Final Variety Pack of 2016: Part One.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Bwah ha ha ha HA!  Wow.  Hi!

Oooh my goodness!  I might be back home but my workload has been quite robust!   Holy cow.  Humblest apologies for being MIA this incredibly long!

So technically freelance work and cleaning up the house after four months of not being home, reorganizing, reorganizing, then work, reorganizing, and work, and work, and then also squeaking in a second or two on that first floor bathroom.  Then work.  And work.

Do not get me wrong, totally appreciate the work; man I am pooped though and have yet to recover from the show.  (Have you been watching?  Whaddya think?)

Mmk, let's quit messin' about, get right down to it as I have stuff for ya.

First!  I finally corrected that dimmer switch issue I had oh, um, oops, omg, nearly two years ago.  Wow, so much for getting that fixed asap.  Ahem.  Eh ya know, sometimes as homeowners, you can't always be as proactive as you intend.  Cough.

Don't mind my blush of embarrassment here.  Let's just move on.

But now it's fixed.  How?  I purchased two 3-pole dimmer switches.*  Three pole essentially means you've got a light fixture that's powered by more than one switch in different locations.

dimmer switch in package
Hey, 3 pole dimmer!  And a Finn!  Everywhere I want to be, he is, heh.  
I feel the need to remind you that electricity is extremely serious.  If you do not know what you are doing, do not mess with your home's electrical system.  You can burn your house down.  No one wants that, so hire an electrician instead.**

After powering down at the breaker, I popped out the original single pole dimmer and had an instantaneous memory zap (ha, zap, pun) as to what a hassle this was in the first place.  Which of course then meant that this was going to take four times as long as I expected.

checking out the wiring inside box
Uuuuggghhh, sigh -- I mean, how many wires can you cram in one tiny box anyway?
Headaches, swear words, stripped screws, aggravation, I finally got both switches jammed in, skipping the directions because gosh, what could be so hard.  Well, I'll tell you what.  Three pole, two switches.

figuring out dimmer wiring
What did help?  Oh this astoundingly fabulous new counter!  Yes!!
I flipped the circuit back and the lights were on despite the switches being off.  That didn't make any sense so I toggled the switches and one stopped working all together.  Yeah, ok, not good.

Ok fine.  Read the directions.

Of course it's in electrician-ish lingo, not normal person speak, so it took me a minute or five to realize what they meant.  I had to pull both switches back out (ugh noooooooo!) and re-check, then flip the hot wires on one.  Take the top wire, put it on the bottom, put the bottom on the top.

A photo would have helped.  Um, here:

sketch of wiring for dimmers
On the side of the switch housing there are two screws, hot wires into them.  In a 3 pole situation, the wiring needs to be the reverse of the other, therefore I had to flip the, in the diagram above, red and the blue with each other on one switch.  
Once I did that, bingo!  Woo hoo!  Two year old bothersome project completed.  Check and mark!  Nice.  It always feels good getting an oldie off the back.

Moved that single pole dimmer to the living room which doh!!, why did I not do THAT sooner?!  We never turn on the blaring overheads but now we might as it's quite lovely.

Next to paint, dimmers are hands down a damn near tie for "Best, Least Expensive Interior Design Improvement You Can Make."  The effect it has on a room, one's decor, the mood and ambiance, *mwah*, perfection.

After I smudged those out, since I was already playing with electricity, I crammed in a new low voltage dimmer switch* to the first floor bathroom.

single pole dimmer for low voltage lighting
Dimmer day.  Yep.
I'm getting a tad bit ahead of myself here but Mike said he disliked the new fixture I installed in there which is absolute utter crazy-speak because it is awesome and beyond perfect.  You'll see.

But he said maybe if it had a dimmer, it would improve the situation for him.  That and not looking up.  Mmm hm.  Mmk.

Research ensued as the mini bulbs in the insanely-thrilling-eye-candy fixture are xenon.  I've never, xenon, ok.  Are they dimmable?  Turns out, yes!  Yes they are.  They are an incandescent but a low voltage switch is required.

(Why is there not a site akin to that last one, one where you can get answers to anything, all the random questions?  Maybe type in a question, get the correct answer.....Or was that what Ask Jeeves was supposed to do?  Did I give away a next big site idea?...........................crap.)

Hunting the switch down locally and not paying a million dollars was a challenge but Home Depot* managed to score for me there.

the dimmer before installation
Lots o' metal on this big one.
I swear, these dimmer switch people need to figure out how to make their switch casings smaller.  Do they not realize people have mad wiring done by maniacs in their homes?  Guess not.

wiring the low voltage dimmer
Again.  With the zillion wires in the junction.  Why so many?!  Someone liked their wires.
Basic hook up, all the usual, no issues.  What a rarity!!  Finally, wow.  Thankfully, after some slight maneuvering, the whole switch fit in and we were good to go!

low voltage dimmer installed
Ta da!  Happy happy.  And Mike is happier now too.
Only thing I don't care for on this switch is, heh, well, how it works.  I didn't realize the little slider bar on the side is the light level stop.  I'm used to the full rocker switch setting the level at my whim, not having a stop.  Ah well, I'll get over it.

More on that first floor bathroom soon.  It's not quite done as I sit here but I'm oh-so-close and oh does that feel good.

Oh, right, I mentioned I changed out the LED's in the kitchen.  One went kaput which was odd after only two-ish years or so.  I crawled up there and whoa....

cracked led bulb
What the....??!
I found two more up there, all the same or worse.  I dashed back to Menards where I bought them and the electrical department manager, Korey, wanted to hold onto it.  No worries.  She gave me a new one for free, different brand, but I bought replacements too.

I emailed Polaroid, the maker, and they sent an email back to call them.  Like an obedient consumer, I did.  The guy on the other end of the line told me that they were intended for table lamps or similar.  Nothing else.  Only lamps.  Huh?

Because me, I'm annoying, I tracked down the description on Menards' website as they always iterate the packaging exactly:  "...or for any other household uses."

The last line of the description, "any."  And a fifteen year warranty.  15, one five, ten plus five, fifteen. 
Um.  "Any" says to me anywhere.  So the guy was a flippant a** and summarily told me "your warranty is up, you stuck 'em in the wrong thing, you're S.O.L."  How is my warranty up?  Ah whatever man, I said, I'll never buy Polaroid again.  He didn't care and hung up on me.

I emailed them again today because me, I am a pest; I discovered online they generally have cracked housing issues and I'm insistent.

Heh, so, heh, this was my long way of telling you:  do not buy Polaroid LED bulbs.

Oh, but to repeat a link?  Omg.  The kitchen drawers.  O.M.G.  Life is ahhh-mazing.

And speaking of kitchen drawer unit....right!  We lost our paper towel holder when the cart was banished.  Yeah, I dunno how many hundreds I looked at online (why are so many paper towel holders yucky?) when I came across this one at Home Depot, in the same vein as these.*

And well duh, so easy to make for less.  Right?!  So that's what I did.  Well, for about three bucks less.  Hey, three bucks is three bucks, amiright?

What I bought:
  • 1/2"x12" galvanized pipe nipple
  • 1/2"x3" galvanized pipe nipple
  • 1/2" galvanized tee
  • 1/2" floor flange
  • 1/2" galvanized cap
  • 1/2" plug 
Sans tax total:  $9.13

galvanized plumbing pieces for paper towel holder
There they are.  Shiny pipe parts.  Fyi, the longer the short nipple, the bigger the roll you can get on there.
And then silly easy.  Just screw all the parts together.  Bam.  Paper towel holder!

assembling the plumbing parts
In like three minutes, this is assembled.
I had wanted black pipe but the store was out of the 12" piece so instead I dashed on a coupla' light sprays of black spray paint.

spray painted plumbing parts for paper towel holder
Dusting of black spray paint.  Not perfect but that's intentional.
A few screws and it's attached to the drawer unit!  Perfect!

installing paper towel holder on cabinet
It's taking me longer to show you all the photos than me putting this whole gizmo together.
I do think I need to pick up some thread locker* though, keep everything where it's supposed to be.  (I went back in later with some Gorilla glue* to save cash; looseness resolved.  Thumbs up!)

galvanized plumbing parts paper towel holder installed
And look at that, our paper towels are held!
Nice!  All righty....

Since it's that time of giving and what nicer way to say thanks than give someone a lovely bottle of wine.  Oh sure there are plenty of nice ways to say thanks but wine works quite well.

I never have any nice wine gift bags on hand and kinda loathe spending money on them so I opted to, of course!, make my own.  Right?!  Why not!

Here's how I did this:
making wine bottle sack
Curious dog nose sold separately.
Measure 'round your bottle; mine here was 10" so I added 1.25" for a sloppily wide seam and slouch.  Cut your piece of fabric.

measuring a wine bottle

Fold the top and stitch a top seam so it is all pretty then zip down the side and across the bottom.  Once you've got your lil' pouch, the world is your oyster.

preparing to stitch wine sock
Giant inside out wine tube sock, yay!
preparing embellishments
Collecting pieces and parts here.
I cut out circles from white fuzzy fabric and assembled the snowman face using mini pom poms and a itty sliver of orange felt.

making snowman face out of felt
Almost looks like some kind of horrible experiment gone awry here if you think about it in reverse...
Chopped some arms out of the garland then some fine hot gluing handiwork...

gluing on felt rounds
Ouch, hot glue. 
Hot glue, hot glue, glue strings, burnt fingers...

wine bottle gift bag DIY

...a snippet of red and green ribbon and awwww!  Sweet!  Cute, right?

Wow, my Variety Pack here is getting lengthy.  Seems I have managed to get more done than it feels.  Maybe I best split this in two.  Indeed.  Come back for part two next time!

Oh!  Recipe!  Ummm.....Yummy sandwich, Chicago Steakhouse Sandwich, yes.  Turns out I worked with his sister on Sirens, heh!  He recently opened his first restaurant not too far from us that I very much want to try.  Mmm.  Hungry....

Okey doke, see you soon!

*The 3 pole dimmer switches, low voltage dimmer switch, paper towel holders, thread locker, Gorilla glue, mini pom poms, and satin ribbon are Amazon affiliate links.  The orange felt and pipe cleaners are Joann Fabrics affiliate links.  The low voltage dimmers are Home Depot affiliate.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.

**Disclaimer:  Electricity is dangerous.  It can hurt you.  It can kill you.  Bad wiring can destroy your home.  It's best to hire a qualified, licensed electrician if you don't know how to wire things.  But, if you are determined to learn, more power to you (ah, silly pun!).  There are lots of books and videos that will help you.  Start small with a lamp kit.  Do not blow your house up.  Mostly, absolutely do not do what I do; what you've seen here is for entertainment purposes only, mmk my friends?

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