Thursday, October 20, 2011


If you've stumbled across this site you won't know that I lost my husband March 31, 2009.  Actually, I didn't just lose my husband, I lost my best friend.  I'd married my wonderful husband (let's just call him WH for now) when I was 20 years old, so I'd spent almost 39 years with him.  About 2/3's of my life!  We have three children and 5 grandchildren (so far).  They're wonderful, all of them, and I love to spend time with them.  But, they have their own space in my heart, and the space that Don filled is broken.

Most days I feel like I'm doing okay.  I wake up happy, I have a wonderful boss and coworkers I like.  My kids, as I've said, are wonderful and I see and talk with them often.  I have great friends that I've had for a lifetime, and I have some terrific new friends that have supported me in my changed life.  But, still, there is a huge, gaping hole in my life that I have to work on every day to fill!

And more storage...

I have a young friend at work.  In some respects she reminds me of my daughter-in-law; they both love clothes and shoes!  Well, one day I got a call from my friend and she explained that she had a huge problem.  She had purchased lots of plastic bins to store her many pairs of shoes, but the bins took up too much space in her closet and she could no longer hang her dresses there.  She'd measured the small area between her bed and the closet and she had 24" of space.  Her question: Would it be possible to have a cabinet made to fit there.

Honestly, I was surprised.  Was she really willing to pay for materials to add two feet of storage space?  Would that really give her the extra space she needed?

Turns out she was serious.  And this cabinet fit perfectly in that tiny space.  It will provide her an extra 2 feet of hanging space and 2 additional drawers.  She was so excited when I delivered this and we slid it into place.
I told her that I didn't want to paint or stain it (I really don't like that part!), so, she did that.  It's painted an Espresso color.

I made lots of mistakes on this one (if you're reading this Keiry, don't go looking for them!) - I really need to get something that reads accurate measurements to me!  But, it's surprising how easy it is to "fix" things so that no one else is aware of any goofs.  I was really pleased with how this turned out - and thrilled that something that kept me busy and taught me so many lessons made her so happy!

And, finished and in place - It looks terrific, Keiry!

A place to work...

Did I mention that the Doctors lack storage space?  Or, maybe it's that they have just a whole bunch of stuff!  They decided that what they needed was to turn one of their small, extra bedrooms into an office space.  My son designed the desk and upper cabinet.  Once I had it built, he painted the base and stained the desk top and the upper cabinet.  Notice the printer?  I suggested that we put that on a pull out shelf so that he could get to it easily (experience talking!), but he didn't think he'd need that.  He's since decided that it would be helpful to have it on a pull out, and then he could also add a shelf above it for more storage.

(This finished picture doesn't show the upper, but it has since been stained and installed.)

A place to dine...

My son and daughter (let's just call them the Doctors), have a small outdoor patio.  A normal sized patio table and chairs would use up all their space.  I had seen a really cool looking table posted to the ana-white site, and thought I could scale it down to the size they needed.  And, they had an anniversary coming up so I had an excuse to build something totally unnecessary, just interesting!   

I was going along, feeling really smug about creating this really interesting design when I noticed that almost every piece of wood I'd screwed into place had split!  I was pretty disappointed, and painstakingly began removing screws to see if I could salvage any of the material.  As it turned out, I had to make another trip to Home Depot for additional pine, but was able to reuse some of my original lumber.  

I had to get over my fear of using my husband's old circular saw to get the legs cut out, and I threw out a few 2x4's before I got them right!

In the end, I was surprised at how nicely it turned out.  Chairs - who would have thought that I could make chairs?  They actually should have been sanded more on the edges, but my lovely daughter-in-law said not to worry about it, they'd just buy some cushions.  Hooray!  My son says the seats are fairly comfortable as is, but I think he'll welcome the cushions, too.

A good night's sleep...

My son and his wife need lots of storage for their clothes.  My son built a platform for their mattress which lifted it high enough off the floor for them to slide in plastic storage bins.  But, I kept hearing how much it wobbled.  Now, a wobbling bed might be nice at times, but not when you're just trying to get a good night's sleep.  And, I certainly didn't want them to hurt themselves if it collapsed when there was something more than sleep going on!  So, this Queen sized storage bed was built for them.  

The plans are from a web site that I just love:   I've also built a couple of floating night stands that still need to be installed in their room.  Once installed they will be able to access the large drawers that are on either side at the head of the bed.

This project was stained using Minwax Espresso rub on stain, and finished off with a rub-on polyurethane.  Kyle did most of the staining and it's a really beautiful finish.  As a bonus, this bed is so heavy there absolutely isn't any wobble in it!

Espresso anyone?

My daughter and her husband have a small house.  They maximized their space by concealing their media equipment in a closet directly behind their large TV.  That left their living room looking like a bowling alley!  They wanted a cabinet to sit under the TV, but because their room is very narrow they didn't want it to be as deep as most cabinets available for purchase.  I spent several weekend days shopping with my daughter for the "perfect" piece.  It had to be the right depth, longer than the TV, and cheap!  Finally, I just didn't want to shop anymore!  I told her I might be able to make something that would work.  

I think she doubted that I was serious, so when I told her I'd purchased material to make their cabinet, a look of concern crossed her face!  I can only imagine what she was  thinking - probably "Oh my gosh, am I really going to have to put some horrible looking thing in my living room just so I don't hurt my Mom's feelings??"

Well, I think my first real project was a success.  It's not perfect, but most of my goofs are hidden, and this media/wine cabinet looks nice in their living room.  It's the perfect size for their space, too.  I also made them 2 coordinating end tables.  (I made 2 end tables just like this one for a coworker.)