Monday, April 28, 2014

Project Sunday 4-27-14

Woah, it's been a busy few weeks. Passover is over (and I think I'm finally fully recovered), but it certainly was a whirlwind of family and food and activity.

Then immediately after Passover I go to go to my new campus for orientation. I mentioned that I'm getting a Master's in Library and Information Science (MLIS), didn't I? I'm doing my entire program on-line (to cut out a lengthy and inconvenient commute) so this was one of my only chances to meet my professors and advisers, not to mention my fellow students. I met some great people, got some good information and actually had a good time, so it was very much worth going to for me.

I could go on and talk about other exciting things I did this past week (like attend the first meeting of a new writer's group), but I think I'm going to try to stick to the topic at hand, which is:
Project Sunday! And it was a good one this week, check it out:

Saturday was my grandfather's yartzeit which marks the anniversary of the day he passed away. In honor of his memory we had a breakfast at our synagog Sunday morning, which was a very pleasant way to start off our day. We went for morning services, and then stayed for breakfast, all the while taking the opportunity to remember my grandfather. 

After that it was off to our favorite park to go for a long walk with a friend. We picked her up and did 5 laps around our track, which is 5k. We've been trying to stay active and walk outside a lot now that the weather is more or less permitting. 

Then it was a quick lunch and back out to see a local production of Neil Simon's Rumors with my parents. It was uproariously funny and I had a fabulous time. My husband had a good time too, even though he claims that it wasn't quite his sense of humor (but I saw him laughing plenty, don't worry). And afterwards, my parents insisted on treating us to a dinner out, even though we had sort of just had lunch. Oh well, it was delicious anyway!

Back home for a quick rest and then it was off to my in-law's house for a meeting with a dear friend of theirs. Now it seems that at some point in the last year or so, my mother in-law and her friend B got it in their heads that they should build an outdoor clay oven. Which is, granted, a fabulous idea, and I can't wait to have a loaf of home-made bread straight out of the oven, but somehow we got recruited to help in this whole process.
Many ideas were tossed around, and the words "structural integrity" were used. Legos were gotten out and we all consulted a book called Build Your Own Earth Oven. I am beyond excited about this project. Even though I've got about a million other things going on, how often do you get the opportunity to build a clay oven? Some preliminary plans were drawn up, some numbers were crunched and we set a date for our next meeting.

I promise that I'll be blogging about this oven building process. I'm not sure if it's going to be one "OMG We Built a Clay Oven" post, or if I'll just blog about it as it happens, but it'll be here. Don't worry.

So that's it. I know right, that's it? What an amazingly busy yet productive Project Sunday! And there's always more to come, so stay tuned!

How did you guys spend your Project Sunday? Build anything interesting? Do you have any experience with clay ovens? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Project Sunday 4-13-14 *Passover Edition*

I hope ya'll aren't too sick of hearing about our Project Sundays, because we're having so much fun with them!
Here's one more, our Project Sunday: Passover Edition!

As you may or may not know (or may have guessed), Sunday was the last full day before the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. Normally, this day is full of rushed, last-minute cleaning and cooking, but we didn't have to do any of that this year. Or at least, very little of it. But let me start at the beginning.

Our day actually started pretty early in the morning, when we went to the airport to pick up my brother-in-law, who's visiting from California. I'm so excited to see him, because we actually haven't seen each other since the wedding way back in August.

We then dropped him off at his parent's house, where we also got to see my new aunt & uncle in-laws, who are visiting from New York! It's so nice to get to spend time with family, especially family you get along with! (Am I right?) Then, since we were at my in-law's house we got roped into fixing a few little things. My father-in-law needed help fixing his new glasses, and then my husband had to instal one of those magnetic-snapping screen door thingies, which actually seems to work pretty well. I had a lot of fun walking through it, in any case.

After that it was back home to finish turning over the kitchen. (turning it from a rest of the year kitchen into a special Passover kitchen) Because we'd spent some time Saturday night prepping for this, it actually didn't take all that long. We cleaning and scrubbed and then put away all of our not-for-Passover pots, pans and dishes.

Guess which cabinets we won't be opening!

The whole ordeal took less than 4 hours, and only involved 1 trip to Meijers/Lowe's... And then, after we had scrubbed and toiled, it was time to move some furniture!
We enlisted the help of our uncle and my brother-in-law and our aunt came along for the ride. We took a empty cabinet from my in-law's basement, moved it into the borrowed Subaru and then dragged it up 2.5 flights of stairs to our apartment. I'm super excited, because it's going to house all of our 3D Printer paraphernalia (which means I can get that junk off of the floor!).

Not quite where it belongs, but we're getting there.

We then gave all of the relatives present a quick tour of our apartment, and they all got to meet our snake, Cecil. Then it was back to my in-law's house to help them with an emergency pizza situation. The situation was that instead of ordering 2 pre-Passover pizzas, they had some how ended up with three. We were happy to help them with this emergency.

After the airporting, and the cleaning and the furniture moving, we were pretty much done for the day. We did sit down with our aunt at some point and go over some financial records. She commented on what a productive day we'd all had, and we told that of course it had been productive, it was Project Sunday.

Well, that's about it for this post. I've still got a few more things left to do to get ready for Passover, so I'd better get to that. I'll see you all after Yontif!

What holidays are you guys celebrating this week? Did you have a productive Project Sunday? Tell me all about it in the coments!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Project Sunday 4-6-14

We had such an intense Project Sunday this week that I haven't even had a chance to write about it until now, but here we go!

Woo! Project Sunday! We started off the day with a trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts to see their amazing special exhibit Samurai: Beyond the Sword, which was amazing! And if you're interested in checking it out you can find all of the information right here! I don't have any photos (because you're not allowed to take any in the special exhibit space), so if you guys are curious, you'll just have to see the show for yourself! But I did get a few quick pix of the mummy, who's finally back on exhibit!

While the DIA was fun, it wasn't really much of a project, but don't worry we did plenty of that! After the museum we stopped at home to pick up our jig-saw and headed out to my parents house to do some chair-repair (doesn't that just sound cool?).

Lets see if you can spot the problem here:

Yeah... My parents have had the same kitchen table and chairs for over 15 years now. They've held up pretty well, but every once in a while, something needs to get fixed. This time it was one of the chairs that had broken, cracked in two places. But luckily, it was a pretty easy fix, only requiring a total of four trips to the local home-improvement store.... That was sarcasm.

No, I'm kidding. Well, we did take four trips (total) to Home Depot and Lowe's, but it really was an easy fix. We simply took the broken particle-board base out of the chair, and made a new one. All we needed was a jig-saw, a hammer-tacker and a pencil. And well, a drill didn't hurt.

Then we just put everything back together! Easy and quick. Well, maybe not so quick because we kept getting distracted by other little projects that needed doing around my parent's house. Like, re-stringing some blinds that had broken, and re-attaching some slats that had come off of the deck's built-in bench... When my husband and I show up with a box of tools, my parents can always find something that needs fixing or replacing. It's one of the things we love about them.

After the repair work, my parents treated us to dinner at our favorite pizza place. We were supposed to do some cleaning and straightening when we got home, but we were just too pooped. It was a busy day, with lots of running around, and lots of fun. And I got to use a jig-saw for the first time (it was fun!).

So that's it, our Project Sunday in a nutshell. Oh yeah, and apparently we've been hired to re-do the floor in my parent's garage? Stay tuned!

How about you guys? Did ya'll do anything fun and exciting for your Project Sunday? Or did you have a relaxing weekend? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Oh Yeah, We Built Night-Stands!

So, remember that SUPER SECRECT project I've been babbling on about for ages now? Well, it's done! They're all done! What are they you ask? Why, night-stands, of course!

This one's mine :)

Now, I don't have a picture of it (I should, really) but up until now I've been using an empty box as a night-stand, and I cannot tell you how many times I've knocked the damn thing over trying to turn my alarm off and had all of my things go flying. Grr. Very frustrating.
So  way back in December my husband and I decided to rectify this grievous error by making ourselves a pair of matching custom night-stands. Easy, right?

Well it was actually pretty darned easy, just a bit time consuming, but I'll get to that later. In the mean time, let me should you how we made that gorgeous night-stand from this pile of wood:

Now we absolutely have to give credit where credit is due. The original plans for this night-stand come from the amazing and talented Ana White. The night-stands are adapted from her Narrow Cottage End Table plans. But wait, there's more credit to be distributed.

When I first had the idea to build our own night-stands, I immediately consulted with my personal friend, Google. And he recommended a blog called Attempts At Domestication, where they were hard at working building their own night-stands. They had already done the hard work of adjusting Ana's plans to fit a night-stand instead of an end-table, and as you can see we borrowed extensively from their design. (We adjusted the height and such, but really... we're thieves, plain and simple). We also took to heart their suggestion of investing in a pocket jig and well, we couldn't have made this project without it, so thanks!

Okay, now back to our project. We had a pile of wood all cut and ready to go... so what to do net? Assembly, of course! We busted out or brand new Kreg Pocket-Hole Jig (at ~ $40, easily the most expensive part of the project, but totally worth it), and got to work!

First up, we put together the pieces that would become the sides of the night-stands. As you might be able to tell from this picture, we opted to make both night-stands at once. This is because we both needed night-stands, and because we're very lazy people. I knew that if we didn't make both at once, that second stand would never get finished.

Ta-Da, sides are assembled!
Next up was to put the entire "base" of the stands together. This includes the sides & back, and the drawers.

This involved a lot of clamping, and much use of our (by now) beloved Kreg Jig. It wasn't super easy and seemed to take a lot longer than it actually did, but we eventually got the base of the night-stands fully assembled.

We opted not to go the drawer-slide route, and instead just tacked a piece of scrap plywood onto the bottom of the stand to serve as a drawer runner. It actually worked pretty well (after a coat or two of some candle-wax) and was certainly easier. Considering how small our drawers are, and the fact that so far I've just got my kindle and my glassed in mine, I'm pretty happy with that decision.

The next step (that we actually did first, shhh!) was to put together the tops. Again, our Kreg Jig was invaluable here. It allowed us to assemble boards flush to one another without any screws or nails showing at all.

Look Ma, no screws! Well, none that you can see at least.
I realize that for some reason, I don't have a single picture of us assembling the drawers themselves. Weird, because I'm usually fairly obsessive about documenting every step, but what can you do. I promise you that we did in fact build drawers. Here, you can see them in this picture:

There's everything drying off in our storage space after receiving a first coat of paint/stain.
Now I should mention that one of the reasons that this project took us ~3 months to finish is the fact that we don't have a good work space in our apartment. My husband has a nice "shop" area, but it's at his parent's house. Which meant schlepping over there whenever we wanted to work on these. Add in my husband's full time job, my two part-time jobs and the fact that we had a VERY cold and snowy couple of months, and well... you can see how things just took a bit longer than we were expecting.
So when it was finally time to paint and stain, we jumped at the chance to take our night-stands home and work on them (we've got a small balcony and a drop-cloth, perfect for this task).

Our beautiful stained night-stands :)

The whole project took a bit longer than we wanted, but the cost came in at about ~$75, and that's for both night-stands. I actually have a break-down of how much we spent on each block of wood, but I don't want to bore you more than I already have. The Kreg Jig was ~ $40 and worth every penny. And I didn't document this very well, but I think that we spent about $20 on paint, stain and polyurethane. All in all, a pretty cheap project, and certainly a lot cheaper than buying night-stands at a place like Art Van (where we got our amazing, but very expensive bed).

So that's about it, our night-stands. We're thrilled to have them, and we both had so much fun making them that we're already onto the next project! I won't keep you guys in the dark this time though, I'll go ahead and tell you that we're using another Ana White design to make a kitchen table for ourselves, since we uh, still don't have one. So stay tuned for that!

Painted, stained and assembled with matching drawer-knobs.
And don't they look beautiful with our anniversary art hanging over them?

So what have you guys been working on lately? Any cool DIY projects? I'd love to hear all about them in the comments!

And P.S. Go check out and both amazing blogs, very inspiring and well worth the read!