DIY Touchscreen Gloves–indulging my inner geek

My one coveted pair of touchscreen gloves, that came as swag in last year’s Run in the New Year 5k, were ‘accidentally’ carried off by my nephew at the end of that very cold but exciting night of college football back in November.  I’ve put him on notice that I will be coming to retrieve them.  But in the meantime, because I need to use my phone when bicycling and running in the cold, I experimented this week with diy options.

In searching online for diy touchscreen gloves, I learned about conductive thread, that can be purchased and knitted (or crocheted) onto the fingertips of an existing pair of gloves.  The reviews are mixed.  I have a hunch this is because people don’t make sure the thread goes all the way through to make good contact with both the fingertip and phone screen.  I considered buying a spool of the conductive thread, which would have made a lot of touchscreen gloves.  But then, I was at a Radio Shack store this past weekend, and happened to see this Graphite Conductive Glue.  radio-shack-conductive-glue

I forked over $6 for the tiny tube, and came home to try it out.  The result is, it was super easy and the gloves work great!

Here’s what I did:

First, I protected my fingers with ordinary invisible tape, because the label says the glue can be a skin irritant.

tape-fingers-rsr

Then I put the gloves on and carefully applied the glue in a circle on the forefinger and thumb contact points.  I used a circular motion to embed the glue into the fibers and make sure it would go through to the other side of the knitted fabric.  Conductivity from fingers to screen is the key, so a topical application of glue only on the outside of the glove won’t work.  glue-on-glove-rsr

To further insure that the glue would penetrate to the other side of the fabric, I pressed my fingers together.  I did this carefully, so as not to smudge the neat circles.  (I did smudge them a bit on the first pair.) embedding-glue-rsr

Once I was confident in my technique, I applied the glue to my most favorite old pair of mittens.  I’m happy with the result.  mittens-done-rsrThe glue took about an hour to dry to the touch.  Then I tested them on my tablet.  They work very well!  It’s now a few days later, and they are still working very well.

Here is a quick demo of my ‘new’ diy touchscreen gloves in action.

As you can see, I glued all of the fingers on the glove in the video.  I think this was a waste of glue.  I haven’t needed any fingers other than the thumb and forefinger for operating my phone and tablet.

About that skin irritation warning on the label…I suspect the warning applies only to the glue when wet.  I’ve sensed no irritation from the dried glue whatsoever.  But be careful; heed the warning and watch for signs of possible irritation on your own skin.  And follow the label instructions.  Here is the product MSDS sheet.

Additional notes:

  • The dried glue circles are hard, and not flexible.  I was able to restore enough of the fabric’s flexibility by gently bending and curling the dried glue tips.
  • After doing a total of five gloves so far, I think there is still a lot of glue in the tube.  So one $6 tube is enough to do quite a few gloves.
  • How the glue will hold up in rain, snow or the washing machine is still an open question.  I’ll report back when my gloves have been tested in wet conditions and laundering.

Can I do this?

I have to.  Every so often I need to find a new strategy for moving out the old and unnecessary stuff.  Where does it all come from?  I swear, I accumulate stuff even while on a purging mission.  Figuring out a preventative strategy, that keeps the stuff from entering my house in the first place would be the ultimate accomplishment.  Until then, I’m stuck with regular purging missions.  This looks like the one to try.  [40 Bags in 40 Days]  According to the ’40 Bags’ plan, I have until March 1 to form my strategy of purging a bag of stuff for each day of Lent.  Should I really wait that long?

Clutter is everywhere in my life at the moment.  In every room of my house, in my email inbox(es), in my ‘social media life’, in my office, and in my car.  My yard needs more of a cleanout before spring. And then there is my sewing project pile that is massively out of control.

Even my donation box is out of control.

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It is this book.  Which I realized is just more clutter.  Sigh.  I did read it and get inspired…that year.  Sadly, there are some more ‘decluttering’ books further down in the box from other years.  This year I resolved to purge the decluttering books, rather than adding another one to the stack.  This way, others can benefit from them now, as I no doubt did at the time.

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Everything in the box will go to Goodwill or the DAV, except for two items that will each go to separate drop off sites.

This knitting machine that I’d wanted my whole life has been the source of several experimenting attempts, but made only one complete garment in the entire two decades I’ve owned it.  *embarrassed*  It is going to the local non-profit creative studio.

knitting-machine-rsr

The warm boots will go straight to the homeless diner.  Someone needs a pair of warm boots.  Today.  boots-donation-rsr

Cleaning out is always a raw, unfiltered trip down memory lane.

“This shirt is the one I lent you,
And when you gave it back
It had a rip inside the sleeve
Where you rolled your cigarettes
It was the place I put my heart
Now look at where you put a tear
I forgave your thoughtlessness
But not the boy who put it there.”

It’s the start of the year, when a lot of purging goes on.  Very best wishes with your own projects.

Train, bus, bike, Uber, bike, Uber, train.

I had to spend several days in Topeka this week.  Normal routine would be to drive my car. It’s only a 2-hour drive.  But Topeka is on the Amtrak route…and has bike share.  And the weather wasn’t supposed to be too bad for January.  So I resolved to make the trip without my car.  Along with business attire, I packed my bike helmet, crushable all-weather jacket, fleece neck gator and good gloves.  In other words, these items again:

bike-cold-weather-gear-wAll went mostly okay.  The run down:

  • The city transit system got me from the train depot to my hotel, because my bag was too much to transport on a bike.  The Amtrak station attendant was great in helping me get to the right bus stop.  The bus drivers were all lovely and helpful.
  • Bike share got me from my hotel to meeting each morning.
  • Uber got me back to my hotel each evening.  (It was dark, the streets are not bike-friendly, and the bike share bikes don’t have lights.)
  • The weather was basically great the first two mornings.  The third morning was bitter cold (14F), but there was no wind, so I was fine biking in my layers, jacket, and fleece accessories.
  • The wait for the 12:29am train home at the end of my stay was several hours of heavy boredom.

Pros of going car-less:

  • Daily exercise and fresh air
  • Doing something fun and different

Cons of going car-less:

  • The time and hassle of adapting to the train schedule
  • The time and hassle of researching and adapting to the city bus schedule
  • The time and hassle of identifying bikable routes, and then finding out they weren’t so bikeable.  Topeka is substantially lacking in sidewalks and bike lanes.
  • Unpredictable weather

Will I do it again?  Certainly, when circumstances allow for it.  Do these alternatives to driving my personal car need to be expanded to be more useful?  Yes.  All of them.  Until then, most of the time I’ll still have to drive my car, alongside the tracks of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe.

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Janathon is on!

janathon-participant-logo

The Janathon format is simpler this year; daily exercise is to be posted on the Janathon Facebook page.  So, no repetitive daily posts here, to report that I ran, or bicycled, or did yoga.  But that is what I’ve been doing, and ta-da … week #1 is now in the books!  *Applause* to all Janathoners for keeping your daily exercise streak going!  Bicycling or yoga or both, has been my daily activity, since the New Year’s 5k.

My city escaped the snowfall this past week, but not the bitter cold temperatures.  I bundled up in layers for my bike commute, and stayed mostly warm against the single-digit temps.  But because I’m a wimp, I refused to ride against the wind.  Twice this week, I biked to work and then loaded my bike on the city transit bus for the ride home.  bike-cold-weather-gear-w

 

The music world has lost a beautiful singer-songwriter today, Peter Sarstedt.

A running start on 2017

Very happy New Year’s wishes to all!   Here’s to a fabulous 2017.  As for 2016…what the heck was that all about?  I wish peace to those who badly need it, and peace of mind to those who are worried about incredible changes on the horizon.

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It was calm and 32F last night at 11:45pm for the Run in the New Year 5k.  Because I’m a wimp, I dressed to stay warm while waiting to start.  Yes, I know the advice is to dress as if it were 20 degrees warmer, but I don’t care.  Being cold even for five minutes, is not my thing.  Which means starting to shed layers even before reaching the half mile point.

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The course followed our riverfront.

The race starts and ends at the Kansas Sports Hall of Famea super-inspiring place to look around before and after the run.

run-in-the-new-year-2016-17-waiting-to-start-rsr

Who could not be inspired by looking at Jim Ryun’s shoes and USA apparel?

jim-ryun-shoes-and-shirt-rsr

And beloved football coaching legacies, fambrough-rsr

and numerous other great Kansas athletes.

Back at home today, two kitchen appliances will not make the journey with me into 2017.

The bread machine died yesterday.  After I failed to break into it to try to repair it, it is now in the trash bin.

bread-machine-in-the-trash-rsr

This slow cooker that has never met my expectations or needs, is in the charity donation box.  horrible-old-crock-pot-rsr

The slow cooker has been replaced by my new love, the Instant Pot pressure cooker, to which I’ve pledged my devotion for 2017 and beyond.

instant-pot

Today I am listening to college basketball; cleaning out and reorganizing my home ‘office’ nook; and being inspired about 2017.

Whatever your goals and aspirations for the new year, I wish for you to enjoy the journey.  Yes, I believe in a better world.