A Shawl Shelf and Other Projects

Are you wondering what a ‘shawl shelf’ could possibly be? You’re not alone. Jay was wondering the same thing when I first mentioned it. It’s exactly what it sounds like… a shelf for shawls.

You see, I’m tired of not having anywhere to store my shawls except on top of my dresser.

Bedroom 6-12-19

I don’t want to hang them because I’m afraid they will stretch out. I had some room between my lingerie chest and the wall so I asked Jay to build me a shelf.

Ask and you shall receive…

Shawl Shelf 6-12-19

I told him that it didn’t have to be an exquisite work of art. I just need something utilitarian. We even used some paint that I had sitting around, too.

The inspector came around and gave it her stamp of approval.

Chester Approved Shawl Shelf

As soon as the meow of approval had been given I went ahead and filled it to the brim with every shawl that I own.

Shawl Shelf In Use

Yes, all three of them. Jay saw that and said, “That’s all you wanted it for? Three shawls?!” I told him no, that I have plans for at LEAST three more so the room will definitely be needed! He just shook his head and went back to his work bench.

That isn’t the only project that has been finished lately, either.

Remember this:

Cord Organizer 4-1-19

And I had started to paint it like this:

Cord Organizer 5-16-19

Are you still wondering what in the world that could be? Are you ready? Think about it for a few more seconds… Okay… here it is in use:

Cord Organizer 6-5-19

It’s a charging cord organizer!

I thought the clothes pins would hold the plugs in place so that you could wrap it around the dowel below. I was so tired of having a mess of cords on the desk near where we have the USB outlet in the library.

Cord Organizer Installed

Now I just have the “normal” mess on the desk!

(It really are the little things that make me happy!)

Hold on… I have somebody here who wants to say hello…

Penny Riding in the Basket 6-6-19

Penny is still wearing her Ewok costume, but she was having a good time riding around in the basket of the scooter with her kitten. She especially enjoyed it when Jay would see just how fast the scooter can take corners. The kitten was not as happy.

Anyway, back to the woodworking projects.

The last mystery project that we were working on was this:

Paper Plate Holder 4-1-19

Obviously it’s a shelf of some sort. It’s too small to be a shawl shelf. It’s too big to be a spice rack. What could it be? It’s another utilitarian project that I had asked Jay to make.

This was the problem I was trying to solve:

Paper Plate Cupboard

This is the cupboard above the fridge where we keep our paper plates and bowls. We are tall enough to reach it, but if you wanted a large plate it was kind of a pain to lift everything up with one hand and try to remove a plate with the other.

Here is the Paper Plate Holder in use:

Paper Plate Holder 6-12-19

Isn’t that great?!

And the shelf slides out, too:

Paper Plate Holder In Use

Here’s a tip that I picked up from somewhere… I rubbed a candle against the edges of the shelves to help them move more smoothly in and out of the slot. It waxes the shelf without any kind of grease or residue. The candle that I happened to have on hand was a cinnamon scented one, so it will also smell good! The candle trick also works really well with metal zippers. If your metal zipper isn’t opening and closing as smoothly as it should just rub a candle over the teeth and that will help tremendously!

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Review: Grizzly G0459 12″ Drum Sander

I thought I would write a little review on the latest Grizzly product to enter our house.

The Grizzly G0459 12″ 1-1/2 HP Baby Drum Sander

grizzly drum sander 1-18-19

Jay Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

This was a Christmas gift this past year. He had been drooling over the Grizzly catalog for MONTHS and when I unstuck the pages I found he had drooled the most over this drum sander.

work shop 1-18-19

You can see it in place near the dust collector in the above picture.

I honestly don’t know how the price of the Grizzly compares with similar models of other brands because I never even considered going anywhere else. I was so impressed that the dust collector had been solidly built with actual metal instead of plastic that I knew I would be happy with the drum sander. And boy, is the drum sander solid!

drum sander 1-18-19

When we got it home Jay removed it from the box thinking that would make it easier to carry downstairs. We wanted to be able to maneuver it down through our inside basement door, but it wouldn’t fit. We had to end up bringing it in through the outside basement entrance. And let me tell you what… this machine was NOT light. Just from the weight of it I would say that there is very little plastic on this machine. I’m a strong farm girl and this almost had me crying uncle!

Here are Jay’s Pros: 1) Saves on having to do a lot of palm sanding 2) the price difference between the 10″ and 12″ is such that you should just go with the 12″. It’s when you double it to 24″ that you really go up in price. I knew that Jay wanted the 12″, but the cheap penny-pinching accountant in me wanted to get him the less expensive 10″. In the end I went with the 12″ because for the price it gives you the most flexibility. I knew if I limited Jay to 10″ that there would be issues.

Cons: 1) the rolls of hook & loop sand paper is expensive 2) The sandpaper doesn’t go as far as you think. However, the sand paper is easier to change (and cheaper as well) than changing a set of knives on a planer.

Favorite feature: It is QUIET! Since the workshop is in the basement he thought this might be an issue, but I can’t tell that he’s using the drum sander even if I’m in the bedroom right above it. We had borrowed my dad’s planer once and luckily we set it up outside because the entire neighborhood heard it within a 12 block radius!

Jay did modify this sander a little bit. Let me show you a picture of it again:

drum sander 1-18-19

The red dust port does not come standard on it. This sander comes with a 2 1/2″ dust port, but Jay removed it, 3D printed a 4″ dust port and retro fitted it to the sander. He said that this has made a tremendous difference in the removal of dust.

That’s another thing to consider, the amount of dust that this puts out is amazing. Jay says that he wouldn’t use this if he didn’t have the dust collector (don’t even try with a shop vac as it won’t be able to keep up at all).

When asked what he would say to somebody who was considering the purchase of one of these machines Jay said, “Keep in mind that it’s a single purpose machine in which you will have a large investment. These aren’t cheap, but they are definitely worth it.”

Another positive thing about the drum sander is that it’s very easy to operate by yourself. The conveyor does all the work of moving the wood through the machine. You just have to make sure that you’re ready to catch it on the other side. This is different than a planer where the knives are what causes the wood to move through the machine and if the wood gets caught or the knives can’t move it through, you have to end up pulling or pushing it through.

So there you have it… Jay’s review on his drum sander. He definitely recommends it and would encourage you to buy one for yourself. He has nothing but good things to say about the Grizzly products that we own.

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Project Linus Blanket #21

Project Linus Blanket #21

Project Linus Blanket #21 6-2-19

“The Night Sky”

When I saw the variegated yarn it reminded me of the sky around the moon at night.

Image by Robert Karkowski from Pixabay - Moon

Image by Robert Karkowski courtesy of Pixabay


Those are my favorite shades of blue, so I knew that I had to have a lot of white running through it in order to represent the brightness of the moon.

I LOVED the variegated yarn. It’s another Nicole Studio yarn that you can find at AC Moore. The color is actually ‘Sky Mix’, but it’s more of a night sky mix.

Project Linus Blanket #21 Detail

I enjoyed working on this one so much that I lost track of where I was and made it longer than my other blankets. Oh well. Maybe an older boy will appreciate its length.

Now it is on to the next blanket. I randomly picked one from the pile:

Kitted Blankets 5-19-19


Blanket #22 (Still Unnamed):

Project Linus Blanket #22 - Yarn


Project Linus Blanket #22 Schematic

Posted in Blankets, Charity, Crochet, Project Linus | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

New Windows!

I never thought that I would be a person who could get excited over new windows… but apparently I am. Although we are trying to limit the amount of money we pour into this house (as we’ll never EVER get it all back out) we realized that we needed at least three new windows. Let me attempt to show you what I’m talking about.

First up, the Kitchen window.

Kitchen from Library

From a distance this window looks okay. When you got up close, though, you noticed that it was an old window with the individual glass panes that needed to be re-puttied, and the storm window was the old aluminum variety with a very thin pane of glass. Not to mention it was no longer sealed and bugs were able to get in (but not out…). It was not energy efficient and I never liked to have it open because it just reminded me that it was falling apart.

As of today, we have a new one:

New Kitchen Window 6-3-19

Look at how bright, shiny and clean it is!! I opted to go without the window grid because the rest of the windows in the back of the house don’t have grids. Also, it was a silly amount of money to add them. I’m so happy that I can now open this window if I want and wash it without worrying that I’m going to crack a pane!

In the dining room I had two windows that needed to be replaced.

One faces north:

Dining Room New Walls 2

Again, thin panes of glass partially covered with an aluminum “storm window” and if I wanted to have the window open I would have to use something to prop it open. Also, notice that this doesn’t have window panes?

The west facing window was in horrible shape, too, and we get a LOT of our weather from the west.

Dining Room - New Ceiling 3

This is the same type of window that was above the kitchen sink. I think that this used to be an original window in the back of the house and was moved to this place when the addition was added. If you look closely you can see that the screen is torn. I never opened this window, either. It always made me feel trashy to know that was on my house. But not any more! Now we have BEAUTIFUL windows!

New Dining Room Windows 6-3-19

Aren’t they pretty?? I will put my lace curtains back up once they are out of the dryer, but I’m so happy with how they look!

The new north window:

New North Window 6-3-19

The new west window:

New West Window 6-3-19

I can’t wait until it’s a warm day and I can have all of them open, letting in the fresh air!

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When You Catch ‘The Old’…

It was Memorial Day. I saw Jay filling up a mug of beer.


“The neighbors are having a picnic so I’m heading over there. Do you want to come with me?” he asked as he topped off his glass.

“No, I have some things that I want to do here. Be careful that their dogs don’t sneak out when you go in through their gate. Zeke likes to escape,” I informed him.

“I’m not walking all the way around! I’m going to jump the fence like I always do.”

Cucumbers 7-9-18

“You’re too old to be jumping the fence. Just take the extra time to walk around.”

A gasp escaped his lips. “Too old??” he said in horror. “Do you know what I’ve done in my life? That tiny fence has NOTHING on what I’ve hurdled in the past!”

“I started out canoeing the mighty rapids.”

Jay in a Canoe

“At a young age I was working on the roof.”

Jay up on the roof

“I wasn’t old enough to drive a car so I rode a dirt bike to preschool.”

Easy Rider Jay - 26 months

“Then the energy crisis hit, so I pedaled my bike and possibly jumped a few buses when I arrived at school.”

Cropped Evel Knieval Jay

“I tamed wild beasts.”

Jay and the Beast

“I stared death in the eye and didn’t blink!”

Karen and Jay 1987

“Yes, but Sweetie, you were a LOT younger back then,” I said, trying to reason with him.

“Okay, so maybe I was a bit young, but those were just mild stunts. I’ve done a LOT more in more recent years and didn’t get a scrape.”

I just looked at him.


“You don’t believe me? I’ve dived from the highest diving boards in the country.”

Diving Jay

“I trained pilots in the Navy for three years. Talk about some close calls!”

Jay in the Navy

“I even took my own life in my hands when I built my own airplane and flew it.”

Jay in his plane

“Jay, I’m not talking about flying a plane. I’m talking about jumping over the fence. Your joints can’t take it. You’ll hurt yourself.”

He looked at me and almost tsk’d as he said, “Jumping? I’ve made 748 jumps in my life from a lot higher than 42 inches!”

Jay Skydiving

“One of those jumps was with my own mother!”

Jay and Karen Skydiving

“I think that I know what I’m doing when it comes to jumping!”

<<< A few hours later….>>>

“At least I didn’t spill my beer!”

Jay's Broken Foot 5-30-19

(3 broken bones in his foot and 6-8 weeks off of work)

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Prayer Shawl #3

Last week my friend Chrissy had to rush home because her mom needed emergency surgery. She ended up having a quadruple bypass! YIKES!

Chrissy is a sweetheart and we have a great time together. In this picture you can’t tell that when we’re together we typically cause trouble.


Her mom has a long road of healing ahead of her so I was going to ask the ladies at church for a prayer shawl for her mom. Then I thought that it might mean more to both of them if I actually made the prayer shawl myself. So I did.

Prayer Shawl #3 5-25-19

And I didn’t have to buy yarn for this project because I already had it on hand. In fact, I had the pattern ready, too. I had seen the pattern and wanted to try it, but since I’ve got a zillion kits waiting for blankets I hadn’t picked up this project yet.

Prayer Shawl #3 Up Close

After I decided that I was going to make this for her I was on a mission to get it done. I started it Wednesday night and finished it Saturday afternoon.

I used self-striping yarn cakes again because the pattern I had found called for four skeins of it. I used all four skeins to make the body of the shawl and then pulled out white yarn to do a border. I wanted to make it nice and wide. I’m not sure how they managed to make the following with only four skeins of yarn, but supposedly they did.

Crocheted Poncho

This was supposed to be a poncho, but I wanted it to be a regular shawl instead. I think that they might have blocked this one because you can really see the holes in the picture. All I did was wash and dry the shawl, just as I would expect Chrissy’s mom to do. I don’t want to give her something that needs to be blocked every time so that it looks nice.

Posted in Crochet, Faith, Prayer Shawl | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Beginning to Garden – 2019

Two weeks ago I posted about Real Life and how my gardens look like this:

Fence Garden 5-9-19

To be fair, that garden STILL looks like that. Between my various activities, my sinuses/allergies and the rain I just haven’t been able to get much done.

I did manage to get my vegetables planted in between rain drops.

Before & After

Back Deck 5-18-19

I have cucumbers on the left and zucchini on the right.

And I decided to try something a little different. Usually I plant flowers in the pots that hang on the deck railing, but this year I decided to try some herbs. Even though you can’t see them I have planted parsley and chives. We’ll see how well they do.

I also purchased two containers at Lowe’s for my tomatoes and green peppers:

Tomatoes and Peppers 5-18-19

These containers allow you to fill a reservoir at the bottom of the pot so that the plants will be watered all of the time. Except… there were a zillion steps to complete in order to “properly” set up the container to function properly and I didn’t have time to deal with it. I was trying to get soil mixed and installed before it rained on me again. So we’ll see how well they do. I’m going to move the peppers somewhere else. I’m just not sure where. I wanted to use these containers so that they would be easy to move.

And I did get my flowers planted on the other side of my back steps. Now I just need to add the mulch.

Back Door Pansies 5-18-19

Snap Dragons and Pansies. Snap Dragons are becoming one of my favorite flowers to plant. I have some taller ones in my front garden that actually came back this year. As for the pansies, who doesn’t love them? They are my FAVORITE non-rose flower.

Speaking of roses, I did get all of the bushes in my gardens trimmed and fertilized.

Corner Rose Bushes 5-23-19

Oh, and the stupid irises! I don’t know how many times I have to tear them out of this front bed. As you can see they are stubborn critters. I hacked into the set on the left the other night. The others are almost blooming, so they were spared.

Along with the only lily that I allow to be in my gardens:

Permitted Lily 5-23-19

I’m not a big fan of lilies growing in my gardens. But this one blooms once and then goes away, so it can stay. Oh, and to the left in this picture you can see the newest rose bush that I purchased. *sigh* I couldn’t help myself. This area is where the bush was that I thought might be dead, but turns out there was a little life left to it. So I transplanted it over to be next to its buddy.

Porch Roses 5-23-19

You can’t see it very well in this picture, but it’s between the middle one and the one on the left. You can barely see the reddish leaves poking up by the porch. I need to mulch these ones, too. It looks a lot better than it did, though. Oh, and to the right of the trellis is the Snap Dragon that came back this year.

Before & After

It’s actually quite interesting to see just how much the rose bushes have leafed out in two weeks! I know that a couple of them already have buds so they should be blooming soon!

The other garden area that I was able to clean up was the little one outside my bedroom window. This is the area where I want to put the Mary statue that I purchased a few weeks ago.

Bedroom Roses 5-23-19

I did manage to mulch this flower bed. I think that I need three more bags of regular mulch in order to finish tidying up these beds.

The bird seed area hasn’t been touched, yet. I will need an entire Saturday morning to get that done. I need to pull up everything that is there and then lay down new landscaping fabric. I would like to cover it in little stones so that the birds can’t throw them around, but I don’t want Jay hitting them with the mower. So I will probably end up using the pine bark nuggets again.

All of that gardening gave me three big garbage containers of yard waste to put out with the garbage this week. Can you imagine using all of them and still needing more?

Oh, and I seriously have run out of room for roses. I honestly don’t know where I would stick another one. My boss and coworker were asking me how many rose bushes do I have and I was a bit embarrassed when I counted them up. I think that I have a problem. The total currently stands at 16.

I told Jay that when we move I am digging up almost all of them to take with us. After all, I know how much of the previous owner’s plants I removed. It would break my heart to leave the rose bushes here and then drive by and see that they were all gone. I just hope that we move in the spring or summer. It will be a bit difficult to transplant them in winter.

While I was out ‘playing in the dirt’ (as I call my gardening) I heard Jay busy in the back yard. On one of my trips to the shed I saw this:

Floor Frame 5-18-19

“Yes, Sweetie, there will be room for everybody to sit at the table for Thanksgiving dinner, but I don’t think it will fit in the dining room.”

This is what happens when you measure once, cut twice.

Posted in Garden, Real Life, Roses, Wood Work | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment