Wednesday, December 25, 2013

a slightly different christmas gift

After talking more or less none stop of a car over the last 3 years, watching 18 seasons of top gear and researching every possible fact, we bought us a 981 Porsche Boxster a couple of weeks ago as christmas gift (for the next dozen of years or so)

Friday, November 15, 2013

The jeep is back in the shop..

Due to an issue with the AC system and a couple of annoying rattles in the dashboard, the jeep is back at the dealer and getting fixed/resolved.

Meaning I'm getting another toy as loaner car. So that I keep getting to work.

This time we got a 2013 Toyota Tundra/Crew Cab to play with, which reminded me how much I miss driving a pickup truck and how happy I am that I do not have to pay this gigantic gas bill anymore.

we got about 12.5mgp during the 3 days of driving...

as size comparison, a 5 door A3 parked next to it. Nose to nose.
But I really start to appreciate the service of a dealer, if you buy a new car from him. It's just makes your life a lot easier, when something goes wrong.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

First piece of acceptable furniture is finished.

Over the last couple of weeks, I was working on a little side table as prototype for our planned living room furniture.

already under heavy use...

little necklace hanger for my wife, made from left over bloodwood

finally enough tomato for some food

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Jeep is turning 1 and promptly in the shop...

So our 2013 grand cherokee, pretty much turned 1 year old with 12k miles and the check engine light goes on and off to the dealer it goes to get it fixed.

What do we get as a loaner? A small little chrysler c200 convertible, which is a bit limiting for my frame and kinda tight. But it's nice to have a convertible to take advantage of the sunny days right now and to demo, if we really want to buy a convertible as next car.

But it definitely does not compare to the porsche 987s boxster with test drove for my 30ths birthday.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

we got a couch and now we need end tables

recently we got our new couch and this basically means that we now need some end tables for it, since our existing ones neither match or look that great and they are getting a bit old.

At the same time our finacial situation also improved a little bit, which gave me the opportunity to buy some nice wood and build them myself. Since mahogany is quite expensive, we decide to build a small side table first. And if all works out, we will create a big one afterwards. If not we just buy some cheap poplar and stain it mahogany colored...

69$ of wood, it's not a lot, but enough for a single end table, which sells for the mid to high 300$

everything cut to size, sadly not precise 90 degree angles, since I still don't have a jointer

shaping the legs, I want that they all have a slopped angle 2" from the top

about 3/4 of an inch to remove with my fore plane, while trying to keep the correct slope

after roughing out the shape with the bandsaw, it time to finetune it with the rasps.

about 70% complete, just need to add the bottom shelf, sand it and apply a french finish.

time to cleanup the mess
now no internet for the next 4-7 days...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Back from camping and finally we got a couch...

Two weekends ago we took our little summer trip and went camping for a couple of days. Nothing big, just 3 days of relaxing and doing nothing, but reading 'The legend of Drizzt' or in other words, the Forgotten Realms series, which spanned several of my favorite computer games of all times. I'm actually playing baldurs gate again, when I can't sleep. But this is another topic all together.

the area around Black Butte Lake

making some dinner

our little family, just being happy
Since we have been going camping rather regularity over the last 2+ years now and average between 3-4 trips a year. We are actually starting to talk about buying a little Camping trailer to have some more comfort, like a shower and more space for all our stuff. Traveling with 2 dogs, turns out to require a lot of space and once kids come around, there is no way we can do this with the Jeep alone. But this is to be decided in a couple of years and just one of our crazy ideas. After all we still have to finish up our house.

Speaking off, we finally managed to decide on a couch for the living room and now just need a fitting table or ottoman to go with it.

Also we finally have an entertainment center, which turned out to be a compromise between buying one and me reinforcing the frame and cutting it out to support the weight of our system.

first couch I bought in my live...

wide angle lenses make our house look huge...

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Waiting for gras to grow...

after we finished tilling, leveling and seeding our right side of the lawn, we are now literally waiting for grass to grow. It should be all nice in green in 6-8 weeks from now.

So now we are focussing on the left side and improving the look of our planters.

slowly adding red mulch to the planters, to improve their look

We are also making progress with our little vegetable garden and hope to harvest some more things soon.

bell peppers are finally showing up

so do the cayennetta peppers

as our tomatoes. Well frankly we going to have hundreds of tomatoes in 3-4 weeks.
And start planning our winter garten and organizing some things, to make space for more veggies boxes...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

next step done...

now that everything is tilled, it was time to put a little temporary fencing into place. So that the pups don't mess up the grass we plan to put down sometimes next week.

temporary fence is build and up. Cheapest wood construction possible and I just hope it lasts 6-8 weeks

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

the dogs are getting older, maybe calmer?

now that the dogs are getting a bit older and start to listen, sometimes even successfully we decided it's time to replace the sad excuse for 'grass' with a new coat of grass.

Little did I know how much work this is going to entail. And so this is the first step in my thirteen step program, at least it feels like it.

tilling the right side of the yard (next year we do the left, yay...)

step 1 - tilling the yard

it was only 102F/38C this day, so not to bad for living around the central valley.

next step would be to till it all over again and again and than flatten it...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

our little house - it's starting to come together

Well over the last weeks we are finally starting to making progress with our backyard improvement project and creating a little suburban live-style vegetable garden.

newly installed fence next to our wild roses and heirloom tomatoes

the worlds smallest orange tree. Hopefully in 3-5 years it's going to bear some fruits.

bell pepper, zucchini and half dead sun gold tomatoes. Still have to build 3 more boxes for artichokes and arugula in the winter time

basil, chives, mint, oregano, stevia. Need another barrel for rosemary, tarragon and sage.

finished restoring a Stanley #6c hand plane from the late 1940s. Need to find some 3x3x3 maple to redo the knob to make it match my carved tote a bit better.

rasberries a week ago, sadly they did not survive the 120F days we had and we might have to replace the canes

don't pay attention for a minute and the puppies are taking over the bed... I guess this is another lost cause.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

talking for a good cause...

recently my friend Kristen joined the organisation, 'Girls who code' and started teaching these kids the basic about programming, robotics and microchip programming.

To my surprise she invited me as a speaker to 'share my wisdom' of developing for close to 20 years to tell these girls what they have to be aware off with software development and where the use usual challenges and problems are.

Needless to say I hate a lot of fun talking to these extremely bright and smart kids, who obviously have a huge potential and wouldn't mind working with some of them some day in the future.

I might even apply to become a teacher for a summer there next years, since I had way to much fun and they even play with arduinos (can't wait till the next 5 I ordered arrived to automate my veggie garden...) !!!

Sunday, June 09, 2013


Since we all work a bit much, we needed to get a way a bit and drove up north to fort bragg to camp a little bit.

Surrounded by several 600-800lb's elks. Needless to say the pups were upset
basil bee is watching over our tent
Sadly after 2 days, we got rained out and had to turn around and drive home, before the roads got to bad we get stuck. The jeep is a great car, but sadly a bit limited in off-roading capabilities in comparison to the Pathfinder.

progress on the restauration...

finally managed to remove all the rust from the hand planes and starting to paint them now, before flattening and polishing them.

masking the sides

first step done - priming it

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

restoring antique tools

The little plane was feeling lonely..

so during a visit to an antique store I picked up some bigger plans. A No.3, 2xNo.5 and No.6 handplane, which need a lot of work to shine again, since they are about 50-100 years old

using electrolysis to remove the rust from the first cap iron and polishing it a bit. 
since all the handles are broken/ugly it is time to use a couple of rasps and carve/file new ones from mahogany.

first handle is done, now we need to do 4 more and also 4 knobs.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Building a vise...

Since I still don't have a woodworking vise, I put it into my mind to just build one, from some wood I had laying around.

My tiny plane is a bit small to smooth about 36" inches wide jaws, after prepping them with my 15$ Jackplane 

Slowly getting better with using a handsaw. Still long ways to gogo to get it perfect

But sadly the stupid oak split after assembly, so it' yet again back to the drawing board

Thats were I roughly want to end up with.

Thats what we got so far after the latest frustration were off