Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bike Wheel Pot Rack

I hate digging in my cabinets for my pots and pans.  I end up emptying the entire cabinet to find the one pan I need.  I've always wanted a pot rack.  But they're huge, and expensive.  This one which is beautiful, cost $310.  There's no way my cheap self is going to pay that much for any kind of storage solution, unless it's a storage shed or something. So while I was out browsing pinterest, I saw a pot rack made out of an old bicycle wheel, well.  I just had to make one.

My dad had loaned me an old rusty bicycle wheel for my geometry kids' pi day last year, so I had one in the garage.  The hardest part of this whole endeavor was getting the tire and tube off the wheel.  It was, like everything my father hordes, old and cracked.  It was practically glued to the wheel.  I ended up cutting it off with a box cutter.  Carefully. Then I removed the axel and bolts that held it in place. I tried to remove the gears, but turns out they're welded on or something, so I left them on.  It adds interest anyway.

Next up was a trip to the hardware store.  Have a look at what came home with me.

I started out by fitting the long all thread onto the axel of the wheel.  I slid a washer onto each side of the axel and tightened down the nuts.

Next I located a joist in my ceiling, and drilled a hole to hold the hanger bolt. Make sure you drill directly into a joist!  You don't want your pot rack to fall on your head.  You'll know that you have gotten into the joist when you pull your drill out of the hole above your head and are blinded by not only dry wall dust, but sawdust as well.

Now I twisted the hanger bolt into the wood, pointy side in.  I had problems tightening the bolt, because there was nothing for a tool to use for purchase, so I went ahead and screwed on the coupling all the way to the end of the threading, and used an adjustable wrench to tighten it all the way into the ceiling, to ensure it wouldn't fall out.

Next I used my hacksaw to cut the all thread down to the appropriate length to keep me and my tall friends from bumping our heads on my pots. Now we put peg A into slot B, and we have ourselves a pot rack!

I used the S hooks to hang my pots from my new rack, and voila!  More cabinet storage!  Now I just need to figure out a way to sort the lids in the cabinet so they are also easy to get to. But that's another project.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Satellite Dish Patio Umbrella

I saw this on Yard Core and thought it looked really cool.  And my dad, being a pack rat, just happened to have a full sized satellite dish. I think we got it from my great uncle, who has no kids, and therefore, lots of money, and is always buying the newest coolest thing on the market. I remember when he got a CD player before anyone else, and it was huge.
Anyway.  First order of business was to remove the huge heavy ring attached to the back that let you attach the satellite to the pole and angle it however you want, and split it into two parts for easier movement and storage.
 Once I'd done that I had to clean the darned thing pretty well, because it's been sitting in my dad's backyard for about ten years.  Then I had some repairs to do.  The dish is really light weight aluminum, and as such, having been in the same place for so long, some of the mesh was torn from wind damage, and saplings growing up through my dad's garbage heap and into the wire mesh. So I took a hammer and dolly and beat that sucker into submission, until the shape was right.  To strengthen the places where it was torn, I took some thin wire and some needle nose pliers, and "sewed" the mesh back together.  

Then I attached a flange to mount the dish on to the central circular doohicky, using a heavy duty metal bit and some carriage bolts and nuts.

Next I painted the whole darned thing smurf blue. It took 5 cans of spray paint and several hours of patience. 

Don't mind my thumb there.  We transported the dish to my house, and re-assembled.  This was a lot harder than it sounds. 

I had bought a 10 ft. pole to mount it on, and had an 18 inch pole that fit just around it, by some amazing coincidence.  The 18 inch pole was found in the depths of my dad's workshop.  I don't know where it came from.  The 10 ft. pole was just a galvanized steel pole threaded at the end.  Now, I wanted the lip of the umbrella to be just tall enough for any reasonable adult type person to be able to walk under comfortably, without being tall enough to be seen by the code enforcement officers from the street.  I checked to see if there were any codes against patio umbrellas, and there weren't, but I'm sure they would find some fault with it. So I used my fancy shmancy edumacation to conclude we needed to chop off about a foot and a half.  Not every girl is lucky enough to have a hacksaw of her very own. Then we pounded the shorter pole into the ground where we wanted it, took it out, removed the dirt, and pounded it back in. Threaded the newly resized pole onto the flange, and slid the tall pole with the new umbrella into the void in the ground created by the smaller pole.  

Tada!  Now all it needs are a couple of chairs to go under it.  But that's another project now isn't it?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The "We Girls Can Do Anything, Right Barbie?" Generation

I grew up in the 80's.  Which means that I had a front row seat to a feminist movement that saw women in the workplace move from being scandalous or desperate to being downright normal.  As a woman in my late 20's, at least for a little while longer, I am expected to work. If my heart's desire is to marry someone and spend my days as a homemaker, mother, and housewife, I'm considered spoiled or selfish because I'm expecting someone else to support me. In the last 30 years, we've gone from fighting for the right to work if we want to, to being as oppressed by the need to work as we were by the idea that we shouldn't. And while I could write several essays on this topic, this isn't exactly my point.

I call women who grew up during this time the "We Girls Can Do Anything Right Barbie?" generation.  I know there are still some of you who remember the commercials where Barbie, in her stylish power suit and brief case would go from the sharp office look to the sexy cocktail dress with ease.  Growing up in this generation instilled in me one powerful truth.  I could do anything that any old boy could do, but I had to prove it to the world. The day I internalized this message was the day Handy Mandy was born.

My earliest handy memory is a day when my father was changing out the flapper on the toilet, because the old one was rotten.  He took the lid off the tank and explained to me how the toilet worked.  I might have been 5 or 6. I was fascinated.  I knew how something worked.  It was an empowering feeling, and I liked it.  Over the next few years my dad, who had not found much of a mechanical inclination in my older brother, succeeded in teaching me everything from how to change a tire, to how to use power tools.  As a practicing Methodist, I went on many a mission trip, from places as near as Frisco Texas to San Juan, Costa Rica.  I painted houses, built floor joists, framed walls, dry walled rooms, re-shingled roofs, built wheelchair ramps and touched basically every part of a house except plumbing and electrical.  Those were deemed too dangerous for teenagers to be messing with.  So my dad taught me how to handle those things. At 24 I bought my very own house.  It was a serious fixer upper.  I did not hire a contractor.

These days my projects are mostly limited to whimsy and finding storage solutions.  I was lately doing some research on how to make a patio umbrella out of an old satellite dish, and though I'd seen it on the DIY channel, I could find only one decent picture of one, and no instructions.  So I thought I'd forge on ahead, and help out the fledgling DIYers out there.  And thus this blog was born.