Thursday, April 30, 2015

DIY Blender Repair For Under $5

I love my KitchenAid blender; it has never let me down even now that we use it just about every morning to make bulletproof coffee*.  But back in February I noticed that the coupler/clutch was getting really chewed up. In fact, two of the "nubs" had worn completely off.  We were both hoping that it could be repaired, but I didn't even know if there was such a thing as small appliance repair shops any more.  When I went online to search, I found that it was a really easy DIY repair after watching a Youtube video.

Next I searched for the part and found several sources with prices as low as about $5.  I ended up buying a set of 2 couplers and a gasket for the jar/collar assembly for $12, with free shipping. WOO! They arrived a few days later and even came with clear, easy-to-follow instructions.

First, use a large flat-head screwdriver to gently pry off the old coupler.  You do it a little at a time, spinning the coupler about a quarter turn each time.  It took me longer than it took the guy in the video and as described in the instructions and the old coupler came apart while I was doing it, but it was still quick and easy. I spent more time cleaning and blowing lint off of the blender base for the photos than I did replacing the coupler. Not that you can tell, because... lint's a jerk.

Then you remove any metal shaving from the area, paying special attention to the threads on the blender motor shaft.

I can only assume that the material that the threads on the coupler are made of is much softer than the material the motor shaft is made from which is why it is safe to pry it off rather than try to unscrew it - righty loose-y in this case.

Then you thread your new coupler on to the motor shaft counter-clockwise, hand tighten only. The action of the blender keeps the coupler tightened.

POW! We're back in the blending business!

You may wonder why this photo is taken outside and the others taken inside on the dining room table. That is because the rest of the blender was taken apart and in the dishwasher waiting for me to run it. It was not done until it was too dark to take the photo inside.

* Apparently there is some controversy over bulletproof coffee (also called butter coffee). I am not advocating for or against it; it's none of my business how or if you drink coffee. This post is about fixing your own blender like a boss.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Earthly Delights

Our first spring here we didn't even know that there was an asparagus patch in the garden until it was too late. Last year, our second, we didn't think to look at the asparagus patch until it was too late. This year, we've been checking in on it every few days for the last few weeks and as of a few days ago discovered we were in business!  It's a slow start, but has been picking up steadily already.

It's going to be the Spring of the Stinky Tinklin' around here.

It took 4 days to harvest these, but it was worth the wait. Eric grilled them with two kinds of squash for a delicious topping for couscous dish to go with some lamb on Saturday. I love weekends!

We had leftovers of everything but the veg.

Speaking of what's happening on the property, I just couldn't let these pink branches go without cutting a few to bring into the house. The downstairs bathroom is still in the worse-before-it-gets-better stage with half-finished and barely-started projects, but I went ahead and put them in there anyway.

Pardon the crappy lighting; the only window is north-facing and our fixture has halogen bulbs, so... this is just how it is at 8 a.m.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Let There Be Reading Light

Now that we have an electrical outlet on this wall, we can have a light by the comfy reading chair. WOO!  This is what FINALLY inspired me to re-purpose* an old wooden telescope tripod that I have had for at least 15 years and had intended to re-purpose this way for at least 12 year. If I have a photo of it before I started this project, it's buried in an old hard drive or possibly a paper photo album somewhere. D'oh!

I disassembled ithe legs the hardware that holds them at the top and masked over the other hardware.  Then I sanded and finished the wood with Stain & Seal in American Walnut, two coats, which I already had on hand.

Then I pre-drilled holes in the legs for screw eyes that I had spray painted black. These attach the black chain I purchased which keeps the legs from spreading further than a certain distance. This makes the whole thing more stable.

I tried to find a lamp kit at all the local hardware stores and home centers to no avail. They had them and they also had many component parts of the kit, but what they didn't have was a kit with an 8" harp (the kits all had 10") or non-kit 8" harps in either black or some silver-colored metal. Those are the colors of the existing hardware on the tripod and I thought it would look classier if I didn't add yet a third color.  Also, the lamp cords were either white or too short.  Plus buying the component parts would cost 3-4 times as much.  So, I searched online and found a site with A LOT of different lamp kits in many combinations of size and color. YES!  I did those above steps while I waited for the lamp kit to arrive.

Being a kit, the assembly went really quickly and easily; the only trick was figuring out how to get it all attached to the tripod.  I went down the hill to my local hardware store, found a black rubber stopper, drilled a hole in it, and used to to attach the lamp hardware to the tripod. POW.

Then all I had to do was install the shade that I had picked up on sale in February.

I am still on the lookout for a cool finial, but in the meantime the one that came with the lamp kit will work just fine and we can use the comfy chair for more than just sitting.

We both think that we need to rearrange the key pieces here a bit. Now is not the time to do so, though.

* RANT ALERT! Why "re-purpose" and not "recycle"  or "upcycle"? I'll tell you why: I think that "recycle" should be used for what you do instead of putting something in the landfill - when you turn over material to be broken down and remade into another item of the same or consisting at least partly of the same material. If you use an empty beer bottle as a vase, that's "re-purposing" and if you used it to bottle you're own home brew, that would be "reusing."

I think "upcycling" needs two components. First, the new use must be better than the original or current use, hence the "up." Second, the item must have been destined to be recycled or thrown away, hence the "cycle." This might include burying a used beer bottle upside down with the bottom exposed to make a garden path, but how is that any better of a purpose for a bottle than holding beer? There may not be a better purpose for a bottle than holding beer! It may not even be possible to "up cycle" a beer bottle. [mind blown]

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Greetings from the Easter Betty and Delia, too!

I found myself madly pinning amazing Easter (and Derby) hats on pinterest last week and then got the wise idea that Betty needed a fancy Easter "bonnet."  Three dollars and an hour or so of crafting later and ta-da!

As you can see, I couldn't stop at the fancy hat and had to make her a Peter Pan collar to match!  And then I couldn't stop with just Betty and had to make Delia a Peter Pan collar, too.  Delia is our tomboy and thinks fancy hats are dumb, so instead she just got a fancy bow on her collar.

Here are some better shots of the gear:

I had just enough of this material, which I could never find another use for, to make this. It's not really a print I find super appealing, but it's perfect with her hat.  The button came from the big button box.

Delia's collar is also made entirely from materials on-hand. WOO!

These are closer to what "real life" looks like.

This was taken about 1/10th of a second before Betty dashed off to chase a bird off of the deck.  And then about two minutes later she tried to get the hat off. If her attitude about her Halloween costume taught me anything, it was that she loves wearing outfits in front of friends or at Papa's office where people are cooing at her and fawning over her, but only tolerates them a little for her very own mama at home.

Delia insists that this is how the pups are wearing them these days, but I think she's just letting the weight of the buckle on her regular collar turn her pretty outfit backwards.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Little Things: One Bear Bottle Opener

I gave Eric this guy for Christmas and finally installed him the third (3rd) week of March. He's mounted on the side of the kitchen cabinet that houses the refrigerator where he happily opens beer bottles.

I went to our small local hardware store looking for, but not expecting to find, brown wood screws. Well, what to you know? "Window screws" in four (4) or five (5) colors, including brown. POW!

I think he needs some kind of bottle cap catcher underneath, we'll see what we come up with. And when/if we come up with it.  And then install it.

Also, helll-llloooo April!

Yes, that indicated varying changes of rain/snow from Wednesday through Sunday of this week. Which reminds me of this.