Monday, December 17, 2007

Crate Mounting System/Repair Stand for Bike

Now that I’m using a bike as a semi-primary vehicle, I needed: a) a way to attach a storage crate to the rear rack that was sturdy enough to handle a few bags of groceries, but easy to remove when I didn't require the carrying capacity or want the extra bulk (bungees weren't cutting it) and b) a means of holding the bike stably with the wheels a few feet in the air to perform maintenance and repair tasks on it.

For “problem a,” I decided to try drilling three strategically-placed holes in my rear rack and using three bolts with large fender washers and wingnuts to fasten the crate down when I need it. For “problem b,” I decided to build this PVC Bench-Top Stand.

Time: 5–6 hours (total)

Cost: ~$40.00 at Lowe’s and Ace (total)

Witch-gear: Cordless drill/various bits, Center punch, Hacksaw, Ratchet/driver set, PVC primer and cement

Level of Difficulty:
(What's with the saws?)

What I Learned: The crate solution is working great, but I’m not sold on this bench-top PVC repair stand. Though the feedback on Instructables was mostly positive, I’ve found the bending and wobbling to be a real problem whenever anything heavier than my super-light cyclocross bike is put on it. Also the 1/4" PVC recommended for the clamp barely makes it around the diameter of some of the bike frames I’ve used to test it (even with the foam insulation taken out of the middle).

Friday, December 7, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bathroom Remodel

Bathroom Rebuild

First came the dripping down in the laundry room when anyone took a shower upstairs--which Bob always blamed on everyone--Kate in particular--not closing the shower door properly. So on it dripped. Then came the dark spots in the hardwood floors in the front hall where water was wicking in from the bathroom wall. Then came the repeated black stains on the shower tiles and the squishy spot in the floor by the tub. It was definitely time for bathroom repairs. And why go halfway when you can strip something down to the studs? This will be LONG project...stay tuned.

Time: many, many hours over an indeterminate span of time.....?

Cost: One arm, one leg...perhaps a firstborn...

Witch-gear: All of it, and perhaps some "necessary" new purchases?

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

What I Learned: So far...that old tile and backer board is very heavy and hard to dispose of. That things always take MUCH longer than you anticipated they would. That you should plan BEFORE you start as some things may take weeks to track down or special order.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

In Progress Treeskirt

In Progress Tree Skirt

This treeskirt is a wedding gift for my good friends Megan and Brian. They got married April 22, 2006. -I guess I am a little behind. I've made this pattern once before for myself and since Megan liked it so much I wanted to make her one. I am off to a great start and am posting about my unfinished project to provide myself with the personal pressure to keep up and finish it. I would really like to have this to them in time to use this December. My dear Mum has promised to quilt it for me if I can make sure to have the piecework done by Thanksgiving. Wish me luck! I will post later with pictures of the completed project.

Time: I'll let you know once I am done.

Cost: a secret since it is a gift.

Witch-gear: cotton fabric, rotary cutter, clear quilting ruler, and a strong desire to have Megan & Brian put up a Christmas tree.

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

What I Learned: That progress speeds up rapidly when I just have everything set up and ready to go. I am sneaking in a little work here and there. For example, I can sew a little in the morning while I wait for my turn to use the shower.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Handmade Market

Handmade Market

The Handmade Market is put on to provide the triangle community with a chance to shop for goodies made with tender loving care by vendors from all over. I have participated several times before and it usually involves working on stuff right up to the last minute. My usual wares are handmade cards. I start out by first creating a series of collages. Next my dear husband scans the originals for me and we have prints made. I then sew each print on to a blank card with my sewing machine.

Time: many hours over several evenings after work

Cost: N/A

Witch-gear: bits of paper, stickers, pencils, paints, boxes of blank cards from Michaels, Kenmore sewing machine, Yes! paste, and a trusted x-acto kinfe.

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

What I Learned: I need to come prepared with enough cards to restock my suitcase as the day goes on. Luckily, there were lots of cards sold but by the end of the day this resulted in the table looking sadly empty. Also I should start working on stuff earlier.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Buick Tune-Up

Buick Photos

Kevin and I helped our friend Brian change the spark plugs, wires, oil, and air filter on his 1986 Buick Century (Custom!)

Time: 3 hours

Cost: ~$40 at Advanced Auto and Autozone.

Witch-gear: Standard mechanics tools set, additional extenders and universal joints, torque wrench, dielectric tune-up grease, graphite grease

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

What We Learned: As a general rule, it is not worth the time and effort needed to change the internal fuel filter on a 1986 Buick Century Custom.

Battery Pack Rebuild

Battery Pack Rebuild 2 Photos

This Milwaukee cordless driver was at one time a very handy tool. When the battery pack lost its charge it wasn't as useful. New battery packs tend to be expensive and hard to find so I cracked this one open and put in a few new cells.

Time: 0.5 hours

Cost: $2.69 for two new 2600 mAH NiCd batteries

Witch-gear: 30W soldering iron

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

CD Dividers

CD Dividers

I wanted to make some CD dividers for Steph and I's Ikea Billy bookshelf. They sell something just like this (sadly, it's not my clever idea), but I knew it would be quicker and cheaper to just make them here, rather than drive four hours to the nearest Ikea, or order them and pay for the shipping.

Time: 3 hours

Cost: $12.50 (half the cost of a full sheet of nice plywood) at Lowe's.

Witch-gear: 10" Tablesaw, Bandsaw, Drill Press with a 1/2" forstner bit

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

What I Learned: You cannot adjust the height of the third shelf on an Ikea Billy bookshelf. It is fixed in place (for stability, I'm guessing). I knew this at one time, because I put the self together, but I had forgotten and just made all three of the CD dividers an arbitrary height, figuring I'd adjust the shelves to fit. Turns out I should have measured the available space and divided it into thirds. I got the dividers home from the family workshop and found out 5/8" had to be taken off each unit for them to fit one-each on the top three shelves.

New Shop Light

New Shop Light

Dad and I put up a new shop light to replace an old noisey one in Mom's study. The new one is nice and quiet.

Time: 0.5 hours

Cost: ~$30 at Lowes

Witch-gear: Drill

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

What We Learned: T8 Bulbs are smaller, brighter, and quieter than the regular size T12 Bulbs.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Chevy S-10 Dent Repair

Truck Dent Photos

I borrowed Kevin's truck to help a friend move this weekend, and accidentally scraped the front right corner against a fire hydrant while backing out of the parking space I'd "made" next to his apartment. It dented, and put some large scratches in, the metal bumper, as well as tearing the plastic guard and ripping part of it off of the truck. Rather than get angry, Kevin helped me repair the damage I'd caused....

Time: 1 hour

Cost: $12.89 (excluding NC sales tax) spent at Advanced Auto Parts

Witch-gear: TurtleWax Rubbing Compound, Permatex Permaoxy 1-Min. epoxy, Replacement Nylon Rivets, Duplicolor Scratch Fix Touch-Up Paint

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

What We Learned: According to the touch-up paint catalog at Advanced Auto, the paint code on post-2000 GM vehicles is located on a sticker on the glove box door, proceeded by the letters "L" or "U." At least in our case, that was true. We called home, had mom go out to the truck and read off the letters/numbers on the sticker, and found the tube of paint that corresponded to the four-digit series after the "U." It was a perfect match.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Finishing Touches

Finishing Up Photos

Project: We finished the handrail for the deck, put molding around the microwave, put in a shelf that fits behind a desk, built and installed a dog gate and built a second desk shelf.

Witch-gear: Tablesaw, chopsaw, drill, wood working tools

Time: Weekend

Expense: $50 $25 for plywood, $25 for 2X4s

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Two Ukes and a Double Bass

One day this will be real.
Corrie and I have started an early-90s top forty cover band accompanied by Laurie on the double bass (he may be fully initiated if and when he proves his commitment)

Corrie-Ann Burton: vocalist, soprano ukulele
Katian Witchger: tenor ukulele
Lawrence Martin: double bass

So far our set list includes:

Loosing My Religion REM/Push it Real Good Salt and Pepa (Acoustic Remix)
I Saw The Sign, Ace of Base
No Rain Blind Melon
Whats Going On? Four Non-Blondes
Waterfalls TLC
Kiss From a Rose Seal

kate's first uke, a classy purple soprano from The Duke of Uke
I have since upgraded to a more official tenor with a real steel C string!

Suggestions for early 90s top40 covers welcome (preferably with easy chords; I'm still learning!)

48 Hour Film Project

From 10pm this past Friday till 10pm this Sunday, my flatmates Laurie, Corrie and I stayed up for 48 hours straight conceiving, writing, storyboarding, shooting, logging, editing and producing (with a little micromanaging and arguing and writhing-on-the-floor thrown in for good measure) a 10 minute short entitled: 'Dollface' for the 2 Days Later Short Film Competition 2007.

Dollface from Katian Witchger on Vimeo.

Still image from 'Dollface' (yes, I exported the 16:9 image as .tiff and it squashed it; no, I don't know why; hyperlink to 'know just enough to get you into trouble')

The Challenge: Create a short (no more than 10 minutes) horror/suspense movie using 3 of 6: an axe, a dog, tarot cards, place of worship, a mirror, the line 'did you hear that?' from start to finish in 48 hours.

Link to final project: coming 'soon'
I attempted to upload a 135.5 MB Quicktime file but gave up after 2 hours. Any ideas?

Time: 48 Hours

Cost: 99p (for halloween axe from pound shop in Peckham)

Equipment/Tools Used: borrowed: sony z1 camera kit, macbook avec final cut; kate's: lacie harddrive; directional microphone, cables and tripod with grateful bows in kevs direction; two lamps (inherited from former flatmates); our 'beautiful abode' located in the heart of southeast london: and a substantial amount eyeliner.

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Shed Fix Up

Shed Fix Up - Photos

Fixing up the shed in the back of Mom and Dad's house. Building shelves to hold 24 Rubbermaid Roughnecks (432 total gallons of junk storage!) Also, fixing the broken switch for the light fixture and adding another light on the far end of the shed.

Time: 3 hours

Cost: N/A

Equipment/Tools Used: Craftsman Chop Saw. Craftsman Circular Saw, 2 Dewalt Cordless Drills

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Trimming the Hedges

This weekend Laurie and I trimmed the hedges in the front 'yard' to keep up with our dear neighbors Stan and Nora.

We also buried a trash bin full of compost which we had been accumulating since we moved into stave off the foxes...sorry I dont have a picture of that.

(Yeah its not really a project but I have to catch up with Kevin!)

Time: N/A


Equipment/Tools Used:
Shears and trimmers borrowed from our 83 year old kindly neighbor Stan

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Geo Prizm CV Axles

Geo Prizm CV Axles Photos

The 94' Geo Prizm has been shuttering under acceleration. We attempted to fix it by changing the drivers side wheel bearing. This did not work. We then tried the CV axles and it solved the shuttering issue!

Time: 5 hours

Cost: N/A

Equipment/Tools: Craftsman Mechanics Set, Craftsman "wonder bar", 30mm axle Socket, Torque wrench

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

S-10 Truck Tune-Up

S-10 Truck Tune-Up - Photos

We found a pretty good deal on a 2001 Chevy S-10, so now it is part of the Witchger fleet! It has a good 110,000 miles on it. (just ripe for the Witchger fleet) Spark plugs, wires, and fuel filter were changed.

Time: 4 hours

Cost: N/A

Equipment/Tools: Craftsman Mechanics Tools set

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

Whate I learned: The spark plugs were very corroded and worn. The wires on this truck are routed in a complex path to the coils located behind the passenger side wheel. The fuel filter was messy so no pictures of that.

Van Universal Joint

Van Universal Joint - Photos

After years of loading the van with music equipment, plywood, cement, and other building supplies; and after one exciting trip to Michigan to pick up thousands of pounds of lead type and a printing press, the universal joint on the 88' E-150 began to fail causing a heavy vibration at high speeds. We took a few hours to fix it.

Time: 4 hours

Cost: N/A

Equipment/Tools: Craftsman mechanics socket set, clamp, and vise.

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

digital degeneration

This project was initiated to realize the true potential of the digital copy's degeneration power. How quickly will a digital picture quality degenerate when copied using different digital dsplays and capturing methods?

Desktop Degeneration: This is a picture of dads computer of a picture of bobs work computer of a picture kevs computer of a picture of kates computer of a picture of kate on moms computer.

This is picture of kates computer of a picture of moms computer of a picture of kate.

This is a picture of kate.

Most extreme degeneration *Skype/Digital Camera Degeneration*:
This is a pic of a Kevin off the Skype video chat screen, emailed to him which he then opened took a picture off of his screen and showed me via skype off the back of his digital camera from which I then took a picture:

Friday, June 15, 2007

Volviendo: Documentary

Volviendo [English Version] (2007) from Lawrence Martin on Vimeo.

This summer my flatmate Laurie began his dissertation project for his masters in documentary studies. A 30 minute piece he shot this spring in London and Chile, the documentary followed Vladimir Vega a Chilean exile who was forced to move to London over 30 years ago after he was imprisoned for his political action against Pinochet. Vlad read a news story about the youngest boy killed under Pinochet's rule, a 13 year old named Carlos Furinia who's body was discovered last year. Vladimir wrote a song in honor of the child and took it to Chile to play it for Carlos' surviving family. Laurie followed Vlad on this journey recording over 30 hours of footage.

This summer he and I spent 3 weeks in a classy climate controlled edit suite in the media studies department at Goldsmiths reworking a mountain of footage into what we hope became a complex story of exile.

This was my first stab at editing something I hadn't shot myself. I also discovered (what everyone already knew) that I like to be in control of things. Luckily I found a great editing partner who is quick with the technical side of things, knows what I mean when I say 'no, make it half a step earlier and switch the 3rd and 1st clips' and has it done just in time for me to say ' no, no the 2nd and 1st would be better' and does it all without protest or pause(and it doesnt even seem to phase him when I writhe on the floor when a cut doesn't work or do a victory dance when it does) Hopefully we will work on many more projects to come.

Time: N/A


Sweet Suite G5 Mac with Avid and double screens; PAL monitor, Tape Deck, 30 hours footage on MiniDV (prelogged, binned and transcribed thanks to Laurie's super organization), 23 regular lattes

Level of Difficulty: (total project: 5 sawzalls) editing 3.5 sawzalls

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Backyard Tilling

Backyard Tilling Photos

Making our backyard look nice really doesn't seem to be possible, but here's another try to plant grass, smooth out the dirt, and create of uniform look to the backyard. The yard was tilled, raked, smoothed, and planted. Weeks after, the result was a uniform dirt yard. The grass and clover that was planted never took.

Time: 6 hours

Cost: $300 - This includes the used tiller, the seed and fertilizer, and the gas to exchange the broken craftsman rakes!

Equipment/Tools Used: Craftsman Tiller (Thank you craigslist!), rakes, shovels, seed

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Separation: Digital Short

This was a digital short to test my new HD camera. I shot and edited it while feeling a little homesick one rainy afternoon out of the windows from Batavia Mews (grad student housing) and set it to Sorry, Kevin's Separation. Unfortunately I cant figure how to export the HD quicktime to a format small enough to upload to the web without squashing the aspect ratio. (insert 'Back Burner' link)

Time: N/A

Cost: N/A

Equipment/Tools Used: Canon HV20, tripod, LaCie Drive, Mac G5/Final Cut (MAVis Lab @ Goldmsmiths), MiniDV tape

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

(only because of the frustration of only being able to log 10 second clips of HD footage at a time before crashing the computer)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Playhouse Teardown

Playhouse Teardown Photos

The playhouse that we built after moving to North Carolina we practically lived in as children. For almost 10 years it served as junk storage and began rotting. We took a few days, hired a dumpster, broke it down and said our goodbyes to our beloved playhouse.

Time: 2 days

Cost: $300 for dumpster

Equipment/Tools Used: Sawzall, hammers, sledges, and other demolition tools.

Level of Difficulty:

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Garage Cleanup

Garage Photos

I took a few days to clean up the garage area. Built and rebuilt shelves. Organized tools. It's nice and clean. I know this won't last.

Time: 10 hours

Cost: $0 Used all scrap wood and paint.

Equipment/Tools Used: Craftsman 10" Tablesaw, Dewalt drill, Craftsman air nailer, hammers and prybars

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Drill Battery

Drill Battery Photos

I love the Dewalt XRP drills. I don't like that after 4 years the battery goes dead really fast and that the replacement batteries are $70. I bought some new cells and replaced them myself. They're not pretty, but neither is the drill after 4 years of abuse.

Time: 2 hours

Cost: $30 for new cells. Enough for 2 battery packs.

Equipment/Tools Used: Soldering Iron, screwdrivers

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Desk with Shelf

Desk with Shelf Photos

I wanted more storage and I needed a desk so I decided to make a desk with an overhead shelf. I originally wanted this desk to have two deep shelves, but at 8 feet tall I really overestimated the height of my ceiling and the center of gravity a little to high and forward. The final shelf has one shelf capable of storing 3 roughneck rubber maids worth of junk!

Time: 2 hours

Expense: $20 of wood

Equipment/Tools Used: Dewalt drill, Craftsman Chopsaw

Level of Difficulty: (What's with the saws?)