Entertainment Center Progress

T-E TV Center Carcass Gray Stain 2-6-21

It’s not done, but it’s close!

This part of the project has taken so long because it has had to be done on my workbench, and I only have so much room. For instance, here is the top of this piece:

T-E Entertainment Center Finished Top 2-28-21

This one piece alone takes up almost my entire bench. You should have seen it when I had the cabinet carcass laying up there!

In this picture you can see the finish and how it’s turning out. It looks like weathered barn wood, right?

Would you like to see how the carcass looks with the shelves and doors installed?

T-E Entertainment Center Front 2-28-21

My fear was the doors and shelves would look odd once they were installed on the carcass since I had to do the finishing steps separately. I know that you don’t need a consistent finish, since barn wood will look different depending upon how the elements hit it, etc. I just didn’t want the colors to be too off.

T-E Entertainment Center Finished Carcass 2-28-21

You can see a better shot of the carcass side next to the door. Not too bad.

T-E Entertainment Center Shelves 2-28-21

I’m using a poly with a satin finish for this piece. Gloss would have looked odd and I wanted something with a little bit of a sheen. Matte would have been too flat. I need a tiny bit of bling.

T-E Entertainment Center Center Shelves 2-28-21

The nice thing about this piece is that I have not had to do a lot of sanding. Usually I spend a LOT of time sanding before I finish it so that the surface will be as smooth as possible. You can see the chunk in the front of this shelf. I’ve also left a lot of the saw marks, too. That makes it more “authentic”.

T-E Entertainment Center Front Doors 2-28-21

I guess Jay texted a picture of it to our new brother-in-law to prove that it’s still in the works, and he supposedly really liked it. I sure hope so. 

T-E Entertainment Center End 2-28-21

Jay has admitted that he wasn’t excited about the finish when we started, but after seeing how it’s coming together he is starting to really like it. I told him I am NOT finishing a piece like this for us. It may look nice, but it will look even better in somebody else’s home.

The next post you see about this piece will be the reveal of the finished product. I can’t wait!

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Project Linus Blanket #34

Project Linus Blanket #34

Project Linus Blanket #34 2-19-21

“Verdant Pastures”

You’re probably wondering where I came up with that name. Usually they are self-evident. After I finished weaving in the ends I tried figuring out what to call this blanket. I was going to go with something like Forest Canopy, but that didn’t feel right. Suddenly “Verdant Pastures” popped into my head. Most of you have probably never heard this phrase. It comes from a version of Psalm 23 that I’ve sung at church. Instead of making me lie down in green pastures (as found in most Bibles), this sung version says, “In verdant pastures he gives me repose,” and that phrase has just stuck in my head. ‘Verdant’ definitely sounds more lush and beautiful as compared to just plain ol ‘green’. 

Anyway, back to the blanket. This pattern actually comes from the February 2021 issue of Crochet World. The pattern is called “Scrappy Shells” and this is the picture that really grabbed me:

Project Linus Blanket #34 Scrappy Shells Pattern

Typically I’m not good at visualizing what a pattern will look like if you change the colors. I change them anyway and hope that it turns out okay. This time, though, for some reason I saw this blanket with an ombre pattern in different green shades. I became obsessed with finding a line of yarn that had the right shades of green that would allow me to make this blanket as I saw it in my head. 

After I became terribly angry with the entertainment center Jay sent me to Hobby Lobby so that I could improve my mood. He told me to go play in the yarn until I could smile again. So I did.

Project Linus Blanket #34 Yarn

It was a week when their yarn was 30% off. Now, this yarn is not cheap, but it’s one of my favorite brands of acrylic. I didn’t really want the yellow in the very middle, but I thought it might give it just a little bit of character. They didn’t really have anything else that would work. I think it looks fine.

It was a very simple pattern to follow. After the first several repeats I didn’t even look at the pattern. Also, they claim that this should only have 54 rows, but I know that I went way past that number. At one point I decided that I was just going to make it as large as I wanted. I think that when it was finished, per the pattern, it was supposed to be something like 50″ square. When I got close to the 54 row count I decided that they must have blocked the blanket to get it to that size. My goal is to have a blanket that can be instantly used when it comes out of the dryer. So I kept going.

Project Linus Blanket #34 Detail

I had to get this blanket washed and handed in so I couldn’t wait for natural daylight before taking the pictures. So these colors look a little brighter in that center than what it looked like in person. It looks like it is holey, but you don’t really notice them when the blanket is draped on you.

Project Linus Blanket #34 Corner

I really enjoyed this pattern. I will probably use it again in the future. I don’t think I will ever make it like the picture shows with the different colors, but that’s just because I’m lazy and don’t want to weave in a billion ends. This one was great because I had two ends to weave in when I was done. As I was changing colors I just used a magic knot. If it didn’t change exactly when it should have I didn’t really care. It was close enough. Whatever boy gets this blanket isn’t going to point at one of the joins and scream about how it is completely ruined because the color changes one stitch past where it should. I think they will just be happy to have something soft and warm to snuggle under.

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A Not-so-Entertaining Center

I’m not proud to admit that there was a bit of a problem that cropped up in the house. I got so angry that I wasn’t screaming; I was keeping my arms crossed in front of me so that I wouldn’t throw anything. A lot of ugly and hateful things were said. And yes, there were tears. Finally, I had to walk away. I couldn’t deal with it any more. I needed a bit of a separation and time to be alone.

Jay tried to fix it. He really did.

T-E TV Center Shelf Repair 1-24-21

He thought the beer would calm me down and he worked on the shelf.

I told him that if this had been for us, the shelf would have gone flying across the room. As it was, I didn’t want to ruin all of the work and effort he’d already put into it. But this was the last straw. In the last post I told you that I wasn’t happy with the white washing. It didn’t look right. Every time I looked at it I hated it even more. Then when I turned the shelf over I saw that the gray stain had pooled on the lip… on the side that will be visible. Now, normally this wouldn’t have set me off, but when I saw that I just lost it. All of the work and effort that I had already put into these pieces were ruined. I needed to come up with a different way to get the faux finish that I was after. I was SOOOOOOO ANGRY!!!! At the gray stain, that is.

I had done a practice piece a few months ago and it turned out great. I only had a little jar of gray stain, though, so I went out to buy a quart of it to make sure I would have enough for this entire project. I couldn’t find the original brand I had used, so I bought another brand that had the same directions and drying time. It looked like the same type of stuff, just a different brand.

T-E TV Center Door Back Wash #1

When it dried I was confused because I’ve NEVER had a stain shine like this before. At least, not until I had poly’d it. When I did the white washing the water beaded up on it like there was a protective layer below it. I’d never had stain do that before, either. The last straw was when I saw that the gray stain had pooled on the edge of the shelf. Normally a stain that pools will just darken that area even more. This stuff, though, was lumpy like poly when it has pooled and then dried. When I used my razor to try to scrape it off it even acted like I was scraping off poly. I have no idea what the deal is with this stain because I could not find anywhere that said it had a sealant included as part of the finish. 

T-E TV Center Door Wash#1

You could see every stroke of the gray coat like it was paint that had mounded up. I had a problem on my hands now, though. No matter what I did to fix these pieces I would have to do the same process to ALL of the pieces so that they looked similar. Even if I managed to find a quart of the original gray stain I used, it wouldn’t have the same look as these doors. Short of stripping them down I had to come up with a different solution.

But like I said, I had to spend some time away from them for a while. Finally I had a plan of attack put together so I headed back downstairs. And sanded. I did a LOT of sanding. I figured that at the least I would have to scuff up the finish so that I could get something to stick to it.

T-E TV Center Door Sanded 1-24-21

This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve stained and finished a LOT of wooden projects. Needless to say, when I started sanding these doors I was even more convinced that this stain had some kind of protectant or sealant added to it (that wasn’t stated on the label). It sanded just like you would expect an enamel or oil-based poly to sand.

T-E TV Center Shelf Sanded 1-24-21

I have vowed to never buy that brand again. The problem is that I used to buy all of my stains and finishing supplies from Home Ripoff. They used to carry the Minwax brand, but recently they’ve switched to the Varathane brand. No more! I will either buy the Minwax brand from another source or I might branch out and try the General Finishes brand. I’ve heard good things about it, and though it’s pricey, it might be worth it. Never again will I use the Varathane brand.

When everything was sanded I decided that I would instead water down some acrylic paint and layer that on the pieces. Jay uses acrylic paint to paint all of his RC jets then he coats them with a sealant. I figure this entertainment center won’t see a lot of rough wear-and-tear so I should be okay to use the acrylic layers and then put a couple coats of poly on it.

So I started with a gray coat.

T-E TV Center Shelf Gray Coat 1 1-26-21

T-E TV Center Door Gray Coat 1 1-26-21

This had to have some depth to it, so I layered a darker watered down gray acrylic next.

T-E TV Center Door Gray Coat 2 1-28-21

T-E TV Center Gray Coat 2 1-28-21

I was a little worried that it might look too streaky, but at this point I didn’t care too much. So I forged on with the white wash layer.

T-E TV Center Door White Wash 1-29-21

The backs of the doors look a little goofy because I was trying to get the white wash procedure down. I needed to figure out the right water-to-paint ratio and the best way to smooth it. By the time I got over to the shelves I had the right recipe.

T-E TV Center Shelf White Wash 1-29-21

The picture doesn’t really do this justice, but it looks SOOOOO much better than the first white wash debacle. I mean, I’m actually happy with this finish. I haven’t spat a single mean word in its direction. I was also VERY happy with how the front of the doors turned out, but I’m not going to show those yet. I’m keeping those in my back pocket, which makes it very difficult to sit!

Now that I have the process down and I know what steps I need to take I can get started on the rest of it.

T-E TV Center Carcass Gray Stain 2-6-21

Unfortunately it means that I have to use the hateful gray stain and then sand it away, but at least it will look like the doors and shelves.

T-E TV Center Carcass Gray Coat 2 2-6-21

 

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Sewing Masks

I know that a LOT of people have been sewing masks in 2020, so this isn’t anything new. I hate wearing them and really resisted making any, but unfortunately if you don’t want to cause a scene you have to wear one in the stores. Until we move out to the middle of nowhere and raise all of our food, I guess I will have to travel to the stores and wear a dumb mask.

Anyway, I made my own because… well, because I could. I have plenty of fabric and then I knew I could make it fit my face. It took me a couple of patterns, but I finally found one that I can wear without it fogging up my glasses (for the most part).

Masked Bandit

Masked Bandit Front

At least, that’s what I call this style. It looks like I should be on a train in the old west telling people to give me all of their valuables. 

Masked Bandit Side

You can’t see the piece that comes up and over my nose (without any kind of nose wire), but it has a flap of fabric that keeps the breath from sneaking up onto my lenses. It also sticks out far enough that I don’t feel like I’m eating the mask when I try to talk. The only problem I run into is when I’ve been cleaning at the cat shelter for almost three hours and it’s soaked in sweat. That’s when there’s a higher probability of eyeglass fogging. I found this pattern on YouTube by Mia DIY. I believe it’s her No Fog On Glasses pattern. I used the basics from that and modified it a bit. I don’t like to sew the elastic onto the mask in case I have to change it out so I make channels on the side and loop the elastic through it.

Duck Bill

Duck Bill Front

This looks similar to the Masked Bandit, but it’s pointier and doesn’t cover up as much of your face.

Duck Bill Side

It also does nothing to prevent your glasses from fogging. This is not my favorite style, but one of the ladies at the cat shelter says that it’s her favorite. I can’t remember how I came across this pattern (probably a YouTube search), but you can download the pattern for free here. Again, I modified this a bit to make them easier to mass produce.

I made a bunch of these and donated them to the shelter so that they could sell them. You see, one day when I was there cleaning another lady said that she loved the mask I was wearing. It was a Masked Bandit that used fabric with cats on it. She told me she’d paid $15 for a mask online and was VERY disappointed when it arrived. Most of those masks I’ve seen are junk. I thought about it and decided that I could at least provide the cat lovers in my area with some decent and fun masks. 

I took a batch to the shelter in November. Two weeks later I was asked if I could make more with one of the fabrics I had used. I went and bought some other fabric and since then I’ve been making about 20 masks every four weeks or so. 

Here’s the latest batch:

Masked Bandit

Masked Bandit Masks

Duck Bill

Duck Bill Masks

I think the shelter is charging $5 for them, which is fine with me. Every little bit helps and I know the cats appreciate it.

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Project Linus Blanket #33

Project Linus Blanket #33

Project Linus Blanket #33 1-1-21 - Easy Peasy

“Easy Peasy”

It’s been a while since I’ve finished a blanket for Project Linus. Looking at my pictures I see that the last one was in April. After that I was crocheting gifts. Baby gifts, birthday gifts and Christmas gifts. It kept me busy!

I had actually started this one in April after the last one was done. I grabbed a bag out of my totes and arranged the yarn in my crochet bag.

crochet bags with dividers

I had six rows done… and that’s where it sat until Christmas. Once I got started on it again it only took me about a week to finish it. Of course, I still have to weave in the ends, but we can do that later.

Project Linus Blanket #33 Detail

It wasn’t my favorite yarn to use. The only one I enjoyed was the black as that was the Nicole Stitch Studio yarn that is no longer produced. Although, I’ve heard that since Michaels bought A.C. Moore their Value Smart yarn is now very similar to the Stitch Studio. I haven’t purchased any to find out, but that’s what I hear.

The darker variegated is a Michaels value yarn (their brand name) that was definitely produced before they bought A.C. Moore. It feels a lot like Red Heart Super Saver, which I think is the brand of the light blue color and the other blue variegated yarn that I used in the middle of the blanket (they no longer have bands on them). The bright blue color is an old one. I must have pulled this out of my mom’s stash. It is a TMA Yarns and has an Ames price tag on it. At that time you could purchase this 8 oz skein for $1.99. It feels like a Red Heart Super Saver clone.

I am currently working on a birthday present, so I won’t be able to share that with you for a while, but once it’s done I will reach into my tote and pull out another bag that’s all kitted up and ready to go. These ripple blankets are quick and easy projects. I definitely need to do better than just four Project Linus blankets this year!

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Staining the Entertainment Center

T-E Entertainment Center 12-5-20

Sometimes it feels like this is the project that will live with us forever in the basement. I think it’s just because Jay has been working on it since October. It’s not his fault that it has lingered for so long. When you have to wait for your finishing department to fit it in their schedule, you get behind.

After all of the Christmas making was behind us I told him to start laying pieces of it on my workbench so that I could begin finishing it. To be completely honest I was very scared of this project.

T-E TV Center Shelves Bare 1-3-21

Jay’s sister wants a distressed barn wood finish. I’m not good with the faux finishes. I would much rather stain and poly wood. So to say that I was putting off this project would be an understatement. But it’s their wedding gift and I can’t hold off for ever.

I had done some research on faux finishing and how to get the look of barn wood. There are so many different ways to do it, but the method that made the most sense to me was to stain it a wood color, then go over it with a gray paint and then white wash it. Obviously, there are a bunch of steps in there, but that was the basic idea. Instead of using gray paint, though, I decided to go with a gray stain. 

First, I had to put the brown base coat of stain on the pieces.

T-E TV Center Shelves Base Coat 1-3-21

It looks splotchy because I used two different colors of stain to make it splotchy. I figured distressed wood needs to have some different shades, otherwise it would be nice and neat and referred to as ‘calmed’ barn wood.

T-E TV Center Doors Base Coat 1-3-21

After I took these pictures I actually went back with a third color of stain and went over them again. I wanted it to be a bit darker. After that was completely dry I coated everything in gray.

T-E TV Center Doors Gray Coat 1-10-21

I didn’t want it to be a solid gray, though. I wanted there to be streaks where the brown showed through from the base.

T-E TV Center Shelves Gray Coat 1-10-21

I did a good job of getting everything covered in gray stain…

Stain Coat

Good thing this was one of my old sweat skirts!

I thought I had the process down and so I tried to do the white wash on top. You see, I originally thought I would be able to stop at the gray stain and then poly it. Nope. They wanted it more the white-gray color. Today I did my best to do a white wash coating that doesn’t look like white wash. I started on the bottom since that’s the side nobody will see. Here they are after the white wash:

T-E TV Center Shelves White Wash 1-10-21

I couldn’t get a good picture without the lights glaring off of the top. I’m not happy with it. Does it look too uniform? Is there something missing? I’m not sure. I think I need to sit with it for a bit and decide if this will work or if I need to do something else.

*sigh* Why couldn’t they have been happy with it dyed a golden oak??

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A Handcrafted Christmas

My last post was on December 8th. I wanted to write a post today to kind of wrap up this Christmas gifting season. You may think that I was lazy and that’s why I didn’t post, but I promise you that was NOT the reason. Between the extra hours at work and all of the stuff I was trying to make, I just didn’t have the time. I warn you that this post may be a bit long so get comfy.

Let’s start with one of the projects that you saw in progress. For Christmas I asked Jay to make me a new recycling center. I was using an old trash can that had actually been my grandmother’s (no, it’s not an heirloom).

Recycling Basket - Old Edited

It was a lot like me: not much to look at, but it does the job. Except, I had the idea to try to keep the cat food cans separate so that I can take them to the cat shelter. They turn them in for scrap money. I didn’t want to add another basket to this area so I did some measuring, drew up a very bad picture, and asked Jay to construct it.

Recycling Center Side 11-30-20

Yes, I had to do the finishing on it, but I didn’t care. It just meant that I would get the finish that I wanted. Are you ready to see how it turned out?

Recycling Center in Place 12-24-20 Edited

It’s a bit larger than I anticipated, but it works. As you can see we have two areas for the bags and underneath is where I can collect the glass. I might see if I can find a tote that fits a bit better. 

Recycling Center 12-24-20

This is a bad picture, but I wanted you to see the top. I only stained as far as my arm could reach, but I don’t care. I had Jay attach binder clips to the middle insert (I could only find two with logos and one regular clip for the other side) so that the bag will be held on the inside and the top pins the other side of the bags to the box. The recyclables that can go out to the curb on trash night goes in the bigger clear bag and the cat food cans will go in the blue bag. It’s been a week and so far it’s working great.

Another project that I had to finish after Jay did the initial design and cutting were back scratchers.

Back Scratchers

I think we had 8 or 9 of these. They are actually laying on the table runner that my mom made me for Christmas. Isn’t it pretty?

Do you remember when we tore apart the last piano? This was the second set of piano keys that we had hanging out in the house. Jay and I were discussing what we could make with them and between the two of us we came up with a Key Board:

Key Board 3 11-30-20

This one is a little dark, but there are hooks on it so that you can hang your keys on it. There are two wall hangers on the back. I tried to group the piano keys in groups that kind of made sense. I also tried three different colors of stains to see which one I liked best.

Key Board 2 11-30-20

Key Board 1 11-30-20

The entertainment center is a wedding gift and it’s not done yet, so you won’t see any pictures of it. I think that’s it for the wooden gifts.

Next up are the gifts that I crocheted.

The first one has actually been finished since August or so. And of course, I didn’t take any pictures of it because I thought I would have plenty of time to do so. *sigh* This past year I posted pictures of crocheted garments that I hoped to eventually make. One of these was the Everyday Cardi:

Everyday Casual Cardi CSpr2020

Jay’s mom commented on my post saying that she wouldn’t mind having this in a light pink color. I told Jay that I knew what I was going to give his mom for Christmas. I ordered some yarn from Ice Yarns and got to work.

Ice Yarns Lorena Worsted

I think it turned out quite nice. Luckily it fit her nicely, too!

I knew that I wanted to make something for my friend’s little girl. The problem is that the little darling is growing like a weed! I decided to make a dress in two different sizes in the hopes that she would fit the smaller one and can grow into the bigger one.

Dresses for Indah 2020

The nice thing about this pattern is that it can be worn as a type of tunic, too. 

When I was finished with some of the larger projects I was working on I decided to fill in my empty time with some washcloths. I think I made almost 20 wash cloths. Here are the ones that I sent to my friend:

Dishcloths for Pauline

I was trying to figure out what I could actually make my friend. I know how much I love the ear warmer that my mom made me a few years ago so I decided to try to crochet one. I couldn’t decide on the size, though, so I made three different sizes and hoped that at least one of them would fit.

Pauline-Ear Warmers

With all of the crocheted gifts I let the recipients know that if they didn’t want them, or they don’t fit, I’m fine with them giving the gifts away to people who can use them. As long as they are being used then I will be happy.

Since I’d made about a zillion hats I decided a few more wouldn’t hurt. I made two for my brother-in-law and then two for my friend’s husband.

Remi Hats

Jay’s brother was supposed to be heading out here for their sister’s wedding, but due to the plague they have cancelled their trip. When they were here the last time, though, our new brother-in-law (who had never seen snow) showed up without proper winter clothing. I decided that I would at least provide them with hats and some cowls. I wasn’t sure what colors they would like, or what hat style they would prefer, so I wrapped them and sent a note saying that they could pick whichever set they liked.

Justin-Tony Hats-Cowl

I figured a black/gray set should go with most coats.

Tony-Justin Hats-Cowl

This picture is a bit washed out so that you can see the yarn color a little better. Otherwise they looked like big black splotches when they are actually a mottled brown. I haven’t heard anything from them, but I hope they liked them. Or that they gave them to somebody who can really use them.

I made one more hat, but this one is so stinkin’ cute. Gary said that he wanted to model it for me.

Charlie's Hat 12 2020

It’s an aviator cap for my friend’s little boy. I’ve got a better view of it from the side.

Charlie's Hat

The little boy is about four months old so I also made him a blanket that will be good for the floor.

Charlie's Floor Blanket

This was made with a chenille-type of yarn. It is definitely not a type of yarn that I will look forward to using again. Because of its nature the yarn is very grabby and gives your hands a bit of a work out when crocheting.

Charlie's Blanket Detail

Are you still with me? I just have one more item to show you. If you remember, I made some wraps for my sister and step-niece. I decided to make another one for my friend using the same yarn that I used for her minion hat.

Chrissy's Wrap

It’s very soft. You can see that I added a button. It annoys me when a shawl I’m wearing falls off my shoulders so I figure that it would bother my friend as well. You don’t want to be trying to do something with your baby while trying to keep your wrap on your shoulders. I hope she likes it.

Chrissy's Wrap 12 2020

My sister loved hers. I gave her two… a black and purple one and then a gray one. She loved the button feature. Hopefully my friend will, too.

Hopefully know you will understand why I’ve been a little absent over the past few months. I have a Project Linus blanket on my hook that’s almost done and then I’ve got a list of gifts that I will start after that. There is never a shortage of projects!

 

Posted in Blankets, Crafting, Crochet, Garment, Hats, piano, Wood Work, Yarn | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Still Christmas Crafting…

I wish I could show you everything that we’re currently making. I think you would be a bit shocked to see the amount of things we are producing. On December 26th-ish it will all be revealed…

In the meantime, Jay is still working on the entertainment center for his sister.

T-E Entertainment Center 12-5-20

The doors are assembled. The shelves have been completed and put in place. The hardware is being constructed and painted. I believe he has an order arriving this week for the rest of the hardware. I have even practiced the finishing technique that I will use. Of course, I didn’t take a picture of that. Too many other things going on!

T-E TV Center Door 12-5-20

Jay did a beautiful job on the doors. This is the first time he’s ever made this style of door.

T-E TV Center Front 12-5-20

A closer look at the shelves…

He has also been working on one of my Christmas gifts. This one required a lot of input from me, so that’s why I know about it and am doing the finishing work on it.

Recycling Center Side 11-30-20

It’s a little recycling center for the library. Currently I have a 13 gallon garbage can that sits by the desk in the library, and this is where we throw all of the recyclables. I wanted one that I can put two bags in (one for the cat food cans that the shelter will turn in for scrap money and one for the rest of the recyclables). Then I wanted a little space on the bottom to put a plastic tote where I can place the glass jars.

Recycling Center Top 11-30-20

This sounds a bit silly, but the City has restricted the amount of things that can be recycled. They no longer accept glass (so I drop it off at a separate glass recycling location) and they will accept very little plastic. It’s a bit ridiculous. I’m not a tree-hugger by any stretch of the imagination, but I hate throwing stuff in the landfill that I know will sit there for hundreds of years without breaking down. Especially if it can be re-used.

Jay has been working on other projects, too, but I can’t show those to you yet. They are Christmas gifts. He asked me to make him an elf hat to wear while he’s doing all of this work.

Elf Hat and Fixed Loop 11-25-20

So I made him a hat and then fixed his belt. The loop was falling apart so I bought a piece of leather and some rivets. He thought it was silly that I would pay more in total for the items to fix the loop as compared to just going out and buying another $12 belt. This belt is still perfectly good! Again, I hate throwing stuff away that can still be used! Now if something happens to the loop, or if some other leather item needs repair, I have the materials to make it happen.

The last post I made on the blog showed off a few more of the hats that I crocheted. Well, I turned them into the organization last week. Before I handed them over, though, I tried to take a picture. Here are the 41 hats that I made:

41 Hats 11-24-20

They are all scrunched on my cutting table, but I didn’t have anywhere else to place them for the picture. These aren’t the only things that I’ve been crocheting. I’ve made about five more hats, three ear warmers and two cowls. Plus I’ve been working on a blanket for a friend’s baby. On top of the other gifts that I’ve crocheted. This is what it looks like on my end of the couch:

Crochet Mess 12-5-20

It’s a mess! Once all of my Christmas crocheting is done I need to get back to the Project Linus blankets. They’ve been severely neglected!

Okay. I think that’s about all I can show you for now. I have to get back to my finishing area to do some sanding and staining…

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MORE Crocheted Hats!

This past spring I started crocheting hats for guys in a local faith-based program that helps them to heal from various addictions. I thought it would be nice for them to receive a crocheted hat for Christmas. Many of these guys have next to nothing for possessions, let alone something that was handmade for them. Well, we are approaching the Christmas season so I need to finish these up and get them to the program director soon. My goal was to make about 60 hats, but that just is not going to happen. I might be able to make a couple more this week, but as of right now I only have 41 ready to go.

Hats # 30-32

Crocheted Hats #30-32

These were all made using yarns that I’ve used for previous hats.

Hat #30 – Discontinued Yarn Bee yarn

Crocheted Hat #30

Hat #31 – Ice Yarns Magic Light in Grey Shades, Copper

Crocheted Hat #31

Hat #32 – Lion Brand’s Z Twist (I used two colors held double)

Crocheted Hat #32

Hats # 33 – 34

Crocheted Hats #33-34

These look familiar because I used the same yarn, again, on two other hats.

Hat # 33 – Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn in a discontinued color

Crocheted Hat #33

Hat #34 – Same Hobby Lobby Yarn, but with an additional yarn added to finish it off

Crocheted Hat #34

Hats # 35 – 42

Crocheted Hats #35-42

I was looking around and found that Premier Yarns has a worsted acrylic yarn with color combinations to fit various sports teams. For Christmas I wanted to make a hat for a friend using his favorite team’s colors. Premier currently has this on sale. You get five skeins of yarn for $10. So technically one of these hats will be used as a Christmas gift for that friend. I made the others because it’s a fairly popular team in this area so I knew some of the guys in the program would also be big fans.

I had been making more of the “traditional” hat with the ribbed brim.

Hats 35 – 37

Crocheted Hat #35-37

Crocheting that brim really eats up a lot of yarn. I did find it interesting that I managed to get three different patterns out of it, too. I didn’t try to do any kind of color controlling. This is just what happened on its own.

Then I thought that maybe some of the guys would prefer the beanie style. After making one of those I realized how much quicker I could crochet a hat, so I made the rest in this style.

Hats 38-42

Crocheted Hat #38-42

Again, it’s interesting how the pattern fell into place without me doing anything to make it happen. I did a reverse single crochet around the edge to finish it off. I did run out of yarn on the fifth one of these, so I finished it with some black.

Other than hats, I’ve also been going a little wrap crazy. It seems that pocketed wraps are quite popular right now. I have seen several patterns come out recently and there are many different variations that I’ve been seeing in the catalogs. The pattern that I used for my sister’s wrap (which I still have to sew the button on) is very simple so I’ve been crocheting up a few more for gifts. I hope that the recipients like them.

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Another Entertainment Center

Back in September I received an invitation to attend a bridal shower for Jay’s sister. It said she was registered at Amazon and Target. Well, I do not like Target so I hopped on Amazon to see what she needed/wanted for gifts. That’s when I saw this:

Amazon TV Center

This isn’t the exact one that was on their list, but it’s close enough. The particular piece they had registered for had more of a gray/white distressed finish and it was $268.

I feel like I need to add a disclaimer here… growing up on a farm the very last thing that I want to use to decorate my house is distressed barn wood. Or even the barn look. It just makes me feel dirty and sneezy (which is how I usually feel if I have to be in the barn for any length of time). However, to each his own and if they want to bring the farm into the house… good for them.

My biggest issue with their choice of entertainment center was that despite the fact it used the term ‘wood’ in the description you had to read the smaller print at the bottom to discover that the entire thing was made out of MDF with a fancy laminate finish. Considering it was only $268 I didn’t expect that it was going to be made of real wood. I’m not a wood snob, but I prefer my furniture to be made out of actual solid wood even if it’s pine. At least you know it will last and if you decide that you dislike the finish you can always change it. You just know that this MDF piece is going to warp after a few years and if you mar it in any way you can’t easily fix it.

Do you recall that Jay just recently built a floating entertainment center for a coworker?

Brad's TV Center Installed

I showed Jay the registry and said that we could easily build his sister a very similar entertainment center, but it would be made out of real wood. I also pointed out that in a recent issue of Wood Magazine they’d had plans for a buffet that looked almost exactly like the entertainment center on the registry. The buffet in the magazine was a beautiful oak and I thought looked much nicer than the distressed barn wood.

Jay called up his sister and asked if she was particularly attached to the MDF version. They hadn’t even realized that it was MDF. We offered to make them, as their wedding gift, almost the exact same thing in solid wood. They were very happy about this. We asked if they were committed to the distressed look and they said that they definitely wanted the gray/white finish. *sigh*

Jay and I discussed options and I told him that I know I can find tutorials online about how to get the perfect distressed wood finish. However, I begged him to use pine because there is no way I could bring myself to cover beautiful oak with paint. If I were sent to The Bad Place, one of the most effective methods of torture they could use is to make me do faux distressed looks using paint on beautiful wooden furniture.

Based on resources and availability Jay ended up using pine. *the crowd cheers*

Using the plans from the magazine he drew it in SketchUp and then started the build.

T-E Entertainment Center 10-20-20

This piece is quite large. And it’s going to be quite heavy. I think Jay said that the overall length is just over 6′. For some reason I’m thinking that the top had to be 58″ long, but I could just be making that up.

The magazine used a solid piece of oak plywood (I think) for the top, but Jay glued up some pine boards that he grooved to fit into each other snuggly.

T-E TV Center Gluing Top 10-25-20

The only good thing about painting this is that I won’t have to worry about the different boards taking the finish in different ways.

As I have been working on my own projects, Jay has continued to work on the entertainment center.

T-E TV Center 10-25-20

Look close and you can see some additional details that he added.

T-E TV Center 11-2-20

He created a template to make drilling the dowel holes (to support the shelves) a lot easier and straighter.

Here is the top after the glue was dry:

T-E TV Center Top 11-2-20

Currently the doors are clamped while the glue dries.

T-E TV Center Doors 11-2-20

The wedding is supposed to take place at the beginning of January (we’ll see what happens due to the Plague), but Jay didn’t want to be working on it at the last minute. Especially since I will have a large amount of work to do on it once he has completed the construction. Let’s hope I can pull it off!

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