"I love my cats because I love my home, and little by little they become its visible soul." Jean Couteau

Friday, January 3, 2014

when you can't find what you want, build it yourself

Here's another post that I wrote several weeks ago and am just now finishing up with pictures and posting...

Awhile ago, I decided that I needed a drawer for the bottom of my closet. Zach has a whole bunch in his closet, but they're cedar and, from what he told me, really expensive. Also, he couldn't seem to tell me where he had gotten them, other than "the Internet." I did some Internet searching, but all I could really find were plastic storage drawers that weren't the right size. 

Then one day, while browsing the blogosphere, I realized that people are building things with drawers, and I should be able to just take the relevant information from that to build a single stand-alone drawer for my closet. Then I found Ana White and pretty much fell in love. She has an amazing site filled with instructions for building probably just about anything you could want. And the site has a good search capability to search through all her projects, which I did, searching only for "drawer." That's how I came upon her tutorial for making an entryway bench with drawer and hutch. The bottom part, the drawer bench, is basically what I wanted, with some minor dimensional tweaks. I got so excited, I couldn't wait to get home to measure my space and start drawing up my plans! I almost left work early, but I exerted some self-control and stayed. But as soon as I got home, I got to work, measuring my closet area, drawing some plans on graph paper, and figuring out how much of what size boards I would need. Then I just wished it was the weekend instead of Wednesday, so I could get started.

Ana White's tutorial is wonderful, with great instructions and drawings, so I won't attempt to recreate it here. Instead, I'll just note where I differed from her plans, which is mainly in the dimensions. After measuring my closet floor, I decided to make my drawer 28" wide, 18" deep, and 10" tall. After lots of drawing and thinking and math, I determined that I should get 9' of 1x18, 4' of 1x8, and 6' of 1x2. As some of you may know, you can't get 1x18 boards. When Ana White says to use boards of odd sizes, she means get plywood and cut it to your needs. I did some more math to figure out what sizes to get my boards pre-cut at Home Depot so they would fit in my car and loaded it all up. Occasionally, I wish I had a truck.

I got all my pieces cut and spray-primed them with Kilz. I thought that would be easier/faster than using regular primer, which takes longer both to apply and to dry.

I assembled the outside using 2" nails. In hindsight, I wish I had used pocket holes/screws. It would have looked nicer and probably would have assembled more cleanly too. I don't have a pocket hole jig, but for the drawer, I borrowed one from my awesome friend who often lets me borrow his tools, and it was great. Pocket hole jig is going on my Christmas wish list! 

I had some difficulty with the drawer fitting, probably due to things not being perfectly square and possibly from slightly off measurements/cutting. I had to do some last-minute sanding and trimming to get it all to work. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be super pretty, since it's going to sit on the floor of my closet, and probably no one but me will ever really see it. I finished the inside of the drawer off with Modge-podge and wrapping paper to cover up the pocket holes and give it a little nicer feel. I definitely learned a lot from this project, so if I did something similar again, it would probably be better. 

4 little reindeer

This post is a few weeks delayed, and I really have no excuse. I wrote it back then and uploaded the pictures to my laptop, but then just never seemed to get around to inserting the pics and posting. As I said, no excuse. But better late than never, right?

I saw these little cork reindeer on Pretty Handy Girl and thought they were super cute. I wanted to do a little something for our friends who let me use their power tools, and since they're pretty into wine, this seemed perfect.

I started making the antlers the way Pretty Handy Girl did, but although I thought hers looked cute, I thought mine looked like cows. So I tried adding some more antlers to try to make them look more like deer. It helped with the look, but was a lot harder to implement. I found it very difficult to push the wire into the cork, even using pliers, so I resorted to drilling small holes. For the antlers, I drilled a hole big enough for 2 or 3 wires, stuck all the wires in the hole, and put some hot glue around to hole them in place. Then I bent the wires as desired to make them look like antlers. For all the other parts, after drilling the hole, I put a dot of hot glue on the hole, then pushed the wire in.

As usual, this project took much longer then I'd anticipated, but it did speed up once I got the hang of it. I think my little reindeer are pretty cute. Hopefully my friends will think so too.