Sunday, January 31, 2021

A Honeymoon at Troldhagen

In the previous century (1999), Doug and I were married and flew off to Norway for our honeymoon. Since we were all consumed with wedding preparations, I just booked a 10 day tour and let them decide which cities and sights to see. Edvard Grieg is a national treasure in Norway and thankfully, the tour included a visit to his former home, Troldhaugen. This statue of Grieg looks like a miniature, but I looked up his height and he was only 5 feet tall, so it's probably life-size, a tiny man!

Troldhaugen is a modest house, but you can feel the presence of the musical genius. A concert hall was built on the site, complete with a grass roof, one of my favorite things about Norway.

No chance of me trying the piano in the concert hall, but at least I got a photo.

I hunted down these photos in our photo album, but then I remembered that I had ScanCafe scan all my negatives a few years ago. Sure enough, I found these high quality images on my hard drive that I had forgotten about.

Twenty-six years and a pandemic later, I finally learned my favorite Grieg Lyric Piece, Wedding Day at Troldhaugen (as opposed to this post, A Honeymoon at Troldhaugen). 

For an authentic recording of all the Lyric Pieces, check out Leif Ove Andsnes playing them on Grieg's 1892 Steinway at Troldhaugen.

Looking forward to traveling again after the pandemic!

Sunday, January 03, 2021

Enabling SSL on Blogger with You Are Not Authorized Error

Everyone knows that SSL encryption has been required of all browsers since 2017. If you don't have it nowadays, you get the dreaded Not Secure warning next to the URL. 

But what if you have a blog hosted on Blogger with a custom domain name? Back then, it was costly to purchase SSL and even trickier to implement (which I've done for my work company). In 2019, Google started to provide free SSL for Blogger blogs. When I got around to implementing it, I got the dreaded "You are not authorized to use this domain" error. Clearly the custom domain name works and I own it, why the error?

After much searching, I found that I set up this blog custom domain many eons ago (10+ years) and Google as since changed the DNS configuration for Blogger custom domains. The only way I got this to work was to first remove the custom domain from Blogger and then reimplement it with the new CNAME. So from the beginning...

  1. Log into your domain provider. I use GoDaddy, so screen shots will be shown from there.
  2. Go to your Blogger menu and click Settings on the left.
  3. Scroll down to Publishing and click on Custom Domain.
  4. Click Delete (I know this is scary, it's just temporary...)

  5. Now add the domain name back to the custom domain. This time, you will see an error with some small print saying how to set up the DNS configuration with your domain provider. Copy the CNAME information down in Notepad. This info is unique to your blog.
  6. Go back to your domain provider and navigate to the DNS settings for your website. In GoDaddy, it's Manage DNS under the 3 dots.

  7. If you already have the custom domain, you should already have the CNAME entry for www to Click Add at the bottom and add the CNAME with all the cryptic characters. It should look something like this when you're done.

  8. Go back to Blogger and add the Custom Domain name again. It should work this time.
  9. Now scroll down to HTTP section and enable HTTPS availability.

  10. The status will change to Available shortly. Try to access your site with the https:// prefix. It will take 15 minutes to an hour to become effective. Be patient!
  11. After you can access your site over https://, then you can enable the HTTP redirect.
  12. Enjoy your free SSL!

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Zipline Platform from Solidworks to Reality

Years ago, I installed a zipline between trees for the kids to play on. Since we didn't want to install a pool or get a trampoline, I decided on a swing between trees and zipline so we'd have outdoor playthings that were completely different from everyone else.

For years we just climbed a step ladder to get onto the zipline, which was ok, but not exactly safe or convenient. 

This year, as part of our home improvement quarantine activities, I finally designed a zipline platform. Having just learned Solidworks in the past year, I whipped up this design in a matter of hours! Here's the model, next to the modeled tree. The bar in the back is a handrail to steady yourself when standing on the platform.

And the assembly drawing:

There's a bill of materials for assembly. The different lengths of lumber of simply different configurations of the 2x4 or 2x3 base part.

We were lucky to have leftover decking and some lumber, but needed to purchase more 2x4s. Here's the cut list for determining how much lumber to buy.

This shopping trip started a Snapchat Home Depot meme for Dova. Apparently none of her girlfriends' moms take them Home Depot. Geez, who's gonna raise the next generation of Rosie the Riveter?! Also, straight 2x4s are are to find!

We call it our big life guard chair. We ended up cutting off 6" off the bottom of the legs because the platform was too high. Then later we decided to raise the starting point of the zipline anyway, so that wasn't necessary. It's secured by to the tree by lag bolts using the extra 36" 2x4s (6th row above) attached to a 2x4 the same width of the tree attached to the stand. 

If we were to do it again, I'd make the steps up to the top at an angle so that it's not as tippy. Usually we have someone stand of the backside to keep it steady, although it does stay put without it.

Here's master builder Doug testing out the platform:

And now that Dova is a teen, it's a big hit with S'mores night in the dark!

Thursday, October 01, 2020

Hancock Shaker Village Cross Stitch


It only takes a pandemic for me to finish a cross-stitch!

A decade ago in 2010, we first saw this painting of The Tree of Life, "Seen and painted by Hannah Cohoon. City of Peace Monday July 3rd 1854", from The Andrews Collection at Hancock Shaker Village. I was fascinated by the design which felt so balanced and abundant.

Tree of Life - Shaker - painted by Hannah Cohoon 

The following year, I posted about the cross-stitch version of this painting in their store, but none were in stock. I believe it was around $30 so I wasn't about to buy it anyway. I took this quick photo and then painstakingly mapped my own pattern in Excel, adding a title and contrasting border.

Hancock Cross Stitch

For years, the embroidery hoop only allowed the letters “cock shaker villa” to be shown from the words "Hancock Shaker Village”. It was our nickname for the piece.

Now it is finally complete! I've shared the pattern here. The printable pattern has the standard 10 stitch grid (best viewed at 50% zoom). The only embroidery floss colors I purchased were the greens, brown and blue, listed on the last tab. The light coral and red were taken from left over floss. The cross-stitch fits in a 8.5"x11" frame nicely.

It's nice to finally get these crafting projects done!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Crochet Piano Keyboard


I've finally made good use of my craft time and completed this 88-key crochet piano scarf. It's based on this patter from Crochet Spot. It's not exactly the size of a real keyboard, as the keys are a little too wide and too short.

But it does make for a nice conversation piece if you keep the right side out at all times (the back side just has extra black and white crochet stripes).

And you can get this fantastic empow(her) shirt at at our local Indigo Store. RIP RBG.