Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Word Clock

A while back, Lauren told me about a clock made of words. It sounded interesting so I looked into them to see about what they would cost, and was surprised when it was in the $1000 range. Well, being the Computer Scientist that I am I thought to myself, "You can make that". It also just so happened that I was given an Arduino for Christmas in 2011. For those of you who don't know what an Arduino is, it is a small microcontroller that is capable of doing things like this clock.

I got started with the coding, and after a few revisions I finally got it to work, and count up the seconds correctly.

Unfortunately, that was the easy part. Next came the prototyping on the hardware. First I used a single light for each of the words (all I had was red and green).

Next It was time to design the case. I used a shadow box from hobby lobby, and it has been perfect (except for me running out of room). It had a 12" x 12" piece of glass on which we put a piece of vinyl cut out by a Silhouette. Thanks to my sister Tarin for designing the clock face for us! She's definitely more creative than me!

I used cardboard to hold the LEDs and punched them through the back to hook in the transistors. Then I wired all (-) ends together, and all the (+) ends of each word together. It turned into a wired mess!

That's it! Now it's sitting hooked up to our wall on our end table and running like a champ! There's still a few kinks to work out such as:
  1. The time isn't totally accurate. I think I need to work on making it keep track of time better, but we're going to watch it over the next few days to see how it behaves.
  2. It doesn't all fit! I have a few ideas to fix this, but in the meantime, I kinda think seeing the innards of the clock is interesting. But I doubt Lauren does.
This has been a fun project! If you want to give it a try, let me know. I'd be happy to share the details!


Here's a rough rundown of the costs (Most parts come in packs of more than needed, so here's the estimate for the actual parts):
  1. Arduino - $25 (there are much cheaper versions)
  2. Shadow Box - $15
  3. Shift Register Chips x 3 - $7.50 ($2.50 ea)
  4. LED's and Resistors x 65 - $7.50 ($0.11 ea)
  5. Wires - $10
  6. Vinyl - $2.50
So, all in all it was about $65 to put this whole thing together. It sure beats $1000

***EDIT 2***

Lauren got 3 cuts, and we both got burned by the soldering iron :)

Pinterest: More Shoes

Remember when I made baby shoes? Well, I made some more! If you want to make some of your own, follow the link on my OTHER BLOG POST. I'm officially addicted to making these tiny, precious shoes. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Miscellaneous Pictures

I know I've gone a little blog-crazy lately. I'm almost caught up! Here are a bunch of pictures that didn't really fit in any other category...

Me and Claire hanging out at Grandma's house. 

Heather helping Kathie make headbands for her baby girl. 

We made rockets over the break. Here's Tyler piecing his together. 

Gavin and Griffin ready to launch their rockets

Richie and Claire at dinner

Grandpa and Claire taking a nap together

Playing Canasta

Claire got her first pedicure over the break. Aren't her toes the cutest?

All the Gwilliam grandbabies. There wasn't a picture of all 4 of them smiling, so I chose the one where Claire was smiling. :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New Year's Eve!

New Year's Eve was great! We all rung in the new year with plenty of games and food. 

The boys playing wii.

We all had a silly string war.

The victims...

We celebrated New Year's at 8:00 and 12:00. The boys were so cute with their silly string and horns. 

Tyler, Amy and Lily

We played some Bingo.

We played a game called Quelf. It was hilarious to watch. Here are some of the challenges that were required from the game. 

Happy New Year!

Christmas Break: Gwilliam Family Party

My aunt and uncle planned this year's Gwilliam Family party. We had dinner and games at their house, and then went to Thanksgiving Point to see the lights. 

Griffin didn't like that Landon was taking a nap on the floor and promptly woke him up. 

We don't get to see extended family very often, so it was fun to catch up with everyone!

Christmas Break: Jazz Game

A tradition that my familiy has started is to go to a Jazz game every Christmas. We rent a room so the little grandkids have room to run around and play. They also serve a yummy dinner before the game, and nachos and popcorn at half time!

Claire obviously loved the game. 

The boys at the game. 

Lily and Amy

Mommy, Daddy and Baby

All four grandbabies

Claire wouldn't tear her eyes away from the game long enough for a picture

Lily, Amy and Kathie

It was a fun game!

Christmas Break: Papa's Birthday

A tradition that my family has had for years is to have a Christmas Party on December 23rd, my Papa's birthday. We started off the day with decorating Gingerbread houses. 

Richie and Landon working hard on their houses. 

We used our gingerbread houses as centerpieces for our dinner that night. 

My parents started a tradition when we were little to give us a new book each year. This year, we got The Christmas Train. 

Part of our tradition is to also have Santa come visit. He always brings us new pajamas or t-shirts. Check out my MOM'S BLOG to see all the funny shirts we got.

Richie and Santa

Claire loved her first experience with Santa. She immediately tried to rip off his beard and she waited a few minutes before crying. 

All the excitement of the day wore little Claire out.