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June 29,2007(FixedItFriday)

We would like to say "thanks" for all of the great emails we received during this week for our camera repair project.  It was surprising to hear from all of the Canon users out there who love their S2s and want to keep them working! 

The LCD transplant was completed without any problems.  The camera powered up and the LCD powered on. We pushed all the buttons, turned all the knobs, and everything checked out just fine.

Up to this point, we have only taken a few test shots.  We were all eager to see what kind of images we would get from our new and improved S2.  It was a bright day out so we took a few handheld shots around the garden. 

The colors of the lilies were true and the details crisp.  We were especially pleased with the images of the bumblebee.  Click on the images below to get a closer look.

The restored Canon S2 camera is every bit as good as the new S2 we purchased last September.  Now we can try shooting some "stereo" images for some 3D stereograms! 

A few of you asked about "electronic" issues.   Obviously we have not delved into fixing that aspect of the camera yet.  We are actively on the lookout for another broken S2...if you want to donate one to the cause, drop us a line.

Next up in the RainyDayProjects "Fix-It" series will be on wristwatches.  So many readers have asked about tools and tips on doing simple wristwatch related projects (removing links, changing batteries, etc...) that we thought we would look at some of the proper tools and techniques for dealing with these maintenance tasks. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


June 28,2007(TransplantThursday)

Removing the LCD module turned out to be very easy.  To be able to disengage the connectors, we did need to use some very small flat tip precision screwdrivers.

There is no point in trying to take apart the LCD module.  The mounting hinge looked very difficult to disassemble.  It made more sense to transplant the entire LCD unit.

Taking apart the other S2 was much simplier since we had already gone through the steps with the other damaged camera.  It took us about 10 minutes to get the broken LCD off the camera and tp replace it with the intact unit.

We were eager to test the camera to see if the surgery was successful.  There are a few contact switches which must be engaged before the camera will turn on.  We'll have more of the details in the full write-up.  Much to our delight...everything worked when we switched the camera on!

With a working LCD, the S2 is now fully operational.  We'll replace more of the body panels at some point, but for now, we want to make sure this camera can capture images properly.  Tomorrow, we'll post a few shots from this camera to show the quality of the images.  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


June 27,2007(What'sInsideWednesday)

Once we started taking the Canon S2 apart, we had to keep going to see how far we can go.  The external housing was in much bigger pieces than we would have guessed.

At this point in the S2 disassembly, we were able to see that the camera was made of a few distinct units: lens assembly, flash system, power compartment, and the LCD.

We didn't take apart the electronics or the guts of the central unit because we wanted to save it for when we really needed the parts.  We wanted to keep them all intact, because all of those individual pieces would be easy to damage or lose. 

Once again, if you are considering a project such as this one, the ONE piece of advise we have is to document where EVERY screw comes from.  We use the "diagram it/tape it" system: draw a diagram and tape the screw to the corresponding position from whence it came.

Now that we got all of the external housing off of the central unit, it was time to remove the LCD from the body.   Readers should know that we didn't need to take all the pieces off before the LCD removal, we did it because we just wanted to see :-) 

In tomorrow's installment, we'll take the LCD off of this camera and use it to replace the broken one on the other S2. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


June 26,2007(TechSupportTuesday)

When things break under warranty, usually you can get it serviced if the company stands behind its products.  Our experieces with Canon's tech support have been great.  They fixed things in under a week and the items were returned in working order...unlike our ongoing LCD monitor nightmare with Hanns G.

Sometimes things break and they are not covered by the warranty because it was not a product defect...like this Canon S2 LCD which was chewed on by a dog. 

In these situations, it is a perfect opportunity to get out the screwdrivers and have some FUN!  We got our hands on another broken S2 a few weeks ago.  That one would not power on at all, but the LCD and external housing appeared to be in perfect condition...a perfect "donor" camera.

The S2 with the broken LCD is functional.  So we decided to remove the "good" LCD first because that camera is DOA and we couldn't make it any worse. 

Removing the outer housing to the Canon S2 was easier than we thought it would be.  The one thing to remember is to go SLOOOWWW and to label where all the screws come from.  It took us about 20 minutes to figure out how to get the three pieces off and expose all of the connectors associated with the good LCD.

There are six (6) connection points associated with the LCD: 3 connectors and 3 screws.  The two white connectors are for the wires associated with the LCD.  The orange ribbon cable is connected to something else, but must be disconnected to make it easier to remove the other cables.  Two of the screws are for the mount.  The other screw is to a ground point.

We'll continue with this project the rest of this week.  Come back tomorrow to see the rest of the disassembly process and the removal of the LCD from the main unit. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


June 25,2007(MakeItYourselfMonday)

While wandering around the Home Depot yesterday, we came upon a sale of Solar-Powered Landscaping Lights.  We remembered reading with interest an article about making "sunlight catchers" with the guts of these lights and some glass canning jars, so we picked up a box.

The project seemed pretty simple...the hardest part was finding jars which would fit the solar circuits.  The circuit itself is very straight forward : a solar panel, an LED, and a rechargeable battery.  There is an optical sensor which detects when it is dark and switches from charging the battery to powering the LED.

Depending on the type of container used, the cap may need some trimming.  We used a pair of metal snips, but a Dremel works just as well for cutting things to the right size.

The glass canning jar we, um, borrowed, from the RainyDayKitchen was a bit too small for the solar panel housing, so we trimmed the housing to fit.  We had to do a little altering to the defuser as well. 

Since there were four solar units in the package, we rounded up a few other containters to see how things would look in variously shaped jars.  The assembled units were placed outside for the rest of the afternoon to catch some rays.

Everyone waited around for the sun to set.  We were all eager to see if when lit, our sunlight catchers would be bright enough to be useful, or at least pretty.  We were not disappointed! - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


June 24,2007(WeekendEdition)

Some of the wood on the front steps needed to be replaced. We got a quote of $389.00 from the contractor last week for fixing the front steps, painting not included.  Well, we knew that wasn't going to make it past the folks who sign the checks.

A quick look at the boards and it was clear not all of them needed to be replaced.  We decided to replace just the ones which were rotten or loose and give everything a fresh coat of paint.  It should be a pretty simple repair project... something perfect for a Sunday morning.

We gathered the tools from the RainyDayWorkshop, picked up the necessary boards at Home Depot, and got to work this morning. 

Getting the damaged boards off was not as simple as we first thought.  While the boards were damaged, the nails were still holding fast.  We finally decided to break up the boards and just yanked them out.  That worked just fine... sometimes hitting things with a hammer IS what's needed.

The easiest way to make sure the cut is the right size is to mark it while it is in place.  Make sure to check that the other end is flush with other planks, mark it, and cut it.  It'll be perfect every time.

So, for about $20 and an hour or so of effort, we had the Front Porch Repair Project pretty much done.  Of course, the steps still need to be scraped and painted.  We'll wait until Monday when the interns are back before tackling that task :-) - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


June 23,2007(WeekendEdition)

There is always something blooming in the RainyDayGarden.  Some blooms look great on the vine, but cannot be brought inside.   Others are so big they overwhelm the stems and droop to the ground.  They are perfect candidates for cutting to be enjoyed indoors.

Harvesting the peonies was the perfect opportunity to try out the Husqvarna by-pass shears.  There is a nice overall balance to the shears which made them easy to maneuver.  This is a big help especially when cutting plants with lots of branches or have thick growth. 

The blade lock is conveniently located for right handed users.  The lock did engaged a few times by itself, but because of the button's location, it was easily unlocked with a quick flick if the thumb.  We found the shears to be very comfortable to use.  The cuts are clean and crisp.  We'll have more to say about them in the Fall.

Some readers may recognize the glass vase above as the Eva Solo self-watering planter.  We had a FirstLook of the Eva Solo planter back in May 2006.  Originally, we thought we would use it as a planter.  Instead, we found it works really well as a vase.  It's stable design is perfect for heavy blooms such as these peonies. 

The vase is great for arranging flowers because its two part design allows for adding water without disturbing the arrangement : arrange the flowers in the metal vase, add water to the glass container, and combine the two

When it is time to add more water, just pick up the metal vase and pour directly into the glass container.  The flower arrangement remains undisturbed. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


June 22,2007(Fun&GamesFriday)

Texas Hold'em is an extremely popular card game, thanks to the coverage of the World Poker Tour on CableTV.  We have a friendly game here at the office every once in a while (usually around when the rent is due).

When the interns ante up next week, they will be in for a little treat.  They will be playing with a customized set of poker chips instead of the usual pile of cash.

The Original Poker Chip Customizer comes with 300 chips, two decks of playing cards, design software, and 350 labels.  We'll show you how to make your own chips in our FirstUse segment. 

For now, just click on any of the images for a closer look at the quality of the pieces.  The aluminium case is well constructed, with a molded interior to keep the contents organized, corner bumper guards, rubber pads on the bottom, and locking closures to keep everything tidy.

Playing with real poker chips will give our game a lot more class.  Being able to customize the chips will add that extra bit of pizzazz!  It'll also allow those of us with opposible thumbs a chance to show off fancy hand tricks and chip shuffles. 

Also, when Buffy decides to go "all in" there won't be twenty dollar bills flying every which way.  Of course, if she wins, and she usually does, she'll insist that we put her face on the chips. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


June 21,2007(ThankYouThursday)

We would like to thank Dan S. of Pavillion, NY for sending us a broken Canon S2 with a good LCD for the repair project!  The LCD panel looks to be in great shape.  We'll document the entire replacement project for those who may need to do a similar repair job.

As an added bonus, the body panels on Dan's camera are in excellent condition and will be perfect replacement parts for the ones that got chewed up by Lisa's dog. 

The problem with Dan's Canon S2 is the camera will not power on.  We don't know the history of the camera, but our guess is that the problem is with the electronics, not the mechanics.  We should be able to get one perfectly-working and new-looking camera from these two damaged Canon S2s.  There should also be enough spare parts left over to repair another S2 with different problems.   Anyone out there with a Canon S2 suffering from mechanical issues?  We may have some parts you can use.  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

As most sun worshippers know, today is the Summer Solstice.  Many celebrate by participating in ancient rituals and other festivities.  We mark the day by getting up to watch the sunrise.

Some of the more "indoor dwelling" members of the team realized it not because the sun was out by 4AM.  They noticed because of the cool display on the YES chronograph on their wrist.  Ahh... some of us would still be asleep if not for the technology:-)  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


June 20,2007(WowUsWednesday)

Steampunk is a style which has a certain appeal that, while difficult to describe, once seen is easy to understand.  Steampunk objects look like artifacts from a parallel universe where computers and gas lamps were invented at the same time.

All of the above items (keyboard, monitors, scanner) are handcrafted, working pieces of Steampunk technology.  Click on the images to see how they were made.  Some of them are even for sale if you don't have time to make your own.  We are working on some Steampunk ideas for our own RainyDayProjects! - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


June 19,2007(TechTuesday)

A little word association for you: if we say "Beowulf," would you say "Linux clusters" or "Great epic poem of eighth century England"?  Whatever you said, we bet you did not say "graphic novel."

Well, when our friend Gareth Hinds said "Beowulf" to himself, he said exactly that.  Why not reach a new generation of readers with a format already familiar to them...comic books.

Gareth's visual intepretation of the epic poem was well known to RainyDayMagazine's staff way before its appearance in last weekend's New York Times Book Review. One of our senior editors, who not only has the E. Talbot Donaldson translation (1966) of the original in her library and regularly listens to the audio rendition of the OLD ENGLISH version in her car, threw herself on the couch in the lounge the day Gareth's book arrived and didn't get up until she finished the whole thing, and gives it a major thumbs up.   Gareth's incredibly detailed illustrations really breathes life to this very ancient and incredibly exciting tale. Go check it out here.

After this weekend's NYT review, we bet a lot more people will be associating "Beowulf" with superheros then with supercomputing.  Gareth's next project is "King Lear."  We will be in line for a copy from the first printing. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


June 18,2007(MultiTouchMonday)

When you get your iPhone on June 29, everyone will want a live demo.  Make sure you have plenty of lens cleaner on hand to wipe off the fingerprints.

Also people will undoubtedly ask "how does it do that?"  Here are some 3D graphics to help you explain things to the gadget-envying onlookers.  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


June 17,2007(Father's Day Weekend))

One great thing about going to visit my parents is that things haven't changed much since I left for school 20 years ago.  Going home is like stepping back in time...and that is always relaxing.

Dad still gets up at 4 AM, takes his walk, reads the paper, makes fresh squeezed orange juice for everybody, and waters the lawn by hand before the sun gets too high up.  By the time his morning routines are done, most of the rest of us are just waking up. 

One thing I did notice is that his experimentation with bamboo seems to be a success.  Some of the new shoots this year are over an inch thick an 20' high!  Good thing the back lot is pretty large because bamboo can be invasive.   I guess the time to worry is when pandas start loitering around the grove.  

I have also noticed that the Boxster is always much cleaner when I leave than when I arrived...although I have never actually seen it being washed.  Hmmm...magic :-)   - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


June 16,2007(Father's Day Weekend))

Everybody is taking Father's Day weekend off.  Some folks have plans to go shopping.  Others are planning on sleeping in.

Your favorite editor is heading to Long Island to spend some time with the parents.  See you all Monday:-)  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


June 15,2007(FixItFriday)

Anyone out there with a broken Hanns.G LCD monitor and having trouble getting warranty service from Hanns.G?  We purchased 19" JC1999D LCD monitor less than a year ago because they offered a 3 year warranty.   However, when we tried contacting them (email, phone, etc...) after our monitor died, they are NOWHERE to be found.  We have not received any replies, call backs, nor have ever managed to talk to a live person after about a dozen attempts.

So we are interested in hearing from you if you have a similar story.  Let us know if you have had success in getting support.  Maybe it is just us.  Somehow, we don't think so.  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

The broken Canon S2 camera we purchased on EBay came this week. The camera was exactly as described...a broken LCD screen, but everything else worked fine. 

The damages were apparently done by a dog left home alone with the camera.  We could clearly see the bite marks on the body of the camera. 

If the LCD screen had been facing into the body, it probably would not have been damaged.  The glass is cracked from a direct bite on the screen.  It will have to be replaced, but the task appears self-contained and should be fairly simple.

We are still looking for another broken unit so we can scavenge some parts.  If any of you readers have one sitting at home gathering dust, give us a shout!  We'll make it worth your while :-)- Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


June 14,2007(TECThursday)

Last Thursday we posted a teaser to this great fleece jacket from ScotteVest.  Today, we'll take a closer look at some of the features of this 12-pocket convertible jacket/vest.

One of the unique features of the pockets is the magnetic closure.  It keeps the contents secured in the pockets while still allowing quick access.  Very handy.  The zippers are always available for complete closure.

Each of the pockets of the jacket contains a helpful guide suggesting what type of device would be suitable.  Of course, you can put anything in there that fits.

Unique to the SeV design is the idea of a Personal Area Network (PAN). The PAN system is designed into the overall layout of the jacket, allowing for the routing of wires to connect up various devices.

Beside the deep hanging pockets, the SeV Fleece 4.0 Jacket can easily be converted to a vest with a quick unzip  of the sleeves.  This feature gives this jacket flexibility and three-season versatility.

In our upcoming FirstUse review, we'll try to load the pockets with various gear and gadgets.  Readers will have a chance to guess what is where...hmmm, sounds like the making of a RainyDayContest :-)   - Wan Chi Lau

Device makers have finally got the message from consumers that we don't want a different power charger for each device.  Many of our new gadgets use the standard USB mini plug.  This has enabled companies such as XPower to provide some excellent   "power on the go" solutions.

The XPower PowerSource MobileMINI is the perfect backup power pack to carry in our ScotteVest.  It is about the size of a deck of cards, has an intergrated mini USB plug, and will recharge any 5V device (cellphone, Blackberry, iPod, etc...)

For larger power needs, Xantrex has options such as the Pocket Powerpack 100.  Both are good backup options when there is no convenient AC power available. - Wan Chi Lau

June 13,2007(7WondersWednesday)

There are just 23 days left to vote for the "New 7 Wonders" of the modern world.

We plan to visit them all in our next sabbatical.  So pick just the good ones :-)  - Wan Chi Lau

June 12,2007(TECTuesday)

We thought we should do a FirstLook of the ScotteVest baseball cap before sending it off to our winner DareK S. up in Colchester VT.  Why all the fuss?  Because this is not your average baseball cap.  It is part of ScotteVest's line of "Technology Enabled Clothing."

Built into the cap are hidden pockets with velcro or zippered closures for carrying credit cards, keys, and money.  Very convenient for when pockets are not.

There are other features to the cap: hidden pocket under the bill, mesh liner for ventilation, and side loops for headphone wire management.

Darek, we hope you enjoy what ScotteVest calls "The Greatest Ball Cap Ever!"  Let us know what you think after the Summer.  Oh, yeah...don't forget to send us a pic :-) - Wan Chi Lau


June 11,2007(MacMonday)

The news today at WWDC was all about Leopard, Apple's next big OS release.  It will be here in the Fall.  There is a bunch of slick features in this new release.  We are looking forward to it!

If you are interested in checking out the features now, you can read all about it at Apple and every other tech site out there...so we won't waste any pixels on it here.  We'll report on it in October after we have upgraded.  Look for our write-up then. - Wan Chi Lau

All the Mac heads (including us) know today is the start of WWDC.  We attended the conference religiously for about 15 years straight.  That was back when we had jobs where somebody else paid for all of our expenses (read: "free trips").  We remembered WWDC was where we would learn all about Apple's new development tools and technologies (read: "great giveaways").

Now that we have this lucrative magazine gig we no longer have time (read: "can't afford it") to make the trek.  Still, we wish all who are attending this year a great time!  Send us some pics if you can, we'll post them for others to enjoy (read: "to envy").  - Wan Chi Lau

BTW...yes, that is an authentic OS X leather jacket given out by Apple at the first OS X launch.  No, we are not giving it away as a prize any time soon.


June 10,2007(WeekendEdition)

Gardening is a relaxing weekend activity.  For the staff here, tending the RainyDayGarden may sometimes feels like a full-time job.  There are some who spend a lot of time looking after the various plantings, while there are others who get excited only when there is new gear to test :-)

Spring is the best time to trim and shape bushes and ornamental trees to promote new growth.  Proper pruning is all about knowing where to make the cut.  Pruning properly, however, is all about knowing which tool to use to make the cut. 

The folks at Husqvarna, famous for their mowers and trimmers (and sewing machines), have a line of hand tools perfect for our pruning job.  This season, we'll be using their pruners in the RainyDayGarden to see how well they hold up to the task.

We will be testing two kinds of pruners: By-Pass and Anvil.  The by-pass pruners are typically used for harvesting flowers and trimming smaller branches.  The anvil pruner is better suited for removing dead branches and other shaping tasks.

Gardening hand tools are designed for outdoor use.  They don't require much maintenance, but it is always best to clean them after each use with a rinse.  We usually oil them in the Spring and Fall to keep them operating smoothly. With the proper care, good tools will last a lifetime. - Wan Chi Lau


June 9,2007(WeekendEdition)

We have a few winners to announce from last week's contests.  There were so many entries for the Bit Dr. from Loggerhead Tools that we decided to give two of the units away. 

The correct answer to the "I don't have that many fingers and toes" contest is "21."  The lucky winners are Phillip M. and Drew S.  Congrats!!!

The winner to the "Beam Me Up, Scotty" contest is Darek F. The correct answer is the company "ScotteVest.- Wan Chi Lau


June 8,2007(FixItFriday)

Now that our Canon S100 no longer shows the E18 problem, we thought we would see what other camera repairs we might tackle.  We purchased an S2 last September and it is a great intermediate-level camera.   So we thought it would be great if our next repair project was with a Canon S2.

After a little digging around on EBay, the interns were successful in acquiring a broken S2 for $50.  the fifty bucks got us an S2 with a cracked LCD screen... which is a fairly common problem with digital cameras.  The camera is supposed to be otherwise operational.  We'll see when it gets here :-)

We expect the repair to be fairly straight forward.  The LCD component is self-contained.  Our next task is to find another broken S2 with an intact LCD screen... anyone out there with such a part?  We'll trade you something good for it!  - Wan Chi Lau


June 7,2007(TechThreadsThursday)

Once in a while we come across technology-based clothing we think is worth mentioning on RainyDayMagazine.  Past gear included Winter wear from Columbia, sports layering from UnderArmour, and built-to-order three season outerwear from BeyondFleece.

Last week, we came across a line of clothing created just for gadget-loving and gear-ladened techies like us.  If you are one of us, this jacket was designed with you in mind.  It was also exactly what we needed for the recent 60º temperature in Boston.

There is a a photo shoot scheduled this weekend for this incredible piece of gear.  We will have a much closer FirstLook of this jacket later this June.  Some may have noticed we have not mentioned the maker of this clothing line.  That's because we have yet another contest so readers can win some gear! 

The hat will go to a randomly chosen reader who correctly identifies the company by sending us a link to the company's site.  If you think you know the company, send us the link in an email with the subject line "Beam me up Scotty!"  Come back on Satuday to see if you are the winner.  Good luck.  - Wan Chi Lau


June 6,2007(What'sDifferentWednesday)

Today's question to you readers out there is... "What is different about this OtterBox Laptop Case?"

If you know, then grab the link from the OtterBox site and send it to us in an email with the subject line "I have it covered!"  We'll see what we can send you from out pile of OtterBox goodies :-) - Wan Chi Lau


June 5,2007(TechBagTuesday)

When we need to REALLY have to pack for travel, we look to signing out the Tom Bihn gear from the equipment locker.  Their bags and packs are not only designed to protect gear, they are designed to carry a lot of it.

The number of pockets in the new Ego laptop bag is truely staggering. We had a puzzler where we ask people to count the number of pockets in the Ego bag, but we are still finding new ones ourselves all the time!

There are two main compartments in the Ego bag.  One compartment is for the usual items for pens, camera, etc... 

The other section is for a laptop or a big stack of files.  To protect the laptop, Tom Bihn has a removable padded case which doubles as a smaller laptop carrier when outside of the Ego.

When anyone from the office goes on the road, they get to pick any gear they want from the equipment locker.  The Tom Bihn gear have consistently gotten the most use out of the lot.

I had to travel to NYC this past weekend.  For a two day trip I definitely had more gear than clothes.  The Ego and the Aeronaunt were perfect for the job.  We'll have a FirstUse write-up later on this month.  We think most will be surprised at the amount of gear one can managed to pack in the Ego :-)  - Wan Chi Lau


June 4,2007(MultiBitsMonday)

Which tool is unlike all the other tools?  No, this isn't one of the SAT or IQ questions :-)  If you said the "silver tube on the right", then you are correct.  That little tube is the business end of the Bit Dr., a new offering from Loggerhead Tools.

We have been big fans of stuff from Loggerhead Tools ever since we checked out their Bionic Wrench.  They have released a few different tools based on their patented six-sided grip.  This new pocket-sized tool call the Bit Dr XR is Loggerhead Tools first venture outside of that design, but it is just as ingenious.

The Bit Dr. is composed of three main pieces and a collection of bits. The shafts are attached and held in place to each other by internal magnets, making adjusting the tool really simple.  The Bit Dr also has a built-in racheting mechanism.  We'll have a video of racheting mechanism in action in the FirstUse review.  It shows much clearer what a clever a design it is.

There are two different heads on each bit.  The magnets in the various drivers makes it a snap to change.  The driver may be positioned at the most convenient angle for the task at hand.

We have had this Bit Dr. for a little while and it has come in handy quite a few times already.  It is a great little tool to toss in the car's glove compartment or in the toolbox.  You may find that it is the first item you reach for when you need to fasten or loosen something.

Here is another RainyDayPuzzler for June: How many different driver heads are there on the Loggerhead Bit Dr?  If you can count, you can win...either count carefully or go find the answer at the source (hint, hint).  When you are done counting, send you answer to us with the subject line "I don't have that many fingers and toes".  We'll pick a winner from the heap of correct answers this Friday and set you up with a Bit Dr RX of your very own. - Wan Chi Lau

June 2-3,2007(WeekendEdition)

The recent rain did wonders for the RainyDayGarden.  Even though all that rain washed the petals right off the Spring blooms, it also turned everything green.  With the ground fully soaked from the rain, it was the perfect time to introduce some new additions to the garden. 

Our friends Bill brought over a banana plant in exchange for some passiflora we had rooted over the Winter.  This banana plant will bear some ornamental fruits and should survive the New England cold if properly mulched.

The Last Frost Date (LFD) was at the end of May, and with that danger gone, it was time to get the vegetable garden planted.  This year there will be beans, peppers, tomatos, and the usual variety of different herbs.

One of the best parts of having a perennial garden is that most of the work is done only once, but you get to enjoy the results year after year.  The most important part is to pick the right plants for your local climate.  Irises, peonies, and clemetis are great choices for the New England region.  They provide wonderful color, grow vigoriously, and are almost maintenance free.

Adding plants such as Columbine, Chinese Dogwood, and later blooming plants (lillies, blackeye Susans, etc...) will ensure flowers in the garden all the way through to Fall.

Working in the perennial garden is both relaxing and rewarding.  Everyone helps with the digging and weeding.  Once the garden is planted, very little work is required to keep it going.   If you are thinking of starting one, go check out RainyDayGarden for lots of great tips, gear, and ideas.  We will be "growing" this section of the magazine with additional "How-To" articles in the month of June to help get you inspired.  Remember, you don't have to do it all at once.  Start small, just add to it every Spring and Fall...before long, you will have your own RainDayGarden! - Wan Chi Lau

June 1,2007(FixItFriday)

The Dremel MultiVise is perfect as a "third hand" in a lot of different DIY tasks.  We had a cracked saya (scabbard) and needed a way to hold it while performing the repairs.

The Dremel MultiVise, with its rubber grips and adjustible hold position, was the perfect tool for the job.  The rubber grips held the saya securely without marring the finish. 

The adjustible angle enabled the piece to be held at the exact position for the repair. Check out the detailed FirstLook of the MultVise we did back in March for its other features.

Because we were able to have both hands free, we were able to apply the glue at precisely where it was needed without making things worse or making a mess.

Once the glue had been applied, we positioned the scabbard in an angle such that gravity closed the gap.  When done, we were able to just leave the repaired piece in the MultiVise to dry... very convenient. - Wan Chi Lau

It is the start of another month...which means time for a new RainyDayPuzzler!  June is the time when many of us finally get around to fixing some of the things we have to fix around our home and office.  It is also the time we tend to review tools.

We have reviewed some of these tools from LoggerheadTools in the past.  This month's puzzler is to figure out which we have NOT.  If you are a frequent reader of RainyDayRenovation (hint, hint)... this should be easy.   If not, then you may have to work a little harder.

Anyway, if you know, send us an email with the subject "I can fix it with this" and the link to the new item(s) from LoggerheadTools.  We'll pick from the pool of correct answers at the end of the month and send you one of the tools shown. - Wan Chi Lau


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