Our front gate swelled up to the point where it wouldnt even open. My Dad made me a new gate, when he dropped it off Ethan and I took it into the shed and sanded it down ready for painting with varnish so that it withstands the weather. By the time we got to hanging the gate it was dark, but using a big light we managed to hang the gate and it closes great.
We wanted to make the garage seem a bit more christmassy, so Rachel and Ethan put my old Christmas tree up and also added some lights, so that if people did some over to drop presents off we could have them in the garage and they wouldnt get too cold or rained on.
Our washing machine failed and we had to get a new one, this is our 3rd washing machine in 5 years. This time we went for the cheapest one that was integrated and could be delivered next day. Its made by Logik and so far is really quiet and does the job.
Today i put a coat of wood primer on the frame. After it had dried i could really see that i needs a good sanding before another coat of primer.
I got the mirror back from Dad today and trial fitted it on the wall to see how its fits, where the power outlet will go and if the light switch will be ok. Its going to fit great by the looks of it
Dad sanded the frame and jointed it all today and it is looking great.
I went over to my Dads tonight to start building the mirror. I decided to use 4inch x 4inch fence post to build it out of, so that i could cut it down to size. We started by measuring everything and then used the bench saw to cut a rebate in for where the mirror goes. Once we had cut everything, we made sure everything was going to fit.
With my day off i decided to get a few jobs done around the house. In the morning i tackled painting the bathroom as when we got the house it was painted cream and we have always wanted it white. I made sure i masked everything off, painted around the edges and then rollered the walls. Once i had cleared everything up and made sure that i hadnt missed any of the wall, i finally got around to fixing the curtain pole which had been slowly pulling out of the wall with the weight of the curtains. I got some really long screws and brown raw-plugs to fix the brackets and it is now nice and level.
It has been a few months since anything has been done on the Magic Mirror project, due to the fact that i was looking for a monitor for a good price. I managed to get a 24inch LG monitor, which i first tried in place to see what it would look like, then tried different pieces of wood to see what depth of wood i needed to cover all the monitors, wires and plugs. I then took the monitor apart so it was just a bare monitor.
I have had some slabs which i cut in half for a while to go down the side of the log store, but hadnt got round to laying them. Dad got me some ready mixed mortar from work, so even though it was raining i got out into the garden and laid the slabs, i waited until the next day to haunch up the sides of the slabs as they were to wet to step on after laying them.
After getting the Lego pen pot for my birthday, i needed to get some stationery to put in it. I got a 30cm buildable ruler, 3 coloured gel pens and a mechanical pencil. The pen pot is not very big so these filled it nicely.
Winter is coming and i wanted to make sure we have the garden in order in case i cant work on the garden, so today Ethan and I cut the hedges on the front, I did the cutting and Ethan cleaned up. I dont want the bushes getting too big, so trying to keep them at the same height. We then did some weeding and mowed the front and back lawn.
We had to remove the old log store when we fixed the fence last weekend, so today we built a new one. I reused the old sides which were made from 6x2, we then cut a wall plate and a beam for the rafters to hang off, we leveled everything off and then cut all of the rafters, added some Tyvek felt before adding the lath. I had some spare tiles and some old tiles from last time, so we tiled the roof, making sure to overlap the fixing holes so there is no leeks. We finished off my flashbanding between the fence and the tiles and then adding some black guttering. Really pleased with how it turns out and we managed to fill it with burnable wood.
Our fence at the side of our house was new when we bought the house and it has gone rotten already. I tried to get in touch with Morris Homes, but they havent done anything about it. I bought 8 4 foot concrete posts which Dad and I have now dug down next to each wooden post and using post-crete have fixed them in place, these concrete posts have then been bolted to the wooden posts. The fence is solid again, we have also straightened it up as much as we can.
When getting something out of the shed i accidentally knocked over a tub of varnish which was meant for the wooden garden items. I didnt want to waste it, so Ethan and I varnished the floor of the shed. It came out really well and looks really nice. Not something i wanted to varnish, but it was better than wasting it.
Rachel wanted an extra plant box for the back garden and after we removed the old fence and gate, we had some spare wood. So Ethan and I decided to reuse the wood and create the plant box. Ethan did really well, hammering in all of the nails and i did the cutting. Hopefully we can get some plants for it now.
The posts in our side fence and gate have gone rotten, originally we were going to just replace the posts, but after Dad built us a new gate on the front, Rachel asked him to build us a fence and gate in the same style. He has built it over the past few weeks and this morning he came over and we remove the old one and fitted the new one. It looks really good and Rachel is really happy with it.
I had been looking for a Wifi light switch for a while, i did look at the bulbs, but having a controller in each bulb is ok, until the bulb breaks and then it costs a lot more to replace a single bulb, where as having the controller in the switch keeps the cost of the bulbs down. The switch is very deep and the backbox in my wall was not deep enough to fit the switch. I got a deep backbox and then chopped out the wall so that the box would fit. Once i had done that, wiring up the switch was easy. I downloaded the app and then setup the switch really quickly, it works really well and is responsive.
Rachel has been getting some accessories bit by bit for the house and as there was quite a few bits to do I got the pictures and hearts hung on the wall. Rachel got some plants and pots which added some life to the shed.
I have been having issues with my broadband for a while, i pay for 60mb, but i have never seen that much, at the start of lockdown i was getting about 30mb which was ok, but the past few weeks it has gotten worse with some days only getting 4mb, which isnt great when you need to be on video call. I phone EE and then sent out a BT engineer. He tested the wiring in the house and the street and then checked the connection in the cabinet. When he left i was up to 57mb which is a huge improvement.
I can see the hedges from my office window and they were in need of cutting, so today Ethan and I cut them. I did the cutting by hand with shears and then Ethan picked all of the cuttings up and put them in the wheelie bin.
Rachel has started using her office more and so we thought it was about time that we make it a bit more homely in there, so Rachel ordered some photo frames and then some nice photos of us all to put in them. Ethan and I put them up on the wall while Rachel was reorganising the room.
I had wanted to create a Magic Mirror for a long time and as we are in lockdown i thought it would be good to show Rachel when i am in meetings, also showing the weather and who is at the door is nice too. I setup a Raspberry Pi with the Magic Mirror software, configured the calendars, weather and camera feeds and then got it looking how i would like. I then took a photo of where i wanted to put the mirror and mocked it up on the computer to get the right size screen.
After building the mud kitchen for Ethan and him playing with it for a while we realised that he couldnt quite reach the utensils that were hanging up, so today Ethan and I built a step in the same design as the mud kitchen itself. It was built from some 3 inch by 3 inch timber and then some wood i had in the log store. It only raises him up 4 inches but it is enough.
When i decided on the equipment for the video conferencing setup, i made sure that i measured everything and got mounts, arms and extendable poles so that when i wasnt using it all, everything would fit behind the monitors and you wouldnt be able to see anything. After using it for a few days, everything fits just like i wanted behind the monitors with the exception of the camera which is on a quick release mount so i do have to remove the camera before folding away the mount.
When joining videos calls in the morning and at the end of the day there isnt enough light in front of me, so i look dark on the camera. I looking into lots of different solutions and in the end i settle for 2 Neewer T120 LED lights, which i have plugged into the mains with a 12v adapter. The 2 adapters are then connected to a Meross smart plug, so that i can turn on the lights from the app on my phone as i dont want to have them on all day. I rewired behind the monitors so that all sockets had their own supply, so i can have the main sockets powered all the time. I made some brackets to hold up the lights out of wood and then Ethan and I painted them white, so they blend in with the backboard. Having tried it out on a call they work really well.
As we park the Mokka in the garage every day, 1 of the tiles right at the front of the garage cracked and then over time it fell apart and i have been meaning to replace it for a while. Ethan and I had to find a replacement tile first as i couldnt remember where i had stored them, we found 1 in the end and started to smash the rest of the tile up. I got to use my new chisel bits for my SDS drill, it got all of the old adhesive off the concrete floor. This time i bedded the tile on silicone to see if it would help and the grouted the gaps around the edge. Ethan was a great help smashing the old tile and then using the sponge to take away any excess grout. Later that evening Rachel parked the car in the garage and the tile didnt even move.
I had been looking at new keyboards for use with my work laptop as i have been using the keyboard for my laptop and it is a pain un-pairing and pairing when i want to switch laptops. I was originally going to get the Microsoft Surface Keyboard, but then i seen the slightly older Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Touch ID. The modern keyboard has rechargeable battery built in and also has a fingerprint scanner built in, so i dont have to keep typing in my password. I was used to a really small keyboard so it took a bit of getting used to, but now i really enjoy typing on it.
Our front gate had gone funny and some of the wood was going rotten, so my Dad offered to build us a new gate. He dropped it off this morning and this afternoon Ethan and I went out to fit it. It didnt take long to fit and it fits great. Rachel had bought a heart to match the one on the front door, so we fitted that to.
The webcam i have had for the last 8 years has started playing up with the sound not working, so i was looking at getting a new webcam when i seen that Canon released some beta drivers that let you use a Digital SLR as a webcam. I have a Canon 70D that i dont use very often so after trying that on a tripod it worked great, but it doesnt do sound. I had a look at reviews on different microphones and as i was only using it for conferencing, i went for the Yanmai SF-777. I got a mount for the camera and the microphone so that i could still keep the clean floating look. The camera is powered from a USB adapter so i dont need to keep changing the batteries. Using it on calls is great, the image quality is great with my lens set to 24mm and the sound from the microphone is great and being a condenser microphone i dont get a lot of background noise.
Over the bank holiday weekend Rachel, Ethan and I ticked off some jobs outside of the house. Ethan and I re laid the slabs at the front of the house as they had all sunk where the ground has moved. We all then cut the hedges on the front as they were starting to look a bit wild. We also mowed the lawn in the back garden and Rachel did all the borders.
I started off by adding sides and then a backing to the base. I then used another old scaffold board to make a back board. I used some 4x1 to make some shelves and then started on the door for the oven. It is made out of 2 inch think wood, so wont easily get broken. We ordered the biggest dog bowl we could for a sink and i cut that out. Rachel had a chalk board which we attached and then i order a utensils rack which i have fixed to the backboard. It was great seeing Ethan enjoying it after we put so much effort in.
Ethan asked me to make him a mud kitchen for the garden and initially i was going to ask my Dad to build it for us, but i thought it would be something that Ethan and I could do together. Dad dropped off any spare wood he had and i gathered all of the spare wood i had and Ethan and I set about building the framework. The top is made from an old scaffold board we had. Ethan was a great help and he sanded all of the wood. At the end of the weekend i had a framework which was all screwed together ready for part 2.
Ethan watched a TV show where they had a bird house and were watching all of the birds come into the garden and he decided he wanted one. We looked at buying one, but thought it would be nice to build one. We gathered all of the wood that we had laying about and set about building a bird house. I did a little sketch on a bit of wood and then went for it. Ethan helped me all day and we ended up build something that is solid and looks cool. I finished it off with a 4 inch stand and 2 roof tiles we had left over, nothing but the best for the birds.
Whenever i want to do some work in the office with another device i cant because i havent got any spare plug sockets that are not under my desk.I removed all of the monitors and then wired up a double socket with 2 USB ports on the backing board, this way it is still accessible but hidden away so you wouldnt know its there. I also got a hotrod technic lego model for the office which looks good.
After our Legoland trip, i took a liking to the Lego keyring holder and also the Lego picture frame. I have the key holder on the wall which is great to know where all the keys are and then i have the picture frame in my office.
I added another smart device to the house today. Its a Meross smart garage door opener. It was really easy to wire up, just connecting to the same wires as the button and then it just needed power. The setup was easy using the app on the phone. It lets me open and close the garage door from the app, but also lets me know when the door has been opened, closed and when it has been left open for over 15 mins.
The bin store had started to leak and wasnt easy to get into, so after speaking to my Dad we thought it would be a good idea to put a small pitch roof on it. While we were doing that we decided to get some extra tiles and replace the roof on the seat we had built with tiles so that in the future that wouldnt become an issue. We got some tiles which were a close match to the tiles on the house and they have both come out really well. Whilst working on the garden i fixed some of the wiring issues with the garden lights.
I have been upgrading the house with a few IoT devices. Firstly we got a smart meter fitted, which i have now mounted in the garage. There was then an update tot eh Unifi software, which gives the ability for devices to have icons, which makes the interface look a lot better. I then got some smart devices from the brand Meross. I got 6 plugs, 2 light switches and 2 inline adapters. I have them wired up to my outdoor lights, office equipment, lounge and bedroom lamps and also the office amplifier in the garage, so that everything can be remotely switched off and on.
Our smoke alarms in the house keep going off for no reason and also have some warnings flashing, but we dont have the manuals for them and i cant find them online anywhere. To be on the safe side we decided to replace them, we were going to go for some more standard ones, but i have always liked the looked of the Nest Protect ones, so i decided to get 2 of them. They were easy to install and configure and took less than 10mins each.
I have been running the Unifi software for the wifi and cameras on my server, which works ok, but recording the 4 cameras was putting a lot of strain on the hard disks. A while a go Ubiquiti released the new cloud key, but the rack mount was always out of stock. I managed to get one off eBay and today i got it installed and configured. The new cloudkey has a 1tb hard disk that is used to record the cameras so that takes the load from my server. Overall its a great product, but i do think that the rack mount was slightly expensive for what it is.
The server died again! This time is was due to the SSD just not being detected by the server. I tried the drive in other machines and i couldnt get it working. I decided to get a new SSD and went for a 250gb drive, while i was reinstalling the OS i decided to upgrade from 2012 server and go to 2019 server. I purchased a licence and then downloaded the ISO. The install was super fast and when i plugged in the RAID to my surprise it appeared as an un-adopted RAID, i clicked adopt and within a few days it was back up and running.
We had wanted a dishwasher since buying the house. We finally managed to buy one and it is great. We did have to move the washing machine to the other side as the door on the dishwasher wouldnt be able to open all the way otherwise. We went for a Hoover HDI1LO38B-80.
When we bought the house we asked them to fit an induction hob, but they insisted on fitted a gas hob. We have lived with it since then, but we decided to upgrade and get an induction hob. It looks a lot cleaner in the kitchen and gets things to boil so quickly. It was really easy to install as we went for the 13amp version and there is a plug socket under the hob. We went for the Neff T36FB41X0G.
After we wallpapered the 1 wall in the lounge and were happy with it, today Dad and I tackled wall papering the whole of the dining room. It took us a few hours to do, but we are really pleased with how it turned out, makes the room feel a lot more cosey.
With the other 2 remaining monitors i decided to convert the spare / junk room into an office for Rachel. I got given a computer and i got the rest of the furniture from Ikea, so as to not spend to much on it. I painted the room white and then built all of the furniture, finishing off with wiring up the PC. I also setup Rachels sewing / embroidery machine up so she can use that when needed.
I had a spare monitor from when i got new monitors in my office, so i bought a cheap wall mount monitor bracket and put one of the monitors on the wall. I then had a spare Raspberry Pi, which i installed Raspbian on which automatically starts on boot, Chromium and displays the Unifi dashboard and the live view of the security cameras. I then have a script that tabs between the windows every few mins.
After over 3 years of having the wallpaper we finally got round to putting the wallpaper on the wall. We had been putting off wallpapering until we had bricked up the door between the lounge and the dinning room. We had also bought some paint at the same time, so i painted the lounge first, before wallpapering. We were not sure that we would still like the paper after that long, but it looks lovely.
Ethan was growing out of his bed, so we decided to get him new furniture for his bedroom. We decided on the buttons set from Barker and Stonehouse. We got him a new bed, wardrobe, bedside table, 3 drawer chest and a desk. The colour is lovely. To finish off the boat theme we got him some new bed sheets with boats on.
I finally got round to painting the wall we had plastered, this is so we can now paper it, as wallpaper sticks better to a painted wall than a freshly plastered wall.
Within the space of 2 weeks i have had 2 drives break in the server. The first time i put a spare drive in and accidentally deleted the whole RAID... I spent a week running recovery software and backing everything up to an 8TB external drive. I finally got everything installed and working after 3 weeks and then another disk broke. I am currently without a server as i dont have any spare drives, so going to be sending the 2 broken disks back to get replacements as they had a 5 year warranty.
Since Rachel and I got the house we had wanted to brick up the double doors between the lounge and the dining room, as we have a sofa right upto the doors so we never used them. Well finally Dad and I managed to take the doors and frame out and block the door up.
Every year we get a tech budget of Ã‚Â£500 to spend on things to improve our experiance at work. I have had my monitors for quite a few years now so i thought it was time to upgrade. I managed to get 2 of the Dell P2418D 2560x1440 monitors with my tech budget and then i bought another one myself, for a total of 3. Installing them was as easy as unscrewing the old ones and then putting the new ones in place. Both the work Mac and my Surface power the 3 of them fine.
Since we bought the house we imagined having lights on the tree outside our house, so this year we bought some and tonight Dad and I put them up. They are connected to the same power that runs the outside lights, so when they come on so do the tree lights.
Last night we had our first proper dump of snow, the street and the garden were all white and was still snowing when we woke up.
11 years ago my car was featured in 2 magazines and today i finally got the pages framed and up in the garage. We made the frames 8 years ago when i got my first house, but we never finished them. It is great to finally have them up on the wall.
I had ran power for a power socket on the front and the corner of the house looked a bit dark, so i ordered another ground light and fitted it inside some wood in the corner, there was already armored cable running by the light so we just tapped into that. I also got a digital timer switch which controls the lights so i dont have to walk to the shed and garage to switch them all on.
I had my parents over tonight and we tried out the fire pit and the BBQ for the 1st time. The firepit worked well giving off a lot of heat.
After we got the patio furniture, we thought it would be nice to have some shade over the seat, so we brought a cantilever parasol, in grey to match the sofas.
The soil we have in the garden is not great, so i decided to get some compost to mix in with the top soil ready for planting. I needed 20 bags, which is nearly 1 tonn of compost. The local garden center had a good deal on it in bags, so i took the Corsa and managed to get 10 bags in per trip. The car was sat down at the back quite a bit but it was fine.
Dad and I built a brick BBQ today, i made a little shelf at the bottom out of some left over wood. We also pulled down the old log store and built a new one with some beefy sides and a tiled roof to match the shed.
We finally got to switch the front lights on this evening and they look great.
I laid blocks on the front to frame the slabs and then fitted 4 lights. We ran the power from the shed so that when the back lights come on so do the front ones.
Tonight i tried the garden lights and they look great, they give off a lovely glow in the garden.
We started work on the bin store today, started with building a frame that surrounded the bins and then worked on paneling it. We then built some doors on the front in the same log lap material that is on the shed. We then finished by adding some flaps to the top so you can access the bins.
Dad and I worked on building a seat for the garden, we have seen a few we liked at garden centers so we just created our own. It has 4 inch posts with decking as the seat, which lifts up to have storage under it. It has a roof on it to keep the sun off.
Today Dad and I wired up all of the lights in the back garden, there was 6 lights sunk into the ground and then 8 little LEDs, 1 in each of the sleepers. We fitted LED GU10 bulbs in each of them so we can easily replace the bulbs. Once we had done all that we barrowed round the slate.
Today we laid the rest of the blocks along the patio and bin store, bedding them on concrete.
Dad and I worked on the back garden again today, we started off by pulling up all the slabs in the back and then while Dad was filling it with type 1 to create a good base, i was digging channels from the shed to put in the 5 runs of armored cable that will be going to each of the sets of lights. Once the cables were in the right place we wackered the type 1, put some sand down and laid the slabs.
Today we worked on planning the block border, to make sure that we get around the whole garden and have enough blocks. Once it was planned out we dug it all out. We then dug out where the bin store is going to go. We finished off by putting some type 1 down where the seat is going to be going.
Dad and I started the back garden today. We started off by marking out the 3m circle. We then dug the grass off and then covered it in type 1 which got wackered down to make a good base. We then dug holes for the 8 sleepers and then concreted them into the ground making sure the tops were level and they were upright. We then sanded the circle and laid the blocks around the edge and in the center. We finished off the day by cutting some of the blocks around the firepit.
All of the materials for the back garden project arrived today, containing blocks, sand, slate, sleepers and a skip.
Now the weather is a bit dryer, i got some sand for the sand pit, we put down a membrane first and then added 10 bags of child safe sand on top. Dad and I then built a lid out of some feather-edge boarding.
Dad and I made some picture frames 8 years ago to hold the pictures of the Corsa when it was featured in the 2 magazines, but we had never got round to putting them up. So finally we fixed them to the garage wall either side of the TV. I havent got the pictures in there yet, but its nice to finally have them up.
I got some more down lighters for the side of the garage as it gets really dark down there in the evening, we wired them in with the front and back down lights, so they all come on at the same time.
Rachel had her old TV still at her parents, she had bought it just before we moved in together, so it is still a good TV. I had got a cheap wall mount bracket, so Dad and I mounted it to the wall in the spare room. We also fitted a USB socket next to where Rachel sleeps so she can have her phone charging as well as the lamp and baby monitor on.
Dad came over today to help get the shed finished. We started off by getting the mold of the inside of the shed after we constructed it when it was wet. We then fitted black guttering which matched in with the houses around it. We then got the power connected so we now have lights in there. I had got an oiled filled radiator, so we got that mounted and wired in, so we could get the shed dried out. I had 2 spare down lights left over from doing the garage so we fitted them on the outside and it looks great at night. After fitting it with a sign that Ethan got me and letting it dry out a bit, we painted it with some oil based stain block paint.
Dad and I did some more on the shed today. We created some shelfs out of the remaining wood, we built a dividing wall out of 9 inc by 3 inc timber, which makes it look really good and will be solid. We then put all of the tools back in the shed. We built a bike rack and a rack to hold the tools. We then cut up all of the remaining wood into bits that will fit in my log burner. We finished the day off by building a temp log store to keep all the wood dry.
I cleared out the shed today and painted the ceiling white to match the walls. It is only the 1st coat and is going to need a few more. I then fitted a soap and towel dispenser in the garage above the sink.
I spent another day on the shed. Dad finished off the soffit boarding and fitting the lock on the door. I then cleared out the shed and gave it a coat of white paint.
Dad and I did more work on the shed today. We ran an armored cable from the garage to the shed, we then ran an armored trunking from the garage and put a network cable through it. We fitted some computer trunking and then a light. When Dad left for the day i fitting some skirting board and architrave around the door.
Its the 1st of December, so tonight Rachel and I put the tree up. We moved it this year to have it in the corner, so Ethan cant get at it, but it looks lovely.
The log lap was supposed to arrive last week, so we could fit it over the week, but it only got delivered today. Dad and I worked in the dark to get the boarding on the front and the side of the shed. The log lap really finishes it off though and with how many layers the shed is made up of, it should be well protected inside.
Dad finished off the roof on the shed, adding the ridge, using a dry ridge system so in keeping with the houses on the estate. I built a decking at the front of the shed, from 3" thick wood. We then Framed all of the panels, with wood that we cut down.
I got over a cubic meter of bark delivered in the week, so we started the day by putting a breathable membrane down, so that the water can soak through the bark but wont rot it. We then moved on to insulating the shed and putting the roof tiles on. I went for tiles to match the ones on the house, so it doesnt look too out of place. Once Dad had left, i barrowed the bark from the front to the back to fill the area around the swing set.
Dad and I worked on the garden today, digging in wood to create a frame around the swing set, so that we can fill it with bark. Digging was hard work, it was supposed to be top soil, but it was full of boulders.
Dad came round this morning and glossed all of the wood work in the garage. He also cleaned all of the kit from it into the shed.
Dad and I finally got round to hanging the wallpaper that we had before we moved into the new house. So a year and a half. We started with the spare room, which has duck egg blue flowers, we then moved on to the master bedroom and finally finished off with the kitchen. I wasnt sure on the kitchen paper, but now it is up it looks great.
My parents have got Ethan a swing and slide set for his 1st Birthday. Dad and I thought it would be nice to have it all ready for then, so today we assembled it. It all arrived in a small box and we did wonder if there was going to be enough parts, but there was. It looks really good and we cant wait to put him on it.
Dad and I worked on the shed this morning, it was raining badly, but we managed to put a sheet of ply on the roof and work inside the shed. We built the roof, covered it in ply and then put ply on the external walls. We built an overhang at the front as a feature. We then used some of the left over wood to create the floor, the wood is 8 inch wide by 2.5 inch think, so its not going anywhere.
I need somewhere to store all my tools, bike, etc, so I decided that i would build a shed in the back garden. I didnt want to just buy one of the cheap flimsy sheds, i wanted something that would last. Dad and I started working on the shed today. It is 8 foot by 8 foot, it is raised off the ground so it should last longer. We spent about 3 hours on it today and we got most of the structure up.