Tuesday, July 26, 2016

people think you just screw a box into a 2x4

but there is a heck of a lot more to it than that.

For starters,
the box for your ceiling fan
will need to be centered on the window,
so you need to find the center,
and mark it,
using a level, to make sure your center line stays straight.

you need to measure how far your mark is from the closest board

Two lines away from 6 inches.
(do NOT tell my dad I measured like that)
(it's so much faster than calculating how many 16th or 32nds
 or however the many marks there are on this thing)

Then you have to move your ladder closer to the center nailer
(that's what you call a board that is there
 for the sole purpose of (drywall or soffit) being nailed into)
and hope that that 2x4 running across the porch is straight,
and mark the center of the window there, too.

Because that nailer runs directly down the center of the porch,
and we didn't want to move it
(although, I'm hoping now that this wasn't a bad decision)
we decided to just put our can lights as close to the nailer as possible,
so that the center of the lights and ceiling fans would be 39 1/2 inches
from the OSB on the house.

You see there is nothing above the nailer to attach a light/fan box to.

So you'll need to find either a 2x4 or a 2x6
to put there.

If your screws are longer than the depth of your 2 boards put together,
you'll want to angle them slightly;
you don't want any sharp ends up there to poke through wire insulation.

That picture was totally staged.
You can't screw into a board
without applying weight or counter pressure!
Your top board will lift up as soon as the screw hits it,
and you'll have to back the screw out,
and try again.
With two hands.

Then you'll need to screw it into the other nailer 18 inches away.

And add a screw from top to bottom, 
for good measure.

Now that you've got a board securely in place,
you can transfer your center mark.

Using a square ensures it's nice and straight.

Next you'll need to measure out to where you want the center of your fan.

And use a square there, too.

if you were applying drywall,
or a standard depth ceiling material,
you'd be good to go,
and could now screw in your box.

But we are putting cedar on our porch ceiling,
which is thicker.

Before the kids left for Summer Play Days at church,
Brandon and I did some maths,
and figured out that we needed a sort of shim that was not quite 3/4 of an inch.
So he used the planer 
and made a board that was 22/32nds.

 I cut my shim from that board.

Now that we've got our shim, let's get back at it.

You'll want to be sure you have all of your tools,
because it is really annoying to keep having to get down from your ladder
to grab something you forgot.

If, like us,
you need a shim,
you'll want to screw it in, with just one screw,

Dammit Bobby!
It's hard to hold up a board
and a screw
with one hand.

and remark your lines.
marks the spot!

Then unscrew your shim

and climb down off your ladder

and line up the holes in your box
with the lines on your shim.
And your box will be perfectly centered.

Partially screw in your screws
(shorter ones, 'cause these can't go in angled)

Then take it back to the ceiling

And first screw in your shim,
making sure the screw goes into the same hole,
so that your box ends up in exactly the right spot.
Then completely screw in the pre-screwed screws,
and add a few more screws to your shim.
We don't want a shimmying fan...

And that,
is how you install a box
for a ceiling fixture.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

darn it!

Remember my stove?

I picked it up last week after visiting Gramma.

They'd told me that cosmetic issues were only covered for 60 days,
so be sure to open the box and inspect for damage.

I figured that wasn't really necessary,
but it'd be wise
all the same.

We opened the box yesterday evening,
only to discover that it was, in fact, 
and my poor stove had a run in with 
what looks to have been
a small forklift.
(even though it clearly says on the box not to use one.)

To add insult to injury,
it doesn't have the little counter lip thing that I thought it had.
So now I don't
even know what I'm going to do...

I was really frustrated about it last night;
I was already feeling like we can't manage to complete anything,
and there are so.many.decisions. to be made,
and here was one thing that I thought was taken care of
(and very nicely, too!)
that I still have to deal with.
And quite honestly,
I was feeling a little sorry for myself;
I'd been so excited God had provided that stove for me,
it turns out,

I was finishing up dinner
and having a pity party,
and Brandon was in the LEM
practicing the guitar.
He was singing Your Love is Wild.

Suddenly I didn't feel quite so bad.

(but I still need a new stove, darn it)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Monday miscellanies

Without my dad here every week,
spurring us on,
work on the house has slowed drastically.

Of course, 
it doesn't
help things any
that we have had a nasty bug running rampant
for the better part of the month.

It's also really really hot.


After waiting for the backing,
and then realizing I was out of batting,
and waiting for that, too,
I finally got started on the quilting of Faith and Freedom
on Friday.

I tried trapunto for the first time,
thanks to Lynnet putting the idea in my head,
and my not being able to get it out of there.

Can I just share a little tip I learned??

If you use disappearing
(aka: water soluble) thread,
if you snip a hole in your fabric
while you are cutting away the batting,
according to the experts,
 you will snip a hole somewhere in your fabric,
do not,
I repeat: do not
use steam
to adhere a piece of interfacing reinforcement.

You also may want to take care to not melt your batting
with direct heat from your (not steamy) iron.
(I am really hoping it isn't melted, so much as *compacted*,
and will resume it's fluffiness once washed and dried.
I mean,
that's what I would be hoping,
if I had done such a stupid thing...)


I have always preferred to wash my floors on my hands and knees,
and have, of course,
 taught the kids to wash floors that way too.

The other day, Jeremiah and Lexi needed some work
(if ya know what I mean...)
so I had them wash the kitchen floor.

As they were scrubbing, 
one of them said,
"It would be really great if they had something like a broom,
only instead of sweeping your floors,
it'd be for washing them."

I felt it was only right that I tell them about mops.

I read a book last week.

It was lovely.

I've missed reading.


Josiah and I were both quite desperate for tennis shoes,
so we went shopping after church yesterday,
just the two of us.

It took a few hours,
and more money than I'd have preferred to spend,
but we each found a suitably comfortable pair.

So now, when I'm especially short on time,
maybe I'll be able to actually take a quick mile run (or rather walk / jog)
instead of logging a mile's worth of steps on the trampoline.
(I am convinced I only get credit for 75% or so)


The computer,
without anyone's permission,
updated to Windows10 a few months ago.

Ever since, 
it has grown increasingly more difficult 
to get pictures from the camera
on to the computer.

It doesn't inspire me to take many photos, 
I can tell you that.

I ordered a new SD card, 
on the off chance that that's the problem,
but I really don't think it is. 


Wednesday was my day with Gramma.

It's nice to be able to surprise her multiple times
(when I tell her the night before that I'm coming,
then again when I call and tell her I'm heading her way,
and then again,
when I show up at her door)
but I admit it's a little discouraging when she calls me later the same day,
and doesn't remember I've been there.

She sure loves it when I'm there, though,
and I do treasure my Gramma!


Speaking of Gramma,
she has always carried around lots of pictures
and will share them with anyone she can.

On her counter Wednesday,
there was a computer printed photo of my sister 
from one of her body-building competitions.

On the top of the photo was Alicia's name,
but on the bottom
was mine.

I got a pretty good laugh out of that one.

Of course, I didn't correct it ;-)
I can see how she'd get us confused,
our bodies being so similar and all.



I surprised the kids 
with a big package of modeling clay earlier today.

I knew they'd be thrilled,
but I hadn't considered that they'd take up the whole table
playing with their clay,
and I wouldn't be able to quilt....

They're finally done, though,
so I best get at it.
(They've moved on to a (loud) nerf gun war)
(Girls scream so much more then boys.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

summer streaking

I have been waking up in the middle of the night /  early morning
with my hands, and sometimes my arms
so asleep that they feel like they are on fire.
And they stay that way for a good while.

I've dealt with body parts falling asleep and going numb
for years,
but this was pretty extreme.

I've also not been eating quite as carefully as I prefer to eat,
and had let sugar creep back in.
A little bag of  Trader Joe's dark chocolate almonds,
savored over the course of a week
turned into 
a bag 
savored over a single cup of coffee.

That sort of thing.

And when I do that,
it's easier to allow myself to have
a half of a skinny bun
and then
a piece and half of pizza....

More begets more with me.

I can't help but think that the two are related,
as when I am eating like I should,
I don't go numb nearly as often,
and I certainly don't have the on-fire pain and tingling.

I decided to start a(nother)  sugar free summer streak on July 5th
(although, truth be told,
I was feeling so miserable on the 4th,
I didn't indulge like I'd planned)
(Isn't that so silly?
I mean, I'm making a change because some foods (seem to) effect me so negatively,
and yet,
I plan to load up before I fast from them.

What is wrong with me?!)

In addition to abstaining from sugar, in all of its many forms,
I'll also pass on all wheat products,
because I have abused those, too.
Where I once could eat a half of a serving (measured on the kitchen scale)
and be content,
I had gotten to where I am quite certain my 'servings' 
were well above the suggested size.

I decided on the 5th
in addition to my no sugar streak
I would add in a step streak,
and (purposefully) get in an additional mile a day
(since my foot is still cantankerous, I'm using the trampoline,
though I'm pretty sure I could log a mile much faster 
if I laced up shoes and took off down the road.)

My hope plan is
that at summer's end, 
I will feel so good,
I'll be forced to continue both streaks,
as I won't be positive which one it is 
that's making me feel better.

I have just about given up on losing weight
(I haven't managed to lose anything in over 2 years,
but I've packed 10 lbs back on. sadness)
so this is not about weightloss.

I had been thinking about adding 'no getting on the scale' 
to my summer streaking,
but I hadn't made a decision on that.
I stepped on the scale anyways on my 5th or 6th day,
and darn it if I hadn't gained another pound and a half.
I admit it was rather discouraging,
but then,
I shouldn't have been surprised.
(and yet I was. 
Again - what the heck is wrong with me? Sheesh)

I told Tyler he should hide the scale,
because it would be best if I didn't weigh
and he said, 
"Just decide not to step on it.
You have more willpower than anyone I know.
I don't need to hide the scale."

And so,
I've decided.
For the remainder of the summer
(maybe even longer)
no eating wheat, sugar, or chips,
no skipping out on my mile,
and no stepping on the scale.

I'm 7 1/2 days in on my Summer Streak.
Anybody want to join me??

Monday, July 11, 2016

sawdust and strings

I had to laugh when I looked down at myself
Saturday evening.

I had sawdust on my knees and calves,
and little threads
were pretty much everywhere.

Tyler told me
"You got to come help on the house when we needed you
(We have a porch now!!)
(well, we have a partial porch now, at least...)
and you got to sew a ton.
I guess this was pretty much the perfect weekend for you."

Pretty much.
(up until the last 30 min of sewing, which produced 3+ hours of seam ripping. grr)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Faith and Freedom; finally, a finished top!

I'm not sure I have ever been quite so relieved to have a completed quilt top.

I started starching the fabrics for this one on January 25th
and besides a few bags,
and a couple of garments,
Faith and Freedom has occupied all available sewing time.

Faith and Freedom will likely be the only commission project
I get to do this year;
building a house doesn't leave much time for, well, anything,
so I am very grateful I've had the opportunity to make it,

This quilt represents so many things,
which I'll cover in another post,
but the biggest design considerations were
 that the recipient's faith be portrayed,
that it include their favorite colors,
that freedom be well represented,
and that it not be 'modern'.
(I can't wait to share more about my client and the recipients!)

I designed Faith and Freedom with my usual graph paper, ruler, pencil and big eraser,
using the Milky Way pattern by Fig Tree for the fireworks/stars.
The pattern called for only 2 sizes of star blocks, but as you can see,
I went with a few more than that ;-)

After I'd made 2/3 of the firework blocks,
I made a copy of my design
and colored it in,
so I could figure out what colors I needed
in which block sizes
and where they should go.

I'd pinned the Milky Way quilt about a year ago
(according to Pinterest - I would have guessed it was more like 2 or 3 years)
but knowing that I would likely never actually take a quilt anywhere
 on Independence Day,
and therefore didn't really need one of my own,
I figured the next best thing,
was to make one (similar) for someone else.

I am here to tell you,
if this weren't a commission quilt,
I'd have quit a long time ago.
So many bias edges!
(and I obviously can't read a pattern,
because I ended up with octagons, 
which required triangles at the corners.
What the heck?!
It was a happy accident though, 
because I was able to have smaller (and more) pieces anyways,
which contributed to the overall scrappiness of the quilt.)
(there are 121 different fabrics!)

I think I need to move that filler block to the left side of the blue and green star
instead of the right. darn it! 

Each block took longer than I anticipated
 - no surprise there -
but I (eventually) discovered that if I worked on 2 blocks at a time,
my time spent per block was greatly reduced.
Even so, I've already exceeded my total time investment estimate
(by 25 hrs!)
and I still have to prepare the back,
and bind it.

(Fortunately for my client,
I quoted a flat price ;-)

Speaking of  quilting -
I'm still not entirely sure how to quilt the church,
beyond thread-painting doors and windows.
Any ideas??

linking up this satisfying finish with the scraptastic Amanda Jean

Thursday, June 30, 2016

flying solo

I've done a lot to help with the house,
from countless trips to the hardware store 
to helping run wire for electric.

I even spearheaded the installation of a shower base,
and have had a hand in building more than one wall.

I've touched
-  and not just because I purchased ;-)  -
fitting and piece of Pex pipe in our house.

But all of that has been simply
carrying out someone else's instruction,
be it my dad's, Tyler's, or Brandon's.

Today, though!

armed with hands-on knowledge 
from last night's plumbing session with Tyler,
I went under the house
- by myself -
and worked out 
(through trial and error)
how to connect the drain from upstairs
to the kitchen sink's drain.
(which is also connected to the washer drain...)

If you've never done it,
I assure you,
it's much trickier than it sounds,
and I am pretty dang proud of myself!

Now though,
I have to do an ordinary mundane thing,
and pay the bills.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

snippets on a Sunday

I never did manage to work on the quilt this week.

my dad isn't coming down to work on the house 'til Tuesday,
so I *should* be able to spend several hours on it (the quilt) tomorrow.


It has been so hot;
productivity has been a little low.

Wednesday was just dreadful
since the humidity was really high, too.

We got very little done.

But - I can now add 
(eager, but really awful) door installer (assistant)
to my ever-growing resume ;-)


We tried some new coffee that we really liked,
GV donut shop blend.

The kids and I had run to Walmart before TKD last week
to pick up a few things they needed for camp.
As we were heading to the checkout I saw a box of 54 donut shop coffee pods
on clearance for $15,
so I snatched one up.

The next day was our date night,
and Tyler and I decided we really should buy some more;
that was such a  great price.
So we stopped in Walmart before picking up the kids,
and bought 4 more boxes.

After we got home,
we realized (again)
that I am an idiot!

It was the wrong brand!

Tyler made up a cup real quick, 
hoping that we'd like it as much as the one we thought we were buying.

It's gross.

I have 5 boxes of gross coffee sitting in the LEM.
(And we can't find the receipt for 4 of them.)


Tyler took a couple of days off last week,
and he and my dad got started on the plumbing.
Brandon helped them all day yesterday.
And guess what?
it's my turn to help this afternoon evening.

Very soon,
I'll be adding plumber to my already impressive list, too ;-)

(let's just hope I'm a better plumber than door-putter-inner...)


This is the last week of camp!

I'll be happy to have everyone home again.

It's Lily's turn this week - today  thru Wednesday.
Then Lexi goes Friday 
and comes home Saturday.


Our draftsman was completely opposed to the idea of putting a stove in the island,
but we ignored him
and our entire kitchen was designed around it.

But -
slide-ins cost a lot more than free-standing stoves with the same features.

A week and a half ago,
I was considering putting the stove along the wall after all,
so we could just buy a freestanding one.
Quite honestly, though
the idea made me more than a little sad.
really want the stove in the island,
so I can be a part of everything
in both the living room and dining room
while I cook.
(I think I've even mentioned it before on the blog -
one of my very favorite things
my family playing games at the table
while I fix food for them)

God provided me with a slide in stove
for the cost of a freestanding one!

Product Details

And it's listed as #4 in Consumer Reports top 10 slide-ins
to boot!


Dad and Tyler (and I.)
(I helped a little.
As a matter of fact, I am a framer!
How did you know?! ;-)

anyways - back to my story -
Dad and Tyler built the 'frame' for the kitchen island on Thursday.

this makes me so happy!

The cabinets will go in front of the wall (duh)
(the sink base will actually be about 2 inches left 
of where it's marked in tape on the floor)
and my stove will slide in the 'elbow' :-)
A 15-16 inch bar will set on the wall
and will (hopefully) one day house some really cool bar stools.

The fridge will be across from the sink
and there'll be a 12" deep x 4 ft wide cabinet along the wall
to the right of the bar and next to it,
8 ft of countertop
with upper and lower cabinets.

Next week is the last week that my dad will be coming down to help us;
he has his own stuff to tend to.

Progress will slow tremendously without him.

We have been so blessed to have him come these past 3 weeks!!
It's a gift we can never repay...

Monday, June 13, 2016

Monday Miscellany

I have a list of plumbing supplies typed up
that I need to send out to a few companies
so I can compare prices.

I have been sitting here
growing increasingly frustrated
as my e-mail is loading
and loading
and loading....

I figured I may as well type something
instead of just watching that damn circle go round and round.

The electric work is almost finished!
We still have to do the 'big wires' for appliances,
and  power for the island and porches,
but other than that,
we're done.

Being an electrician is hot work.

It made me very grateful that summer is just now in full swing!
we'd have temps in the 90s in May, also.


Very little sewing happened.
I think I got in about 2 1/2 hours on that big block.

I really need to be able to get in 5 - 6 this week
so I can get the top completed by the end of June.

I seriously underbid my time on this one;
I need to get better about that...


All of the boys are at camp this week.

I'm not quite sure how to cook.


Tony and Kacy gave me a fitbit for Mother's Day.
I love it!
But it doesn't always paint an accurate picture of my energy expenditures.


We got a letter today from the local school district 
regarding intent-to-homeschool forms.

was spelled incorrectly.


Grocery shopping has been sporadic.

It's getting to be slim pickens
'round these parts.


It has been an hour since I began my e-mail attempts.
It finally loaded and I just sent out my lists.

I really hope Yeagers is going to come through for me;
they're 7 - 20 minutes closer than all of the other places...

(Speaking of Yeagers,
I was going over my statement this morning,
and they haven't always given me the price they'd quoted me,
so apparently I have to go over my bill 
with a fine toothed comb.)


This was a good call;
I'm not nearly as agitated as I was when I started.

Now - it's back to work for me.

Friday, June 3, 2016

sometimes simple shines

In keeping with tradition,
I wanted to make a little something to tuck her cash in
for the gal who graduated with Brandon.
But I really don't know her at all.

I decided that rather than invest several hours 
(and agonize over every decision)
on a bag that she may or may not like,
I should just whip up something quick and classy
and hope for the best.

I picked this AG print because the one thing I did know,
was that Rebecca likes aqua.

I sorta followed this tutorial,
and used interfacing instead of quilting it;
I thought the bold geometric pattern was perfect on its own.

I'm super pleased with how it turned out,
and think it may actually see more use 
than some of my more complicated other bags.

I remembered,
that sometimes simple is best.

I'm certainly not going to give up on making more personalized gifts
but these little zip bags really are a great money holder/greeting card replacement
and there will likely be many more in my future.

linking up with Amanda Jean :-)