Tuesday, May 28, 2013

DIY TV Stand

Originally, we were going to hang the big TV on the living room wall. Then we found out the thing to hang the TV would cost $80. - $100.00 and we really didn't want to spend that much. Also, if we hung the TV, there would be ugly wires hanging down, and we weren't sure how to deal with that.

Here is the set-up we have had while we were waiting for a sale on TV hangers.
The TV is sitting on top of Timmy's antique watchmakers bench.
The cable/DVR box sits beside it on a smaller stand.

My goal was to get rid of the small stand by hanging the TV on the wall and putting the cable box on top of the watchmakers bench.

We never saw the price of the TV hangers come down, so I started thinking of other alternatives.

A few weeks ago I came up with a great idea and I asked Tim to make a small stand for the TV.
I wanted a something that would fit on top of the watchmakers bench and hold the TV up about 6 inches. The cable box would slide under the small stand and everything would be housed together on the watchmakers bench.

The more I thought about a TV stand, the more excited I got about it. This would solve all of my TV/cable box problems and wouldn't cost very much at all.

Then I got my new pink girl tools for my birthday, and I wondered if I could make the TV stand by myself.

I decided to try.

One afternoon, while Timmy was still at work I ventured down to his mancave to see if I could find some scrap wood and a saw.

I found a long board that looked like it would work, and I also found a small saw. I took everything out to my screened porch.

I measured across the top of the watchmakers bench (40 inches) and I made my marks on the board where I should saw.

I have never used a saw in my entire life. How hard could it be?

It wasn't really hard, but it made my arm and hand tired after sawing only a few inches. I took a lot of breaks, but I eventually got through it a few inches at a time.

WOW! I actually sawed a board!!!

After my 40 inch top board was cut, I measured two 6-inch pieces to use for the "legs" of the TV stand.

Again, it took a while, but I eventually got all of my pieces cut.

Tim came home from work just after I finished sawing. At this point I wouldn't let him help me AT ALL, but he did offer some advice on how to use the saw. He was pretty impressed that I had taken on this project by myself and he agreed to let me finish it by myself.

Next, I sanded all sides of my cut boards with Tim's palm sander. I have used this sander before on other projects, so this part was easy for me.

After everything was sanded nice and smooth, I nailed it all together.

At this point, Tim suggested I add a long piece across the back of the stand so it would be more stable. I cut another piece, sanded it and nailed it in place.
When it was finished, my TV stand looked like this:

I went downstairs again and hunted for some wood stain. I found 2 cans, and both were a different shade of mahogany.
I always thought mahogany had reddish tones? Maybe not, because the stain I chose came out a rich dark brown...........just the color I wanted to match the watchmakers bench.

I have never used stain before. It seemed to go OK.
I rubbed it on in the direction of the wood grain using a rag. I made sure to wipe off all the drips and puddles

After 2 coats of stain:

I let it dry overnight.

When we woke up the next morning and Tim saw my finished TV stand, he said he was very proud of me.
I was pretty proud of myself too! My first wood project EVER, and it turned out just the way I had hoped it would.

We put it in place on top of the watchmakers bench, and we love it!!!!

Now what can I make?? I can't wait to make something else now!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How to overcook your eggs


I was innocently making some hard boiled eggs so Tim and I could have salad for dinner.

I put 6 eggs in a glass pot, filled it with water, and I put it on the stove to boil for 15 minutes.

Then I went off to do other things around the house.

Everything was fine for the first 45 minutes.

My son Allen and I were in the living room when we heard the explosion in the kitchen.

THE EGGS!!!!!!!

My kitchen is officially trashed.

My floor:

My NEW stove:

My glass pot. I'm lucky it didn't break, but I'm not sure that mess will come off easily:

My ceiling:

My walls:

Looks like I'm going to be busy for a while tonight.

The good thing is I was just going to paint this area of the kitchen.............maybe I could go for a textured look??

This reminds me of when I was little, maybe around 4, and we lived in Denver. I was with my mom at the next door neighbor's house when, in the middle of a conversation with Mrs. Davis,  my mom suddenly yelled "THE EGGS!!!" and she ran home.
Of course I ran home after her and we found the same type of egg carnage all over our kitchen. I can still remember my mom standing on a chair trying to scrub the eggs off the ceiling.
Like mother, like daughter............

Tims reaction to this mess???  He came home from work just after the egg explosion. He laughed when he saw the kitchen, and I think he even congratulated me on my use of homemade explosives. Then he took me to Chipotle for dinner.

Girl Tools

I hit the motherload for my birthday this year. May is an awesome month for me because I get to celebrate my wedding anniversary on May 1st and my birthday on May 15th. Mothers Day is in there too!

I just love May!!!

Tim surprised me with several awesome gifts this year. I got some beautiful blue diamond jewelry. He got me a matching necklace, earrings and a ring. It's all so beautiful!! Tim has excellent taste in jewelry. Now I need a few dates so I'll have somewhere to wear it. The clerks at Quik Trip don't seem to be impressed with my new beautiful jewelry.

Timmy also surprised me with some girl tools this year. I am loving them!

I already posted about my new Dremel here

I haven't had a chance to use the dremel yet, but I have a new project in mind that will put it to good use. 

The surprises kept coming, and Tim took me to Sears and helped me pick out some pink tools!

I have a new pink power drill! WOOHOO!!

And I also got a pink hammer and a screwdriver with several tips (whatever you call them?)

My new pink tools go with my pink toolbag Tim bought me about 5 years ago.

I love this toolbag!! I like to keep a few tools upstairs where I can get to them easily. I am always in need of a hammer or screwdriver to do my simple projects around the house.

Here is what I keep in my pink bag

Just some basic things: wood glue, glue gun, staple gun (that is actually Timmy's staple gun, I should probably return it), scissors, screwdriver, scraper, paint can opener, razor blades, small level, panel nails (perfect for hanging pictures), hammer, jewelry tools, small screwdriver set.

Maybe some day all that stuff will be pink!? Sears is getting it right so far.

Mostly, I ask Tim to do anything that requires more than the tools pictured above. He's always happy to help, but I think in the future I will try to attempt even more things on my own before I ask for his help.

I have attempted to to more on my own already. I fixed up my porch last weekend and I used my new pink power drill with a screwdriver tip to screw in all of the hangers for the hanging plants around the top ledge. I got most of them in all the way, and I only had to ask Tim to help me with getting a few of the screws tightened. I don't have a whole lot of strength above my head to get those screws in tight.

I also used my pink drill with the screwdriver tip to screw in this planter hanger on the front of the house.
It feels good to do some of this stuff on my own! So what if I couldn't get my bottom screw all the way in, he he!
I did it myself!

I'll keep you posted as I get more and more adventurous with my new tools. There is still so much to do around here, and I am excited to try to do more things on my own. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Working on my flower garden

I think spring is finally here. Considering we had snow in Kansas City 2 weeks ago, I am really happy to see the sunshine!

We have so much we want to do to the front of the house, it's hard to know where to start. We want to paint the house, add a front porch, do some landscaping, re-do the sidewalk, move the driveway. Basically, the whole front of the house will eventually look very different than it does now.

Working on the outside has been slow going...........we have a lot of projects going on inside the house right now that have been taking priority. We have some expensive electrical work to do, so the big projects outside of the house have to take a backseat for a while longer.

This year, I thought I would at least plant some flowers since the front yard has been looking so sad waiting for it's makeover.

 I'll start with a few "before" pictures so you can see how far we have come in the last 5 years.

When we moved in, there was an ugly giant bush under the front window

Here is a close up of the ugly giant bush. That thing was bigger than a king sized bed, and impossible to trim.

We pulled out the bush in 2011, you can read about that here.

So this was what our front yard looked like for a while without the bush

This picture was taken last week:

 I decided I could no longer have a pitiful front yard. I decided to plant flowers and try to pep things up a bit.

I started with the round bed in the middle of the yard.

This round bed used to have a rock border around it, but I removed the big rocks last year.

The rocks would shift, and were impossible to mow around.
This pic was taken a few years ago:

Last weekend, I bought a little fence border to put around the round bed, and it looks much better now

Then I went to work on this mess:

I dug out a curved bed. My first attempt looked pretty bad, but I finally got a shape I liked

It came out pretty good in the end:

I added a few more pots of flowers on the stairs, and some hanging pots.

My giant daisy!!! She's pretty!

In front of the screened porch, I hung several bird houses and feeders. Tim's mom gave us a few new bird houses and feeders this year. I love them, and it seems the birds do too!

Eventually I will clean up this weedy area and plant flowers here too.

I'm really happy with the progress I made on the front yard. I have a lot more to do but so far so good.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Kitchen re-do........coming soon!

I've been working my way around the house, painting and redecorating.

Last summer when I wrote this post, I was really stuck on where to go with my kitchen.

Here are some pics of where I was:

I originally went with black/gray as my theme color for the kitchen, and I had planned to add a pop of brighter color later.

I love the black and gray. I really do. But as you can see, I wedged myself into a corner and I couldn't pick a color I liked with the black. The black and gray with no lively colors got really boring, and my knotty pine walls in the eat in part of the kitchen are way too orange.

I spent a lot of time (almost a year) trying to figure out what to do with this kitchen and I finally have a plan.

Here are a few more recent pictures of what I am working with. These were taken about 3 days ago.

It's really a nice kitchen, I absolutely love this kitchen, but it doesn't have that finished look. It looks half-way done to me.

On the other side of the kitchen, Tim recently added a cabinet and matching countertop between the fridge and the stove.
I can't wait to paint it!!!!

The cabinet face is not exactly the same as the old cabinets on the other side of the room, but it's as close as we could get. A little paint and some handles, and it will blend in just fine (I hope!)

Later we will add a hood/fan for the stove and some upper cabinets to this side of the kitchen.

So.............here is the new plan for the kitchen:

The cabinets will be two-toned. The upper cabinets will be white, and the lowers will be dark gray.
The walls will be a lighter gray than what they are now.
I will add some red in for my "color"............we'll see how that goes.

Here is Ashley's kitchen from Domestic Imperfection:

This is the look I am going for with my kitchen.

I think it will look pretty good with our dark gray countertops.
The good thing is, it's only paint. If I hate the two-toned look for the cabinets, I can always repaint!

Kitchen re-do starts this weekend!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Summertime - Sweet Iced Tea Recipe

Is it summer yet? I can't tell.

We finally have a nice sunny day in Kansas City! This is a big change from the snow we got last Thursday.

I am SO ready for summer!

To get in the summer mood, here is my recipe for the best sweet iced tea ever! (You can also make this recipe unsweetened if you don't like sweet tea)

I make 2 pitchers of sweet tea at a time. We go through about 1 pitcher a day around here, and I don't like to make tea every single day.

I begin by boiling my water. I never have time to stand around the kitchen waiting for the water to boil so I use my tea kettle. It lets me know when the water is hot so I don't go off and forget that I am boiling water.

Yes, I have forgotten my boiling water several times. I come back in the kitchen to find all my water boiled away :(

The whistling tea kettle has saved me from this problem.

I use a full tea kettle of water (8 cups) for 2 pitchers of tea.
If you are only making 1 pitcher of tea, fill the kettle half full, or about 4 cups of water.

While the water is heating, get your pitchers out

Add 1/4 teaspoon of Baking soda to each empty pitcher. You won't taste the baking soda, and it helps cut that strong bitter aftertaste that tea often has.

Drop in about 10-12 small teabags into each pitcher. I use Luzianne, but Lipton works good too.

Find something to do for 10 minutes while the water in the kettle finishes heating up.

After the water is hot, add about 4 cups of boiling water to each pitcher. Just pour it right over the teabags and the baking soda.

Put a lid on the pitcher(s) and let it sit for about 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, take the tea bags out. Don't squish them, just scoop them out with a big spoon and throw them away.

Next, add sugar. (You can skip the sugar if you don't want sweet tea)
I use about a cup and a half of sugar in each pitcher. Nicely sweet, but not TOO sweet.

Stir to get the sugar mixed in

Now add water almost to the top of the pitcher and stir.

Pour youself a nice glass of sweet tea and enjoy!

Note: I poured that glass of tea with ice just to take this picture for you. Then I poured the entire glass and the ice back into the pitcher. I'm on a diet, so I can't have it. Bummer!