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.

 

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.

 

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.

Hobby Adventures on the Water

Many years ago, we bought the kids a kayak to go with our canoe. They went out a few times for floats, but the kayak wasn’t highly used. I usually declined going along for the opportunity to have some quiet time. Since the nest has been empty, the kayak has had even less activity.

We’ve had the neighbors’ kayak at our house for a while as Tim has used it a number of times for fishing. One morning, we decided to take both the kayaks to the lake a few minutes from our house. It was a most fantastic decision.

We went at 6:00am, because we’re morning people, and we only stayed for about an hour, but it started off our day with some much needed zen.

We went out two more times. I’m hoping we’ll go many more. No chance I’m taking the fancy camera out on the water. I was nervous about dropping the cell, but I’m glad I got a few pictures from that first morning.

 

Making Stuff With Wood

Hi all! Been a while…a LONG LONG while. No good excuse, just lots of busy and not enough focus. Once we hit May, which started off with the youngest’s graduation…

…then moved to the garden, the yard work, etc. etc., the days just seemed to whiz by. On top of all of that, I’ve been serious about one of the Hobby Adventures I started to tackle over the Winter: Making Stuff With Wood.

I have been having SO MUCH FUN, especially since the hubster has been helping and teaching me and showing how much patience he possesses. My learning curve has had some steep spots, but I am super proud of what I have to show you so far. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen all of these, but I’m going to get joy from sharing them here too.

We are turning our garage into work space and started by building a massive, and massively awesome, workbench!

We mostly followed the plans from Shanty-2-Chic.com for their large workbench. The main change is that we left extra overhang along the edges in order to be able to clamp things. Also, there has been a lumber pile in our garage for an embarrassingly long time, so most of the workbench was already in the garage, just waiting for us.

Next, we tackled a miter saw cart based on plans from the Ana White site.

Fargo The Terrible helped us with the wings out picture.

Again, we were able to use a lot of the garage lumber for this project. The main changes we made were using wood supports for the wings, and putting a back on the storage area, which also provides additional strength.

Speaking of the garage lumber, we built a lumber storage cart that we basically designed ourselves.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t fit all of the lumber and there is still more on the garage floor, but it definitely helps and I’m working on using the rest of it up in more projects.

EVERYTHING IS ON WHEELS!! I love that we can move it all around in order to use it, or to get it out of the way, or to roll it into the driveway when we have the rare non-rainy day (wettest summer on record here this year).

I honestly wish I had tried all of this four years ago, the first year of the Empty Nest, but I’m so glad I am doing it now. I have a huge sense of pride as I’m working on each project, and I feel like I am learning so much.

I’m giving my Rosies Workwear a workout. I love the Kreg Jig and pocket holes, I’m not afraid of the miter saw, I’ve used a circular saw, and I conquered 2.5″ wood screws. I want to build everything I see on the Shanty-2-Chic, Ana White, Rogue Engineer and House of Wood sites. I love that they all learned as they went and were able to turn their passions into a business. I now follow all different “makers” and woodcrafters on Instagram and I love seeing what they’re all working on. I literally have an “I want to make” wish list.

We’re still working on garden veggies…freezing, canning, curing, baking. I’m way behind on general yard work, like weeding (of course, the endless rain also has something to do with this). Sometimes the house cleaning gets bumped further down the list than it should so I can squeeze in a few more minutes in the garage. The rain currently falling again, for the third day in a row, is why I decided I could finally sit down and concentrate long enough to put this post together.

In my next post, I’ll show you the first non rough carpentry project we’ve been working on. The first one where looks matter. I’m so excited about it, I could burst.

Saying Goodbye Still Stinks!

Had such a wonderful few weeks. As always, we loved having the kiddos home and the week went by WAY TOO FAST. They left yesterday. I gave myself the day to be sad and for my heart to hurt.

I looked back at a few pictures from the week. This one, while watching Moana together (which we loved), isn’t great quality, but it makes me smile.

I was productive through the tears yesterday. I did some cleaning and planted the cabbage and broccoli in the garden. I had some help over the weekend to get the tomatoes and peppers in. We usually wait until at least Memorial Day to plant, but the tomatoes were out of control tall and spindly. Hoping the forecast is right and there are no surprise frosts.

Hoping to get my brain, and my body, back in gear this week.

Not Your Momma’s Meatballs

A few days ago I came across a recipe for Italian Veggie Meatballs. It was on the same site as the Ginger Chewies (LOVE THESE) and the Pumpkin Ricotta Chocolate Chip Cookies. They looked pretty interesting and I had some homemade spaghetti sauce from the Fall I had defrosted and needed to use.

italian veggie meatballs

I used a mini cupcake tray. The only thing I would do differently is bake them for longer (but I was too hungry to wait). They really could have been browner.

veggie balls cooked

Can you see the beautiful kitchen power tool photobombing the “meatballs?”

Hubby and I both thought the taste and texture was pretty wonderful.

veggie balls in bowl

As I write these posts, I sometimes wonder if the girls would have opted to go to school closer if they had known this is what I’d be doing with my empty nest time. Kidding, but I do feel guilty at times that I didn’t do all of this when they were growing up. Tried to make up for it a little by sending out a batch of Ginger Chewies yesterday.

I haven’t brought the kids up in a while, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t miss them every darn day. We feel pretty lucky to have the technology we do in order to keep in touch and, of course, to send them pics of the food and goodies they are too far away to enjoy 😉

On the house project front, we finished painting the stairs yesterday morning (this picture is from when we had half of the stairs painted):

half painted stairs

They look great. And we’ve finished painting the doors, trim and walls. These pics are during the painting to show the difference. It used to be completely white.

partially painted stairwell

almost done painting

We love it! There will be more rooms with paint colors like this…next winter that is. The floor still needs to be put down and the bathroom still needs to be re-done and that will take the rest of the winter.

At that point, it will be time to start turning our attention to…

tim garden

 

So Many Food Blogs, and some other stuff

Before I started this new baking (blogging) venture, I was apparently oblivious to the food blog industry. I knew that people posted recipes here and there from different sites. Of course I would look up recipes online and get google results for Martha Stewart or Allrecipes, etc, but I had NO idea there was a food blog world.

After my love affair with The Great British Bake Off began (thank you again, youngest), and we bought the pretty power tool mixer, I followed a link posted by a facebook friend to a Sally’s Baking Addiction recipe. This led me to peruse Sally’s site and I realized it was not just about the recipe. It was about the story with the recipe, and the oh so pretty food pictures, and the layout of the site, and the comments/interactions with followers, and so on.

I found another food blog, JoCooks, with the Dutch Oven bread recipe I’ve made a dozen times so far. And then Pinch of Yum, and then another blog, and then another, and another, and holy cow, you can get lost in all of these blogs. Each one has a unique personality, and cooking/photography style and more recipes than someone could ever sort through. A few of them include tips and strategies for people who want to start their own food blogs, and even earn income through blogging.

Very few of the food blogs are on this platform, most have their own websites. Thanks to my tech savvy mom, I now have my own site too, though it’s not set up yet. My blog is not a food blog, but food is a focus, right? I have no idea if people will be interested, as I am not providing unique recipes that I developed. I am using the blog as a way to share the every day, and the new in life, with the girls away.

We worked very hard to help our girls be strong, independent women. To think and choose for themselves, to problem solve. People compliment us on doing such an amazing job with our girls, that they were/are confident enough to have chosen the path they did. We worked hard to Teach Them to Fly, but we never, ever thought they’d fly quite so far. We are insanely proud parents, with a quiet house.

And now, we are trying to move forward, filling our time with a crazy puppy, experimenting with new foods/baked goods, gardening/food saving, running/training and (for me) blogging. Hubby dedicates time to his outdoors pursuits, and thankfully, keeping the wood furnace going in the COLD temps.

Back to the food blogs – found a new recipe for the rotation – so very yummy. I did add kale, because I had some and wanted to use it up:

http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2013/01/butternut-squash-and-black-bean-enchilada-skillet/

black bean butternut enchilada bake

Also, our wonderful friends invited us to dinner the other night. They had used the Hubbard Squash puree in a lasagna recipe. The recipe was vegan, though our friends used dairy milk instead of milk substitute. They also used half the garlic and a little extra spinach. Also an incredibly delicious recipe which we will try to replicate:

http://holycowvegan.net/2013/11/lasagna-for-twoor-four.html

Yes, I took food pictures at our friends’ dinner table…

vegan lasagna