Dollhouse Bookcase

For the past several years I’ve taken an evening woodworking class at a local college.  I really enjoy it.

This is the last week of class and I’m hustling to finish my project this semester–a dollhouse bookcase.    I based my project on these plans from Ana White’s website.  I made a few modifications but it was nice to have plans to follow.  It saved me a lot of time.
I’ve been posting a few pictures of the building process on Instagram but I’ll round them up and get them posted here soon.

Lately in woodworking class

A new semester of the woodworking class I sometimes take started a few weeks ago. This time around I’m working on a few small projects rather than a big piece of furniture. So far I’ve been having fun making some pens.

I hadn’t used the lathe before so I’m enjoying learning something new. Another nice aspect of making pens is that I get to use some lovely exotic woods that are too expensive to use for larger projects.

And perhaps most rewarding, turning a pen comes as close to instant gratification as you’ll find in woodworking–it only takes a little over an hour to make each one. I love leaving class with a finished project in my pocket.

Mimi’s Rainbow Quilt

I finally got around to taking some photos of the first quilt I made, this rainbow zigzag blanket for Mimi. (Thanks for the reminder, Megan!)

I have to admit that so far this is my favorite of the quilts that I’ve worked on; I love the fabrics and the cheery colors.

I pieced the top and then took it to a local quilting shop and had them machine quilt it for me. I smile every time I see the words included in the stitching.

If you’re interested, here are the posts from when I was planning and working on this project:

My Second Quilt

Last night I finished the binding of this little baby quilt, the second I’ve made. It was really fun to work on, mostly because the top went together so quickly. The pattern is quite simple (it’s billed as “a beginning sewing pattern”) so I figured it was the right speed for me.

This was my first time hand-sewing the binding; the edges turned out somewhat uneven but I’m trying to convince myself that it adds to its charm. 🙂

I hope you have a great weekend. See you next week!

Spice Cabinet Completed!

A couple of people reminded me that I never posted pictures of my finished spice cabinet (previous posts about it here (1, 2, 3, and 4) I made an effort to get it hung on the wall before Mimi was born because when we have a new baby not a lot gets done around here, but then I forgot to post about it. So here it is!

In order to have a place to hang the cabinet we had to have to rewire our thermostat and move it around the corner–WORTH IT.

It’s nice to finally get our spices off our counter and into their new home.
Here’s a slideshow I put together of some of the steps I took to build the cabinet.

Now that the cabinet’s finished I’m beginning to daydream about what I could build in woodworking this fall–I’m toying with the idea of making a dining table or an entertainment center. I guess we’ll just have to see.

Project: Chessboard

I’ve made my mom a cutting board and a jewelry box but hadn’t had the chance to make a woodworking project for dad yet. So when it became apparent that I would have a little extra time after finishing my spice cabinet I made this chessboard for him out of curly maple and mahogany.

I found some chess pieces online that kind of matched and shipped everything off to my dad for Christmas. Apparently my dad was very impressed with the pieces (and the wooden box they came in) because after saying how much he liked the gift he went on and on about how nice the pieces were and asked me if I made them and the box. I was a little surprised and after I stammered, “Um, no…but I made the fancy chessboard by hand!” there was a little awkward pause. Ah, good times!

After everything’s said and done I’m happy I got the chessboard finished in time for Christmas. It came together pretty quickly and it was fun to make. My dad’s a really great guy; with his health issues it felt good to do something nice for him.

Spice Cabinet: Update 7 (or “Woo-hoo! It’s finished!”)

Yesterday was the last day of woodworking class…and I finished my spice cabinet! I got the hinges, cabinet back, and knob put on and the cabinet’s ready to hang on the wall.

Me (and my 31-week belly) with the finished cabinet.

I need to have a small drywall job done before I can hang the cabinet in our kitchen so right now it’s sitting on our kitchen table where I lovingly look at it whenever I walk by.

I’m planning on putting together a slide show of the start-t0-finish process of building the cabinet and will post it when it’s finished.

(Previous spice cabinet updates here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.)

Spice Cabinet: Update 6

Last night was the second-to-last day of woodworking class. I finished sanding my dad’s Christmas present and my instructor put a coat of lacquer on it. He also put the last coat of lacquer on my spice cabinet.

My instructor spraying the cabinet box.

It’s great to have access to a spray room (when I’m not pregnant) because it’s sooo much nicer than applying finish by hand in my garage and having to worry about cleaning up.

Here’s a picture of the door in between coats. The lacquer really makes the wood grain pop.

It was nice to have a bit of time left over at the end of class while I was waiting for the lacquer to dry instead of rushing around like I normally do. (And it’s only taken me 5+ years to learn how to pick a realistic project and manage my time well!)

My instructor paid me a nice compliment at the end of class. He said he was impressed with how quickly I put together my dad’s present on my own and that it seemed like I had improved a lot this last semester. Being the recovering teacher’s pet that I am it made me feel great.

We don’t have class next week because of Thanksgiving but the week after that I’ll be installing the hinges on my cabinet, attaching the back, and bringing it home!

(Previous spice cabinet updates here: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.)

Spice Cabinet: Update 5

So, um, remember that woodworking class I take sometimes? Class has actually been in session since September but with all the craziness of getting ready for our trip to Korea I didn’t get a chance to post any pictures of my progress (Also, I forgot to take my camera to class a few times which didn’t help.)

So to refresh your memory: I’m in the middle of building a spice cabinet with a rather fancy door. (Here are updates 1, 2, 3, and 4.) Here’s some of what I’ve done so far this semester.

Glued the diamond panel into the middle of the door and trimmed the edges of the door to size.

Hand sanded the door, the cabinet box, and the cabinet backing.

It took about an hour and a half to do a good job on the sanding. First I sanded everything with 80 grit, then 100, 120, 150, and 180. By the time I was finished my hand was numb and cramped. But if you don’t sand thoroughly sometimes you’ll see track marks after you apply lacquer to your project but by then you can’t do anything about it. I’ve put in so much time on this cabinet that I was going to make sure I did a decent job on the sanding.

Glued strips of solid mahogany onto the front edge of the shelves. After I stuck the strips on with glue a used an air gun to tack the strips down with tiny little pin nails.

The strips will give the shelves some stability and to provide a lip so the spice bottles won’t slide off the shelves. I also think it looks better.

The cabinet box and backing. The backing will be glued on after the cabinet has been sprayed with lacquer.

I didn’t get any pictures of it but this last week my wonderfully understanding instructor sprayed the cabinet door, box, and backing with several coats of lacquer for me. Going in the spray room and breathing in the fumes is a no-go for me since I’m pregnant right now so I really appreciated his help.

Next week I’ll glue on the back of the cabinet and install the hinges. We only have two weeks left of class but I think I’ll also be able to finish up a Christmas present I’m making for my dad. I have pictures of it in progress but I’ll probably post them after Christmas so as not to ruin the surprise.

The Crib I Made

The people who run the community education program where I take my woodworking class wanted students to submit photos of past projects to their website. I was going through my photos and realized I didn’t have any of the crib I had made (it was from before I started this blog) so I ran upstairs with my camera to remedy the situation.

(Sorry I couldn’t get a full shot of it–E’s room is teeny and I couldn’t back up any further.)

Close up of the lacewood medallions.

So far E seems to be a satisfied customer.

The crib is made out of solid walnut with lacewood accents. It took me three semesters to finish but I wasted a bunch of that time redoing things I messed up on and sitting around waiting for help (it was back when I was more of a beginner). If I were to make another one now (not that I have plans to) I could probably finish it in two semesters. I bought my plans and a hardware kit (the spring support for the mattress and the rails for the sides to slide up and down on) online.

Look back now there are a few things I would do differently. The slats ended up being a touch thinner that I wanted them to be and in the back of my mind there’s always a small worry that E’s going to kick though one of them, but so far they’ve been fine.

It was a really fun project. If I ever make another one I’ll probably customize the plans in some way like other people have done. All things considered I’m happy with how it turned out.