Showing posts with label diy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label diy. Show all posts

April 5, 2022

Twenty-Post Challenge: My Favorite Influence

This is the sixth post in a twenty-post series blogging challenge. The challenge is to write about somebody who has influenced you and name the 10 things you love most about them.

My Parents

Dad, mom, and me in late 1984.

I am choosing to write about my parents, Mark and Linda. My wonderful parents have greatly influenced me for the following reasons:

  1. They’re giving of themselves and their resources. Not only did my father and mother give over twenty years serving and moving for the US military, but in their second careers and into retirement, they continue to give selflessly of themselves. They serve at the food bank and independently get food for others, they volunteer at home build sites for low income people, they are always donating and finding supplies to give to the local charities, they find blankets and supplies for the animal shelters, and also their friends and neighbors know them for being giving to them too. My parents love to help other people (and animals).
  2. They’re creative. My mom is the most talented artist and my dad is super smart with anything mechanical, with building things, and systems.
  3. They’re resourceful. Everything in their house stays immaculate and is mostly amazing self- diy renovations. They are both quick witted in solving problems of all kinds.
  4. They’re unwavering in values and character. They’re so solid in their beliefs and how they choose to live an honorable, integrityful life.
  5. They’re loving. They are kind and fair. They have been there for each other for almost forty years and will always be there as they can for me and my brother (and our families).
  6. They were great parents and now great grandparents. My brother and I benefited from their wisdom and influence; and now as grandparents they pass on their life wisdom.
  7. They have great taste. In decor, in life choices, and in conservation of self, they both hold strong to their understanding of what should be in their lives and leave no sympathy for what’s left out.
  8. They’ve traveled the world. Between the two of them and together, they’ve traveled to so many places: Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, Central America and the Islands, Alaska and Hawaii. They have experienced so many different kinds of people around the world.
  9. They’re thoughtful of others, neighbors, volunteering, with their friends. They celebrate birthdays with special effort, celebrate achievements, and try to make life special for others around them.
  10. They’re MY parents. Firstly, I am thankful to have parents and I realize that not everyone had the blessing of two parents living together while growing up. Second, they are a great influence because they spent time parenting me as a child and continue to provide guidance when needed as an adult. I am truly blessed to have them as my parents.

The original challenge is from Writer’s Write.

#amberclee #20postchallenge #love

February 11, 2022

Twenty-Post Challenge: Where I Work

This is the first post in a twenty-post series blogging challenge.

Although the twenty-post challenge by Writer’s Write was created with “beginning bloggers” in mind, I realized that on my blog I’ve never really addressed any of the topics suggested for prompts and that maybe my readers would like to know some of these details about me and my work. Many of my posts are largely impersonal with what I choose to share with the world online. I’m just not that big into sharing my personal life or activities blasted online for everyone to see (and track, thanks big data).

Today's challenge is to share a photo of my workspace and to tell why I like my space and a little about what I do there. As you may know from my other posts, I currently work completing technical writing and instructional design projects for several different clients, so having a quiet space to meet, write, and design is essential to working effectively.

Below you can see my work area for writing and other projects located in the spare bedroom. I am thankful to have a dedicated space to work in. Often times, you’ll find me writing in the morning in this quiet, peaceful, and inspiring space.

This is my dedicated work space. Photo by Amber Lee.

Many times when I write, I prefer to use my smart phone. It’s mobile and I often have ideas on the go, so using my phone allows me to record notes whenever or wherever an interesting thought or topic comes to me. It’s also quicker for me to dictate my thoughts and use the voice-to-text phone feature: sometimes my thoughts come so fast that I can’t type them out fast enough, so I speak them. I can then go back and correct any mis-heard words or awkward phrasing, which I will usually complete at my computer.

My desk and chair are a set that a friend gave me many years ago. She has since passed, so it’s special to me that I can use the desk she gave to me to be creative and write at today. The clean, heavy desk has a great marble top and a retracting space underneath for my keyboard and mouse. It is a very nice set and I remember my friend as I use it, so I hope it will provide me with a working surface for years to come.

I built the big “A” letter you see setting on the desk about five years ago for a graduate school club recruitment event at the University of South Florida. The letter is made of styrofoam and foam board glue-gunned together with lots of masking tape for sides, which I then painted the entire creation in a wash-out blue pattern from reused paint. It was really fun to make and DIY'ing the project saved me a lot of money for a fun event prop.

I also have a fun Rick and Morty psychedelic wall tapestry that adds color to the background of my space. Rick and Morty is a fun adult cartoon. I really like color, especially blues and purples, which is prominent in my space.

On my desk, I have my computer, my whiteboard, my planner, and my notebook. I use these tools every day to keep organized and produce work on a consistent schedule. Many times I’ll write notes by hand if I’m having writers block.

You’ll also notice some extra equipment on the desk. We use this area for DJ’ing music, so there is a mixing board, speakers, and some fun lights that can be turned on. Writing and instructional design by day; DJ’ing by night - this space gets lots of use!

Using the DJ mixing board and fun colored lights at night. Photo by Amber Lee.

Underneath my desk, I keep a foot massager, a foot stool, and a soft rug: I like to be comfy when I work, as you can see by the pillows too. Ergonomics are important and this desk setup helps me keep from being in pain after being on a computer for several hours a day.

You might wonder why there aren't any little plants growing in this sunlit space. The answer is my cats: I have an older cat that loves to eat anything that resembles a plant, including fake silk plants. He then gets sick. So no plants in my house, unfortunately.

I hope this gives you a little peek into how I work every day. See you on the next post!

The original challenge is from Writer’s Write

#amberclee #20postchallenge

February 4, 2022

DIY Combined Aquaponics and Hydroponics Gravity-fed Food and Fish Production System

Let me tell you a little bit about a cool aquaponics and hydroponics food production system that I’ve built on a small scale several times using very simple parts and with great success. A combined aquaponics and hydroponics gravity-fed food and fish production system is just what it sounds like- you grow plants and fish together in one system. There is no dirt or soil for the plants, but instead, they are fed from the water containing fish waste that is recycled through the system. In turn, the nutrients released by the plants and the ecosystem that is created will begin to feed your fish as well as to sustain a healthy oxygenated water environment.


The first DIY aquaponics/ hydroponics system in production.

For the system displayed in the photos, you will need one standard aquarium pump to move the water from the bottom container or holding tank up to the very top container. The system then filters the water through the plants utilizing gravity to move through each catchment level in the system.

For plant growing medium, you can use small stones, pebbles, or the clay hydroponic growing medium. Hydroponic clay growing mediums are expensive so I usually opt to use small stones and pebbles from any standard landscape supply. Use larger stones by the drainage tubes and smaller pebbles in your planting area. Do not use any dirt or sand in your plant beds as this will clog your system and is unnecessary. The plants and pebbles will filter the water adequately and provide an ecosystem for your plants to thrive in.

In the first DIY system built, I used goldfish because they are very hearty fish and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t kill them easily. I’ve built three systems sense and I’m now using catfish because this is a fish I would like to grow and eat myself. Catfish do not require a lot of heating unless it gets to freezing temperatures so in my climate they work well. Tilapia are also a good choice if you can provide heat in the winter and trout is a great choice to grow in colder climates. You might start with goldfish to start your system, but do not grow goldfish with any of these other fish types. Goldfish waste can be toxic to other fish.

Monitor your combined aquaponics and hydroponics system closely for health. Watch for stress points like when you first add the fish and the plants are small or when the plants are large and you harvest the fish it will stress the plants. Look for signs of stressors, such as wilting or sickly plants, cloudy water, dying fish, or too much algae growing. You want some algae and bacteria and a healthy system because this is what will eventually feed your fish. When first starting your system, you will need to feed your fish, but as your system matures, the fish will begin to feed on the algae and particulates created.

Arrange your growing containers with the plants planting bed at the top then have that feed into a containment area in the middle for an overflow, and lastly at the bottom of the gravity-fed system have your fish. Consider paying a little bit more for the plastic irrigation tubing that is meant for drinking water pipes (PVC). You’ll need to slowly add water and run the system for several days without any plants and fish to make sure that your bacteria environment is starting to grow in a healthy way. Do not add any chemicals to the water for the fish, as these chemicals will be absorbed by your plants that you're adding. Also, consider light needs: install an indoor growing lamp over the plants at the top or place everything in front of a sunny window.


Small systems can be built without need for a pump, but water quality must be monitored even more carefully.

A combined Aquaponics and hydroponics gravity-fed food and fish growing system is really not as complicated as it seems. Once you start building your own DIY system and see how the fish and plants feed each other, you’ll be hooked too. The best part is when you begin harvesting your fresh fish and vegetables right from your DIY system. Happy growing!


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