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!

 

 

 

Cleaning Out

This has been our focus the past few weeks. Dealing with so much stuff from my in-laws’ house prompted us to take preemptive action here. How is it possible to accumulate SO MUCH STUFF!?!?! Of course, much of it can be chalked up to sentimentality. But the rest is just not going back through it all every few years to clean out the crap.

We opted for a staycation last week to try and get a handle on our house. Four heavy bags of paper went to the curb for recycling. Garbage cans were full as well. But now there are piles of “what the heck should we do with this” stuff. It’s random, no solid theme, and very few large items. We have china, beanie babies, old cameras, sheet music, statuettes, Disney VHS tapes, etc.

It took way longer than it should have, but I posted 9 whole things in ebay. No takers yet. Here are a few of them.

See what I mean? No theme. I keep hoping, as most people I’m sure do, that something in the piles will be worth millions. So far, no dice.

I want it all gone. I want to work towards only having stuff we really use, or which has sentimental value left. It’s a LOFTY goal, that’s for sure. Hoping the kiddos appreciate this (way) down the road.

Pergola Proud

Every day I have good intentions of putting together a blog post. It actually takes way more mental energy than one might think, and I’m low on that lately. We still have a lot of rough family stuff to deal with, though I’m REALLY hoping we are on the other side of most of it now. The girls are good, which helps. We’ve crossed a few things off the huge to-do list, which helps. I’m cooking/baking some yummy stuff again, which helps. Fargo keeps us busy, which helps.

I realized, as we ate lunch in our new and beautiful outdoor space yesterday, that I never wrote the “we finished the pergola” post. Although it took longer than anticipated, and due to The Lost Summer we haven’t been able to use it as much as we anticipated, it is done and it is wonderful. Neither of us can believe how it has changed the patio space into so much more than it was.

You can go back and see the earlier stages of the project here: Pergola I and Pergola II. We had gotten as far as putting enough of the structure together that it was time to fasten it to the concrete. Unfortunately, that process was more intense than we had anticipated. Between needing (very good) friends and relatives to lift the sucker into place, to chalking out where it would sit, to moving it away again, and then moving it back once the rubber footers were fastened, all proved challenging. The fastening was a hurdle as well, since the lag bolts kept breaking off and we had to get new ones. Finally, the fastening was done.

And the structure was attached.

This particular pergola has a high table on one side and a bench seat on the other. Next step was the table.

Fargo supervised, as per usual.

At that point, we decided not to use the bench seat. After spending some time walking around the patio and assessing the things, it seemed like it would close in the space too much. I am very happy with our decision.

We found some high stools to go with the high table. We mixed and matched some end of the season outdoor furniture. We attached a shade above the high table that can pull down to the ground (if necessary) and block the setting sun. The shade makes the space usable, as the hot late afternoon sun was one of our main problems.

It’s pretty fantastic!

We are hoping to use the heck out of it starting next Spring. I enjoyed working with hubby on this project and I’m hoping we can do more empty nest building of stuff together.

Pergola Part II

This is such a huge project, that I think it will require a three-part series. I started assembly in the garage. I asked hubby to look things over before I put pieces together and then I did my best to get things moving.

I began on my own because the neighbors had some trees cut down and were nice enough to offer us the wood. When you heat with wood, you need to be thinking about the cold, even when you are sweating your a$$ off in the summer.

I only made it through step 4. The next one required the big posts, so had to wait for the hubster to be available. After a few hot, sweaty and tiring days, the main structure is up.

This was the first big project in a while that we were able to work on together. I really enjoyed it (95% of the time 😉 ). I did mess up a bit, but luckily hubby can cover for me. I pushed out of my comfort zone and really worked hard on something that I would have previously thought of as “his project.”

It’s not throwing much shade yet. We’re hoping to have some sort of climbing/trellising type of plant. We do have a shade for the side to block the setting sun, but may need to get something lightweight to cover the top for a while too.

There are quite a few more steps to go, but we already love it. It makes the back of the house more interesting, and somehow homier. Shoulda, coulda, woulda done this years ago.

 

Pergola Part I

As much as I love our house and our yard, one of the big issues we have, and never addressed, is that our patio is unusable much of the summer. The back of our house is bland and there is no cover. What there is, is direct sun all afternoon and evening. IT. IS. HOT!!!!! We’ve had a patio set with an umbrella for 20 years but even tilting the umbrella doesn’t help, it just throws the shade 5 feet away.

For a while, hubby was researching designs and lumber options and the plan was to create and build it on our own. Each year it didn’t get done and didn’t get done, and so on. In order to facilitate this actually happening, we did something unplanned and bought a pre-cut pergola that just needs to be put together.

Three very large boxes of pergola pieces have been in the garage for about 4 months now.

Hubby spent a good bit of time before building the new stecks (yes, that is the correct word), measuring to make certain they would allow room to enter/exit the pergola. If you look at the picture above, you will see there is a bench seat on one side and a high table across the other. We definitely wanted to be able to access the interior without having to go into the yard first.

Hubby had unloaded one of the boxes a few weeks ago, and now, I’ve finished unloading (and inventorying) the other two.

Now, let’s hope the putting it together (and the Pergola Part II post) happens soon!

Panzanella, Potatoes and (a) Porch Step

It was a busy week, but there is some fun stuff to share. We took the new grill on its maiden voyage, moving it from the garage to the patio and then testing it out.

In case anyone is wondering, far left is for searing, next is a gas grill, next is a charcoal grill, and last is a smoker. This is one large monster of a grill. Happy birthday/early Father’s Day to the hubster.

We used the grill to cook ingredients to try a Smitten Kitchen recipe, Grilled Pepper and Torn Mozzarella Panzanella. I mostly followed the recipe, though I used balsamic vinegar instead of sherry vinegar, I didn’t peel off the pepper skins, and I added a few kalamata olive pieces. We put our finished product on a bed of lettuce and let me tell you, it was so good that there were NO leftovers. A friend mentioned that she had never made panzanella (which beat me because I had never heard of it) because she thought the bread would be soggy. This bread was not at all soggy after being grilled. I predict this will be a summer staple.

As for potatoes, a quick check in on the sweet potato slips that, so far, look pretty good.

Other than replacing two tomato plants, we always keep a few extra til we’re sure, the rest of the garden seems to be hanging in as well.

The patio step project is on the list because both of the steps leading from the back of our house are rotting. Here is a picture of the right side step.

Here is the left side, pulled away from the house. Gross. We don’t even use that step and the wood is disintegrating at the meeting point.

So, hubby spent a good bit of time designing new steps, keeping in mind the pergola that is going up (SOON I HOPE!!!). The original design had two steps on each side, one step on the same level as the house. After building the bottom step, we are going to wait a while and see if we think we need two, as we like the way one looks. I do think, however, that we might have made it a board width smaller if we anticipated only doing a single step. It’s a large step.

Maybe we should call it a steck? It’s almost a combination of a step and a deck. Bottom line though, it’s a vast improvement over what was there and hubby did a pretty great job.

Fargo The Perennial

It’s quite amazing that every year I can still be in awe of the amount of weeds in our perennial beds, and how the grass encroaches so quickly. We work so very hard to grow our veggies, but the weeds don’t seem to need any help to flourish. This spring was no different than previous in terms of the hours and hours and hours we (mostly me) spent weeding and pulling grass.

Here is a picture from the day we really went to town (dogwood blossom photo bomb in the top left corner).

This pathway is a bugger to keep clear. It’s not just the weeds and grass, it’s also the bee balm and the black eyed susans, etc. that want to spread between the stones.

It started to feel like we were making some progress, though the opportunity to weed NEVER really ends. I’m not sure Fargo agreed with this assessment.

In one area, the grass was so prolific that we decided the better option would be to just dig it out and start over. I need to research a native perennial or two to add into the open spot, but in the meantime, Fargo The Perennial will keep it warm.

In the few weeks since I took these pictures, the perennials have exploded in growth. I’ll share a few recent pictures in the next post.