Planting Sequoias

In which I blog about a life (hopefully) well lived.


Leave a comment

This blog has moved! Head to plantingsequoiasblog.com for the reveal!!!

This here blog is no longer functional! So, if you’re reading this in a feed (or for some strange reason aren’t automatically redirected, update your link/bookmark and head on over to plantingsequoiasblog.com! It’s nice over there, so don’t be scared. Seriously.

Advertisements


1 Comment

Farm Apartment: Framing Exterior Walls (in which Kenny and I invent our own form of marriage counseling)

As you might have seen from my instagram feed (it’s fascinating, really), framing on the apartment has begun!

My grandpa got a jump on assembling the walls before we were even finished laying the deck. The walls are assembled on the floor and then hoisted in large pieces. In the picture below, you can see a wall just waiting to be lifted into place.

IMG_20130815_200528

Three things to note in the picture above: The large space in the far wall will be where a window will go. Grandpa also took the time to notch out small sections in each of the end walls (you can see the notches in the picture above). Later we’ll put 2x4s through them and they’ll be an anchor for the steel exterior of the barn. Last thing: the darker boards in the picture above are the old joists from the ceiling! Waste not, want not, right?

We got busy putting up the first wall when the sun was setting. It was pretty beautiful.

IMG_20130815_203405

In many ways, the process went fast and was extremely gratifying visually. But in other ways, there was a lot of busy work that occurred too–the walls have to be precisely placed and level and then each wall section needs to be braced. We only got a little more than 1 wall up that first night. We=basically the whole fam: Grandpa, dad, uncle, Kenny, and yours truly, hanging out with the men and hoping they don’t notice.

My youngest brother and his friend put up the next wall. No worries–he does this for a living now.

And then it was time for Our wall.

Oh yeah, did I tell you that Kenny and I erected an ENTIRE wall? BY OURSELVES? And SURVIVED, marriage intact?

Because we did.

framing exterior walls

(studmuffin)

There are obviously no pictures of the project in process because I was lifting, hauling, leveling, nailing, and bracing massive walls. That’s my excuse, and I think it’s a good one.

Here’s the wall we put up ON OUR OWN. Nail guns, ladders, bracing, and everything.

framing exterior walls

And hold on. Do you see that large gaping hole in the floor? In the picture above?

That, my friends, is going to be where the stairs come up. But for now, it’s just a gaping hole. THAT KENNY AND I HAD TO MANEUVER BAJILLION POUND WALLS AROUND. Without falling into, ideally.

I won’t say there were no arguments throughout the process, but I will say that this was an excellent lesson in working together and trusting each other.

framing exterior walls

I think both Kenny and I feel pretty proud of ourselves after that day.

Oh, and I had to include this picture my sister instagrammed from the first day. Who knew construction work could be so beautiful and glamorous looking?

Framing an exterior wall.

Sheesh. Over and out.


3 Comments

Farm Apartment: Laying the Deck (in which I wield a nail gun like a boss)

If you’re a construction worker, this “Farm Apartment” blog series might make you go “huh?” but hopefully that’s okay because for your sake I am skipping over some of the more boring parts. It is entirely coincidental that those boring parts just happened to be very stressful to the point where I forgot to take pictures.

Which is a bummer, because a crane was involved.

While the open sky look can be quite lovely, it is not conducive for shelter during rainstorms. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can catch up by reading this post first. Yes, we’re building a second story onto a formerly flat-roofed barn.

Anyway, let’s talk about the crane, since that was the best/most stressful part. Dad ordered these fancy joists (they looked like these) that were made up of two 2x4s and some plywood. Apparently they’re very strong, and very heavy–thus the crane. The truck driver who delivered them also doubled as a crane driver which was conveniently a part of the truck itself. He hoisted up those joists and plopped them right onto the roof as if they were pick-up sticks–except with way more serious consequences if something went wrong.

Once we had the joists, it was simply (HA) a matter of spacing them across the beam and walls every sixteen inches and nailing them in. Nevermind that each joist weighed a ton apiece (almost) and were about 40 feet long.

Then came some less stressful progress–the “deck”! Apparently this platform is not called a “floor;” no, that would be entirely too logical.

Using the farm’s forklift, Dad lifted up a stack of 4×8′ sheets of underlayment and we got to building.

workshop4

(Picture from my sister’s Instagram feed.)

My job was affixing everything with the nail gun, since wrangling the large sheets of underlayment into place was not my forte. Which was fine with me–nail-gunning makes one feel quite powerful.

We got halfway done the first day and finished up on the second evening we worked on it.

In the picture below you can see that half of the deck has been laid (in the foreground) and half has yet to be laid.

IMG_20130815_182302

My grandpa got a jump on the framing of the second story by assembling the walls (you can see them lying down) before we’d even finished the deck.

With the underlayment down, it is nearly time to begin framing!

IMG_20130815_200528

And that will wait for another post. Bwahaha.

I’m just happy we don’t have to walk from joist to joist (in mortal peril) anymore. I have great balance, but it’s somewhat unnerving to step over gaping holes into which you could quite possibly plummet with any misstep.

Also–can I just point out how great the view is from our construction site? Nothing like looking out over the fields at sunset!

Anyone else want to share their nail-gunning experience? Or desire to learn? I am basically an expert now. 🙂


7 Comments

How Not to Paint Laminate Furniture (in which I learn a valuable lesson about not taking shortcuts)

Two weeks ago, I found this leaning against our apartment dumpster.

Excited does not begin to describe how I was feeling about this magnificent freebie.

free headboard

Ken had a hard time seeing the vision, but I knew I could transform this weighty hunk of laminate into something awesome.

And I know, I know, it doesn’t look that bad–from a distance. Up close–well, it had issues.

Not the least of which were these mysterious screws poking out the top of the headboard.

free headboard--old canopy bed?

My guess is that at one point this bed used to be a canopy bed. A quick appointment with my pliers did the trick, however, and I filled the gaping holes with some wood filler. There were also a bunch of holes down by the bottom of the legs where various bed mechanisms had been attached that I filled in too.

I sanded down the wood-filler-filled places and gently sanded the rest of the piece, and then I got to painting.

Which was my huge mistake.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. It was looking pretty awesome.

Here’s the picture I texted to my mom (I have to turn SOMEWHERE for praise, since Ken has zero appreciation for painted furniture that originated from the dumpster of all places).

wpid-IMG_20130731_161709_834.jpg

Happily (and innocently), I finished painting, and the next night, I set out and distressed the things.

Only that process went a little too easily.

The paint chipped off wonderfully.

A lot of it.

And then I realized that if I even looked at the piece sideways, the paint would chip off.

Frantically I began to Google.

Apparently there’s a very important step between not painting and painting and that would be PRIMER.

Since laminate is so smooth, there’s nothing that paint can really adhere to. DUH.

I, in my infinite wisdom and constant state of impatience, thought that I would be the FIRST PERSON to finally succeed by taking this particular shortcut. FALSE. SO SO FALSE.

So, tearfully, I set up a play-date with my mouse sander and undid what I had already done. Which, in all actuality, did not take very long at all since the paint came off so easily.

And then I primed, and than I painted. This was a multi-day process spent in a dark, sweltering garage. I took no pictures because I was so mad at myself. And then I painted again. WOULD IT NEVER END???

Yes, it would.

After I’d painted it the second time (third if you count the time I sanded off; fourth if you count the primer–but who’s counting?), I got out my glaze and antiqued the thing.

I used Behr’s Faux Glaze and a test pot of brown Glidden paint I had on hand. The glaze helps the paint to remain “open” longer, aka, not dry as fast so you can manipulate it more. Note: do not use on husbands–they don’t respond well to manipulation. Either that or I’m doing it wrong. 🙂

Behr's Faux Glaze and Glidden Test Paint (brown): Perfect for creating an antique glaze

Mix these together at a ratio of 1 part paint to 4 parts glaze. I used a dark brown paint but you can in theory use any color.

Normally when you glaze thing you just smear the concoction all over the furniture and wipe it off, but I didn’t want to get my hands dirty, so I just “dry-brushed” the paint on, focusing on the edges/corners and smearing the stuff lightly all over. I did have a rag nearby so I could wipe off any part that got a little out of hand.

This is what I mean by using a “dry brush”–I just BARELY poke the edges of the bristles in the paint every couple of minutes.

"dry brush" darker paint on furniture edges to create an antique look

This method uses practically NO paint. I like to use the paint that sticks cover of the test pot and that’s about it.

It’s sort of a different way to “distress” furniture–it gives it a chippier look, as if the gray paint is wearing off to show the wood underneath, but it’s really just a big ruse. Shhh. It can be our secret.

antiqued headboard (click for tutorial!)

Also, I’m happy to report that the paint did not chip off at all once I finally did things the correct way and used primer.

I could have finished this with polyurethane or something similar, but after all I’d been through, I decided I really liked the matte finish over something shinier.

antiqued headboard (click for tutorial!)

Since we can’t keep this headboard, it’s currently posted on Craigslist (here, for interested locals)…sniff, sniff. Someday we’ll have a guest room and I will greatly lament parting with this piece, but for now, it can’t stay. Kenny keeps muttering something about wanting to “park the car in the garage” under his breath…


12 Comments

Painted Barn Wood Sign (in which I nearly start My Own Business but then I think it through)

If you have been reading my blog from the beginning (so…2 people, maybe), this post may sound a little familiar.

You see, I’ve done this craft before. Here. Almost exactly a year ago, but before Kenny and I were married, so basically ages ago.

It’s just that when my parents’ start tearing up buildings on the farm, AKA BARNS I get a bit excited.

I see all of this old, beautiful BARN WOOD and I start getting these Grand Delusions.

I begin to think that I will hoard this disassembled barn and make things out of the wood.

I start plotting ways to expand this into a business with my crafts (because this is probably going to go viral. Gotta be prepared.)

Then I think that I should probably quit my job to devote all of my time and energy into this yet-nonexistent but entirely probably very-successful venture.

And then I begin to think that my Business Empire can help to Save the World. I’ll employ people! I’ll donate! I’ll send these to third world countries because I am a Philanthropist (capital “P”).

(It escalates quickly, I know. I have to live with myself constantly).

But then I blink, and come down to reality. I like my 9-5. And while I enjoy doing crafts, my attention span is about as long as a toddlers. And once I do something, I don’t normally have a burning desire to do it again (recreate the wheel and all that).

But I can’t help but snag a board or two for fun, special occasions.

One such special occasion presented itself on Sunday, when one of my best friends had her first bridal shower and I needed a gift.

Sometimes homemade gifts can go horribly wrong, so I had budgeted for a Plan B. But it turned out just fine.

And.

Why am I still talking? You want to see pictures.

Here’s the board, which was formerly a barn.

barn wood board for sign

As you can see, I needed to do a little clean up. Nail removal had already occurred for transportation-safety purposes.

So I washed it and sanded it to within an inch of it’s life. It was then more deserving of a better photo backdrop than the garage floor and our duvet cover sufficed.

Sanded barn board for rustic sign

Next I traced out my plan with some chalk. We used this verse (and some surrounding ones) at our wedding and I think it’s super appropriate for a soon-to-be-married couple. 1 John 4:19 says “We love because He first loved us.” #bibleforthewin

rustic barn wood sign--chalk markings

Chalk allows for a multitude of errors, which is also nice.

Paint is a little less forgiving, but let’s keep it in perspective. This is supposed to be rustic.

painting a sign onto barn wood

Then, because the letters were a little too crisp and white, I attacked the board with some sandpaper and rustick-ed it up.

distressed paint on barn wood sign

It also made it super soft and silky feeling and so I didn’t seal it with anything. That could happen, but I liked the unfinished, matte look.

rustic barn wood sign 1 john 4:19

To the back of the board I affixed two tiny picture-hanging hooks, the kind with the little teeth. Those are hinge marks in the paint, so I think this board came from somewhere really mysterious and glamorous like a door or cabinet.

hinge marks on old barnwood

So, even though I didn’t end up saving the world (YET), I did manage to make a semi-acceptable bridal shower gift.

Cheers to Lorie and Phil on their upcoming nuptials!