Now that I've finally gotten all of the parts it's time to see if I can jam them together through mostly guesswork + a vague idea of what soldering is that has been garnered from random youtube videos.
First I assembled the Pi Plate. This was my first time soldering anything ever and it shows:
Still, I got much better at soldering things towards the end:
Ok, not really. But in the end all of the ports seem to be alive and kicking and no electrical fires have broken out so what more could I ask for?
This was also my first attempt at circuit-making. Retrospectively a breadboard would have been a worthwhile investment but the thing pictured below gives surprisingly accurate temperature readings (within .1 degrees of my real thermometer) to my RPi even if it's a weird mess of wires and floating resistors.
I also went ahead and attached the powerswitch tail which was remarkably easy to hook up. After heat-shrinking up the temperature sensor here is the completed product. I haven't decided yet on a mechanism for physically raising and lowering the teabasket into the pot so suggestions are welcome if you've got any ideas. I'd like to avoid having things that can't be powered off the Pi's 5v just because I want to limit the number of wires/size of my final product as much as possible (so most servos are probably out).
Now, with the device below I'm going to move on to the next phase of TeaPi-making: learning python!