A Smattering of Stuff

Quick unrelated note: It seems that my pictures are appearing sideways on some platforms. I am working to fix it and in the meantime, I apologize.

Hello! Hoping 2019 is treating you well so far. Due to weather and the ongoing garage insulation project, I’ve been working on a smattering of stuff. It’s all good, and I am getting some small things done, but I know what my next project will be and I’m super anxious to get started on it. I definitely need Mother Nature to cooperate a bit more.

I’m trying to expand the food repertoire a little and cooked a new recipe from Pinch of Yum, Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs. It was amazing. I loved it and ate way too much, and wanted there to be way more leftovers than there were. Somehow I didn’t end up with as much sauce as I think I should have, so will make more next time.

Did I mention that I LOVED THIS DISH?!?!?

An exciting shop related item is that I bought a random orbital sander. I opted for corded vs adding to my cordless collection for two reasons. When I picked up the RIDGID cordless sander, it was heavy. Once I added the battery, it would have been WAY heavy. I didn’t think I would be able to manage it for an extended period of time. Once I made that decision, I tried the grips of the corded sanders. I have pretty small hands, so it matters. I chose the DEWALT because the grip was the best and they have a great reputation.

I follow Gator Finishing on Instagram and really enjoy their feed, so decided to support them with my first sandpaper disc purchase.

Since we built the lumber storage rack, it has been used as a quick repository. We’ve tossed many (mostly smaller) pieces of wood in there along the way, and the disorganization shows. I decided to use some of the wicked weather condition time to try to inventory and organize the cart. I did a post on Instagram asking any woodworkers out there how specific they were with inventory, but only received a few responses.

After I pulled all of the smaller pieces out, I actually measured and logged most of them. Maybe that’s weird. I did figure out that I have a bunch of the wood for my next bigger build already, which is fun.

Two final items. Our headboard, and part of Tim, were featured in a Weatherwash ad. I was ridiculously excited.

And last, I’ve been taking part in the Yoga With Adriene 30 Day Dedicate program. It was a recommendation from the youngest, and randomly echoed by a few other friends. I have really enjoyed it, more than I ever would have thought. Fargo has been doing way better than me in his stretching and relaxation though.

Happy 2019!

Writing a blog post has been on the to-do list for way too long. Although I’ve spent time watching woodworking youtube and Instagram videos, I’ve really kept pretty busy with projects that pushed the blog further and further down the list. Today seems like a good day to cross “blog post” off the list…til I add it back on there tomorrow.

The kiddos were just home for a week+ visit, which was so very wonderful. It was a year since they had been home, and it will likely be a year til their next trip back, so we all tried hard to appreciate squeezing each other. Hopefully we’ll see them somewhere on the West Coast during the year. Saying goodbye NEVER gets easier and I’ve allowed myself a few sad days since they left. We kept forgetting to take a really nice family picture while they were here, so here are our “smile through the tears” goodbye airport selfies.

When your kiddos live on the other side of the country, and you only see them three times/year, it’s hard. 2018 is when it really hit me that they’re not coming back. I’ve been blogging about empty nest for three years, but this is the year it really hit me, hard. They love where they live, they love the people who surround them. Unfortunately, where they live is not a place where Tim and I could ever see ourselves living. A lot of the past year (and probably the next few years) will be spent trying to figure out what this means for us.

I am proud of myself for the fact that through this tough realization, I was able to keep moving forward with my Hobby Adventures. Under the “better late than never” category, I found woodworking. I love it! If you’ve followed along here, you’ll know that with Tim’s help/knowledge, youtube/Instagram tutorials and inspiration, websites like Shanty-2-Chic, Ana White, Rogue Engineer, and more, there is a new workbench, miter saw cart, lumber storage cart, bed, nightstands, corbel lights, and more in the house.

This new found passion has led to the garage insulation project. Yesterday, we finished the ceiling insulation which was a HUGE accomplishment. We even managed to do it in one day!! Tim was amazing with how he maneuvered around in that tight space, something I tried to do and had small space anxiety.

I was in my protective gear the entire time.

The garage door insulation is done.

And one of two exterior walls.

Unfortunately, everything we moved is along the remaining wall, so it will take time to clear it all away and finish. Then we still need to mud/tape and organize EVERYTHING. After yesterday’s accomplishment though, I’m feeling really excited about it all. Can’t wait to finish because (as previously mentioned) I want to make SO MANY THINGS!!

Lots of changes are happening in 2019 which I’m really excited about. I will definitely try hard to take you along on this journey of learning. Thank you to everyone, especially my family and friends, who have supported me with words and actions, along the way.

Happy New Year to all, and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2019. Hoping we all have a year of fun, adventure, opportunity, achievement and education.

Nightstand Love

As I mentioned in a prior post, I built two nightstands. I built them mostly by myself, once Tim helped me get started.I am really proud of myself and I learned a lot through these builds. I used Ana White’s Mini Farmhouse Bedside Table plan with some modifications.

Some of this is repeat from the previous nightstand post, so feel free to skip if you read that one. I used 1×6 tongue and groove for the tops because this is what we used on the headboard and I wanted it to match. We used 1×8 tongue and groove, smooth side up, for the bottom shelves. If you viewed the original plan, you would see that there was a board set in between the horizontal supports. I just didn’t think that it would match the look I wanted. I probably could have used the jig saw on the originally called for shelf boards to set them on top of the horizontal supports, like I did with the the tongue and groove, but I’m really happy with it this way.

I used the same Weatherwash PINED stain, Clear Maintenance Oil, and Flat Varnish that I used on the bed frame. The color is beautiful. The second one came out richer/darker, which could be from using a new can of stain, or variations in the wood we purchased. I love them both!

Here are some finished pictures I took with the fancy camera.

The only thing I’m pondering about doing differently with my next build, is staining before assembling. Even having a tiny brush nearby didn’t make me feel like I could get stain into all of the joint areas. This may be because not all of my joints are dead on. So, assuming I improve in that area, it wouldn’t be an issue in the future. I think I’ll try it anyway.

 

Insulating the Shop…I Mean, the Garage…(with bonus ice storm pics)

We’re doing it! We’re really doing it!! Besides being darn close to breaking the record for wettest year ever, Mother Nature pretty much skipped Fall and went right to Winter. It’s been way too cold to do much work in the shop (we’ll just go with “shop” even though it’s really a garage, okay?). After much research, and thanks to Tim’s support, we are hoping that adding insulation will provide more uses/opportunities for the shop space.

In all honesty, the biggest hurdle for this whole project is the overwhelming amount of crap we have stored out there. It’s just been the repository for the “I don’t know where else to put this” stuff. It really is time to sort through it all anyway, but wowza, it’s a big job. There’s not just stuff on the ground around the perimeter, but on shelves on the walls, on shelving units, and on random nails everywhere.

We already replaced the side door (in picture above) a few weeks ago, because that had been on the list even before the insulation decision. At this point, we’re not investing in a new garage door, so we’ll add insulation to the existing door. You can also see above, that there is already drywall on the ceiling. On the plus side, less drywall to worry about, on the minus side, we need to crawl up above it and add insulation from the top. It’s not a big space to move around in.

It took a few hours, but we cleared off about 15 feet of wall, got a few rolls of insulation and got started.

Once again, I was ridiculously excited that I was doing this myself. Tim helped later after he got a few more things on his list done, but I jumped right in solo. It took way less time to put the insulation up than it did to clear the wall space.

As soon as weather and time permit, we’ll get wall board for this section and put up shelves. The plan is to organize as we move stuff over and then work on opening up the next section. We have another third of this wall, the back wall, around the garage door, and the ceiling to go. Tim uses the garage space for a lot of projects as well. I really think we’ll both benefit from this undertaking, with the added bonus of cleaning out more stuff we forgot we had and don’t need.

I have a random add on to this post. Last Saturday, we had a freezing rain event and I was able to get a few pretty cool shots with the fancy camera.

Very glad we were home and indoors for this weather. It’s super pretty to look at…from inside the house.

Nightstands So Far

Hi all. Been keeping super busy here. I’m building nightstands, painting the basement, trying to be a little creative on my own by using scrap wood to make decorative, rustic trays and centerpiece boxes. I have been so inspired by the makers/woodworkers I follow on Instagram. Although I have a mile long list of things I want to make, I’m feeling pretty good about the productivity level, and I’m never without something to work on.

I have one nightstand assembled, thanks to help from Tim. I think Fargo approves.

We used the same tongue and groove for the top that we used for the headboard. We thought that would tie it all together nicely.

One of the most challenging parts for me, was to cut the bottom shelf out around the legs. I didn’t think the original design for the shelf really fit the look I am going for, so I used upside down, wider tongue and groove. Out came the jigsaw, and…

Not too shabby, eh? SQUEEEEEE!!!!!

The other challenging part was building that drawer. It was a first drawer build for Tim too, but we figured it out together. I know it’s repetitive, but I was ridiculously excited when the drawer fit well.

I’m working on the second nightstand now. I’ve done all of the assembly work so far on the second one SOLO! I’m really proud of this, it’s a huge step.  I employed the use of clamps along the way.

Lots of pocket holes in this build, so I’m loving the Kreg Jig! You can see the Weatherwash in the background, which I also love. This morning I used PINED on the first nightstand in order to match the bed. It’s way too windy to move the miter saw into the driveway and finish building the second one, so I figured I’d stain the first. I’ll have an updated post with the rest of the nightstand pictures soon. I’ll also have a post with the assorted other items I’ve been putting together.

I’ll leave you with Fargo The Terrible, keeping me company while I build. Good thing I make sure he has a comfy place to rest.

Corbel Lights To Match the Bed

I definitely have a few favorite furniture project sites at this point. A few months ago, I was scrolling through project ideas and I saw the Corbel Sconce Light by Shanty-2-Chic.Tim and I agreed that these would be a great compliment to the new bed frame. Have I mentioned that WE BUILT A BED?!?

I started with leftover 2x4s, ordered the lights and cages online, and found bulbs at Lowes.

In order to match the bed, I used the same Weatherwash PINED Aging Stain, Clear Maintenance Oil and Satin Varnish that is on the bed. I really love love love the way the wood looks after using this combination. It’s also pretty darn fast and easy. On the left is the wood just after applying the stain, on the right is after drying for an hour.

Using Tim’s ideas, we made a few changes. We used a router for the first time and made a (too large but workable) channel in the back of the upright piece. Instead of the cord being in front of that piece, it would go up the back and be less prominent.

That led to drilling a hole just on top of the perpendicular piece to bring the cord through, instead of it laying over the top. What we didn’t think of, until assembly, was that Tim had to detach the cord from the light in order to feed it through the hole, then re-attach it.

It was worth that extra step. We love how they turned out!

The cost estimate from Shanty-2-Chic is $25/each. Using leftover pieces of wood helped, but that estimate is a little low depending on the light bulbs you choose. We went with the “vintage” looking bulbs, which were $10/bulb. This raised our total cost to closer to $30.

Building a Bed–Part II

Fair warning, this is a long post.

When Ana White stained her bed, she used Varathane Weathered Wood Accelerator. We really liked the look of her bed, so we started researching this product. According to reviews, it seemed that quite a few people were ending up with a purple/blue color that they didn’t like. Given that feedback, we opted to research other wood aging stain products. Weatherwash had positive reviews, colors looked solid and it sounded like a good one to try.

After reading about the products on their site, I ordered the Pined Aging Stain and the Clear Maintenance Oil. The Oil is supposed to mellow the grey tones and bring out more of the warmer tones. I later bought the varnish because I originally misunderstood about how all three products work together.

Here is the headboard before (I know you can see the unstained pictures in the previous post, but here it is anyway), and after, one coat of the stain. Loved it!! It does look different on different wood types so do test spots on each type of wood first. There are three different woods in this headboard. .

Footboard and side rails.

It was dark outside when I applied a coat of oil, so I only have one bad picture of the before/after oil. I opted for the clear oil, but there is also a white oil, that lightens the stain. It totally beautified the wood even more, and I loved it!

Post oil footboard and rails. Ignore the areas where I needed to sand a little more than I realized and just look at the tones and how beautifully the grains show.

A few mornings ago, at my ridiculous 5:00 am get things done time, I used the varnish. Here is a garage shot of the headboard and footboard with stain, oil and varnish. We chose the flat varnish for this project, we weren’t looking for a super shiny finish.

Big excitement night before last, because…WE ASSEMBLED! Some of these pictures are from assembly night with poor lighting, and a few are from the next day, with the fancy camera.

One of my biggest fears was that the frame wouldn’t fit together well. It did! Because it is mostly heavy 2x4s and 2x6s, we had to carry everything upstairs separately and do all the assembly in the bedroom.

Fargo inspected our work as we progressed. He felt we did a solid job adding the cleats, the center support and had a good start on the slats. I am very glad we somehow ended up buying an extra 2×4. I cut the center support at the same 80″ as the cleats, but that ended up being too short. I would have been bummed if we’d had to wait until we could get out to buy another 2×4 to finish.

GAHHHHHH!!!!!! It’s done!!!!! I may have shed a tear of joy.

I wish the pictures could really portray how beautifully it turned out. If our room was a little larger, I might have been able to get better angles for entire bed shots, but the partials will have to do.

Following are some reflections on things I would probably do differently, besides sand a little more. I would make the frame an an inch or two higher, so the mattress sets up just a bit higher. For our bedroom, I’d probably take the top of the headboard down one panel, as our ceiling is fairly low. Our old mattress was about 4″ taller than the new one we bought (jury is still out on whether we like the new mattress), and if I had known this, I would have taken that panel from the top and put it on the bottom so no “pillow falling through” space existed. These are really just specific to our bedroom, and my learning curve.

Have I mentioned how proud I am of this bed?!?!? Honestly, one of my favorite parts was working with Tim. I’ve chronicled on this blog that empty nest has been hard for me. Tim has always had his outdoor hobbies, but I have been searching for something to feel passionate about. I have enjoyed baking and cooking and some of the other hobbies I’ve tried along the way, but I LOVED creating the workbench, the miter saw cart, the lumber storage cart and THIS BED. I love that Tim enjoyed working on all of these things with me. Although there is so much more to learn, I now have enough skill and knowledge base to do a lot on my own and keep me moving.  I greatly appreciate Tim’s participation and help when I want/need it, and I appreciate that he enjoys helping me. Can’t wait to get started on the next project!

 

 

 

Building A Bed

As I mentioned in the previous post, I have a HUGE list of what I want to build/make. I really have no idea, now that I think about it, how “bed frame” rose to the top of the list. The bed frame we have is probably close to 20 years old, and it was not top of the line when we bought it. I think that I was looking through all of the online plans from my favorite woodworking bloggers and I loved so many of the bed frames.

I brought Tim into the decision process and we narrowed it down. Then, when I was looking at the Modern Farmhouse Bed on Ana White’s website, I saw there was a video about making this bed that went along with the plans. We enjoyed the video, and the extra Alaskan scenery she includes in each one and that helped with our decision.

We still have 2x6s, 16′ 2x6s, on the floor in the garage, so we didn’t need to buy of those.  This is the original pile we took out of the garage to sort back in July.

Most of the 2x4s and some of the 2x6s went to the workbench, miter saw cart and lumber storage rack. But there are still plenty of 2x6s, and other assorted sizes and types in the garage, just waiting to be used in something awesome.

For the headboard, we opted to use tongue and groove vs plain 1x6s.  We went with 1x4s for the slats vs 2x4s. This bed was going to be super heavy duty to begin with and we felt like 2x4s for the slats would be overkill.

After talking through the plans with the Tim, I did all of the cutting and the pocket hole drilling and some of the assembly myself. I greatly appreciated that he found projects in and around the garage to work on so that he was available any time that I needed him. Some of the pieces were just too heavy for me to maneuver and fasten by myself. Some of the wood was too hard for me to get the 2 1/2″ wood screws into (though I’m improving).

Wearing my Rosies overalls, which I love, with the ear protectors hanging on the string and the safety glasses. I am totally looking the part! I’m also super proud of how the headboard behind me is coming along.

I introduced Tim to the Kreg Jig and to pocket holes after I learned about them on the Shanty-2-Chic site. They have a great instructional video . I love drilling them and I think it’s such a cool way to join wood together. On our lumber cart, we had one whoops where the pocket holes ended up on the outside, but overall, it’s gone well.

Footboard and side rails.

I used a palm sander and I recently read about tack cloths, so I used those too. Helpful hint, wear rubber gloves with the tack cloth because the tack stuff does not want to wash off hands. I actually enjoyed the sanding, but I had a learning curve with that too. Our bed frame is far from perfect in the sanding department, but since I wanted a weathered/beaten look, it is fine for this project. I love that I’m learning so much each time we make something.

I’ll stop here. The next post will cover the finishing process, and hopefully, an assembled picture. Assembly is on the docket for this week since the mattress we purchased, after spending way too many hours researching, arrived today.

Chocolate Coconut Almond Tart

Hey there, been a while. It’s been two weeks of not doing much that is note or blog worthy. The weather has been all over the place, I’ve walked a few times each week, but not as much as I should have. I bought and cut the wood to make more beer totes and I’m looking forward to getting those assembled. I think we’re going to try and make a kitchen island on wheels, which I’m super excited about.

In addition, we are still working on the house. We moved some furniture out and did some rearranging in the dining room, which I like. The dining room and the garage are still housing more stuff that we are in the process of selling/sorting. Hubby did some work in the garage, and now, if needed, we could actually fit a car in there. We are doing a lot of research on a new range to be prepared since ours is twenty years old. We bought a new sink, pics of that later when the replacement process begins.

We also bought a new toaster oven, which is very exciting.

Because the old one (at least 15 years old) was creeping towards full failure (note the burned edges).

This past weekend, we finally spent some time in the kitchen testing out new recipes. I’ll post about the mac n cheese next, but first, the Chocolate Coconut Almond Tart. I don’t have a tart pan, so I opted for a beautiful pie dish our friends brought us from Poland.

The crust is three ingredients, which includes almonds (in both meal and chopped), coconut oil and maple syrup. It took longer to bake than noted, however everything takes longer in our oven. It didn’t get as brown, but I think it was a pretty thick layer. I tried to press it down, but I didn’t get much up the sides like it shows in Sally’s picture.

I mostly used Trader Joe’s dark chocolate, which I chopped, with a few semi sweet chocolate chunks thrown in. Yum! Besides the chocolate, there was coconut milk and maple syrup…that’s it.

It all turned out so pretty in the dish. Especially with the toasted chocolate and coconut on top.

I’d definitely make this one again, especially for any gluten free guests. It had a neat texture, and was delicious. Can anyone tell that I used the fancy camera for all of the tart pictures (not the toaster oven pictures). I’m still struggling with learning the non auto settings, but I do think that camera takes some beautiful pictures.

Here are two bonus sunset pictures from Sunday night. The first one was taken outside, the second (probably obvious from the window frame) was taken inside. I think the fancy camera did an amazing job, but it was still more amazing in person.

 

In Between the All Consuming Clean Out

The all consuming cleaning out continues. I’m trying to attack every inch of the house and remove everything that has not been used in the last 10+ years or has no sentimental/material value. This has resulted in many piles. Fargo may be concerned about the status of the house.

The air hockey table is gone to make room for a craft table. It went to a good home where youngsters will hopefully have lots of fun playing. The craft table is downstairs, but since I have everything pulled out of the closet below the basement steps, the furniture has not yet been re-arranged.

We did manage to move my in-laws’ jelly cupboard into the dining room and it is absolutely perfect. I think they would be proud of what we are filling it with.

I added a new recipe to to my baking toolbox, and it’s so yummy that I made a 4th batch this morning. Favorite Pumpkin Muffins by Pinch of Yum are easy to make in the morning. Warm muffins for breakfast pretty much ROCK!!

All of the ingredients go in the food processor or blender (which is on the max end of what my ancient work horse of a unit can tolerate).

I didn’t put chocolate chips in the batter because I thought that might put the machine over the edge, so just added them to the top at the end.

Unfortunately, the first time, I forgot to spray the tin. It wasn’t a complete disaster, and I did get to eat about a half a muffin’s worth of bottoms that were attached to the tin. You can see the raggedy bottoms.

I remembered to spray the next three times. These are definitely worth trying if you like pumpkin muffins.

When I do sit down to cross stitch, or attempt my (as yet to be identified) crochet project. Fargo has been extra good about keeping me company. He is an exceptional hip warmer.

Look at that lower lip!! I just love that lip!