Pinterest Project of the week, Lego Table

Ever since we moved into our house I have been after Angela to get a Coffee Table for the Family Room. First we didn’t get one because it was just another corner for the girlies to bonk themselves on. We never did bother getting a table after because the family room was always where makeshift dance parties began or where the girlies would do their Yoga for Kids. But recently Angela decided that she wanted this Lego table that she saw on Pinterest (grrrrrrrrrr Pinterest……. really not that Bad I guess, gives me stuff to do when I’m home). The design she picked out was for Ana Whites Mom’s Lego Table.

Myself and Angela’s dad build it in about a week, piddling around in the workshop. Most of the dimensions / building are straight from Ana’s instructions, except for the trim around the top. Once built the table is VERY sturdy, but it seemed that the topmost trim could be a little wobbly using only finishing nails, and we wanted to secure it a little better to ensure it lasted for years. We wanted to make sure that if the girlies were leaning over the table they would not break the trim. So we doubled up the top trim making an intermediate piece between the top lip to mount securely to the sides to strengthen the trim, this way we could secure the top strip to the table and hide screws, and when it was finished I was able to put my feet up on it without worry about hurting the trim.

Ana’s design was great and the instructions were very easy to follow. I recommend you visit her site for many great ideas.

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Like a Painter, this is my blank canvas.

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This table saw is one of the sounds of my childhood, Dad was a cabinet maker so I would spend many days in the basement helping him with which ever project he was working on.

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Every project requires a couple of helpers to clean up the sawdust.

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… 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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The “Wedding Fly”

So I have the best wife in the world. No my blog has not been hacked by her and she is not writing this. I just wanted to put this out there. What other wife would let a passion for tying flies become a part of their wedding. No I do not mean we tied the knot with tinsel and chenille (…….. now thats an idea), but when we were planning the wedding we didn’t want to do the usual favours, we wanted to give our guests something we were passionate about. Angela is quite passionate about cooking and baking, something I didn’t know when we first started dating (as i write this she is making a acoustic guitar cake). Angela made the most delicious Truffles; dark chocolate and rum, milk chocolate and Bailey’s and white chocolate with orange liqueur. She made them before we flew back to Newfoundland from Toronto for the wedding, and making truffles was probably the last thing on her mind at the time since she was having the worst morning sickness (and we hadn’t told anyone yet that we were having a baby, surprise for the wedding).

The truffles were put in gold boxes and wrapped in ivory ribbon and on each box instead of a bow was a fly, the “wedding fly”. I didn’t see Angela’s wedding dress so I had her pick out a color that matched her dress and I used the colors of blue hydrangea’s, the flowers we had at the wedding. The Wulff design was a tribute to my father who couldn’t be there on our special day, Wulff was his favoriate fly design. We stayed at my buddy Tim’s house while we were down for the wedding, and I had to spend a couple late nights/early morning tying flies to get them all tied in time.

 

Hook: Mustad 3399 #8

Tail: Silver Blue Doctor Teal Flank

Tag: Flat Silver Tinsel

Body: Light Ivory Floss

Rib: Oval Silver Tinsel

Wing: White Calf Tail tied in Wulff pattern

Hackle: Light blue and dark blue saddle hackle

 

Before I went back to work offshore this last time I finally thought of a way to show off the “wedding fly”, I think it looks pretty good in a shadow box. It is now proudly displayed in our family room. Like I said……. I have the best wife in the world.

 

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Early morning fly tying

Guess the side effect of coming home from night – tour offshore is the 6 am fly tying sessions…..lol.

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Christmas fly tying

Looks like it is not just Jillian who has taken a liking to fly tying. This morning when she woke up and came downstairs, her elf on the shelf “Sticky” was on the cabinet tying a christmas tree fly. She was very excited.

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Pinkerator Rainbow Fly

Was a very fun day at the fly bench yesterday. My oldest was playing in my workshop when she came in and asked if she could tie a fly. I showed her what I was doing and she patiently watched (surprising since she usually can’t sit still to for anything). Then it was her turn, she loved picking out the colors and told me I need more pink. Guess I will need to order more pink materials on my next order. She now informed me that she wants my old vise and tools, Guess I need a bigger bench too. Very happy day for Daddy.

 

Pinkerator Rainbow Fly

Tail –  Ginger Hackle

Body – Pink Wool

Hackle – Red Hackle

Wing – Turkey Feather

 

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Fly-Tying Setup

So I’ve finally sat down and started to set up my fly tying station. Haven’t had a regular place to tie flies in the past few years. I’m always searching Pintrest and Hatches looking at the intricate benches that people have set up. I have always been putting mine on hold. My wife bought me a new rod this past summer when we were in Corner Brook, and I went over to the little gully across from the cabin to test it out. I riffled through my tackle box for my fly wallet’s and realized…… I have no flies. I have been tying flies for almost 20 years and I don’t have a single fly. All the flies I have tied over the past couple years I have given away. So I broke down, cleared off my old computer desk (gutted out the storage room) and set up my tying station. A little rugged right now, still needs some gyproc and a door to keep all the dust from my workshop out, but its somewhere I can finally restock my wallets. I have a little table in there also for the girlies so they can colour or paint. I have looked at some portable stations online and I picked up the pine to make one so I can move my current creations from the hobby room (former computer room, its funny with a PC I always needed a huge desk for peripherals and doodads, but with the mac it seems all I need is a outlet for my charger every other day). I’ll post a pic once I get it completed. 

 

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Schooltime

So my oldest has started school. It seems crazy, I can’t believe how fast they are growing up. I was organizing my iPhoto library the other night and we were looking at pictures of when J was born and we were still living in Toronto, and that seems like a lifetime ago. Unfortunately I missed her first day going to school because I was offshore, but my wife took a lot of pictures. She started on a Thursday and I didn’t get home until Tuesday. Wednesday morning I took her to school and she introduced me to her teacher. I can’t even put into words the feeling of watching my little girl walking into the big school all by herself. She brought me to her locker where she changed into her inside sneakers and the she brought me to her class where she proceeded to hand her big book bag and show me around the room. Life has really changed since I was in Kindergarden, the classroom has a smart board, computers and apparently they will also have access to iPads (guess a iPad will have to go on my “wish” list). I’m glad to see that it is a small classroom, only about 15 kids. Every day she comes she tells me about her day, what new french words she learned and what games she played. She has told my wife that she is learning a lot and she will be smarter than daddy. Last week I stopped walking her to her locker and only stood by the main door, craning my head to see if she has gotten her sneakers on correctly and that she made it to her classroom. Two days ago I was able to drop her off at the door and watched her walk into the big building all by herself, watching her big backpack waddle on her back while she scampered up the stairs. It does not seem like so long ago that I heard those little feet scampering across the floor for the first time. I can still hear that sound in my mind and it makes me smile.

Memories like this is what makes life complete.

Every afternoon since I have been home I have stood outside her school door and picked her up, always with a running jump into my arms. Very Big Smiles.

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Squirmy Wormey

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I remember being younger and heading out almost every night in the summer to look for nightcrawler worms (usually while camping out in the tent so we can go to the Lilly-Pond early in the morning), or the last minute dig through mom’s flower garden to get a couple worms to head in “troutin”. Then I got dad’s old hand me down Shakespere flyrod and started tying flys of my own, and my days of spinner and worm disappeared for my own “secret” creations. Flash forward twenty years and I’ve started using spinner and worm again for the deep water up at the cabin, and instead of gathering up the girlies late at night to do a worm-hunt with a butter tub and flashlight I’ve settled for the convenience of a $3.75 styrofoam tub of 10 red-wigglers and peat moss. They can be picked up at almost any gas station or convenience store, last almost forever if kept refrigerated, and allow you to keep rod in you car and head trout in whenever the urge hits you. I knew this gentleman who owned a worm farm and have helped out there on times moving a tandem-load of peat bucket by bucket into the back shed where it can be kept cool, or carrying out fish-totes full of worms to the work table where the worms can be sorted. Farming worms is quite a extensive process, you have to  grow the worms, feed the worms, keep the worms from temperature extremes, and keep them from crawling away.

And this brings me to the reason behind this post. I had the girlies out fishing quite a bit this last time at the cabin. Some days they wanted to fish from the rocks and others they wanted to head out in Daddies little boat, I would take them out one by one in the inflatable boat and row out a little from shore, they would always want to sit in the front so they could be Captain Hook and me, I’m always Mr Smee. Every time I took them out in the boat they would fish for a little and then when they’ve sat still as long as they could, they would always put down their rod and start sight-seeing. They would watch fish jump, look out for tic-tock croc and point out everything they see. Unfortunately one thing they constantly pointed out were these floating white styrofoam containers that littered the rocks and boat launch. 

We live in a society now where we all teach our children to reduce, reuse and recycle; and if you ask any child why we should recycle you will get a plethora of educated answers. We all collect our bottles at home for that coveted 5 cents and would not think of putting Saturdays newspaper in the garbage, so why would we leave our trash on a rock after we have finished trotting for the day. I can flash back to my days studying Marine Environmental Technology and start talking about the “tragedy of the commons”, but too many times we talk about how others create problems instead of what we can do to solve them, So let me suggest a solution, why don’t we return the used worm containers so they can be reused. Most of the worm farms are local, and the worm farmer usually brings the tubs of worms himself around to the convenience stores. Next to the Worm Farm’s logo is usually a telephone number, why not call and see if you can return the empty styrofoam tub to the place you bought them so they can be re-used. This will both help the farmer keep his prices lower and keep trash out of our ponds.

 

….just a thought.

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Me going fishing…… Me going fishing

So I think the girlies are hooked on fishing already. We have been at Nanny and Poppies house and heading to the cabin later in the week. First when i took the fishing rods out of the looser cruser (ummmm…… I mean minivan). They were jumping around shouting that they were going fishing. Last night when i was putting the twins to bed they were almost asleep when they decided to have an arguement on who would catch the biggest fish. And then this morning we were bringing bed cloths out to the truck, i told them i was getting stuff ready to head to the cabin. And in a flash the girlies ran downstairs wih their jammies and shoes on looking for their rods shouting to my wife…. Me going fishing…. Me going fishing. I wonder how excited they will get when they actually get to the cabin and head down to the lake. Cant wait to see.

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