Friday, September 28, 2012

Kitchen table

So I made a table.

We really needed a kitchen table, in addition to other things in there that will be coming later, and Spouse and I disagreed on they style. I wanted a formica '50s jobbie like I used to have years ago and he preferred a farmhouse style. The ones I like, however, are rather expensive. So I went with farmhouse and decided to make it myself.

I found the Ana White site, which has TONS of plans of every level. The Narrow Farmhouse Table was the style I was looking for, but not the size. Fortunately the plans are very clear and I was able to alter it to make the table the size I needed.

table legs and apron
I decided to go for a cheaper wood for the bottom of the table and paint it. My main concern was just that it be sturdy so I went for poplar. In retrosepct, I think I should have gone for something heavier as the table top is oak which is incredibly heavy. All the planks were purchsed in standard widths and cut to the right length at Home Depot. That saved me a lot of time and probably kept me from making a complete dog's breakfast of the project.

The legs are supposed to be tapered and since Home Depot doesn't do custom cuts, I did have some actuall cutting to do. Fortunately, I have a circular saw. Unfortunately, I'm afraid of it. Or rather I was afraid of it! Eight cuts later I think I finally got the hang of it! (If we discount the mistake in cutting the support planks)

Starting to look like a table!
After the bottom was put together wth glue, screws and nails (many thanks to Spouse for doing all the nails!)  it was time to get the oak plans on. They're mounted with glue and screws to the apron and with some more to a single support plank the middle underneath. All the countersunk screws were then covered with wood fill and it all left over night.

I should probably clarify the actual time on this. I started the table on a Sunday with buying and cutting the wood and getting the base together. Monday after work I cut the support and did some more sanding. Wednesday was getting the top on and Thursday was sanding and finishing.  The entire project wasn't that long but as I was doing it in small chuncks between getting home and having dinner it did take a while.

So last night was finish night! After some sanding, and I really should have sanded the legs more, but I think they'll be fine, I painted the bottom Mid-Century White. I wanted the top stained but really don't like working with traditional stain. I searched around online and found it is indeed possible to stain with tea! So the top is stained with a very strong tea reduction. It will be sealed soon with an oil and bee's wax mix, also home made.

Things I would do differently:
The next table I make will have more similar wood top and bottom, at least by weight.
I'd like to try pocket holes for the screws to really hide them and make it look professional.
In addition to making my own stain, I'd like to try making my own paint as well. I think a home made milk paint, which will develop a patina over time, would be very nice with the farmhouse style.

So, there's my table. The next kitchen project will be a kitchen island to be used in lieu of counter and cabinets in a vacent corner. This one will be Spouse's project but I know I'll at least be making the stain again, if not horning in a bit on the contruction.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Finally finished!

Just a quick update on the sweater. Finished it last night but it gapped a bit in the middle so I added a few button this morning. Blurry tablet photo taken just before the wee one woke up (in time to test it out!)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Froggy Day

Well I did finally finish my nursing top only to find the neckline was VERY baggy. When I increased the front I didn't tak into accont that my shoulders are obviously slimmer than my chest. So collar has been removed and I'm frogging down a few rows to take that part in a bit.

On the plus side, I've already woven in lots of ends and finished the short sleeves. I may decide when this part is actually finished to make some attachable long sleeves to get more varried use out of it too. But for now, just getting it to fit as is is the priority.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Sunday Donuts

Cutting the donuts
Last weekend the folks were in town to help stepsis and brother-in-law move. I had the urge to make some donuts as a nice Sunday treat and to use the donut cutter I bought a few weeks ago at Streamline Antiques in Lower Mills. The results were wonderful so I decided this Sunday should be a repeat for just our little household.

I recently decided to cultivate a nice sourdough starter and use that in lieu of any dry yeast in recipes. Rather than trying to catch wild yeast or let yeast go wild, I opted for the easy route and just bought some from King Arthur Flour. The starter has been living nicely in the fridge and made a great start to these donuts.

Mr. Donut rising
The base recipe, and the one I used for the family was this one I found online. The base recipe is lovely but I decided to mix it up this week and do banana donuts. I pureed a banana in the blender then added the rest of the wet ingredients. To make up for the extra moisture I rounded the measures for the flour and leavenings. Still, the dough was pretty sticky.

Deep fried goodness
Since I didn't have anyone watching the baby this morning (Spouse was still asleep), I tended to overcook these a bit.. It made them a bit crunchy, but I didn't feel they are overly heavy, which was nice, especially since 1/4 of the flour (and 100% of the flour in the sourdough starter) was whole wheat.
Child in motion, victorious with donut

Draining donuts. Cup of tea
The original idea was to dust the donuts with maple sugar. I boiled down some syrup and beat it until a bit creamy. When it cooled it was soli but it still had too high a moisture content to really work. So I just added a bit more syrup, some water and heated it all up until it was liquid again and made a maple glaze. Not a bad compromise at all!

This recipe is almost too easy. Fortunately I have friends nearby I was able to unload a half dozen of these on but that still left us A LOT and we had no problem scarfing them down. As the occasional treat though it's not that bad. And I like being able to provide a special something on the weekend. It helps make the house, even in the disarray we are still living in (still waiting on lead abatement), feel more like a home.

Stealing daddy's breakfast

A donut hole of one's own