Fixin the little things is a page where I can share family and handyman information. Basically, this blog is all about me. Shameless self-promotion: of my family photos, of my services, of my writing, of my future, of my amazing ability to come up with clever ideas on photos of my life experiences . . . And also, a blatant visual aide when it comes to colors, spelling, formating, editing and computer stuff.
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Fixin' The Little Things

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Emergency Space Heater

Clay Pot Space Heater DIY

Parts list:
  • 1 loaf pan 8.5" L X 4.5" W 
  • 1 6" clay flower post 
  • 1 8.5" clay flower pot 
  • 4 Unscented tealight candles per 4 hour period
  • 1 misc magazine  
  • Water proof matches
Purchased at Dollar Tree and Home Depot for under $15. 
View the video below for details 


CAUTION: DO NOT use while sleeping! Always use in a vented room. The candles will use oxygen and release carbon monoxide! Use with CARE!



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This time of year is a good time to think about winter or emergency survival. Last year I got my self supplies for a 72 hour kit and put them in a duffle bag in the hall closet. This year I saw this video on Youtube that reminded me of the 2 days I spent in a cold apartment in January when some knucklehead knocked the powerline down feeding our neighborhood. This heater idea would have been a nice fall back. But the big warning is not to use it while sleeping or in an air tight room or it will Kill you. 

If anyone is interested in the details of my 72 Hour kit, I will share them below:

72 Hour Kit  

Food Item suggestions. Packed 3 basic Kits

Good Source 1

Good Source 2

Thanks for coming by! 



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Saturday, April 13, 2013

1950's version of an E-Mail


 I  have no idea who put this together, but it is  wonderful!

Long  ago and far away, in a land that time forgot, 
Before the  days of Dylan , or the dawn of Camelot. 
There lived a race  of innocents, and they were you and me,
For  Ike was in the White House in that land where we were born,  
  Where  navels were for oranges, and Peyton Place was porn.  
We  longed for love and romance, and waited for our Prince,  
Eddie Fisher married Liz, and no one's seen him since.  
We  danced to 'Little Darlin,' and sang to 'Stagger Lee' 
And  cried for Buddy Holly in the Land That Made Me, Me.  
Only  girls wore earrings then, and 3 was one too many, 
And only  boys wore flat-top cuts, except for Jean  McKinney.
And  only in our wildest dreams did we expect to see, 
A boy named  George with Lipstick, in the Land That Made  Me,Me.  
We  fell for Frankie Avalon, Annette was oh, so nice, 
And when  they made a movie, they never made it twice.  
We  didn't have a Star Trek Five, or Psycho Two and Three, 
Or  Rocky-Rambo Twenty in the Land That Made Me, Me.  
Miss  Kitty had a heart of gold, and Chester had a limp, 
And  Reagan was a Democrat whose co-star was a chimp.
We  had a Mr. Wizard, but not a Mr. T, 
And Oprah couldn't talk  yet, in the Land That Made Me, Me. 
We had our share of  heroes, we never thought they'd go, 
At least not Bobby  Darin, or Marilyn Monroe.
For  youth was still eternal, and life was yet to be, 
And Elvis  was forever in the Land That Made Me, Me. 
We'd  never seen the rock band that was Grateful to be Dead, 
And  Airplanes weren't named Jefferson , and Zeppelins were not  Led.
    And  Beatles lived in gardens then, and Monkees lived in trees,  
Madonna was Mary in the Land That Made Me,  Me.
We'd never heard of  microwaves, or telephones in cars, 
And babies might be  bottle-fed, but they were not grown in jars.  
And  pumping iron got wrinkles out, and 'gay' meant fancy-free,  
And dorms were never co-Ed in the Land That Made Me,  Me.
We hadn't seen enough of jets to talk about the lag,  
And microchips were what was left at the bottom of the bag.  
And  hardware was a box of nails, and bytes came from a flea, 
And  rocket ships were fiction in the Land That Made Me, Me.  
T-Birds  came with portholes, and side shows came with freaks, 
And  bathing suits came big enough to cover both your cheeks.  
And  Coke came just in bottles, and skirts below the knee,
And  Castro came to power near the Land That Made Me, Me.  
We  had no Crest with Fluoride, we had no Hill Street Blues, 
We  had no patterned pantyhose or Lipton herbal tea,
Or  prime-time ads for those dysfunctions in the Land That Made  Me,Me. 
There  were no golden arches, no Perrier to chill, 
And fish were  not called Wanda, and cats were not called Bill.  
And  middle-aged was 35 and old was forty-three, 
And ancient were  our parents in the Land That Made Me, Me. 
But  all things have a season, or so we've heard them say, 
And  now instead of Maybelline we swear by Retin-A. 
They send us  invitations to join AARP, 
We've come a long way, baby, from  the Land That Made Me, Me. 
  So  now we face a brave new world in slightly larger jeans,
And  wonder why they're using smaller print in magazines. 
And we  tell our children's children of the way it used to be, 
Long  ago and far away in the Land That Made Me, Me.
If you didn't grow up in the  fifties, you missed the greatest time in history.
Hope you  enjoyed this read as much as I did. 
  



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Chimney Flu Repair


Usually in the spring and fall I offer to take a look at my clients roof to make sure things are ready and things do not get neglected. 
Some of the things I look for include looking for cement and brick that are weathering and crumbling. 
Last fall I found the 2 chimney flu tiles on this chimney were crumbling and the client and I decided since the snow was coming soon to do a temporary repair until spring. I used some caulking to hold the tile in place. The 2 problem flu tiles are not functional and purely cosmetic but could pose a hazard if they were to come lose in a wind . The other 2 chimney tiles are functional to the right and do not require repair. This instruction is intended to help guide you through steps to repair your Chimney. I suggest reading thru the full instruction before proceeding. 

The plan is to replace the old chimney flu tile and fill the new one with low cost post hole cement to prevent water from building up in the center in winter months and freezing and damaging it again. 



First be sure to use care and safety working around and on your roof. Make sure your ladder is spaced properly from the house and on solid ground to prevent tips and falls. Suggest wearing protective gloves. Good comfortable shoes are important. Choosing the best time of the year and time of day is key to your success to avoid bad weather and too much sunshine.



If the flu tile just has weather cracks they can be filled with caulking similar to that used to fill cracks in your driveway. This flu tile was held in place over winter with caulk but by spring time it was loose and almost ready to move.

One of the problems especially with a cosmetic flu is they can fill up with snow and water and there is no place to go so the freezing in them over the years can take a toll.  




I decided it would be much easier to mix the cement on the ground in small portions and carry up to the chimney. I put down a painters drop cloth near a water source and used  a small bucket. A new chimney flu tile was purchased with the correct outside and height dimension needed. 



Tools need to remover the old tile: 
  • Safety Glasses
  • Gloves
  • Hammer
  • Cold Chisel
  • Cement Trowel
  • Garden shovel
  • Broom or leaf blower

Use the hammer and cold chisel to remove the old flu tile flush to the Chimney Cap. It is not necessary to chisel all the old flue tile away since the height of the new flue tile was measured from the Chimney Cap. Use the Trowel, garden shovel and broom/ leaf blower to remove the debris from the chimney cap.
Test the new flu tile on the chimney cap to make sure it does not rock. 



Ready to mix the cement mortar. Suggest using a cement mortar product to secure the new flu tile in place. I chose to use a product from Rapid Set. 
Mix up enough mortar for one flu tile and put it in place as shown. Set the new flu tile in place visually aligning it over the old surface. 



 Use a gloved hand and trowel to press the mortar tight against the inside and outside of the tile. remove excess mortar from the outside and tamp it into the inside edges. remember the inside of the flu tile will be filled with cement later so it is not important that the inside looks good cosmetically. At this point it is important that the outside mortar edge looks clean and flush as shown in the next photo. 


At this point i chose to install the second flu tile and finish it to this same point. My plan was to stop after the second flu tile was in place I allowed then time to set up so if they were bumped, they would not move. 


Next I suggest using a low cost post hole cement to fill the flu tiles to prevent water from being trapped inside where freezing weather can cause damage. I chose to mix the cement in small batches for several reasons. It took 3 mix batches to fill each flu tile. I used two 50 pound bags of post hole cement. The smaller mix batches were easier and safer to carry up the ladder to the chimney.



Use a short piece of wood to tamp down each batch of cement to remove the air and ensure that the cement fits tightly to the inside of the flu tile. Fill the cement and use a trowel to level the cement slightly higher less than 3/16 of an inch than the top of the flu tile. Once again you are trying to prevent water from puddling. Depending on your skills and the cement, a raised dome could also be shaped on the top of the flu tile. 


Here the progress of the work shows one complete flu tile and a second one partially filled. 




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