Mar 11 2011

light bulbs [minimalist challenge item #22]

[item] huge lot of incandescent light bulbs

[purchase info] A few were purchased, most came with the house or were pulled out of the trash

[time in my possession] From 2 months to 4 years

[last used] 2 months ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Given to a friend

[info] Some of these bulbs were in my bathroom light fixtures, some came from a trash pile of a home remodel, as they threw away the bulbs and the fixtures.  A few of the smaller ones were purchased new.  I recently switched over all of my light bulbs to the compact fluorescent, energy saving bulbs.  My kids had to buy them for leaving their lights on all the time.  :)  They found a good home and will be used.


Mar 4 2011

stuff is not an investment [day 282]

I had an eBay business while I was doing freelance work several years ago.  I started eBay for one simple reason.  I sell my Syquest Sparq drive and cartridges.  Back in the late 90’s, the Iomega Jaz drive was the industry standard for backing up you data.  They were great, but they cost a lot of money.  The drive was around $400 and the 1GB cartridges were $100.  I was really excited when Syquest came out the Sparq drive.  You could get the drive for half the price of a Jaz and the cartridges were 3 for $100.   I bought one the same week they came out on the market.  They were running a design contest and the prize was 50 cartridges.  Wow!  With those I could get rid of all my 3.5 disks and a lot of my cd’s.  To the drawing board!  Digital, of course.

I entered 3 designs, and here’s the one that yielded me 50 of these amazing cartridges.

Yes, by today’s design standards, it’s lame, but it got me over $1,500 in digital storage.  Sweet!  As one of my friends said back then, I had enough of these to tile a small room.  That was all great until these drive started having big time issues.  The company replaced my drive at one point, but I already knew these were not going to last.  I joined eBay, sold off my new, unopened replacement drive and all of the cartridges for just under $2,000.  Before ceasing my good eBay business, I had done over 5,000 transactions and at several points, was a power seller. Continue reading


Feb 20 2011

window panes & shiny rocks [minimalist challenge item #3]

[item] 3 vintage window sashes without glass and 2 containers of polished rocks

[purchase info] A friend gave me the windows and the rocks were leftovers from a creative element at church

[time in my possession] Less than a year

[last used] Never

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Given to a friend

[info] I gave these to my friend who’s putting her house back together after a house flood.  She wants a “zen” bedroom, so she’s going to use these items in her new decor.  I like them, but I’m downsizing, and they’re just not high on the I’m-going-to-do-something-with-this list.


Jan 25 2011

mouthblown in china? [day 245]

I can honestly say I’ve never seen a sticker like this before.  Mouthblown in China?  TMI.  I’m not sure I need to know this was mouth blown.


Jan 3 2011

I miss windex [day 221]

I cleaned my house yesterday and I really miss my bottle of Windex.  Vinegar and water is good, but it’s just not Windex.


Sep 28 2010

recovering windex addict [day 125]

Yes, in my house, if you couldn’t clean it with Windex, it wasn’t meant to be cleaned.  I’m pretty sure I had a bigger addiction to Windex than the guy on My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  All was well until I ran out of Windex one day…

I mixed vinegar and water in my old Windex bottle.  No, I didn’t cheat, there was not a drop of the magical blue liquid left in the bottle.  Time to clean.  Deep breath.  Spray.  Wipe.  Wait for evaporation.  Exhale. It worked.  Differently, but the end result was clean, non-streaked glass and mirrors.  I can also clean my granite countertops with it.  And it’s good for the environment.  And it’s cheaper.  All around good.  :)


Jun 30 2010

an eyePEACE for free?

problem: $0

I want to use the video feature on my DSLR, but when it’s bright and I’m outside, I can’t see the screen on the back of the camera in order to change my manual focus.

possible solution: $375

I can buy a Zacuto Z-find attachment for my camera. The low end model is around $285 and the pro model is around $385. My money tree hasn’t started blooming yet, so let’s move on.

brainstorming: $0

On weekends I run tech with, well, and bunch of techie people at work. I told them my problem and how I thought I could make one of these for free. I mean really, all I need is for it to be dark so I can see the screen.  My idea was to get some cardboard and duct tape and make a cute little hood, similar in size to the expensive pro thing.  I was challenged by Aaron who said, “You can’t do that, what will you use for the glass?  You can’t do that without glass.”  He later joked that I would have a paper towel tube taped to the camera.  So he was right, I did need some magnifying glass to pull this off.  The expensive pro thing is just a glorified loupe, and I’m pretty sure I still have at least one of those from my film photography days.  I also have motivation now that someone challenged me that it cannot be done.

the solution: $0

Yes, I said $0.  I decided to do a MacGyver on this.  Even if I wanted to buy the pro thing, I can’t because I’m doing my one year of no retail shopping.  Here’s the step by step process I used to design and create my free… oh, it needs a name, doesn’t it?  Hmmm, how about eyePEACE?  (the penny-wise everlasting adaptable cone-shaped eyepiece)  Eye feel much peace that I did not spend $300.

step 1: find stuff

I dug through my garage to see what raw materials I could find.  Not only did I find my loupe, I found 2 of them and a magnifying glass.  (sometimes if pays to be a pack-rat)  Here’s my list of materials and it’s all stuff I already own, and in some cases, about to recycle:

  • magnifying glass
  • duct tape
  • a cream cheese container
  • a piece of junk mail
  • a black t-shirt
  • an oversized hairband

If you don’t have everything you need, check out a thrift store or freecycle, or better yet, post your need as your Facebook status update.  Other people have junk too, and in most cases, would be happy to part with it.

step 2: start fabricating

Now it’s time to start making your eyePEACE.  I had to test the 3 options I had for the glass, the small loupe did not work, as it was a x8 and too powerful.  The large loupe was x5 and worked, but it’s a little big.  The cheapo magnifying glass that is actually a kids toy works perfect.  During testing, I realized it needed to be a certain distance from the camera to be effective.  That’s where the cream cheese container comes in.  It’s the perfect distance from the camera and provides the structural support needed.

step 3: laugh

The nice thing about paying for the fancy pro thing is that it looks professional.  The eyePEACE is actually going to look quite dorky, for lack of a better word.  So finish fabricating, but you’re going to need a sense of humor here.  Also, I’m using colored duct tape, but you could use black and it really won’t look so bad.  Right now, it looks like a giant eyeball!

I cut a hole in the container and taped the glass onto the top of it.  I took some black t-shirt fabric and taped it onto the large open piece to mold to the camera, keeping extraneous light out.  Then I made the piece of junk mail into a cone and taped around the glass, cut it to fit the contour of my face, then added some tape and t-shirt fabric for comfort.

Now… how to attach it to the camera?  Hairband!

step 4: admire your work

Now I was testing this many times through the process, and everything worked great, but will it work?  I don’t know yet, and it looks completely ridiculous, but if not I’m out no money, only a little time.  Honestly, I can’t wait for the strange looks and people wondering what kind of weird contraption I have.  It’s a work of art!

step 5: test and modify

Well, I tested it and it works perfectly.  (Aaron…  :P)  No modification needed, and wow, that never happens.  I should have some great DSLR videos posted soon.  Maybe before I take it out, I’ll add the eyePEACE name and a logo on the side.  LOL