Tuesday, January 31, 2012

DIY: Make Your Own LegoMan (or Lady) USB!

As promised in my last post, today I am going to show you how to make-your-own Lego Figure USB!

What you will need:
A Lego figure
A very small USB
SuperGlue (of decent quality)
Small Wire Cutters
Small Pliers
Small Straight-headed Screw Driver
Protective Craft Mat

Kristy's Hot Tips.
I chose to buy my lego figures through a couple of different sellers on Ebay because I had specific characters I wanted to buy. They cost between $12-$19 each which included postage. If you want to search they are technically called a minifigure or 'minifig' if you are cool enough to handle the slang. There are lucky dip figures at Big W and K-mart which cost about $5 each if you are looking for a cheaper option.
I bought my USB's in store at Dick Smith because they were the perfect length. Alot of USB's are too long, and I wanted them to sit snug into the computer. The brand is LEXAR and they come in 8, 16 and 32GB and all are the same dimensions and hence can be put in your Lego figure. I bought them in store but you can check them out here. There are some cheaper options on Ebay, but I didn't have the time to buy one, have it shipped, see if it worked and have another 8 posted out and have them all made in time for Christmas. Plus, sometimes its nice to see-touch-feel what I am buying and support a real-life store.

So now you're equipped, let's get to it!


Step One:
Prepare your USB.
To the left is the USB as it was before I had attacked it.
Because I was making these in secret I didn't have an assistant, and called upon the bluetack to hold my USB steady while I knocked the back off the USB. The back was literally simply clicked on. Then I just used the screw driver positioned on the side and the hammer to tap it off. For the most part, a couple of taps on the one side and it was over the bump and could be pulled off by hand. There were a couple that challenged me a little (I don't think I was holding my tongue right). You can see the end result in the bottom right of the photo above.

Step Two:
Prepare your Lego Figure.
Ignore my ominous shadow in these pictures. I was limited for time and angles whilst hiding secretly in the second bedroom.
Pull the legs out - you don't need them. Carefully pop the arms out so that during the superglue phase, they don't get glued in place. And I figured prevention is better than cure, and took the head off too.

Step Three:
Make space for the USB.
As you can see in the picture above, there are some bits that need to be removed to make space for your USB. You want to remove these half-way to two-thirds up the body. Use your own judgement with how deep you want the USB to sit. You don't want to carve out the body completely, you need to have a little left to stick the USB to. You also don't want to bury the stick in too deep and render it unable to be fully inserted into the computer.
Use the little wire cutters (I had a pair handy from my beading obsession back in my Uni days), to cut down the sides of the bits to your required depth. I then used the little pliers to twist and pull the plastic out of the body. If you don't have wire cutters, I think that with a pair of pliers and a bit of persistance, you may be able to just pull them out. I had cutters, so for me, it was easy and quite neat to do it that way.
Not the greatest/clearest photo I know... But you can see that the cross bits have been removed from part of the body.

Step Four:
Super Glue your USB in place! 
NO WAIT! Before you glue it, make sure you are going to put the USB in the right way up. I double tested it out in my computer before I glued it, to make sure that I didn't end up with a Lego Dude facing the floor. 
OK. NOW YOU CAN PROCEED. Run the glue along the top of your USB and seat it in your Lego body. Hold for a little bit (?maybe a minute), and sit it down to dry. Be careful not to get glue on the outside of the body.
I gave them probably half an hour, I know super glue works faster than this...but I'm anal like that... and tested how well they'd stuck. Pop the arms back in, the heads back on and accessories in place. I recommend lightly gluing the loose pieces in place. I didn't do this, and consumer feedback all said it would be a good idea :)

Aaaaannnnndddd Bob's your Uncle!
Your very own Lego USB Man (or Lady).

Check out this post to see all 9 of the characters I made.

I hope you all find this little project as simple and satisfying as I did.

See you all another day!

I can't take credit for this awesome concept. I came across it whilst googling one day (for once not on Pinterest!). I landed on the instructables website and found a few tutorials like this one and this one. However, most of them said I would need a special Pen Drill so I ignored that and worked out a simpler way to make it myself with what I owned already... And a month down, all reports say they are holding up perfectly!

Monday, January 30, 2012

PROOF: Handmade presents CAN be awesome!

Ok. So technically it's not totally handmade...more hand-modified. But I did do it completely myself and to great reception from those who received the gift.
As mentioned in my Christmas post, as a family, we do Christmas in a big way. And we all get pretty excited about buying gifts for each other. For me, the most exciting presents to give this year... were the ones I made myself. Adam was getting one, so he was kept in the dark. There was a special box under the bed in the spare room that he was not to go near. When I told him I was making presents for everyone (9 people in total), his face dropped. 'That's nice baby. But you know no-one really likes a hand-made present'. I did not let him deter me. I was confident they would be loved by all who received them. A handy, silly little something.

So what is it you ask? 

Well it's a Lego Man USB of course! Each Lego Man chosen specifically for the person. Take my baker brother Dom for example, he is a roller-hockey goalie extraordinaire!
And here is the little guy in action.
He is 8GB worth of awesome! And yes I did make 9 of them. Yes I do have crazy stickers on my keys. Yes the Thai letters do make them difficult to read at times, but they are too damn cute to remove. Sorry, distracted. Back to the awesome USB's that I made...
My baby brother Jo can now go to infinity and beyond with Buzz LightYear.
Mum is heading to London twice this year, which I figure warrants the hiring of her own personal Royal Guard.
When I was in Thailand back in 2010, my crafty friend Chloe requested that I bring her back a monkey as a souvenir. Whilst laws were against me completing this request, I couldn't help but buy her a bunch of silly-little things that had monkeys on them (cause every monkey-lover needs a handfan with a monkey painted on it)... So when I came across this little safari lady - complete with monkey and banana (!), I really couldn't go past her for Chloe.
Lisa's Christmas presents from Adam and I were well themed this year - a bento book and an awesome hoard of bento supplies. Well the Japanese theme was carried through from the kitchen to the study with this super cute Geisha girl, tending to all her computing needs.
Rossco can now turn to the dark side with technical support from Darth Vader.
Adam is all set to board the DeathStar with his StormTrooper.
And Tim is now able to identify traps with the complete support of his commander of the Rebel forces - the one and only Admiral Ackbar!
Tim was especially thrilled with his character. Here he is with Admiral on Christmas Day.
Admiral even popped up last night to say 'hi' during our London-Gold Coast late-night Sunday Skype date with Tim and Lisa. It's great to know he has gone to a loving home.
And last, but certainly not least! Nick is now ready for a zombie invasion with his hazmat suit.
I love how terrified he looks. The Undead are coming for him and they are going to implant him in a computer.
There's no escaping now buddy!

A few days after receiving his StormTrooper, Adam took my face in his hands, looked me straight in the eye, well both eyes, and told me just how much he loved his hand-made-modified present. I turned his little 'hand-made gifts are crap' theory on its head. Present making success!

Now I need to make one for myself.

And if you're keen, the post I write next will be a DIY tutorial on how I did it, so you can make one too!!

Stay awesome! Stay posted!

<3 Kristy

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hello 2012!

Sure, the cadbury creme eggs and chocolate bunnies are hitting the shelves already, but for me... I'm barely grasping the fact that it is 2012 already.
I spent my New Years Eve, just the way I like it. Camping at Brooms Head, and in bed before 1030pm.
I took that photo with my iPhone sitting at the front of our camp. Yes! We really are that close to the beach. Yes! it is that awesome!
Don't believe me?
Here's my feet.
And to make it even better, Lady Mausey camps right next door.
So whilst relaxing at Brooms Head, I had the time (and some since...WHAT? January is almost over?! Ack.) to think about what I want out of this year. My resolutions/goals/aspirations for 2012. I always come back from Brooms feeling so motivated. I think it is due to a good mix of relaxing, time off work, family time, waking and sleeping when I feel like it, and vitamin D. Though looking at my skin you wouldn't think I had seen the sun, it's a pasty healthy, sun-protected bright white. Oh which leads me into my first resolution (in no particular order)... 

1. Regular skin checks for Adam and I. It's been on my to-do-list for years now, but this year it will happen. As a theatre nurse by trade, I not only am hidden away from the sun for most of my working days, which makes me more likely to burn when I do see the sun...but I also get to see first-hand the negative effects our Aussie 'living in the sun' lifestyle can have. So to help inspire you to make the same resolution, I ask you to watch the following video. It's a fantastic ad which has been making the rounds on Facebook lately.

2. Be More Organised. I have been known to be organised to the point of obsession. In fact, in one point in time I did have an online inventory of my fridge and kitchen cupboard with expiry dates included. I know it sounds crazy, but it came about after I did a clean out of my cupboard had me throwing out bucket loads of expired food. It was useful, as I could easily see what needed to be used ASAP, and because it was online I could easily find out what I did or didn't have in the cupboard and stop doubling up, and hence throwing out unused expired food. Ok. It was crazy. So why then, is my resolution to be more organised? Perhaps it should be to be more appropriately organised. Truth is, I can be the other extreme - haphazardly disorganised. This year I hope to find the middle ground of the two. I will begin with food, house and budget. Stop shopping for meals every second day... it wastes time and I'm too likely to eat badly as a result. House - we have sooooo much we want to do with our home, need to make a plan about how we're going to tackle it! Intermingled with that is the budget,with all the home reno's we would like to make and with IVF taking a huge portion of our funds, being organised with money is a necessity.

3. Stay Sane and Fall Pregnant. I am quickly learning that the falling pregnant part is completely out of our control. Infertilty, miscarriage and IVF combined is a freaking tumultuous experience, and really we are only at the start. Some days I cope well, others not-so-much. As so many people seem to be falling pregnant all around me, I am so happy for them but it's hard at times not to feel complete despair at our current situation. I would never wish this on anyone, and I don't think it can truly be understood unless you go through it yourself. Throw into the mix that all I have ever really, truly wanted in my life (even as a teen) was to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. With my own little tribe running around my feet whilst I cook dinner for my Prince Charming. Screw the career, I want babies and lots of them. Well I have my Prince Charming... now can't I have the rest??
I'm looking down the barrel of potentially being biologically and financially incapable of having that big family I've always wanted and it terrifies me. I take solace in the fact that we are doing everything we can. I have to remind myself that it's a process and it takes time. I am lucky to have such a wonderful husband, and rather than ruin us - this whole experience is making us so much stronger. I also have amazing support from my family and friends. I have the most wonderful life. So rather than beat the buggery out of someone, I hope to stay sane, soldier on and remember that...
And who knows?
Maybe we'll be pregnant before I turn 29.

4. Learn to use my DSLR! Adam and I have an amazing Canon camera that we bought on our trip to Thailand, and I really do not know how to use it. I am still stuck on the auto function, which is a waste, I may as well be using my iPhone. I even forgot to take the camera to Brooms Head this year. Time to pick up my game and get-to-know my camera. Adam gave me a zoom lens for my birthday, so there is no good reason for me not to be using it.

5. Teach myself to use Photoshop. I used to be great with computers. Hell, I started an IT degree (I lasted a week before I changed to nursing). I thought I knew how to use Photoshop, but when I opened the program I quickly realised that I knew absolutely didley-squat. I think that my recollections of high-school were wrong. It appears I only know how to use the program Paint.

6. Make Bento! For Christmas 2010 (yes, the year before the one just gone), one of my many super presents was this:
It scream's my name, and I pawned over it, and loved it, showed it to any friend who came to visit... but never actually made anything in it during the year of 2011.
Thankfully, Chloe and my mum have come to my rescue, and I am now the proud owner of a fantastic selection of bento boxes and utensils that will certainly be utilised in making some super cute, not-so-manly lunches for Adam to take to work (and me too of course!). Stay tuned into the whitebrickwall because when I do, I promise to share :)
*insert superhero voice here* Now to the next resolution!

7. Blog more. I have a habit for not making time for the things I enjoy. My Year 12 HSC year (now 10 whole years ago...ouch!) saw me pay attention to every subject before Drama. But Drama, was what I loved most and yet I let it fall by the way-side. It's a regret I still carry... but I choose to learn from my mistakes. I am thoroughly enjoying blogging when I actually make the time to do it. Last year I only posted 18 times, and 10 of them were in July!

8. Get some new skills. I have a mother who is the owner and creator of an AMAZING shop (That Shop), and as a result I have a cupboard full of spectacular dresses. I am letting myself the dresses down by my very basic make-up and hairstyling skills. I now have plans to rectify that. I am already booked in next month for a small Pinup Hair and Make-up course run by Bree from Dead Gorgeous Make-Up and Hair Styling. 1950's inspired hair and make-up here I come!

And finally...

9. Live in the now. This last resolution is somewhat related to Resolution #3. I get so fixated on what I want next, that I often find it difficult to 'live in the now'. It's time to 
Ease up and enjoy what I've got. Do more of what makes me happy.

Wishing you all a wonderful and fulfilling 2012!

Kristy xx

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Buh Bye Christmas!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

That's the Pommer 'we-have-no-kids-but-we-have-a-cat' Christmas Tree. Ain't she pretty? We went with a red and silver theme so that it would complement all the furnishings in our lounge/living area. And YES! We have a train!! It was a fluke of a bargain from Myer's a couple of years back. I found it on sale, on sale, on sale. I have never been someone who went to 'the sales', but somehow I fell on top of this one, and even when I decided 'yes that train is a bargain, I'll take it' (the original price was something like $150)... the dude on the cash register says to me 'oh that price needs to be halved again'. No wonder people get addicted to sales. We plan to buy a couple extra decorations for the tree each year. I've been pretty obsessed with birds lately.
But of course, being the people we are, Adam and I couldn't go past The Simpson's decorations either.
Mum sent me this picture on the day they put up the Drew Family Tree.
Believe it or not, I freaking love that tree! It's just the way it should be. It's a family tree decorated by boys who put too many decorations on one side, and nothing on the other. With old school-made decorations and too much tinsel, and beads that look like the person who was holding them was blind-folded, spun around fifty-times and applied.
Seriously, lets look at it closer up.
Yeah that's it in progress. I LOVE it. It is just the way it should be. And my beautiful brothers are growing up (literally)! Apparently the boys were really thrown by the height of the tree and truly convinced that the tree was missing a section. 'But it's so short Mum!!'. 
Christmas for the Drew's is always a big deal. The problem is, we like each other too much. On top of that, we all like buying gifts for each other. Every gift, no matter how small or simple - gets full attention from the entire family. Even a can of Pringles cops a feel and a shake and a comment before it is opened. Combine all those elements and you have gift opening on Christmas Day that stretches from 7am to 3pm. Sounds obscene... but there was 10 of us!
And that's not all folks. Even at the ripe-old-age of 28, Adam and I still get Santa sacks!!
Adam's Santa sack is not in this picture...because he had already 'bagzed' his spot at the foot of the bed, ready for present opening in mum and dad's room. Here's Nick and I, half asleep at the bottom of the bed and ready to open some presents!
And see, I didn't lie about the Pringles!
Tim and Lisa were in France during Christmas 2010... So they got spoilt extra rotten in 2011 because we missed them so much. Still, that didn't mean that they got prime position in the bed. There are only so many adults you can fit in a King size water bed before it pops. So Tim, Lisa and Lady Mausey, held front row seats in the wings.
And now for a random gift.
Plastic bread for Dom. Well...he is an apprentice baker! 
This is Leo, hanging out, and being awesome, at the start of the mornings unwrapping festivities. 
We did eventually make our way out to the lounge room and the mountain of presents surrounding the Christmas Tree. Tim had no idea what this present was before he opened it...
I got this awesome Peter Alexander nightie from Adam as part of our 1st Anniversary present. Yes it does have Snow White on it. In case you hadn't noticed, I've got this thing for cartoons. Well, Adam and me both. All the ribbons from the presents I unwrapped ended up around my wrist or in my hair.
Adam gets excited about his Skaven Hellpit Abomination from Tim and Lisa. What's that you ask? A big build-your-own paint-your-own figure of a rat for his Warhammer collection.
You might also ask what on earth is on that person's foot?
That's Dom's foot, and his new Zombie slippers from Adam and I. Both Dom and Nick have a love for zombies. I'll show you more about it one day.
We were all spoiled almost to the point of being beyond rotten, and finished the day off with a lovely late lunch and a swim in the pool. Such a relaxing, awesome Christmas Day. I am so damn lucky to have this amazing family. 
And I do love my husband...

Even if he does actively try to ruin every second photo I take of him.

A very belated Merrry Christmas to you all!