Posts Tagged With: repurposing

ScrapHappy May 2021: Candle with Care


Lights out!

Lights out!

I am all for the right to repair, as my reader will know. Give me a broken thing and I will try to mend it. Give me a working thing and I’ll probably break it. Give me a decent single malt, and I’ll stop breaking stuff.

Sometimes though, things can’t be fixed because the manufacturer has inadvertently, or advertently, made them unfixable. And so it was with this pair of quite funky lamps from Mother-of-Snail. These lamps, when they worked, were touch sensitive so when you brushed them with your finger they giggled like a small child. Oh, wait, that’s me. You could cycle through “light off”, “light a bit on”, “light quite a bit on”, and “Ah! My eyes! My eyes! on”, just by touching the base. Then a power glitch one day meant you could only use the “light off” setting.

I took the pair of similarly-afflicted lamps to my workshop/office/lair/scrapheap and replaced the electronic component that was most likely to have been affected (it’s a thing called a triac, but you already knew that, didn’t you?). Sadly, that didn’t do the trick because the little custom-made silicon chip that controls the whole thing had also decided that the power glitch was a perfect excuse for a permanent holiday.

Nobody's bolt but mine

Nobody’s bolt but mine

I decided to de-evolve the lamps to candle holders. The threaded bolt that held the bulb holder into the body of the lamp was removable and so I glued a screw as shown to push the candle into. I was going to use something pointed but then realised how dangerous that might be for passing spaniels/terriers/Snails.


DIY candle holder

There are a few bits left over. There will be some electronic components that are still useable and the bulb holders are fine (although I have no use for them at all unless I build a lamp, which is unlikely). There are the little boxes that held the circuitry that might come in handy.

...and that's what lamps are made of.

…and that’s what lamps are made of.

I may add some extra support (possibly by melting wax) around the base of the candle at some point.

And now, by the light of two candles, I am off to finish some lovely single malt.

Another two, and we have the basis for a very funny sketch

Another two, and we have the basis for a very funny sketch



These ScrapHappy posts are curated by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) ScrapHappy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month. I have sneaked one or two non-fabric-based ScrapHappys in when no one was looking!

Lots of other happy scrappers contribute too, so check them out:

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon (that’s me!), HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Noreen,
Bear, Carol, Preeti and Edith

Categories: recycling, repair, ScrapHappy | Tags: , , , | 26 Comments

ScrapHappy January 2021: Let there be light!

Fully working bright light

Fully working bright light

First, a ScrapHappy New Year to you all!

To start the year, here is an easy ScrapHappy mend of an LED lamp which the Snail uses for various crafty activities. In fact, we have two of these lamps and, although they weren’t cheap, they are well made and very useful. They feature a ring of LEDs as well as a magnifier in the top, and will run from batteries or a mains adapter. The Snail uses the mains adapter for both – the batteries are housed in a detachable box which I may well use for something else one day (watch this space!).

This particular lamp started to be like me – a bit dim. This is a strange thing for LEDs to do as they aren’t like incandescent bulbs that have separate parts that can fail independently (so one of several filaments might break but the others would keep on shining). It probably meant that the power supply wasn’t doing what it was supposed to, so I started there. A quick check with my rusty voltmeter told me the truth – the supply was only half decent. It was producing a little over 3 volts rather than 6 volts to be precise.

Half the supply it was

Half the supply it was

In the last 20 years, I reckon every household has probably had about a million* mains power supplies that have long since become pointless because the device they were supposed to power has broken. Many have (shamefully) been put in landfill, but many reside to this day in old boxes at the backs of cupboards/wardrobes/sheds. Mine reside in my office/workshop/studio, liberally scattered across shelves/boxes/drawers.

Could I find one that was suitable?

Could I find one that was suitable? - SPOILER ALERT!

Could I find one that was suitable? – SPOILER ALERT!

Yay! I could! This is the supply from an old set-top box, for receiving the Freeview digital signals (for my non-UK reader, Freeview is the UK’s contribution to the vast thousands of utterly unwatchable TV channels around the globe). We stopped using the box it powered about ten or so years ago but *I KNEW* it was worth keeping.

Of course, it didn’t have the right bit on the end of the wire so I had to chop the end of the defunct power supply and solder it onto the “new” supply. Once done, voila! LEDs that are properly bright. And perhaps a hint of a smile in the magnifier too? Perhaps…


One happy lamp


*  I checked with Twitter – it is a million.

Categories: recycling, repair, ScrapHappy | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

Weekend 2 – Palletgate 4

Drilling Holes in Palletgate - that'll teach it!

Drilling Holes in Palletgate – that’ll teach it!

With still-aching limbs, and an extra hour in bed as we moved to GMT (proper time), I trepidly approached my other task of the weekend – the repair of (cue halloweeny-type scary music) PALLETGATE.

Ex-hurricane Gorblimey didn’t only vent its anger on the willow hedge. It also encouraged certain nails in Palletgate’s construction to make various bids for freedom, leaving the gate looking decidedly weak.

Fortunately, I had already assessed the situation and, realising that I couldn’t simply ignore it and hope it would fix itself*, I had been and purchased roofing bolts and plates (the flat metal kind rather than the good ones you eat yummy stuff off). Although the bolts and plates had come from our nearest town (Lampeter, the first town in the UK with a loyalty card scheme) I actually had to buy more bolts from my local big chain-seller of such things in Reading when I realised that the Lampeter bolts were too short (bought based on the scientific strength of “well, they look about right”).

Good job we kept the old gate!

Good job we kept the old gate!


Spot the slight problem

Spot the slight problem

Trying to remove a screw that's gone to pieces

Trying to remove a screw that’s gone to pieces








Actually, the whole operation went pretty smoothly except for the one wrinkle that you have to have (otherwise it wouldn’t be Sunday morning DIY – or any morning for that matter): one of the screws holding on one of the hinges snapped in two in the screw hole. There then followed 20 minutes of trying to remove enough wood to allow the remains of the screw to be unscrewed but not so much that the hole would be too big to fit a new screw. I couldn’t move the hinge – that would involve drilling more holes in the house and readers of Palletgate will know how keen I am not to do that.

But the DIY gods were clearly on my side (for once – I put it down to guilt on their side), and I managed to remove the remnant whilst leaving the hole usable. What’s more, thesnailofhappiness found a screw left by the plumber when he fitted a new shower the other week, a screw that was perfect for the job.

The Finishing Touches

The Finishing Touches

Mr Snail Contained

Mr Snail Contained










I also added an extra bit to the anti-wobbly device to stop the mesh flapping around: another bit of old pallet was pressed into service for that.

I re-fitted the gate (with a certain sense of relief and a spanner) and, amazingly, the job was done. I don’t think the chickens were too impressed though.

Now I think I have earned my coffee – and it is still Sunday morning!

I thought he'd take MUCH longer than that!

I thought he’d take MUCH longer than that!


* This has worked once. After I replaced the shower about 7 years ago, I replaced the bit the shower head sits on (oh, I don’t know the technical term. The shower bar thingy, you know.) This involved drilling holes through the tiles, which I looked up how to do properly. It worked like a charm- the sort of charm that means the holes you drill are perfect in every way except their location. I bodged it, and only twice did the whole thing fall off the wall. I just didn’t know how to fill the holes and I was too nervous to drill new holes because I’d probably get the locations right but shatter every tile within a half mile radius of our bathroom. So I ignored it and, sure enough, when we had a new shower replaced by a professional, he was a professional at attaching things through tiles too. I suspect I would wait longer than 7 years to have the gate fixed.

Categories: General silliness, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , , | 15 Comments

Create a free website or blog at