Showing posts with label Home Improvement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Home Improvement. Show all posts

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I'm gonna knock it down...

My idea of weekend fun centers around power tools and large overgrown hedges which now look like trees...And I couldn't help but sing an updated LL Cool J song...I'm gonna knock it down...mama said knock it down...
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At one point- these were probably nice subtle hedges. Until it grew into the monster of all hedges and started growing through the pool fence and around our pool equipment. Besides, I thought it would be nice to have a playset for the kids but I couldn't justify using valuable yard space to do it. The bush/hedge/tree had to go.

Steve and I cut it down and the kids took the pieces to our driveway where they await their fate of the dreaded green dumpster. Half-way through Steve says, "There have been very few times I've been able to say this, but the kids are really pulling their weight and actually being helpful." We find we're saying that more and more these days which gives this tired mother hope!

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The whole thing came down in an hour and a half and our yard felt so much larger. Not to mention the goldmine of treasures the kids were able to gather once it was gone.



Sunday, March 16, 2014

Building with dad...day six...

Day five left me a bit discouraged with our progress on the entertainment center. It was clear that we were not going to finish this thing with my dad in town so I reevaluated and reprioritized the next most important steps. What could I do without him and what was necessary to have his help. Doing this gave me a large dose of reality and no longer was finishing it the goal. The new goal was getting it to a point that we could bring it into the house and put it against the wall.

Here's how day 6 went down:
My dad started the morning taking Hallie to school and enjoying "Donuts with Dudes" sponsored by the school. Hallie knew her dad wouldn't be able to go but she was just as excited at the thought of her grandpa taking her. Of course after donuts, she had to show him her classroom, the playground and show him off to all her little friends. Evidently, Grandpas are a novelty. She had one friend that wanted to touch his graying hair because it looked fuzzy. He obliged. Grandpas are the best. Once he got home we went to work.

We started by cutting the backs out of 1/4" MDF for the three units. One was cut the wrong length which left it too short to use. Measure twice, cut once. MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE. Eventually, I think this actually might sink into my little brain, especially after all the seemingly innocent errors which made more work for us. Back to the lumber store.

Once the backs were cut, we started to putty and sand all the doors and drawer fronts and lined them all up to receive their first coat of paint. Life with Fingerprints: Building with Dad...Day 6; DIY Entertainment center My handy dandy sprayer was a huge timesaver, but I was still dealing with the drying and curing times. There is nothing like watching paint dry. It was painful.

I was still determined to meet my new goal - get the entertainment center into the house. Just before dinner we cleared the wall of the previous furniture. Life with Fingerprints: Building with Dad...Day 6; DIY Entertainment center Just after dinner we had a short window with Steve's help before he ran off to a meeting and we brought each of the three units into the house. We didn't put them in place, but they were in the house, and I wanted to scream with delight from the rooftop. Life with Fingerprints: Building with Dad...Day 6; DIY Entertainment center Life with Fingerprints: Building with Dad...Day 6; DIY Entertainment center  photo 20140226-DSC_0964.jpg We made a last minute decision to add a cable box behind the unit (we don't currently have cable but didn't want to limit ourselves in the future) which took some figuring out. At 10:30 the box was finally installed without a cable and Steve said goodnight and left my dad and I with a disaster of a room.

The backs hadn't been installed yet as they were still drying outside, but once they were not tacky - we had them glued and nailed into place. Life with Fingerprints: Building with Dad...Day 6; DIY Entertainment center The minutes seemed to pass by too quickly and every time I looked at the clock it seemed later than I thought. I had to cut a 4"x1" slot using the jigsaw where the tv sat and through the shelf below it for the wires to pass through to the electrical outlet and it just about killed me. We had spent so much time on it and now I was cutting a hole in it?! I just prayed I wouldn't screw anything up and prayers were answered.

We shuffled units around and started to get them in their place. It was past midnight and we were both exhausted but there was no way we were stopping (okay...maybe my dad would've stopped but I was determined.) The large unit, probably 500+ pounds, was a little difficult to maneuver and I'm not sure I pulled a whole lot of weight. But we shimmied and slid and pushed until it sat where it needed to be and we counted our lucky stars when the holes in the back of the unit matched up with the electrical box on the wall.

There were tools and nails and hammers strewn across the living room and I made quick work to gather everything that would be potentially dangerous to my kids the next morning. I wanted Steve to walk out the next morning seeing it for the first time in its place with a clean room surrounding it and just after 1 o'clock it looked like this. Life with Fingerprints: Building with Dad...Day 6; DIY Entertainment center I just about cried tears of joy as I shut off the light and walked to my room. We didn't reach my original goal, but we met the modified goal and I couldn't have been more grateful.

DIY Entertainment Center - Day 1
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 2
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 3
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 4
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 5
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 6

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Goodbye fall wreath...

See that?  photo 20140306-DSC_1257.jpg  photo 20140306-DSC_1259.jpg Yes that is a fall wreath. A fall wreath that has been in that position since...fall. There was no Thanksgiving wreath, or Christmas or Valentines...or anything besides fall.

It's not my nature to leave holiday decorations up past their prime (although in Milwaukee we did leave our Christmas lights up for two months after Christmas because it was too stinkin' cold and icy to get them down) and every time I opened that door I cringed seeing it.

I never removed it because I've had plans all along to remove the entire door. I told myself I would just remove the wreath when we installed the new door.

The door was purchased before Cannon was born and it has sat patiently in the garage ever since. Steve thought this was a project we could do in-house, and I completely agreed. I honestly thought that the install was just around the corner. Each weekend that passed, I honestly thought it would be installed. So the wreath was never changed. Changing it would be accepting that it wasn't going to happen and that was not a thought I was willing to entertain.

In Steve's defense - he is way too busy to carve out time for a door installation. I get it. But I still clung to hope that he would wake up one day and want nothing more than to help me put it in. Wishful thinking I suppose.

I asked him last week if he really had intentions of installing it or should I hire it out. He laughed and quickly suggested we hire it out. I had someone there the next afternoon.  photo 20140306-DSC_1263.jpg Goodbye fall wreath. Goodbye ornate designed oval glass. Goodbye broken brass handle. Hello fresh clean lines with functional lock!  photo 20140312-DSC_1464.jpg I spent this morning trimming it out (inside and out) and it's just lovely now.  photo 20140312-DSC_1466.jpg I'm kicking myself that we waited so long.  photo 20140312-DSC_1468.jpg

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Building with dad...Day five...

After working hard for four days straight, it was nice for Sunday to roll around so we could take a much needed rest! I got dressed (for reals, not yoga pants) for the first time in four days and didn't even have sawdust in my hair. Although as I sat in church I noticed just how much paint still sat on my cuticles and underneath my nails! The story of my life.

I really didn't think about or look at the project all day Sunday. As I was heading to bed just before midnight I had a quick pow wow with my dad to talk about the day ahead of us. We had just two full days left for building so we had to maximize our time. The quick pow wow turned into a 45 minute discussion on the construction of all the doors. We didn't have enough wood and my dad agreed to venture out first thing the next morning to buy more.

I went to bed a little nervous. There was no physical way we would be able to get this thing done in two days. No way. My head was swirling with thoughts as I tried to fall asleep.

Here's how day 5 went down.

Apparently my dad had thoughts swirling as well because he didn't sleep well and was up earlier than planned and off to the Depot.

He returned with all the best wood they had (which wasn't much) and I quickly rushed off to Cannon's doctor appt. My dad took on the task of cutting all the stiles and rails (for all fourteen doors/drawer fronts) to size while I was gone. He also used the router table to rout a groove the exact depth of our panel (we used 1/4" MDF for the door panels, which really measured as 7/32, so we bought a 7/32 router bit) on every piece. Life with Fingerprints: Building with dad, Day 5; Mortise and tenon doors and drawer fronts We went back and forth on the construction of the doors. Mortise and Tenon. Dowels. Pocket Screws. BeadLock. Each method had its advantages and disadvantages. I'm most comfortable with pocket screws but that would've required a lot of putty and sanding to fill them. The beadlock method would've required me going to buy another jig. So we tossed a coin and mortise and tenon won. Never before had either of us constructed a door this way so there was definitely some trial and error trying to figure it out exactly.

We used the table saw to create the tenon, making small passes with the table saw. (Found this great video tutorial here that we followed) Life with Fingerprints: Building with dad, Day 5; Mortise and tenon doors and drawer fronts Once we got one side cut, we'd flip the wood over and start cutting the other side. Because the blad was only partially raised, the portion not cut from both sides became our tenon. Life with Fingerprints: Building with dad, Day 5; Mortise and tenon doors and drawer fronts We set the fence at 3/4 inch so we would be left with a 3/4 tenon to fit in the 3/4 deep mortise. Life with Fingerprints: Building with dad, Day 5; Mortise and tenon doors and drawer fronts

By early afternoon I was feeling pretty happy with the progress and then it started to go downhill quickly. We made a few small errors in cutting wood which led us to need even more wood. We had already scoured two Depots and picked through all their wood. So I sent my dad to yet another depot in search of decent wood to complete the doors.

It took a while but he finally came bearing gifts of wood. We got them cut to size and created the mortise and tenon.

Preparing to put the doors together we realized some of the wood had been cut to the wrong size. Cue the silent swear words from my dad as he knew we were already short on wood.

Later in the evening we found some other wood not the correct size. I think there was a pencil thrown. Possibly a door slammed. Not good at all. We were both tired and frustrated and clearly in this state of mind, errors became more abundant.

We should've stopped for the day. But we didn't so you can imagine the errors didn't stop there. No. I was cutting the panels for the doors and even consulted my drawing as to how it should all be cut and still I cut them (not utilizing the board as I had planned) which left me short of wood for the backing of the unit. Again. There was a lot of anger in the garage that night! I think the stress of knowing our time was short was sitting heavy on us, hence all the errors.

We had to get the doors built so they could be painted the next day.

With all the frustrating mishaps of the day, surprisingly we managed to construct all the doors and drawer fronts. Of course, not without wanting to throw half of them against the wall as we worked and reworked to make them square. They day was pretty awful. We were both done and had we not been so far into the project I would've taken this as a sign that we were not capable of completing said project. But we were too far to turn back. So we shut off the light just after midnight both in awe of just how hard the day ended up being for us. One day left with my dad's helping hands...

DIY Entertainment Center - Day 1
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 2
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 3
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 4
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 5
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 6

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Building with dad...Day four...

By day four, my hopes of getting this thing done before my dad left was pretty dismal. It seemed as though every step was painfully longer than the last. But I had three built units staring back at me and that alone was an accomplishment. Day four was a Saturday so we had all sorts of kids running around wanting to help. Steve was working on his final for school and had locked himself away in the office. He had reached his max of my "Project mode" and his frustration was visible. Something about the house being a disaster, laundry not done and a kitchen that remained in a constant mess. He is not a project person and doesn't care for the "process". However, he's always very complimentary of the finished product. But this particular day he was done.

Here's how day four went down:
Because we attached the face frame using pocket screws, we used a 1/4 inch sheet of MDF to "skin" the side. When we installed the face frame, we offset it a 1/4 in as well so it would sit flush with the side skin. Life with Fingerprints: DIY Entertainment Center, painting, Graco TrueCoat Plus II After the skins were attached we were ready to prep for painting. We utilized the help of our minions to putty all the holes. This was the perfect age appropriate task for two kids that had been begging to help. Life with Fingerprints: DIY Entertainment Center, painting, Graco TrueCoat Plus II I like to use DAP Dry Dex because it's easy to use and even easier to sand. Life with Fingerprints: DIY Entertainment Center, painting, Graco TrueCoat Plus II After the putty was dry, we took the sander to all the units and made them nice and smooth. And then we sat and waited for Steve to finish his final so we could use his strength to help move the units for painting. And we waited a little bit more. And I would be lying if I didn't say that panic started to boil within me as I saw the time pass without any progress.

Once we moved them to the backyard it was painting time. I used the lawn blower to get all the dust and particles off in order to paint. Life with Fingerprints: DIY Entertainment Center, painting, Graco TrueCoat Plus II Life with Fingerprints: DIY Entertainment Center, painting, Graco TrueCoat Plus II These are three very large units and painting by hand would've taken me forever. I looked into having it painted and it was $1500. No thank you. A happy medium was me buying a small paint sprayer so I could paint it myself. Quicker than rolling it but way cheaper than our $1500 option.

After some research I landed on the Graco TrueCoat Plus II . Life with Fingerprints: DIY Entertainment Center, painting, Graco TrueCoat Plus II There was definitely a learning curve - probably should've worked with it a bit before I started painting a project I had spent hours and hours on. But it all worked out (with minimal sanding in some areas)! I primed and painted in just a couple hours and I was on cloud 9 thinking of all the time I had made up in the process. Like most sprayers, clean-up is annoying but even that I'm feeling more comfortable with. I'm excited for the project possibilities!

DIY Entertainment Center - Day 1
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 2
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 3
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 4
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 5
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 6

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Building with dad...day three...

Day three started out smooth. We weren't quite as far along as I had originally planned, but we were making progress at a smooth pace. First thing we did with day three is finished building the face frames and attached them to the cabinet bodies. Once again, we carefully measured the top of every shelf so we knew where the face frame should line up. Attaching to the side units was easy - the larger unit took a little more effort. We glued, as well as screwed (Kreg) the frame on and clamped where we needed to. Life with Fingerprints: Building with Dad, Day three Life with Fingerprints: Building with Dad, Day three Life with Fingerprints: Building with Dad, Day three Life with Fingerprints: Building with Dad, Day three Life with Fingerprints: Building with Dad, Day three Once the face frames were attached we moved on to the doors. We ripped down the wood using the Kreg rip cut to the height of the drawer. We ran them the through the router to create a 1/2 inch dado for the bottom of the drawer to sit in. Life with Fingerprints: Building with Dad, Day three Life with Fingerprints: Building with Dad, Day three Life with Fingerprints: Building with Dad, Day three After the kids went to bed for the night we were back in the garage building the six drawers (three for each side unit). We used 1/2 inch plywood for the sides as well as the bottom. We attached them together using glue and nails. Had these been high use drawers I would've opted for a more solid drawer such as a dovetail. But these are light usage and our assembly method will work just fine.

We locked up shop just before midnight. I had a sense of accomplishment after today. All three cabinets were assembled with face frames and all the drawers were built. We spent a considerable amount of time figuring out all the dimensions for the drawer hardware and I'm crossing my fingers that we measured everything correctly!

DIY Entertainment Center - Day 1
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 2
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 3
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 4
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 5
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 6

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Building with dad...Day two...

Day two started out a little rough. The internet went down. No, I don't need the internet to build, but my husband needs the internet for his MBA and he was studying for finals. I spent a lot of time on the phone and then in person with the internet company. I wasted two hours of my life and more importantly, two valuable hours of building with my dad. No Bueno.

Here's how day two went down:

My sister-in-law offered to take the two younger kids for the day so I could focus on the task at hand which was extremely helpful.

We picked up a router table from a friend and had to experiment to get comfortable with it.

Even after I bought nearly every piece of wood from the depot, I still had to go back and buy more poplar. Good wood is hard to come by and the selection was shabby at best. Hallie and Hunter enjoyed picking out paint swatches and hiding in the wood.

We built the stand for my miter saw. I got a new saw for mother's day last year and it's heavy. Heavy enough that I ask Steve to move it in and out of the garage for me. I hate feeling dependent on him for silly things like this so I opted for a nice portable stand on wheels. It's going to change things for me!

We built the 6ft by 8ft cabinet carcass (the center unit). This was painful. Not only was it big and awkward, but it was extremely heavy and sadly enough I wasn't a whole lot of help for my dad in maneuvering it to where we needed it. At this point in the process I was second guessing my grand idea to make this thing so ginormous!

Each shelf sat in a dado and it was difficult getting it all lined up and tight. There was a lot of hammering to get this to line up and sit right. Life with Fingerprints: Building with dad, DIY Entertainment Center Life with Fingerprints: Building with dad, DIY Entertainment Center We built the face frames for the two side units. This was the step I was most dreading. In my mind, I had no idea how we were going to line up everything perfectly. You build the face frame completely and then attach it to the unit with glue and pocket screws and it's got to fit like a glove. But with every step of this project, measuring perfectly (often measuring multiple times just to make sure) led to amazing results.

Here is the back of the face frame before we attached it. Life with Fingerprints: Building with dad, DIY Entertainment Center Life with Fingerprints: Building with dad, DIY Entertainment Center Every joint had glue and screws. I would've been okay with just screws, but my dad loves glue. He looooves glue and I hate it. I hate the feel of it on my fingers, caked on my nails, cleaning the ooze that comes out of the joints when clamped and then scraping off the excess when it dries. I hate it. But I know it's a better way to go. There were multiple times today that I was ready to attach something together and my dad would suggest we use glue and I just rolled my eyes as I walked across the garage and grabbed the bottle of glue. Sometimes I'm a great student and other times I let my eyes roll!

We were able to get one face frame attached to a side unit before we closed up shop for the night. It was at this point that I started to see it take shape. It looks so finished with a face frame on...although I know we're a ways from finishing!

DIY Entertainment Center - Day 1
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 2
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 3
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 4
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 5
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 6

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Building with dad...Day one...

I often have elaborate plans as to what I can accomplish, and I'm no fool to think I can do it on my own. Steve is too busy these days to rope into my crazy plans so I have to look elsewhere for help...enter my father. He's the one that helped me last summer when I had the brilliant idea to build a large table in Idaho and transport it down on the top of my car. He shook his head the whole time he was helping me, but he helped me nonetheless! He's as precise and accurate as they come and he's willing to help me. The perfect partner.

We've had this large, lonely wall for far too long (yes we have 1990's bunny ears...no I did not build them into the new unit!). Life with Fingerprints: DIY Entertainment Center - Day one. Router, Circular Saw, drill, Kreg Tools We knew the minute we moved in and put our entertainment center on that wall that we would need something different. A large built-in is what we agreed on and we didn't think about it again for two years. But it crossed my mind at Christmas time and once something starts swirling in that head of mine, it's hard to let go. I convinced my dad to fly down to help me out(I was realistic in knowing that it would not fit on the top of my car).

He showed up last Tuesday and we didn't waste time getting to work.

This how the first day went down. First off, we did some of this during the day and the rest from 8-midnight when the kids were in bed. My dad made a lot of the cuts while I held a baby in my arms. We prepped a lot of material. Routered. Screwed Jig holes. Screwed shelf guides. Cut material to size. We prepped a lot of stuff, which at the end of the day didn't leave us a whole lot to show for, but it was a productive day.

My dad convinced me to router (dado) my joints for a more secure fit. Did it take more time - yes. Does it look really nice - yes. Did we have to be absolutely perfect in our measurements - YES.

Life with Fingerprints: DIY Entertainment Center - Day one. Router, Circular Saw, drill, Kreg Tools Life with Fingerprints: DIY Entertainment Center - Day one. Router, Circular Saw, drill, Kreg Tools We clamped a straight edge (metal level) to our board to run the router along as a guide. We routered complete 4x8 sheets of material so we didn't have to clamp as much and it make us that much more accurate knowing the router lines will line up with exactness. (These pieces made up the sides of each cabinet)

Next, we cut material down to size. We were dealing with large sheet goods which made it difficult to rip down on our small table saw. So instead of risking our health and safety - we used the circular saw. Normally a circular saw is not looked at as an accurate method of cutting large boards, but it can be. We attached the saw to the Kreg Rip Cut (it can cut up to 24") and I was amazed at the accuracy. We were able to set the guide and cut several pieces to the same exact size. It worked like a dream and we had to make a lot of cuts. Each and everyone was spot on Life with Fingerprints: DIY Entertainment Center - Day one. Router, Circular Saw, drill, Kreg Tools Life with Fingerprints: DIY Entertainment Center - Day one. Router, Circular Saw, drill, Kreg Tools We planned on attaching the face frame to the cabinet using pocket hole screws, so we prepped the side panels with screw holes. Life with Fingerprints: DIY Entertainment Center - Day one. Router, Circular Saw, drill, Kreg Tools Life with Fingerprints: DIY Entertainment Center - Day one. Router, Circular Saw, drill, Kreg Tools I also planned the built-in to have two side units with adjustable shelving. This meant we needed to drill a lot of holes in four different panels. I've seen a lot of methods of doing this - but this was by far the best option: a small shelving jig from Kreg. It kept our holes evenly spaced as well gave me the option of how far from the edge I wanted the holes. It ended up only taking 7 minutes per panel including set-up time. Life with Fingerprints: DIY Entertainment Center - Day one. Router, Circular Saw, drill, Kreg Tools Life with Fingerprints: DIY Entertainment Center - Day one. Router, Circular Saw, drill, Kreg Tools Steve came home from work and I'm sure it didn't look like we had accomplished a lot, but we really had. We went back to work after the kids went to bed and started assembly on the two of the three cabinet carcasses; two 3ft x 8ft units. We put glue in the dado and inserted our shelf boards and used a pin nailer to hold it while the glue dried. Some shelves went in much easier than others and we did some hammering to get them to fit right and as square as we could.

I walked out of the garage on day one and had two pieces like this to show for it. Life with Fingerprints: DIY Entertainment Center - Day one. Router, Circular Saw, drill, Kreg Tools Did I think I would get more done - of course, I'm a dreamer! But all-in-all, day one was a success

DIY Entertainment Center - Day 1
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 2
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 3
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 4
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 5
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 6
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