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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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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Friday, March 3, 2017

New Developments In My Hemophilia Story...

 (me and my favorite little bleeder :) )

Imagine living your whole life with a genetic disorder you never knew you had. In fact, for most of your life it was believed that women couldn't even have this disorder, so there's really no way you could have it...

About 5 years ago, I first shared my hemophilia story. You can read about that HERE

Well in May 2016, my story changed. I went from simply being a carrier of hemophilia to actually HAVING hemophilia.

 If you don't know, hemophilia is a genetic bleeding disorder. People with hemophilia don't bleed more, they just bleed longer. I grew up around it because my dad has it. He would get nasty bruises, called hemotomas, if he had a fall or bumped into something hard. Once he was jumping on the trampoline (on his knees) with my cousin and I. He did some yard work and later that day his knee was swollen (filled with blood) to the size of a cantalope.

Until recently, my dad didn't really manage his hemophilia well. (It's true dad, don't try and argue! ;) ) But thanks to my adorable son, we got him to come to clinic with us for the first time in his life!

But back to ME :)

So back in May 2016, we went to my son Ben's clinic and decided we would have his levels retested because they seemed strange compared to what my dad's levels are. Typically factor (blood clotting factors) levels within a family are all pretty similar. At the same time, we decided to have myself and baby Dash tested as well. Dash, we just simply didn't know if he had inherited my defective X gene or got the good one. For me, we just wanted to see what my levels were since I tend to bruise.

Well when the results came back, sure enough, I only have 45% of factor IX (9) levels. Anything under 60% is considered to be hemophilia.

So there I had it, at 29 years old and after carrying and birthing 4 children, I was told that I have hemophilia.

We have been blessed that both my son and I are pretty mild. Even though his levels put him in the 'moderate' category he has had never required an infusion to stop bleeding but he has gotten some ugly goose eggs.

Like a couple days before the first day of preschool lol

This was the bump that promoted us to find a hematologist after our move. We went to clinic a little while after this.

For me, I have always seemed to have unexplained bruises on my legs and hips.  Here's one I noticed a few weeks ago on the back of my thigh. I don't remember what I bumped it on.

As far as other woman things, I've never noticed that to be an issue. Not super heavy. The only time my hemophilia may have come into play was with the birth of my daughter (#3 and my first natural delivery). The doctor did have to administer something for bleeding when she was born, but as I've told my hematologist, the OB was a in a hurry to get back to the office (I came in right before 8am) so he tugged a bit on the placenta. No clue if that had anything to do with it or what. But overall, life has been pretty normal.

We are fortunate, some people with hemophilia require regular infusions. Some even need a port directly into their body so they don't have to find a vein every time. There have been some really great medical advances for hemophilia, just in my lifetime and I am grateful that my son's quality of life will not be diminished.

March is Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month. You can go to the Hemophilia Federation of American website to learn more, get involved, or donate.

Thanks for coming by and reading my update! Follow me on any of these platforms for more updates and upcoming projects! I've got some home decor projects, kid's sewing tutorial, and some product reviews coming up that you don't want to miss!
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