Upcycling ideas

I finally feel like I got over the hurdle this week. I was working like crazy with work and school and I feel that I can finally catch my breath. I probably shouldn’t say that too loud, else the Universe is listening.

2012-10-03 at 10.02.38

I got to put my robot knowledge to good use since we last spoke, as a coworker needed a motor identified to find a replacement. After taking the housing apart it turned out to be a common Mabuchi, but the only replacements we could find had a shaft that was too short to fit into the pump assembly that it needed to interface with.

I also finally got to share the Conference model addition that we’re looking to integrate into the current district model proposed by FIRST. This has been lurking in my head for a while, and to get it down on paper, albeit digital, is a huge step for us. In essence, a set number of slots in the district would be set aside for non-native teams to apply for, and upon acceptance, would give them all the rights of a district team for two years. This makes the walls flexible, gives a predictable revenue range for both organizations, and allows teams to try out districts. I honestly think it would allow for more acceptance of the district model nationwide. That’s the exciting part about getting it out there: it’s becoming more real each day, and it’s really cool when you see something you are building in the wild.

I also went back to CT for the weekend and went to an Alanis Morrisette concert with my mother. I had forgotten about a lot of songs that she played, and…you know how people associate songs, smells, or places with particular times of their life? Yeah, that happened to me. The brain is a fascinating thing sometimes.

Which of course, ties into my class assignment for this week 🙂 I had to prepare early for the class tomorrow because my group is presenting on Social Constructivism. Granted, the constructivism group just went the week before, so there’s not too much else to present, but we hope to dig deep into Activity Theory and the More Knowledgeable Other. The MKO is the entity that allows the learner to make the jump through the Zone of Proximal Development, which is the gap between what the learner can learn on their own and what they could learn with help. It doesn’t always have to be a person who is the MKO, the internet and other knowledge resources could aptly stand in.

I apparently was a huge fan of social constructivism even before I knew what it was. This whole idea of working in groups, learning from mentors, and crowdsourcing solutions through competitive robotics is essentially what Vygotsky was getting at decades ago deep in Soviet Russia.

And in the end, I guess this post is about new applications of ideas that aren’t exactly new, but are still exciting. They just get brought up again and again through an idea, or in a song, or anywhere. It’s up to us to see them, upcycle them and put them to good use.



The other half of painting the upstairs includes finishing the bedroom. After finishing the loft, my painting resources (aka, my husband) would not be available to help for quite a while. So sometimes, you just have to do it yourself.

This is what I like to call sprint-painting. This occurred over a weekend where I didn’t have anything scheduled and my husband was scheduled for most of the weekend. Here’s how it went down:

Sprint 1 – Friday: 5pm. Get out of work, head home, raid the fridge, and move all your furniture into the middle of the room. Sand down the seafoam green.
Bedroom beforeBedroom before

Friday 10pm: Wash the layer of dust off, sleep in the middle of the room.

Sprint 2 – Saturday 8am: Wake up, find another set of painting clothes (aka not the dust covered ones), and paint the part that needs to dry first. In this case, that’s where the bed sits.
Bedroom midway

Sprint 3 – Saturday 11am: Shuffle stuff around and paint the other half while the first half dries. Head out and find lunch.

Sprint 4 – Saturday 3pm: Shuffle stuff back and paint the 2nd coat.

Sprint 5 – Saturday 8pm: Have your husband call and ask, “you painted? really?”

Really, even two coats of paint is totally doable even if the room is a good size and you plan it out well. Anyway, here’s the results!
Bedroom after!
The cleanest my table has ever been
Hellllllo closet space

And my personal favorite, with a little moooood lighting…
A little mood lighting

Oh hi.

So, a lot has happened in my absence. Let’s just say I was entertaining lots and lots of guests over the past few weeks and I haven’t been able to update you properly.

In any case, guess what happened to the upstairs of Chez Boucher!?! If you’re watching my Flickr, you already know…we painted. Now, our upstairs is different than most capes… Normally you would see two bedrooms upstairs, but the previous owners added a half dormer and knocked down the wall one one bedroom to make a loft. I wanted to paint these to feel like the master suite that I always imagined the upstairs to be…so they got the same color.

Something I’m experimenting in this house is of matched pairs. The kitchen and the living room are both shades of yellow, the spare bedroom and the office are both grey, and the upstairs has teal in the loft and the bedroom. I wanted the rooms to feel bigger, and plus it allows us to easily share accessories between the rooms.

More on the bedroom later, but for now, here’s the color of the loft…

View down the stairs


Now, with all the corners, it wasn’t without its oops…

Oops 1Oops 3

…but this was because we decided to paint it freehand as opposed to tape off the ceiling, since the ceiling needs to be painted anyway. So, I can live with the oops, because I love the walls and the fact that I can finally hang stuff up. More on that later, too.

I sure missed you guys. Can’t wait to update more soon!
View into the bathroom

Tackling the Yarrrrrrrrd as a Team

When I was test driving cars a few years back I wanted to try out Toyota’s new subcompact, the Yaris. This dealership was brave(?) enough to let my Mr and I test drive it on our own and bring it back when we were done. No sooner than the door closed did I start to hear giggling from the passenger seat.
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Cool things from the weekend

A weekend without competing with the robot! It’s amazing how many cool things can happen over the weekend when you’re not in an arena for most of it:

– After studying my butt off for most of the week, I took the Miller Analogies Test on Sat morning. I have a blog post brewing about it and I’ll let you know when it’s ready.

– We had a bunch of people over and we watched the Chesapeake Regional, followed by Sacramento. Chesapeake was fun to watch since we had a lot of friends competing. My high school team (currently now run by my dad) came in 2nd place and did an overall awesome job. Sacramento was good, but ran long. We literally watched half of a DVR’d episode of Wipeout while waiting between just one finals match.

– My Mr. made his first attempt at homemade espinaca. It needs some tweaking, but it’s definitely on the right track.

– In an attempt to get spring to get here already, we bought patio furniture! We also talked about our outdoor strategy for the spring/summer. Very very exciting stuff.

– I futzed with paint upstairs. We’re currently trying to find a happy medium between “too dark” (me) and “this looks like a bathroom” (the Mr.). I want something turquoise-ish. All the ones on the left are very blue – and the three from the right are my 2nd round of samples.

– We attempted to pick out tile for our kitchen backsplash again. More on that soon.

What did you do this weekend?