Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Project # 6 Crockpot Breakfast

Breakfast for my brother

Being engaged has taught me so many things I never imagined; patience to wait for the perfect outfit to be ready, enjoying a truly delicious meal that wasn't nuked in the microwave for two minutes, enjoying the smell of sweet perfume worn by the most beautiful girl in the world and planning a future with the one I love.  I had no idea such things like shellac, tampons and yoga pants were so sir.  

Before all these feminine fancies were introduced to me, I lived a peaceful and simple life with my brother.  Although he is only a year and a half younger than I, we are one and the same.  Since the day we both learned how to ride a bike on the hot asphalt of St. George we were always doing things together.  

Our particular bro-mance is something quite unique.  My younger brother and I are fortunate enough to have an older brother who we both dearly love, but because he chose to break my remote-control car (he said he was going to turn it into a go cart that I could ride on) when I was 7 married 5 months after I returned from my mission in Russia, I realized that my brother-hood team would have to be Batman and Robin instead of the Three Stooges. 

My younger brother and I, who I will tenderly call Kiki", did everything together.  While riding our bikes, we would pretend that we were the two bike cops from Chips.  I would tell him that he could be the white cop who had a super fast motorcycle and I would be the black cop.  The real reason I chose to be him was because I wanted to have the gun verses the night stick that Kiki had.   When traveling with our parents to General Conference, restaurants or wherever, we would ALWAYS talk to each other with British accents so others would think that we were international and want to talk to use.  We made an extra effort to do this around cute girls...and the shirk away when they actually started to talk to us. 

All of this is to give background to understanding why I chose my latest Pinterest Project.  Because Kiki and I have lived with each other for the past 3 years, and because I feel slightly responsible to keep him healthy so he can perform well on the BYU Football field, I decided to make him breakfast before his big game.  Naturally I went to Pinterest to scout out some different recipes that are tailored for breakfast and found this recipe.

The recipe was so easy and I even bought twice the amount of ingredients so I could make some for my fiancé that Sunday for breakfast.  I mixed the eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla and then poured it onto the honey oat bread inside the Crockpot.  I made sure to do this in the evening so that he would wake up in the morning and smell the cinnamon and vanilla soaked breakfast.  Yeah...didn't happen.  

When I woke up I could smell the french toast wafting into my room.  I was excited that I was up before my brother and would be able  to get breakfast prepared and ready before he woke up.  After entering the kitchen however, that all changed.  

I hesitantly opened the Crockpot and and immediately noticed that it wasn't anything like the french toast I had dreamt of the night before.  The top was a little black, texture like dead skin and the smell....burnt.  How could my Pinterest recipe let me down?!  I was so confident in my pinning abilities and sure that the recipe would be a huge hit- neighbors would come running to try a small morsel of the heavenly fluff!  Surely my fiancé would be all the more confident in her decision for me to be her husband...but after this fr%nch toast? Not a chance!  

After I flung the piece french dunk out my front door (it's still rotting somewhere in our apartment complex) I made my brother a peanut butter and honey sandwich and wished him luck at his game.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Project #5 DIY 'Love-Language Board'

The Language of Love

My fiancee is practically perfect in so many ways: her smile makes me blush, her eyes twinkle like a little star, her laughter fills me with a rush of giddiness, her voice soothes my heart and her touch makes me melt.  She is like the sunshine that breaks over the tall mountain to the east in the mornings, spilling happiness and warmth over everything its rays touch. She works harder than any of my brother's football-star friends and can find the hiding sun on a rainy and cloudy day.  Yes, she is practically perfect . . . practically.   The one set-back (emphasis on ONE) she has is a difficulty keeping track of her keys, wild flowers and love notes.  Because I'm meticulous when it comes to being punctual, I wanted to create something to help her stay organized and minimize the time she loses looking for keys etc.  Thus I created the 'love-language board' to help keep track of wild flowers, love notes and keys to her heart. . . 

Getting Started

There were a few more materials than normal because of the different things I wanted to do with the love board.  I went to Michael's and got all the materials which included the following
  • Cork Board (Purchased a pack of 4 12x12')
  • Medium Cloth Pins (one pack had about 15)
  • Pack of Craft Nails (it came in a packet of 1.5' 1' and .5' nails)
  • Paint 
  • Stencils
  • One small pine branch (about 1' or .5' in circumference)
In all, I paid about $20.00 for all the materials.  I would recommend buying everything but your cork board first, then use the receipt which gives you a 40% discount and purchase the $12.00 board.  

Step One

Choose your board- Before you get underway on your board, you want to make sure that you have a good sized board to work with.  I used a full length board that was about 3 feet long and 6 inches wide.  This will give you plenty of room to work in your cork board as well as some room for your clothe pins.  Sand down your board depending on how rough want your board.  I sanded mine to the point that it wouldn't give me slivers if I rubbed my hand across it, but you can do whatever the junk you want!

Step Two

Determine orientation of your board- I wish I would have thought of this before, but for this step you will want to determine which orientation you want for your board.  If you want it to hang parallel with your door, wall or wherever you hang it, you will want to make sure that the following steps agree with the orientation of your board.  This will make more sense in the following steps. 

Step Three

Add the cork board- Depending on how big you want your cork board to be (I had to make sure that mine was SUPER big due to the amount of love notes my fiancé receives) will determine how much space you'll need reserve for your board.  I double layered the cork board so the pins would only sink into the cork and not the wood.  Apply a few strips of Wood Glue like jelly on a PBJ to have the two cork boards stick together.  Apply a few more strips of glue on the back side of the board and then apply directly onto the board.  Put a nail in each corner of the cork board and also in the middle to keep the board secure on the wood 

Step Four

Paint your dreams- I used a stencil with butterflies and wild flowers because the love of my life is literally the human form of a wild flower.  Her natural beauty like a cloudless summer night, or happiness that spreads to all those around her, her gentle and tranquilizing scent or softness and grace are the pure personification of a wild flower.  Her spirit floats on the charity she feels for her fellowman like the air on the wings of a butterfly. After the paint dries, nail in a few nails either at a 45 degree angle or whatever will help keep keys up against the board.  

Step Five

Glue your clothe pins on- I used seven pins evenly spaced to hold wild flowers.  I applied a generous amount Wood Glue to the back of the pins to keep them firmly in place.  Determine how far from from the top you want your flowers to hang and then apply a clothe pin.  Continue to place your clothe pins from your designated height from the top of your board until you come to the nails in the center.  Allow plenty of time for the pins to dry on the board.  

Step Six

Make your push pins-
 To make my push pins, I went to a local park and cut of the branch of a Pine Tree.  It wasn't too thick, about the same diameter as a dime which worked perfectly with the nails.  I also used a PVC pipe cutter to clip little 1' clippings for the push pins.  After you have clipped a as many small pieces of pine as you desire, take a .5' nail and push it through the middle of the pine.  If your pine branch is fresh this process will be super easy, no hammer required. 

Step Seven

Hang your board- I nailed two nails towards the edges of my board so that a copper wire would pull against the nails supporting the board in place. Pretty simple...but if you need more ideas for this then I wish you all the best.

In hindsight, I wish that I would have made one board that could hang parallel (up and down verses sideways) with the door or on another wall.  This would save space and make the walls look more clean and space oriented.  My fiancé loved the board and although she doesn't use it the way I would love her to, she did put the spare key, two roses and my love notes on the board and has them in her room :)  As my father in law once told me, "A happy wife makes a happy life!" so true...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sneak Peak at Project #5

Project #5 "Love-Languages Board" 

Here's a look at what I will be posting for next weeks project!  Made this 'love-languages board' for my fiancé to help her keep track of her keys, notes and wild flowers.  She loved it...and I kinda wanted to take it back and use it for myself ;)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Project #4 DIY Dish Rack

My Own Dish Rack

Before I get started with instructions on my latest project, I have to share a few hilarious words.  I live with two of the best people in the world (come December 14th, I'll have the BEST roommate of course), my brother and best bud Luke.  My brother plays for the BYU Football team which is simply fantastic and my roommate Luke plays for the BYU co-ed dating team, some-what fantastic.  When friends for either roommate come over to our house, they almost always comment about the different crafts: dish-drying rack, grow box with fall foliage or the banan-A-frame. Comments from friend's of my brother are usually something like "uh, did your girlfriend make that?" to which I usually just make a mad dash to the bathroom.  Comments from Luke's lady friends are something like "Oh my gosh!!  Did you REALLY make those?!" . . . to which I make no reply.  The only comments I really care about are the ones from my fiancé, "That's great Taylor."  Just something to think about :) 

Getting Started

After working on my grow boxes (see below) I saw another project on Pinterest that I thought I would 'tailor' to my own needs.  Although dishes in our apartment are nothing as bad as other apartments I have been in (dishes so high that even poor fruit flies experience altitude sickness trying to fly to the top of the pile), we desperately needed a drying rack for our dishes.  

The materials for the dish rack were pretty basic, most of them I had already accumulated from past projects.
  • Mod Podge 
  • 3 ft dowels (I bought four dowels = plenty from Home Depot) 
  • Box of 1 3/4 (4.45 cm 'Grip Right' nails also from Home Depot)
  • Helmsman Water Repellant (two cans worked perfectly
Step One

If you have left over scrap wood from previous projects, use those.  If finding a new pallet and breaking it down, sanding your planks of wood and cutting them is required, then good for you.  I used the same wood from my other projects and found that two planks were plenty for the 1'x2' drying racks I made.  Before going on with the project, measure the length of the area you want to put your drying rack so it's a perfect fit. 

Step Two

After figuring out the dimensions for your drying rack, you'll need to drill holes through which your dowels will go in order to hold your dishes up right.  My first attempt at the drying rack left me with holes that were drilled in the center of the wood.  If you want your dishes to fall over then this is exactly what you should do, but if you want them to stand upright and positioned so they can really dry then drill holes about 1/2 inch from the top of your sides.   I drilled the holes with both planks on top of each other so that the dowels would line up perfectly and they did!  Small miracle :)   I drilled five holes from the back one inch apart and then I drilled an addition hole about .5 inches from the front so I could have a place for silverware etc.  
Step Three

After drilling your holes, you'll want to nail the box together.  I found it super helpful to nail one end piece to the side piece and then nail your two pieces together.  This probably makes no sense, but do whatever feels best ... as long it's legal.  Notice how there is no bottom?  I did this on purpose because I wanted to just have a towel under the box and not a piece of wood that could get moldy and gross.  

Step Four

When the box has been nailed together.  Coat each dowel with the Helmsman repellant.  This was an idea I had while watching water seep into the cement as a child in excruciating heat of St. George.  If you want your dishes to dry, and the dowels to keep from molding, then give them a good coat of the repellant.  When the dowels of been water-proofed, dip each end in Mod Podge and slide them through the holes, allowing time for the glue to dry.  

Step Five

When the repellant and Mod Podge have all dried, place your drying rack on top of a towel next to your sink!  It's just that easy!  

It would be a good idea to make sure you have the right size of drill for the dowels.  This will save you frustration when you attempt to put a dowel into a hole that is much to small.  I also found it helpful to wipe the box with some Pine Sol (on the outside of the box) to give it a nice scent and look after the box was dried.  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Project #3 Pallet Project

"My first Pallet Project" 

While surfing around on Pinterest the past month, I kept coming across what were called "pallet projects" or basically projects that people were making from wood taken from old pallets.  They seemed fun enough and easy enough to I 'tried' it out.

Choosing the Project

For my project, I decided to start with something easy.  It would have been awesome to build a sweet hide out, but seeing that I live in the apartments of P-town, there would be no where for me to put it.  I also thought about making a large grow box, but again- P-town problems.  Instead I went with a simple wooden box that I decided to make for our kitchen table that could have growing plants and fruits.  The idea came while reminiscing on my childhood home in St. George.  My mom aways had fresh mums in the center of the dinner table.  I loved the vibrant colors that changed week to week and the fragrance of the flowers and fresh feel each time I came home.  I figured imitating this same feel would be a great idea for my apartment filled with 3 young men.

Step One Breaking Down the Pallet

I had no idea going into this project that breaking down a pallet would be so difficult.  I found two big pallets (they each weighed about 80 pounds total) on the side of the road and carried them home.  Using a hammer, I literally beat the nails out of the wood because they had been nailed so deeply into the wood.  I had to sacrifice a few long boards, but I found that taking a screw driver and using it to push the nails back through the wood and then pulling them out with a hammer was most effective.

There is also another type of pallet, not as durable as the heavy pallets that I used, but definitely easier to take apart.  Using the same screw driver, I wedged it down the end of the long boards, just to the side s of the nails between the board and the risers (the 2x4ish boards that made the gap in-between the longer boards) to pull out the nails.  This was SO much faster and I had plenty of boards in no time.

Step Two Sanding the Boards

I used the same power sander that I used for my picture frame (Black and Decker baby!) and 60 grained paper.  I would recommend having ear phones in while sanding so you don't go deaf too.  I sanded one side of the board, the side that others would be seeing and feeling, really well so that it took out the stress marks and unwanted paint marks.  I also found that sanding the top and bottom of the boards was helpful to avoid slivers.

Step Three Measure Twice- Cut Once

For those who actually do read this blog, most likely my mom and professor, you most likely live in a large home with a gigantic dining table.  In my small apartment, our humble table is about big enough to fit one person with a small bowl of cereal.  Because of the size of our table, my box that I made wasn't intended to be anything big or spectacular.  I wanted it to be big enough for its function, but small enough to look good.  The length was 2 feet and and I could to do the width the same as one of the normal boards.  Super fancy right?

Step Four Nails

The wood used for pallets is pretty thin which means nails can possibly split the wood if you aren't careful.  This can be prevented if you nail the board while it is lying on flat cement and then, once the nail has almost penetrated through the first piece of wood, place it on the other piece of wood and then finish penetrating.  I  used a total of 8 nails; 4 for the bottom and 2 for each side.

Step Five Stain

Putting finish on your project is completely up to you.  I made a total of four boxes so that I could experiment with all the stains and without stains.  The stain can give it a beautiful look which you may want.  I would recommend going to the Home Depot (please bless I can register for my wedding there...please bless) and find a stain that matches your cupboards and other wood work in your home.  However, I discovered that I loved the natural look and smell of the sanded wood, wiped with a damp rag, for the finished look.

What I wish I would have known 

I found it helpful to listen to classical music while completing this project.  My patience at different various times quickly ran out, especially while trying to take out the boards from the pallets.  There is something about classical music, Bach, Vivaldi, Chopan and Debussy that helps calm my nerves.  It was also helpful to use smaller nails (3/5) that were skinnier to help avoid cracking the wood.  Comment if you have any tips or things you found helpful or if you want to know when I'm getting married!