Saturday, March 19, 2011

Better late than never

Yeah, I'm running a little late on the picture post. It really has been a whirlwind of a week. We'll get to that in a little bit though. For now lets see if I can get some images on here without having a mental breakdown.

When I was sitting in my wife's craft room the other day I noticed how inefficiently everything was set up. It wasn't her fault, she just didn't have the proper work spaces to do what she needed to do. So this whole concept started with the idea of building her a new desk. The one that was being replaced was approx 2 x3. I built it a few years ago out of an old dining room table. It worked at the time but that was before Highland Handmades took off. Fast forward to now and just one of her pieces of equipment can consume that whole spot. That's when I decided to come up with this.

The size of the room made it difficult to get a good picture but here it is. All 7 feet of her. For being built out of 2 x 4's and plywood I am quite happy with the way it turned out. As much as I would have loved to spend the time building my wife a truly hand crafted table out of cherry or maple, it really didn't make much sense. To build a desk the right way out of hardwood lumber would have taken me 30-40 hours of labor and probably doubled my cost. This table and the two sets of shelves you are about to see cost me about $65.00 in material and a total of about 10 hours labor. I'm a little bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my wood working. I have to keep telling myself that this is only a work table and it's going to get dinged and nicked up. It DOESN'T need to be made out of high grade lumber. I've become very spoiled working at the mill. I get to see some of the most beautiful hardwood lumber that would have most craftsmen drooling and I get first pick. In the end what it all boils down to is this...She's happy, so I'm happy.

Next we get onto the shelves. Obviously when you decide to build something you start with a plan. Whether it's a plan you find online, in a magazine or one you come up with yourself. You need something basic to go by. I sat down for the rest of that whole evening with a calculator and a graph paper notebook. I knew when I started I wanted to do a set of shelves as well. Somehow I had to figure out how to get that desk as well as a whole set of shelves out of one piece of plywood. I knew it was possible but my measurements and my cuts had to be dead on. These are what I wound up with...

Standing just a hair over 6 feet tall and 27 inches wide these took the place of the cheap aluminum ones we had. These are 10x stronger and in my opinion look 10x better, especially with a beautiful lady draped over them.

So I posted last Friday about how I was going to get the pictures up here. Well there are 2 reasons that didn't happen and here they are...

First off, as I was drinking my coffee Saturday morning I couldn't stop thinking about a few extra pieces of that beautiful cabinet grade plywood I had left. I have been bored out of my mind this winter sitting at home with nothing to do. Spending the past two days in the garage was kind of a dream come true, and I wanted more.

After a quick trip to the garage to get all the measurements of my left over pieces, I headed to the graph paper. After a few rough sketches and another cup of coffee, I headed back into the garage. Approximately an hour later I emerged with these.

I'm hoping these little guys will come in handy. I fashioned them together in such a way that they were meant to be versatile. 24" wide by 10" deep and 16" tall, these guys will fit on top of just about any desk or cabinet. The way they are built would also allow them to be hung straight from a wall. They are good for just about anything you can think of, books, bobbins, beer bottles. Whatever you need for your upcoming work day.

When I started this whole plan of revamping the work area I had no intention of coming up with this second set of shelves. I am really pleased with how much I got out of the one sheet of plywood with very little waste. And not to toot my own horn, I think they look pretty good too.

By the time I had managed to get these shelves to their finished state and up in her craft room it was about 3 pm. We had dinner plans at 4 so I needed to get cleaned up and out the door.

A little over 14 months ago a friend of mine had a little baby girl. Karlee is one of the sweetest little girls you will ever meet, but there has always been something wrong. She's had jaundice for months. They have gone to doctors all over the state and are now going to Boston to try and figure out what is causing her liver problems. Well they finally nailed it. The problem is, no one has ever seen it before. Their best solution is to give her a liver transplant.

They have all been through so much that some people decided to throw them a benefit supper. It was a donation at the door spaghetti feed with a 50/50 drawing, ticket/prize raffles and auctions galore. People and businesses really stepped up for this one. There were over 50 items donated for the silent auction. 2 dozen $25 gift cards donated for another raffle and at least 30 themed gift baskets donated for the basket raffle.

We tried to help out what we could by donating this little beauty to one of the basket raffles...

This basket consists of two of our bulky weight yarns dyed up in Autumnish colors and aptly named "Bushel". We also put in a brand new set of bamboo needles and the 'Harvest Wheat Scarf Pattern' that my wife designed herself. I won't lie..I sneaked a peek in the can to see how the response was to the basket...I was pleasantly surprised...sssshhhhh

The turn out was amazing. The dinner was held at the Brownville Elementary School in the gym and let's just say, it was probably a good thing the local fire marshal was attending as a dinner guest and not on business. They served a little over 400 meals and they estimated that there between 100-200 people came that just came to socialize and put in for the auctions, etc.

In a small town area where the two closest towns combined only equals about 3200, a 600+ turn out in my mind is extraordinary. When it was all said and done they raised just shy of $10,000 dollars for baby Karlee. A true testament of how small town life can step up, even when the world and the economy are going to hell. On that night I was proud to say I was born and raised in Brownville.

As I stated this week has been a roller coaster ride and a half. I would like to explain more but this post is already long enough. I will come back sometime in the next couple days and try to get everyone caught up on the happenings as well as the regular segments.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, folks!


Fox In Detox said...

That is an amazing fundraiser turnout. Just when you start to lost faith in humanity, something like that happens and you believe again.

PS... mind if I steal your work bench idea for my darkroom?

Fox In Detox said...

That would be "lose".... It's 6am...I haven't had any coffee yet.