Thursday, July 19, 2018

Making things for me! and getting closer to finishing my living room changes

One more thing for my “new” living room!  I’d found this beautiful canvas of an old world map and it was perfect for my new color scheme. But, it looked kind of puny on the wall.

 I found some old boards that I’d salvaged from a man who had saved every piece of wood that he had taken out of his home of over 50 years.  He and his wife were downsizing and needed to clear out his stash of old lumber and they called me to come get what I wanted!  SCORE!

Here's my map now.  Much better, I think. 

Oh, and I'm going to eventually, build a new fireplace surround for my electric fireplace.  And, I found these great chairs at my favorite thrift store for $75 each.  They are big and comfy, but fit me nicely. 

Next, to recover dining chairs, make the covering for the round table, and I'm making a new entry console so that I have some place to keep my gazillion pairs of glasses, and all the keys I have!  I have a beautiful new mirror in the entry, but I'm going to wait to show that until the console is finished! 

I hope you're enjoying summer - it's been hot and muggy here, but I love summertime!

Those Green Chairs...and other updates at the Logger's home

My green chairs have found a new home!  I loaded them up in my truck last week and delivered them to Logger Daughter.  They look great in her new kitchen/dining/bar/ sitting area.  These chairs were 15 years ago at a hotel furniture resale place.  I paid $35 for both chairs and $15 for the ottoman.  I think I paid $3 a yard for the upholstery fabric and for about $75 I had these great chairs.  I've had them in my living room, family room bedroom.  And, way back when I made those slipcovers, I recall that it was a simple thing to do.  (unlike the chairs I just made slip covers for - I'm way too old to be crawling around on the floor measuring these things and sitting for hours at a sewing machine!)  I'm happy they're still in the family and have found a home where they'll be well used. 

Here are some of the other things I did during this quick visit.

 Added some cute wood signs that were a gift from her cousin to her entryway wall.

Made and installed a large (42x42) chalk/cork/magnet board.  I think the ornate, painted frame is such a fun thing in her kitchen.

With some help from my granddaughters (All I did was cut the board and paint it white!) we created a huge Farmhouse sign for above her refrigerator and new chalk board.  

Hung some stuff above their temporary bar area - Logger SIL has a special piece of walnut that he wants to use as a bar top, and of course, he'd like a larger bar, too!
They had the mirror and clock, but I made the little "wine" sign to balance things out.  

When I was there in August I had built one shelf above her washer/dryer.  I knew then that I wanted to add another one higher up, and that I wanted something that would cover the top of the dryer (and maybe close off the opening to "sock hell" behind the dryer.  So, I found enough material to give them much more usable storage in that area.

And, THIS!  
I'm embarrassed to include this in my list of projects, but the whole purpose of this blog is to document the things I build - not just the things that turn out well, but even the things with flaws.  And, this one had/has a major flaw.

Using the materials leftover from the kitchen and laundry room cabinets I built one tall broom/mop closet and two upper cabinets on a wall in the mud room.  Because I was using what we had, there is a mix of 7/8" plywood and panels that were part of the kitchen installation - 1/2" mdf with hickory laminate.  It took all my brain cells to work out where to use what pieces.  The panel on the wall side of the tall cabinet is one of the laminate pieces.  It was too short, but I had lots of smaller pieces so I cut a piece to add to the bottom of the panel to get it to the right height.  At least, that was the plan.  

I had a heck of a time getting these installed.  I just couldn't get that tall cabinet square and plumb.  I finally got the left side of the cabinet level and plumb and screwed the sucker into the wall - figured the rest of it would get close as I added the upper cabinets.  I was able to add the uppers without any problems, so stepped back and looked at that tall cabinet and the problem became clear as could be!!   that wall panel looked shorter than the other.  I'd swear I had those two side panels laying on top of each other and that they were the same size, but I couldn't have!!  Not the way that cabinet was hanging.  I measured and sure enough, I'd cut the wall panel 1/2" too short!  It should have been clear there was a problem when I attached the bottom and top pieces, but this is where I'll just chalk this up to the heat!!!  It was extremely hot outside where I was working, but, damn - I just screwed up.  You can kind of see it it in these photos.  That middle shelf tilted toward the wall big time (1/2").  It was very noticeable!  And, the bottom was out, too, but unless you laid down on the floor you aren't going to notice how bad that is.  
I should have taken everything down and rebuilt that cabinet, but I didn't have anymore material and I just needed to be done, so I got my hammer and a block of wood and I beat the hell out of that shelf (which I'd glued and nailed in with my nail gun).  I finally got it to move up enough that it doesn't look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.  When I go back to install the doors I will work on the top face frame piece and get that moved up.  And, the door will be taller than the opening so you shouldn't see a 1/8" discrepancy in the opening - at least I'm hoping that's the case, and that's what I've told them!!

 I'll get the doors made while I'm here at home and hope to get those installed in the next couple of months.  In the meantime, it still holds stuff,  you just have to lean way to the right when you look inside!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A new look in my house!

I’m changing things up at my house!  Colors and style anyway. I still love my furniture but I needed a change!  So, I’m going from rust and greens to cream and blue colors and casual comfort.  And I’m cheap and stubborn so I’m trying to get my “look” without spending a lot of money.  I’ve made several slipcovers over the years so, of course, I decided I would make them myself.

These chairs were a green almost tapestry fabric. And now they are cream -after only 40+hours of sewing, 16 yards of fabric, 15 feet of zippers, over 1200 yards of thread, 42-40 feet of piping, and lots of Tylenol for my aching back.  Whew-they are done!!  Not perfect, But done!!  Would I do it again?  NO. The $700 estimate I got  to have them made was looking really good by the time I finished today!  From now on, I’ll stick to woodworking, thank you!

Two Cream colored slipcovers now on my old green floral tapestry chairs.  I love these chairs - they swivel and rock!

I fell in love with a large canvas that was of large bright orange and gold flowers.  My old colors, but I really loved that canvas print.  My friend talked me down - said she'd help me find accessories that would tie it in with everything, if that's what I really wanted.  Thankfully, she had enough faith in me to let me come to the decision to buy the pretty blue canvas print that's now hanging in my living room.  I do like it and it fits in with the colors I was moving towards - but I think I may still go get that orangey one for my bedroom!

I left my sofa - I figured it was enough of a neutral color that I could work it in.  It's a perfectly good sofa and I wouldn't have been able to get rid of it - where would I have stored it!!???  So, it stayed and the picture above it does have that color in the flowers!  It works for me.

A few new things in the dining area, and you can see what a difference the light drapes make.  I'm happy with how things are turning out!

Still a couple of other things to do, a new covering for the round table between the chairs, reupholstering the dining room chairs, (I'm using the same fabric for both, and I'm making them - hoping that it's easier on my back than the chairs!) and finding a place for all the old artwork - they can't live in the hallway forever.

Then I think I'll be done.

Still lots to do before my changes are complete, but each change adds more light and airiness to the room.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Some Finish Work for the Loggers

When I left Logger Daughter's house the first of December, I told them I wouldn't be back until Spring!  It was so cold there the month of November and I realized that I cannot tolerate the cold weather.  Turns out it was a long winter!  But, finally, the stars aligned and I I was able get back up there.  I was able to see each of the boys play a couple of ball games, but I missed my granddaughter's track and field meet (I really hate T&F - the meets are all day long, and the person you're there to see is likely to only be doing something for about 15 minutes).  But, I did try out the three new restaurants in their little area - no way do I miss out on food and wine!

Some work did get done, too.  I'd started these things when I was there last, but there wasn't an opportunity to finish and install them (IT WAS TOO DAMN COLD FOR THE FINISH TO DRY!!)

This was a completely unusable cabinet - so me made drawers and floating shelves.  The drawers will hold things a bit more efficiently than the skinny shelves in the previous cabinet, and the open, floating shelves will display some pretty things.  

The laundry room is used constantly!  School, work, mucking pigs, chickens, dogs, hunting - there are piles and piles of clothes!  This new room is off their mud room, which is just off the front entry.  You can't see this room from the front door or entry so most of the laundry piles are out of site.  The hope with the builds in this room - the folding cabinets under the window and the shelf about the washer/dryer - is that clothing and cleaning supplies can be contained.  Anyway, it looks good when the clothes are all cleaned, folded and put away!!

And, I created a permanent desk area and shelving in her new little office.  No pictures of that because it's always a "working" office with lots and lots of stuff!

Next trip there will be a couple more things.  Maybe June...

Big Tables - Oh, My!!

Another couple contacted me through Facebook, asking about a custom table for their covered patio area.  I was busy with some other things, and although I'm a sucker for big, wood dining room tables, I wasn't so sure I was ready to tackle another one just yet.  So, I said we could talk about it and sent them all my "here's how this works" info.  It didn't scare them off, and they replied that they weren't in any hurry.  So, I took on the challenge.  They had decided they wanted a pipe base which is something I'd never done, so I was sure it would be interesting!

It turned out beautifully well, I think.  It was massive, 8' long, 40" wide, made from 2x materials.  So, it quickly became very, very heavy.  

The finish is Minwax Early American stain, with a General Finishes exterior polyurethane finish.  

The pipe - oh my gosh, I had no idea pipe was so expensive.   Each of the floor flanges were close to $12 a piece!  And, it's heavy.  And, putting it together was like a big puzzle - tighten one pipe, loosen another, undo a connection so you can tighten/loosen another piece.  I was able to get it somewhat level, but there was a wobble in it that, because I have no strength in my arms, I was not able to tighten or loosen the right pieces to correct the problem.  I hated to admit defeat, but I explained my problem and these kind people were complete unfazed!  Turns out, he'd done some work with pipes in the field and understood the complexity.  I stained a few shims and suggested that he slip those between the table top and the top flange,  until he had a couple of friends over, and they'd all had a couple of beers and felt ready to tackle the undoing and doing!  He thought that was a great idea!

So, they were great to work with, and we all liked the table.  I think they'll get a couple of good years with this table - and the good thing is, when they want a different top, that's the least expensive part to replace!  And, they picked it up and I had room in my garage again!!!

Update: Bathroom cabinets

Oh my goodness!  I love how these turned out.  You saw these in my last post, sitting in my garage.  Here they are in place.  This nice couple found me on Facebook.  They were having a really hard time finding anything nice in the size they needed.  They have a tiny bathroom and they really wanted a vanity that was tall to accommodate their height, and have an open feeling so the bath didn't look so crowded, and they wanted as much storage as they could get!  Sounds like what we all want in our bathrooms, right?  Well, I said "Sure, I can do that"๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†.  Turned out to be somewhat of a challenge as I tried to give them closed storage that had to fit around the rough plumbing!  It all worked out, but I did offer to remake the drawer and interior shelf if it needed adjustments - and they did!

Most importantly, they people who will be using this room every single day are very, very happy!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Bathroom Cabinets, oh my!

Some time ago I made a large Over John cabinet for Camper daughter.  They have a tiny main bathroom with no storage at all.  They'd been hemming and hawing about what they wanted for so long that I decided I'd build them something that they could use - or not.  I figured if they didn't want it, it would be easy to sell.  Remember this from an earlier post?

Well, it was BIG, and ended up being too big for their little space (I've since found them a much smaller cabinet - thrift store find - and it's hanging in their bathroom now until they find something else they like better!).  So, I listed this cabinet on our local FB Marketplace site.  I had a couple of nibbles, but no one was willing to pay what I was asking - which was really reasonable given the size of this cabinet (and compared to what you can buy in retail outlets!).  I'd gotten to the point that I was seriously considering turning this into something else!  And, then I got a message from a young woman who wanted it at a price I was willing to accept for it.  But, then she didn't come get it.  I messaged her and learned they did want it but had been tied up with family and illness and hadn't been able to get out to pick it up - they live over an hour away from me!  Then she asked me if I'd been the one to make this, would I be willing/able to make another on similar, but larger, not as deep, and with mirrored doors.  And, I did.  She came out to pick up both cabinets this week.  They've already been installed, and she loves them.  (I know this because I forgot to give her the shelves for one of the cabinets and had to deliver them to her yesterday - it was a nice drive and I got to see my sister, so ...)

Anyway, patience paid off with this cabinet, and then they both went to a good place!  

Angels, Angels, Angels

A 2017 Christmas project that became gifts for neighbors, friends and family.  This was a fun project to build and to give.  I love Angels๐Ÿ’—

Another late Christmas post - Serving boards

My good friend sent me a picture of a serving board that was huge.  It made a grand statement on a buffet table and it was something she really liked.  She sent me the picture with a question "What do you think"?  (it was similar to this one, just a bit bigger and even more expensive Serving Board)  Well, it was pretty impressive shown on a beautiful, full table of appetizers.  But, the price on this impressive board was $199!!!!  What??  Well, it was supposedly made from 100 year old wood from a building in Europe.  So, what did I think? 

I told her I could make one that looked like it for a whole lot less.  And, I did.  In fact, I made two for her, one for her to use and one for her to give as a gift.  These were lightly stained with Minwax Ipswich stain, then sealed with shellac, which is food safe.  It will yellow over age, but then natural wood will also yellow, so all's good with that!

My friend purchased a big bag of leather pieces and we used a shoe-laced size piece of leather for the holding strap (through that hole in the "handle").  This was 40" long, about 1.5" thick and 11" wide.  BIG! and HEAVY! 

I'd make one for myself, just because they look really cool, but I have no place to keep it when it's not being used.  Pretty impressive, right?  And, the cost to make?  Materials were, nope, not going into that - let's just say she insisted on paying me $40 for each one.  And, if I get a request for another one I'll be very happy to take $40 for it!  

Granddogs - oh what fun!

So, do you have a dog?  Love having a dog?  Think everyone should have a dog?

I don't have a dog!  I love not having a dog!  I think there comes a time in your life when you shouldn't have a dog!

I'm at that time in my life.  I'm old, impatient, what to go when I want to go, don't want to clean up messes, don't want to have to worry about someone taking care of a pet, don't want to spend the money on dog food, and most importantly, don't want to risk a broken hip or other bone because of a pet that is always in  your way!

But, I do love my granddogs!  They're sweet and loving and they bring great pleasure to my kids and grandkids.  I have often kept my granddogs for the day or days.  (I still worry about tripping over them though!).  I love having them with me for short visits, and, I'm always glad to see them go home where they belong.

My granddogs always get Christmas gifts from me, and this past year it was my intention to make them raised dog food/bowl holders.  But, I just didn't get them done!  I had bowls, I had lumber (scraps I'd saved for this particular purpose), and I had time.  Still, I didn't even get them started.  What can I say, I was just too lazy to start them.

But, I made up for it recently.  I figure if you get a gift within a month of the gift-giving event, you get a pass.  (and I completely forgot my son's two "boys" - they've been grumpy, outside dogs for a couple of years so I don't ever see them, but I do feel bad.  I think they'll get a steak bone on my next visit to them.)

Top: Just a tray to hold Penny Rose’s tiny bowls. Penny is a mini apricot poodle that weighs in at about 5 lbs now-I think she can reach them!! 
Middle: tall with food storage is for big black labs, Bailey and Cabela-I think they’ll share nicely (they eat each other’s food now!). And the other, sans storage, is for our big yellow lab, Gracie. She drags her bowls all over the yard so this may deprive her of a favorite game-but at least they won’t have to search for a bowl to put her food into though! (Update - Gracie manages to pull her bowl out of the stand and still drags that bowl all over the yard!)
And bottom: for our little bear-like Schipperke  bowls of her own that hopefully the big dogs will leave alone! 

Pretty Corbels

Something sort of new that I worked on last year.  I'm always-well, most of the time-ready for a challenge. My daughter's friend is on the look out for corbels.  Since I'd attempted one this year, that turned out okay, I told her I'd make a couple and if she liked them she could buy them.  It was interesting making them. I used a pattern from another builder (  I had to reset my band saw twice, and then one morning the blade snapped.  But, so worth the work to get that saw working again!   I like them. They were already rustic and "aged" looking (thanks to my sadly lacking band saw skills), but the old, chippy finish is just what logger-daughter's friend is looking for.  I hope to deliver these to her on my next visit - in a week or so if everyone, including me, can stay healthy (this flu is a real pain in the patooty!)

I think I like making things look old!  

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Happy New Year 2018! Here's the latest from Sep 2017 to now!

Gosh, it's been over two months since my last post and that was just a quick one showing my pretty Christmas tree box.  I've been really busy, but I'm getting lazy in my old age and have created a FB page for "The Widow's Workshop".  Actually, to find me on FB you search for @oldladysworkshop - very fitting, don't you think?  Anyway, it's really easy to quickly snap a picture with my phone and upload it to FB, so for the past few months that has been my go-to journaling process.

To fill in any of you who aren't on FB and read my blog (maybe there's a whopping total of 3 of you - God bless you!), here's what I've been up to since August!  (oh, geez, I can't remember that far back!)

Repurposed Roll-Top desk.

This was made for my daughter's friend.  She has two daughters with serious, life threatening kidney diseases (two different diseases!), runs a photography business, and is a Rodan and Fields representative.  Where she finds the time to care for the girls and maintain her businesses is beyond me.  I think she runs on about 2 hours sleep!  Her old desk just wasn't compatible with the different tasks she performed there.  She needed something big with drawers for storage.  I didn't think I'd have time to make something here and take it up with me on my next trip -which was coming up quickly.  So, I looked on a local FB page for items for sale and found a great big roll-top desk that fit the bill - expect for the roll top!  

And, I turned it into this!  Have to say, this was one of my favorite transformations ever.  I used Annie Sloan gray chalk paint and dark wax.  But, you'll see hints of aqua and some rusty tones too.  

I kept the original dark brassy hardware but buffed it with
 silver rub 'n buff for a brand new fresh look.

Just beautiful.  And this super mom really liked it, too!  

Next up, some furniture pieces for Logger Daughter.  

The Logger's did some major remodeling during the fall - you'll see some of that later.  So, since I would be driving up with the desk I thought I'd finish up some new pieces for their family/kid's game room.  They needed a console to hold the large TV with room for electronic equipment.  And, they wanted an end table.  They live in the woods and they like rustic stuff so on a previous trip up there I'd scavenged my SILs wood stash for some things that would work.  Here's the result:

These turned out well, I think, and except for the shelves, I used only wood from Logger SILs stash.  That's live edge cedar on the top and milled cedar for the legs and cross pieces.  The top was left natural and the base is stained in Minwax Provincial.  Everything received several coats of Minwax Satin polyurethane.  

Bedroom furniture:

The Logger's bedroom isn't extremely large and during their recent remodel they took about 6 feet of a weird bump out to use for a new laundry room and mud room.  So, they were looking for different storage pieces.  I found a perfectly good 6-drawer pine dresser at my favorite thrift store and scored it for $20.  This piece needed to act as dresser and entertainment center to hold not just their clothes but the TV and electronic equipment.  So, I sanded down the dresser, built a piece to attach to the top and "Voila"!  

Logger daughter also wanted night stands that didn't "visually" take up much space.  I made some simple floating night stands for both sides of their bed.  Attaching the night stand on my daughter's side of the bed was impossible due to an electrical panel that sits on the exterior of their bedroom wall right where the night stand was to go.  I had to come up with a way to make it standing and not feel bulky.  Alas, I did not get a picture of that final project!  But, it worked out well and with 1x2 legs and cross pieces it looks light and pretty!  Maybe I can get her to send me a picture...  This one is SILs and it holds everything important - alarm, water, and TV remote!  There's a drawer for all the messy stuff.

I made the new bed when I was up there - the 2x10s were just to big to fit in the truck, which everything else I was transporting!  It was a simple build.  Trying to match it perfectly to the dresser wood have been difficult due to the different species of wood, so I decided to just use the same stains - the end result is of pieces that go together but aren't "matchy-matchy".  The frame sits about 3" off the ground - not enough room for big junk, but large enough for a few rifles!

The headboard is the piece I really love!  I've kept all the scrap pieces of lumber from the times I've built things while up there.  I pulled them all out and using several different stains and blends I built a headboard that is just so them.  Because they have a window over their bed, the headboard is short.  With the pillows on the bed you can barely see it, but we all know it's there and it finishes off the bedroom beautifully.  

Unfinished boards
First coat of stain

Moved some around and added more layers of stain
There!  I think I've got it!  Ready for edge pieces and legs.

 And, here it is installed!

Lots more to mention, mainly the kitchen install at Logger Daughter's as well as some other new cabinet builds for their newly renovated space.  But, I've been sitting on this little, hard bench to type this stuff and my behind is getting sore!  Until next time...

I hope this year brings everyone good health, happiness and prosperity!