Thursday, May 26, 2016

Raised Beds - Dirt

The raised beds have dirt! I know step two was going to be stain, but when your dad offers to fill them for you with the tractor you say yes. That saved me I don't know how many trips with the wheelbarrow. Phew!

Also pretty awesome? Max helped! Like, really helped, not "helped" like the cat helps you walk across the floor and trips you. Dad heaped the soil in the center of the bed, then Max pulled it into the holes with his rake, then I followed behind and smoothed it all out. Woo!

It'll make the staining process a little more interesting - but that's ok. I'll figure it out!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Concrete Block Raised Beds

What a GORGEOUS weekend, and HELLO SUMMER!

We worked on a few outside projects - including starting to assemble four concrete block raised beds. (BTW for anyone following the blog from before my hiatus - I moved, hence the need to start new garden beds)

The plan is to make them 64" square (four blocks on each end, and three blocks between), giving a four foot square interior garden space, as well as all of the holes in the blocks for planting. I got them laid out as well as some of the cardboard tucked underneath before the Sunday afternoon rain (and hunger) sent me inside. Cardboard? Yes, cardboard boxes flattened out will provide a barrier to kill the grass underneath, and by the time my plants are big enough to need to grow deeper the cardboard will have broken down enough for their roots to get through.

We're aiming to do most of our outdoor projects on a budget (per the usual) and make them pretty (again, per the usual). The concrete blocks are a great deal at $1.48 each at the local big box hardware store, and they won't break down like wood. Just over $20 for each bed frame, not including the compost. Unfortunately our compost pile is really just getting started, so we'll have to purchase compost this year. We do have a big pile of topsoil though - so there's another freebie!

After I get the cardboard tucked under I'll be staining them a dark teal. Yes, you heard that right - dark teal. :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Blue & Green Swirl Cake

Yeah, I'm totally just posting gratuitous cake pics. Because I can. ;) But seriously - look at the difference in color just from changing the lighting! The "real" color is somewhere between the first two.

interior shot with indirect natural light

exterior shot with bright, direct natural light

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Hack: Stuffing Pillows

As a treat to myself for my new place, I bought some new throw pillow covers! I've never done that before, I've always made them. Such a novel idea... Anyhow - I ran into the problem that I didn't have enough of the right size pillows to fill the new cases.

Note to self: Measure things before buying.

Solution: Stuff the pillows with old towels, blankets, and pillow shams!

Just take your towels etc, fold them slightly smaller than the pillow case, and try to avoid lumps. Stuff your case, and viola! Fluffy pillow.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Hack: Business Card Holder from Video Tape Case

Do you have a bunch of these laying around the house, collecting dust? No? Just me? Well, joke's on you because I just super-simple hacked them into business card holders. BOOM.

Start with a little video tape recording case, which is the perfect size for a business card holder. I haven't tried it with a cassette case, but that might work too. (if you ask what a cassette is, I can't help you)

Brace yourselves, this is going to get SO COMPLICATED. LOTS of steps.
Nah, I'm joking. This is super easy.

Step One: Open the case and remove the old paper (if it's still in there)

Step Two: Take the two sections apart.

Step Three: Turn the top part around.

Step Four: Carefully shove that top part into the bottom, lining the peg and holes if you can. You're just re-assembling it backwards.

Step Five: Adjust as needed so it stands up and the top part leans back slightly. Add a bit of tape on the bottom across the two pieces so they don't wiggle.

Step Six: Add your business cards and admire your amazingness.

Step Seven (optional): Make more because you are a friggen boss.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Max's Shelving: The Resolution

FINALLY - Max's shelves are DONE.

Honestly, the project wasn't that bad, just all of that lead up trying to make my life easier makes me shake my head at myself. I really should have just done the woodworking in the first place, lesson learned!

This was by far my most ambitious project to date, involving cutting grooves and doing A LOT of measurements, but it was completely worth the effort! I have some pics, but not a full tutorial since I was too in the zone to completely photo-document it. For now the shelf is secured to the wall in two places, eventually I'll add a 1/4" backer. Maybe. We'll see.

assembly plan and cut list
making the grooves for the shelves

the quarter round supports - glued and screwed


(almost) all of the bins fit perfectly

completed shelves

completed shelves

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Max's Shelving - The Reckoning

note the mix of white and brown supports
You know how on paper your plan is flawless? WELL. As it got closer to the end of the month, I thought I'd make my life easier and hang adjustable shelves as a temporary solution until I had time to make the big, beautiful shelf. Great idea, right? WRONG. I tried to use existing supports and buy new brackets... and they weren't compatible. Fast forward SEVERAL trips to the hardware store (boy, do I love small town living when I'm getting frustrated with a project and everyone knows about it based on how many times you're at the hardware store making returns).

missed the stud on that one by a good 2"
After sinking way more money into these "temporary" shelves than I wanted, and having leveling issues, and making more holes in the wall than I wanted, I went to put the bins on the shelf. The bins are 16.5" wide. Studs are 16" apart. Consequently, the bins ran into the brackets and wouldn't sit nicely on the shelf unless I hung the brackets above the bins, which gave several inches of dead space that I hadn't counted on, and ultimately made it so I couldn't even fit all of the bins on the darn shelves.

So I tore them all down, returned what I could, and spent the rest of the day making the wooden shelves like I should have done in the first place.

I'm very happy to report that my wooden shelf construction went MUCH more smoothly, resulting in a great system that holds all of the bins as planned! Finally! More on that next time.