Monday, July 31, 2017

DIY Dining Table

This has been a super fun project! I have been wanting to build my own table for quite some time, for a couple reasons;
#1 The biggest reason is we needed a bigger table. Our family was barely fitting around our current one and having other people over was getting close to impossible.
#2 To save some money because it seems like furniture is either grossly over priced or not sturdy enough to last more than a couple years.
#3 I wasn't loving anything I had seen in stores.

So I started down this journey of building my own table. It was my biggest build yet and I was very intimidated and hesitant to start. I waited until the weather was finally nice enough outside and in the garage that I wouldn't freeze or fry.

I started by searching plans. There are lots out there, but ultimately settled on THIS PLAN. I loved the style and the estimated cost to build! :D So I started there but I did make some modifications along the way and I have a couple suggestions if you decide to build a table of your own.

To start, I decided not to use 2x6s for the tabletop like the plans called for. I don't have a table saw to square the edges of the lumber like she suggested and I didn't want the table to be so heavy that I couldn't move/scoot it around if I needed to clean or whatever.Instead of 2x6s I got a sheet of 4'x8' plywood and had Home Depot rip it down into 6" strips. The first guy we asked said they couldn't do it that small, but my dad was with me and asked another guy and he did it no problem. Then I just connected the strips with pocket hole screws.

The second modification I made was that I couldn't build the X under the table. My saw wouldn't do the angle that was required and I couldn't understand the alternative that she explained. So instead I cut 2x4's at a 45 degree angle to attach to the middle stretcher bar and also to the legs.

Since I used the plywood for the table top. I got 1x2s to create a border around the edge and cover the exposed edge of plywood. It adds a lot to the table, I think.

 There was one thing I didn't modify, but wished I had. The plans called for 2x4s for the legs and to shave off a 1/4" on each side with a table saw. Well, again, I don't have a table saw so I went ahead with the 2x4s and I didn't love the gap the rounded corners created. I tried to fill the gaps with wood filler but it is still quite obvious once stained. What I wish I had done was just gone ahead and gotten 4x4 posts for the legs. It would have created a much more seamless and squared off look. 

I love love love how it turned out. I went with a Dark Walnut stain. It took a loooong time to decide what color to do. I tried very hard to get a dark grey color but non of them turned out right.

In the end, I did two coats of stain and then 3 coats of poly. Just to be safe. Kids will be eating at this table after all. lol

  A couple more tips...

When I trimmed all the planks, I needed a way to keep me straight. I grabbed an extra piece of wood and squared it up crosswise to the planks and clamped it on. This helped me trim the ends straight across.

Lastly, spend the extra $10 and use pre-stain wood conditioner! It made such a difference in how the stain turned out. In most of my test patches, I didn't use the conditioner, but since I was getting frustrated I grabbed some to see if it made a difference and it really did!

Now just more pretty pictures :)

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

My Newest Silicone Additions...

I am in love with my 2 newest silicone additions!

But it's not what you think!!

I've recently tried two newer trends/products and I'm pretty happy with both.

Before I tell you all about them, picture this. You take off your wedding ring and set it in a safe place as you head outside to do some yard work. A few hours later after coming in and cooling off, you head to the kitchen sink to do some dishes and run the garbage disposal. It makes a funny noise, but you don't think much of it. Must be some food junk down there.

A little while later you realize you forgot to put your ring back on and go to the safe spot you put it - the window ledge above the kitchen sink. Hmm...not there. Maybe it fell in the dish drainer. You move the dishes around a bit but no sign. That's when you remember - the grinding sound the garbage disposal made a little while before.
You look down, cringing because you are hoping you aren't right. But unfortunately you are, the sound you heard earlier was indeed your wedding ring which had taken a suicidal plunge into the garbage disposal! The main diamond obliterated and the setting twisted and gnarled. 

Through a series of accidental and unfortunate events, my wedding ring is no more. We went to the jewelers and garbage disposals are not covered under the warranty. We were told we could trade it in for a few hundred dollars towards something new, but it was pretty much totaled.

At the time, we weren't in a place to replace the ring and I had a band I could wear. I even bought a bunch of fakies to get the diamond ring look again, but they never fit right or the rock was just too big for my style.

Enter the silicone ring.

I started seeing these around about a year ago or so. I've seen several different companies and styles. I've seen thin stackable kinds, plain bands, and bands with subtle patterns on them.

I finally took the plunge when my husband was placing an order and needed a bit more to reach the $50 minimum for free shipping. They weren't any special brand, but I liked that I was getting 5 different colors, and I just wanted to give them a try before spending more.

I gotta say, I love them! (Here's a similar style/brand)

They are comfortable, come in cute colors, and I don't have to worry about scratching them or getting them dirty when I'm cooking, building stuff, or working on my car (it's true, I changed the radiator on our Pathfinder! Girl power!).

The other silicone product I've recently tried is the silicone menstrual cup. I had heard about them a few years ago and I wasn't sure what to think. It sounded like a great alternative to pads and tampons, but I really wasn't sure how it would feel/fit/work.

So far I have been pleasantly surprised. It took a bit to get used to and without getting graphic, it is a bit of a shock when you empty it. Anyway, I love the idea of saving money, but also the environmental impact of not flushing a tampon or throwing away a pad.

I bought a 2 pack which is very helpful. I highly recommend getting two of whatever brand you get. I got The Dutchess Cup brand.  They came with little travel bags to put them in for your purse or just to store them in. They do come in two sizes - pre childbirth and post - be sure to get the right size.

So there you have it, my two new silicone additions and how I like them so far! Feel free to shoot me any questions you may have about either.

What new or different products have you tried lately that you've liked?

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Cleaning Your Dryer Vents and Filter

The smoke alarms are screeching and you panic. Where's it coming from? Where's the fire extinguisher? It's coming from the laundry room...

Did you know that almost 3,000 home clothes dryer fires occur each year? And the leading cause of those fires is not properly cleaning them? (source)

 I don't know about you, but with 4 little kids running around my house, it feels like the laundry is always going. My dyer is a working all the time, so making sure it is well cleaned out is super important to me! As you're going about your spring cleaning, be sure not to forget this important place to clean. Here's how to give your dryer filter, vents, and ducts a good cleaning!

I started on the outside of the house. Find where my dryer vents to the outside and carefully remove the cover. Clearly, a good cleaning was much needed!

 I used THIS brush to brush out the ducts as far as it could reach. Another option would be to use a shop vac and blow it out from the inside.

Some bird got some super fluffy nest padding from this duct...

Then I went inside to clean the dryer. Now, I clean the filter after EVERY load. All of this is further down. I took out the filter and then removed the screws that held the filter 'guard' onto the machine. Ok, so obviously I have no idea the technical name, but once you get this off you can reach further down in the machine and get more out. I got everything out with my hand, then used my vacuum to get the small debris. 

You could also use a brush like THIS

or a flexible vacuum attachment hose like THIS to get further into the machine.

Lastly, I pulled the dryer out from the wall and removed the duct I used the brush to sweep all the lint out. And also did this for the duct in the wall.

Another very important thing to do before returning the dryer is to make sure there isn't a lot of extra ducting. This is how it was from the previous owner, but the kinks and turns in the ducting can catch and trap lint, potentially causing a blockage.

Cut down and reattach the ducting so it is as short and direct as possible for your space.
Oh, and I forgot to take pictures but run your dryer filter screen under some water. Some fabric softeners and dryer sheets can leave a residue on the screen. Give it a good scrubbing with a natural cleaner to make sure it is clear and clean. 

There you go. Now your dryer filter, vents, and ducting should be nice and clean. You may even notice your dryer working more efficiently and doing a better job.
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Cleaning Vent Covers

Other spring cleaning posts you may like:
 Clean and Disinfect a Pack N Play
Clean and Disinfect a Pack N Play
Disinfecting with Basic G
Clean Kid's Toys w/o Bleach

 It's starting to feel like spring here and you know what that means! Spring cleaning! If you've followed me for a while, you probably know that I (for the most part) enjoy cleaning. Really I just enjoy having a clean home.

Something new to this home is having the air vents in the floor. It's not like that in Vegas. So I made sure to include them in my cleaning. I removed the vent covers and made sure to vacuum real well inside the vent and then I took it one step further and washed all the vent cover and air return vents.

I did this by filling my bath with water and adding a squirt of Basic H2. I figure if I'm going to go to the trouble to clean, why would I use harmful chemical cleaners with fumes to do it. I want my air to be clean too. Basic H2 is super concentrated and is all natural. It is by far my favorite cleaner ever! Then I ran the jets to get some good suds. If you don't have a jetted tub, you could agitate by hand or use a shower sprayer to create suds.

 I let the covers soak for a bit to loosen dust, then took an old toothbrush to scrub them clean.

Once I got through them all, I rinsed them and then laid them on towels to dry. Once fully dry I returned them to their spots. Super easy, but I think it's something that can be easily over looked.

You can see all the grime that came off them!


What are you spring cleaning this week?

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