Variety Pack Day!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

So guys.  I'm in a slump.  A creative slump that I just can't seem to dig out of.  One that's unwelcoming-ly lingering.  Sigh.  It's killin' me man, I've got tasks to tackle!

I had a flash of an idea on a project I've been pondering for a while, so, hey, maybe the light is at the end of the tunnel.  Goodness, let's hope so.  Bedraggled and befuddled is no way to get sh*t done.

I mean, it happens from time to time, tumbling into in a creative abyss.  I've always longed be one of those people where the creativity just oozes non-stop out of every pore.

Or is it decision fatigue?  (Mike would laugh and disagree.) (Intriguing concepts there though, useful stuff, but some may be too black & white regimented analytical, for me anyway.  One thing I liked about doing props, every day was vastly different.  Routine strikes me as a creativity killer, IMHO.)

In the mean time, since I still feel the mad itch to make things, since I can't seem to drag my sorry a** into the light, I've been doin' small stuff.  You know what that means....

New year, new Variety Pack post!  All right!

First up?  I finally got a door pull into the master bath pocket door.  Since I reused the swinging door into the pocket, holes were drilled out for regular door hardware, so, had to hide it all.  The door faces were cake -- closet door pulls.*

Of course, because I can typically never find the right thing for anything anywhere anytime, I searched for-freaking-ever to find a pull I liked.  For a door pull.  I know.  Go ahead, roll your eyes, it's fine.

I did unearth one that I wide-eyed over but $30 for a pull?  Nah.  This was my second choice but I was still choking at sixteen bucks for a mere pull.  In the end I went with a flush ring pull,* the Deltana one in that search result, tap tap, that's the one.

pocket door pull
Hey, lookie at that, a door pull!
And then thank goodness I purchased a new palm router* (oh yes I did); it's nothing short of marvelous.  Granted I'm not a router chick, never used one nor had any desire to use one, but grabbed it for a project and I'm finding it wow has uses!

Like digging out the hole s'more in the side of the door so the pull ring convex bump etc. will fit.  Then zipping around so the face sits flush with the door.

figuring out install of pocket door pull
All right, so it ain't pretty, my routing but guess what -- it was exactly what I needed.
fitting pocket door pull
Nice!  I gotta fix that upper right screw though.  Then after some Durhams Water Putty*....
installed pocket door pull
Ta da!  Yeah, still gotta fix that screw.
Aye me, so damn cool!  And easy too!  So that's done and rockin', yes.  Mike spurted a "ooooOOOOoooh, look at you," buzz of approval.

One day as I was laying on the floor doing my dumb arm exercises, I speculated if air was leaking in from our recessed can lights.  As we all know, those things are gaping air portals.  Or can be.

existing can light
See, 'cuz the trim our doofus flipper put in, they're all open up in there.
After searching and searching online for ways to eliminate that air downpour when one has no access above them, I came across LED retrofits.*  Hmmmmmmmm.  Pricey.

Seeing as it seemed the only solution, I wandered over to Menards where I chatted it up with another electrical department person (I swear, they have the best electrical department); he pointed me to recessed light trim*, the fully enclosed cone type.

fully enclosed can light
Ah ha, fully enclosed!  There's some thinkin'.  And one of Finn's Chucks* as we call them, or as we named them for Hailey.  She amassed quite the varied collection.
Ah ha!  Why....why in all the copious amounts of online searching had no one ever once mentioned these handy buggers?  Jeez louise.  Really?

They're not tough to install.  Wait, lemme rephrase.  They're not tough to install but the hooks, I just, it wasn't until the very last one did I finally get it.  Figures.

replacing can light interior
If you have cans like ours, unscrew the wing nut and take the assembly out.  Pop out the socket, then pop it into the new recessed can trim.  Those C shaped metal bits in the can are what the metal hangars sproing onto.
But as it turns out, when I got all up there in the master bedroom ceiling, there were zero air leaks.  Huh.  Shocked, utterly shocked.  Was it the insulation?  I dunno.

I stuffed them in our master bedroom and bathroom anyway just for good measure, in case I was hallucinating.

But, point being here, there actually truly is a way to block air from seeping in via below after all despite the interwebs' dearth and I very much wanted to share that outstandingly amazing info with you.

During my brief spat of January clean up/clean out/reorganize/tidy up, I refolded the master closet clothing items.  Doing so forced me to take stock of my uh, hoodie collection.  It's not a problem....

Rather than refold them and continue to absorb shelving space, since there's a blank wall behind the door, I thought, ah, hoodie racks!

closet wall before
Before.  Wasted space.  Yes, that's Gromit on the shelf.  Big fan.
Easy peasy, and way cheap too.  I dug through my pallet wood collection in the basement and found two cool pieces about 22" in length.

pallet wood for racks
Nice!  Pardon my lame shadow there.
Next, I stopped at the Chicago ReStore and picked up a handful of mismatched lil' drawer pull knobs, none more than twenty cents.

draw pulls and knobs for racks
Look at all them knobs.
All I had to do?  Yep, attach the drawer pulls.

To hang the racks on the wall I used those spiffy keyhole brackets* (like I used on my 99 cent shelf).  Added cha-ching here was the palm router -- I was able to dig out the area behind.  I understand there's a keyhole bracket jig for a router* but, eh, didn't invest in it yet.

keyhole bracket figuring
Bzzzt, holes behind keyhole brackets.  I then reused that handy tape trick, yes!
Using my hoodies as a hanging guide, I sunk my fave wall anchors* in, zipped in the screws, hung the racks, hung the hoodies and voila!  Freed up oodles of shelf space!  Yay!  I literally spent less than $2.00 and an hour on this.  Yes that's correct.  Under two bucks.  Under an hour.

hoodie coat racks for closet installed
Yes, it was late and (winter) dark out, hence the real poopy picture.
hoodie on pallet wood and drawer knob rack
Another ta da!  Hoodie racks!  Sweet.  That there is my Exorcist hoodie.  Ah, see, it's the fault of all the shows, why I have so many hoodies.  (Sure.)

hoodie rack made of pallet wood and drawer pulls
Oh so Mike's week off staycation was terribly nice.  Super nice!  Oh it was soooo nice having him around!  I should start playing the lottery.

We got to a point where I was bored from all the lounging though so Mike, despite being perfectly happy absorbed in video games queried, "well then what should we do, babe?"  I demurred, "well, we could wash Finn, we could put up the back door awning, or we could rip apart the stairs...."

Ho hum, just like that, la la.  Mike took a second to pause, process, turned then said, "just like that.  You casually throw in tearing apart the stairs, just like that, as if it's nothing, huh?"  I blinked and shrugged in return.  "Let's put up the awning," he replied.  Dammit.  But ok.

installing store bought awing
Mike, getting himself up to speed on this wacky task, wishing he were still on the couch playing games.
The awning* was fussy, it was annoying, again, much as it was the first time I tried.  A major kink was not knowing what the wall construction consisted of, other than the obvious siding.  I mean, goodness knows what the flipper or anyone prior did.

So I drilled one smaller hole thinking maybe we could try the enclosed hardware though I speculated we could not.  I was right.

hanging hardware for awning
Everything has to pass Finn muster, by the way.  Enclosed hanging hardware.
So off to Menards I dashed to return the lag screws I had purchased as the wall was siding, thin sheet foam insulation, a sheet material, then some sort of random thickness that was thicker than anticipated, then emptiness with insulation batt.

I picked up these,* but then also these* in 3".

new hardware for awning
A hanging hardware collection collage.  Ah.
Well, guess what.  Yep, you guessed right.  Neither would have worked as turns out, neither were long enough.  Figures.  Right?!  So guess what I had to do?  Yep.  Head back to Menards.  Gettin' cranky.

This time, per Mike's suggestion, I got five inch toggle bolts and he was right as rain.  Whew.

And while I was gone, Mike yanked out a trapped errant toggle bolt butterfly gizmo from our first attempt and did a few other things.  Because, he said, "I've finally learned that when you're frustrated, the best thing to do is be inordinately helpful and that fixes everything."  And he was so right.

new backdoor awning installed
Finn was in time-out as he tried to eat Toby again.
Since it was atypically pleasant outdoors that day, we sat outside and grilled a turkey breast and had a lovely fire.  If you have not had turkey off the grill, omg, you have not lived.  SO good.

Our first foray was Thanksgiving '15 with a whole bird at which time Mike asked me to make him some grill lid lifter who-ha thingamajig'ers.  He has a Weber kettle* and an innovative grilling brain.

My first attempt, while passable, made life complicated and a two person job.  My second attempt, winner winner turkey dinner!  How to is way easy:
  • two longer pieces of pallet wood (mine were 19 x 3.25)
  • string (optional)
While measuring is smart, I opted to go outside and mark the wood based on the grill, where I needed to cut.  But, here's a quick synopsis of my measurements:  2.75"- 3" in from the side edges, 2" wide cut, 3/4ish" deep.

pallet wood to prop grill lid
Fancy, yah?
All I did?  Cut out the rectangles using the band saw.  A couple a' dashes outside to check, a couple 'a dashes back in to adjust the rectangles, a couple a' holes to pull some string through to hang them up when not in use, and bingo, grill lid lifers!

grill lid propped open with pallet wood
Here's with only one on.
The point of 'em?  To get more air movement around in there which aids wood chip smoke and the skin get all crispy golden.  Plus our original foray, the bird was quite gigantic; the lifters provided the extra head room he needed.  But the added air circulating, like a convection oven, made oh!, quite the perfect yummy heavenly   .....

I'm drooling, I have to move on....

Oh, you've gotta see what reader Eryne made, inspired by our puppy gate!

reader's cute dog
First, the puppy, Tilda Swinton.  Omg, what an adorable puppy, huh?!  Ears! 
reader's puppy gate
Second, her spiffy gate!  She used cedar and rope.  Pretty awesome!  That's Blaster the laser eyed cat in the background.
Nice, right?!  I was thrilled she was delighted so I invited her to share photos.  So cool and she did such a stellar job!

Oh, speaking of dogs, I happened upon these pet emergency cards.  No one likes to think about these things but check those cards out as they could very well save a life.  We now have the cards and the key tags.


Loooong story short.

The brain fog appears to be breaking.  The first floor bathroom cabinets are now finally designed in my head.  Thumbs up.

What helped?  Surely typing this post.  I tried out an app called Unstuck as I was nearing that-stuck.  Retail therapy (Ikea!).  Seeing this idea on Instagram riled me' brain up as an (un?)attainable wow-that's-perfect thought for our laundry room.  And sunshine.  Ah yes, sunshine.

Off to ramp up productivity!

Oh!  A recipe!  I nearly forgot.  Wow.  Try this:  Apple Mosaic Tart.  I have a hell of a go with the caramel every single time but dang if this thing ain't tasty.  This year's Valentine's Day dessert, awwww.

Happy three year blog-iversary!  Yay!  Thanks for reading, everybody!

*The closet door pulls, flush ring pulls, Durhams Water Putty, Porter Cable palm router, LED retrofits, recessed light trim, Loofa dog toys, self drilling wall anchors, door awning, keyhole brackets, keyhole jig, Weber kettle grill, and Cobra DrillerToggles are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.  Whew, what a list!

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