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Archive for "Projects"

New Beanies for Grandma

Posted on January 21, 2018 by under Projects.    

Someone (whose first name starts with the letter B) didn’t tell me that grandma wanted new crochet beanies for Christmas. I found out on Christmas day when grandma mentioned it. I asked Brian about it that night before bed.

ME: Why didn’t you tell me?

BRIAN: I only found out on Friday. I didn’t think you would have time to make one.

Anyway, I felt really bad so I decided to get right on it during my short break from work over the holidays. Amazingly enough, I was able to complete one hat in about four hours. Not bad for a novice.

I was so impressed with myself that I decided to make another one the next day.


Here are pics of the two beanies I made.


Brian delivered the beanies to grandma while I was teaching my New Year’s Eve Zumba class and he took photos for me. He said she really liked them which makes me super happy.

I may not have gotten them done in time for Christmas but at least I got them done in time for the cold weather. It has been super cold here the last two weeks. This is the first weekend we’ve had decent weather.

Anyway, I love how the hats (which, if you notice, are two different styles — since I just make these on the fly without a pattern, no two are ever identical) turned out. This has encouraged me to pick up crocheting again. Hopefully, I’ll finally learn how to read crochet patterns and learn to make some new things this year.

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Making My Home Smarter Than Me

Posted on December 31, 2017 by under Home Ownership, Projects.    

I have been wanting to add smart devices to our home for some time. I wanted a Nest since they first came out but my wife wouldn’t let me because the local power company had their own program and she felt since she worked for them, she should honor that program and be a part of it as well. This did get us a really nice Honeywell programmable thermostat, but it wasn’t a Nest!

Several years have now passed and we’ve gotten off the WattSaver program, but we got to keep the programmable thermostat and it’s worked very well for us. But, again, it’s not a Nest. So after visiting a friend’s house and seeing all of his home automation toys, I decided it was time to work on Ching and see if I could finally swing a Nest. It just so happened that Amazon was having a huge sale and I was able to get it much cheaper than normal and Ching finally caved (because she’s a sucker for sales) and I got my Nest.


This is a picture of me unboxing the Nest. It’s pretty simple when you get down to it and look at how they have everything set up for you. They even include pictures and labels. They offer a professional set up but, unless you are just really not handy (I’m close), I think you would be able to manage.


Here it’s all installed and working. I love that I can control it from my phone, laptop or even my watch.

After that, it was time to update a coupe of light switches that we have really wanted to have on a program anyway but could never figure out how to do it. Again, my friend showed me some of the things that he had and they fit my needs perfectly. Thanks to Amazon again, they were having a sale and Ching could not resist, so we got three plugs and two light switches.

The plugs are very versatile, they just plug into the wall and there are some instructions on the app and then bam, they are available to be automated and controlled through my phone.

The light switches were a little different. These involved a little help from my father-in-law and a friend of his. I needed expert advise and installation. LOL.


Here is a picture of all of us looking at the wiring and trying to plan the best way to install them without burning my house down.


Here we have initiated the plan and we are conversing to make sure that we all agree to the final installation.


Here is the final product installed.


And here we have it all covered up with a nice smooth face plate. I like these face plates because you don’t see any screws like traditional faceplates. I think going forward, I may use these on all of my replacement switches.

All in all, I like the way everything functions. I like how it is automated and how I can, in the near future, tie them all to an Alexa and just use my voice to control everything.

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New Keeper of the Plains Statue

Posted on May 1, 2017 by under Projects, Things to Do.    

A new Keeper of the Plains replica statue was unveiled in our office building a couple of weeks ago. It is one of several 10-foot tall fiberglass replicas of our famous Keeper of the Plains statue that’s part of the “Keepers on Parade” project launched by Together Wichita in 2014.



Brian and I have been anxiously awaiting the unveiling because we collaborated on the design concept last year. When work announced that we would be commissioning our very own Keeper of the Plains replica for the atrium of our Wichita office, they held a design contest.

I wanted to enter the contest but I wanted Brian to help me. Anyway, as the deadline approached, I ended up getting busy with work. On the last day, I found out from Ebony that we only had a few entries. I told Brian what I wanted drawn and he whipped it up real quick. Then he scanned them and emailed them to me for me to send to Ebony. Below is the design that we submitted.


It’s not even colored because we ran out of time. We submitted our design literally moments before the cutoff. Who would have thought that the judges would appreciate the simplicity of our design concept.

That was last year. We’d been waiting for the completed statue since. Here’s a closer look at all the sides of the completed Keeper of the Plains replica statue.


The artist made several changes that improved the overall outcome. They kept the general concept of our design but added and changed some of the elements. I thought all of the design changes worked. The statue turned out even better than I could have ever imagined.

If you are interested in seeing this one in person, it’s located in the atrium of the Ruffin Building on the corner of Douglas and Broadway (100 N. Broadway). There are three others at the pop up park. Those were the first three I had ever seen actually. I have seen several since. They’re scattered all over town.

One of these days I will go and check out all of them. There’s a Keeper Finder map on the Together Wichita web site which makes it a lot easier to locate all of the “Keepers on Parade” statues. If you’re looking for something to do, this would be a fun weekend activity or cheap date idea. It reminds of the time that Brian and I went on a sculpture scavenger hunt on the Wichita State University campus a few years ago. That was a lot of fun.

Perhaps we will see you around at one of these installations. Happy hunting!

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Team Building and Community Service

Posted on November 20, 2016 by under Events, Projects, Things to Do.    

Here are some pictures from the team building volunteer service activity that I organized a couple of weeks ago. I’m so grateful for my amazing coworkers who gave up part of their holiday weekend to help out.


The project? We helped set up the North Pole Winter Carnival at Child Start‘s Polar Express Literacy Event.


The trickiest part was building the train display with no instructions.


Mike was super proud of the fake wood wall that he and Mel built.


He’s showing it off in this photo with Faith’s husband (left).


They didn’t need our help with the main event area. Our group’s focus was setting up and decorating the game room, which I actually thought was the fun part.


I really wish we could have attended the event and seen the kids enjoy the carnival games. Brian and I had another party to attend that evening, otherwise I would have totally dragged him with me. Had I planned the weekend better, I could have taken Nickira to the event. I think she would have enjoyed it.

I hope Child Start holds the event again next year. Nickira is getting to close to that age where she might think it’s a little bit childish but I really think she would enjoy it. I hope I can take her next year because it will be the final one before she’s officially a teenager. I saw some pictures of the event on the Child Start Facebook page and it looked like a blast. I’m really bummed that I missed it.

At least we got to help set up. I just love volunteering for stuff like this. It warms my heart. The best part is the $1000 donation from the Westar Energy Foundation to match our team building volunteer service hours.

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Help Me Support Big Brothers Big Sisters

Posted on March 16, 2016 by under Community, Projects, Things to Do.    

It’s that time of year again when I’m obnoxiously raising money for Big Brothers Big Sisters. There’s not many fundraising events that I aggressively seek out donations for… This happens to be one.

I’ve been “bowling for kids” on and off for almost 15 years. I’ve been a team captain a few times, team member a few times, and donor/supporter every time. I’m involved in the event for a couple of reasons: a) I enjoy bowling; and b) I believe in this program.

Even before I became a Big Sister myself, I was already an avid supporter of this program because I believe the children are our future… Teach them well and let them lead the way… Give them a sense of pride to make it easier… Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be… Everybody’s searching for a hero… People need someone to look up to…

LOL. I can’t keep going with a straight face. See what I did there? I just Whitney-rolled you. If you’re not familiar with the song, watch this video:

Alright, back to seriousness. I really and truly believe in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and the power of having positive mentors and role models in your life. I know I would not be the person I am today if there had not been caring adults in my life. I’m sure you can remember a teacher, coach, or other important adult that made time for you. You remember that in between the cooking lessons or fishing trips, that person helped you find your way.

Today (just like last year and the years before that and probably every year after until I die), I’m asking you to support me and Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Bowl for Kids’ Sake. Your gift will help match another child with a mentor that will help him or her find the confidence he/she needs to overcome problems and make good choices. Click on one of the many links that I’ve spattered all over this blog post to make a donation and start a child on the path to success in school and in life.

Just do it. It’ll make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I promise. And, if you don’t, at least you got a tax write-off out of it. Thanks in advance for supporting a program that is close to my heart. You are wonderful and generous and I appreciate you.

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