Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

Tweak. Tweak. It’s a box of DIY fun.

Caffeinated high on my delicious cup of Gibraltar today, I walked by Collage Gallery on my way to my car – and got completely distracted from my walk. My first DIY projects were jewelries. They give me fond memories. Though I don’t wear lots of accessories at a time, I always have one piece on me at all time – not counting my glasses, of course. It’s typically a watch. I really like wearing watch now. Functional, elegant, and can usually take a beating.

I like earring too. Originally I was only going to get an earring, then I got sidetracked by this:

The inside of Steampunk Jewelry Kit by The Weekend Store.

What’s That?

It is a jewelry kit. A kit for jewelries make out of watch parts.

Steampunk Jewelry Kit by The Weekend Store.

Steampunk Jewelry Kit by The Weekend Store.


I always did wanted to take my watch apart, though my sister – who was the one that brought my watch – would probably kill me for doing that to her gift, then proceed to tell me I am an idiot for destroying something just to sate my curiousity.

But now I don’t have to! I have a kit with broken watch part already! With copper color, antiquity-y looking jewelry parts.

I am so happy. Just don’t ask me how much money I wasted. I shall pledge my fifth.


And I did brought my earring. It’s one by Marian Mc Kee Designer. She has no website that I know of, but I brought one of her earrings before, so I know it’s pretty good quality and design for its price, which is very affordable despite that it’s a local, indie product.

The stone, metal, and hook from my last earring is made of good quality item, and does not rust, bend, or broke easily. This one seems to be of similar quality:

Earring by Marian Mc Kee Designer of San Francisco

Earring by Marian Mc Kee Designer of San Francisco

The metal and stone sparkles together nicely, which the iPhone photo does not reflect. I like how it is simple but elegant. I can see it work in formal and casual occasion. I like how the stone is hold by the metal frame showing a teethed pattern, instead of being held by glue or a band of metal.

I also noticed that the pattern matches my cup (also locally made, by company “miam.mian“) and decided to display them together for some photo fun:

Earring and Cup. Always an excellent combination.

Earring and Cup. Always an excellent combination.

See what I mean?

Alas, I really should take that photo during the day instead of using lamp light, but I am just so eager to play with them. That’s especially true for the kit. I haven’t taken stuff apart or put parts together for a while!

Hmm… maybe I should buy a $10 watch and take it apart. Or find a used one of Craigslist. A girl can never have too much jewelries.


Seed Starting Ideas – Commercialism Vs. DIY in Gardening

It’s sunny, it’s warm, it’s a season that inspire all gardener to go all out. Even containers ones like me.

So, as of a few days ago, I found myself rumbling through my boxes for seeds. The questions though, is how I should grow them? The plant nursery has so many different seed starter kits, sparkling in front of me and tempting me. So, what are someway to start seeds indoor?

Hmm… how about the good old jiffy pots? The compressed soil tend to led to sterile soil that will develop a moldy surface. I want to use my own, healthy soil. Besides, my chives has never successfully seeded in a jiffy pot – and I plan to plant some chives seeds.

Plastic container? They don’t have it, and transplanting is going to be nightmare for the seeds I have in mind.

Oh, what’s that? Biodegradable Coco-fiber pot? And it looks shiny too. But nope – bigger than what I want, pricier than other products in store, and don’t look that biodegradable. Maybe it will degrade outdoor, but I am not so confidence about indoor without all the bacteria and rain. I want something with thinner surfaces, like paper.

…No cowpot, pulp pot, or other paper-like pots on store shelf.

In the end, I ended up buying only a bag of all-purpose “Natural Plotting Soil” from a nearby succulent shop named Succulence (Yep, they sell not only succulent soil, but also natural and occasionally organic soil, all for a lovely $2 per bag. Oh, and they have Renee seeds and… wait, wrong post! Shall shut up now).

At home, I mentally debated on which seed starter products I should use. I mindlessly took some paper out for recycling. Lo and behold, I saw a egg carton. My mindless haze cleared up, and the wheel in my brain started cranking as ideas popped into my head. I was so busy thinking about what to BUY to solve my problem, I totally forgot my Eco Crafty side! The scariness of consumerism culture.

I make a quick, sneaky gaze around the apartment trash room. Area clear. I grabbed the carton and checked for a clean condition. Good. I chucked my papers-to-be-recycle and stealthy transport my egg cartoon without any neighbors seeing me.

Once I got home, I renewed my research, now with a new mindset and a new weapon idea. Excitingly, I googled about egg carton seed starter. I immediately learned that it is too small and not very biodegradable. Fortunately, I came across other solutions – homemade paper rolls, eggshell, and newspaper containers. I didn’t had any eggshell and paper roll prepared, so newspaper it was.

I decided to forgo the tape that several blog uses, and relied on my origami folding  skill. Then I rumbled through the cabinet for something to put it in. To my luck, I found a take-out rice box with a clear plastic cover – perfect for a greenhouse. All the seeds are edible plants. A lunchbox of edible garden – yummy.

From left to right, there is two strawberry, chives, nasturtium seeds.

The nasturtiums outgrown the box pretty quickly though. So I took it, and it’s now arrange symmetrically with two other baby aloe. One of the chives have also popped up. Strawberry will take a while, but I think it is a pretty successful experience so far.

Point one to DIY.

DIY Jewelry & Camera Magic

In addition to the new NOOK Simple Touch – which I can’t stop raving – I also brought a new camera, Panasonic FH-25 (since my 4 year old camera is breaking down).

It’s quite the light, compacted beauty. I am still getting the handle, but I am already awed at some of its abilities. In particular, my favorite is the pinhole view. It give the photos an elegant, vintage feel.

Here is a little earring that I made, photographed with 2 different setting. Here is the normal one:

Here is the Pinhole setting:

Instant transformation. Even the crystal seems to shine better. I could even imagine this as a book cover (ah, too much ebook browsing…). I am going to have way too much fun with all those different settings…

But before this, I am going to have to make the bead earring I promised. Seems like my sister like my DIY jewelries, and I had been playing with them now that I am no longer so busy with school. Maybe I will post some of them up later.

SF Green Festival 2011 P2: Sunday Sessions

Without a balcony, I really shouldn’t rebuild my herbal garden or buy more plants, but a a free succulent plant don’t count, right?

I am talking about my first session on Sunday, namely, the:

DIY Living Succulent Walls and Other Creative Garden Ideas by Elan Segarra

When I went, I wasn’t planning to bring home a ring of succulent. The session title have the word wall, and I presumed that it would be a presentation on green wall. With so many events, I didn’t read the details, and I certainly was not planning to bring home a new plant.

Then I saw the sample succulent ring by Elan from Three Bees Nursery, and I am in love:

It’s destined, and there is no beating destiny, or so I keep telling myself the entire day I carried the new baby of my garden family:

It’s really easy to make. At the risk of dragging another addicted gardener into getting more plants, I recommend everyone to find out how to do it.

Getting an extra succulent plant’s ok though. The ring is actually pretty small and easy to care for indoor. It’s a beautiful addition to any home, whether it be a suburban house or a city apartment. Besides, it’s perfect for Christmas.

Laundry To Landscape Workshop by Gavin Raders and Andrew Charhrour

When I studied for the green build LEED exam, water use was big. It is even more important in a place like SF. In fact, the local USGBC and PG&E holds an annual Water Conservation Showcase. But most of the time, as an architecture student, I listened to to Powerpoints and case studies.

And so I would like to shout that I love the DIY area!

Planting Justice brought cute little gadgets used in laundry-to-landscape system, and even have a real three-way vault.

Much like the Nature Build session, hearing the experience of someone who makes a job installing the actual system is terrific, since I really get to hear all the little details and see the system comes together. They also have sample Herbatergent from Vaska, which should work with a laundry-to-landscape system. I don’t have that system, but I am all for natural detergent, and therefore I can’t wait to try it out!

Solar Is Hot! by Danny Kennedy

In the green profession, everyone talk about solar at some point, so it is no wonder that GF have a session on solar energy.

Plenty of interesting discussion came up, and Danny from Sungevity made a good comparison about the raise of cell phone and solar panel – that solar and phone gets more affordable as more people use it. I call it the Costco Effect. Real Good Solar Inc is right next to the Pavilion, so in the middle of the session, Danny actually got to demonstrate his point when someone pop out to lent him a solar panel (or I think he is from Real Good Solar, seems like he was standing there later). The wonders of festive environment and good business-relationship.

The Governor’s Clean Power Goal – How We Get There Together by Wade Crowfoot & Efren Carrillo

While POWER’s presentation was more on inspiring action, this one is more about informing current happenings. Wade talked about several codes and regulations here – current aims, AB32, Energy Efficiency Standards, etc.

Efren from Sonoma County showed some of the current projects. I have never been to Sonoma, but I have been hearing the name again and again. It seems like they are doing some amazing works there – retrofits, hydroelectric fuel cell, waste-into-energy, geothermal, Energy Independence Program, and more. It’s too bad that Stephanie Wang from Clean Coalition was sick, as I would love to hear about Clean Coalition as well.

And that’s the last session for me.

Such is some of my favorite sessions this year. I will write another post about the booth later.

Funny – initially, I only circled about 4 sessions on my schedule. Now I have went to what? Over 8 sessions! And I haven’t even gushed over all the booths I visited yet (that’s another post…). This is the magic of Green Festival. What are some of your favorite?

Taking apart my MacBook

About two days ago, my face expressed one emotion: horror.

My laptop slipped through my laptop sleeve and right onto the ground.

Fortunately, it was a carpet floor. My MacBook was saved! Still, to my horror, part of the keyboard bulged out. The laptop still works, but I can’t let it kept bulging. And thus, tonight, I took apart my MacBook in order to check out the problem areas. Fortunately, I had already took it apart before to install a new SuperDrive, so I didn’t freak at all this time. In fact, I actually recorded the process this time around.

It sounds really scary to take apart the MacBook, but it’s actually really easy. I even cleaned out some of the dust inside (which is a lot, since I have it for four years already) You just have to make sure you keep track of the screws you took out.

Here is my prep tools:

First, I have the instruction guide from printed out and clipped into order. I printed one out the last time I took apart my Mac and replaced the SuperDrive inside. In case anyone’s wondering, is a well-known web site dedicated to Mac tools DIY. Not only do they have guides for Macbook, they have it for Ipod and basically all the Mac inventions. They also sells the parts, so you can purchase Mac parts that you wanted to replace. The screwdriver and plastic spudger shown here are both brought from ifixit. They are both very well quality – I love the screwdriver they have. The driver have a fixed part at the end of its handle that the user can hold onto, so the body of the screwdriver can spin very rapidly but the hand holding the handle end would be fixed and stable. It’s a bit hard to describe, but its very nicely-made.

Now, the tip here is to have the guide printed out and a multi-box storage kit set aside. The kit I use (the rainbow color box) was brought from Japantown for around a buck. It is suppose to be used for keeping track of medicine. I usually use it for necklaces so they don’t tangle, but I have a few rows left just for Mac.

Now, here is my MacBook, open to the world to see:

Very dusty. I should clean the screen as well right after this – you can see the keyboard mark! Yuck!

Not very good lighting too, since I am doing this at night. My room isn’t the best space for professional photos, so here’s some more details:

Ah, now I see the problem.

This is the non-bulged side:

And this is the bulged side:

So its bended. Hmm…

I tried to push it back – even hit my screwdriver on the bulged part (it’s not connected to anything – just a metal part, so I know its safe. Don’t tried this at home.)

Didn’t work. Nada.

*Sigh* Well, the keyboard was actually breaking apart already. The side was chipping off (Macbook keyboard is made of plastic, and particularly weak at the edge. The edge is known to chipped off even under careful use.) Actually, I wasn’t sure if it had really bended back when I dropped it – my Macbook was acting really weird that day and refused to go into sleep mode.

I wonder if I should just get a new keyboard…

P.S. on 4/20/10: Right after EGB (Emerging Green Builder) club meeting, someone dropped his Macbook Pro solidly onto the concrete ground.


Everyone was looking at the MacBook, wondering what will happen. Someone, to my amusement, said that it should be fine since its a MacBook. But then, I also added my comment about how I also dropped my mac, so he should be fine (Although my case was a bit different – I dropped it on a carpet floor. I also hold it right when it dropped so only the edge of the Macbook hit the ground, instead of letting it drop face flat down like the the club member did – I seem to have a pretty good reflex when it comes to drop things…)

His  laptop turned on fine though. I was just mumbling about how annoying the Adobe-Tiger upgrade was a few days ago (since I can’t upgrade to Snow Leopard without upgrading the $300 Adobe program), now I am in love with my Mac again!

MacBook Sleeping Problem – SOLVED!

*Happy tribual dance*

Now, not everyone have the same type of MacBook sleeping problem as I do, but for those who have MacBook sleeping problem because of their Airport, I have find a possible solution: Wireless Sleeper by Tao Effect, download from CNET’s

Let me explain about the MacBook sleeping problem first, for those who may be new to MacBook:

Macbook’s Airport and Bluebooth features automatically scan even who you close the lid. For some computer, that may not be an problem. But, for some, their MacBook would go to sleep, and then suddenly wakes up. Each time MacBook wakes up from sleep, it’s hardware restart. Having this constantly happening takes a heavy troll on the hardware, and the computer will heat up to the point where you can use it as hand-warmer in winter . The ventilation fan will thus go haywire, trying to cool the computer down to prevent damages to machine. Not only is this hard on the battery, this is also hard on the computer itself.

There may also be other cause:

There could be other reason that MacBook isn’t sleeping. The MacBook is, afterall, a machine. The longer you use them, the more problems occur. I mean, we dump them into bags, swig them around while we ran to school or work, download gazilion of different stuff, force shut down when things goes wrong, go on the internet and plug in friend’s USB without much protection because we know there’s a low chance of getting viruses

Maybe part of your computer’s interior was damaged or came loose. Sometimes it may be a bug in your computer. It can be a hardware problem, it can be a software problem. Sometimes, it may seem like your computer jsut want to throw a tantrum.

So, how we idenify a sleeping problem that came from the Airport?

It’s actaully quit simple. If your computer goes to sleep properly and it’s light “breath” for a while (Breath as in: the light dims, then lights up), then wake up, it’s most likely an Airport or Bluetooth problem since it imply that the laptop is scanning for connections. If your laptop’s light never dim even once, and that happens every time your computer refuse to sleep, then it may be an hard/software problem.

So, what do we do if it’s an Airport/Bluetooth problem:

This is also simply: just turned both the Airport and Bluetooth feature everytime you put your computer sleep.

Of course, that’s annoying for those. like me, who uses Airport all the time. Sometimes we just forget, and we come home to a hand-burning laptop:

So there’s a secondary, back up solution: Wireless Sleeper

Using this download, MacBook’s Aireport feature will turn off the moment it sleep, which is just plain convenient.

Of course, this a new download, so I am not sure if it works as well as it says. I guess I will have to see!