Homemade Christmas Ornament – 2022

Our second Christmas means our second ornament (see 2021). It was a year full of Star Wars, from watching everything in order to building a lot of LEGO sets (The Child). So for this year’s ornament we made a model of a panel that you might find next to a spaceship door.

The main building materials were polystyrene and plastic cement from Hobby Lobby and I already had an assortment of paints (spray cans and acrylics). As we were getting started, I pulled out a bin of random plastic parts we might be able to incorporate, but they were all too big. Brandi asked if we had any extra LEGO pieces. We sure did, so we used some of those.

I forgot to get a picture during the initial assembly, but here’s the piece after a coat of gray primer.

Then it was all about adding colors. The delicate type of painter’s tape was used when masking off areas was needed. Little bits of color here and there made each area stand out.

A few coats of spray lacquer locked in the painting done so far. It looked too crisp and new at that point though. Weathering with acrylic paints was the final step and made it look like a real thing that had been used and abused.

After final coats of spray lacquer we hung it up.

If you’re like to learn how to do panel modeling like this, I highly recommend checking out Adam Savage Demonstrates Miniature Spaceship Paneling or Adam Savage’s One Day Builds: Kit-Bashing and Scratch-Building on YouTube.

A Replacement Black Walnut Table Top

Last year I had a beautiful table top made for the kitchen.

In late February, while we were making dinner, a glass of chocolate milk slid right off the table. What. The. Fuck! The grain of the wood caused the table to become extremely cupped with seasonal changes in humidity. When checking it against a flat edge it’s easy to see how much the wood moved.

I looked back at the original pictures and you can see the wood was already cupping.

The maker agreed to do a new table top and I’m grateful. It took forever, but it was finally delivered and attached to the base. It’s much flatter than the previous top and still far from perfect. As a maker myself I wouldn’t feel right delivering something with some of the mistakes made here and it was a year between deliveries! I won’t be recommend him to anyone.

2022 Home Screen – iPhone 14 Pro

Here’s the yearly share of my iPhone home screen.

Not shown here, but during the golf season, the Golfshot app does move over to the bottom row on screen 1. The noticeable changes this year are:

  • New wallpaper.
  • Switched from Bear to Apple Notes since Brandi and I share several notes to organize and plan. It was easier for me to stick to one app instead of swapping between the two for different use cases.
  • Changed from Deliveries to Parcel for package tracking.
  • Stopped wearing a WHOOP band, so I moved the Settings app there.

Check out previous screenshots from 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2010.

Toilet Paper Holder and Towel Holder with Shelves

Last month we remodeled the small bathroom on our main floor and we’ve been living without some important things in the room, toilet paper and towel holders. The roll of TP has been sitting on the floor and a towel has been draped over the edge of the sink. Time to change that.

When I remodeled the living room, I bought some railroad spikes with the plan to incorporate them in to some designs. I didn’t use one. As we talked about ideas for the bathroom we thought it might be neat to use some of the spikes. Brandi found these examples on Pinterest for inspiration.

Of course I would make my own versions, especially since these cost $98 and $104 respectively! When I milled up the black walnut for the ladder, I did a second board to make these holders. To see the grain I had rubbed some water on the pieces.

The big challenge was attaching the spikes to the wood. Since I like to learn new skills I wanted to see if I could bolt them together. I cut the spikes to length and sanded the ends square-ish. Then it was over to the drill press to put a 13/64 hole in each end. Things weren’t perfectly straight, but the spikes are far from straight anyway, so it was fine. I finally got to use the tap wrench I received for Christmas a few years ago, which was just big enough to fit a 1/4-20 tap. It worked and I was so excited!

I used different bolts with washers in the final assembly but didn’t get a picture. After cleaning them up the spikes with a wire wheel on a bench grinder, I drilled some holes in a scrap piece of wood, mounted them, and spray painted them black.

I drilled a hole near the heads where I used epoxy to put in a pin which would keep the rail in place. I didn’t get a picture of this, but I do have one at the end of the post to show how the TP holder works. Meanwhile, I had cut all of my pieces of walnut, drilled holes for mounting and assembly, rounded the edges on my router table, and sanded through the grits.

To keep the finishing stage simple I sprayed on 4 coats of lacquer from a rattle can and applied a coat of Linseed Oil & Beeswax Polish.

The bathroom is finished and fully functional.

If you’re curious about the sign, I bought it on FB Marketplace about 2 years ago. Yes, toilet paper definitely goes over.