crocheting for many years using the aluminum hooks the fatness of these ergonomic ones might be too much for you. As a newbie who was looking for comfort, I love them!

Ergonomic Hook Held

My hand doesn’t fatigue as quickly, the grip is cushioned, and I still have a long enough metal neck that the yarn nicely glides over. I have purchased a handful of sizes in this style and they are practically all that I use. In fact, when I was looking for a size 8 steel hook for a future project I instantly looked for one with the ergonomic handle.

I’ve purchased mine at Hobby Lobby (one at a time with the 40% off coupon!), but you can find them at almost any craft store or Amazon. They can be purchased individually or in a full set. To be completely honest I haven’t tried any of the hooks by the other manufacturers as I’ve only purchased the Hobby Lobby brand, but I’m sure that they would be just as comfortable. If you’ve been having problems holding your hook or having your hand cramp up on you then give one of these a try. It just might work!

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How To: LED Shop Light

Last year Jay started to convert our lighting in the basement to LED strip lighting.


At the time he used the old florescent fixtures and attached the LED strips directly to them. After he ran out of fixtures he started placing them on plywood. This is a simple project that almost anybody can do. Here’s what you need:

1 LED Light Materials

6″ x 48″ piece of OSB

12v 2A wall wart

16′ Daylight White LEDs

Double wire to be used as jumpers

Almost all of the LEDs and wall arts Jay has purchased has been through Amazon.

2 Use Cable Tie

In one end of the OSB drill two holes so that you can anchor the plug end of the LED strip. This is the end that will connect to the wall wart.

5 Tin Solder Pads

Lay out four lines of LEDs. Yes, you can cut them as they are typically on some kind of plastic tape.

3B Plus and Minus

Make sure that when you’re laying out the strips you have all of the ‘+’s and ‘-‘s going the same way. In the example above you can see that on both strips the ‘+’ is on the right and the ‘-‘ is on the left.

Use thin CA to anchor spots that lift.

4 Cut Wire Jumpers

Cut 2 pieces of double wire in 2″ lengths.

Cut one piece of double wire in a 3″ length.

6 Solder Jumpers

Strip and tin the ends of the wires.

Solder the wires to the pads in parallel.

7 Test with Power Supply

Test with a 12v power supply. If the LED’s don’t light up check to make sure you have the wire ends soldered to the correct pads.

8 Install on Ceiling

Install the board using 1 1/4″ deck screws into the floor joists.

9 Plug In and Use

Plug in and enjoy!

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Review: CAT Air Compressor

In an effort to share what we’ve learned, Jay and I are going to start posting some product reviews on the blog. I’ve asked him to take a look around his workshop and start compiling a list of products that he would like to review. The first one is:

California Air Tools (CAT) Ultra Quiet Air Compressor

CAT Compressor

Model #5510A  1hp 5.5gal compressor

Ultra quiet = 60 decibels!

Go to the California Air Tools website to watch videos and hear just how quiet these air compressors are!

This is a 2 stage air compressor.

It does 0 to 120 PSI in 1 min 53 sec.

It goes from 0 to 80 PSI in 1 min!

CAT Gauges 2

It is all aluminum, which makes it light weight.

When it’s running you barely know that it’s there. You can continue to hold a normal conversation without a problem.

CAT Butt

It also has two handles for easy lifting.

Here is the list of things Jay likes about this air compressor:

Quiet running; No need to stop conversation

Low vibration – set on thick carpet or mat for nearly silent running

Fast fill up and recharge.

Use with nailers, staplers, air ratchet, air brush and paint guns (small).

It has a ball valve drain, not a screw type.

CAT Air Drain

Jay timed it and it can go from 120 PSI to 0 in 20 seconds when you have the drain wide open.

CAT Gauges

There are only two things that Jay would improve about this particular model:

Bigger tank. (He said you can use a stand alone tank if needed)

Manifold with 2 quick disconnects. This only has one, but he plans on adding an adapter so that he can have two air tools hooked to the compressor at once.


Overall, this tank has quickly become one of Jay’s favorite tools. It is well worth the money that you pay, which really is not extravagant. You can find them on Amazon for reasonable prices.

The first time Jay used this I didn’t even realize that he’d been running it. I was in our family room and as I walked through the kitchen I could smell wet paint. He had used the air brush to do some painting and I hadn’t even known! With his other air compressors I can be upstairs in my sewing room and hear them running. Not with this little guy! I give it two thumbs up!!

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Spring Cross Update 2-21-18

As you know, I’ve finished and framed the Autumn Cross:

Autumn Cross Framed 2-3-18

It is now hanging on my wall next to the Summer Cross.

That means I get to start the final cross of the series, the Spring Cross!

Spring Cross Supplies 2-3-18

Look! Very few skeins of orange or yellow!!

I started this on February 3rd. Of course, the flower in the middle of the pattern (where I always start) was a yellow daffodil:

Spring Cross 2-21-18

But look! I get to use other colors, too!! I was so excited as I threaded my needle with the light purple. Finally! Color! I am going to really enjoy this project. When I get a chance I’ll take a picture of the picture on the front of the pattern so you can see what it will look like. It’s going to be gorgeous!

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