From Bored to Boards…A Wooden Welcome Mat

Over the next few weekends, we hope to have the deck built or at least started. With that in mind, we wanted to create something we could use on or around the deck. Since furniture seems to be a huge task, and the size of the deck, still in determination, we settled on something small… a door mat. Tracking grass throughout the kitchen and living room has been a nuisance since we moved into our home. But now that the hot, sweaty chore that we’d all rather take a beating over than do (but I seem to have a husband that doesn’t mind it – Hallelujah!) grass cutting season is here and Jada Bell’s daily trips in and out, bringing in soggy lumps of land with her and us is a daily occurrence, we thought this little project would be a huge help to our never ending bend and pick up or sweep to and fro exercises that we so hate with a passion. We have an indoor mat that helps with drying our feet, but the mat on the porch would be used to knock off any unwanted, dirty intruders.

We wanted the mat to be:

  • 15″ Wooden Planks
  • Width of the door
  • 1/4″ to 1/2″ spaces between planks
  • Painted black

To begin, Ben, Twin and I went to Lowe’s and bought three 2x2x8s and headed back to the lumber cutting area. When we got there, we noticed an Out of Order sign on the button for assistance. After telling the fellas if I were working that department, that’s exactly what I would do, working or not, so we just assumed someone had done that as well… or the button wasn’t working. With the Dennis the Menace look in our eyes, we pushed the button and was immediately approached by a giant man who looked at us with his stern eyes and told us the sign plainly reads Out of Order (I wish my Dad had been working at Lowe’s that day to keep from this exact moment of overwhelming stupidity). After looking at each other, we turned and headed back to the front, carrying the 8′ planks. Ben had just picked up his saw from his mom’s house, so we just added a little DIY to the project. Our other bestie, Holly (Twin’s other half), works at Lowe’s as well so we decided to trade her cars since her back seat folds down to make room (remind me to have a word with the beamer makers). While we were there, we also picked up all thread, washers, nuts and acorn nuts and had them mix up some black satin outdoor paint.

When we got home, we cut the wood into 15″ planks. After showing me how to use the finger chopper saw, Ben let me have at it.

After all the planks were cut, we drilled holes 1″ inch from both ends of the planks.

Ben then sanded the holes and edges of the planks to avoid future pricks that make you say dirty words splinters.

We were then ready to paint.


After the paint was dry, the boys men began putting the planks on the all thread. We began the end with an acorn nut, then washer, then plank. The spaces between the planks were washer-nut-washer. (This took forever, bless their bones and fingertips, but they pressed on like champs!)

After all the planks were in place, we had about 4-5 inches of all thread that needed to be cut off before we could place on the finishing acorn nut. We ran to Wal-Mart, grabbed a dremmel (can’t wait to use this sucker on more projects) and returned to shoot some sparks and cut some metal.

We placed the black wooden mat on the front porch for the time being until the deck is built and quickly decided (at least I did, the one who didn’t have to screw on all the nuts) that the front porch needs one too but gray in color.

After the project was complete, I picked up tools and cleaned, all while the guys were chasing down an ice cream truck down our road (believe me, if I had known this was happening, I would have had my camera rolling) and surprised me with an ice cream sandwich. I’m gonna put these two men for Best Men Ever.

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Our Own Sweet Stoop

After we made an offer on the home and before we ever knew if this sweet Ranch Home would be ours, we ventured over to the property one more time, sat on the front and talked about our hopes, dreams and the idea of the porch being black. Well, today was the day that we put our seven month old conversation into action.

Below is the porch before we put our twist on it.

We were actually working on another project (which we will post within the next couple days) when we realized we were going to have an excess amount of outdoor black paint, possibly the amount we would need to paint the porch. Without hesitation, we ran to the front and went to work, again, with our bestie and partner and crime, Twin.

Luckily, we used the very last drop of black (starting with only one quart minus the smidgen we used earlier) when trimming in the edges, being able to not only finish the porch, but our other project in the works. (Thank you, Jesus, for yet another loaves and fishes miracle!)

Though most all of our company use the backdoor, we love our new entrance, even if it is only used by the Jehovah’s Witnesses (that is, if they come back after my Southern Baptist encounter with them.) Now that it’s complete, it’s time to shop for some pots with plants (trying to talk the boys into recreating a scene from Ghost and creating the pottery from scratch) or cool artistic pieces to adorn the entrance. (raising eyebrows vigorously at the idea of more projects)

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Birds of a Feather

Our dining room wall was crying for art.  I have had an idea that has been simmering in my mind for quite some time that I decided to test out for the blank space.

I love birds. I love trees.  I love art, but not your usual art.  This is the basis of the design.  Instead of painting the scene, I wanted to attach it to the canvas as a 3D piece of art.

I had a 24″ x 48″ blank canvas that fit nicely in the space.  Ben had just cleaned up the property line along the fence behind our home and threw some limbs into a fire pit.  As I had Jada outside, one branch grabbed my attention.  It was the branch I had pictured in the art.  I yanked it out of the fire pit and ran inside to see the size compared to the canvas.  It was a perfect fit.  It went exactly from edge to edge of the canvas.  And so the artwork began.

I sanded the perfect little limb and painted it our wall color.  After it was dry, I used a thread and needle to attached the limb to the canvas in multiple places to keep it snug and to keep the canvas from ripping.

I went to the computer and typed up “birds of a feather” in lowercase helvetica and created stencils.  I sprayed the stencil with adhesive spray and placed it on the canvas and covered the rest with newspaper.  I wanted the text to be noticeable, but not take away from the art so I used clear high gloss acrylic. so that it would shine when you looked at it from a certain direction.  After two coats, I pulled the stencil off and let it dry for the evening.

I then found some little birds at Hobby Lobby that I sprayed with black paint and attached to the limb with wire.

After the piece was put together, as always, I critiqued it harshly and thought it needed more.  I made a stencil of a feather and placed it on the right side of the canvas to even things up.  I covered the branch and rest of the canvas and sprayed the stencil with the same clear high gloss acrylic paint.  Now you see one side or the other from most any direction you stand looking at it.

It now hangs on the dining room wall, waiting for a crafty frame.

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Highlights

Today’s project is brought to you by procrastination & the number 7. The idea for this project was conceived seven years ago.

The stand paired with its foot switch & parted cymbal design resembled a designer lamp to start with. It made sense to convert my old hi hat stand & cymbals given that the hardware itself were eagerly awaiting a transformation.

Not having a clue about wiring, I was hesitant to progress on this concept due to fear of electrocuting myself or burning the house down. As it turns out, the wiring was one of the simplest tasks of this adventure. I owe this to our cat, Hala, who singlehandedly destroyed our foot switch paper lantern lamp after chasing a moth into it & clawing her way up it’s surface. This incident led us to replace our once existing lamp with yet another, while also leaving us with usable components. It was fortunate & practical that I was supplied with exactly what I needed to begin working on the hi hat lamp.
We began by pulling out my old Pearl model hi hat stand & placing the lighting foot switch shank beneath the hi hat pedal then feeding the available wiring up & through the stand. Once the wire was fed up to the base for the bottom hat, a hole had to be drilled to proceed up through the base to be able to wire up the socket.

The hi hats were then placed together & marked for drilling. Each of the 8 holes were marked a 1/4″ from the edge of the hats so that the hooks could be attached to hold the shade.

Once the hats were drilled, my good friend, Twin, then took them to his body shop to sand, primer & paint. After several stages of this process, he returned the hats with a brilliant black mirror finish.

To complete the project, we would need to choose our fabric, hooks & nuts. After deciding on using small cup hooks & acorn nuts for their presence & functionality, we were in route & in the business for some fabric.

Since our home is all based on grey, white & black, we chose a black & white design to use as our lamp shade. We also used the same fabric to accent the shade on some acoustic panels in the music room.
Our good friend Sarah, & my wife then took to the foreign sewing machine to tidy up the shade for assembly. This resulted as a test of wits of which Rossco prevailed!
After the measuring & cutting was complete, the pieces were then sewn & grommets were placed accordingly to match our hook placement.
The project was then made complete by placing each piece in its order.

Story also featured on our Rossco Creative site: www.rosscocreative.wordpress.com

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FEE FI FAUX FIREPLACE: PART 4

It’s about time! I know, I know!  After months of using our Faux Fireplace / TV Stand, motivation seemed non-existent i the tile work.  I just knew the tile would change the piece of furniture all together, but Ben, I believe, would have been content with leaving it hey, look at us, we never finish our projects as is forever.

Twin, our partner in crime, is highly motivated and was just the key to jump starting Ben’s I don’t want to do anything attitude creative mind again.  We took a trip to Lowe’s and picked up five 1′ square sheets of tile.  Ben was dead set on having the exact tile from the kitchen, but I, thinking of the hassle of cutting the odd tile shapes and fitting together like a puzzle piece, decided the small square tiles that still matched the kitchen tiles – just a different shape, would be the safer route and would lessen the chance of a marital spat and quitting the project halfway through.  He accepted the idea (Hallelujah!) so we bought the tiles, grout/adhesive, sponge and floater.  Ben and Twin immediately starting putting the adhesive on the fireplace when we returned home.  As they laid the first sheet of tile on they realized this step was the easiest part of this whole Faux Fireplace Project so far.  I cheered silently as I didn’t have to witness Ben throw tiles and grout while yelling a few choice words.  After they worked their way up the fireplace, they had me run back to Lowe’s for another sheet of tiles and one more container of grout.  After all the tiles were in place we let it dry overnight.

Twin, the motivational handyman, came back over Sunday to grout the fireplace.  After using the floater to cake on the grout between the cracks, he used a sponge to wash off the excess.  Again, we let it dry overnight.

After it dried overnight, we discovered that the little air bubbles that formed between each tile had popped and left little holes.  So we washed off the film on the tiles and reapplied the grout. (Remember, we only find it normal that we have to do things more than once.  That’s how we roll.)  After the second application, and wiping the film off, we have ourselves a beautiful tiled faux fireplace.

The fifth step is to add trim to the base.  Later we will add some storage boxes to the shelves and quite possibly a black wall behind just the entertainment/fireplace unit to look like a real fireplace mantle/wall.
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Little Drummer Boy turns 32!

Since we settled into our home, Ben had the idea for quite some time that he wanted to have an acoustic get together at the house with all the musicians he knew. As we looked at the never-ending list of musicians, we decided to shoot for a smaller party for his birthday with 20 (so we planned) or so (which means, double that) friends/family/musicians. After sending out the invites, we prepped the house by moving around furniture, setting up the drums in the living room and planning the feast that would be included. Without a doubt, we knew this celebration called for the snare drum cake that he has wanted for so many years which would feed a large quantity.

We baked the cake Thursday, decorated it Friday and cooked all the food Saturday. Our dearest friend, Sarah, came over to help us prepare for the night of complete choas shindig. From shopping for bulk finger foods at Sam’s, creating a homemade photobooth complete with fun props (glasses, hats, leis, masks, etc.) and cooking for hours before the first guest arrived, she stuck by our side like a champ, mustache and all.

The guests began arriving at 5, and the house began to fill quickly. Jada Bell, our weenie dog, greeted each guest with a get out of my home vicious bark and growl which led us to keeping her in the bedroom to keep the scardey cats company and the guests from tucking tails and running. The temperature began to rise and the count kept increasing. I began to pray for a loaves and fishes miracle with the food and the size of our home. Before you knew it, there were 38 bodies (more guests than our wedding) packed like sardines in our kitchen, dining room and living room complete with numerous guitars, bass, drums, accordion and wind piano (which I’ve designated to call the unfamiliar contraption). The musicians took their seats and the tunes began to flow. What began as an acoustic idea quickly evolved into a PA hooked up in the house. During a music break, the house broke out in song, singing Happy Birthday to the man of the evening, followed by the cutting of the cake. (see cake below)

As the night went on, the decibels went up. I began to anticipate a knock at the front door by an angry neighbor or a stern policeman ready to pull the plug (luckily, never happened). Instead, I focused my attention on the leaves that were being tracked into the house that made our dining room look like a campsite complete with wild indians. Having to fight the homeowner/wife instinct of cleaning up after everyone, I just rubbed my ‘stache, took a deep breath, smiled and enjoyed the evening. A few of the guests left around 10 or so, one being the singer, Garrett, with the PA. He told me he could leave it there, but I assured him I had no problem at all watching it go out the back door in hopes that the original “acoustic” idea would satisfy the remaining guests. The party continued as we grew tired. Finally around midnight, we called it an evening. The tunes were a hit, the food was eaten, the cake was plentiful, the photobooth created nonstop laughs and the pictures/videos will remain a lovely keepsake for the years to come. Now, we’ll need the next year to try and talk ourselves into doing it again.

See pictures below of the eventful evening:

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Adventures in Aiden-sitting

Our good friend, Garrett, called Ben a couple weeks ago to see if we could watch their five year old son, Aiden, on Saturday and keep him overnight so they could go to his wife’s Christmas Party in Nashville.  Since our schedule was empty, we agreed without much thought.

Saturday rolled around and we stocked up on pizza, cookie mix and green tea (the drink of his choice).  After Garret and Heather left, we started the eventful day with Monster Truck Races.  I learned that five year old boys do not care a thing about girls and will do anything in their power to make them lose at every game played. (Thank heavens they change when they grow up or we’d all be single)  After losing all my trucks to both Ben and Aiden, I was ready for a new game/toy.  I kept my game face on and tried to keep my competitive side to a childlike manner.

Aiden ran for the Xbox360 and put in Skate 2.  Ben and I took this downtime to clean up the electronic drums so that Aiden could play on them for awhile (hallelujah, we could control the volume).  Aiden put down the game and came to help us put the drums together.  As the final cord was plugged in, Aiden immediately requested Pantera “Walk” (heck yes!)  As Ben began to play, Aiden sat and smiled, watching with excitement.

After a bit on the drums, the short attention span kicked in and a new toy was needed.  The next toy of choice was the Transformers.  Aiden assigned Ben and I different impossible machines that will only transform into a mess and create great humiliation Transformers.  I believe I was given the Transformer from Hell.  Every twist and turn I did, I created a monster out of myself.  After thirty minutes of complete and utter failure, I slid the toy over to the pile and acted like it had never happened.  I then prayed for an easier toy or a fair game.

Luckily, Aiden picked out Spiderman 3.  We all piled up on the couch, ate peanut butter crackers and watched the entire movie (I had no idea a child could sit still that long!)  When Aiden noticed the sun was down, he immediately changed into his pajamas, making us think we could fool this kid with it being near bedtime.  He informed us his plan was to stay up until midnight or later.  Our smiles immediately turned to distress signals and the idea popped in our minds to fast forward the clock, but who were we kidding, this was a five year old genius we were working with.  You can get nothing past him.  We popped a pizza in the oven, but could only get a half slice down Aiden.  However, he was eager to ask about dessert (that’s my kind of kid!)  I went to the kitchen and gathered up the ingredients for the cookies.  Aiden came shortly behind me as I was beginning to scoop out spoonfuls of cookie dough on the cookie sheet and asked if he could help (this is where the fever for a five year old began).  He scooped out the dough and placed in on the pan and I placed them in the oven.  We sat by the oven window watching the gooey goodness turn into delicious treats.

After our bellies began to rumble with sugar overload (what were we thinking?)  Another round of playing drums began to work off the energy.

After a few minutes of playing, Aiden was hungry again.  I offered a hot dog and chips but was informed he liked neither.  I offered peanut butter and jelly but was informed he didn’t like jelly.  I offered just peanut butter but was rejected again.  Ben asked him to tell us what he did like and we would see if he had it.  Aiden, without hesitation, said, “A bowl of chocolate chips would be nice.”  After a good laugh, he decided on more peanut butter and crackers and played the Xbox360 until bedtime.

I ran for my life slipped out of the house on Sunday morning to go to church while the boys were asleep.  On my way home, I called to make sure everyone was okay.  Ben informed me Aiden’s parents were on their way to get him and would be there shorty.  When I got home, we rounded up all the toys, games, movies and clothes.  As for the two hours I was gone that morning, you’ll have to ask Ben.

We enjoyed most every minute of it and look forward to future kid-sitting adventures (once in a blue moon, of course).

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Dirty Laundry

The only appliances left that we needed were the washer and dryer.  We kept our eyes open for deals, but were told by Mom and Dad to end our hunt because they had my brother’s washer and dryer that were not being used in their basement.  I sent my brother a message and asked if we could borrow them until we could get some or until he needed them.  He responded with some amazing words… “Take them. We bought new ones.”  (this only adds to my brother being the most awesome sibling ever) So the horrific, one problem after another adventure began…

Mom and Dad borrowed my Aunt’s truck to haul them from Dover to Clarksville.  The horrific story began when the truck’s battery died before loading.  After running around, trying to fix the problem, a few hours (and spousal spats) later, they were on their way.  After they arrived at the house, Dad and Ben brought them in and set them in the laundry room as I showed mom around the house and tried to keep Jada from running out the loading door.

One knob was broke, the side was scratched, the water cord was kinked, the cold hose was missing, the dryer screen had a hole and the bottom of the washer had a dime size hole that a button would just love to get into, but they were perfect for us.  I’ve never seen such beauties.  We ran and got a water cord and the hot and cold water hoses.  The screen and knob had to be ordered.

After getting all the hoses in place, we connected the washing machine and checked for leaks.  Everything was good to go. Next, we went to plug in the dryer and found that the plugs did not match.  After running here and there all day, we decided to give up for the evening, eat dinner with the family (Mom, Dad and sis-in-law, Tessa) and find a plug the next day.  Below is what we battled for dinner.  Have mercy.  Ben conquered.  I failed…miserably. (This was the best part of the whole washer/dryer catastrophe – thus far – check out Almighty BBQ in Clarksville, TN for a oh my gosh, I’m gonna bust wide open filling meal!)

We ventured to Grandpa’s Hardware Store, where we saw the site below (best part #2 of this washer/dryer experience) that turned Ben’s frown upside down in a heartbeat (a smile from him at this point was the most beautiful thing I had seen in a day or two):

Finally, we returned home with a 50amp dryer plug.  As Ben squeezed between the wall and dryer, fought with the screwdriver, broke some drill bit heads and blew off some steam, he finally got the plug attached and then read the label beside of it, which stated, “Do not use a cord that is more than 30amps”.  Geez Louise, who would have thought, that’s just what we had done.  After looking at the redness of his face and the placement of his angered mouth about to spew some foul words, I knew I better get him out of that corner before we had a hole in the wall.

We called my dad to check and make sure this was correct.  He had us to check the fuse box to see what the voltage said.  And there it was, just what we had figured, 30amps.  Again, we called it a night…. from Hell.

Dad told us it would be easier to change the outlet and keep the old cord.  At this point, we were up for anything, especially if it was the easier way out.  I went to meet him at Lowe’s to pick up the outlet, and four miles from him, my car decided it was time to stop.  (Long story short: car stopped while driving, overheated, towed to Paducah, water pump replaced, lots of money spent, etc. – but we kept on smiling!)  So I didn’t make it to Lowe’s.  Again, another failure.  But Dad brought it to us the next day. (high-five to my Dad for being our hero/sidekick during all of the disasters)

After one month of living in our new home, countless catastrophes, failures and temper tantrums attempts at getting the washer and dryer in working order and dirty clothes quickly adding up, Ben took a day off of work, replaced the outlet and surprised me when I got home with the sweet heavenly sound of the washer and dryer.

It was music to my ears.  Not only did he surprise me with this amazing chore machine, but he also cooked my favorite meal and had it ready to eat.  Hallelujah for tacos, clean clothes and an amazing husband!  Sitting on the couch last night, folding clean clothes with Ben in our one month old home  had never been so exciting. (Ben, remind me I said this next time I complain about this task as a wife)

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National Lampoon’s Rossco Thanksgiving

We opened up our new home to the family for Thanksgiving this year.  This was our first holiday without the presence of a very special young man (we love and miss you, Logan), and we hoped that the change of scenery would help the family adjust easier.  As the holiday approached, I grew more nervous that we would not all fit and prayed for a loaves and fishes miracle, that Jesus would expand what little room we had to accompany the family comfortably.

Thanksgiving morning, I had to go scavenger hunting pick up a pork shoulder that Dad had ordered from his co-worker.  It had to be picked up in a small little town that I grew to hate quickly Palmyra between 6am – 9am from the hiding place Masonic Lodge.  Knowing how most adventures go, I left plenty early by myself in case any guaranteed  wild goose chases catastrophes happened.  Before leaving, I called Dad to confirm the address and headed out at 7am.  As I drove thirty minutes across town, the road that I needed was now a parking lot, and I had to find an alternative route.  After I finally found the road, I called Dad and informed him that the address didn’t exist.  (insert complaining here) I looked up another address that took me ten minutes further out on roads that I never knew existed.  The second address led me to the home of a Masonic Lodge member instead of the actual Lodge.  (insert more complaining plus some hollering here)  I decided to pull up one more address that took me five more minutes into the deep woods of Palmyra.  It let me to another member’s home. (insert all the madness in the world here)  I called Dad just about in angry tears to inform him of my one hour failure.  He insisted I turn and go home, leaving the pork shoulder in its hiding place.  If you know me, you know I am bound and determined to do what I am sent to do and will not return until it is accomplished.  I could not let Dad down.  After calling and discussing my frustration with Ben, I ran upon a heavenly place God put in my path Palmyra Market which just so happened to be opened.  I ran inside with high hopes and asked the cashier where I could find the Palmyra Masonic Lodge.  He looked at me as if there were no such thing.  Luckily, there was a table with four men scratching off their lottery cards, and one shouted the most beautiful words I’d ever heard, “I know where that is!  You’re less that a mile from it.”  After getting directions, I thought about asking him over for Thanksgiving dinner as a reward but quickly remembered our small space and little time I had to pick up the shoulder.  I peeled out of the parking lot (not really, this just adds movie-like excitement) and headed in the direction I had been looking for all morning.  Within half of a mile I found the Lodge with twenty minutes to spare.

I ran to the door opened it with excitement and found an empty room with aluminum pans stacked up.  My blood boiled.  Had they packed up and went home?  Had they taken the hunk of meat I had been in search of all morning long?  I began to yell right there in the kitchen of Palmyra Lodge 747.  Hoping someone would hear me, feel sorry for me and bring me our shoulder.  After feeling completely defeated, I walked out the front door to head back to the car, but the hint of smoke signaled my nose.  I walked around the building to find a group of men and a smokehouse with the manly smell of pork shoulders filling the air. (insert angels singing here)  I jumped in my car to drive closer, now with ten minutes to spare, and arrived at the pork shoulder’s hiding place.  I was greeted by a little boy asking for my ticket.  He also asked if I needed a pan to place the pork shoulder in to keep the juice from draining all over the car.  I was in Ben’s car and didn’t think he would like pork juice seeping into his backseat (though it smelled heavenly).  After asking for the pan, he informed me it was $1.  Have mercy, I had no cash on me.  I prayed to my Jesus as I walked back to the car in hopes to have save some change in my wallet or something worth trading.  As I began counting the dimes, nickels and pennies I found $1.03.  Thank you, Jesus.  After handing over what I had, they handed over the pain in my neck pork shoulder (whom we showed who’s boss with butcher knives), and I headed home with a smile on my face.

When I returned home, we put together the faux fireplace (Fee Fi Faux Fireplace: Part 3) and awaited the arrival of the family.  My aunt showed up first with two long tables that stretched from the front of the house to the back and sixteen chairs.  My parents then arrived with the tablecloths and we set up shop.

The rest of the family poured in and it was time to eat.  Sawyer said the sweetest prayer my ears have ever heard and then we all tore into the food as if we had never eaten before.

After dinner and dessert we pulled out the Xbox 360 Kinect and let the youngsters burn off some energy while we played Apples to Apples (the traditional family game).  Smiles decorated faces and laughter filled the air, just as we all needed.

As everyone played down and as night grew later, guests began to depart.  Mom and Dad spent the night with us since Dad had to be at work at 4am for Black Friday.  We closed out our evening as we watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation as we do every Thanksgiving and then called it a wonderful night.

We are so thankful for each member of our family and are truly blessed to have each of you in our lives.  Rossco Thanksgiving Adventure #1: Success!

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FEE FI FAUX FIREPLACE: PART 3

Our we’re gonna get this thing in working order if it kills us goal for Thanksgiving was to have the fireplace/entertainment center put together before family arrived. And we did just that…somehow…

We hauled the frame from the garage, up two steps, through the kitchen and dining room into the living room in three pieces because I am wimpy it was heavy, even for the biggest of muscles.

We pulled off the old base of the entertainment center and placed it on top of the new base.

Ben drilled holes in the same locations so that it would attach easier (did I just say easier? don’t let me fool you, we ran into our expected challenges, though it was a great idea on Ben’s part)

Our test our nerves every chance it gets piece of machinery drill kept dying on us and made us keep our eyes on the clock. Between a couple of screws, we would run and recharge. Just before we were finished, someone (points to Ben – I did it later on with a nail to make it even) drilled a screw, and it went in at an angle. Ben screamed (this seems to be a ritual on every project) that he busted the guts out of it. Now, I had never heard this term before, but I could almost count on it meaning our lovely piece of furniture would need some corrective surgery (we’re still working on this part – won’t show you the pictures, as it’s too gruesome and it would make us look like we don’t know what we’re doing). He backed out the screw and inserted another (much straighter this time) and the base was attached.

We then pushed the fireplace insert down into the inside of the entertainment unit.

After grunting, complaining, straining lifting the center with ease, we stared at the masterpiece coming together just the way we had created in our minds.

We quickly pushed the center against the living room wall, cleaned up our mess, inserted some candles, hooked up the TV, and blew off some steam (points at Ben again) just as the family began to arrive.

Friday, Ben and I went out hunting for more white candles and a cake tray.  We found a modern style white tray at TJ Maxx and white and blue (matched our living room color swatch perfectly – rossco high-five!) candles from Hobby Lobby.

We lit the candles that evening, and it put off the most beautiful glow in the house, just as if we had an actual fireplace (minus the crackling, popping, warmth and saturating smoke).

Saturday, I was antsy to do more while Ben yearned for a day of let me sit on the couch and do nothing relaxation. Because I am hardheaded determined, I decided to add black metal sheeting to the back of the entertainment center so that the back of the shelves on both sides would match the fireplace and bring the design together. I pulled out the roll of metal sheeting as Ben and great friend, Twin, sat on the couch and watched in amusement. I measured the back of the two sides of the entertainment center and cut out the metal to fit.

I held the metal up to the back and got the fine young gentlemen’s approval. After I installed the first row of nails, Ben decided to get off the couch and hunt for something that I did wrong. (He knows me oh so well) Sure enough, I needed to straighten up the metal because it was hanging over the edge, visible from the front (again, we love doing things twice!) I pulled out the nails and corrected the problem.

I cut a little rectangle out of the metal on the opposite side so the cords for the Xbox could fit through. After nailing this side down correctly the first time, I was very happy with the outcome.

The final step is quickly approaching, installing the trim and tiling the front of the fireplace. Trim – not a problem. Tile – Lord, help us.

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