LED strings powered via USB

I was really tired of the rat's nest of extension cord, wall warts and multiple cables feeding the three 30ft LED strings in our living room. Then a couple of weeks before Christmas it hit me: LEDs consume 5V DC, USB supplies 5V DC, newer wall receptacles with USB can supply enough current. Put them all together and this just might work.

Seat cushion made from recycled coffee bag -

The secret here is how to achieve a snug fit of the coffee bad around the foam without rubbing your knuckles raw as you pull the bag over the foam. We have made mattresses and seat cushions before, and while the results were great, it took a week or longer for our fingers and knuckles to recover from the ordeal. As Pia was discussing our plans for the coffee bags with friends, they sagely nodded and said they'd been do this road before and had to pay with blood. We were not looking forward to that! Then Pia came up with the glorious idea of using a trash bag to reduce friction and tears.

Pia's butler chair

The Butler Chair

Who doesn't have the perpetual disarray of clothes in the bedroom, not going into the closet for some reason, but not into the hamper for another? So these clothes are in temporary limbo, and there's never a good place for them. In our master bedroom, a perfectly good chair and a perfectly usable chandelier serve as holders for those clothing items. Not anymore for Pia, for the Butler Chair was built for the purpose. It has a clothes hanger back with a second piece above and can take care of those stray clothing items elegantly. The seat is a bit lower, so you can comfortably reach your feet while putting on socks and shoes, and when seated you can effortlessly slip into the jacket hanging from the clothes hanger back. Simply genius! And then there's the secret compartment under the seat. Pia is in love!

The art shelf, mounted high on the wall

This is an idea we had for a very long time, but never got around to actually build. Then we saw this version by Erin Loechner and everything came together. Her idea to mount the shelf up high, and installing the brackets on top of the shelf seal the deal. Genius!

The finished coffee table in use - note the colored streaks in the canary wood

Pia and I had spotted canary wood at Cut & Dried Hardwood (now sadly gone) a few years back, fell in love with its crazy colored stripes, and wanted to create a furniture piece with it. However, for lack of time and energy nothing ever happened. Then, two months ago, our need for another small table became urgent, and the plans finally coalesced.

Refurbished Brooks saddle

First off I have to say that the only reason one should want to restore a Brooks saddle is if the leather is in usable condition. If the leather is too worn to recondition there is no point in keeping the old rails and mounting new leather, just go buy a new saddle from Brooks (they are not that expensive). The only reason I say this is because in my quest to refurbishing my saddle I did lots of research and found many people were trying to restore old seats with new leather, which makes no sense because the worn in leather is the only part that makes the seat worth restoring.

Roll the gingerbread dough into thin sheets and bake it well. Let cool.
Add lemon juice slowly to the powdered sugar and mix until you have a thick paste - this will be your "glue".
Cut gingerbread into shapes to make walls, roof halves and other parts of your house. Be creative here, but remember that intricate designs will be really hard to put together, and much harder to keep together.

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