Thursday, December 22, 2011

I really suck at hammering nails in.

I'm not proud of this.  I'm just trying to be real. :)
 See the broken off nails?  The Split wood is the icing. 
I especially suck at long nails with petrified freaking wood.  God forbid I just use a new piece of lumber.  I'm trying to extend the floor of my living room by about 4' X 4' so I can put a wood burning stove there.  This is like plan E for what to do with our three abnormally huge stairs that go between the living room and entry/dining/kitchen area.  So anyway I tore down the half built bookcase my hubby had previously started which left open a real good sized hole going to our garage.  I've had a blanket covering it for weeks now and my self-confidence can't take it anymore.  Plus I don't like heating the garage.  So yes, 4 days before Christmas I am trying to knock this little but significant project out.  Back to the nails -my husband came home last night and saw me cursing at nails that were crooked half way in and half way out where the only thing to do is beak them off.  The more I tried the more irritable I got and at some point he had the nerve to ask me if I wanted him to do it.

Oh, you don't see the problem with that?  We probably haven't met.

If I'm struggling with something, ESPECIALLY something "manly" the last thing I want to hear is, "Do you want me to do that for you?"  Um no, thank you very much, I'm good.  It's under control.  (It's not my fault, independence runs in my family.)

I was too upset and the project needed me to stop so I just went to bed.  That a lie.  I wasted spent time on the computer until it was past bed time and then went to bed.

Today I visited my grandpa.  I told him I suck at nailing and he told me that he drills a hole first when using 3.5" nails especially in old wood.  I kinda love my Papa.

When I returned home from visiting my grandpa today my hubby had nailed a few boards of the framing together.  I think our marriage will survive this.  I kinda like my man.  I will have my reckoning with the nails.

Hello garage down below!  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cloth gift wrap!

Several years ago my friend, Lisa Marie gave me a gift wrapped in cloth.  Her gifts are always dead on wonderful to my tastes and are usually second hand, edible or living.  I started gifting her and her family with things wrapped in cloth and decided to try it out with my family.  Now I always have my eyes open for cheap old sweaters and festive sheets of fabric.  Arms of sweaters are the best!  I still use paper for friends and extended family mostly because I don't want my cloth to make it to the dump - that's half the point.  My husband still prefers paper when he's doing the wrapping so we have a lovely mix under our tree.  You do have to be creative by using other pieces of fabric, tying the fabric or my favorite, using twine to fasten the cloth and secure the tag.  Beyond being thrifty and environmentally responsible, I love the way things wrapped in cloth look.  They are beautiful, warm and festive.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chicken Coop Fort, Step 1 - Planning, Sketching, Tools

Chicken Coop Fort
Step 1 - Planning
Step 2 - Framing
Step 3 - Burying the Posts

I probably don't need to tell you that the first thing you do when you want to build a coop or fort is surf the web or if you are old school hit the library or local bookstore and look for hours and hours preferably after you should be in bed (it's more fun that way) to get ideas and inspiration for what you want your structure to look like.

Depending on the way you work, even if you have a detailed plan, you may or may not end up with what you set out to make.  I recommend flexibility.  My project evolved all the way to the end.  The original idea I had changed and changed and changed.  Often, especially toward the end, I sketched the next step for my fort/coop right before I started on it.  As I went, the notes got sloppier and less comprehensive too.  Toward the end with the trim and fence especially I just did a lot of on the spot measuring and building.  Here is a quick sketch I did early on of what I thought I might want my coop/fort to look like:

First of all, your plans are cooler if at some point they get crinkled, ripped or wet.  Secondly, I said this is a sketch.  Sketches are not supposed to look good unless you are an artist or my husband so don't be a hater on my handy drawing.  This is how ideas become realities!
After talking to my dad about the structure I took his advice and decided to built the whole thing around four 16' 4x4's.  Each 4x4 was buried in the ground 4 feet, yes 4 feet.  Everything else was build around the 4x4's.  With every board that went between the posts and every piece of siding, the structure became more and more sturdy.  This is a sketch of how, for the most part, it actually went down.

I thought and thought about plugging in my plans on a some sketch program to share on here but to be honest with you, if I were going to do that I would probably sit down with an architect or structural engineer and do it right and then sell the blueprint!  But I'm not trying to sell a blueprint on how to build this particular structure.  Hopefully my sketches and pictures just give you a general idea of how to realize what it is you might want to build.  For those of us who have no experience in carpentry, things like which way the board goes and how to fasten it are things of primary concern so hopefully you get some of that as I go.  My measurements for the things I did draw up may or may not be accurate as to what I actually built.

I'm new enough to this sport of building things that my shop is still only stocked with the very basic tools.  For the first coop I built I basically had a hammer, circular saw and drill, no joke.  This time around I added some very basic tools that I can't believe I did without for the first coop, things like a square and level!  If you are thinking of building stuff but don't want to or can't spend a lot on tools, I highly recommend you start collecting from garage sales and checking the sales.  Each of the following tools are fairly cheap but to buy them all at once might hurt.  I am lucky and have a very organized collector neighbor who has 500 of everything.  I wrote a list of the tools I wanted and he brought me said tools and charged me just a little money for them all.  In addition to the obvious lumber, screws, nails, fencing etc., some of the tools I used were:

Circular Saw
Carpenters Level
Post level
Electric Drill/Drill Bits
Paint Brush
Staple gun
Metal Shears - Handheld


Chicken Coop Fort
Step 1 - Planning
Step 2 - Framing
Step 3 - Burying the Posts

Monday, December 5, 2011

Care to take home a booth with that teriaki chicken?

This is one of my favorite finds ever.  I was driving past a Teriyaki restaurant that had this bench outside with a "free" sign.  I couldn't resist.  It's the perfect piece of furniture for the random otherwise empty space in my house between the living room and kitchen.  It provides continuity and the perfect place for my friends and family to sit and chat while I play in the kitchen.