Category Archives: Creativity

Screens For Car Windows

by Jim and Melanie

We have a car that will fit a 3″ thick foam mattress in the back with the passenger seats down. When we drive to Yellowstone National Park this summer, we’ll use that mattress for sleeping if a motel isn’t available. We aren’t campers and won’t likely do that often.

If we do sleep in the back, we will want windows open a few inches for ventilation without letting mosquitoes and other insects into the car. Ready made screens for car windows are available. We thought it would be easy to make our own the way many other people have done. Here is how we did it.

Newsprint paper was placed over the driver side window. With a marker we traced the window outline and marked where the metal of the car body met the glass. Some fiberglass screen mesh placed over the outline let us cut the mesh to size as seen here on our kitchen counter. Two mesh screens were cut. One for the driver side. The other for the passenger side.

We ordered 50 small very strong neodymium magnets to tape every few inches around the perimeter of the mesh. The magnets cost $12 from here and measured 1/4″ by 1/8″ seen here next to a coin. They are very strong. Keep them away from valuables.

  

We used Gaffer tape to attach the magnets to the mesh. Gaffer tape has a cloth backing and good adhesive. The cloth backing will avoid scratching the paint finish on the car.

Pieces of tape about 1.5″ long were cut from the roll then turned over. The magnet was placed one quarter of the way along the adhesive backing. The tape was placed halfway under the mesh and folded over on itself. Firm pressure was applied to assure a very good bond. This short video shows the technique.

Here is a completed screen with all the magnets around the perimeter. It is attached to the metal door to the garage to make it more visible. Notice the firm click of the magnet at the end.

Attachment to the car is quite easy as demonstrated below. Small adjustments of the magnets help to make a tight fit to the car surface so insects can’t get in. Removal is easy.

 

Tips

Arrange the magnet, tape, and mesh layers so the tape is the only layer between the car metal and the magnet. That gets the magnet as close as possible to the metal for a stronger grip.

Don’t roll the window down all the way. The screen is not bear, raccoon, crow, or squirrel proof.

The Artist

There was a Japanese emperor who hired an artist to paint a rooster for him. The emperor was a patient man, so when the painting was not immediately forthcoming, he was not very concerned. Even so, years went by. How difficult was it to paint a rooster? The artist was benefitting from the patronage of the emperor, living in the palace grounds, eating the food provided, yet he had not produced the painting. After twenty years the emperor’s patience was spent. He went himself to the artist’s rooms to inquire about his painting.

The artist was startled to be visited by the emperor, but he bowed deeply and invited the other man to have a seat. “Please wait here, and I will get your painting.” The artist retreated into his studio. The emperor could hear him, singing softly to himself, puttering around.

After many minutes the emperor could take it no more. He leapt to his feet, as well as a now aging man could, and filled the doorway of the studio with his presence. “Twenty years I’ve waited and still you make me wait! Why should I not execute you now?”

The artist did not react to the threat, but stepped from his easel and said, “I am almost done now. Do you like it?”

The emperor’s temper calmed as he saw before him the perfect rooster. In simple lines it showed the rooster turned to look over its shoulder at him, just as he’d hoped. But then the man noticed dozens, no hundreds of other paintings almost the same, lining every surface of the room. To his eye, they all looked perfect, too.

“Did you just paint the rooster on the easel?” the emperor asked.

“Yes, your Majesty.”

“If you have painted all these other roosters, why do I not have one yet? Why have I waited twenty years for something you could do long ago, something you could do in just a few minutes?”

“Oh, your Majesty, I could not,” said the artist. “It has taken me this long to learn how to paint the perfect rooster. None of those before were good enough to give you.”

Conversations with Artists

Catbird Quilt Studio

Last Friday evening Jim and I attended our local annual art fair. From around the Midwest, painters, photographers, jewelers, woodworkers, and other artists came to display and sell their goods. Jim and I always enjoy speaking with the makers at art fairs. We get insight into their process and inspirations. We engage more fully with the art itself. This time was no exception.

A large photo of a lake in the Black Hills drew us into the booth of a talented photographer. After enjoying his photos for several minutes, I turned to the man and asked, Do you find that there is an upper limit for what people are willing to spend at an art fair venue?

He paused for a moment, and with a firm voice said, “No. I don’t find that at all. People who are willing to pay for art are just as willing to pay $3,000 as…

View original post 535 more words

How Far Do I Walk Mowing The Lawn?

Our view from Iowa has a lot of green lawns out the front window. Glenn mows his every three or four days. Seems a bit much. I mow mine once a week. It takes about 45 minutes. I don’t have a riding mower. I wonder how far I walk each time. Is there an easy way to find out? Am I a nerd for wanting to know? Yes.

I could carry my GPS unit. Or, clip one of those step monitors onto my belt. Those would work. Instead, I used our blueprint, Google SketchUp, and a calculator. Here is the blueprint view showing our property dimensions, house outline, and driveway. I drew in the sidewalk out front and where there are trees in the woods out back.

Yard

I pasted this image into the software SketchUp so I could scale it according to the dimensions in the drawing. Once the software knew the scale, I drew some blue polygons in the areas that have grass to mow.

Yard2

 

A right click on the polygons brings up a calculation of the area of each in square feet. I added the three areas together to get 4734 sq ft of lawn.

I figured my mower cuts a swath about 1.5 ft wide on average. By dividing the area of the lawn by the mower swath I got the distance walked.

4734 sq ft ÷ 1.5 ft = 3156 ft = 0.60 miles