Wednesday, February 29

Raising the Bar

Literally. My hubs & dad have been working on getting our basement bar all put together! The last time my dad came to town they got all the installed and built up a short wall behind the cabinets where the raised bar will be.

They also attached our yard sale countertop (on the right side) and built a top out of plywood for the rest of the cabinets.

We also started planning tile layouts with our slate, but haven't installed any yet.

Intermission. Starring Baby B. This was taken a couple months ago and he looks so tiny!

Since then my mom has worked her magic on the bar in the form of pipes & wires! That's right, we have several outlets hooked up around the bar & water & drain pipes running to the sink (she also put in a drain for our washer so it doesn't have to drain into the sink anymore!). The bad news = we found out the sink that came with our yard sale countertop leaks. Boo. So while the water is hooked up, we can't actually use it yet. But at least it will be ready when the time comes!

Mister Husband has also installed concrete backer board on the countertops (which is an important step before tiling!) and in the picture below he is installing a base for the raised bar. I LOVED this step because it gives us a great feel of what the bar will be like when it is finished.

He's also been working on covering the half wall with plywood and finishing the tile backer board. We were hoping to do some tiling this weekend so we bought a tile "cutter" from Lowe's. It is supposed to score the tile, then snap it in half. Supposed to. On our first tile the handle snapped instead of the tile. SO disappointing, mostly because we weren't able to make ANY progress with the tile this weekend. However, we found out Menards rents out tile saws for $35 for 4 hours so we have our back up plan! Since it's a wet saw we'll have to wait for warmer weather to use it, though, so this project is on long term hold for now. But at least we've made some good progress in other areas. And here's a run down of what we still have left to do in the basement:
  • tile the countertops!
  • make a concrete countertop for the raised bar
  • support said countertop
  • find a new faucet
  • paint the floor
  • paint the walls & bar support
  • make new curtains
  • recover the couch
  • close in ceiling
  • get a rug for the living area
  • create zones for different activities
  • organize
  • find a way to section off storage areas from guest space

The work at this point is kind of tedious, but it's definitely important and it's a big step toward the fun changes (like tiling and painting). Do you have any tedious projects going on right now? Or any tiling advice for us?

Monday, February 27

Best Ever Egg Bake

I know we all think our moms have the best recipes and I'm no different. But seriously, this is the best egg bake recipe I have ever tasted. Ever. My mom has tweaked it to perfection and now I enjoy it pretty often as a yummy (and oh-so easy) hot breakfast. I make this anytime it's my turn to bring breakfast to Sunday school because it's so easy and can feed a crowd. I mix it up the night before and just pop it in the oven in the morning!

this egg bake has spinach, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese, and wheat bread

Best Ever Egg Bake
  • 6 slices bread, (white works better but you can use whatever you have)
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar (or more. or a different kind of cheese. or no cheese.)
  • yummy add-ins - any cooked meat or vegetable you like
1. In a 9x13 pan casserole dish layer bread (cut or torn into small pieces), then yummy add-ins, then cheese. My favorite add-ins are a pound of cooked sausage with cheddar cheese, or spinach & tomato with feta cheese.

2. Beat together milk & eggs. Pour over dry ingredients in your casserole dish and then pat everything down to get it covered as well as you can.

3. Refrigerate overnight. (this is so important! It lets the bread really soak things up and you dish will cook much better.)

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes (or until it starts to brown on the edges).

5. Partake.

That's it. Like I said, it's super easy. And the yummy-to-effort ratio is very high. :) Baby B even loves it. Especially when he gets to eat off of my plate. Although he does tend to be partial to avocados. Hmmmm... maybe that will be my next egg bake experiment? :)

What is your favorite easy breakfast?
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Saturday, February 25

On a roll

*****Somehow my whole post was gone after I published it! Sorry about that! Well, here's the gist of it. :)*****

Although I have about eight incomplete projects going on right now, I went to Ikea last week end to get some more things to work on. Oops. :) Here's what I've added to my to-do list:

  • curtain rod for my bedroom
  • moose pasta (moose shaped, not made of moose.)
  • roll of craft paper
  • craft paper dispenser
  • washcloths
  • two floating shelves
The good news is I've kind of been on a roll finishing up some of those other projects before I start with any of these. So I should have some fun things to share with you soon. Soon. Ha. What a funny word. :)

I've also been a bread baking fiend lately. The box on the left is refrigerator dough and the bowls are a double batch of wheat dough. I'm going to try baking bread instead of buying it. We'll see how long that lasts. :)

Baby B is on a roll too. He's started clapping, throwing a ball, saying "hello" to the phone, and he's taken several steps this week! His new favorite activity is emptying drawers. Here he is working on his dresser. I put plastic dishes and washcloths in the bottom drawers in the kitchen and he empties them several times a day. Speaking of rolls, where did his baby rolls go? He seriously went from rolly-polly-baby to tall-skinny-boy overnight.

Thursday, February 23

Rhyan Coffee Table

The first blog post I ever wrote was a plan for building our Pottery Barn inspired coffee table. To this day that has been one of my most popular posts! But I've learned a lot since I drew up those plans. I know better building techniques and I'm better at drawing with Sketchup. And that's why today's post is an updated plan for my favorite coffee table!

The original cost $700 (it's no longer available) but my husband and I built this table out of pine for about $60, not including hardware. That was a $640 savings! **This was the cost when we built our table in 2012.** And we could not be happier with how it turned out! Want to save that money yourself? Give these plans a try! You can also see my original coffee table plans here, my matching end table plans here, and my matching console here.

Now, down to business! These plans are actually slightly different from the dimensions of the inspiration table and the table I built, but they use standard lumber sizes. I could have saved myself a lot of headaches if I’d thought all that through before I started. Oops. :) But don’t worry, I’ve corrected the plans to make it easier for you! I also drew this version to accommodate drawer slides (the table I built doesn't have them and works fine, but it would be really nice to have them).

Please read all the directions before beginning, and cut your pieces as you go, measuring before each cut. Use 2” screws or pocket holes with 1 1/4" screws unless otherwise indicated. Always use glue. Pre-drill and countersink your screws. Home Improvement stores will generally cut your plywood for you. Ask them to cut your shelves to size to save you some trouble. I have not built from these exact plans, so use measure lots to make sure things work out! And don’t forget to check out Knock-Off Wood for more tips!

Shopping List:
6 2x2 @ 8’
2 1x2 @ 8’
1 1x10 @ 10’
1 1x8 @ 10’
1 1x6 @ 8'
1 1x6 @ 10'
1 sheet plywood (I used ½” thick)
Several small L-Brackets OR Scrap wood
6 drawer pulls

2” screws (or Kreg Jig & 1 1/4" self tapping screws)
1 ¼” screws
Wood glue
Wood filler

Cut List:
A)  4    2x2 @ 18” (legs)
B)  6    2x2 @ 20” (side rails)
C)  2    1/2" plywood @ 7.5 x 20" (side panels)
D)  6    2x2 @ 45” (front & back rails)
E)  4    1x2 @ 7 ½” (stiles)
F)  ½” strips of scrap wood OR several small metal L-Brackets (shelf supports)
G)  3    ½” plywood @  45x20”(shelves)
H)  2    1x2 @ 20” (drawer dividers)
I)  3     1x2 @ 14 ½” (center divider)
J)  6     1x10 @ 12” (drawer bottoms)
K)  6   1x8 @ 14 ¼” (drawer fronts)
L)  6    1x6 @ 13 1/2” (drawer backs)
M) 12  1x6 @ 9 ¼” (drawer sides)
N)  4    1x2 @ 20” (drawer supports)

Step 1: Start by assembling the short ends of the table.

Attach the drawer supports (N) to the side panels (C), lining one up with the top edge and one with the bottom (the rest of my pictures only show the bottom support):

Assemble the the legs (A) & side rails (B).  Attach the bottom rail between the legs leaving a 1” gap at the bottom of the leg. Then attach the center rail leaving 7 1/2” in between. Attach the top rail flush with the top of the legs. If you have a Kreg Jig, you will be in good shape! I did this without, just screwed through the legs and into the rails but it was harder and we probably risked splitting the wood more. But it can be done:

Insert the side panel (C) in the gap between the bottom and center rails. Keep the drawer supports flush with the face of the legs to make sure your drawers fit correctly later. Attach the panel through the drawer supports using a Kreg jig (if you don't have a kreg jig, you can drill through the rails and legs into the 1x2 drawer supports instead. Do this before attaching the top rail so you have room to work):

Step 2: Connect the short ends.

Once the sides are complete, attach the back bottom & center rails (D) in between the sides. Leave a 1” gap below the bottom rail, and a 7 ¼” gap between the bottom and center rails. They will line up with the rails on the short ends. Repeat for the front rails:

Step 3: Attach the stiles.

Attach the stiles (E) between the bottom and center rails as shown below. There will be 2 stiles on each side, with 14 ½” between the stiles and the legs. You can use a Kreg jig or drill through the rails. Repeat for the front stiles:

4. Attach the top rails.

Attach the top rails on the front & back by using a Kreg jig or drilling through the legs:

Step 5: Bottom shelf.

Next you need to cut some ½” strips of wood (F) to use as shelf supports. Leave a gap above the supports equal to the thickness of the plywood you will use for the shelves. I used ½” plywood, so I left a ½” gap above the supports for the shelf to sit in. Attach the supports for the bottom shelf as shown above using 1 ¼” screws. I had a left over 1x12 laying around, so I cut ½” strips off the side of it, parallel to the grain. You’ll want to do the supports as you go. For now just do the bottom supports, then place the bottom shelf, and we'll move on to the middle supports and shelf later:

You could also use small L brackets like these placed around the edges instead of wood strips: Set the bottom shelf (G) in place. You can attach it with glue and screws or finishing nails, but mine is just sitting in there. Note: this was the tecnhique I used when building my table, but if I did it again I would skip these supports and use my kreg jig to attach the shelf to the rails with 1 1/4" Kreg screws. However, if you don't have a Kreg jig this will do the trick! Also, if you are planning to use drawer slides I don't think you would even need the bottom shelf!

Step 6: Drawer Dividers

Attach the drawer dividers (H) to the bottom shelf, running between each set of stiles as shown below. Attach by screwing down through the dividers into the shelf:

Step 7. Center Dividers

Then attach the center dividers (I) to the bottom shelf as shown below . The dividers should be centered between the front & back of the shelf. Note: This is to keep the drawers from sliding all the way through on my table which doesn't have drawer slides. If you are using drawer slides, you may not need these either.

Step 8: Center Shelf

Repeat step 4 to attach supports to the center rails as shown below:

Put the shelf in place as show below. If you want you can secure it to the supports using glue & 1 ¼” screws:

Step 9: Top Shelf

Repeat step 4 to attach the supports for the top shelf:

And set the top shelf in place and secure it as desired (again, mine is just sitting in there). Now your basic table is complete!

Step 10: Drawers

You will have 6 drawers total (which is different than the pottery version). You could also use baskets instead which would be sweet! If you are not using drawer slides, see my original plan for the drawers instead. To assemble the drawers, start by attaching the sides (M) to the short ends of the bottom (J):

Then attach the drawer back (L), keeping all edges flush:

Now install your drawer slides (before attaching the drawer front). This drawer is designed for a standard slide requiring 1/2″ clearance on each side of the drawer. Adjust so that there is an even fit around the drawers and the drawers slide smooth. Note: if you want more room to work you could assemble the drawers and fit the slides before installing the second and third shelves.

While the drawer box is in place, fit the drawer front (K) onto the front of the drawer box. Wiggle it around to get the front centered with an equal gap on all sides, then attach the front to the box using glue and finishing nails. Note: trace the box on the front with a pencil so you have an idea of where you will need to nail.

Step 11: Fill holes, sand and finish as desired.

I went with a dark espresso stain on my table.

But a bright coat of paint would be beautiful too! Maybe teal or yellow?

Step 12: Attach hardware to the drawers and you are done!

To get the same look as the inspiration table we ordered recessed ring pull hardware like this and used some matching label holders.

We got both in brass and antiqued them ourselves, but now they have other colors to choose from (and also some neat square pulls!).

The beauty part of home-built furniture is that you have no limitations! Make it your way and make it beautiful!

I hope you enjoy my updated plans. Let me know if you give it a try!

**UPDATES: I have been put to shame. Check out some of the beautiful work you guys have been doing at home!

This table with a beautiful blue finish was built by Joy in Our Home. Check out her blog for more pictures and details!

Austin built a table from the plans and it turned out AMAZING! Love the cup handles and the rich color. And the corners look so perfect and tidy! (You can check out his pictures here.) Thanks for sharing!

Tyson Chenier made some adjustments to the original plans, adding another drawer under the tabletop. See more pictures here. Thanks for sharing!

Reddit user mnewhouse12 submitted his nearly-completed project to r/somethingimade.

And one more! Paul changed the dimensions to make a sweet square table, put two wider drawers on one side instead of three, and used a two tone finish! It turned out great! Thanks for sharing, Paul!

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Wednesday, February 22

IDHTBPTBB - A Kitchen Update

Wondering what that nonsense means? It's a saying by one of my favorite bloggers, The Nester. It means "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful."

And it just so happens she is having a link-up party today yesterday two days ago (better late than never?) and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to post an update on our very-much-imperfect kitchen. And maybe this will help me look at it in a new light and see the beauty behind the imperfections. So without further ado, here it is today:

Okay, a little anticlimactic, I know. We haven't really made any progress in the last few months (see our game plan here) and our kitchen is full of imperfections. Dishes everywhere, missing drawer fronts, still unpainted cabinets, plywood countertop, taped outline of where the peninsula will run, uninstalled cabinets.... But we're looking for beauty here, right? So things that are beautiful in these picture:
  • that little boy on the floor (too easy?)
  • the way Baby B so enthusiastically pulls those dishes out every day
  • it is ours so we are free to make the changes that we want
  • the size - it's much bigger than our last kitchen so we have room to move, grow, and make changes
  • the openness - it has wonderful flow with the rest of the house since we took out the wall between the kitchen & living room
  • new metal shelves
  • the white dishes and that they are out where we can enjoy them now
  • the huge amount of countertop space
  • the sink of my dreams (even if it's not installed yet)
  • the mismatched cabinets that, though imperfect, add lots of storage for $12 total
  • glass flour & sugar jars on the counter
  • the pattern on this cabinet that will will replicate on our existing cabinets (I mostly wanted to show you how badly we need hardware on this cabinet. That towel blocks the door from closing all the way so we can get it open and the paint stick in the drawer gives leverage to pry it open. Ha.)
  • pretty (and working!!!) stove & microwave
  • working fridge (I just cleaned it off and it looks a hundred times better. I just took down all the recipes and pictured from the front and moved all the dishes that were sitting on top to the basement. It seriously made a huge difference!)
  • did I mention that little boy? He's trying to chew through a container of oranges right here. He did chew through a packet of taco seasoning the other day. Yuck.
  • the corner pantry that gives us TONS of storage
  • a daffodil getting ready to bloom!
So there are definitely a lot of imperfections here, but there is also so much to be thankful for. It's amazing how much more beautiful something can be after you look at it with a more beautiful attitude. This kitchen is so big and full of potential that we can make our own. Not to mention that everything is working and useable. We are blessed to have this home and this wonderful, more-than-big-enough, beautiful kitchen to call our own. So consider this my official attitude change. I will be thankful for the blessings in this kitchen instead of dwelling on the imperfections!

Do you ever get hung up looking at the imperfections? Where do you need to look for beauty? Blog about it and join the link-up party at The Nesting Place!