Monday, September 26, 2016

Sewing Desks

On the basement project list is to make a U shape craft desk. Last weekend, Burke and I got 2/3 of the project completed and I love it! I found the plans from Ana White's website. In this particular project, she teamed up with Jillian from I am a I really benefited from Jillian's great description of her build for the cabinets. I modified the plans a bit. :)

In total, I have 5 machines and I wanted a work bench big enough for all 5. Can you believe it? Who has 5 machines? This gal! AND ... they are ALL Brother machines, except for the cute little 1972 Kenmore (green one) I found for $20 at Salvation Army.

I really liked this desk design, but if I had to do it over again - I would design it with corner cabinets and not in rectangle modules. I am a beginner at this though so live and learn.

Burke and I started our journey with a trip to Fingerle Lumber in Ann Arbor.

Then we cut all the lumber according to the cut list.

I wanted 2 cabinets, one for each desk.

First mistake, when the guy says, "Is it okay that it's not exactly a 2 x 2? Say no. You can see the top trim piece - you can see how it's wider than the legs.

I bought spindle legs at Lowes for the opposite end of the desk for about $15/each.

Mistake number 2. Never use caulk to seal wood products, especially when you bought some lovely birch. *Sigh*

Check and double check squareness. These were my very first drawers and I had a heck of time - but they turned out pretty dang square.

Mistake #3 ...wait, no - related still to mistake #1. Because of the shorter 2 x 2, I had to double up the back otherwise my drawers came out past the back.

And so, I painted. It took me a whole weekend to get the painting done. I put several coats of paint on everything.

Burke and I used 1x4's to join it all together using my fabulous pocket jig. I didn't take a picture of it, but we reinforced the corners with cross pieces.

Now, for the countertop. Burke's sister Aileen gave us 4 boxes of cedar when we first moved into our house. I finally got to use them!

We took three 1x8's and joined them together by pocket screws and glue. The we took the thin layers of cedar and nailed them on top.

Using left over fake 2x2's, I reinforced the counter and will use them to join them to the outer edge of the desk. We cut those 2x2's to fit exactly inside the desk and they fit like a glove.

It was super solid. Burke sat on it and it didn't budge. Plus, we can disassemble it easily and move it if we had to.

And viola!

My basement smells amazing because of the wonderful cedar. I sanded them lightly and the top is super smooth.

The corner is reinforced for my monster embroidery machine.

I really love the nice wide area to move my chair between machines and the space for all 5 machines.

Not gonna lie ..... the drawers were a bear. Putting the slides in took nearly a weekend on their own. Lots of adjustments and sanding down to make them fit. The top ones work great - the bottom ones are stiff.  They work - but it takes effort.

The whole project took 3 weekends total and the cost was around $250.  I love that all my machines have their place and can be used quite easily. Mistakes were made, but they are my mistakes and were made with love. I really couldn't be happier.

Now on to the cutting table!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

wood signs

I've been really into signs lately. After the last couple of basement finishing projects, I've got spare wood laying around, so wood signs for EVERYONE!

A couple of mis-cuts on some nice birch wood turns into this sign for my beautiful fireplace mantel.

I used some left over paint from the basement color pallet for the base coats and dug into my acrylic paint for the letters.

Pulled out my trusty Brother Scan N Cut and some vinyl. Using transfer paper, I transferred the vinyl on the wood.

I found some hearts online using the Scan N Cut Canvas.

Then I painted the sign with the alternate basement color. I love this color - it's called Stone.

Then I pulled off the vinyl and sanded it to give it a more distressed look.

Love, Love, Love!!!

Next was a present for my niece's wedding shower. This was left over cedar from a garden project. This was the first one I tried my hand at. I first printed out my design on paper to get a visual.

I tried the freezer transfer method, but it didn't work. It wouldn't have been that I used a laser printer instead of an ink jet, would it? Epic failure!

I cut out a stencil using my Brother Scan N Cut, and it worked ok - but vinyl works way better.

I went over some areas with my permanent marker and then I put Modge Podge over it to seal it.

I then added a handle. Turned out pretty cute.

Next up was a wedding present for Burke's sister. I had another piece of birch that I painted a base coat on. Using my Brother Scan N Cut, I cut my vinyl templates and used transfer paper to move it to the wood. After filling them in with acrylic paint, I pulled them off. This allows you to do multiple colors.

Turned out pretty cute.


And lastly (for this blog), a guy at work just had a baby, so I found this owl plaque and painted it.

This one was the hardest because of how small the letters were. I tried 3 different times to get it right. Once, I screwed it up - I sanded it down and tried again. This was the final time.

I got a few more in me before Christmas (evil laugh).

Saturday, September 10, 2016

ana white faux electric fireplace

Now that the basement is done, my focus turned to my fireplace. During the winter, the basement gets chilly - even with all the extra insulation we put in. We have a gas fireplace on our main floor and I love it. It's so nice during the winter that my first thought was to put another gas fireplace in the basement. After doing some research, I decided an electric option would be the safest and most efficient.

I looked at purchasing one, but the cost was too much. A cheaper construction pressed wood costs around $500-$700, solid wood construction is about $2000.

Searches for fireplace mantels brought up Ana White's website with the hidden storage. You can get the plans here.

It was perfect! Hides all the stuff for our video games too.

When dad called to say he wanted to come in for a visit, I quickly got him on board to help. We had a really great day working on the caucus.

The firebox was bought from Amazon. I researched quite a few and finally decided on the Classic Flame because I could recess it inside a unit. You can find the item here.

We then added this lovely trim. Kind of expensive - but I think it was worth it.

Crown moulding for the top. Burke did a great job with the compound miter cuts.

Next was caulking and painting.

I added some decorative trim. Not perfect .... but, not terrible.

Next up was the hinges. I love these, euro style hinges, very strong.

The finishes took the longest. I first painted it with a latex paint, then distressed the finish with my sander. After cleaning the sawdust, I then went over it again with a antique white stain. Since I added the decorative trim after painting, I just put the stain on it. I like the look.

When it came to the handles, I dug out the router, and did a nice routed edge. Again, not perfect, but that's why it's cool. It's not a factory made piece of furniture - but something constructed with loved.

I had several scrap pieces of bead board from the ceiling, so I used them for the back - painting it the same color.

Instead of using the antique white on the mantel, I used the gray stain I found. I really like it .... different. Lastly, I protected the fireplace and brushed polyurethane over everything. The mantel got 2 coats - look how shiny it is.

The project took 3 weekends to complete. The cost for the wood and accessories (excluding the firebox) was around $175. Honestly, I love it - it really is my happy place. I super proud to say, "I made that."