I'd like to say that all my projects are finished, but alas, they're not. I'd also like to explain that I haven't posted for so long because I was abducted by aliens or something equally spectacular, but it just isn't true. Less interesting, but more accurate, is that my computer crashed bigtime about a month ago and since I'm a computer ignoramous and my husband has been completely swamped with work, church, and family responsibilities, it has taken this long to get it up and running again. I didn't have access to photos or photo editing software or my Illustrator program for all that time - boy, was that disconcerting!
No, my firepit is STILL not finished. It took 6 weeks for them to deliver the flagstone, and once it did finally arrive, I've been having major issues with it (I know, I know, blame it on the poor defenseless rocks) and so it's taking me forever. This particular type of stone is much more irregular than the flagstone I bought up in Northern Virginia. None of it is a uniform, flat thickness and most of the edges of it are severely beveled, which makes it very difficult to both stack on top of one another and fit together nicely side-by-side. I bought a grinder and put a stone-cutting diamond wheel on it to help with the side-by-side fitting, but it leaves a very definitive mark wherever it cuts so I can't use it to clean up the bevels of the edges that face outward for the world to see.
The beveled edges also make it extremely difficult to produce a nice face to the wall of stone I'm attempting to create...so I'm slowly but surely plodding along on that project. My main tool has been a hammer, tap-tap-tapping away at the pieces bit by bit to reshape it in a way that maintains its organic character.
Here's where I am right now - the walls are built up, and I'm working on trying to get the seating all on one level and fitting together nicely.
I'm also not done with the clubhouse for the kids, but that's mainly because I got distracted by the rocks. And the fact that the last little bit requires me to get the big, tall (heavy and unwieldy) ladder back out and climb up onto the roof to finish it off. All the weathered wood came from the decking that we had to rip off to fix the rot on our house (see previous post for that adventure).
I still have some little customized details to finish too, and then the kids and I are going to paint it. My girls want to paint it turquoise and pink, but somehow I don't think that would fly very well in the neighborhood - or with Steve and I...or Hyrum, for that matter. A nice neutral brown will have to suffice - sorry girls! I know, I'm such a party pooper.
I made an 8 1/2 feet long picnic table and benches with some leftover decking wood. It can seat up to 12 people on the benches (little people, but people nonetheless!) so it will be great for get-togethers.
For all of you DIYers dying to make some easy benches, here is how I built mine. Sorry, I don't have any step-by-step pics of the table, but it's the same basic construction process. Please keep in mind that this is not fine furniture - these are just rustic, sturdy, bound-to-get-worn-out-by-the-elements-and/or-kids type of pieces, so I didn't bother trying to hide the screw heads or making fancy joints.
The seats are made with 5 1/2" wide decking boards. I ripped one of the boards down the middle to make it 2 3/4" wide, sanded the sharp edges away, and placed it between the 2 full-width boards. My boards are about 4 feet long, but the length is up to you. I'd recommend not making them more than 5 feet long, though, so they won't sag - unless you added another pair of legs in the middle of the bench.
Place the boards upside down (clamp together as necessary), measure in from the edges 2.5" and cut (2) 2x6 pieces and (3) 2x4 pieces to fit the measurement between the marks (it will vary depending on how wide your bench seat is). Screw the 2x6 pieces into place 2.5" in from the ends as shown above. Then screw the 2x4 pieces as shown with the 3rd piece placed in the middle of the seat.
Decide how tall you want the bench to be and cut 4 pieces of 2x4 to that length. Mine are 18" high. Using a long clamp to hold legs in place (these are a solo woodworker's best friend), screw the legs into both the 2x6 and the 2x4 pieces.
Of all the bright, splashy, fun-and-exciting displays they had, Hazel loved this doctor's office the most.
She could have spent an hour just in this room, but we needed to keep up with her preschool group so I had to drag her away.
This was my favorite part of the museum - there was a whole section on various principles of physics, including a life-size elephant demonstrating the power of the Fulcrum principle. Love it.
We went to a totally fun end-of-the-year party at one of her preschool friend's grandpa's place. They had a fantastic pond stocked with baby fish, which provided hours of entertainment for the kiddos.
Hope you're all having a fantastic summer!