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April 2010

April 22, 2010

Product Review of the Flip Ultra HD Video Camera

I'm a bit of a gear head so I thought I'd review a few tech items throughout May in celebration of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.  Because after I'm done writing about tech, I fully intend to go to the gym and develop a bubble butt instead of sitting at a computer with glutes of goo.

I'm starting with the Flip Ultra HD video camera from Pure Digital.  If you don't have time to watch the 2-minute video, here's the skinny: It has a high Cool Factor. It's small enough to fit in your bra and it shoots darn fine high-definition video at 720p.  It's also good in low light conditions.  It records 2 full hours of HD on 8G's of storage.  It's cheap at around $200 (cheaper in the U.S.).  And it could use a couple of additional features:

1. A battery indicator on the view screen

2. WiFi connectivity so you can upload videos directly to the web without having to upload to your computer first

Update 5/12/10 - There's currently an offer for a $15 discount via Flip Canada's Facebook page

Next:  The Helium Digital wristband communicator.  Yes, you can finally get Dick Tracy's #1 accessory.

LEGO Kitchen Island

via www.neatorama.com

I'm more of a mini-brick fan so although this project gives me a huge surge of admiration, it's also high on the Kill Me Now scale of extreme time consumption. But pretty cool if you're NOT the one who had to arrange the 20,000 Lego blocks. Yup, pretty cool if you're the one who just stood there with a European beer in hand, saying, "Uhh, you just did a yellow one 3 blocks ago, so you probably oughtta re-do that."

April 14, 2010

DIY Wooden Wax Seal

via ragehaus.com

Signet rings are so yester-epoque and cumbersome. In contrast, this project from Kim at Ragehaus.com is accessible, practical and sweet, and your mailing envelopes will henceforthwith rawk.

April 08, 2010

Wine cork bath mat by Craftynest

How to make a wine cork bath mat

via www.craftynest.com

This is so cool. I made a trivet out of wine corks once (see humbling photo below) but I clearly wasn't thinking as big as the savants at Craftynest. Click on the above photo of the bath mat and you'll get the full instructions.  These people are CLEVER, I tell you. 

Trivit 1

(Humbling photo of cork trivet; corks are drilled and trivet is assembled with copper wire)

April 01, 2010

How to Age Wood with Cheap, Easy Homemade Stain

That beautiful silvery colour of salt-stained, wind-beaten shingles on the East Coast is so lovely.  It's the colour of clouds beaten together with storm-heaved waves.  The colour of driftwood and wisdom.

I've been trying to get that colour on new wood since I built a rustic Japanese-style garden lantern in 2001 on my workshop series Anything I Can Do.

Nine years of desire have finally culminated in a dead easy staining process to achieve a seaside patina on pine.  I haven't tried it on other wood varieties yet.  (It's still early in my patina-producing career.)


In my earlier post I reported my discoveries in 'ebonizing' - turning wood black using a mixture of homemade rust stain and tea.  

To stop the tea from moulding in storage, I blended it with an equal amount of my Rusty Vinaigrette stain (Rusty Vinaigrette Recipe: A handful of rusty old nails in 2 or 3 cups of vinegar, aged for at least a week in a covered jar).  The vinegar stopped the mould process in the tea, and created something I called Mag's Magic Mix. 

But mixing the tea and rust stain in one jar set off the chemical reaction in the jar, rather than in the wood it's applied to. 

So by the time Magic Mix is brushed on wood, the chemical reaction is much slower to interact with the tannins in the wood.  Instead, it goes a silvery grey, the colour of mystery and cashmere. 

This finish is stable and will take a light sanding without losing the silvery patina. 


You can see that my 'ebonizing' process (above - various test patches alternating layers of tea and rust stain) is much deeper and more intense than the silvery 'aged' look of the Magic Mix. 

The experimenting continues.  If you try it, please let me know what sorts of results you get.  We chemistry hacks gotta stick togethuh.   


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Mag's Books

  • : We're All In This Together

    We're All In This Together
    Based on four years of interviews with Steve Smith, Mag's unconventional biography reveals the personal stories, sorrows and joys that continue to inspire the man behind the Red Green legacy.

  • : How Hard Can It Be?

    How Hard Can It Be?
    Mag's quirky and entertaining book of home improvement projects for beginners.

Nota Bene

  • It’s never too late to be who you might have been. - George Eliot (1819-1880)
  • Simplicity of character is the natural result of profound thought. - My fortune cookie