I think I’m solar powered. Something about actual sunlight and I want to do more. It is also bright out now until nearly 7pm and gaining every day, at our peak, we are light(ish) until nearly 10 and longer days just feel like, well, longer days. The unfortunate thing is I forget to cook dinner until its ‘getting dark’, it is genetic, my mom did the same and I’m still alive so I am sure they will survive. Anyway, we have been doing a lot and I’m planning more so here is a summary so far.
Niamh’s friend party was a HUGE success. I say huge because 5 more people than expected came and it was pretty crazy here. They all had fun and they ran and screamed and semi-participated in organized activities. I’m glad I vetoed the pinata because getting them all together to do anything was not easy. We did all sing together for cake, they did all eat together (more or less). I was stressed for a minute that I didn’t have seating for 16+ anywhere but they actually adapted really well. They just pulled stools around and nooked inbetween and one kid stood and one kid sat in a baby chair and somehow they didn’t notice that I didn’t have ‘proper’ seating for all. The other odd win was a game I nearly cut; ‘let’s make a llama’. I got a 25 pack of little playdoh and printed out a paper with a bunch of llama pictures and everyone got to make a little sculpture and put it in a cupcake wrapper with their name on the bottom and Niamh picked her favorite for a prize. Given age (11) I was surprised how many of them really really enjoyed a playdoh project. This was modeled after a baby shower game ‘make a baby’ but you can put anything as the sculpture goal and they will have fun.
The added bonus of a party is the house gets really clean so Sunday we didn’t have much to do but recover. By later afternoon we were ready for something and Niamh has been bugging me to run with her. I like running solo, technically for a while there I ran to be not with them, but then again, having a thing that is good for us, free, and something we can do ‘forever’ is a good thing so group runs have been on my list for a while. Sunday it came true in such a lovely way. Niamh and Zoe and I ran and Fiona biked and we actually kept a good pace and got to the park nearby and then they played and we ran back again. For a total of 2 miles and about an hour (including playtime) it was a perfect thing for our first good spring day. I have high hopes of doing this again sometime soon.
Over the winter each time we had to shovel snow off our hot tub, we started thinking of outdoor patio cover solutions. We have gone through a few options and have a budget in mind and today we meet with a contractor to talk about what will work here. This may be a multi-year process or we might get it done sooner. Contractors are busy too so we might have to decide if we want to wait or DIY. It is up in the air but the project that is happening now.
Another discovery about our land is that water settles in far too wide an area, we need a smaller deeper spot for it to go. We have talked with the builder and as soon as the ground is ‘right’ we are digging a pond/drainage so I’m researching rain garden v pond. Both have pros and cons really but we need to do something because right now our front yard is a large shallow lake far too often.
Next up is a garden. This is more construction and work for who knows what return but #1 really really wants one and based on the number of deer hoof prints we see if tomatoes and beans are to have any chance at all we need to build a fence. I’m researching fenced gardens and you can go all out with them, or, just string up chicken wire… we will have to see what we have time and energy for.
Easter is sneaking up on us too. Today I squared away egg hunt plans and baskets are under control but the rest of the weekend is still unplanned. Not having family or really a good church community makes religious holidays difficult. Anything will be better than last year where we cleaned and painted in house selling prep so there is nowhere to go but up.
That is all for now, time to get out there and do the running around town. Need to pick up a tuned up bike and sign for taxes and grocery shop etc etc etc. Winter hibernation is officially over.
Sometimes a project is absolutely necessary and so you just do it. Time is found, maybe counters are dirty for a day but the projcet gets done.
Then there are projects that aren’t really neeeeeded right away so you do some planning, then pick up some supplies intending to do it ‘that weekend’ and then step over said supplies for a month (or more). At a certain point, you might actually clean up the supplies to the garage and then have to go find them again. I didn’t get that far this time, I finally finally got some of our storage shelving up today; only took 3 months.
Note I say ‘some’ because, in my mental fog of life+too many projects, I got 8f long shelves and 2 shelf brackets each. Yeah, um, gravity etc. Now I have 1 shelf left to go up and a single bracket. Can I possibly complete a project without going to the store 3x?
I also got a tad frustrated because I had a great plan for spacing. I got a new stud finder because my old one took a little too much head trauma over the past 10 years and it makes noises but not very accurate ones. I marked studs, I marked and measured and used a level. However, on THREE of my brackets, the spot for the screw was EXACTLY where the builder used a screw to attach the drywall. I guess I should be proud I have the instincts of a builder but they got there first so I can’t also use that exact spot. I adjusted around and maybe one of my brackets only has 1 fastener, this shelf is not holding up bricks, but it is up. Do I go to the store for more brackets to finish the darn thing? I’m not sure, once I get shelves up then I just have to clean and organize so if I never get that shelf I can leave it the way it is right?
I’m glad that I pulled myself away from computer work and routine housekeeping to get this done. I always feel better for making headway even if I don’t finish. That last shelf might just decorate the floor for a bit longer but probably not forever.
I’m about 17 different places. I think I’m developing ADD because I do a little bit on a project then run to the next thing and do something and off to the next.
Yesterday I laid out all the Halloween costumes to make sure I had all the bits and pieces and I didn’t so I had a crafty afternoon. Still a bit to do but nothing too major. When I post daily in November I’ll have DIY Batgirl, Poison Ivy, and Supergirl posts. I’m already too late for this year, might as well do them right instead of rushing.
I’m mid-major library wall project. We would be further along but we got all the shells up and decided the center unit was too small so we had to go back to the store and that is a trip all on its own.
Campaigning is an on and off thing. I’m not a ‘major candidate’ but I still feel like I need to attend everything and keep an eye on issues on Facebook. This grabs chunks of time and attention at unexpected times.
I have an entire post in my head about how we have entered the ‘taxi’ phase of parenthood. A quarter of my brain is dedicated to the logistics of getting 3 other humans to the places they need/want/have to be. It is fun overall and the things I hear in the car are priceless, especially when I have an extra kid in there.
Random house projects are still chugging along. The garage has quite a bit of shelving now and we can, most importantly, park in there now. I have acquired curtain hardware for the entire house, and fabric for upstairs, and we are working through getting that done. Given we live in a giant field, privacy isn’t that much of an issue and now that the sun isn’t rising until past 7am I think we actually waited out the situation. Curtains might be waiting until spring when I get a 5am face full of sunrise.
Family and friend dynamics, like always, are ever in need of attention. Happily given but those who feel maintaining kids, marriages, friends and family and hobby relationships take no effort might look around one day and have very few. Same with the poor neglected blog; I feel guilty that I can’t do more with everyone, the house is like a newborn! Thankfully I hope everyone who matters understands.
And that is all I have time for today. I need to get back to all the things before they get worse and spawn dangerous things for the neglect…
When we were designing the house there was a wide hallway with 4 doorways and an opening (is that 5 doors or not? The last is more an arch and has no door) that was between our garage door and the rest of the house. On the single uninterrupted wall, they put in a bench and ta-da, they call the area a mudroom. I called it a *future* mudroom because it really had no place to hang anything. It got higher on my priority list when kids got back to school and there were backpacks all over the floor. It got even higher when it got cold and jackets joined the jumble. As with all good projects we start with Pinterest, but, one of my constant annoyances with Pinterest is that there are no directions, this is my contribution to the mudroom category.
I have no before picture – imagine a navy room with a built-in bench.
First step was to evaluate use. For us we need lots of coat and backpack hooks at a height that my kids can actually reach. I also wanted a shelf for cool hats, I have a pretty good collection so they needed a spot. We also end up with wet stuff a lot so we needed wall protection.
Second step design and research. After some Pinterest searches, I fell in love with the ‘pretty shelf holders’ but that is not the name for them; they are corbels and can be very tricky. Some I found are decorative only, made of a plastic or hard foam. I needed structural corbels and the internet has plenty, some are very expensive, and I ended up getting them from Home Depot; 2 for $15 (I got 2 packs).
Home Depot also had wainscoting (the decorative wood panels) for $12 a panel, our wall is 90 inches so we needed just under 2 full panels. They are pretty flimsy MDF but they got less brittle after 2 coats of paint. I made the needed cut, using a circular saw, on the far corner and just ignored the asymmetry. I wanted to avoid too much cutting so I tested the hight dimension on the wall for hook rail #1 before I bought them and it worked for us.
Both hook rails and the shelf are pine from the dimensional lumber section. The hook rails are 1x4x8 and the shelf is 1x8x8. They cost about $20 total.
I painted everything (SW7005) Pure White to match our trim, the base of the bench and the door frames.
I marked the studs with masking tape in the area I was not planning on putting anything so I didn’t have to constantly look for them. In my 90 inches, I had 5 studs to work with. One thing I’ve had problems with in the past is overloading coat hooks so I wanted to make sure this was very strong. Yes, Dad, I overdid it I am sure, but now I know I can put everything, including a bag of
bricks books, on the hooks. Here is my hardware/mounting list (not the order of building)
- 2 of the 3 corbels are mounted on studs, 3rd is on a screw in anchor
- The bottom hook rail is mounted using 3in #10 cabinet installation screws
- The long sections of top hook rail are also mounted to studs with the 3in #10
- The two short sections of the top rail use wall anchors rated for 50lb
- Wainscoting is held up by finishing staples from a nail gun, but, finishing nails would work fine.
Order of building;
- Wainscoting first, making sure it was perfectly level. Fun fact, the bench is not level… I kept the nails around the edge for easier painting later.
- Lower rail next. I positioned the screws so I could cover them with hooks
3. Corbels mounted per directions – I decided on the height by a very scientific method; I put a mark where I could still reach but was high enough to look balanced on the wall. I’ve done enough ‘rule of 3rds’ that it is just part of my life. I like to use post-its to mark so I can stand back and look and easily move if I need to.
4. Cut sections of wood for the top rail, mine were 4 different lengths so cutting had to be after corbels. I decided anchoring to the studs was more important than perfect symmetry. In planning, I made sure each long section would have a stud, the short sections I used toggle bolts.
5. The shelf is mostly held by gravity but to be more secure I used the nail gun along the back to anchor it to the top rail.
6. I added hooks, starting by covering my fasteners and then eyeballing (using pink post-its) the others. The lower hooks are the bigger style and the uppers are small because I didn’t want to bang into the shelf above so I needed a low profile.
7. Touch up paint. Went over all the nail heads and the seam of the wainscoting and along the joins of the rails to the shelf above. Looks way better with the hairline cracks filled in with paint
8. Clean up all the tools, trash, and dust and took a picture because this is likely the last time it will be so empty ever!
There are 2 things I wish I could have done differently.
First, I’m not wild about how the upper rail looks cut up because it is slightly thicker than the back of the corbel. Paint helped but the only real solution would have been to put in verticle strips but that would have looked bad because my spaces were not equal, or, even with the wainscoting. I found other places on Pinterest that did the same so I’m not the only one with the quandary. I don’t think anyone will really notice.
Second, I would have preferred to run a router grove on the lower rail so it nested over the wainscoting adding to the structure. I didn’t because my router is still at a friends house and I wanted to get this done and he was on vacation. It worked out fine so far at least.
Even with those two reservations, I’m really happy with how this turned out. I’m proud to contribute this to the Pinterest universe.
Oh! I was asked about the color and we used SW6244 – navel here and in the front hall and it is scary dark on the chip but awesome in person. The bench stain is Koa, the flooring is a vinyl plank laid in a herringbone pattern (left that to the pros!)
(spoiler alert…. or NOT)
I think I have said before that there is no simple “Oh let’s do this” projects in my world. I count myself lucky if I *only* need to gather tools not find them, or, buy them. Things are getting better as we unpack and organize but it is a frustratingly slow process.
One thing I intended to start a full 2 weeks ago was build shelving in the garage. I did my research, plumbed the Pinterest pit, and consulted friends and came out with a plan with few cool things to try but the hitch was that I needed full sheets of plywood and 8ft long 2×4 and my mini van is just not up for that.
Order it you say? They deliver? Yes! I started down that path because I recall someone had free delivery. Called around last week and no, not free, but $25 is ok. Spent a few days building the cart, researching weight limits and looking at a few cool options for the next project because if I’m paying for shipping I’m getting everything for the next few projects in one shot.
Cart finally as perfect as I can make it and then I see delivery is $75…. put on the breaks, call, hear “no, $25 was never a thing” (I swear it really was!) but this puts me in a mind to just buy a utility trailer. Why shouldn’t we buy a >1K trailer to build a less than $100 garage shelf? It has been on our list for a while, this just bumped it up. NOW we need to research trailers! I already had gone down the path so we just needed to actually do the looking. That means 1 day lost to thinking, another to research, and on the third we went out at lunch and found the perfect trailer and a good price but they needed 1 more day for paperwork.
Yesterday! Yesterday we got the trailer and I got to push ‘buy’ on my cart so the lumber guys could pull everything and I finally got the wood at the house. Now I can start? Well almost…. It would be much easier to just pull the trailer full of wood into the garage but there is a pile of boxes (much smaller than it was, I’ve been working on it) in the way so I moved them all and walked in the trailer. This trailer weighs practically nothing, nearly 100% aluminum and I had no problem walking it full of lumber into the garage.
Finally! Finally, I can start! I use my impact driver (love!) with a new star bit (love love) and some highly recommended lag screws that require no pre-drill (love love love!). I put up my back supports and then… then the battery dies. Oh well, I had to cook dinner anyway and tomorrow I think I can just get it done.
The night passes and morning comes; it is the next day. Make breakfast, pack lunches, brush 3 sets of hair and find shoes/jackets/papers and bring all the children to school. Come home and hear the beginning of the supreme court testimony and turn it off. I can see both sides, I am glad I’m not in charge of that. At 10am I get out there and by 11:15 I have this.
So not 100% because I don’t have the short screws I thought I had to screw down the plywood but no project can be finished in just 1 trip to the store. Given the time yesterday to anchor the backs, I would say this is a 2 hour project IF you have;
- a clear plan on what you want and how to build it
- ability to make the cuts and the joints without some youtube research
- way to get materials to your house
- clear space
It personally took me 2 weeks and 4 days to make a 2 hour set of shelves. I think we need a bit more reality in our building expectations. Those youtube people just skip right to the building part and make it look so easy.
My further plan is to extend right with top shelving only and to the left I’m torn between another section of 4, or, just another top shelf. Either way I’ll be faster this time because I have 5 of the 6 necessary steps to get going done already. It does feel good to finally check this one off the list.
That, and everything in between, about sums up my week last week. Here are the highlights of the fastest week ever because we don’t start slow, we dive in. Also, we fumbled Monday because it was a holiday and felt a lot like a Sunday so it was a busy and short week;
- First day of school! It went well, kids had stuff ready and were super excited to go. So excited they took showers and had dripping wet hair so we had to do some emergency blow drying. Where was the blow dryer? Still in a box, but, we found it. I went with them for the morning to help kids find their way in the new building and it was a joy to see the new building.
- First week of figuring out drop off and pickup and what exactly to do in between. There is not as much time as you think during school but after the longest summer every full of much togetherness, having an hour, followed by ANOTHER hour to do things made me dizzy with possibilities.
- One thing that was top of the list was a set of counter and cabinets that we didn’t have the builder do but needed to be done in order to set the rest of the kitchen up properly. It is not totally done because it does not have the sink and a few details yet but it is done enough for now. I had to really work to make that countertop flush because even brand new houses have non-level walls. Thank you Dad and YouTube. I’ll cut a hole and do the plumbing connections (rough in done by builders) sometime. Knobs are on the way and I have the base molding cut but not painted and shelf hardware but not shelves ready. Getting these guys together, level, anchored and looking good to this point took some time so worth a mention in a post.
- Another top of list item was to sew 3 flower girl dresses for a wedding this coming weekend. I got the cutting out done at a friends house because my sewing stuff was MIA. I ended up needing to do a thorough search and rescue for them though because every other pair of scissors I could find were dull as cspan and when I did find them I literally kissed them. I got through 1.5 dresses last week and today finished the half done one and did another half of the final dress. There is a fit component I don’t want to do until I get the body but then they are home so I don’t have time to do the sewing so they wait until the next chunk of time. All three need a little hand sewing but that is what car rides are for. Ps. Pink satin is not an easy first sewing project for the house.
- Friday I put away all the sewing and got ready for friends to visit from ND. They are the perfect houseguests in general but really perfect first house guests. They don’t care that their bedside tables were boxes. They viewed our blank walls and windows as opportunities to brainstorm solutions and it was a pleasure to have them (even if there was puke. Kids puke as often as cats. Your welcome for your daily dose of birth control)
- The event over the weekend had high points and low. I love to see everyone and I adore the two people that are now on the throne and they made the most gorgeous outfits and presence ever – they set the bar so high. The low was some stupid misses that I’m sure I noticed more than anyone else but I my hands were tied to try and fix it so it just left a bad taste. It was still a good event
- Last but not least, I launched my campaign for school board. After the referendum last year this is way less stress. If I don’t win nothing bad happens like when the levy failed and they had to close an elementary school If I do win I’ll be happy to take my turn on the board and making sure good choices are made for the kids in our community. If any of my readers want to help out my cause here is a link for donations. They are anonymous to others but per laws and stuff if you donate $100 or more I need your name, address etc for the report but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. I also went to a school board meeting because I would never ask for a job I don’t have a high awareness of. I can’t believe there are people who run and never come to any meetings?
Now it is a new week and I have a PTO meeting and a fundraising event (for scholarships, not me) and we get to go to a wedding for some of our more fun friends so I’m sure it will be absolutely fabulous.