Showing posts with label Free Stuff. Show all posts

DIY Tablet Mount

While our swagger wagon is in the body shop getting all fixed up (we were rear-ended a few weeks ago) and we’re driving a nice rental van complete with a dvd system, I thought it would be the perfect time to tell you what we do sans dvd player in our van when we need one…like for road trips.

Two years ago, when we were on the hunt for a bigger vehicle to accommodate baby #3, we had a list of things we wanted and didn’t want – this color or this color, none of these colors, leather for easy clean-up, and low mileage on our new-to-us, used vehicle.  On that list at first was “NOT a minivan” and low and behold, that’s what we ended up getting thanks to their lower costs and better gas mileage.  Also not on our list was a dvd system.  It’s not that we think they’re bad because they’re quite handy at times but the thought of dealing with two (later three) toddlers screaming to watch a movie on the five-minute drive to the grocery store did not sound fun to me.  Plus, we had a portable dvd player that my in-laws had given us that worked just fine…except that the first time we used it on-the-go in the van by propping it up on the folded-down middle seat, Seraphia got car sick watching a movie and before we could gage what exactly was going on with her whiny demenear…well, you can imagine.  Thank God for the tiny gas station bathroom that washed all of her stomach contents off her person.  We needed something else by way of tv.  Something that eventually all rows would be able to see and that was where a car television should be – up high and towards the front.

So, last Christmas we used some gifted cash to buy this refurbished Kindle Fire*, found this case* for it at Dirt Cheap for $4 (it’s a really awesome case!), and figured out a FREE way to attach it to our sun roof for optimum viewing for all strapped toddlers. 

Here’s how…

[By the way, if you think I’m cray for writing about this, I probably am.  Ha!  But, let me tell you, I scoured the internet for days before we made a road trip that we needed this to happen for this past summer and there was zilch.  Now that we’ve concocted our own solution, I thought maybe it’d be helpful to the two or three other peeps out there searching for a similar solution!  :)   ]

So, we had our Kindle/tablet in it’s case and we needed it to be temporarily mounted just for long trips.  If we opened the case, we could slide one end of it into the opening of the sun roof and the whole thing would hang there just great.  Only, when we drove with it like this, it swayed back and forth…not so great if we wanted to hamper the car sickness of our oldest or if anyone really wanted to watch the movie playing.  To stop the swaying, I ran to Lowe’s one morning to grab a couple of corner braces like this:
I thought maybe I could just slide one side into the sun roof opening with the case and the other would sit against the back of the Kindle.  But the brackets turned out to be too thick and wouldn’t fit.

And then the mail lady came.  And she dropped off a little box.  And I removed whatever was in the little box.  And a light bulb went off.  And I got to work.  

First, I opened the box up all the way and cut off one whole end.
IMG_0841The end I cut off was a mirror image to the top of the box above the horizontal fold that you see in the picture above.

All I needed was the bottom of the box, two sides, and one of the top flaps.  I was lucky in that the bottom of the box I found was almost the exact width of our tablet.  If you’re looking to make one of your own, all you really need is the side and top flap on one large box – something like what the green lines indicate below.    box panelIf you make two folds in the cardboard where the two ends of your tablet case would be and use the top fold, you’ll then just need to cut away two squares at the top corners.  (This all might make a little more sense once you see it in action below.) 

So, installation…

With the case holding the tablet, I opened ‘er up, grabbed my cardboard reinforcement, and laid the case onto the cardboard with the empty flap of the case against the shorter, top fold.
IMG_0829 IMG_0831IMG_0830IMG_0832 IMG_0833

Then, with the sun roof cover closed, I slid the empty side of the tablet case along with the cardboard into the sun roof cover’s slot in the ceiling.
IMG_0834 IMG_0835 IMG_0836 IMG_0837

Last, to keep the tablet and cardboard backing from swaying forwards and backwards, I folded out the two side pieces of cardboard.
IMG_0838 IMG_0839(Those small pieces of cardboard sitting against the sun roof cover are totally not needed…I was just too lazy to cut them off.)

Works like a charm!  Plug it in to the dashboard, turn up the sound, and you’ve got yourself a built-in but removable movie system!

If you don’t have a sun roof, you can always grab a tablet mount off Amazon that attaches to the head rest of the front seat.  We bought this one* but ended up not liking it only because the third row tots couldn’t see the greatest without straining.  For a two-row vehicle though, it’d be great!

I remember back in the 90’s, growing up when my parent’s bought a new Suburban complete with a VHS and television set built-in to the front console.  It was super duper cool along with the huge bag phone sitting in front.  Entertainment and wireless communication at your reach all while you’re heading to your next destination.  Someday our kids will talk about “those days when my parents rigged an old tablet to the ceiling of our minivan” as they stare at the projection plastering the air right in front of them…also as their old lady is squinting at her old iPhone 4s, trying to keep up with her fellow oldies on that old app called Bookface…or Facepad…or something like that. 


.           .           .  

*affiliate links


Do Not Be Afraid of Christ

I was going through all of the pictures on my computer this morning, trying to purge those that didn’t need to exist anymore and came across this graphic I made for a youth center project (my husband’s a youth minister) a few weeks ago that I’m going to erase because we decided not to use it due to the fact that I accidentally forgot a few words (whoops) and because we changed our minds on how to display it (originally this was going to be painted onto a big wall).  But, before I send it to the recycle bin, I thought I’d close out the week on the blog by sharing it with you. 

frassati wall

It’s so easy in this crazy world that we live in, to question, to doubt, and to forget to rely 100% on our Maker (because He is waiting with open arms!) so I hope this serves as a reminder to you as it does to us.  There is no shame in living for God; openly living for Him.  There are many risks we take in life, but placing everything in God’s hands is never one of them.  With that decision, peace and happiness will always follow.  That’s something I have to remind myself everyday.  :)

Back to the graphic though, in light of the missing words and a change in framing plans, I made three more graphics that will each be fit into a large frame and set side-by-side.

 photo 2 (14)
 photo 3 (6)

In case you want to print them out and frame them too, I’ve included the downloads below.  :)
Page 1
Page 2
Page 3

Have a great weekend! 

A Flawless Mirror Revamp

*Before I start on my DIY rant and rave, I want to take a few typed words to announce to the www that it’s our fifth wedding anniversary!  Holla!  Neither of us can believe that it’s been five years!  We’ve been verbally noting our happenings at ‘this moment five years ago’ for the past couple of days and it’s been so wonderful to relive those precious moments.  This year is even more special as we have two beautiful little human beings that are the tangible blessings of our love and we are so thankful to God for them, for us, and for all the years ahead!  Happy Anniversary Sweets!*

*Pst…You can get in on a smidge of our sappy love fest with this video!  Otherwise, it’s back to normal programming!*

.           .           .

A couple of years ago, a friend gave us a really cool, antique mirror that’s been floating around different closets in our house, perpetually waiting to be the star of a DIY project.  I had always envisioned replacing the old artwork framed at the top with a family picture or some custom art.  Well, the twins came along and their nursery with them and it gave me the perfect spot and the motivation I needed to give my idea life.  Before I had even started working on the mirror, I had Anthony hang it one day during a minute of his rare free time right next to the girls’ closet:sept122012 008 

During the weeks of stripe painting it came down and I finally took a few extra moments this week to create a somewhat new mirror mirror on the wall.dec12012 001

I went back and forth between wanting to paint it and wanting to leave it gold.  Once the stripes were finished, I thought it’d help my decision to bring it back into the room and when I did, I loved the contrast of the gold with the stripes and the pinks and peaches in the room and also liked the idea of less work so gold it stayed.

Next up was the artwork.  The original artwork was held in place with some very stiff, very old cardboard and a few rusty nails.  I simply removed the nails and pulled everything out.dec12012 003

Here’s a better glimpse of the old artwork that was inside this thing.  It’s actually pretty cool and ‘vintage-y’ so I’m going to keep it for some rainy day project.dec12012 004

So, the artwork.  I loved the whole feel of the mirror being not just any old mirror, but one with a picture frame atop it and so I wanted the frame to hold something that would be a reminder to our girls of just how special and beautiful they are while they’re looking into the mirror.  With that, I whipped up this with noflaw 

After I had finished the design, I had it printed on matte 8 x 10 photo paper.

I wanted a matte over the new artwork, but being an odd size and not wanting to get a custom matte made, I took matters into my own hands and made one myself.  It didn’t come out the greatest (which might have a lot to do with the fact that I quickly did it last night around 11), but here’s how I made it anyway.  The process worked, just not the creator.  :)

First, I took the old cardboard that had been in the frame and measured out a rectangle a little smaller than my artwork.dec12012 005

Then I grabbed a razor blade and a cutting board and cut along the ruler to get this:dec12012 006

I cut too quickly however and my top and bottom edges turned out a little less than straight which means that one of these days I’m going to have to make another matte but until then, the perfectionist in me is letting this one slide.  A few coats of some white, flat spray paint, a quick reinsertion, and back in with a few rusty nails and here we are:dec12012 007

 dec12012 008

I still have the editable Pixlr file, so if anyone is interested in printing it out for your very own, just email me (because I’m not tech savvy enough to include a download) at and I’ll send it right over (for free of course).  You can mess with the colors, the background, the font, the size, whatever you like.  Then, just get it printed, frame it, and zootolo, some words to live by.  :)

Have a great weekend you flawless folks!