Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Meet Monty...

Meet Monty, our newest family member. He joined us a few weeks ago and is growing FAST! After about a week of him wanting to live under the deck all the time, we decided we had better get on top of building him a home. He is nearly as big as our full grown cocker spaniel already and he'll be pushing 100lbs or more when he is full grown. This little guy will not be little for long.

So I pinned some dog houses and realized I had a theme going. I like a crooked dog house! They are so fun and whimsical, don't you think? And I knew I could not figure this one out on my own so I emailed my buddy Ana White  and she  already had something similar drawn up! It was meant to be!

The build: This was the most challenging thing I have ever built. Not hard, just challenging. I really had to use my thinker. But, in about 12 hours time, sometimes working with a helper, I had this beauty finished! The key to all the wonky angles is to mark mark mark your boards and keep them organized!!! Mark and Organize!! Got it?
Start with the frame cuts, which consists of 5 different boards. For me I like to get one cut figured out then use that board as my template for the remaining cuts. Then move on to the next size/cut. Once they are all cut, assembly is of each frame section is pretty simple, but grab a helper to help hold.

Next cut your plywood for the floor and attach. If you got through the first step okay then this one is easy peasy.

Now, Ana's plans say that if you'd like to you can add ridge poles between the trusses if you feel the doghouse needs the extra support. I did add these right after we attached the floor. It just helped to keep things square. I attached with pocket holes. At this time I also decided to add 2x2's to the floor between each section. This will help keep bedding in. Note: down the line you'll notice that the same gap between sections is at the top as well. For now I will keep that for ventilation in the summer months and when it is cold again I'll attach plywood in that area to keep it a little cozy (as well as some sort of door for the winter).
Next, add your 2x2 frame ends to the trusses. Then cut your side sections from the plywood and attach.

Now it's time for that big scary wonky cut for the front and back. But I promise it is not that bad! I just started measuring from the right corner (make sure it's square) and worked my way around. It took me about 20 minutes to get it all mapped out. Then cut it out with your circular saw and use that as your template for the other section. And attach!

After that you can cut and attach all of the trim. Then add the front and back overhang trusses. Now, I am not perfect and something got wonky along the way. I did not have room on the back for a 2x2 overhang truss. This was probably builder error. I went ahead and attached  1x2's instead.

And now it's time for the roof! Cut and attach your plywood. You can then paint it with a quality exterior paint or finish off the roof as desired. We went ahead and used shingles. Then it was time to introduce Monty to his new home.

And I have to show a shot that has our first born dog, Twinkles. We had to use her for bribery to get Monty inside. She approved.

So, who has a furry friend that needs a fun little house? DIY this Crooked Dog House! You won't regret it! Follow Ana's step by step plans and your pup will be home in no time.

Looking for a Monty update? See how our boy is growing here!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Twin Bed Bandwagon

Hi guys! I am kind of between projects right now (plus I have a super busy month of May). So today I thought I'd would share the makings of a twin bed bench. These things are ALL OVER the internet. Can you believe this thing was almost headed for the burn pile?! The footboard was broken but had some salvageable pieces and that headboard just screamed "don't kill me!!!" I am pretty sure my dad thought I was a little crazy wanting to take this thing from him.
 Check out this photo that I labeled for y'all to see what's what. If you look close you can see I used pocket holes to join all my pieces. I used 2" outdoor Kreg screws.

The next job was to add a seat. I used a 1x4, then 1x12, then another 1x4. It overhangs slightly in the front so next time I do one I will probably use 1x3's in place of 1x4's. (Forgive the photos, one leg always looks out of square, GRRR! At least the legs kindly share which one gets to look wonky.)

After some sanding I used one coat of spray primer...

Then 2ish coats of indoor/outdoor high gloss spray paint. I don't normally spray paint my projects but I gotta say, it was great! I knew there was no other way to do paint this bench because of the spokes on the back. And another plus, I was able to do all of the painting in under two hours! Crazy fast! I used Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Multi-Purpose Paint Spray in Sun Yellow.

After the yellow cured for a bit I roughed up some edges. Anywhere I had spayed to close (aka drips) got a distressing. I maybe should have stopped there, but didn't. I watered down some black paint to do a sort of glazing/distress. Problem was, I didn't move it out of the sun and it dried almost the second it went on so I couldn't get as much wiped off as I needed. YIKES!  So I sanded some of that off too (the yellow layer was incredibly strong and held up really well to all the sanding).

There, pretty perfect! I loved the kinda dirty look. Since I knew it would be going into a flower bed by my barn and my kids would dirty it up, this finish was perfect! Now I don't have to worry about wear and tear... the more dirt the better.

Now PLEASE, don't judge me for this nasty area of my yard. It once was cute-ish but was neglected in the last year. But my husband and I have big plans to add a retaining wall and make it pretty once again. I'll update with more photo's then!

Link up here:

Show Me What Ya Got #84

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Operation: Coop That Chicken!

It's here! We are finished!!! About a month ago I started on this journey with Ana White to design and build a chicken coop. Now, this coop is not actually for me. It is for my sister... that's right, I am such an awesome sibling that I built this for her (I think we worked out a 50/50 egg deal but we'll see if that ends up happening!). I didn't exactly do it alone though. We had the help of both our husbands, a friend, and our daddy. We built this over the course of 4 days and about 30 hours!!! Ana White makes it fairly simple with her step by step plans. So even an intermediate builder and a few helpers can DIY this shed style chicken coop!

Day 1: Boy was it cold. 40 degrees and cloudy and damp, left us wondering how on Earth Ana does it up there in Alaska! But we pushed on and got past the cold fingers and built the entire frame and hung the siding. This was the day that we had the most helpers and it was so fun doing this with family.
After spending an hour and a half in my favorite home imporevment store and getting all of the supplies we were ready to begin!

The first step was to level the ground and build the foundation. In Ana's plans she shows you how to frame the floor. But as you can see we framed the floor with pallets! We used a 2x4 on each side to keep it square while the plywood was laid for the floor. After that was attached we removed those 2x4's making the floor frame a perfect 4' x 8'.

Next you have to build your walls. Follow the directions for the front and back walls exactly. For the side walls you will cut based on your window needs. Ana's plans gives you a design using no windows, but rather operational shutters! Chicken wire inside the opening protects the chicks. We chose to use windows (details on this further down) and made our opening slightly larger than the windows. Once the walls are all built you may now attach them to the floor, carefully keep everything square, and attach the walls to each other as well.

The roof supports was the first tricky part for me. It took me a few minutes and an "ah ha moment" to figure this one out! Cut your boards 49 7/8" long, with both ends 15 degrees off square. Then (the tricky part) measure down 2 5/8" on one end and mark a perpendicular line. Trust me, I was confused! But two minutes later I had it and even took a picture to help you guys with it too! Hope it helps. I cut the first board and then used it as my template for the remaining boards. Then I drilled pocket holes in them and screwed them on! So easy (after an "ah ha moment" of course)!

And a bit of a blooper photo. If you didn't bring enough ladders, make your own! That's my brother-in-law on the roof, myself, and my poor father holding me up.

Time for siding! We chose the most inexpensive T1-11 we could find at Lowes. While I love to save a few bucks, you might want to not get the very cheapest. If you do it will need to be painted on the inside to help protect the walls (something that is being worked on now). Plus, this stuff was messy to cut so make sure you have your eye protection and face mask! You will need to cut a hole for your chickens, windows, nesting box, and your "people door". All of these cuts will be based on where you have decided to locate these openings and their sizes (so measure more than twice and cut once!). We worked from the tall side first and made our cuts as we went. It worked out pretty well. You will need to trim off any excess material (like the edge/lip) so that later on your trim fit snug all the way around.

That is where I ended day 1. The next day my brother-in-law installed the plywood onto the roof. Make sure to account for your trim. He made the sides and back have a 1"overhang and did 6" on the front. These measurement can all be done to suit your taste and needs. My sister and brother-in-law also did the painting and staining on my days off. **Paint color used is Valspar Spa Pool and the stain used is Olympic Eiffel Tower** And yes, paint choice was one of the hardest parts!

Day 2: The slow and steady day! We had a friend come to do the roof (if you have never roofed, check YouTube for some great videos). We chose to use a rubber roof because supposedly they add a layer of insulation. You can of course use whatever roofing materials you can find and are comfortable with installing. We also worked on the trim and nesting box. Things actually went much slower on this day and it seemed like we didn't get too much done. Work one piece at a time in order to get precise cuts. The angles cuts will continue to be 15 degrees off square, just like the roof. We also built the frame for the nesting box, using lots of pocket holes. This box is strong! My camera stayed in the van this whole day :( and I was only able to get this photo on our way out the driveway.

Day 3 aka "let's get this done" day: Well, we didn't get it 100% finished on day 3 but we were close! It was just my sister and I (with a few little helpers and her hubby at the tail end) and we kicked butt! We finished up a few pieces of trim, cut and hung the shutters, constructed the door, had a few photo blooper moments, installed one window, and finished the nesting box.

To make the door you'll need to cut two 1x4's about 1/4" shorter than the height of the door opening and three 1x3's that are the width of the opening minus the width of both 1x4's, minus 1/4". Something important to keep in mind, if your door opening has gotten out of square make sure you cut you boards based on that. We were not perfect and one side was 1/4" shorter. This was not a big deal though, because I knew this and accounted for it. You can also keep your sander handy to help with any tight spots that may happen.

For the door backing you can either use scrap roof plywood, 1x6 boards, or even the siding that had been cut for the opening!  We chose the scrap siding method. To do this we laid the door frame on top of the siding, marked a line to cut the excess, and after cutting we used glue on the seam and screws all the way around. It really turned out beautifully if you ask me. :) You can then install your hinges. To hang you will need a few extra pair of hands. At 9:00PM we hung the door in the dark with only the light of a tiny lantern. And it opened and closed perfect on the first try! That's all thanks to a lot of measuring!

For the windows we used  two shabby old wood windows using a simple lock to close and chain/gravity to open. **Note: We may need to add more ventilation holes. To do this we will use a hole saw to make several evenly spaced holes and then cover them from the inside with hardware cloth.**

To attach the lid to the nesting box use good sized hinges that will be able to stand up to all that egg collection. Then add a closure of some sort.  We used plywood roof scraps for our lid.

Day 4: We finished and hung the second window. Then it was time to focus on the chicken door. We used the scrap from when we cut the opening and 1x12 scrap left from the nesting box cut to fit just smaller than the opening. We connected the two pieces together in order to have a nice strong door. Then I hung hinges and came up with a nice method of opening (simple chain and snap) but still need to think of a better closure before the chicks come.

We also added the rest of the door hardware.

After that all the hard stuff was over! It was time to touch up paint and stain and make her cute! And then time to take 20+ finished photos! We will focus on the run next, add things like roosts to the inside, and then it's time for the girls to come home! Wonder how long my sister will be forking over 50% of her eggs? I hope you all will decide to use these plans to build your own backyard chicken coop! I can't wait to see!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Holy Table... part 2

Happy Friday everyone! I finally remembered to take my camera to my mom's house and was able to get some decent photos of her Farmhouse Table in action. So to end the week, I'll share my version of Ana White's Farmhouse Table.

 Here is all of the lumber materials needed. Doesn't look like a table, does it? We splurged and got the turned legs and we are so happy we did!

The first thing I did was lay out what would become the top of the table. I cut my breadboard ends, marked and drilled pocket holes, and glued and screwed it all together.

The next part of constructing this table is to build the frame. This was simple for me because I kept the full8 foot length of the side aprons  and just had to cut both end aprons based upon the final width of the top minus the width of two legs. Here's the pieces cut with pocket holes predrilled. Doesn't look like a table frame does it?

Time for the legs! We laid the end apron on a spacer board then attached it nice and square to the legs.

Next we used the same spacer boards to raise up the side aprons and attached them to the legs. And a frame was born! I added 1x2 pieces about every 12 inches in order to screw up through to attach the top.

Now we laid the top face down and center the frame on it and screwed it on! It's that easy! As you can see, this table is about half the size of my whole kitchen!

On to the finish work. Sand until your arms seem like they might come off! I think I did 120, 150, 220 grit. Whew, more than an hour on that! Then I distressed it lightly and sanded it lightly again. Once it is all sanded and whipped clean it was time for stain. I used a mahogany gel stain from Minwax. I applied 3 coats, which was a challenge because I was working in my cold garage. So this is where it became time consuming!

After applying one coat of poly I decided it was too cold (heaters just could not keep up) so we waited a few days for that coat to dry and moved it to my parents house where I put on one more coat of poly. Over the next few days my Dad so kindly put on 3 more coats. After a few days cure time she was ready to use!
Here is the first coat of poly.

And here it is after a total of 5 coats of poly!

Things I would change if/when I do a table of this size again:
1) I would never make a bread board end so large again. I would stick to a 1x6 or smaller. With such a large size we worry about children putting too much pressure on the ends. But so far so good!
2) I will make the legs removable. It was a bear trying to get this table into the house. Thankfully the width was just narrow enough!
3) I won't tackle this in the winter months! Construction of the table took only a few hours but finishing in freezing temps took weeks waiting for warm-ish temperatures

I can't wait for the next one! This table was by far my favorite build to date!

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