Saturday, February 21, 2015

February Blahs

No - you haven't missed anything. Nothing's been posted because very few home-related projects have been accomplished this month. It seems that February's gray days and bone-chilling temps have sapped our energy. It's been easier to hunker down and hibernate than get up and get busy. But life goes on and here are a few tidbits from the last two weeks:
1.) Camera 
I took our good digital camera to church a few weeks ago to help take directory photos. I was using the tri-pod, trying to take pictures without a flash (since the flash quit working months ago). Wouldn't you know that I wasn't paying attention - and the camera crashed lens-first to the floor, shattering the glass lens filter. Luckily, nothing more appears to have been damaged but I do need to buy a new filter and try and find a flash repair solution. <sigh>
2.) Ribbon Cutting
Scott, my brother Tim, and I traveled to Kearney for the afternoon on February 12th. My parents' business celebrated the official ribbon cutting of a 19,000 SF addition to their business, complete with the Chamber of Commerce, mayor, and lieutenant governor in attendance. Tim and I are on the board of directors so we, along with our older brother Mark, got to use ceremonial scissors to help cut the ribbon. After a few hours of mingling and appetizers, we were back on the road and home by 10 PM.

Our niece Chelsie and her cousin Maggie - all dressed up for the party! Maggie's daddy Nick is now working with my dad at Ward Laboratories, and Chelsie works there part-time while finishing up college. It's "all in the family!"
We missed our sister, Karolyn, but the three of us did our best to represent the board of directors (Mark, me, Tim)

Dad got some help from his oldest great granddaughter, Allie, while making his remarks.
Allie was so excited to have her grampa and gramma (Mark and LuAnn) in attendance! It was a fun afternoon for all.
3.) House Closing
This past Thursday, The New People officially closed on their sale of our ol' Grant Street house. We were able to walk through the Grant Street house a few weeks ago to really say goodbye. Who knows if the new guy that relocated from Memphis will let us stop by? To celebrate their new role as "Not the New People Anymore," Kevin and Sara invited us to their beautiful new home last night for a delicious lasagna dinner. We were entertained by 2-year-old Bennett who sang some songs for us while beating a toy drum with a Tinkertoy. Such fun! 
4.) Picture Show
This past Tuesday, we enjoyed pizza and a picture show with the Camps. Marita and Carl hosted us, nephews Pete (and Karly), Andrew, Pat (and Kathleen) along with Kathleen's dad and brother (Tim and Jimmy.) We were treated to a digital slideshow of Kathleen's favorite wedding photos. The newlyweds are coming up on their 6-month anniversary (and still seem to be on cloud 9.) We also got to see photos of Andrew's recent adventure in Chile, where he spent a week hiking and exploring. It was such a fun evening!
5.) Meet Me in St. Louis
Now here we are - it's 2PM on a Saturday and we still haven't figured out what to do this weekend. Tomorrow, I'll be in St. Louis for a work-related tradeshow (flying in and back the same day) so we're hoping to get something accomplished yet today. Check back soon to see if we were successful!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

February Begins with Snowy Day

Finally, winter arrived. Though it was a swell January with temperatures quite often in the 50s, it felt good to begin our February with some snow on the ground. The snow started to fall rather quickly overnight Sunday the 1st, and with wind and falling temps, most of the city (including church services) was closed down for the day.
What would we do without the Ranger and its plow?

Scott cleared the driveway twice on Sunday to keep up with the snowfall and the wind. 
The official snow fall total was about 5.7 inches but some spots at noTTafarm were 10-inches deep with 2-foot drifts.
 Using the shovel . . .
 . . . and the little snow blower to clear the courtyard.
Another four inches fell on Wednesday (Feb. 4) so Scott and the Ranger had a little more work to do. Now today, (Feb. 7) the temps have again risen to the high-40s and our beautiful crystalline landscape is melting away. Only 39 more days til spring begins!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Stylish Space for Laundry Tasks

While the house addition was under construction, I enjoyed showing you photos of where the laundry closet would eventually be. I always made Scott stand in the "doorway" so we could all imagine how this space suspended in air would be transformed. Remember these progress shots from August, 2012?
The point of re-sharing these photos is not just to walk down memory lane (though it is fun to look back) but rather to lament the fact that it took all this time for us to finally address finishing the laundry closet! After all the waiting, it was a Saturday project that only took a few hours, a few dollars, and a little oilcloth. Check it out:
The laundry closet has been functioning just fine. We usually have a giant mound of dirty clothes on the floor, and we have to stand on our tippy-toes to reach the soap on top the dryer but all-in-all, it's been okay.
We tossed around several ideas about what we could use to create a structure that included a shelf, a rack to hold hangers, a table upon which to fold clothes, and storage space for laundry baskets. We finally settled on the idea of using a 36" wide chrome wire shelf (available at your local Target store.) We modified the packaged unit slightly by using only two of the five shelves in our final design. The other three shelves will be added to a unit in my auxiliary pantry to create more efficient storage for housewares. Sadly, the cool casters I bought (shown above) made the unit too wide for the space so they have been placed in storage for future tool shop use.
The shelving unit is just wide enough to make it impossible to build outside of the closet. Luckily, it came apart quickly and was easily constructed in place.
For the clothing rod, we wanted to utilize a heretofore unused adjustable chrome rod that came with the unit Scott bought for the master closet. One end of the rod was fitted with hardware to attach it to the wall while the other end held a bracket that could hang from a wire shelf. Since we didn't want to make this a permanent fixture, attaching it to the wall was not possible. We searched a few hardware stores for a matching bracket but came up short.
Lucky for me, my husband is super smart . . . just went down to the shop, found a piece of scrap metal, and manufactured the exact bracket we needed. He even found a stout little bolt to attach it to the rod's end.
The top shelf was positioned as high as possible and now makes a nifty spot for extra paper towels in addition to laundry soap and fabric softener. The rod is suspended from this shelf, allowing plenty of room for hanging clothes.
Ta Da!
A table top for folding clothes was created by covering a piece of leftover sub-floor with a piece of oil cloth leftover from my kitchen pantry project. Gravity holds the heavy board in place. Four matching laundry baskets fit perfectly on the floor. Looks pretty cute, right? Another fun little project is "done." Time to find something to do!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Mirrors, Mirrors - ON the Wall, at Last!

Buoyed by the success of yesterday's lamp project, Scott and I decided that today would be the day to hang the mirrors in the master bath. They have been leaning against the wall from the back ledge of each sink for *only* a year and a half (give or take.)
The mirrors were fitted with hardware requiring holes on either side of the frame. Scott measured carefully to determine where on the tile he would need to drill.
The laser level was helpful! 
Drilling a total of four holes through this tough porcelain required patience, strength, and me - spritzing the drill bit with water.
Each pair of holes was fitted with an anchor and a screw upon which the mirrors would be suspended.
And just like that . . .
Ta Da!
. . . the mirrors are up! Good job, Scotty! What should we do next weekend?
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Let's Build a Lamp!

As a collector of a lovely assortment of antiques, Marita owned and admired a large glass jug for many years. Two years ago, as the construction wound down and the decorating began, she donated the jug to the cause - suggesting that we create a lamp for the great room. It was a great idea, of course, but I wasn't about to drill a hole in a glass jug all by myself. So the jug was stored away until a certain someone was finally convinced that he and his power tools were the right fit for the project. Check out the results!
The jug is really pretty; green glass, textured panels, and marks highlighting each half-gallon of the 3-gallon capacity. I found the shade at Tuesday Morning back in July. It's been waiting patiently in storage, too.
First step:  drill the hole.
Scott used the same drill bit he uses for our porcelain tile. I helped out by spritzing the bit with water as it bore through the thick glass. This step is the main reason why this project was on hold for so long . . . no one ever thinks this will go well.
Then, less than 30 seconds later, a nice, clean hole was created. Scott used the shop vac (set to "blow" mode) to clear out the water leftover from a quick rinse.
I purchased the lamp parts on my own at Menard's several months ago. I thought I had everything figured out but Scott pointed out the need for a cap to cover the jar's opening and provide an attachment point for the socket. I wondered how much time we would have to spend at Home Depot, running around trying to find a lid for an antique jug. I suggested it would be worth checking all of the jars in the fridge and pantry; surely a jar of pickles or a bottle of salad dressing could sacrifice its top. As luck would have it, an unopened jar of capers had the perfect lid! Scott drilled a hole in the center, and we were good-to-go.
The threaded rod was another thing I didn't purchase. We took apart an unused lamp and found what we needed. Of course this raised the question, "why do we have so many unused lamps?"
Next, add the cord.
The new hole was just the right size to feed the cord through but Scott had to use a bent piece of wire to snag it and lift it through the top. He then fed the cord through the threaded rod and attached it to the socket.
The cap and socket assembly were screwed onto the jug, and then the harp was attached.
Then, unwrap the shade.
This is by far the worst step of the whole project. Why do they make this cellophane so hard to remove? It creates static electricity, too, which draws all manner of dust and dirt right onto the shade. Ugh!
Final step:  plug it in and enjoy!
Two years and one hour later, a lamp is born. That's right . . . after all that delay (not to mention the search for the cap and threaded rod,) the lamp was completed in just over an hour. It now has a new home in the great room. Thank you, Mama Marita, for sharing the jug and your great idea!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Up-cycled Table is First Project of 2015

The weekend after New Year's, we realized that for the first time in four +/- years, we had "nothing" to do. The holidays were over, no one's getting married here this summer, the kitchen shelves are done . . . so what's a creative, cute, 50-something couple to do? We took a field trip to the Furniture Mart for inspiration, and decided that the connector entryway needed a small table. And since my husband has such a nice tool collection, I figured he could make a table that would fit the bill. It was so fun to work together on the design and construction of this one-of-a-kind table. Check it out!
We began with the legs.
You may remember this table as a post on the blog's "Archaeology" page. It's an old kitchen table with a wonky top and faded layers of paint that spent a few decades in the barn. We thought about using it for a guest book table at The Wedding but it was a little too far gone. I thought it would be neat to scavenge two of the legs for our new entryway table. (Spoiler alert:  it works out great!)
We disassembled the table by removing the top and unscrewing the legs from the apron. One leg was worn down a few inches short and one leg had some pretty deep chew marks, so we set them aside and moved forward with the two in decent condition. The table would be secured to the wall with screws, and the two refurbished legs would support the front edge. 
Stripping and refinishing the legs would have been extremely time consuming, and there was no guarantee that they would look good. Scott had the idea of brushing on a light coat of Recycled Glass, the paint I used in the pantries. This technique allowed the elephant-hide scaling of the weathered paint to shine through while making the legs look finished in a refined-rustic way (if that is indeed a thing.) Note: the leg at left was my "practice leg" which was approved for production by the boss.
Then We Made the Top
Scott agreed to use one of the 12" wide oak boards we had in stock, leftover from the colonnade project. He cut it down to 40" wide for this table with the chop saw.
I suggested creating a curve which matched the original of the aforementioned kitchen table. On one end of the oak, Scott traced around one of the original boards. For the other end, he created a stencil with a piece of tracing paper, then drew on the board from the reverse side. The result was the same curve profile on each end of the oak plank.
The curves were cut and exposed by using the jig saw.
Next, the router took a turn, creating a beveled edge.
Post router; you can see the replicated shape of original table.
A little fine sanding . . . 
. . . then I got to do the staining. We used the same leftover cabinetry stain that Scott used on the recent kitchen shelves project.
Meanwhile, Scott worked on the top's apron.
He used the chop saw to literally chop the table top's support system in half. The new back of the table was created from a leftover piece of pine, nailed into place.
Small pine blocks were added to each corner. Screws sent through these blocks will secure the table top.
The table top was finished with two coats of Scott's favorite spray-on, quick-dry lacquer.
Because the table would be attached to the wall, we added a hole and grommet to allow for a lamp cord. Scott used the drill press with a Forstner bit to create the hole.
This little plastic grommet is the only thing we bought new for this project. This less-than-$2 expense has to be some sort of low-cost record for us.
After a little adjustment and a little drilling, the top and legs were attached to the table apron. It was time to take it upstairs and install!
After locating the stud, Scott screwed the table to the wall.
Ta Da!
Our new little table! 
This lamp was in the great room but is the perfect size for the narrow table. The excess cord is hidden neatly under the top. Even though we have yet to decide what to hang on the wall above, we are really pleased with the way the table warms up the entry way.  Stop by and see it sometime!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!