Category Archives: DIY

Meet Gus, My Canon MP530 Printer!

Hello, everyone!  I’d like you to meet Gus, my Canon MP530 printer!  My old Epson C80 got clogged again after a while, and Gus is its replacement!

I got a new toy today — a CD/DVD tray for my printer which allows me to print on CD’s and DVD’s!  Apparently this feature was disabled on the Canon MP530’s made for the U.S. market but it can be enabled with MANY pushes of a few buttons.  (Can you do the hokey pokey???  Links to instructions at the end of this post.)  Why spend potentially hundreds of dollars on a new CD/DVD printer when I only need to spend $18.99 to upgrade a printer I already have?

I did a test print on the CD that shipped with the CD tray I purchased off of eBay using a photo I took while in the Netherlands:

Not bad… It’s not as crisp and clear as I would like it to be, and it’s definitely not “professional” quality, but I’m still very happy with it.  Good enough for me!  And besides, this was only my first test print.  The not-so-great resolution might be a result of the poor quality of this particular CD’s printing surface.

Or…  It could be a result of the ink I used, though I doubt that.  Admittedly, though, the ink I’m using is non-OEM, eBay ink:

Yes, yes, forgive my nasty habit of dating things I open or install…  $27.94 for the 5 bottles of ink above…  I opened the first bottle more than a year ago and still have half of the ink left!  And unlike with the Epsons, you don’t have to hassle with chip resets or freezing the ink counter.

“eBay ink?” you ask?  Yes, eBay ink. $30 for 2 years’ worth of ink?  Versus $30 for just ONE ink cartridge that only lasts 3 months?  Yes, eBay ink, please!

My eBay ink actually produces almost-photo quality prints as shown in this photo of a photo!

I wanted to design a mug for my friend Leigh, but I wanted it to be a surprise, so I grabbed the images of her beautiful pup Owen from her Facebook page.  Of course, trying to print something of any decent quality from 72 dpi web jpgs is a HUGE no-no, but I didn’t want to ruin the surprise!  So, I did a test print of the image before I sent my design to the fantastic website, Zazzle, and hot dog, it looked crisp and clear!

Here’s a Zazzle rendering of the mug (not a photo of the actual product, since I didn’t take a picture of it before I gave it to her, but it looks very much like this!):

And so… All in all, I’m very happy with Gus.  I can print VERY near-photo quality using non-OEM ink AND now I can print CD and DVD labels!  (Although…  Seriously… Will I even do that???  That’s another question that I should have asked myself before I bought it…)

Yes, the MP530 is a great printer, but it is not network-ready, so my next task is to get my wireless print server (in the back) working.  And guess what?  It’s ANOTHER eBay purchase.  I love eBay.  The print server was half-configured before I crazily started punching buttons on my printer (see video at the end of this post).

But for right now, he’s keeping Rolf, my Western Digital hard drive, and Max, my Maxtor hard drive, company.  Poor Max.  He’s had several identity crises.  He used to be named George, but then Rolf came along, and he insisted on being called Georg.  But then his owner kept forgetting his name, so he gave up, and gave into answering to the name Max.

Since the archival properties of the printer ink is highly suspect (most likely deteriorating DVD’s and paper over time), Rolf and Max are invaluable.

Yes, I have a messy jumble of cords, but one day I’ll get it all organized.  At least I’m part-way there.  Here’s a cord-wrangling tip: hole-punch a used gift card, and use it to manage your cords:

I kept having to search for the ends of the cords for Rolf and Max until I made this.

And lastly, meet Hermie, my laptop!  He’s slogging along, good ol’ boy that he is!  Although his owner is quite egotistical.  The unforeseen consequence of this has been that people borrowing Hermie have had a hard time trying to type their passwords!

Is this worse than Jane putting her mouse on the left?  Why does that also throw people off?

But wait!  We mustn’t forget Jack and Q!  (I’m not sure Q’s name is sticking yet…  It’s supposed to be short for Q*bert… I think…)  Jack, the Nokia, and Hermie got along very very well!  They were always gossiping about people in Jane’s contact lists and discussing things on her calendars whenever they got within range of each other.  And Jane would always hear them beeping excitedly whenever they were joyfully roughhousing with each other.  Boys will be boys!  But now, Q, the LG…  He’s a recalcitrant one, refusing to get along with Hermie the way that Jack so easily got along with him!  Jane jumped onto the Sprint family bandwagon, and abandoned poor little Jack as an orphan…  Jack, you weren’t very showy, but Momma misses you!!!

And if you’ve noticed a trend, no, Jane doesn’t seem to have any female gadgets.  Only the gadget master is female!

I almost forgot to include links for how to enable your Canon MP530 to print on CD’s!  These aren’t my videos, but they are fantastic, despite the few typos!

For other Canon models:


Posted by on Friday, March 12, 2010 in Computers, DIY


Corolla Front Struts

Warning: Don’t attempt to change your own struts unless you know what you are doing. Supposedly, these springs could kill you. There’s a lot of energy stored in these compressed springs!

My tires are cupped, and I was told I needed new struts… Well, my Corolla has more than 90,000 miles on it. I guess that seems reasonable. And so, I decided to try changing them myself. (Especially since the shop told me it would cost $800 for them to change them with their “buy 3, get one free” special.)

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Old front driver-side MacPherson strut (black)

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Front passenger-side strut removed

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New front passenger-side KYB strut installed (silver)


When you push in the piston rod, it is supposed to come back out, like the new silver strut on the bottom. The old black one on the top is obviously worn out, as it doesn’t come back out at all.

struts 39

Keep people and pets away from the strut springs and away from your jacked up car! Lucky should have been inside the house.

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Collateral damage. I don’t think I torqued those bolts to the right specs… I broke and/or deformed some of my tools in the process of tightening them. This whole process gave me much more of a workout than I had anticipated!!! I’ll need to remember to ask the tire guys to double-check those knuckle bolts for me when I get new tires…

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And here, I decided that my rear strut mounting bolts were too difficult to access… And I would pay to let someone else have fun with the rears… Plus, I was too lazy to buy replacements for the tools I broke and/or figure out what kind of tools I needed to access these bolts. (Though this would have been a great excuse to upgrade from Dad’s motley socket wrench set.)

So, I took my Corolla into a shop, and they told me it would cost $383 for labor to do the rears… And a second opinion is in order. In the meantime… Looking at this picture, maybe the rears wouldn’t be that hard to do, either… Just need the right tools… Or need to figure out a way to take that whole plastic panel off….

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Posted by on Tuesday, November 3, 2009 in Car, DIY



A work in progress…


v02 top

Inspired by wayfinding iconography… Especially from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport where I took these pictures:

Schipol 02

Lusting after the man modeling the Hugo Boss suit? No, this wayfinding sign was the main object of my infatuation.

Schipol 01

I took a picture because of the encased McDonald’s sign here… Mmmmm… French fries…

So, what am I up to now? Well, let’s see if this project is ever realized…


Posted by on Monday, December 29, 2008 in DIY, Random


[DIY] Patio Door Repairs

I helped Mom repair a patio door that several repairmen have told her throughout the years couldn’t be fixed due to foundation problems… That seemed a bit silly to me. And I’m stubborn sometimes. Okay, maybe all of the time… So, I thought I would try my hand at fixing this myself!

We had to muscle the door open and closed every time we wanted to go out into that patio area. One time I trapped myself out there because I couldn’t open the door to get back inside! Rather than wait there until someone returned home, I climbed up onto the roof to wait it out up there… But that’s another story!

I was replacing 35-year-old rollers, so these were a bit harder to find. After calling and/or going to Home Depot, Ace, and Southland, Buffalo Hardware finally recommended Dawson’s, a place that specializes in hard-to-find window and door parts! If you’re only a casual reader and mechanical details bore you, then at least read the WARNING at the bottom of this receipt! I wonder what happened that led them to include this at the bottom of all of their invoices! (Yes, these parts were pricey…)

Dawson Invoice sm

If you want more details…

Swisco is also a great source for parts (and was actually a bit cheaper than Dawson’s…), and they have great instructions for replacing patio door rollers that I followed.

I had a hard time finding photos online in searching for DIY instructions, so maybe these will help someone else out… Or maybe they will help ME out if I ever need to replace the rollers on Mom’s OTHER patio door. But it really wasn’t that hard to do. Photos help, but weren’t necessary.

Roller Diag

Patio Door 1

Rusty rollers; bright, shiny, new rollers!

Patio Door 4

The stationary glass panel and the sliding door were both removed from the framing. The bottom of the door frame was also removed to gain access to the old, rusty rollers.

Patio Door 5

New roller installed inside the old aluminum frame! Old roller in the foreground.

Patio Door 3

Bottom of the frame rubber-malleted back into place!

Patio Door 2

And voila! A working, gliding, sliding patio door! Picture not included, but use your imagination! Mom was VERY surprised that this actually worked, that I was actually able to fix this. What? Do I abandon that many failed DIY projects??? :D

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Posted by on Saturday, October 11, 2008 in DIY


Maybe You Can Find Them In A Porn Shop…

Really… These posts are becoming increasingly random.  And nonsensical.  Ie, “Jabberwocky”…  But I guess that’s what blogs are, right?  A reflection of their authors?  Sometimes I wish I were really really great at one singular thing, but instead I feel like I’m pretty good at a bunch of random things.  I think my “problem” is…  I love too many aspects of life!  That’s a good way to put it!  Ha!  But maybe I should just pick ONE of those random things – draw a slip of paper out of a hat if I have to! – and then focus all of my energy on it.  Money Magazine had a great article about “what it takes to be great” a while ago.

Soooo…  THIS random post is about cuff links!  The cuff links that came with my shirt came apart, so I asked a friend if she knew where I could buy cuff links.  She started to suggest that I look for them in a porn shop until she realized the slip of her tongue!  A pawn shop was what she meant!!!  Hahahaha!  That STILL cracks me up!!!

I never did look for them in a pawn shop OR a porn shop, but I have browsed online.  And adding shipping costs to the purchase price, I refuse to pay that much for knotted pieces of string!!!

I love DIY projects and figuring out how things work…

According to, silk knot cuff links are usually made out of a variation of turk’s head knots.  This is a prototype I made using rope and instructions from Troop 54.  Obviously I need to find more suitable string for cuff links!

This 2-color one by Brooks Brothers is pretty cool:

You can of course make cuff links out of anything!  Hmmm… Maybe I can make a pair out of guitar picks!

And I LOVE novelty cuff links like this one sold by

I wouldn’t personally wear these “fun” ones myself.  I can’t imagine this accent on any nice shirt that I would buy nor can I imagine any occasion when it would be appropriate for me, a woman, to wear.  But hey, I wouldn’t mind being on the arm of a guy who wore this!  Sometimes I begrudge conforming to social gender roles and rules, but sometimes I think they have their place!

Next up in my random objects of fancy, Mom’s Craftsman edger/trimmer and seeing if I can fix it.  I’m trying to avoid adding to our overflowing landfills.  Plus, this edger is better than the one Mom bought to replace it!  If I get it to work again, that is!

It shouldn’t be too hard, except the last time I checked, about a third of the major parts were discontinued!  And when I checked just now, everything is discontinued!!!  I’ll have to check again later…  Or call Sears directly.  But assuming I can find parts, this shouldn’t be harder than switching out the window motor of my car, right?  We really do need to start thinking in a cradle-to-cradle way.

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Posted by on Friday, August 8, 2008 in DIY, Random


Guitar and Violin Cabinet, Nascent Ideas

…the TRUE first iteration from sketches, doodles, and precedent pieces…  These came BEFORE the Sketchup model from the previous post, so I’m posting these anachronistically…  Some of the pictures are bad because my printer’s yellow is a bit finicky.

Basically, I want a “permanent” place for my guitar and violin.  I play my instruments more when I don’t have to unzip or unlatch them out of their cases (yes, 15 seconds make a huge difference!), but instruments should ideally be kept in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment.  My doodles for this day started with my categorizing of all of my “stuff,” and I have a lot of “music stuff”!

I want a central place to display my instruments behind glass in a sealed environment, but of course my instruments still have to be easily accessible for spontaneous jam sessions!  Yes, I might be going a tad overboard…  Hidden compartments in the back would store cases, music stands, and other random music-related items that don’t fit on the front shelves.

Or at least that’s the general idea!  Who knows if I’ll ever get around to doing this!

The sketches:


Posted by on Sunday, July 27, 2008 in DIY, Google, Music


Guitar and Violin Cabinet, 1st Iteration

I want a table saw or a band saw!!!

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Posted by on Sunday, July 27, 2008 in DIY, Google, Music