February 21, 2007 - How to Extract More Space for Shelves
The title for this little piece may well get me an award for worst pun one day.
I'm talking about the shelf we added to our extractor fan in the kitchen. It's not the most obvious place to put a shelf but it really works for us. It's high enough above the stove to stay clear of any cooking splashes and it really adds character to that corner of our kitchen.
We used the same wood we used for the kitchen cabinets so that it looks like an integral part of the design.
Don't use this shelf to store your cookery books. It's much too risky to reach up over a hot flame to get them. Instead, use this shelf as a decorative accent. We added a chef who somewhat resembles my hubby, and some taller bottles which we received as gifts.
The plant pot used to hold a beautiful plant we were given as a house gift. Take it from me; don't bother putting plants above your stove. If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen, took on new meaning as we saw the plant slowly wilting away.
Anyway. If you have an extractor fan in your kitchen, consider adding a shelf around it and changing the display every month or two to add interest to your cooking area.
February 4, 2007 - Floating on Air - and Falling to Earth
Well, the floating shelves are done. But they're not actually up on the wall yet. One was, but for the life of him, my hubby couldn't get it to stay straight. You have no idea how many times he used his trusty spirit level, this way and that, to straighten it out. But no, the darn shelf would not do anything but tilt forward and down.
Frustrating would be a nice way to put it. Eventually, hubby discovered that the problem was not with the shelf itself, but rather with the installation of the hidden bracket. That was the good news. The bad news was that there was nothing to be done but remove the shelf, fix the problem and try again.
Our poor shelf is somewhat the worse for wear (not to say, damaged) from being wrenched from the wall. After that, hubby had to try and detach the hidden bracket from the shelf using a paint scraper and hammer. They don't call it strong glue for nothing.
We've learned a lot from this project, not least of which is that plans and instructions you get from the Internet are not always all they're cracked up to be. Never mind. Once we've finished this project we'll not only be able to tell you exactly how to do it yourselves, we'll also be able to steer you clear of all the problems.
There's no picture this time. It's just too depressing to show you the shelf past its prime. But never fear, soon enough both shelves will be up on the wall and I'll be able to show you how to use them as decorative centerpieces for your living space.
January 24, 2007 - Floating on Air
Well, I'm not actually floating on air, but I am pretty pleased. Joel (my amateur-woodworker hubby and website co-conspirator) has been making us some floating shelves.
Ever since we moved in, just over 10 years ago, we've had a long, bare white wall in our living room. And we've also had an eclectic assortment of photos, vases and other collectables gathering dust on the top of our bookcases, where we put them temporarily while we found a better place for them. If I could ban temporary from the English dictionary, I would!
Anyway, Joel's been making these floating shelves for that wall for a couple of weeks now, in his spare time. Half-an-hour here, an hour there. He thinks that the two shelves together, from start to finish, will have taken him about 10 hours to build from scratch.
He's writing up the whole process, including the mistakes he made along the way and how to fix them, so that you can see how it's done. If you get all the wood precut, it's the kind of project that even beginners can manage. Of course, if you want to save a bit of money you can do what Joel did, and buy just the raw materials so that you can cut everything to size yourself.
Here are a couple of shots of the work in progress.
By tomorrow the paint should be dry and we'll be able to install the floating shelves. I can't wait! We're finally getting a place to display family photos and mementos. Hurray.
January 15, 2007 - Walking the Plank - Well, Planks, Actually
I'm really serious about this house taming thing. By the end of 2007 all our stuff will either have a place to live, or have been made homeless. I'm sick of climbing over toys and roller skates. I'm tired of laundry taking over the living room. And I'm done with piles of papers attacking my office. Sound familiar, anyone?
One of the first things I'm doing, on a very limited budget, is making more shelf space. But I don't want to just put up some ugly, utilitarian shelves and be done with it. I want to have shelving that's stylish, practical and fun. And I want it to be original. And I need it to cost me less than megabucks.
Remember that old shelving I rushed out to rescue a few weeks ago? Well, right now it's in a pretty sorry state. Much of it is discolored and stained. It all needs to be sanded down and painted.
I have a few ideas about how to transform these shelves into something worthy of my walls. I even know where I want to put them. Now I just have to get started. The kids are going to help me. It's so much more fun than sitting in front of the TV. Really.
Stay tuned to see how we give old, junky planks a completely new look. And if I can do it, you can too. I'm not exactly Mrs.-Handy-About-The-House you know.
If you're doing your own shelving project, let me know and I'll happily write about it too. The more original the better.
January 7, 2007 - Thirty-Five Pens Too Many
I know I said I'd update you tomorrow, and I know it's several days past tomorrow, but it did get done, eventually. The first shelf in our total house makeover was indeed, completed in a mere ten minutes. It's amazing how quickly mess builds up, not to mention the dust. The mess included thirty six pens, markers and crayons in assorted colors, coupons which expired more than a year ago, an old deflated balloon , several invitations to celebrations long ago and much more.
It took about six minutes to actually go through everything and get down to the dust.
And one minute after that there it was, a completely clean, dust-free shelf just waiting to be loaded up. I don't know if you can really see the difference, but believe me, there was enough dust there to happily draw a heart to my beloved.
So, now the letter holder actually has some room for new letters and the pen holder actually contains some pens that work. Quite an improvement already. The only other thing I did was to dump the contents of the shallow bowl into a deeper bowl so you can't see the mess peeking out from the top of it. I'll have to look around for a prettier bowl but in the meantime, the shelf is greatly improved and I am greatly pleased with my first, modest efforts in house taming.