February ’19 Wrap-Up

We are updating our kitchen and dining room lighting after almost fourteen years. Up until now, we’ve used the lights that were here when we bought the house. First up was the kitchen fan light. The others are purchased and are on the to-do list to get installed.

Here is a quick, mostly picture post to share the rest of the empty nest goings on around here.

I tried a new recipe, which we really enjoyed. We still have butternut squash to use, so I found a recipe called Butternut Squash Chickpea Coconut Curry. Really quite yummy (I also added some potato that needed to be used up).

We are making some good progress on the shop (garage)! Tim installed a heater, which we’ve had running to keep the shop comfortable and which is allowing us to do drywall work in Winter. Our electric bill was definitely on the higher side this month.

All of the new drywall is primed and painted. Unfortunately, the folks who taped/mudded the ceiling and wall adjoining the house, did not cover the tape. The tape and mud have been falling off and crumbling for years, so Tim is re-doing all of it. This is taking a lot of time, and requires constant shifting of the HUGE PILES OF STUFF. I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel, though, which is exciting.

Same wall, next day.

Previous ceiling mud.

I got my first ever work boots a few months ago, and they are getting a workout, and I love them!

I opted for a compromise on the kiddos’ bedrooms. Although they will likely only be home once a year, I still always want them to feel like their rooms. The eldest’s has a queen sized bed (our old one) and is our default guest room. I’ve now moved sewing machines, fabric and all other related items into the youngest’s room. She is the one who sews, so it made sense. It doesn’t change the character of the space so it still feels like it’s her room.

Although I’m not doing yoga every day, I am still making sure to include it 2-3 days/week. I’ve actually been putting in some treadmill miles since the beginning of the year. It’s been a long time since I’ve been consistently logging miles 4-5 times/week. I never thought I could be even more of a “back of the packer” than I was, but it’s possible.

Fargo and I take a moment to pause now and again and reflect on our empty nest life. In this moment, we were pondering the increasing number of gray hairs we both have.

There’s so much more, but I’ll leave on a fun note. One of the many amazing woodworkers I follow on Instagram, The Awesome Orange, came up with a shirt idea that I fell in love with. I couldn’t resist getting it and I was extra excited when I found the sticker she enclosed with the shirt. Trading stickers seems to be a big thing in the woodworking community and I now have my first one.

Fly Fishing Rod Tube Holder (Definitely): Part II

Well, it all fit together. It’s got a lot of “character” in the way it fit together, and in the wood itself, but it looks pretty fantastic for a first go. I’ll share the good, and the areas for improvement in this post. I probably have way too many pictures, but I’m okay with that.

As I mentioned in Part I, I used two different woods, I believe them to be pine and cherry, so we’ll assume that to be the case. I originally intended to just use more of the pine, but the cherry was too pretty to pass up once our neighbors dropped it off. All four pieces of cherry are from the same board and the board was a little more dry and wonky than I really realized until I was fairly far into the process, but just soooooo pretty.

After sanding each piece and cutting the holes with the hole saw bit, I used an ancient Dremel type tool from my mom with a round sanding bit. The hole saw, and our inexperience, left some pretty rough edges. The Dremel-ish tool did a reasonable job, especially smoothing the interior of the circles.

We have a router, and a router table, and once the garage is finished, I hope to be able to set it up and work with it. I think a router roundover on these circles might be a good plan.

I used the pine for the base, under the cherry and because I thought it would be a neat contrast in the bottom holes to hold the tubes. The cherry was too pretty for stain, so I used two coats of Weatherwash Clear Maintenance Oil to give it a little help on the dryness and bring out the grain. I then used the Weatherwash Satin Varnish to seal it. Here are some before oil and after oil pictures.

I waffle between finishing before or after assembly. I opted for before this time, and it did impact one decision we made. We pondered whether it might be a good idea to use dowels to put the pieces together, and though we concluded that the cherry was probably too thin for that, the fact that I had already oiled and varnished did come up.

First step in assembly was gluing the bottom three pieces together.

You may be able to see, on the top left of the bottom picture, that the holes do not line up exactly.This is another area I need to figure out how to make better. The hole saw was really tough to line up precisely, and it jumped when the teeth first bit into the wood. When a rod tube is in there, it doesn’t show, but I’m hoping to correct this if I make another one.

We went back and forth on how to attach the sides and the top, and ways to clamp and brace. We landed on using glue with fine thread drywall screws, and used a pilot bit to drill/countersink the screw holes. This was new for me. I was so freaking nervous that the wood would split, or that I would set the screw at an angle and it would poke out the side of a board. We took turns drilling to mediate my anxiety, and guess what? I did OK.

Tim had the brilliant idea to try and dry fit the top piece before attaching the other side, which is propped up by the box in the picture above. I say brilliant, because we did need to re-position the unattached side to facilitate a better fit for the top. Fortunately, the adjustment made all four pieces sit flush with each other on one side. We determined that this side would be the front, since the uneven edge won’t be as noticeable in the back. Another stressor in attaching the top was how much the wonky sides would need to pull in. We were ready for a pop or a crack along the way, but thankfully – silence.

My foot photo-bombed the last picture, but it gives a little size comparison, as does the picture where Fargo is inspecting our work. Don’t worry, Tim already has enough rods/tubes to fill all eight spots. I think he’s pleased with his belated holiday gift…that he helped build.

A February Day

It started with a beautiful morning, sun streaming through the trees, which I tried to capture. The birds were busy on the feeders. Fargo and Tim played in the snow as the sun began to set.

Fly Fishing Rod Tube Holder (Hopefully): Part I

Back in November, I decided that a great woodworking Hanukkah/Christmas gift for Tim, would be a fishing rod tube holder. I looked all over the internet for ideas and “how to” instructions, without much luck. I finally found someone’s blog post from 2011 that included an option I liked and some basic instructions. Here is a picture:

I bought the 2x4s, I had the 2x6s, and I had some 1×12 pieces someone gave me that I thought would work well for the bottom. In order to make this the most useful for Tim, I did ruin the surprise and talk it over with him. We decided that it would only need two rows vs three. That was the first of what would be multiple deviations from the original plan.

This build required 3″ holes, quite a few of them. I researched using a hole saw bit vs a forstner bit and the general consensus seemed to be hole saw. Besides the holes in the 2x4s, I planned to drill holes in one sheet of 1×12, then glue/nail it to a solid sheet for a sturdy bottom. I bought a hole saw bit at Ace, attached it to the drill press, and decided to try it out.

Let’s just say, using a hole saw bit is not my favorite. We have an ancient, hand-me-down drill press which gets the job done, but is not user friendly. I had used it many times with a forstner bit, but was definitely unprepared for how the hole saw bit would grab and turn the piece of wood when it touched. (I had to copy this picture from my Instagram because I lost the original when my phone imploded). After drilling the first hole, I opted to add a clamp and recruit Tim to help. It was a thick piece of wood, and none of us were happy…the drill press, the bit, me. You can see in the picture that the wood just stuck to the teeth, and it actually burned the wood in spots.

One of our good friends/neighbors heard what I was working on and thought it was a neat idea and something he might want to build as well. In talking with him and with Tim, the next alteration would be replacing the 2×4 legs with 2x2s. A few days later, our friend brought a bunch of boards from a garage clean out, all different types of wood, including one we believe to be cherry.

The next alteration in the build was to use the “cherry” (using quotes because I’m just not positive that’s what it is) board and have one flat row of four and four, to mimic the bottom. In addition, our friend said I should really have taller holes on the bottom for the tubes to sit in so that they wouldn’t slip out sideways. This led to the idea of drilling holes in another cherry piece in order to layer it over the pine board on the bottom.

After getting this board finished, the project sat for quite a while, repeatedly getting pushed to the bottom of the list. Flash forward to this past weekend, and a rare sunny day. Tim and I rolled the drill press out, and after a little trial and error, and some oil on the drill press, we were able to get a decent rhythm going.

We still had some tear out, but once the drill press lever moved more smoothly, it was less. Also, the “cherry” boards, though harder wood, aren’t as thick as the pine, which helped.

As Tim got a good look at the “cherry” wood, which is really pretty, he decided on the final alteration to this build. He wants two flat pieces of board on either side, instead of the 2x4s or the 2x2s. The board is a little wonky in spots ( you can see it a bit in the picture below), and it is on the dry side, so we’ll see how this all goes. Note the blue sky in this picture…the RARE blue sky…and Tim, prepping for more Winter weather.

Hey, if this actually works out, maybe I’ll find someone who can help me post plans for it that I can share.

Sofa/Console Table: Part III

It’s finished!!!!! I built a sofa table and it’s finished and I’m ridiculously excited about it! Tim provided support and some guidance and suggestions, but this baby was 95% me. I’ll start with a finished picture because I wouldn’t want to make you wait til the end of the post (told you I’m excited) and then back-up for some in-progress pictures.

I’m not great with decorating, but here is my first go at it. May try a few different versions of table decorations over the next few weeks.

Okay, in the last post, I had made it as far as the assembling the table top. Took advantage of a nice day between polar vortex and snow/ice storm to get moving on next steps. Trimming it down to size was interesting and super stressful. I started with the table top upside down, so I could follow the plywood, but the circular saw blade was rubbing on the plywood and the track was catching on the nail heads. This is one of the times Tim had to really talk it through to help me figure it out. THANK YOU, TIM!!

Flipped it over, marked the plywood edges on the sides of the herringbone pieces and lined up the track.

Once I was finished with the circular saw, which I’m slowly getting better at using, I cut/glued the remaining small pieces. Before I added the frame around the outside of the table top, and attached it to the base, I sanded it again and stained it first. I used the Oaked Stain from Weatherwash, and had planned to use the White Maintenance Oil, but loved the stain color so much I opted to go with the clear oil. Due to the crazy weather, and the state of the garage, I moved everything to the basement where the lighting is not optimal.

So pretty! I added the Clear Maintenance Oil, which deepened the colors. Oiled sections on the right in the picture below.

I will say, once again, that I’m not sure I understand assembly before staining. I realize it’s nice to know if it’s going to look good/correct once it’s all together, but it sure makes finishing a supreme pain. I used a teeny tiny brush to reach in between the bottom shelf slats. Pretty sure I’m going to go back to finishing all of the pieces first for the next project, even if it’s wrong.

The Shanty-2-Chic plans I followed for the base called for wheels on the bottom. Tim and I weren’t interested in wheels, so we did some internet searching and came up with an alternative. We love how these look as part of the finished piece (thank goodness).


Here is a picture from the other direction with a good view of the feet.

Well, that was probably more than you wanted to know about my first table build. Maybe it should have been a 4 part post. I learned so darn much through this process and I can’t wait to try it all out again, and to use what I’ve learned on new projects. Thanks for following along on this journey with me!

Oh, and something super fun happened when I posted on Instagram yesterday! I tagged Brandi at Eternal Harvest Decor in my comments to thank her for inspiring me to try a herringbone table top and for her youtube instructional video and she posted my table in her stories!

This is illustrative of the support I’ve seen in the Instagram woodworking community. On top of this, the amazing comments I’ve received from you all on Instagram and Facebook make me feel grateful and I appreciate it.

Sofa/Console Table: Part II

After a few days of Spring, the Winter weather has returned to Central PA. We made the most of the post-polar vortex reprieve and got much of the drywall up in the garage.I loved being able to get outside early enough that we could watch the tail end of the sunrise.

The whole back wall is now done and only a third of a sheet is left to do by the garage door.

The console/sofa table has been an experience. It will apparently take three parts to really share the experience of making it. Part II is focused on how much harder it was to get the pieces of wood lined up in the herringbone pattern than I anticipated. First, Fargo and I got the round 1 sanding done, and I didn’t even have a coat on!

Once the sanding was completed, I had some interesting hours. It was all fun and games when I was just laying the pieces of wood out to make sure I cut enough. Actually lining them up so that the centers didn’t travel off to one side of the plywood or the other was a different story.

I used clamps on two pieces in the middle. I then lined the rest of the boards in place above and below. It was so frustrating that I had to walk away for a bit and come back to it. It would definitely have been easier if I had just cut the angle on the center edges and lined them up on the middle line. This way, not only did I need to line it up even from both edges, but the tilt had to be correct as well.

Once I FINALLY got to the point where it was as centered as possible, I tightly clamped the two middle pieces in order to permanently affix them in place and use them as a guide. I actually flipped the board over, nailed those two pieces from the bottom, crossed my fingers and began the glue-up process.

As an extra measure to secure the herringbone pieces to the plywood, I nailed all of them to the board from the back. I honestly have no idea if that was a good idea, or not, but I was just too nervous they would fall off.

Now that all but the smallest pieces are attached, I’m hoping to use the circular saw today (once temps get into the 20s) to trim the herringbone pieces to the size of the plywood. I’ll then use the scraps for the remaining open spots. Hoping the circular saw and I get along well.

In between, I’m still doing yoga (and Fargo is still fighting me for the mat), and I’m still stopping to take some pictures (mostly from indoors). Had a pileated woodpecker stop by the back yard.

I’m ready to get the final sanding on the table done and start staining it. I submitted my table project to the Weatherwash Brand Ambassador program and it was accepted, which I’m pretty excited about. They sent me the Oaked Stain, White Maintenance Oil and Satin Varnish for free to use on the table in exchange for some social media postings and pictures to help with their company promotion. Given that I started using their products for the bed and nightstands and how much I love the results, it’s super cool to be working with them on the table.

Okay, wish me luck!

Sofa/Console Table: Part I

As I type, the crazy winter winds are blowing and pairing up with the crazy polar vortex temperatures. I’m very grateful to be indoors right now, working on a blog post (assuming we don’t lose power). I’m also working on a blog post because the weather conditions are preventing me from working on my current project…a sofa/console table.

I’m still using construction grade lumber “soft” woods, with edges in the slightly rounded condition in which they come. I do this partly because I can with these types of builds, but mostly because I like the rustic look it provides. As my skills improve, I plan to try working with more hard wood varieties, especially if I can find local sources for reclaimed lumber.

The table I’m building is mostly based off of this Shanty-2-Chic plan. The place I’m diverging from the plan is the table top. I was able to get the pieces for the main structure cut and first round sanded last week. Here is what it looks like so far.

Fargo, as always, watching, and inspecting the work.

After watching a bunch of tutorial videos, including this one from Eternal Harvest Decor, I decided I wanted to attempt a herringbone table top. As an aside, I follow Brandi, of Eternal Harvest Decor, on Instagram and she is a talented woodworker and a hoot. Luckily, I was able to use the driveway workshop on Monday and started cutting the 1x3s for the top.

It took me a few minutes to really get the hang of how the pieces of wood were going to be laid out. I’m really excited now that I have this started (imagine the 13.5″ x 51″ plywood underneath is cut out). I had to stop due to frozen fingers and toes, but you can get the idea.

I’m really proud of myself because I used the circular saw, by myself, and cut the plywood. I even did a freaking good job! I know it’s not as powerful as the corded circular saw we have, but this Ridgid cordless saw is so much quieter (i.e. less scary) and it cut super smoothly.

I’m planning to try a different Weatherwash aging stain on the table, it’s called Oaked. I’ve done some test pieces and I like it with the Clear Oil I’ve used on all of the other builds, and with the White Maintenance Oil which is also new to me.

Okay, now to the non-woodworking part of the post. I’ve stuck with the 30 Day Dedicate Yoga with Adriene program, completing Day 29 today. I really enjoy the 20 minutes (=/-) each day, as does Fargo, who tries to steal my mat. How am I supposed to argue with that face?!?

I do chuckle some mornings when Adriene is wearing a tank top, and I am trying to decide what is the perfect number of layers to have on.

In addition, we’ve continued to have some lovely Winter scenes, as long as one is indoors, that I’ve tried to capture.

I’m hoping to finish building the table this weekend, as we’re supposed to have more “normal” Winter conditions by then. I will jump for joy if it turns out like I have it pictured in my head, or at least reasonably close. Also, we were able to squeeze a trip for drywall in between snow showers on Sunday, so putting that up is on the weekend agenda. Then, I can’t wait to figure out what will be next!

Programming note: My wonderful cousin made some adjustments to try and prevent pictures from appearing sideways on phones/tablets. They appear correct on the computer, which confuses things. I don’t seem to be able to go back and fix pictures in the old posts, but as I’m about to hit “publish” I’m hopeful everything will be facing the right way.

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.

Making Stuff With Wood: 2018 Review

Although my “making stuff with wood” journey began at the end of 2017, it really became a passion in 2018. I thought it would be fun to do a recap of what Tim and I made in the past year. He helped a ton in the beginning, and any time I asked for assistance/guidance after that. I did more and more on my own as the year went on. I linked to the posts where I talked more in depth about each.

Go big or go home I guess as we sure started with a big one…workbench:

Next up…miter saw cart:

We combined a few plans and added our own touches to a lumber storage cart:

No sense starting small with the non workshop projects either…queen bed frame:

And corbel lights to match:

I did some smaller projects along the way, some from plans and some that I put together on my own (with varying degrees of success). Most were decorated with some wood burned designs:

Finished up with nightstands, also to match the bed, for which I was chosen as a Weatherwash Ambassador (I submitted a project proposal and it was accepted). It was super freaking exciting as I have used Weatherwash on almost everything here.

I can’t wait to tell you all about the upcoming furniture/house/woodcraft projects and to take you along on my learning journey…once the shop (garage) is done.

 

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.