How to build a temperature controller!

Excuse my month long hiatus. Although I have had many new products to test out, I didn’t want to become one of those reviewers who will literally review anything. Plus, I’ve really been hankering to do another diy project.

So, I present to you: How to build a temperature controller!

I am using this temperature controller for another upcoming DIY project of a fermentation chamber, but it can also be used for fish aquariums, reptile tanks and many other things.

I got this all purpose digital temperature controller from Ink Bird. They have exceptional customer service and this product is superior in quality compared to other brands I have seen. If you’d like to order from them, click here. If you’d like to order another product of theirs, click here. I highly recommend them!

After this temperature controller came in the mail, I headed over to RadioShack to get a project box 6inx8inx3in for $8.99, a 3-pack of 18 gauge wire that was green, black and red for $8.99, and a mini terminal strip that was $3.49. I also headed to Walmart to pick up a wall outlet, a wall outlet cover and a 6 foot extension cord, all for less than $4.

Step 1: Measure and Cut

Measure and cut out a spot for the temperature controller (I just used a drill to make holes and popped it out but a dremel would be ideal). Then drill the holes for your thermostat probe (left cord) and extension cord (right cord).

On the top plate of the project box, measure and cut out a spot for the wall outlet (towards the back part of the top plate).

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Step 2: Mounting Hardware

Now, after you’ve finished cutting your holes, mount the temperature controller in the front using the orange clips (included with the controller). Insert the thermostat probe and extension cord (I cut the female plug end off and discarded it)  in the back of the project box. Be sure to leave enough slack in the wires to be able to tie a knot so they aren’t able to pull through the back of the box, while still having enough wire to connect to the back of the controller. Finally, mount the wall outlet to the top plate and attach the wall outlet face plate.

Step 3: Wiring

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Wiring for cooling.

The way I have mine wired runs both outlets as cooling. If you want to use cooling and heating, you have to break off one of the brass tongues that connect the two screws together on the wall outlet (you can use a pair of needle nose pliers to wiggle it off).

Now, to start the actual wiring: Cut off (2) 6in pieces of the red wire and (1) 6in piece of green wire. Connect one of the red wires to port number 1, which would be your hot wire. Connect the second red wire to port number 7, which would be one of your cooling wires. Connect your green wire to port 8, which will be your cooling relay wire. Twist the exposed wire of wire port number 1 and wire port number 7 together at the end, then insert the twisted wire into the terminal strip and tighten the screw on the terminal strip to lock the wire in. Connect the green wire in port 8 to one side of the wall outlet.

Cut off (1) 6in piece of black wire and (1) 6in piece of green wire and insert the black wire into port 2. Connect the green wire to the other side of the wall outlet. Twist the exposed wire of wire port number 2 to the end of the green wire. Connect the green and black wire into another port on the terminal strip and tighten the screw to lock the wire in.

Connect one of the extension cord wires opposite to the red wires on the terminal strip, tighten the screw to lock the wire in. Connect the final extension cord wire opposite to the green and black wires on the terminal strip, tighten the screw to lock the wire in.

Step 4: Finishing

Screw the top plate to the box and mark your cooling and heating outlet, if you wish.

Tada! We’re all done!

Be sure to comment on your experiences. And if you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to ask!

***Please refer to the instruction manual included with your temperature controller for set up and operation.***

 

DIYtalksLV

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Halo Top Ice Cream

Recently, my husband and I decided to cut back on some calories. Since we both love desserts it was rather upsetting to know that we’d probably have to give up ice cream, which has been my favorite treat since childhood.
While grocery shopping we happened across this:

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280 calories per pint? Say what!?!
How can a pint of Birthday Cake ice cream only have 280 calories for the entire pint? I mean, Ben & Jerry’s Birthday Cake Batter ice cream alone has 260 calories per half cup serving, making it well over a thousand calories per pint, right?
Here’s Halo’s facts:

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Intrigued, we brought it home to try. While I was excited to try a new product, especially one in the organic section of my grocery store, my husband doubted that it’d be any good. I always drag him along to try my new, organic finds, and while I’ll admit some taste like cardboard, most are actually very tasty.
So, after dinner we grabbed two spoons, cracked open the pint and settled in front of the TV to share our dessert.
My first thoughts: creamy texture; small bits of batter and sprinkles; a little tough to scoop out.
My husband’s only thought: damn this is good.

To sum it up: this ice cream is AMAZING! Seriously, we only planned to eat half the pint, but it was so good and guilt free that we ate the entire thing with no regrets.

My local store carries birthday cake, vanilla bean and mint. Since mint ice cream is my favorite flavor, I will more than likely be buying all of the mint pints come payday since I learned they’ve just recently stocked up.
I also find their prices fairly comparable to other brands, so it’s a win all around.

I cannot recommend this ice cream enough, I only wish I had more friends to tell but at least I am able to tell all of you!

**visit http://www.halotop.com to check out where you can buy halo top ice cream, or print off a request form to take to your local grocery store!

DIYtalksLV

DIY: Painting a Rug.

So, last week I dedicated my DIY project to painting a rug. There was a rug on amazon that I really wanted but didn’t want to pay the ridiculous price. I tried finding a cheaper alternative, but since I only want orange accents in my dining room I couldn’t just settle for the many very orange options.

Then, I remembered reading an article about a lady who painted her couch and thought: if she can paint a couch then I can paint a rug! I knew that I could use my choice of paint and needed a good fabric medium. I had a small gift card amount left on amazon so I purchased my medium and some paint (huge mistake, I’ll touch more on that in another post).

Finding the right rug was a daunting task. I figured  most stores would have at least one option for a white rug, and then I would be able to go to another store to at least compare the piling. Unfortunately, this was not the case. I went to Target, Kmart, Home Depot and Lowes looking for a 5 x 7 white rug. After wasting time, and gas, I headed over to Walmart and found an almost white 5 x 7 rug for $40.

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No living room light = poor picture, but look at mommy’s little helper! 😀

The next step to starting this was to make a template. I had a lot of difficulty making the template myself so I enlisted the help of my very talented husband. I dreamed it, he made it:

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This template turned out so well that I initially didn’t want to throw it away…but once I started using it I realized there was no salvaging it.

I mixed my medium and paint together as directed on the back of the medium bottle.

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Such poor lighting! 😦

I laid my template on the rug and got to painting!

I really had to scrub the paint into the rug since the piling was higher than I wanted it to be. Once I finished with the first one and pulled back the template I instantly fell in love!

I was only able to do half of the rug before I realized I would need another can of paint, so we called it a night at 2 a.m. and decided a trip to the store after a good nights sleep was our best option.

We went to Lowes to get another can of orange Valspar paint only to find out that the particular color I had gotten from amazon (link here: http://www.amazon.com/Valspar-410-65018-Orange-Gloss-Enamel/dp/B0030BKT2A?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00 do not buy from them) had been discontinued. Then, what the employee told me next really made me mad: “This is a sample size that you can get for free.” So, essentially I paid a ridiculous amount for shipping of a free sample size can of paint. The employee at Lowes had to spend extra time trying to replicate the color I needed. He was able to get extremely close, and if you didn’t know that it was 2 different cans of paint you really cant see a difference.

After we got home I immediately got to work to finish the rug. Here is the result:

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This rug turned out great! My only set back, and small disappointment, was that even after measuring out my template to make sure it would fit into the rug evenly, I wasn’t able to eye it out right. I now recommend using painters tape to at least map out where to set the template so it can be perfectly spaced. Even with the last row having a slightly bigger gap than the rest of the rug, I am still in love with this rug! It has a slightly crunchy feeling that I believe could have been avoided by adding more than the recommended amount of fabric medium, but I also think that after its been vacuumed and used a while it will soften up.

In comparison to buying it, I saved nearly $50 and could show my husband myself in action while doing something “crafty.”

I can’t wait to finish my other projects to show everyone my made-over dining room!

 

DIYtalksLV

 

Mango Habanero Chicken with Rice

While grocery shopping my husband grabbed a handful of habaneros without me noticing. He helped me put the groceries away and I still hadn’t noticed the habaneros until he said, “Oh, by the way, I bought these. I’m gonna need you to use em.”
Challenge accepted.
So I spent a few days looking for a recipe that included habaneros and chicken, that actually sounded good but wouldn’t take forever to make. Then I stumbled across this recipe:

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After reading through the comments on their website I realized that there were no comments on how the meal tasted, only that it sounded like a good meal. This is a pet peeve of mine since yes, it does sound like it’d be a good tasting meal (and honestly, most meals always sound good to me) but how is anyone suppose to know unless you actually make it and say: Hey, this sounded like a really good meal, so, I made it and this is what I think.

So here’s my take on this recipe for 2:
-2 chicken breast, tenderized, seasoned with salt and pepper
-2 mangoes, large and ripe
-2 habaneros, destemmed
-1/4 cup of honey
-1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
-1 cup water

First, preheat your oven to 425°. Then tenderize both sides of the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the chicken in a lightly oiled pan and throw it in the oven for 20 minutes.

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Then take your mango and cut it into chunks. Add the mangoes, habaneros, water, apple cider vinegar and honey to a saucepan and bring to a boil.

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Turn the heat down so it’s at a fast simmer and let it cook through the mango until the water has dissolved some, about 20 minutes. (Take out your chicken)
Remove and discard the habaneros and mash the mango with the leftover juices.

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Now, cut your chicken breast into 1 inch chunks and toss with your mango mash glaze. Put it back into the oven for an additional 15 minutes.
Serve with your choice of rice and homemade eggroll.

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This dinner was delicious and my husband even said he would want me to make it again. The only issue I had was that you can’t really taste any heat from the habaneros. Next time, I will puree the cooked mango and habaneros together.

Would I recommend this recipe? Of course! It is delicious, the chicken is tender and juicy; plus, if you like sweet and sour chicken, this is a great alternative!

I give this recipe ☆☆☆☆
It could easily be a 5 star recipe with some minor tweeks.

Plan to make this recipe? Leave a comment on your experience for others to see!

DIYtalksLV

A touch of orange.

Growing up, my parents, brother and I would gather around the TV at meal times with plates/bowls in our hands. We had only sat at the table during meal times up until we were in the 1st grade. So, I always admired going to friends and family members houses and seeing their table neatly set with plates that matched, cups that were actually glass and not a mix match of scratched plastic tumblers, and place mats with beautifully folded napkins.

It was so hard for me to find the perfect place mats. I knew that with my DIY project I’m currently in the process of, I needed something to add a touch of color. I scoured Amazon for a few days but always saw the same boring design. I wanted something more unique.

Then I found these:

I love how thick these place mates are. They don’t feel cheaply made and I know that my freshly stained table will be protected. They have a beautiful design to it and add the perfect touch of color I was looking for.

They are made of wool so they do have a slightly scratchy feeling to them but they seem very durable. I don’t know how cleaning will go, and that’s the only issue I foresee. I imagine spot cleaning may be okay, or washing it on a delicate cycle and laying flat to dry.

I strongly recommend anyone who is looking for place mats to please check them out on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Hollow-Insulation-Table-Placemats-Orange/dp/B01A7YP1K2?ie=UTF8&keywords=placemats%20orange&qid=1463499387&ref_=sr_1_29&sr=8-29

I highly recommend this company and will order more from them in the future.

 

My First DIY

So, after moving to Las Vegas almost a month ago with only clothes I decided that I wasn’t going to buy things already made. Since I’m not working and I’m solely relying on my husband to bring home the bacon, he’s agreed that going the cheapest route is our best option until we’ve become settled.

I have been scouring Craigslist, looking for free-cheap furniture that I can make into something that is of our taste. I got this gem after replying to an ad for a dining room table (solid wood and will probably be my next project; more on that later). The gentleman told us for an additional $20 that we could have a TV stand and side table he no longer wanted. The TV stand I really wanted. It was a corner stand with dark wood and a glass shelf. The side table took some serious thinking. It had this pink/peach finish to it that I just found very unattractive, and although I really wanted to fix something up I knew that this was going to be time consuming.

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Solid wood and only $10. Score!!

After my husband told me it was solid wood, I was sold. We then went to the store and bought the following items:

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While at the store, I realized how unprepared I was. Since my husband is 10 years my senior, I figured that he would be the person to ask… he always knew how to do practically anything, so I thought it’d be a safe assumption that whatever he said was the way to go… boy, was I wrong. I cannot stress enough the importance of buying a paint brush to apply the stain vs. “Water Wiz” Applicator Refill Pad. My husbands reasoning on buying the applicator was that the pad could be cut into smaller pads. Made sense to me at the time. What he hadn’t realized was that the applicator has little fibers on the top, instead of wool like he had thought. DO NOT CUT THE APPLICATOR PAD: I cut my applicator pad and realized while rinsing it that the fibers were coming loose. I thought, well, maybe if I rinse it well enough it’ll be fine… No. Just no. Don’t do it.

Anyways, onto sanding:

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Top of the table, completely sanded.

I haven’t used an electric sander since 8th grade in Wood Shop class. I had to take multiple breaks while using the sander. My hands and arms felt like they were still vibrating even after an hour or so of not using the sander. I decided that I would just do the table in sections and take a break after each section.

Since I have never done staining before (I saw my dad and his sister do it when I was younger, but wasn’t allowed to help due to fumes) I didn’t really know what I should do in regards to sanding. What I read online vs. what I was told was very conflicting. I was always told to just get all of the original stain off, to start with a coarse grit paper and work your way to fine grit; what I read online was to start do light sanding, starting with a more fine grit and working your way up to a super fine grit. I tried it both ways. I decided that using a coarse grit and working my way to a fine grit was the easiest and fastest option I had.

After 5 sections (3 big sections, 2 mini sections) I was finally able to start the stain. This is the part I was very excited for. I quickly washed down all of the pieces and grabbed my stain, towels, gloves and applicator pads. I dipped my applicator pad and applied the stain to all 5 sections (top, both sides and both drawer faces). I waited impatiently for about 20-30 minutes, then applied a second coat.. Halfway through my second coat, I looked more closely at the table top. I noticed what looked like a bunch of little hairs…I looked at my glove and saw the same little hairs… then a heavy sigh as I realized what had happened. I pulled at the ends of my applicator pads and noticed a bunch of fibers fell off it. Pure disappointment after realizing my rookie mistake, but I figured that this was a great learning experience and  I wouldn’t be making the same mistake on my table.

The third coat of stain proved to be a frustrating one. The bottom drawer was very difficult to get all of the old stain off. I just couldn’t get into the little crevices with the sanding paper I had so a lot of the original stain stayed behind. When applying the first coat to this area I didn’t think much of it. The second coat seemed to wipe off the first coat, so I applied a heavy amount. When applying the third coat, the second coat wiped off so cleanly that it seemed like it would never dry/soak in. I decided to do a very thick coat on this area of the drawer and let it dry overnight. Since it was getting late and the table was looking great, I put it in the shed to deal with the next day.

In the morning I brought the table in. In different lighting I could tell that, with the exception of the table top, most of the table needed another coat of stain. I applied my fourth, and final coat, to the front, sides and drawer faces. I let it dry the rest of the day and put it together.

The handles looked so dull in comparison to my freshly stained table that I took sandpaper to them to see what they would look like. I noticed that after sanding a small portion of the crud off, the handle looked amazing. So, I went to the store and bought some chrome spray paint. These handles also received four coats.

After assembling all the finished products back together, this became my final product:

I love dark wood. I am so happy with how this turned out. I love how great the contrast is between the wood and handles. This was a great buy and an awesome first DIY experience.

If any experienced DIY-ers have some tips and tricks they’d like to share or suggest for my table, I’d appreciate it all. 🙂

Next DIY: Dining table or Bed frame. It’s up in the air at the moment.

**I apologize for my rambling and what may seem like sentences/paragraphs that just run on and on…but I am a new pet parent (as of 5/6/16) and she is a bundle of pure energy… she is the reason it took way too long to type this up LOL**

 

DIYtalksLV

My First Review

I created this account a few weeks ago in hopes of sharing my personal experiences with my own DIY and having to deal with vendors: the good, the bad and the ugly. And even tho I am a whole day behind schedule (this was suppose to go up yesterday *sighs*), here goes nothing:

This first post of mine is going to be a review. It’s so easy for people to give bad reviews. When we’re upset with something or someone, we tend to vent, and in this day and age so many people are doing that online.

I want to give a brief shout out to this company (and to also apologize for not noticing their email until 3 months after they sent it…sorry):

http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Shield/b/ref=bl_dp_s_web_9117250011?ie=UTF8&node=9117250011&field-lbr_brands_browse-bin=Mr+Shield

This company is amazing. I have never had anyone on Amazon contact me regarding my purchase. These people did. They asked how my product held up (I bought a screen protector for my phone) and said if anything was faulty that they would send me a free replacement.

I emailed them apologizing for my late response (since it had been 3 months) and asked if they could please send me a replacement since I had issues with the first one I bought. I had only just noticed that they responded and said that they have shipped out another pack, free of charge.

I think it is so important to bring to light when people go above and beyond. This company could’ve not even bothered with a follow-up, but instead chose to reach out to me and see how their product was holding up. In my opinion, I give this company 5 stars for outstanding customer service.

I would (and will) recommend them to all my friends and family. I strongly encourage anyone reading this to purchase from them.

DIYtalksLV