Posts Tagged With: Marley

New Shelves

About 85% of my work week is spent at this desk.


It has been a long road to be able to work this much from home, but man, do I love it!

I have had some great workmates over the years but this guy might take the cake! Literally, if I don’t watch him, he’ll sneak food from me.IMG_0030

Anyway…I had a storage problem above my desk. This is what the space was like:


Which is a little ridiculous because if I turn my chair 180 degrees I have all these shelves.


But I wanted shelves over my desk. (I am too lazy to get up walk 5 feet to get my thesaurus).

Well, I looked around at Target and Lowe’s and even went down (which means 2 hours to Charlotte) to Ikea thinking I’d find the thing. But I didn’t. Part of the problem is that it is a 24 inch space, most pre-made shelves are wider than that.

So, I perused Ana White’s site and found: easy book shevles

It was actually called Easy Bookshelves, it was a sign! Doesn’t look too hard, right?

I like Lowe’s because they’ll even cut the boards, and I can practically walk there from my house.


My sophisticated re-fashioned plans.

I adjusted the plans to accommodate my more narrow space but when I got to Lowe’s and did the math again, I realized if I had only three shelves, I could get away with one less board.

Well, I’m nothin’ if not cheap, so I decided to just go with three shelves and I would adjust appropriately when I put it together.

So, I got to work,

The plans had a little decorative cut on the top of the shelves. In theory I knew that could be done with a jig saw but I wasn’t so sure, I gave it a try though by free handing a little wavy shape thing-y on the top of the boards. Once I cut the first one I just laid the 2nd board on top of it and kind of traced it with the saw (about as hokey as it sounds but not terrible).


I few things:

1. I drilled pilot holes for each of the holes I would need because I have split plenty of boards (learned that the hard way).

2. I don’t have a workbench (well, I do but it is always occupied with other stuff, like lawn equipment, but that is another blog entry) so work wherever there is room.

3. I used a T-square and a level to make sure it was level enough to at least not let everything slide to one side.

This is how it turned out:before-after-shelves

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It turned out to be therapy!

Where was I? Describing how I kept busy when I lost my job last year.

Putting the whole thing together…well it didn’t take long. I spent about $4 on a couple of long bolts, washers and nuts so I could bolt the counter top to the shelf–that way I could put as much weight as needed on the desk top but it wouldn’t flip forward.

You can see the bolt in the middle of the desk. I actually used two.

Then I measured the space between the desk and the shelf on the ceiling to cut my luvered doors. I measured once, twice, no, I’m pretty sure it was three times because I really wasn’t gonna get a second chance on this. I also traced the contour of the back of the counter top so, in theory, it would fit tight.

I’d used a jigsaw before but I wasn’t sure I was using it right so I took a few minutes and watched a youtube video, or did I watch five?  There were plenty and they were really helpful. For the most part I was doing it right, but don’t ya just  love what you can learn on youtube?

I just got a cool tool to fix my squeaky floors and I found out about it on youtube. Of course there will be a blog entry on that tool. Suffice to say we’re sleeping better with the floors fixed, heck, the kids could probably sneak out of the house now, before: not a chance. Hmm, in retrospect that may have not been the best fix.

I digress!

Trimming the doors was a snap. Well, the third and fourth time, anyway. The 1st and 2nd time, I was able to hide the not-as-good-as-it-could-have-been times. I took a few pictures to show my cutting, but I decided we don’t know each other well enough for me to reveal all my mistakes.

The four doors for $5 did leave a little to be desired in the way of condition. I had to remove the rusty hardware and one end had rotted, but since I didn’t need the entire thing, I cut off what I didn’t need. Then I sanded & painted the doors.

Once it was all trimmed up, I put the put it together, attached the doors to the shelf at the ceiling and the counter tops. It all supported itself so I ended up with much sturdier construction than had anticipated.

The doors rested on the counter/desk top and supported the shelves above it.

Next I needed to build a ledge for the shelves to rest on. I decided on a one by two and a little piece of square trim like this:

After that was sanded and painted I attached it to the doors and then laid the shelves on it.

It turned out like this:

So just to recap. The two computers were back to back and they took up about half the room, plus if the work areas were messy, you could see it from the other rooms.

Now, I have a lot more of our computer room for other things and they mess of the computers is kind of hid because they are tucked away against the wall.  The best thing about the entire project is my otherwise skeptical husband doesn’t cringe when I say I am going to build something.

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Spline Tool, er, pet screen, no definitely, it’s a spline tool.

Since we installed a new patio door three years ago we have been though three screen doors. Well, I have been through one -tore the screen the very first week – and Marley has been through the other two.

When I say I have been through one, I mean exactly that. The 2nd day the door was up, I was on my way to the grill, forgot about the new door (we had the screen off the old door for a few weeks so I sort of forgot there was a screen door). Because I was holding a plate of raw meat with both hands, I couldn’t grab the door jam to stop myself. I stepped right through the screen door. The door gave a valiant try to resist me, but ultimately it was no match for my forward motion, meat- in- hands- on- a- mission- to- the- grill self. The door slightly bent, then popped out of the track. Fell forward, landed on the corner of a deck chair and put a nice little L-shaped tear in the screen.  After I spew a few expletives, I inspected the screen and wondered what to do about the torn screen. Now, I could have fixed it there and then using the technique I am about to describe, but we had just installed 12 new windows and a patio door, I had done my share of do-it-yourself home improvement for a little while.

So I called Lowe’s, told them my brand new door had a tear in the screen and was there any type of warranty. They just sent a new door! Nice, huh?  So, we had the bent door with the torn screen and a new screen door. We stashed the bent door in the garage behind a bunch of other junk, er, things and pretended like nothing had ever happened.

Now Marley had just turned one when we installed the door. Our sweet canine has never barked when he wants to come in but he does paw at the door. When those long nails connect with the screen it eventually wears into a tear.

He has gone though two doors. When he broke through the first door, I just let him keep scratching until I couldn’t look at the torn screen any more (and it was letting bugs in) I put in the old bent screen that already had a tear a few feet higher. This summer I decided it was time to fix both screens and start over. I half-heartedly tried to talk Marley into using a different method to notify me that he was at the door. I didn’t care that much, the tear in the screen was a little annoying but at least he wasn’t scratching up the new door. 

I took these screens apart before I decided to write a blog, so you can’t see the scratches very well. They were about six inches long and lots of mosquitos were getting in.

Hmm, I said this post was going to be about the spine tool but the more I think about it, the more I really want to tell you about the screen.

 Replacing a screen is really easy. All you need is a spine tool, a blade and a screwdriver (I used a tiny screwdriver, too, but one is sufficient).

I am not sure the screwdriver is recommended because it’s too easy to slip and put your screwdriver through the screen but it also makes the job go much faster ( I am all about faster–some people want the job done right, I’d rather have it done mostly right but much faster. Which is why I time all my jobs. I only consider it a successful project if I can beat my time from the last time I did the job.) However, if you do slip and put your screwdriver through the screen, that will slow the job down considerably. Since this blog is about tools I would suggest once you get the right tools, you Google replacing screens. They are all about the same so I look for who is in the most precarious location to do such a job. There is one guy who replaces his screens on his deck on a windy day, that was a good one.

With a small learning curve anyone can replace any of their screens and save tons of money. When I went to Lowe’s to buy the screen – I was going to buy it in bulk right off the roll since I had two to replace. It was going to cost about $6.50 a door to buy the screen. I didn’t need spline (the rubber stuff that keeps the screen in the place) because I was going to use the spline in the door. I have replaced screen with really old spline and it still worked fine. New spline is easier to work with because it’s much more pliable but it also adds to the cost of the project. I’d rather spend my extra pennies on dog treats than new spline. These doors were new enough that it was like using new spline. It was nice and rubbery. Removing the spline is easy and fun but it stretches so you have more left over  that you’ll have to cut off. Don’t let that worry you. (In case you are wondering…I used the word the spline 8 times in this paragraph, not counting this last time I used it).

I had the screen all picked out but then I found this:

Pet Screen!

It was twice the price so instead of spending $13 for two sceens, I spent it on one but, boy, does this stuff work well!

It was much thicker to cut so I had to press a little harder but it still cut neatly.

It’s been installed since the first of August and it isn’t showing the slightest wear. Figure Marley goes outside 10 times a day (I have no idea how many times he goes out,  I just said 10 to make it sound like we’re really attentive to his needs) multiplied by how many days it’s been since the first of August and it’s proof this is great screen. Eventually I am going to put a crowbar in my wallet and spend the $13 for the other slightly bent screen. But as easy of a job this is and how great this screen is, maybe I won’t need to.

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Gentle Leader

 Let me tell you about Marley.

He has his own Facebook page, which means he is really smart, he can type after all. He can fly…I’d imbed my video of him jumping something taller than he is but WordPress doesn’t support video for free,  so a picture will have to suffice:

He is 3 1/2, 80 pounds and really strong. He can drag everyone around the family and no one likes to walk him because train as we might, we can’t get him to walk nice on the leash. Sometimes he’s dragging us and sometimes we’re dragging him. Even when he was a puppy we were dragging him places:

So, the tool that turns him from wild animal to a pussy cat (not really) is the Gentle Leader. This one is wearing in some places but I love it because it’s so easy to walk him — past anywhere.

He really doesn’t mind it. He sits while I put it on him and even when something really tempting crosses his path —

He is able to be controlled. Otherwise, he’d be running all over the neighborhood dragging one of us with him.

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