Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ch-ch-ch-Transitions - Turn and Face the Strain

Don't care what I do in my free time?  I'm going to tell you anyway:  watch countless videos on how to lay tile, of course!  Don't you, Weirdo?  In fact, I watched so many, I started considering myself a theoretical expert on the topic.  And that's dumb.  Don't do that.  It will make you seriously underestimate the time and effort involved in something.

So when we finished our hardwood floors, we didn't have quite enough planks to do the little hallway to the garage.  And optimists that we are (don't laugh), we said, "Well, tile would be better in the hallway anyway, since we (I) are always traipsing saw dust and other undesirable particles through the garage door."  So we wooded up to the hallway and until now, it's been a MacGyvered conglomerate of plywood covered by a carpet rug and linoleum...also covered by a carpet rug.  Carpet rug ftw.

-Insert non existent picture here.  Trust me, it was ghetto.-

But then after a GOOD deal of decision making (sorry, everyone who suffered at Lowe's), jerry rigging a contraption that would allow the borrowed tile saw (thanks, Lin) to cut tiles larger than was intended (thanks for staying positive and being smart, Joe), and what turns out to the be the, no kidding, ABSOLUTE BEST #1 activity in the world (i.e., grouting), I give you the tiled hallway!

And while it may not look incredibly spectacular, rest assured the effort involved was.  For instance, take this little hog here:
It turns out what I thought was dry wall was, in fact, metal when going to reattach this vent.  I don't want to talk about it.

And then, once the tile was finally laid, there were still transitions to do.  Picked this hardwood beauty up, got a stain to match as closely as possible, and it turns out it didn't fit into the gap I'd left as well as I thought it would.  More jerry rigging ensued, maybe a few wood chips in the eyeballs, more help from Patient Joe, a bent nail poker, scrumptious wood putty for the holes, and BAM.  Donezo.

And I think it looks pretty stinking good.  Ain't nobody tripping on that.

Lastly was the transition to the carpet in the closet.  This was terrifying.  I feel like handling tack strip  is almost certainly going to be the way I leave this world.  Or at least how I poke an eyeball out.  In the end, after some nerve-wracking decisions and the absence of a crucial carpet kicker, the deed was done.  And don't be fooled by that carpet rug on top of the actual carpet, that transition be seeeeeeeamless.  MmmmmmOK, when I was hammering down the tack strip beneath the carpet, I chipped the tile.  But once I filled it with sanded caulk, c'mon you hardly notice it.  Right?  Right??  It makes me want to take a dirt nap every time I see it :(

Anywho, in the end, I'm pretty pleased.  The grout helped cover up my not-so-straight tile lines (I noticed that Chris wrote on the label so it now says, "I am Groot.") and popping those baseboards back on covered my not-so-great edges, so you's done.  And now only three bathrooms to go and we'll be a linoleum-free family.  I wonder if there's a coin or something for the one year mark...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sssssslant Board

It turns out that flooring projects are inherently underestimated.  So while I'm finishing up such a project that I'll lament about later, here's another one that only took a handful of minutes:  homemade slant board--BAM!

A little background.  Christian's feet are jacked up.  Like this kind of jacked up:

More specifically, extreme plantar fasciitis that has required years of semi-cripplehood, shots to the heels (shudder), a podiatrist named Petersen (Uuum, he pronounces it PED-erson.  Someone should tell him that's a bit much.), and finally a physical therapist who necessitated the purchase of a slant board.  

BUT, it turns out that two planks of wood that fit together at a 30 degree angle are suuuuuper expensive--some over $100 bones, those wily thieves.  So we were like, forget that noise; we have a cornucopia of delicious saws and scrap wood that shall meet our footly needs.

SO, I pulled out the ol' Circular Saw of All Things Good and got to work.

I of course already had some wood, so I put the pattern I had sketched on some sssupple maple plywood, clamped her down (ps-Don't be a dummy (DAVE); always clamp down your workpiece when you're working with the number one culprit for finger amputations. Yeeeez.), and sliced it up.

After adjusting a bit for my thicker wood, I double checked this hog was at a 30 degree angle -the magic foot angle- and like I said:  BAM.  Slant board for like $2 and 15 minutes.  Eat that, manufacturers of slant boards!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


The end of porch desolation is upon us!  Christian built a twinner Adirondack chair, I built us a lemonade table (only supports glasses of lemonade--I build specific, baby), throw in some rather loud day lilies in the foreground, and bada-BING:  summer porch chair-splosion of maybe-semi-epic proportions!  No more will tumbleweeds roll sadly over our decrepit porch.  No more will our butts search aimlessly for a place to rest.  Just try not to be distracted by the insecure lilies or Jack's fingerprints on our very filthy shutters.

So a little process here...  I didn't have a plan for the table, so I sat in the finished chair and mimed putting a glass of lemonade on a not-yet-existent table, got an eyeball height measurement, and went to town.  And by town, I mean Home Depot, which is in town.  Anywho, would you believe it ended up looking something resembling a table??
We get a little clampy-clampy here...

 And then BAM!  Table.  Also stool when not sporting beverage.

Aaand then, Auntie Debbie wanted some chairs for her front yard, so then this happened:

 And though our chair friends were only with us for a brief time, I thought I should capture this chair camaraderie before they were sent to their new family.  Good times.  A spot for many bottoms.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

P-p-p-peg board and dreams come true

You probably thought I'd fallen off the bloggin' wagon, huh? (blaggin' wagon? Minnesota accent? Stop it? Ok.)  Well you'd be wrong, Grace.  I blessedly had a big ol' increase in Etsy activity, so I've been cutting away oodles of signs for folks.  And you know what I realized?  Sawdust and wood debris gets every. where.  And at first it didn't really bother me, because things were accessible and I was in a busy tizzy, but finally Chris was like:
And I was all:

But the man made a good point.  And as soon as creepy-crawlies get involved, that tips the scales hard core (I guess ants like sawdust...LOTS of ants like more than I've ever seen in one place ever.. And you know, when you wake up from a nightmare thinking millions of ants are all over you, it's time to clean the garage).

So the cleaning began and since I have so many cool garage goodies now, there just wasn't enough space for them on the shelves.  And the answer???  Why, peg board, of course!

And good heck, I wish I'd known how cheap and easy it was earlier.  All together, this cost us less than $25 bones and took maybe half an hour to put up there.

You find them studs and screw in some 1x2s (cut to fit with the tremendously delicious and helpful DeWalter White the miter saw - pictured below. Isn't he adorable??).
 You have Christian hold up an entire 4'x8' sheet of pegboard by himself while I screw it in (and try dropping some screws to add to the excitement!  Men love to hold heavy objects while you fumble with a drill. Trust me.)
 And then voila!  I feel like I have my own little store out there now, like I've always dreamed of (I begged my dad to construct me a little store front from age 7-10. It was to be called Sam's and it would have made the Fortune 500 by now, I know it.).  I kind of want to stock it with candy, too..  I think all well-rounded shops have candy..  Just grab my nail gun and some Haribo frogs and have a great day, you know?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I Built Something to Sit Upon... An Adirondack Chair!

Our front porch scene has been sorely lacking in, well, everything (I just can't get into wreaths...?  Is that a question?).  But especially a place in which to place one's bum.  SO, why not put our massive tool accumulation to work and build a freaking chair, right???

It all started when a customer wanted a wooden sign for his business bigger than my scroll saw could reach.  This "necessitated" the purchase of a jig saw, which "necessitated" the purchase of saw horses.  But the ones at Home Depot were $19 A PIECE (that's the equivalent of 38 candy bars, for heaven's sake) and were kind of sad looking.  So since I have an awesome cousin who gave me a bunch of scrap wood, I built these puppies for freeeeezies, which is a special feeling, Lloyd.   (And PS--how liberating to be able to make signs as big as a house if needed...or I suppose as big as a sheet of plywood...reign it in, Sam.)

So I found these sweet-easy chair plans from (who is, no kidding, an inspiration), had long-lost Dane give me some drill tips for dummies (thanks, Dane; you're an inspiration, too), and got to work. 

And a couple hours and only some mild frustration later, we have something that resembles a chair!  And that jig saw came in handy in removing sharp-corner-eye-poking possibilities and adding sweet, sweet style to a square chair.  (Also, forgive our super messy garage..we have yet to clean up after our wood install..)
 And then I made that pose from the second season of FX's Justified because I felt so cool.  I unfortunately did not look as cool as I felt.  Maybe it's the stroller behind me..

 Christian and I debated on whether a cherry or dark walnut stain would look better, and I'm feeling prrretty good about how the walnut turned out.  Also, it took forever to get every nook and cranny.

 And there you have it.  One accessory to a big, sad, and lonely porch.  But Christian will probably make another chair to match (awwww, cute - His and Hers porch chairs, right?).  And I'm thinking maybe a little matching table for our cool glasses of lemonade...  That never happens.  But you never that we have A porch chair...
PS--If you were wondering--amazingly comfy, it being made of wood and all...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Finished Hardwood Heaven

I meant to post about our finished hardwoods several weeks ago, but the house hasn't been presentable enough for an after shot until now.  It's a curious feeling to be putting toys and junk away while a baby is simultaneously taking them out from the other side...every few hours...every single day... and the existential musings ensue...  

Anywho, I'm a big sucker for before and after pictures.  Particularly the home improvement variety.  So these yummy hardwood floors are just step one in my evil master plan to give our house a facelift.  Soon to come are wainscoting, fresh paint, crown moulding, and actual home decor, weee!

So without further ado, here are the before pics one more time, featuring sad, bubbly linoleum and copious amounts of tragically tan carpet:

And after a good deal of pleasurable power tool usage, some mixed feeling about destroying perfectly adequate carpet, and only occasional swearing (hint: 99% of that didn't come from me...), I give you das hardwood!

 Is this how you place an area rug?  I have absolutely no idea...  This isn't even mine..

And we stinking love it.  It really classes up the joint.  And it surprisingly makes it feel bigger, too--I think that's because we removed the line separating the threshold from living room to kitchen, and the little entryway square.  

And then, since we need to pop that base moulding back on, I got to buy yet another power tool (evil laugh).  And this cordless nail gun ranks up there among my favorite new toys.  It's just scrumptious and did a great job.  And I always used to think, "Why do people bother filling in the nail holes?  Nobody looks down there anyway, and they'd be super tiny.."  But I get it now.  It looks like little bugs on there, which I clearly cannot abide.  So I got some niiiice practice in with a caulk gun, got those nails filled in and the seam along the wall looking prrrrretty good, I'd say.

The main downside with dark floors is that crumbs show up real easily.  And let's say you have a baby who likes to throw 99% of his food on the floor, this would hypothetically equate to sweeping several times a day.  Hint: Baby Jack throws 99% of his food on the floor :/  Grumble grumble grumble...  But we're pretty happy phase one of master plan is finito!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

An Anchor Sign is Birthed from Loins of Kreg Jig

My tool acquisition phase is going swimmingly.  So remember my gargantuan treadmill box that I was trying to get rid of bestow upon some lucky person on Facebook?  (PS-still available..)  Well, that treadmill also came with a wooden pallet.  So since I didn't yet own my sexy circular saw (slow clap for verbal alliteration?), I worked up a sweat hand sawing and harvesting these planks from it. (Jewell's bf, Mike, helped, too. Thanks, Mike. Comma much?)  And then several months later, the trusty Kreg Jig came into my life, and this hog was my first experiment with it (i.e., whew, you should see the back of this thing...)  And THEN, still several months later, the Silhouette graced me with its existence and provided me with the stencil to paint this.  And then BAM!  Distressed anchor sign is born of stinky treadmill packaging--squeee!

My brain is kind of exploding trying to narrow down future design choices... I mean seriously--the world is my freaking burrito. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My new favorite toy in the whole wide world

Well, my nephew Baby Solly recently arrived in the world; and with him is ushered in the dawn of my new favorite toy (not to replace DeWalter White by any means; just to supplement his splendor).  I took the plunge.  Amazon had a once-in-a-lifetime (or so I told myself) flash sale, so I bought a Silhouette (basically a printer that cuts a variety of materials for those who have not been blessed with an understanding of its greatness).  And we're just so in love.  Every time it finishes cutting some beautifully intricate piece, I tenderly stroke it and whisper, "I love you, Silhouette.  Thank you."  And I wish I were kidding...  I can't even sleep at night thinking of the infinite possibilities now available to me. 

SO, first up on the list was to cut out a stencil template and use it to make a nifty pattern for one of my name cut-outs.  And if I may say so myself, I just think it turned out just totes adorbs, yo. 
I just spray painted this puppy cream, then laid the stencil (made from an old file folder since I didn't have stencil material on hand) on top and used a stencil brush to coat on some minty green acrylic.  So now my brain is figuratively exPLODing wanting to try a whole bunch of new techniques... GAH, I can't even take it sometimes.  (Did you catch that? It's my passive aggressive attempt to get people to stop using 'literally' wrong... True story: a college professor told a crowd of us that the band members literally birthed this next piece of music.  How uncomfortable.)

I feel like if one has the capability to make Casablanca and/or animal print word cut outs, one should not waste time distressing them as pictured below...  Ah, the responsibility that has been bestowed upon me.  I see leopard print on the horizon. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Planter Box Extravaganza

Since I've been positively itching to actually build something with our new miter saw and Kreg pocket hole jig (oh yes, it has arrived--ringing in the new era of buildin' stuff), I figured I'd start small.  So I went over to one of my favorite sites ( and found some free planter box plans for the Mumz (plural) for Mother's Day.

And I quickly came to the realization that I really do NEED a nail gun--it's not just some whim.  Pounding those nails with a hammer brought back some rather haunting birdhouse assembly memories I had completely (and happily) forgotten about.  Like, I'm not sure if it was the nails, the hammer, or me, but dude, it did not go well.  My garage floor looked like World War III.  Luckily this first box (pictured below) only required a couple nails to finish the job that Kreg started, so I think it turned out right-nice. I drilled two holes in each side and knotted some rope handles through them.  Then I used a stencil to trace the letters and filled them in with some acrylic paint and an itty-bitty paint brush.  And we all know how French always classes shiz right up, so I opted for "Les Fleurs" to increase the Fanciness Factor.  The little flourish was free handed, so, heh, you know, don't look too closely.

And then this trapezoidal hog below was a bit more tricky.  The box plan didn't call for beveled edges, which would have meant the top and bottom of the finished box wouldn't be flush...  And I go out of my way to make sure the dish rag on the oven handle hangs at a 90 degree angle... soooooooo, yeah, I wasn't going to be able to stomach that.  So after dusting off a little handy trigonometry (soh cah toa, m'I'right??), I was able to shave off just the right amount to make this puppy flush.  I popped some handles on this one, too, and decided to stain it a dark walnut.... because dark walnut is cool.... aaaand maybe it also hides nail gouges from dumb nails...

Anywho, I had way too much fun putting these together (despite those dumb nails), so I think I'm going to tackle a console table and some Adirondack chairs next. So stay tewned, yo.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Introducing Jack's Little Brother: The DeWalt 780. Plus: Hardwood!

Well, the sliding compound miter saw of my dreams (literally) has finally arrived.  I think I'm going to call him Walter White (don't worry, this has nothing to do with the meth underworld).  And after sweet talking the guy at Home Depot into a free $200 stand, we couldn't be more pleased with our newest family member.

And what, you may ask, does this positively beautiful machine allow us to do, aside from my abundant furniture aspirations??  Why, install hardwood floors, of course!
In a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Chris and I were able to snag some hand-scraped, Cognac Acacia hardwood flooring.  I won't lie, there may have been some cheek-to-wood nuzzling upon opening the first box.  I've been just so obsessed with how gah-geous wood grain is, this was particularly gratifying.

SO, since my papa and brother were nice enough to come up and help us all day Saturday (and my mum and sis-in-law were nice enough to Jack wrangle), we were able to finish the kitchen (living room achievement yet to be unlocked).

At a few points we had all three saws going: miter saw, table saw, and scroll saw.  And I don't mind telling you that I was the designated Saw Safety Nazi.  Maybe it's because having a baby makes you reevaluate mortality as well as how great it is to have hands, but good heavens, men sometimes need a refresher.  S'alls'I'm'Sayin. 

So here are some before shots of our kitchen and living room.  Oooh that linoleum was niiiiice and all, I know.  I was actually really sad to pull the carpet up, though (so much so that I made a man do it).  I just can't stomach ruining things that are in decent shape.

And the beauty of this hardwood is that it's the kind that's super easy (relatively) to install, i.e., we could just lay it on top of the linoleum and didn't need glue or nails to keep it in place.  So step one was to lay the underlayment.  And boyo, the guy who sells that stuff must wake up laughing.  I would say it's essentially the foamy cellophane that stuff comes wrapped in, you know, the stuff you throw away, except this stuff cost us $150 bones. And to this, I say:
Anywho, here's the first strip of cellophane fancy underlayment:
And then you lay and lay and lay.  And measure, and cut, and lay, and measure, and cut, and lay, until you're certain you won't sleep that night with all the measuring, cutting, and laying swimming around in your head.
And then you get creative about the space under the dishwasher, oven, and fridge, because come on, no one will ever look under there, so why waste delicious hardwood.  And man, I wish I could show you a good picture of this one particular joint at a cabinet--it was my finest scroll sawing moment to date--but it's too small to maybe you should come see it in person... It's pretty important to me... And Christian had some pretty tender moments with the table saw, too.

And be sure to get baby approval.  This floor is 100% Jack Approved.  Ps, there were other people helping, too, of course.  Christian's camera just always seems to gravitate towards me.  Me and fine meats...

And then BAM.  One Saturday down and kitchen done. But living room is a mess... which I can't stand...  So part two will have to happen quickly.
Sigh, I just love it so much.  Maybe my calling in life is laying hardwood floors.  And buying big, succulent power tools...