Monthly Archives: January 2015

Miter Saw Table and Garage Shelves

Dave took the momentum from building the shed and is totally running with it to make the garage much more organized and useable.

I looove our miter saw because it is compound, meaning it can cut really wide boards. Unfortunately it also needs a really deep worktop to sit on. The existing counter top that I assume was from our kitchen pre-remodel wasn’t really deep enough. So I found some plans that are technically for a portable worktop, (that one could take to construction sites and such) complete with an inset area for the miter saw so that any boards being cut are supported all along their length. Dave modified the plans to fit our space and….

Miter saw table

Tada! Super secure miter saw setup, bolted into the original counter top.

Miter saw

I’m not sure what I want to put in the little cubbies, maybe scrap wood? If nothing else they’re a convenient place to clamp things…

Dave also set up some deep shelves on the other side of the garage above the chest freezer and sink. It used to look like this:

Empty garage wall

And now it looks like this!

Deep shelves

He got all fancy and hung them using aircraft cable in the front, so he didn’t have to put legs underneath them. The cables connect to the rafters up top:

Aircraft cable

And the shelves are also screwed into horizontal cleats in the back:

Setting up the shelves

I immediately threw all our camping stuff up there. It feels so nice to get that up and out of the way! We still need to figure out more efficient storage for some of our bigger construction stuff, like the air compressor and the shop vac. But we’re making a lot of progress!



On the Needles

I’m hoping to get more knitting projects done this year, so I thought I might try to plan some regular progress reports to hopefully keep me motivated. I also found a local knitting group that meets at the nearby Panera several times a week, so that should help motivate me too. πŸ™‚

My first attempt at a wool diaper cover for Dakota is doing its job, but it’s not high enough in the back:

Diaper cover back

So I’m trying a different pattern that uses short rows in the back for hopefully a better fit. This pattern also just so happens to have cables down the side, which I’ve never tried before. It’s working pretty well for me though! The pattern is for either “shorties” or “longies”, aka pants. I only had one skein to start with and honestly that probably would have been enough for shorties, but I went ahead and bought more yarn early on, so I’ll probably just keep knitting the legs until I hit the correct length for pants or I run out of yarn, whichever comes first.

Cable longies

I made the dubious decision to knit both pant legs at the same time on a really long circular needle. I was inspired after seeing someone way more experienced than I doing two mittens at once. I think it’s probably going to be a bit slower going since I have to keep switching yarns and such, but since I often have to put my work down very precipitously, I’m hoping this will help me keep track and stay consistent between legs. And I know they’ll end up with the same number of rows, if nothing else. πŸ™‚

I started another project to try and use up some of my existing stash of yarn. I’m trying to make a fuzzy sweater for myself out of this ridiculous “boulce” yarn that looks awesome but, somewhat unsurprisingly, is a bit of a pain to work with.

Boucle sweater

The problem with this yarn is that I can’t really tell if I’m on a purl stitch or a knit stitch, but I figure if I mess up it’ll be pretty hard for anyone else to tell too. πŸ™‚ Once I get past the ribbing and start doing rounds upon rounds of stockinette, it’ll go a bit faster.

Shed Shed Shed

We built the chicken coop from scratch, so in some ways it feels like a cop-out to buy a pre-fab shed instead of building one from scratch too. Too bad, because I like our new shed a lot.


The setup and assembly were pretty involved. Us being us, we stretched it out for monnnthhhhsssss. First, the thing required a level base to sit on, and with our mild temperatures and minimal rainfall we probably could have just gone with hard-packed dirt underneath, but what’s the fun in that? Since we’re considering eventually re-doing our back patio with paver stones, we figured this would be a good place to practice. πŸ™‚ So first “we” (and by that I mean mostly Dave, with help from Dakota) dug out a few inches of dirt:


The internet says that forΒ a proper patio we’re supposed to lay a bunch of gravel first, but again with the warm climate and the fact that we’re using the cheapest paver stones possible and no one will even really see if things start to buckle, we decided to just vaguely tamp and level the dirt, then add a few inches of sand.

Laying pavers

I really like how the base ended up. We have a few takeaways for the future especially with how to do the edges correctly, but overall it was educational and ultimately satisfying.

Paver base

The actually assembling of the shed was pretty intense… I’d say it took a total of 8 hours with two people working on it, and that estimate doesn’t include breaks. The instructions were a little cryptic in places, but we were able to avoid any major mistakes (that I know of). I didn’t get any progress shots, so here’s the finished shed:

Completed shed


And here it is from the other side:

Finished shed again

It’s over on the “utility” side of our yard, so it doesn’t have to look pretty, but overall I think it’s fairly spiffy-looking. Or maybe I just think that because of how much room it’s freeing up in the garage. I plan to let the chickens roam freely on that side, and hopefully they can keep the weeds at bay. Otherwise we just need to even out the dirt piles we made from shoveling out the base, and then we’re pretty much all set over there.

Dakota- Holidays for an almost 2-year-old

So I may not be trying for a fancy photo on odd numbered months now, but I figure I can post some random non-staged pics from the past month and maybe type out a few highlights while I’m at it. Sooo…..

The end of the year is an easy month for highlights, what with the holidays and all. πŸ™‚ But first, it finally rained a lot in California! We got Dakota some boots:

Rain boots

Also on the more practical side, Dakota needs some extra diaper leak protection at night, so I knitted her a so-called “wool soaker”. Unfortunately it’s not quite long enough in the back to cover the top of her nighttime diaper, but it works great to prevent leaks around the leg holes.

Wool soaker

Back to the holidays though… we did a bit of a grab bag of things this year to see what traditions we’d like to carry on to future years. This is the first year we bought an actual tree, though it was only 3 feet tall and we stuck to Styrofoam ornaments. Dakota kept trying to put all the ornaments on the same branch, of course. πŸ˜‰

tree decorating

We had a fun Chanukah/Yule dinner/celebration with some friends, dubbed Chanuyule. πŸ˜€ We made a delicious yule log cake… Well actually I wasn’t involved in the baking, but I enjoyed the eating part. Dakota is starting to get into wanting to help cook, so we try to give her ways to “help”, like mixing the dry ingredients. She is starting to learn the art of licking the spatula…


She was pretty into the Chanukah candle lighting too, and she could even more or less say “Baruch ata Adonai” (though not the rest of the song/prayer) along with us by the end of the week. She also enjoyed opening a small present each night of Chanukah, which was a good warm-up for xmas day with the grandparents. Here she is getting into the present opening; most likely at this point we were all egging her on with cries of “rip it!”

Opening presents

She really loved giving other people their presents (“For zhYou!” is my best approximation of what she says while handing stuff to people.) and “helping” open them. Here she is assisting Grandpa. She makes this exaggerated surprise face that I loovveeeee:

present helper

She got a bunch of new toys of course, (sigh) and I’m curious to see which will have the longest fun value. Unfortunately, we’ve already misplaced an early favorite: an inexpensive light-up bouncy ball from her stocking. You can throw all sorts of fancy stuff at her, but balls are still the best. πŸ™‚ Sorry we lost you, light-up ball… at least I got a picture!


Virginia was a little cold (for us) but otherwise the weather was nice, so we ventured outside for some family pictures and toddler-tossing:

toddler tossing

And we got to do some deer watching/stalking on multiple occasions. We managed to get a bit closer than this, but I didn’t get a picture that time.


I wasΒ  assuming that Dakota would be pretty shy/clingy around all the new people since that’s been her norm for the past few months, but she really got into the excitement of so many new playmates. I dunno if it was just new-people-overload or if she’s just generally getting more comfortable interacting with unfamiliar people, but it was so fun to see. Here she is playing with her aunt, technically not a new person, but last-seen in August:

And she really did great with traveling coast to coast, though it’ll be a relief in many ways (but not for my wallet) when she gets her own seat on the plane. I think she actually liked the shuttle bus ride to and from the parking lot more than she liked the actual airplanes. Here we are heading to our car back in California:

Bus ride

And thus ended our holiday adventures!

Well, this vaguely-narrated photo dump has actually been fun! Maybe I’ll remember to do it again in two months. Happy New Year!