Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cold Brewed Coffee

I think this idea came up from one of the RSS feeds I read often. I did another google search recently and here's the link. Basic idea of cold brewing is to put cold water, and coffee grounds together and the flavor of the coffee work its way into the water... a process that takes overnight to complete. In the end, you get the coffee goodness that coffee shops store in a pitcher in their own fridges when they make you an iced coffee drink. This way is so much cheaper tho.

- Ground Coffee (1 cup)
- Cold Water (4 cups)
- A pitcher or container to put it in the fridge. (If you have a french press, it should work great.)
- Another container (or the same one) to store it in the fridge.
- Coffee filter

How to:

1. Add cold water into the pitcher or french press along with the coffee. Place this in the fridge all night (around 12 hours). I covered the top of the french press with saran wrap because it wouldn't fit with the french press lid.

2. After 12 hours is up, I pressed down the french press and poured the coffee into a mason jar with a coffee filter placed and screwed on top. You can actually see the stuff that the french press doesn't filter out.

That's it. Fill a glass with ice, and pour the coffee in. Enjoy your iced coffee however you like. Keep the rest in the jar in the fridge and it should last for a few days.

Monday, July 20, 2009

LED Lit Birthday Card

Today is my sister's birthday. We had a grand time celebrating her birthday this weekend, out and about with family and friends. For her birthday, I wanted to make something cool and geeky. :-) I saw this idea during the last Christmas season, from a post on (I wanna explore that site more).

This is actually pretty easy to do if you get past cutting the acrylic sheet to the appropriate size. This one is about 2" x 3" and probably took me about an hour to do because I was using an exacto knife then moved to a box cutter to try to score it deep enough before I eventually snapped the piece off. This was definitely not as easy as it sounded on the site. (Or I did way more work scoring than I needed to do).

Anyway, here's what I did.

- Acrylic sheet 2" x 3"
- 1 or 2 LED bulbs
- 1 battery (cr2032 - I just bought one of those flickering LED candles from the dollar tree and grabbed the battery from it)
- black electric tape
- Design you want to etch out (something simple with not too much detail works nice).
- Sharp hobby knife
- Cardstock to make card

How to:

1. Cut the acrylic sheet to fit the design with a bit of space around (maybe half an inch of edge space). I scored it with the hobby (exacto) knife and broke it off. When breaking it off, please be careful to not cut yourself. Use gloves to be safe.

2. Place the acrylic sheet over the design you want to etch out and tape it together to avoid much movement.

3. Using the hobby knife etch in the design by tracing it thru the sheet. It helps look directly above the design you're trying to trace. Also, nice and slow does the trick. It's not a race - so take your time on the curves.

4. Attach the LED light bulbs so the bulb is against the edge of the acrylic. Make sure that the leads for the LED bulb are aligned... positives are on top and negatives are on the bottom or vise versa. You'll want to make sure that the battery will fit okay and the LEDs will light up. I've found success putting a small strip of electric tape along the bottom of the acrylic, turning it over, then positioning the LEDs on the sticky side of the tape.

5. I added a small piece of tape on one half of the battery and insert the battery between both LED leads with the piece of tape end in first. (see picture). Pull up the LED leads on top of the battery just slightly so it doesn't touch the LED unless gently pressed. This will create a make-shift switch so the battery doesn't drain too fast. Tape the battery to the LEDs on the side that you didn't pull the leads up on. Tape the LED bulbs down as well so their position doesn't move and you're covering the stick part of the tape you placed the LED bulbs on in the first place.

6. Using the electric tape, tape up all the edges. This will help the light from "escaping."

7. Attach the acrylic onto some cardstock then attach to a card however way you find.

8. Put a small button or piece of cardstock on the area that is just above the pulled up LED leads with a small note that says Press Here. Make sure to test it out.

9. Put the finishing touches on the card, and place it in the envelope. Placing the card in where the "Press Here" sign is on top is the best way, I found, to put the card in without turning it on.
(Note: for mailing, I'd place a small piece of paper with a pull tab between the leads and the battery to keep it from being on during the entire trip.)

That's it. Pretty easy, right? Enjoy giving out these LED lit cards.

And Happy Birthday, Frida. :-)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Never Buy Green Onions Again

I actually don't remember how the idea came upon us. I think maybe we saw a blog somewhere that talked about replanting green onions. We've been doing this for months now, and we are finding that we no longer waste half the bundle of green onions from the store. The idea is simple. Cut the part of the green onion you use, and replant the roots. Then keep cutting the greens off the plant.

Here's what we do:

1. Buy green onions from the grocery.
2. Use the greens for what you need, cutting and saving the bulb/roots part of the onion.
3. Put the bulb/roots part of the onion in water. It will actually start growing roots, and growing from there.
4. Plant bulb/roots into a pot with some soil.
5. Cut whenever you need green onions.

Okay, so technically you can skip 3 and it'll work out just fine. But, it's kinda fun watching all the roots grow. It's good affirmation that the process will work. :-D

Here are a few pictures:

This is from about a week of cutting

These last two pictures are the ones that we've had for at least 3 months and have been trimming for use when needed.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hanging Tomato Plant Update #2

I thought I'd just do a quick post today and show you guys how well the Hanging Tomato Plant is doing. Overall it seems to be doing great, but the heat is causing it to use up it's water quite fast that we water it daily and sometimes more and it's still drying up some. Next time, maybe only two plants per bucket, and maybe I need to splurge and get one of those Home Depot 5 gallon buckets.

Here are some pictures taken just recently. The tomatoes were picked that day and they were super sweet and absolutely delicious. (not to brag or anything) :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

DIY Aquarium Tunnel

I found the idea for this tunnel at a pretty cool diy aquarium site. My goldfish tank has been without decor for way too long, so I decided to give this a shot and give them some place to hide in. Because I used a connector, I didn't want to try cutting it, so my tunnel is a bit different from the plans on the

Here's how I made it:

- PVC Y connector for a 4 inch pipe.
- hot glue gun (or acrylic aquarium glue)
- aquarium rocks

1. Put glue on PVC pipe. Cover glue with rocks. (Be careful not to burn yourself... it hurts quite a bit.) Try to cover as much of the PVC surface as you can.

2. Let dry for an hour (or longer if using the acrylic aquarium glue).

3. Rinse, and place in the tank.

Super easy to make, but it takes a really long time to put the rocks on the glue. The next time I do this, I think I'll use a smaller pipe, and maybe I'll try aquarium glue as the hot glue was pretty painful, and took way too long to use. Oh well... it looks good... and I'm just waiting to see my fish swim through it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Remolding Soap -The Experience

When I first began to blog, I blogged about this project I saw which involved remolding those little hotel soaps. Since I've seen it, I've been wanting to give it a try. Finally, I gave it a try. Unfortunately, I decided to try it at a time with no access to a microwave, as our microwave just died on us. :-(

Anyway, here's the link to the original post as well as the link of where I first found out about the idea. A little more improvising and I have myself some oatmeal soap. :-) Here's how I did it:

- hotel soap bars (doesn't matter whether its facial or body)
- a bit of water
- oats (for exfoliation. I used about 1/8 a cup but I don't think there's much of a rule on this)
- grater

1. Unwrap all of the soap bars and grate them. I started by using the long slit on the side of the grater, but realized that using the large holes made the grating go much easier. Be careful when grating these -- especially when it gets close to the end of the bar. I managed to only scrape my knuckle once but it still hurt.

2. Mix with some quick oats. I don't know if using the other kind of oats makes any difference, I just happen to have the quick oats handy.

3. Here, I stirred a little away from the plans that the farmer's wife posted. She had sprinkled with water and put the mixture in the microwave. Since I was lacking the microwave, I decided to try a double boiler to see if I can melt the soap that way. Didn't work -- or at least it didn't look like it was working to me. So, I decided to use the boiling water from the bottom pan of my double boiler and pour a little at a time to the soap/oats mixture.

4. Mix the soap thoroughly, add more boiling water if it seems to be too dry to mix. The soap began to mix together nicely, even though I didn't actually get the mixture to boil which maybe would have given me smoother results.

5. Oil a muffin pan and scoop up the soap/oats mixture into the pan

6. Let it sit in there for a day. Remove from muffin pan and let soap sit for a couple more days to dry completely.

7. Use or package for gifts.

Simple project that can be used for gifts, or just to have when you don't know what to do with those little soaps. Keep the soap away from the dog's reach. I don't know if Radar was just being weird, but he kept trying to steal the soap to eat it. Maybe he was craving oatmeal cookies. I dunno.

If you're looking to do other things with these little soaps, I suggest just giving them to the homeless shelters and the likes. I'm sure they'll be grateful to have them. I plan to give the rest of mine away.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

DIY Aquarium Plant Rock Base

Those little plastic trays that come with aquarium plants never seem to work great. I was thinking about this the other day, and decided that it would be a good time to try out a DIY aquarium project. It also seemed to be a good time to keep a promise to a friend to try doing a craft project for the fishies. :-) The idea came to me when I was walking around PetSmart and saw how simple the whole thing looked to be and the price difference it seemed between the rock base plants and the non-rock base plants, for the small plant with a rock base was nearly twice as much. So, here's how I did it.

1. Plastic Aquarium Plant
2. Hot Glue Gun (or aquarium acrylic glue - these should be aquarium safe)
3. Aquarium Rocks

How To:
1. First remove the bottom plastic tray

2. Tape up the "roots" so it doesn't get in the way and doesn't get glued down.

3. Start by gluing the bottom tip of the plant and then drop into the rocks. You'll want to repeat this til you reach the desired base size. I added rocks to the base til I reached about 1.5" in diameter. While the glue is drying you should be able to sorta squeeze the rocks together for a tighter clump. Please be extra careful tho as the glue is quite hot.

4. Let it dry for about an hour before actually putting it in the aquarium (longer if you used the acrylic glue). It should be ready to go. I dropped it into the corner of my aquarium and it worked great. It would have matched the gravel of my aquarium much better if I had just grabbed a handful from my aquarium, but I didn't feel like it.

Anyway, hope you enjoy this simple DIY for an Aquarium plant rock base. [LadyAero - I hope this might be a project that would work for Stripey.]