Monday, April 3, 2017

Island Furniture Look

In my kitchen post, I mentioned that I wanted to do something to the island to make it look more like a piece of furniture.

 I looked a furniture pieces around my house to get inspiration.

That’s actually a crate for my dogs. Reminds me I never did a post on that.

Then I saw a Fixer Upper episode that showed the side of a bathroom cabinet that was simple and different.

Source: Season 4 Fixer Upper

There was a piece of trim that ran just below the drawer and above the cabinet door.

Source: Season 4 Fixer Upper
But because I couldn’t carry the trim onto the side with the drawers and doors, I had to end the trim in a creative way.

I really liked how my trim carpenter finished pieces in my house.

I thought it looked easy and I had it figured out. And my method worked if I was using a plain piece of wood that had no detail in it. But because I was trying to keep the detail matching, it made the problem harder to solve.

I spent days practicing on inexpensive wood (scraps from the babygate project.) I at first thought that I only had to do one special angle on the piece I was trying to fit in, but that wasn't the answer.

I also practiced mitering corners. I had built a desk for my monitors at work and my miter job was horrible!

Then I built myself a new desk because I needed one, but to also practice before the big show.

My corners had significantly improved. And I really like my desk. I can lift the monitors and stand or if I am sitting, it forces me to have better posture. Clears a lot off of my desk.

I tackled the baseboard first. It was easy. I cut pieces slightly larger than the measurements I knew I needed and then held the pieces up to the island and marked the exact measurement. This was a great method.

Next up came finishing the end of the baseboard.

I have labeled this piece for reference. I made a 25 degree cut on the long piece of the baseboard. Then the small insert has a 20 degree cut and a 45 degree cut.

It makes it so you don’t have a blunt stop to your trim piece.

Next up came the trim for the “chair-rail.” This was harder. The wood piece was so small.

When the cut was finished, the piece would fly off and sometimes would fly right back into the blade and “commit suicide” and be chopped in half. And because of the detail, you have to move your blade painfully slow. Otherwise, your straight cut is good, but you chip off the detail.

I used wood glue and my new nail gun to fasten the pieces to the island. I love my new gun!

Then I taped off the pieces and painted. I taped off exactly because I did not have any leftover paint from the cabinet maker and had to get new paint. Even though you give exact names and numbers, paint does not always match. And this paint is not an exact match. I am now glad I taped the way I did.

Once I pulled the tape off and the paint was dry, I was happy. I am so glad I practiced. I didn’t want it to look like a DIY project, and it doesn’t. It looks like a nice piece of furniture.

I also added a chair-rail piece to the other side of the cabinet that had an exposed end.

I like it a lot there, too.

It adds a finishing detail. The work I did is so subtle, and it won’t grab the attention it deserves, but it’s just a little more character I am slowly adding. You don’t know it’s missing until it’s there.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Baby Gates

Pfitzer started crawling early and he is a climber! The other two weren't this bad (or maybe I have already forgotten.)

The dogs are not allowed upstairs, so when we moved in, we put up a baby gate to train them. It was a pressure mounted gate that we fixed to a width and just slid it over to allow access to the stairs. But I knew I would need a more permanent solution one day. I just didn't want permanent holes going up in my walls or newel posts!

But once Pfitzer started climbing, I had to find a quick solution. Mom has a walk-thru pressure mounted gate that we like. She uses it to keep her dogs on that side of the house.

I bought two (one for the bottom of the stairs and one for the top.) It was wide enough and easy. But when I felt the amount of pressure that went it to securing the gate safely, I got worried about the pressure pushing on the newel posts. The posts are only secured to the ground and the top part would be pushed out with so much force, that I feared the post would eventually start leaning over time. And I also learned pressure-mounted gates are not for stairs! Even if they say they are stairway safe, don't do it. Pressure-mounted gates can easily be pushed (especially if not installed correctly) and a baby/toddler would go flying down the stairs with the dislodged gate. I quickly returned the gates and decided to build my own. It meant holes were going in my posts and walls.

I got the inspiration from The White Farmhouse Blog.  They had a white gate at the bottom of their stairs.

I bought pre-primed pine wood in a 3-inch width. I measured a million times before cutting. I bought gate hardware with self-closing hinges. I know my boys aren't good about shutting doors or closing drawers, so a self-closing gate would help them to make sure the gates are always closed.

The bottom gate went in first. With the pre-primed wood, I didn't have to paint it right away. I did have to add an extra piece of wood to the newel post to make the hinges call in the same zone.

I measured the desired height in coordinating with the newel post. The gate at the bottom is about 30 inches tall.

The newel post at the top of the stairs is shorter, so the gate ended up being only 26 inches tall. I made it so that you had a little bit of a landing before the gate and the gate opens away from the stairs, so you don't have to be awkward on the stairs and cause yourself a trip hazard.

I think it makes it look like a white picket fence!

The boys really liked the gates. They "helped" me build the bottom one. They got out those tools and went to town. After it was up, they were constantly playing on the stairs behind the gate pretending they were in jail. I built the upstairs gate while they were at school, so they missed out on that one. But when they came home, they were equally as thrilled. Mr. Brigglesworth kept telling me he loved my beautiful gate upstairs.

Not only is Pfitzer now safe from the stairs, but all my friends/relative with babies can come back over and let their babies roam free without worry. The playroom can be a playroom.

I used small screws to fasten the pieces together as this was prior to me buying a nail gun. But I filled in the screws as much as I could and then I painted four coats of gloss paint on these. Because they will be used a lot, a lot of layers of paint were needed.
I am really happy with the gates and so are the boys. Mr. JCrew said we could keep the gates up forever and my mind instantly went to needing these gates for our future grandchildren. Ha! I can't let myself rush life.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Boy Update - March 2017

I am going to get back into writing updates on the boys here. I had so much fun reading old updates on the blog the other day, and some things I had already let slip my mind.

Little JCrew:
He is now five and a half. He is still bossy and has to be right. He gets upset when he is not. He also gets upset when he lets you down. He is currently in Kindergarten and doing really well. He picked up reading on his own right on his 5th birthday. He continues to love reading. We read stories every night at bedtime, and he and Mr. Brigglesworth then pick out more books to read on their own before falling asleep.

Little JCrew started piano lessons and is really enjoying them. He is a great big brother and loves to show love to his younger brothers. He will sit and talk with them and explain things. He will even read them books.

He loves to help and do things, but it doesn't give much opportunity for Mr. Brigglesworth to help, but Mr. Brigglesworth doesn't mind!

2016 on the left,                                        2015 on the right

Mr. Brigglesworth:
He is now four and a half. He likes to be creative in coming up with ways to help him avoid work. When I was changing out some outlets in the living room, I asked him to hold the flashlight for me. He did for a while, but then he started thinking of a way to not have to hold it. He found a toy that was the perfect height and he rested the flashlight on it. Smart!

Mr. Brigglesworth use to hate to dress up in nice clothes. He still does. Collared shirts and khakis are not his favorite, but he knows he has to wear them. He can get himself dressed, and he does a good job at putting outfits together. His outfits are usually very loud, but we have discovered that is his personality. He loves his blue plaid shoes.

I recognized it early on, but it becomes more evident every day that he has an artsy side to him. He loves to color and is a perfectionist. He is very good at building with Lego's. Little JCrew prefers following the instructions, and Mr. Brigglesworth throws the instructions away.
2016 on the left,                                                2015 on the right

Mr. Brigglesworth's love language is gifts. He is already talking about his birthday (in October) and I had to tell him we are not allowed to talk about birthday's right now. (Little JCrew spread this message to his teacher that we can't talk about birthday's). But when you give the smallest of things to Mr. Brigglesworth, his world is perfect. We found some Lego pieces at a consignment sale two weeks ago, and he was so tickled about this ONE PIECE in the new set that was one in his classroom and now he has it at home (it was a simple green long piece. Nothing extraordinary.)

He is now 10 months old with no teeth. But that doesn't stop him from eating. He LOVES food. I finally have a baby that loves macaroni as much as I do! He is also my happiest baby. He gives smiles so freely and laughs so hard. He has found his voice and loves to talk.

When his brothers are loud, so is he. He gets right in the middle of the action and doesn't realize he is so small.

He appears to be an animal lover like Little JCrew. He adores the puppies in the house.

Who is behind the camera?

Oh, it's Mom!

He started crawling early and caught on pretty fast. He pulls up on everything, but no walking yet. And he's not a great sleeper. He's about as bad as Little JCrew. By ten months, Little JCrew was sleeping through the night, but Pfitzer is not there yet.

Pfitzer is also a momma's boy; more so than Mr. Brigglesworth was. I cannot walk by without it upsetting him. If I am completely gone or out of sight, he is okay. But catching a glimpse of the momma, he melts until I hold him.


My sister came to visit the first weekend in February. Her son lives nearby and dropped in to see his mom.

The boys LOVE my sister, Kerry. She spoils them with her undivided attention. And Pfitzer loved my nephew!

Both boys love to take turns taking pictures with my camera. They do pretty good.

Hopefully this has caught us up on the boys. I love having all boys and would continue to have more boys. I am going to try to keep up with monthly updates. There are so many stories to tell on these kids!
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