Sunday, February 28, 2010

Knockoffwood Coffee Table completed

In my last post I showed you an unfinished preview of the table I've been working on. I have finally completed it and can't wait to encourage you to check out the site I got the plans from, knockoffwood. A similar table is almost $400 from Pottery Barn and I made it for $25. Can't beat that.

Plans for the knockoffwood table are here.

To start with, cutting all of the pieces took me about 1/2 hour. It took me 4 hours to assemble it, so clearly I'm not very fast yet but I'm improving as I go. I went with two coats of stain and three coats of poly. The layers of finshing themselves didn't take long at all but it took me about a week just because of drying time (8 hours per layer of stain and 5 per layer of poly because it's been snowy cold here).

When cutting the pieces I labeled the end of each with the letter from the plans to make it simpler later.

I messed up a little on one of the aprons as I cracked the spacer apart even though I had predrilled. The wood is really soft (pine/fir stud grade) and the drill more powerful so the screwhead went in further than the countersink and broke it. Still, it's sturdy and I had no problem adding the second screw for the apron lower there.

A partially assembled table:

Before I attached the breadboard ends (but after assembling the rest) I cut the top boards. I placed them on top and lined them up so when I screwed the breadboard pieces down I knew they were a tight fit. Then I flipped the whole thing over to screw in the rest. I screwed the tabletop in from the bottom and went overboard on it. I figure I'll have 5 kids jumping on this table so I want it to be STURDY.

Here it is all assembled before sanding, etc.

The one thing I wish I'd done differently is that I didn't sand again after putting on the stainable wood filler. So there are two spots that aren't very pretty (not pictured because I'd be too embarrased) and I'll not make that mistake again. Ah, well.

A couple closeups of the tabletop:

This is the Pottery Barn table below for comparison.

And a small preview of my current project is below. I designed a VERY simplistic DVD storage system made from 8 1x8 boards. It will be 4' wide and just over 8' tall with the 4x4 legs I'll attach to the front of the bottom to make the base level with my baseboards. Obviously this will be attached to the wall on the back as it will be over 8' tall and only 8" deep. Also, to the side you can see more wood for the project after that, a console table to match the coffee table, also from knockoffwood (though I'll be modifying the plans slightly to add two shelves).

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Victoria Secret is Victorious

Some of you may remember that a few months back I found one of my boys giggling over underwear models in a catalogue.

Well, my other son plays computer games and when he wins the game it says that he's "Victorious". A few weeks ago, while we were in the mall, he saw the Victoria Secret sign and thought that Victoria is the same as Victorious... He REALLY wanted to go in there. I figured it would be bad form to tell him that Victoria Secret isn't the same as Victorious until he's much MUCH older, so I just said no.

Between them, I'm doomed.

GIVEAWAY: On a completely unrelated note, if you haven't checked out knockoffwood yet, do it now, right now, and enter for her $50 gift card give away. But do it today because she gives it away tomorrow. And after you enter, pick a project to work on because this is what's going on in my garage right now and it's all from her plans.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A birthday and a blogiversary

Today is my blogiversary and my birthday. I have been blogging for exactly a year, which I started on my 30th birthday.

1 year of blogging
31 years of life
200 posts
So many new friends

I have blogged about my kids and the crazy things they say (or the embarrassing things that I do).

I've talked a lot about growing up, my sisters, and written several posts for "Life By Mom's Rules: A Survival Guide".

We moved and we painted. And painted and painted and painted...

There were a few scary moments with family, some turning out well and others not and one of those moments I'll even call a miracle even though I'm not really religious.

I confessed 30 secrets, a project inspired by spudballoo.

I dreamed about going to Blog Camp in Denmark but was unable to go so Julie suggested a camp here timed to match up with Blog Camp 2.0 there (a Blog Camp Reno). Some great people (Ali/McGillicutty, rxBambi, AnOpenHeart and Zena the "non-blogger") came to Reno to meet up in September and I'm still quite thrilled for the experience.

I got all crafty this year and there are a few example here, here , here and here.

I bought my first big girl camera and started a flickr 365 project (today is day 50). I'm working on my mini project of the ABCs right now. And this year when I go on the next Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk I'll be prepared to play with the big kids (I hope).

So far my number one most popular post (based on hits) is the PVC pipe fort here and it still gets several hits a day from Google. And the most commented on posts are always the wordzzles.

So it's been quite a year. I have a lot of thoughts rattling around in my head recently about where I'm at in my life right now but I think that will need a whole post of it's own so I'll save that for now. Right this minute I'm going looking for a recipe for Pistachio cupcakes that I used a while back. Yummy Birthday to me!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Camera Tip: Faking a black background

Post 200!

I wanted to take a picture for yesterday's letter H (Heart) with a black background. But I don't have one. The lighting in my house at night (since I can usually only take photos after work) also really stinks. So to fix both at once I used a mirror. But that's not black, right? It is if you use only tea lights for lighting since they don't really reach the ceiling.

So here's my setup. After I had the candles lit I turned off the lights in the room so the ceiling would be black.

But after I took the first couple of pictures, I realized I wasn't creating enough light with the tea lights and so I had to make a really long exposure (which is a little tricky while hand holding the camera) Really simply solved by moving the tea lights closer. When I lined up the shot I wanted I could see which lights (those on the right in this case) had to be moved back a bit. Just be careful not to light your sleeve or camera strap on fire since you are in so close. :)

And, no, the mirror is not perfectly spotless. I did clean it off with Windex but the paper towel didn't do an exact job. Also, there were a couple of tiny smear spots. If you move just a teeny bit to one side those will often disappear though so it doesn't matter too much to have it perfect. I lightened up the first image to show you the truth of how many spots are actually on the mirror.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

ABCs Photo Project

For February I'm getting started on an ABC photography project. There will be a couple days that I have NO idea what to do (X?) but luckily I have a little time to get there.

A is for Alphabet. I love letter press! To set this up I put down a piece of MDF with a manila folder propped against the wall behind it. After I had them arranged in a way I liked I decided it was too dark so I set up the kids' flashlight to shine across the front of the letters.

B is for Bubblebath. Heehee, what you can't see is that every part of the tub edge to the left is covered in STUFF. The kids' bath toys and shampoos, etc. It looks serene from here but...

C is for Cookie (of course!) This one was a little challenging to set up. I sat him on a cooling rack and used a table knife angled at his back to keep him propped up. Across that I angled a fork (also had the base anchored in the rack) with the cookie stuck on the prongs over his hand. I put a small box in front of him with a plate of cookies on top and then surrounded him with a tablecloth to cover the rack and the wall. And voila!

Any suggestions for the hard letters?