Jewelry Armoire Update – 2-25-19

Jewelry Armoire 11-18-18

For the longest time this is as far as Karen’s Jewelry Armoire had progressed. After the Christmas rush and the list of projects I had given Jay to work on, he was finally able to get back to it.

Jewelry Armoire 2-2-19

The hinges had to be purchased, but once they had Jay was able to get the doors hung on the cabinet.

Jewelry Armoire - Door Installed

We used off-set hinges so that they don’t show from the outside.

And we gave it feet:

Jewelry Armoire - Foot

At this point we were ready to start finishing it. Actually, that’s my job so I guess that it was ready for me to start finishing it. Except… Jay came home and told me that he had a new finishing table for me. His work place was going to throw it out, but he snatched it just in time.

Table with One Light

It was an old conference table that they no longer needed. It’s 8 ft long and VERY heavy. Since it was a conference table, though, Jay built a new base for it that would raise it up to a height that is more suited for the tall finishing department.

New Finishing Table

It’s not a fancy base, but it works. There will be a shelf installed so that I can store some of my things under there. Isn’t it nice?

So as I got ready to start working on the doors to the armoire Jay realized that only one side of the table was well lit. Being a good husband he got right to work making a new LED light to be installed over the dark side.

Jay Soldering Lights 2-24-19

It’s a simple light: four LED strips, a few jumper wires, and a wall wart. Oh, and the board that it’s installed on and will be screwed to the floor joists above the table.

New Light 2-24-19

Not very fancy, but it works a treat!

With the lighting now more than adequate I could get to work on the doors.

Jewelry Amoire Doors - 1 sanded

The door on the left is sanded. The door on the right has not been touched.

Jewelry Armoire - Sanded door

You can almost feel the smoothness of it from this picture. I spent almost 2 hours on each door, starting with 100 grit and working my way up to 220 grit. One of the doors I actually had to start with 60 grit, but I got it knocked down smooth.

Jewelry Armoire - Unsanded Door

This is the one that required 60 grit to start out. Can you see the roughness? A little elbow grease and persistence (and 2 hours) will remove it.

You will end up with this:

Jewelry Armoire - Sanded Doors

This is the inside of the doors. Fully sanded and ready for stain.

But what color??

Stain Samples

The top piece of wood is pine, which is used for the majority of the armoire. The bottom piece is poplar, which was used for the shelves. As you can see the two different woods took the stain much differently. I asked Jay which he preferred and then opted to go with that choice.

Jay has been designing this cabinet with more of a rustic feel to it, so when he chose the stain I could see how it would work. Also, if you call something rustic then you can forgive the flaws a little easier!

I am only going to stain one side of the doors at a time so that they can dry properly and won’t get marks from where they come into contact with the surface that they are sitting on. I started with the inside to see how it would look.

Jewelry Armoire - Stained Doors - Inside

Not too bad. This is definitely not a showcase piece. It won’t be featured on the front of Fine Cabinetry magazine. However, I do think that it looks a lot like what you would find in an antique shop. When you open up a cupboard and can tell that it’s been used quite a bit and has some stories to tell. Obviously, I’ll have to make up some stories for this one to tell, but I think it will end up looking okay.

Jewelry Armoire - Stain Detail

Here’s another way to look at it… if somebody breaks into your house are they going to suspect that you keep all of your jewelry in what appears to be an older antique cabinet? Well, I guess that if they read this blog they will, but more than likely they’ll be looking for a safe or an actual jewelry box.

So that’s where we stand with the Jewelry Armoire as of today.

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Dresses for Missions – #39

Dress #39

Dress #39 2-20-19

It’s been a few months since I’ve made a dress… I know!

I was actually motivated to make this dress after receiving the fabric for the ruffle:

dress ruffle fabric 1-13-19

This past fall after I gave my talk about this ministry in church I had a few church friends who gave me money to purchase more materials. Right after Christmas I was at Hobby Lobby and found the purple rainbow fabric for $2 a yard, so I used the money given to me to get a few yards. I think it was a pretty good purchase!

Dress #39 Neck Lace

I used the last piece of iridescent lace that I had in my stash for the top decoration. I figure that if you have rainbows on your dress you definitely need some iridescence. Am I right? Yes. For sure.

Dress #39 Hem Lace

I then used the last length of purple lace in my stash for the hem. Actually, I was sweating a little bit because I didn’t think that I had enough purple lace. I thought that I might come up about an inch or so short. Luckily as I stitched and laid it properly along the material I had just enough!

I have more of this rainbow fabric, so I’ll have to figure out how to make it look a little different in the next go round. My goal this year is to make one dress a month. Obviously I’m already behind, so I have one more to make in order to catch up. I think that if I try really hard I will be able to do it.

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Review: Grizzly G0777 Dust Collector

Grizzly G0777 Dust Collector

Now that we’ve had the Grizzly G0777 dust collector for about a year I thought it was time to write a review.

First off, I would like to note that I was the one who did all of the research to figure out what dust collector to purchase as a Christmas gift for Jay. Even though it was quite pricey, I decided to go with the G0777 because it is advertised as “Ultra Quiet” with a sound rating of 70-72 dB. This was very important to me since Jay’s workshop is in our basement and there is zero insulation in the floor. I didn’t want the cats thinking that the world was falling apart every time the dust collector was in use.

If you’re curious, here are the specs on this dust collector (taken directly from Grizzly’s site):

  • Motor: 1.5HP, 110V/220V*, single-phase, TEFC, prewired 110V
  • Airflow capacity: 880 CFM at 1.9″ SP
  • Maximum static pressure: 9″
  • Filtration: 99.9% at 0.2-2 microns
  • Intake port: 6″
  • Cartridge filter surface area: 48 sq. ft.
  • Sound rating: 70-72 dB
  • Overall size: 44″W x 72-1/2″H x 34″D
  • Approximate shipping weight: 210 lb.

I did not opt for the HEPA filtration model as I knew there would still be dust in the basement, so extra-fine filtration in the dust collector would be a bit of a waste.

When I asked Jay what he would rate this dust collector he said, “4.75 out of 5 stars.”  Nothing is perfect, but this is pretty good. He loves that it’s just the right size for his workshop in regards to capacity and power of the collector.

Dust Collecter Rearranged

A cyclone collector is definitely the way to go. One of the downsides is that the piping and fittings are expensive. So even though it’s not recommended, Jay used PVC piping and it works good. He has both custom made and stock slide gates that help to keep the air flow contained where he needs it.

It works great for most of his tools. With any kind of dust collector you will always have some kind of residual saw dust just because of the nature of the tools (table saw, band saw, etc). With the correct placement of ports, though, you can keep the loose dust to a minimum. The table saw is always going to be the worst culprit, as you can see from the picture of his shop.

work shop 1-18-19

With that being said, this picture was taken after a LOT of projects had been worked on and there had been no cleaning done at all for a few months. It took him a year to fill up the bin:

One Year of Dust Collecting

The only thing that Jay would change about this machine would be the length of the cyclone where it meets up with the collection bin. It’s just a tad too long and makes changing the collection bin bag just a tad bit challenging. Not enough to put him off of the whole thing, but he’s glad that he doesn’t have to change it more often.

Jay loves the remote control (it gets used constantly), the casters make it easy to move, and it has great suckage for what he needs.

The only “complaint” that he has is that it’s louder than the 72dB that Grizzly claims. However, we have it in the basement so if you had it in a larger, more open, shop you would probably barely hear it.

As for me, I think that it was well worth the price I paid. I can be upstairs and I know that it’s running only because I can hear a low rumble. I recorded a video on my  phone when I was on the 1st floor, about 20′ away from where the dust collector sits, and the phone never picked up the noise of it. You can’t even hear it on the video! In fact, Bob was whining in the background of the video and can be heard perfectly.

Conclusion: Highly Recommend! Would definitely encourage a person to seriously consider this dust collector if they were shopping for one.

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How I Kit Up My Crocheted Blankets

This year appears to be the year of crochet. At least, for me it is. I have so many projects that I want to try and definitely not enough time! About a month ago I went through my yarn and kitted up seven or eight blankets for Project Linus. Very few people know my process, so I thought it might be fun to show you how I do it. Often I will spend a few hours kitting up several blankets so that I don’t have to do it very often.

My first step is to draw my blanket template on a piece of paper with the required info that I use for each blanket.

Blank Template

As you can see, I have my blank blanket shape on the left. At the top right it says, “88 rows, 1oz approx equals 3 rows, ch 154, I hook.”

I like to use 88 rows because it’s an easy number for me to remember (88 keys on a piano… it only has to make sense to me, not you). Not every blanket is 88 rows. It all depends on how the pattern is turning out and if I calculated the amount of yarn correctly. Typically they are and they turn out to be around 39″ x 54″. I like this size because it’s not too big for a little kid and yet a teenager could use it as a lap blanket, too.

I use #4 worsted weight 100% acrylic yarn and have approximated that I can get about 3 rows out of 1 oz when I make a blanket this size. I like the ripple pattern because it’s easy to remember and gives the blanket a bit of interest. Also, the lady that I first started following who crocheted a LOT of blankets for charity used the ripple pattern. The pattern that I use is essentially the Rustic Ripple by Terry Kimbrough, but with some alterations that the woman used for her blankets and then I threw in a few of my own. It all came about from trial and error.

Now onto the fun part. I stand in front of the yarn pile and let my gaze wander.

Yarn Pile

Since these blankets are for kids I try to make them fun and interesting. To me, that means starting with multi-colored yarn. So I pick a few out of the pile to see what jumps out at me.

Step 1 Choice

As I look at these I consider the colors and first determine if any of them turn me off instantly. If no, then I think about the blankets I’ve crocheted recently and determine if I’m tired of using a certain color. Then I analyze the colors to see if there are any that I’ve been looking forward to trying. This usually helps me narrow it down to my starting point.

Trying Greens

I have decided to go with the Sweet Roll green and brown color. Now, what goes with it? What would make for an interesting blanket? I tried out two different greens to see which one went better with it. I also had a yellow that I thought might make an interesting color pop.

Colorway 1

When I think that I might have a set of colors I stand back and look at it. Hmmm.. nope. This doesn’t pass the test. Back to the yarn pile.

Picked-Thru Pile

Should I keep the current brown or go with a lighter version?

Contrasting Colors

No, I don’t really like that. Okay, what goes with everything but isn’t going to really stick out?

Going Neutral

Off-white! That will look nice.

And I’m not feeling the yellow, so that gets tossed back on the yarn pile. That leaves me with this:

Final Color Choice

I kind of like that. The brown will only be used to anchor the blanket (I like to use dark colors on the ends as my anchors), and then I will feature the multi-color Sweet Roll. This yarn will essentially do stripes of color, it won’t be variegated and all mixed up. I’m not really sure how that’s going to look so I think that using the off-white to balance it out might help. And who knows, I could get into the first section of Sweet Roll and decide that I hate it and change it completely.

Now that I have the colors that I want to use it’s time to draw the map.


On my paper I write down the colors that I’m going to use, the quantity that I have, and I calculate about how many rows that will give me.

Total Material

Remember, I am striving for an 88 row blanket so knowing about how many rows I can get out of each color is important to me.

I’ll anchor the blanket with the Cappuccino, give it a little break with some off-white, and then I have three skeins of the Sweet Roll, so I will do three big blocks of it:

Initial Map

I don’t really want to break into a new skein of Cappuccino for this blanket, so I’m playing it safe and only doing 16 rows in total of it (per my calculations I can do up to 27). Next comes the off-white, and let’s do 4 rows each. I make the dividing lines for the three blocks of Sweet Roll and a stripe of off-white in between each. Now this is where I really start to play with the numbers.

I won’t take you through all of my maze of thoughts, but here’s where I ended up:

Final Map

As you can see, I changed the number of rows for the Cappucino and the off-white. I stuck with the 12 rows each for the Sweet Roll due to my uncertainty about how it’s going to look. This gives me a little wiggle room if I want to increase those sections by a few rows and decrease the off-white blocks in between. We’ll see how I feel when I get to those sections.

Once I have this all figured out I put the yarn in a plastic bag, along with the map that I just drew, and put it in the pile.

Ready to Go

When I finish a blanket and want to start another one all I have to do is grab a bag and go. Everything is already worked out and put together. It makes things so much easier!

You’re probably wondering if I stick to my maps and just how close do these blankets turn out as compared to what I drew? Well, as you can see, the size of the stripe on my drawing doesn’t always correspond to the number of rows that I end up crocheting. Here are a couple of examples:

Blanket #15


That one was pretty close. As you can see, though, each section had the same number of rows. That makes it a little easier to visualize.

Blanket #14


Blanket #12

I wanted to show you this one because it shows that I often change things on the fly. These changes all happened after I started crocheting and saw how the variegated yarn was coming out. Also, you can see that I was only ch 153 at the beginning of this one, but I had trouble getting the rows to come out at the beginning and had to increase. So, I increased my ch and it worked. That’s why I always write how many to ch so that I don’t have to think about it otherwise I’m sure I would revert back to the 153.

Anyway, I hope that I didn’t bore you. I just thought some might find it interesting to see how I pick the colorways for these blankets.

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Magnifying Glass Stand

A few years ago Jay had made a hands-free magnifying glass holder for his mom. His aunt saw it and thought that it would work really well for her friends. She asked Jay if he could make a personalized one for them and he said sure. Then he forgot about it, life got busy, his CNC router had to be torn apart, then it was reassembled and finally he managed to get the stand done last week. Better late than never, right?

A heart was requested with their names and year on it.

Magnifying Stand Base - Unfinished

Thank goodness their names weren’t Susquehanna and Johnjacobjingleheimerschmidt because that would have been a HUGE heart!

I pulled out the sand paper and did the finishing sanding to it. Jay requested a light stain. After trying three samples we went with a cherry. Once that was dried we put two coats of poly on it and filled in the letters with acrylic paint. After that was dry I did the clean up work on it and applied one more coat of poly.

Magnifying Stand Base - Finished

The red and white colors were requested due to their Polish heritage. I think that it turned out really nice, don’t you? Once QC had approved it, the heart traveled on to assembly.

Magnifying Stand Hardware

All it required was an aluminum bracket and the magnifying glass.

Magnifying Stand Side

Voila! A hands-free magnifying glass stand. The bracket can be bent to re-position the magnifying glass as needed.

Magnifying Stand Top

I believe that Jay also added some LEDs to his mom’s magnifying glass, but this is just the Plain Jane model. His aunt was happy and that’s all that matters.


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Odds & Ends – 2-8-19

I hope you don’t mind, but I have some random things that I’ve been wanting to share. The problem is that I haven’t really had the right posts for them to be included. I decided that I’m just going to put them all in one unconnected post. Okay?

First I’ll wrap up some Christmas gifts that I haven’t shared.

My friend Patty loves the beach and so when I was out shopping I saw a sea shell wreath that I thought would be great… until I saw the price. I love Patty, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay that kind of money for some sea shells glued onto a wreath form. Especially when I knew that I could easily glue sea shells onto a wreath form. You’ve heard me say in the past that often my ideas appear to be good ones… and then I try to execute them. *sigh* I gave Jay instructions that the next time I come up with a “great” idea he needs to just stop me cold in my tracks. It took two weeks, and some burns, but here’s the sea shell wreath that I made:

Shell Wreath for Patty

Luckily I have a very resourceful husband because I had no idea how I was going to hang this once I had finished gluing it together. Jay figured out the hanging part and we were all set. Patty claims that she loves it, too.

Christmas day I was very impressed when my mom gave this gift to me:

Quilted Nativity Scene

It’s a quilted wall hanging! Jay thought she had painted the scene, so I guess it wasn’t as impressive when I told him how these are really made. Oh, and it’s not uneven and wavy. I only had one place to hang it in order to take a picture and so it was kind of moving when this was snapped.

Quilted Nativity Panel

I think that my mom did a great job with her long arm. I can’t wait to display it next year!

It was also right around Christmas time when I discovered that my Dresses for Missions group at church was going to send a bunch of stuff for baby boxes down to Haiti. The birthing center was in need of the necessities to fill the boxes (receiving blankets, diapers, etc) so that they could give them out to the women who were taking the classes. And yes, the boxes are used for the babies to sleep in, too.

I decided that I could easily make receiving blankets as they are fairly simple. To get the most bang for my buck I went to Goodwill and Salvation Army where I purchased flannel sheets that were in really good condition. They were the thinner flannel so they shouldn’t make the babies too hot. Then I took the sheets up to my mom’s because she’s got a lot more room around her cutting board than what I have around mine.

Dresses for Missions - Receiving Blankets

I simply used a plate to round the corners and then I serged the edges. Easy as pie.

My mom gave me a few baby hats that she had knitted to send along with them.

Dresses for Missions - Knit Hats

I am working on an actual dress for my group, but it’s not quite done.

Finally, I just wanted to show you something that made me giggle. Take a look at this picture:

upside down ketchup

I was shopping late one night and in a hurry, but when I got to the ketchup and saw this I had to laugh. Most ketchup bottles are now made to stand on their caps so that you don’t have to shake them to get the ketchup to come out. Typically you see them displayed standing on their caps. I don’t know if it was just this store where they were displayed upside down or what. I probably looked goofy with my head turned so that I could attempt to read the labels. It’s not easy reading them upside down!

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Project Linus Blanket #16

project linus blanket #16 1-12-19 - it's not easy being green

“It’s Not Easy Being Green”

This afghan came about because my mom had given me some variegated green yarn that she had in her yarn closet. I thought I had figured everything out, but I hadn’t. When I was crocheting it I got to the white stripe and realized that I was still very far from being done, and yet my notes had the white as the middle stripe. Obviously, something was very wrong! I decided that I needed another green variegated thread to round things out. Ha! Easier said than done. I only wanted shades of green and white in this blanket, but despite the fact that I looked at all three craft stores plus Wal-Mart… every variegated yarn with green in it also had other colors. Most of them had a shade of either red or purple. Yeah, that wasn’t going to work.

project linus blanket #16 detail

I dug into my yarn pile and pulled out all the different shades of green that I could find. I finally settled on one and used it as the big chunks in the middle to make up some ground. I almost named this a minty name, but considering the difficulty that I had with selecting coordinating colors I went with the ode to Kermit the Frog.

As soon as my wrist is back up to full power I will be able to continue work on the next afghan for Project Linus. It also has green, but I made sure to complete the layout before putting the paper in my bag. We are good to go!

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