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Monday, November 22, 2010

Close the Barn...Shutters?

Inspired by the Barn Screen Door...A friend, Tammy, asked for me to paint a farm scene on to some old shutters that she had bought at a garage sale.  The shutters had been shellacked and had seen a lot of weather.  So the varnish was cracked.  I thought about stripping the old varnish off but I really loved the charm the old cracked varnish gave the shutters.  So, going against EVERY rule known to refinishing...I painted the scene right over the varnish.

I was so nervous about the project because it wasn't carving (something I had gotten comfortable doing) instead it was just painting...and painting is for artists, which I am not.  But I did my best.  Public opinion seems to be that the cows are a bit too fat...but Tammy loved the shutters so her opinion is the only one I need to listen to.

Close the Barn Door!

My Brother-in-Law~Rod must have more doors than anyone I know.  He asked for yet another door.  This time he wanted an old barn scene as a gift for his wife, Keitha.  She's always loved old barns.  I had a lot of fun texturing the trees and playing around with shades of green.

Can A Garden Gate be a Screen Door?

Most of the doors I have done have had a wildlife theme to them so I was pleasantly surprised when my neighbor asked me to make a garden themed door featuring her favorite flower—the sunflower. Her other request was that it not have a lower section of screen as her dog would damage it. So I sat down to work up a template. I do most of my template work on the computer. I just find it easier to move things around until I’m satisfied with the design.

On the template I was able to mimic a garden trellis and her “Rose of Sharon” that are in her garden while adding the “gate” to keep her dog inside. When I showed her the template I suggested that maybe she’d prefer to have Welcome across the gate instead of more flowers. She loved the idea. Other than that small change I am really pleased by how much the door resembles the original template. I find it eases my mind when I work…less worrying “will they like this or that”...

When I delivered the door she became a bit emotional. She recently lost her mother (92 years old) and she said, “I didn’t realize that you were going to have a bluebird on the door. My mother always called them, “The bluebird of happiness.” Now when I see it I’ll think of her and how she loved this garden because the bluebird of happiness will always be here.” It was very touching.

So far the best part of building these screen doors is the reactions from the people who order them. They all seem to be great stories.

Moose are Fun!

The Moose door was a surprise birthday gift from another Uncle to his wife. Originally she was from Canada and she says that “Moose are like home”. She spent her birthday at the State Fair with her sister and didn’t return home until 9:30 at night. When she finally came home she was so surprised she just couldn’t stop giggling. That’s when she decided to call me…at 10 PM. “It’s AWESOME!” followed by hysterical laughter was all I could hear when I picked up the phone. Two days later she was still talking about it…And her hubby was heard chanting, “My door is better than your door” upon entering my mom’s house. I think I’ll consider them satisfied customers. LOL.

PS I forgot to mention how much I enjoyed making the antlers on this projects. I made the front antler on a seperate piece of wood and attached them together using glue and screws (from the back) to create a 3-D effect that is quite nice up close. I can’t wait to try the technique again.

Parrots and Eagles

This is yet another screen door…and a half! My Uncle turned 75 this week and I wanted to surprise him with a screen door but last week was Mother’s Day and I wanted to surprise Mom with one too. So I started working on my mother’s screen door and told her the whole time that I was working on my Uncle’s. The old bait and switch!

After Mother’s Day I settled down to making my Uncle’s Screen door. After the first day my hubby was only luke warm about the design and it went down hill from there. He kept saying that the Eagle looked like a PARROT! I spent two full days trying to “fix” the problem. The door is due at a Surprise Party on Saturday. Wednesday night my hubby says, “It’s not your best work. Why don’t we go get a new piece of wood and start over.” NOW???? Thursday I had to do party prep until 4 p.m. so I didn’t get started on the door until 4:30. I worked rapidly, and very carefully until midnight. In that space of time I drew the layout, jigsawed, dremel-ed, sanded, stained & painted. And preceded to bed where I enjoyed the best five hours sleep of my life. I rushed into the basement in the morning and poly-ed then went off to day two of party prep. I returned Friday night to attach the screen and the back frame and another coat of poly. It was still a bit tacky on the edges of the door Saturday morning but overall, I was proud of the result. And hubby loves the new Eagle…no more parrots here!

I’ll re-purpose the bottom of the door into a mirror as a raffle item for a local Epilepsy Foundation fundraiser. Hopefully, it will do well for them. My Uncle loved his surprise door and I think he’s really happy with it.

Mother's Day Screen Door

Normally, a screen door project takes me two maybe three days to complete—start to finish but this door took me six days straight! The reasons it took me so much longer are somewhat simple to understand but very diffiucult to imagine. I began the door by chalking out the design. The design is much more complicated than my normal designs but it’s for my Mom so I planned on taking my time and doing it perfectly (yeah, right!). All went fine with the chalking and the jigsawing. I spent days dremeling all the detail into the pine tree, adding texture to the rock cliffs, enhancing the deer, and finally tucking an owl into the other tree. And then came time to router the oval “frame” into the door. This is where things began to go terribly wrong. My router managed to squeeze up under my oval template and carved a chunk out of the frame. With the help of all the Lumberjocks I figured out how to do my first patch job. It took me three hours of increasing valuable time but I was satisfied for my first attempt. But that wasn’t the only router mishap and the next was even worse!

So I flipped the door over to router a channel for the screen and screen spline to sit into. I’ve done it many times before. However, this time my router wiggled a nut loose and it PLUNGED through the door right into the “V” of the oval frame (luckily not near the patch job). This would be understandable if I had a plunge router but I did NOT! I nearly cried. How could my router hate me so much? After a second of self pity I took a deep breath and repaired the plunge with my second patch job (and this one was impossible to see—I must learn quickly—LOL). Hubby came home, listened to the story and suggested that even though I normally round over all the edges in my designs with the router…maybe I shoud skip that step. I agreed. So I stained the door with the base coat color (Minwax Gel Stain Antique Maple). After which I added the pine cone and branch dremel-ed detail. And then the rest of the stain colors overtop and then coat after coat of poly.

Now all that’s left is to attach the screen and add the wooden frame for the back of the door. Simple, Right? WRONG! My spline and screen refused to stay put. I tried glue and then resorted to staples something I’ve never had to do before…Darn that router! Once the screen was on and tightly stretched we attached the back frame. Using the same screws that we used on the last door. Four screws came through the front of the door slightly! Can you believe it? I couldn’t. Neither could my husband. A small (not even noticable mistake) that nearly sent me over the edge of sanity! So, not having smaller screws available at 9:00 p.m. on the Eve of Mother’s Day we decided to set the screws in at an angle…and pray. We were lucky and had no more issues. And the Door was Done! Finally!!!

We went to breakfast with Mom and just after my kids and hubby went out to the truck I said, “Oh, I forgot to give you your gift!” I reached into my purse and produced a small box. She could not understand why I had given her two packages of hinges…until she got to her truck!

Needless to say…She was very happy and refuses to see ANY mistakes. And what did I get for Mother’s Day...Hubby bought me a brand new Craftsman Plunge Router!  What a great hubby!

Am I a woodworker?

It was nearing the colder weather and I couldn't imagine anyone wanting another screen door.  That left me feeling a bit sad...Apparently I liked doing woodworking!  So, I decided to make my parent's Christmas gifts.  Little did I know what a challenge the projects would turn out to be.

Luckily, I had found my way to a fantastic website called Lumberjock.com where I found great people who love woodworking and it's where I was inspired by Dusty56's weather station and he was kind enough to encourage me to try this fun project myself! With his advice I immediately ordered the kit from WoodCraft. I made the weather station for my mother who is an avid weather watcher. The day after Christmas she informed me that the temperature outside was a brisk -7 degrees!

The project was simple and straight forward~although I worried through every step that I would break the glass “Galileo thermometer”. I matched the finish to a small antique clock my mother has always loved.

I was inspired by jerry118's adjustable music stand. This was my first real attempt at hidden joinery techniques. I really had a lot of fun (when I wasn’t frustrated with my own lack of knowledge). I made some rookie mistakes. Luckily, hubby was able to advise me how to correct them without scraping the whole darned project~LOL. The wood types are Curly Maple and Cherry. There is a stablizing brass hinge at the top and friction lid hinge to allow for adjustablility. For height adjustability there is a removable peg.

I gave the music stand to my father for Christmas in 3 different packages. The first package had just the peg. My father’s sense of humor about what the different possibilites for the peg could be had everyone laughing. The second package had the base. He really was dumbfounded now. And the laughter continued! And finally he opened the last package (which he had guessed was a snow shovel) and was very surprised. This is the first gift I’ve given him in 10 years (or more) that he HASN’T correctly guessed before opening! It made for a fun Christmas Morning!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Me Too!!!

Have you ever heard someone say, "I'm getting..." and you listen but you really don't care?  That is until you see it, and then you want one too!  That's what happened when my Sister-In-Law~Keitha, saw her husband's new shed doors... and then...(You guessed it)...She wanted one too!

She wanted one just like mine.  Whew! I know how to do that, right?  Except she wanted hers to Welcome her guests.  Can I Carve Words?

Thank goodness for the internet.  You can learn just about anything from the internet (but not all of it is considered actual knowledge).  The problem is when I finished Keitha's Door I realized something.  I like hers better than mine!

August 2008: Can I do that?

So, off to work my hubby went with a photo in his pocket.  Don't ask me who he showed it to, how the conversation went, or even how he brought the subject up...Hubby doesn't like recounting actual details.  Yet, by the end of the day his Brother-in-Law~Rod said, "That's just what I need.  I'll bring in the measurements tomorrow."

I HAD been feeling pretty proud of myself until my hubby came home from work with that message.  I wasn't sure HOW I had made my door.  HOW was I going to make another one?  The next night he came home with measurements for not one...but TWO doors!  Rod wanted the doors for his "Man Cave" Shed which doubled as a wood shop.  As if that news wasn't shocking enough...He wanted the doors to feature BEAVERS! (get it? wood shop...beavers? Yeah, it took me a minute too!)

I've grown up in the country...so I'm a bit ashamed to say this but I actually asked my hubby if Beavers and Woodchucks were the same.  Apparently, they're not.  So a quick Google Search later and I had an idea of what a beaver looked like.  Now, Could I Carve one ... I mean two?  Maybe not...Hubby forbid me to use the kitchen as a workshop again.  Instead, he made room for me in his basement workshop.  Have you ever heard that old saying...Give her an inch and She'll take a Mile.  I took the whole workshop!
But at least I figured out what Beavers look like!

July 2008: "I can do that!"

My first visit to the Adirondacks felt like coming home.  I was instantly awed by the beauty of the mountains, amused by the abundant wildlife, and amazed by the very real sense of community that the mountain people shared.  My husband must've felt the same way because every time we have a free moment we are once again heading to the Adirondacks.

So it was no surprise that in July of 2009 that we were once again traveling the Main Street of our favorite Adirondack Village but it was a bit of a surprise to my husband when I (while driving) suddenly shouted and stopped watching the road!  I saw a beautiful hand carved screen door and while I thought my driving was still perfectly acceptable...my husband loudly disagreed!  So, we pulled into a parking area and walked back...well, he walked as best he could while I was dragging him by the arm.  Up close the screen door was even more amazing...and SO far out of my price range that it actually hurt!  That's when I uttered the words my husband had heard at least a thousand times before..."I can do that!"  It always amuses him when I say that because while I usually can "do that"...I hardly ever actually do.  But this time was different.

Two days after we returned from our Adirondack getaway I had set up a makeshift workshop on my kitchen counter!  There was saw dust everywhere.  Jigsaws, sand paper, tape measures and countless pencils littered my kitchen.  My husband stood over my shoulder, showing me how to work this tool, giving his opinion on this and that and he never complained (not even once~I swear) about eating Hot Dogs and Tater Tots for two nights in a row!

I was pretty proud of myself when I finished my first screen door.  But I think he was even more proud.  He took this picture to work with him.  That's how I got started on my Second Screen Door Attempt...