Friday, August 27, 2010

Prairie Skies

One of the many advantages of living in a small town in the Manitoba prairies AND having a bi-level home with a high deck (easy roof access) is the views - and by views, I am not referring to what goes on in my neighbour's windows :) I mean the unbelievable views of God's handiwork displayed all across the sky demanding you take notice! When He paints the skies with these unbelievably breathtaking colors and clouds I cannot help but pause . . . admire . . . and reflect on the Creator who made it all!

"Only a fool says in his heart there is no God."
(Psalm 14:1)

Are you a fool?




Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bathroom Wall Cabinet

I have been lamenting the lack of storage in our upstairs bathroom for some time. I really wanted to buy some sort of wall cabinet that was dark in color, had frosted glass doors and was big enough to hold a good selection of necessities without being monstrous. And it couldn't cost a small fortune. Yeah, good luck with that. So, me thinks, I could build one. Really, how hard could it be. Then Sandra, of Sawdust and Paper Scraps fame (if you haven't checked out her blog, you really should. I tell you, that girl can build anything. Any.Thing.), decides to host a Build{Hers} Club party and gives me the push I need to design, build and finish that wall cabinet I couldn't find. And, it cost far less than a fortune!

It started out with this - a few lines on graph paper.

Then I headed out the the big box hardware store and bought some primed pine in 1"x6"x7' lengths, a few pieces of trim, some crown moulding, some hinges, knobs and various other things to complete this project. Since I decided to use 1"x6" thicknesses of wood, my cabinet is 5 1/2" deep, which suits me just fine. I wanted it about 32" high and 20" wide. Sandra gives explicit details on how to build a cabinet, how to make cabinet doors, how to make many other things. I spent a lot of time checking out those posts, printing pictures and posts, just to ensure I had the hang of this thing. Then I decided to do it differently. Rather than butt joining the top and side pieces (okay, that sounds wierd - you know, just butting the pieces up against each other?) I cut grooves with my new router. I grooved the top, the bottom and where the middle shelf joins the side pieces. The pictures show what I mean.

Then I used a simple measuring tape and pencil (note to self - find a shelf hole cutting guide [or some pegboard, as Sandra suggests!]) and marked where I wanted to drill the holes on the inside of each side piece so the shelves could be adjustable. Once those holes were drilled, I glued and nailed the top, bottom and middle shelf to the sides. It was at this point the other "hers" in my life decided this was a group project and came to help out. Ari wants to know where the screws are so she can use the screwdriver for something other than a weapon.

Ali is trying on all the different ear protectors we have (she likes this one best as it plays the radio!).

RJ is actually helping and is my official glue-girl. She did a great job!

I wanted to jazz up the sides of the cabinet and the front of each shelf so I used my miter box to cut some molding.

Once again, I glued and nailed it on (I think the nail gun must be one of my favorite tools, along with the compound miter saw!)

I cut 2 shelves and then I used some scrap wood to cut the two mounting bars that run across the back of the cabinet. I know, normally you would only use one but I knew I would be not able to span the width of 2 studs with this cabinet placement. By putting a brace on the top and the bottom, I could screw into the same stud but in two different places, ensuring good strength.

I used some scrap wainscot as the backing for this cabinet. I didn't have one piece that was large enough to go over the whole thing so I used 2 pieces instead, making sure to line it up. It will be behind doors and will be less noticeable once painted.

So, that's the carcass of the cabinet and it was really easy to do. Now on to the doors.

Sandra talks about using a router to groove the rails and stiles in order to add a wainscot panel. I was doing something similar except I was putting in glass. And I used dowel joinery. So, first I cut the rails and the stiles (tops and sides of the door panel).

Then, using the new Wolfcraft Dowel jig I bought, I very carefully drilled holes in the appropriate places on the rails and stiles. The instructions are quite clear on how to do it. It really is simple. I have only 2 complaints. First, I don't have a proper place to clamp my wood pieces while drilling. Second, the jig doesn't work the greatest for thin pieces of wood. My rails and stiles are only 2" wide, leaving little room to use the jig. It would have worked wonderfully for a larger piece of wood. Nonetheless, I made it work.

This is what the frame of the cabinet door looked like before I glued and clamped it in place. I used 2 dowels at each joint on one door and only 1 dowel at each joint on the other door. I wanted to see if it would make that much of a difference. I like how it lined up better with 2 dowels but it is trickier to do given the small size of the rails and stiles. Now I know.

Then, since I was installing glass, I ordered the glass pieces now that I knew what size I needed. I found out they were 1/8" thick so I routered a groove on the backs of the door panels that was 2/8" thick to accommodate the glass. Once that was done, I glued and clamped the door together. I love those clamps. They certainly can make anything look so much better!

I wanted to have frosted glass so I bought a can of window frosting and sprayed many coats on those pieces of glass. My opinion? If there are options for different glass from the glass company and the difference in price is minimal from the plain glass, get the pretty glass. Spraying it is a pain and totally uneven and I was not the most impressed with it. But it is alright now, I guess.

So, once the doors were assembled (minus the glass), I filled all the holes and painted and painted. Once all the painting was done, I installed the glass on the doors. All I did was lay the doors on their faces with the wrong side up, laid the glass panel in that groove then run a bead of door and window silicone around it. I used my little handy-dandy silicone tool to make a nice clean bead. I love that thing! Best thing ever!

While I was waiting for that to dry, I hung the cabinet (minus the doors) on the wall all by myself (okay, well, I did this whole thing by myself but that was most impressive)! Then I added the hinges to the doors and the doors to the cabinet. I added the pretty little knobs. I installed a magnetic door catch.

Then, last but not least, this morning I added the crown moulding on top to give it that completed look!

All in all, I am quite impressed with myself and thrilled with the amount of new storage we have. I am very critical of myself so some things I really need to improve on. If I am going to be building many things for the new house, I need projects like this to practice on. After all, practice makes perfect. I am far from perfect but I am certainly happy with how this turned out! Thanks for all the encouragement, Sandra, and for answering all my questions! I really appreciate it!

Now check out all the other Build{Hers} and Modern Craftswomen and DIYers!

Build{hers} club Button


The DIY Show Off

Monday, August 16, 2010

Western Producer Article

Western Producer - Manitoba hog producers refuse to throw in the towel

Just before we left for our Minneapolis vacation, this gentleman came to interview us for an article in the Western Producer, a publication for the agricultural community. This is the result. It makes me laugh and makes me cry. A great article!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Victory at the Track!

Every year, my parents take us adult children out for supper as an alternative to a birthday present. It always turns out to be a great evening filled with laughter as mom & dad, my brother and his wife, my sister and her husband, and Jay and I all spend some quality no-kids-allowed time together. The restaurants always vary, the food is cause for much conversation and the evening one I look forward to each year. (And the fact that dad pays for it all is icing on the cake!) This year, dad decided to jazz up the evening with some racing! On Saturday, we headed out to Speedworld for 3 races around the track and what. a. blast!!!! It was so very, very much fun!! I think that we just may have to go back again. And again. And again. So, of course, the boys were talking all big and telling each other they'd go down. Us girls were just trying to not bump into the wall or each other.

Race #1 - My very attractive hubby wins the race and relives the days when his Camaro used to hug the road just like these karts do. I come in 8th out of 10. But hey, I didn't hit the wall or bump anyone or disobey any rules! It was a clean race!

Race #2 - I am getting the hang of things, having studied the "map" showing where to brake, where the quickest line through the track is. The boys still talk big. My brother wins, Jay is second and I am 5th out of 8. Not so shabby. Definately improving. Hubs tells me just to press the pedal. Go for it! So, race #3 - Boys are really talking trash now. I'm thinking I can improve on 5th. I really know the corners now. Pedal to the metal, quick brake just before the hairpin turns and quick acceleration out of the corner. Pass hubby. (I think he let me. Too bad, I will enjoy the race anyway!). Definately feel faster than race 1 or 2. How many more laps before the checkered flag?! Can I do it? 3rd maybe? 2nd possibly? Check out the monitor and - and - and OH YEAH!!! Victory for me!!

All that talking and a girl wins!! Final race, I am #1, my dad is #2 and my brother is #3. And, yes, Jay let me pass but he knew he was going slower. Blames it on the car :) All in all, a very fun racing event!

Then, we headed over for supper at BeachCombers at the Forks. The food was . . . okay. Not spectacular. Not terrible. The company - wonderful as usual! Dad, thanks so very much for a great evening and wonderful memories!

(G&T - for taking all the kids, that means the world to us!)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'm Joining the Build{Hers} Club!

So, just before our vacation, Sandra announced she was having a Build{Hers} Club project week!

Build{hers} club Button

I knew exactly which project I was going to make and her deadline of next week was just the motivation I needed (especially since I knew that I would only be starting after we got back from vacation!). So, I am in process and will leave you a few photos as hints before the great reveal next week! Hey, maybe if you have a project you need to complete, this is the motivation you need! Come join us!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Links to Homeschool School Rooms

I am not happy with the place our homeschool "room" occupies but it is what it is for now. Our next house will have a separate room just for homeschooling and I am thrilled with the thought. I love to gather room layout ideas so imagine my pleasure at finding this blog hop.

Not Back to School Blog Hop

Pop on over to check out the links to many, many homeschool rooms. I am sure the great ideas will abound!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Minneapolis Trip - Part III

Day 7 - Sunday, July 25

I really, really wanted to find either a flea market or an antiques store. Turns out, AntiQues Minnesota was just a short trip away. The family waited in the van while I tried to hurry through a HUGE warehouse filled with shelf upon shelf of antiques from many different antique dealers. Not an easy feat. I went as quick as I could and found a beautiful footed compote bowl at 50% off - only $7.99! I snatched it up and added it to my collection!

Once again, I wanted to check out a store we don't have here in Manitoba - HomeGoods! Turns out it looks a lot like HomeSense and I love that store and I have one within 35 minutes of my house! So, I really enjoyed searching that store and only bought one small vanity mirror. But, it was a fun place for me to be!

Today, we took the kids to a splash park we heard about through my friend. Ari really loved running through all the water. Ali takes her time to warm up to the idea but once she likes it, she really likes it, getting totally soaked!

Day 8 - Monday, July 26

Homeward Bound! We did take some time to stop at Gordman's in Fargo on the way home. It is a real shame there is no Gordman's in Winnipeg. I can always find something to love in that store! On the way home, we didn't make as many stops as on the way down so the kids were starting to get a little worn out of driving. RJ was actually crying that she wanted to go home. Then she agreed to drive to Flin Flon (another 7 hour drive!). We gratefully made it home at about 9:30pm that night and gladly fell into our own beds!

We loved our vacation and have lots of great memories! I loved that I could spend time with the kids and not have to think about laundry or cooking or cleaning or paperwork or housework or anything! I could just be with my family! We were blessed to be able to spend those 8 days together doing exactly what we wanted and having a whole lot of fun in the meantime! I wonder what we will do on our next vacation?!

Minneapolis Trip - Part II

Day 4 - Thursday, July 22

Oh, this was gonna be a good day! Originally we had decided to hit the Albertville Outlet Mall on the way home but I decided that it might be better to make the trip during the week instead. I am so glad we did. This was going to be a day with a lot of travelling so we made sure the DVD player was hooked up and ready to go at a moment's notice for overshopped children! First, we made our way over to Radio City. Inc, a store Jay wanted to check out. It was where he spent about 45 minutes talking to a gentleman about telescopes and their lenses, gaining a bit of understanding. He also bought his now-much-belated Father's Day and Birthday present! I was glad to let him shop. Just let the record show that he spent more in that store than I spent in any one store!! :)

After his shopping excursion, we headed to Albertville. On the way we got hungry so we found a Don Pablos and enjoyed some great Mexican food! All-you-can-eat Enchiladas! Oh, yum!

Upon arrival at the shopping mecca, we found stores we liked and shopped away! Surprisingly, we didn't actually buy that much stuff. I know, I know, something is wrong with that! But with all the kids in tow shopping just doesn't have quite the same appeal. However, the few things I found I really, really love. I bought a couple of feathered hair clips in black and white at Claire's plus I found the greatest earring holder ever! I love its bird cage styling and the ability to hold many, many pairs of earrings (well, maybe not of my earrings since they tend to be on the larger side!)

I found some really wonderfully sexy black & white shoes at Charlotte Russe that only cost me $20 and they are even comfortable! I bought some sparkly bracelets there, too! Jay and I each bought a couple of pieces of clothing at Aeropostale, I bought RJ her own purse at Claire's plus some great sunglasses! With that little purse tucked under her arm and those sunglasses, she really does look 4 going on 14! Of course, there was the mandatory stop at Bath & Body Works. But really, not a bank emptying kind of day!

Day 5 - Friday, July 23

Since Minneapolis has 2 zoos and we have 5 kids, we intended to visit both of them. Today was Como Zoo day! The reason we went to this one was that it is on a donation only "payment" method (which means affordable) plus I knew they had giraffes and gorillas which the Minnesota Zoo didn't. This was a beautiful zoo and well worth the $7 we donated!

We ate lunch at a quaint tiny pizza place located on the very corner of the street - the building itself was sort of triangle shaped. Our family filled half the tables! But it was great pizza!

Then my intention was to find this flea market I had heard about. Apparently I heard wrong (and all my research was wrong) because there was no flea market. Across the street there was this great public park that had all these pools of water that kids can play in. We took them there and let them cool down! It was a lot of fun.

Finally, we went driving around to look at some really big houses! We love doing that! We were finding houses with front porches so I took a couple of inspiration pictures! Here's one.

Day 5 - Saturday, July 24

Can anyone say IKEA?! Today was IKEA day but, as Jay warned me, this was just a scouting trip, not a shopping trip. There is an IKEA being built about 35 minutes away from here with a projected opening date of early 2012, just in time for our house building! So, this was a research trip, looking at things and discussing the possibilities. We hit the store on a great day as lunch for the kids was FREE! Gotta love that!

After IKEA, I wanted to check out some America only stores, like The Container Store and Restoration Hardware. Okay, so RH is completely out of my price range and the selection was really small. TCS, however, was a organizer's paradise. If only I knew where to put all those wonderful little containers!

After the shopping, we hit this great award winning play structure our friend told us about! It was HUGE!! There were challenging areas for the older kids and fun areas for the little ones. A tiny splash park was enough to cool them off before they were off again.

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