… few little projects round the house

So I have left the oil rigs and have gone back to working onboard vessels, and the one biggest thing that I have noticed right away is that it seems I have so much more time. Usually my first week home is a write-off trying to get acclimated to being awake in the daytime. After 21 days of working nights on on a oil-rig offshore Newfoundland, you step foot off the chopper and the first thing you realize is; although you no longer have to live like a Vampire (on deck after the sun goes down and back in accommodations before the sun comes up), the sun still hurts your eyes. After getting home and putting the girlies to bed (very excited that Daddy is home for 3 weeks), you instantly pass out, and while you try and try to stay up later each night, the idea of heading out of the house everyday in the sunshine (foggy-ish sunny-ish dreary light) is still a novel idea.

Anyway, life offshore is not the purpose of this post, the point is, that when I got home from work this time, I was ready to go, right from day-1. Like many husbands my wife has a Pinterest folder dedicated just for me, and for projects that she would like to have around the house. Now, in the past 2 years since I was back on the oil-rigs it seems like when I came home, we just didn’t have enough time to get done what we needed, let alone any extra projects. This time home however it seemed like we had all the time in the world, so I was able to start her projects. Since our oldest is starting grade 1 and the twins are starting pre-school, we started on some school based projects.

The first project was a place for the girlies to put their book-bags. The stairwell in the house is always crammed with school-bags, activity-bags, gym-bags and go-bags, we have a old restored singer sewing machine that belonged to my wife’s grandmother, the bottom paddle was a favourite place for these bags to start to pile up. The first project was a place for the girlies to hang their book bags and dance bags when they walked in the door. 

It was a pretty simple design, the hardest part was getting the angles right on the crown moulding. With the exception of mounting the 3” x 8” knotty pine to the wall as a mantle, the rest of the design is made with scrap pine I had in my workshop. I made a frame directly mounted to the wall and then sealed all corners with DAP (NO walls are square or flush in this house). I then painted the frame and gyprock behind to look like a single piece. We added the hooks for the backpacks then my oldest painted the initials in everyones favourite colors. The final piece was a 20” x 30” print of the girlies, it was a poster print we had printed at staples for $30, and a $70 poster frame on sale for $20 at Michaels.

The following are pictures of the result, I think it looks pretty good, and the stairwell hasn’t been cluttered in a week.


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The second project we worked on was a desk for my oldest who is just starting grade 1. She informed us that she needed a desk last year and I told her that I would build her one before she started grade 1. She came home from school the other day and there was a note stating that there would not be any homework until October, sot informed me that I had until October to make her a desk. Luckily my sister and her husband took the girlies for the weekend and it gave me and my wife a chance to finish the shelves/desk.

The funny thing about this project is that the dimensions/design were all built around some wallpaper my oldest picked out at Home Depot. The width of the bookshelves are the exact width of the wallpaper, easiest way to get around making sure the wallpaper join matches up (I HATE working with wallpaper), and the spare wallpaper we have we will eventually put on the surface of the desk (yes, I will have to join the wallpaper here though), our plan is to put a piece of clear plexi-glass as the surface so the wallpaper design underneath is protected. 

The desk brackets were made from the leftover wood from the backpack mantle, cut using a band saw and the edges were rounded using a router table.

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A piece of 1/4” backing board was cut the width of the wallpaper and 6’ tall, the height of the bookshelf. The wallpaper did not have any adhesive on it and my local Home Hardware didn’t have any wallpaper paste, so I took a chance on spray adhesive, worked really good, but make sure your cuts are square (and wallpaper corner is square), and start in the corner, the spray adhesive dries quickly so if you lay it wrong, you don’t have much time to remove the paper.

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The shelf had to be built a little backwards since I didn’t want to damage the wallpaper (It has a lecture on it that is pretty fragile), all 4 vertical sides were cut out of one 4’x8’ sheet of 3/4” plywood, the depth of the shelf is 1’ deep, so the 2’x8’ leftover piece was cut for both tops and bottoms. I am not a neat painter, so I painted the interior of the shelf before attaching the back, this way a paintbrush would not have to go near the wallpaper. I used the router table to cut a 1/2” notch to reset the backing board into the back of the shelf. The bottom of the backing board was trimmed to size and attached to the side frame.

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I used a second sheet of 3/4” plywood to make the shelves and the desktop. The shelves were cut to fit and the corners of the desk were rounded, the girls can be pretty rough when they play, and we want to avoid any un-necessary trips to the hospital.

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I attached the 6” pine trim on the bottom and the 2” pine trim on the sides and top, and since I made every wrong cut on the crown moulding making the backpack shelf, cutting this was a breeze (last time I cut crown moulding was about 15 years ago when Dad was still alive and I was helping him at a project, definitely a skill you “forget” if you don’t lose it often.

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We cleaned up the outside of the shelf with DAP and a couple coats of paint and ta-da, don’t look half bad.

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And what would pink inspired shelf/desk be without a matching “vibrant” chair, we found a old chair at the local used goods store for $5 and a can of spray paint for $8 and a little perseverance to re-finish it.

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And boy, is it ever a vibrant chair.

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The whole thing came together pretty well, every little girls dream desk. But the most important thing……. is will she like it?

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When She comes home and see’s her new room, I think her reaction says it all. 

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