Tag Archive | diy

Never ending projects

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?

img_9657

storage room ‘so far’

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.

Happy Valentines Day

Oh what a fun little holiday.  You can ignore it and nobody cares, you can go crazy and nobody minds too much.  There is very little debate over ‘the meaning’ and it is almost fun to be the ‘guy who hates valentines day’.  Nobody really takes it too seriously so anything you do it all good.

img_9519

For me, it is one of my 2x yearly I try and get a good picture of my kids.  I like to make the cards, I started a few years ago and I’m only sorry I didn’t start earlier.  For a DIY craft it is one of the easiest and over the past few years, I’ve refined my technique.

Here is my how-to for photo cards

  1. figure out your theme. There are tons of great ones on pinterest but this year we did one that was not actually from there (but it will be there soon!).  It was my 10 year olds idea, we have a cute dog and she wanted to include her.  We have done the holding candy and blowing kisses, both are super cute but I don’t want to repeat.
  2. Take the pictures.  I use my DSLR but a camera phone is just as easy really. Take as many as they/you have the patience for so you have options and be chill with the details. Some of what makes them really great is that the kids add their own style by choosing the outfit or style.  I tell them the goal, they fill in the details.  One of my favorites was when Fiona insisted on holding the sign with her feet – it was so cute and so her. img_5954
  3. Import your photos into whatever software you like.  I still use Picasa but there are plenty that will let you do the layout you want.
  4. Go to Avery.com and select one of their templates that will fit 4 per page.  This is a time saver for me rather than try and do all the sizing on my own like I used to.  Upload the picture and if you want to use the Avery collection of clip art and do it up.  They also have a pretty easy interface for adding text, I add my text there now instead of in Picasa.
  5. Save the Avery file as a pdf onto your computer
  6. go to UPS.com and do their 8.5×11 color printing option.  Select 100# card stock and full color and upload your pdf.  Double check sizing etc and order.  I did 10 sheets to yield 40 cards and it cost around $8.

 

You can also just print on your home computer but for the price, I like the quality.  My home printer is absolutely NOT photo quality.  I originally got cards printed via walmart as photos, however, the cardstock is more sturdy and the price is better so I’m not going back.

As they get older I like the idea more. The cards in the store are really intended for younger kids based on the cartoons etc and my way the sky is the limit because I can type whatever message I want.  I did one for a friends son and it said “Valentine’s Day? Whatever…” and had an eyeroll style picture that is very him (and also cute).  For the parents that don’t have time, I get it, but I count going to the store and hunting up something as more of a pain than sitting at my computer.

For this particular picture, we had a fun time getting the puppy kisses.  We were going to use peanut butter but you can see that in the photo so we went with pepperoni.  It was a win with the dog and gave the kids a bit of a shiny blush that wasn’t bad at all.

img_9479

yes, that is her outfit, that is why these are headshot style only.  

I hope you are inspired!  I keep a set from each year in their memory boxes, makes me feel better that at least a few physical pictures exist of each of them.

 

2018 <- never before published because I was at a funeral this time last year.

 

2017  – this shape was really fun, perfect for adding a pencil to the back.

img_1903

2016

img_7792

 

Where am I?

Good question!

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.

img_8592

still missing a few things, better pictures to come!

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.

72f160f1-cde0-48c7-b9ab-9fb7488824a9-25444-000019c81bc8a27e_file

All of the tall ones will get taller, we were just doing the layout.  Don’t mind the clutter, yes, that yellow is last min Halloween costume making… 

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.

img_8578

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.

IMG_9131

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…

Making a Mudroom

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;

  1. 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.
  2. Lower rail next.  I positioned the screws so I could cover them with hooks
img_8447.jpg

dry fit everything first

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.

56056390921__386a7bb8-f2ec-46d1-8378-aeaf8a6b678d

pink marker is a post-it, blue marks are painters tape on my studs

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!

img_8507

 

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!)

Gifts for cold and creative kids

Every year I make something for the kids (and sometimes more people) and this year I was inspired by the fact that they tie blankets onto and around themselves, with various levels of “success” to be part of their games.  I read ages ago that giving kids things that can be used in games rather then specific use objects is better for their imaginations.  I posted about this a few weeks ago when I had just finished #1 and said I was excited to see how they liked them.  I also got an email asking how they liked them so here is the answer 🙂

(If you don’t recall or don’t want to click over, they are capes made from blankets that have a hood and a built-in tie/scarf.  They also have pockets for either hands or stuff.)

I knew when I made 3 identical capes they would be used in very not identical ways and I was not wrong.  In the crush of Christmas they were overlooked a little, but, I was rewarded when we got home when Zoe and Fiona were using them in an elaborate game.

Zoe was a bird in the game and she was using the hand pockets to make wings and loved running around the house.

Fiona was a hunter and tied her hood tight and wrapped the scarf around her whole body to make it a coat and she was trying to hide her sword (bird catching sword) when I made them pose for the picture.

img_5072

 

Niamh actually started using hers instead of a jacket and has worn it out to walk the dog more than once.  She ties a bow in a third perfectly valid, and very sweet, way to wear the cloak.img_4837

We also live in a cold state and our house is pretty tight but there are still cold spots and a wearable warm thing is a good idea so I made myself one too.  I find myself wearing it in the evening for reading time to give extra snuggle time while also keeping my phone safe in the pocket as we transition into bedtime.  So many of my outfits lack pockets…

If anyone wants the how-to on this let me know.  I used $3 blankets and they took me under 20min to make.  I have never seen this particular pattern online but it also isn’t all that unique a design so I may have just missed it.

I have used up my computer time for now so I must get back to the list of things to do (that may or may not include reading the book I finally got to start….)

 

 

 

 

Suddenly Christmas is in 2 weeks

How does this happen to me every year?  I feel like there is ages to go and then suddenly it is crunch time.

I got the Christmas cards created, printed, address updated and printed, stamps and all in the mail.  I must say that Avery templates have gotten really good.  I used them to make super cute return address labels and they printed out so much easier than using the mail merge.

We have completed our holiday craft item.  I’m experimenting with essential oil sprays and settled on 2 – one full of anti bug stuff to repel anything crawly, and, the other is just good smelling and with the high alcohol content it is really good at taking the smell out of non-washable things.  We did a very scientific test – we took Lars’s riding gloves that are full of years worth of hand sweat and sprayed one and not the other and then got everyone who came over to do a sniff test.  I think we actually did it because while the experimental glove never exactly got to smell ‘good’ it no longer smelled bad and the control was found every time.  More credit to Avery for their printable templates.  I buy the labels and go online and super easily create the perfect size graphics.  I got the kids to do the drawings and I uploaded and tweaked them to fit and I’m happy with the results.

I’m in the middle of the sewing project for the kids.  This year I’m inspired by the fact that they constantly steal all the living room blankets and find ways to tie them onto themselves as capes or dresses or disguises…  I decided to make each of them a cloak with a hood out of a blanket BUT they have built-in scarf/tie to make them easy to keep on AND little hand pockets on the edge that can either be for better wing shape, or, putting things into.  I wish I had a loner kid to test the design, I can’t wait to give it to them!

 

img_4830

modeled by Good Girl Puppy who is about the same size as Fiona’s head and torso.  Note the paw pocket on the right. 

 

Decorations are on the scant side this year.  We put a bunch of them into storage and I don’t know where they are.  The 2 boxes we kept out did have some of the most important ornaments and there is enough to look festive overall.  It did hower prompt a Dad-joke.

Lars – “look there is a bare spot”

Me – “where, I thought we found enough to look pretty good”

Lars – “right here” lol

Me – eye roll and laugh, I do love a good bad joke.

img_4824

I’m glad the major projects are winding down and the decorations are all up (rather than in totes around the house waiting) so the house can get back to a mostly clean status.  I was reluctant to put up the tree given the ornament situation and that we are always away for actual Christmas.  However, all three kids have remarked on how much they love it and how magical it is that I’m glad we did it.  One bonus to not having our decorations – we had to go get new lights and we finally found a solution to our White v Color lights situation.  Target had lights that are BOTH!  and also LED so I don’t feel bad leaving them on for maximum magical moments.  Even being woken up by a 2am nosebleed is more magical when gently lit by a Christmas tree.

 

img_4831

color

img_4832

white

 

This is my last full week in MN for the year – next week is my birthday and then we take off for the holiday to return sometime near newyears (not totally planned).  I hope to do the gift rationalization where I go investigate my hidden stashes and see what I need to finish up.  That is my plan for the rest of today before kid time, just wanted to hop online to see how the blog world is doing.