New Design – Fire Table

I am excited to bring to you my next big build for our house! Ever since moving into our home about 3 years ago (even before that honestly), I’ve wanted to have a fire table for our patio. The idea of sitting outside with friends around a table with a fire in it just seemed cool to me. Not to mention the great potential for s’mores! While we’re still not at the point of having a bunch of friends over, I figured it would be a good time to make my long desired fire table. Like all of my builds, I had to come up with a solid design first. And here is where we hit a bit of a snag. Typically, wood and fire don’t mix. As an educated adult human, I realize this. So I wanted to do some research and see if others had come up with…

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Kitchen Faucet Installation – Goodbye Bad Faucet!

Over the holiday break Allyson and I said goodbye to our home’s bad faucet in the kitchen. Trust me, it was really bad. There were leaks everywhere on the sprayer. Also, for some reason they made it as complicated as possible to operate. So we decided to complete a new kitchen faucet installation. Yes, the photo editing is back! I’ll admit, the old faucet did have a lot of features. In order to work the sprayer, you had to turn on the faucet, rotate the lever in the red circle and then squeeze the sprayer handle (blue rectangle). Super intuitive. Another great feature was the tiny streams of water that shot out of the black plastic around the sprayer anytime you used it. Really good for wiping the counter down. And of course, who can forget the post-modern kinked metal braided hose that went to the sprayer (green hexagon)? I’m…

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Compost Bins Build

I’ve written about the design of the new compost bins. I wrote a post last week about how I found the cheapest wood for the bins. It is time to post about the compost bins build process! Besides improving the aesthetics of the old builds, one of the main goals of the new compost bins build is to make them mouse proof. Supposedly, one can keep mice out of their compost if they always keep the compost moist. That’s probably true, especially since compost at the right moisture can get very hot as it is composting. But out here in Denver it is extremely difficult to keep the compost even close to moist 24/7 and mice certainly love that.  To try and make everything mouse proof, I designed the bins to have a sandwich type design. The bottom, top, and each wall is a rectangle of cedar with a layer…

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Cheap Wood For The Win!

Last week I introduced the design for new compost bins to replace our old ones. While I was excited to get much better compost bins, the old ones were free and the new ones are not. Sad. Not only was I going to buy wood for the new bins, I also had to get cedar, a more expensive wood than conventional pine. To help mitigate the costs, finding cheap wood was a must. And that is where the discount wood bin in any big box hardware store comes in handy! This wonderful bin is full of wood that is up to 70% off full price! The downside of course is that the wood is normally pretty terrible. Most pieces are warped, cracked, or discolored in some way. On top of that, it’s a limited selection of wood that the store has decided to mark down. Depending on what project you’re…

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New Compost Bins

In the past, I have written about wanting to be better at composting. In that post, the focus was on paying better attention to the compost itself and getting compost quicker. What was not addressed at the time was the compost bins themselves. They were pretty mediocre looking. Pretty gross. Also, just noticed the photo bomb from Allyson in the back. They were free, made completely from scraps out of our old shed, so that is a big plus. But it is pretty obvious that an upgrade was needed. Enter SketchUp for the new design. Once I had the initial design I didn't bother building out the other side in the model. Some key features of this updated design for the new compost bins: Built out of cedar for outdoor durabilityThe front folds down from a hinge on the bottom for easy compost turningCompletely mouse proof (fingers crossed) The last…

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Pets and Emergency Funds

Wellllp. Before talking about pets and emergency funds, I’ll briefly address the insurrection attempt that occurred on January 6th. This is exactly what I was saying we need to reject in my end of year post last week. On Wednesday we saw exactly where the past few years of lying and violent rhetoric were always going to lead. The people in Congress who have enabled this behavior are also culpable for the insurrection attempt and the resulting deaths. They refused to hold Trump accountable for his behavior for years, enabling and encouraging him to reject a fair and free election and each one of them should be held accountable. If you have a Congressperson representing you who doesn’t believe in democracy and voted to object to the election results, especially after a violent coup attempt, it’s time to vote them out. Alright, back to the regularly scheduled programming. I have…

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New Year 2021

Welcome to the new year 2021! It’s been a long week over here in our house, so I don’t have a long post prepared this week. And I’m sure we’ve all heard plenty about saying goodbye to 2020 and hello to a wonderful 2021. This past year has obviously been difficult for everyone in different ways, and I truly hope that this next year will be better for everyone. There are a couple of vaccines now available, and I, along with all of you, look forward to the day that those vaccines allow us to spend time with loved ones safely. Until then, let’s continue to look out for each other by wearing masks and limiting our risky activity. It feels like America is at an important point in our history. It feels silly to even have to say this, but we need to reject fascism and authoritarianism. We need…

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Outdoor Sofa Cushions

So pretty. In a surprising twist, Allyson is writing her first ever post for the blog about sewing our outdoor cushions. So if you’re wondering why it is so much better, that should explain it…. If you know how to use a sewing machine, you can probably make box cushions and pillows. Pillow covers are one of the easiest projects for beginners to make because all of the seams are straight, and you can learn how to turn corners and install zippers. My mom taught me how to sew when I was growing up. I even had a business selling extra long beach towels with custom covers that held the towel onto the chair. Sewing is an invaluable skill to add to your DIY repertoire for flexibility and cost savings. I frequently use my sewing machine to patch torn knees and butts in our work pants. The most important rule…

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Outdoor Coffee Table – Final Assembly

Well, after several posts about the table top and legs for the outdoor coffee table, it is finally time for the final assembly. There are just a few things to complete before pulling everything together. The most important part is to connect the top slats to the legs via a pin through each mortise and tenon joint. Holes were drilled through the leg mortises and the table top tenons that are aligned with one another. Oak pins go into those holes to hold the legs tightly to the table top slats. Last step in the final assembly is to stain everything. Starting the final connection between table top and legs! In my previous table build, there was a slight gap between the breadboard (end) and the table slats. I made a lot of effort to eliminate those gaps through a couple of measures. First and foremost, I was very precise…

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Outdoor Coffee Table – Table Legs

The outdoor coffee table to match our outdoor sectional is nearing completion! I posted about making the table top and all of the tenons for the mortise and tenon joints last week. I'll cover how the matching mortises were made in the table legs, as well as the assembly of each leg.  Before cutting the mortises in the table legs for the joint, I made all of the cuts for the legs. Based on the design, each leg has 45º miter joints for each corner. I used a miter saw and stop block for consistency across all 8 pieces for the legs (4 per leg). One thing I didn’t do for this build is cut each matching piece on both sides of the saw. This method means that if your saw is slightly off, one side will have a 44º angle and the other should have a matching 46º angle.…

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