Categories
General Musings Home Improvement

stuff i did when i wasn’t here

  • Watched a stupid amount of stuff on Netflix and Prime. Like, so much stuff. I still haven’t watched all of the first season of Stranger Things, however; nor Game of Thrones. I have no plans to change that state of affairs any time soon. #poser
  • Graduated with a BS in Business Management. It took me just over 11 months to complete the 79 credit hours I needed. #braggart
  • Thought about starting an MS program. Subsequently failed to start a MS program. I think I may still be burnt out, although I seem to be making a recovery in recent weeks and wanting to go out and learn stuff on purpose. #tired
  • Got promoted. Twice. Which means I finally successfully tricked people into thinking I would be good at people leading. It’s been more than a year that I have been leading my teams, and they haven’t fired me, so I guess I have that going for me. #braggart #again
  • Went back to Scotland for two weeks. Visited Edinburgh, Glasgow, Islay (where we waved to Jura, but didn’t make the ferry across due to poor planning), Oban, Skye and then a few areas around Inverness before heading back to Edinburgh, the airport and home. Visited more distilleries on this trip than I can properly remember, enjoyed another gorgeous and meaningful day at my spiritual center of Neist Point, went to church in Inverness and met some amazing people both there and at Oban who spoke life to me. I still want to move there. We’re still working on it. #wistfulAF
  • Helped to build a deck. Not just a regular deck mind you. Someone recently referred to it in my hearing as the “Titanic of decks, except it won’t sink.” (only partly because we live in a desert) I got to play with a flame thrower and get a jump on my 2020 goal of doing scary things, like climbing shaky ladders and operating power tools on said shaky ladders[1. Probably, they were not really all that shaky, but I have never loved man-made heights. Or power tools.]. I will get to keep helping with this in 2020, since we still have so much to do but at least got the roof on before the snows started falling. #JustProudIGuess
  • Got a new kitten following the sad loss of Loki earlier in the year. He’s the sweetest and the cutest kitten I’ve ever met and we named him Heimdall. Thor is not a fan. Yet. #HeartEyes
  • Also went back a week later and got Heimdall’s brother. He is wary and watchful and a beautiful smokey grey. So we broke with our Marvel-themed naming tradition and called him Talisker. #MoarHeartEyes

  • Had countless lunches and dinners with friends and people I thought I might like to get to know better over table. I was not wrong. #Communion
  • Speaking of Communion, got to practice public speaking at my church a time or two. Monopolized the time to assert my deep belief that everyone is welcome at Jesus’ table because #LoveWins and #legalismsucks
  • Got to visit one of my friends after she moved to Southern California to get a job with Disney Animation and to tour her workplace! She is so smart and so damn gifted and I am pleased as all hell to get to cheer when I see her name go by on the credits in films (most recently, Frozen 2). #WomenInSTEM
  • Read several books. Would like to claim a lot, but I really did take a break from life for an extended period of time there, and am just working on getting back into it. I am doing my level-best to make up for lost time though. #literarynerd

Probably a lot of other minutia as well, but I think that is the highlight reel. What have you done recently that makes you excite or passionate?

Categories
Home Improvement

barn door diy

Ever since we moved into our house a bit more than a year ago and realized that we wouldn’t be able to knock the wall between the front room and the rest of the main floor down, I’ve wanted to get a barn door put in. This desire reached something of a fever pitch once we got the cats and it became my life’s work to keep an eye on them so that I could get them trained on which surface were and were not appropriate for them to be on[1. Dining room table and kitchen counters, no. Couches, fine. Floors, I suppose. If you must.].

The husband was not on board until just recently, when I was finally able to explain to him my desire that it be something of a work of art in its own right, and not just an elaborate means to herd the cats out of rooms where I don’t want them.

Once I finally had him caught up to my vision of the thing, he became very enthusiastic. Squabbles ensued as we debated what, exactly, we were going to do to make it beautiful. That we would burn something into the door was not up for question. Which images we would use totally was. I was initially in favor of using either some elaborate Celtic knotwork or the Aperture Science logo, as either of those things would fit with the existing decor[2. I guess we’re a little eclectic, but it works for us!]. The husband said no, we needed something to do with welcoming people to the house on the one side, since it’s the first thing they’ll see when the enter the house.

“Speak friend and enter?” I suggested.

In Elvish script, we agreed. And thus the project began with my trying to figure out how to get the Elvish script loaded as a font and then there was some more trial and error to actually get the correct sequence of things entered on the keyboard.

Elvish Translations

After that, we put together the imaged we wanted using GIMP and then saved the files to a flash drive before taking ourselves off to a local copy shop to get everything printed on a wide format printer.

print out

Once that was done (and the boards and hardware for hanging the door were purchased), I set about cutting out a giant stencil using the paper print outs and an exacto knife. Thank God for audio books, because that part was a wee bit tedious.

ready to stencil

While I was doing that, the husband was assembling the door, which also seemed tedious to me, but I don’t have any patience for that sort of thing at all, so I’m very glad he does.

Then, of course, it was time for tracing, which was probably the easiest part of the whole process, and the final thing to complete before we were ready to BURN.

ready to burn

Burning was extremely pleasant. Since the boards are a lovely blue pine, the smoke the wafted up was fragrant and even soothing. The burning itself was something of an aid in the constant struggle against anxiety. It was almost like having a really big, slightly dangerous adult coloring book (I may have burned my fingers once or twice, being careless with the tools).

burning

We set up in our living room and would listen to either audio books or something on television that didn’t require any concentration[3. Did a Friends marathon for many of the hours spent burning, but also some comedians]. While our friends from Chicago were in town, we would all hang out and talk and take turns burning. Talk about your wild and crazy parties.

Once both sides were done – oh, have I not mentioned the other side? – the husband hauled it out back and sanded the whole thing, paying special attention to any areas where we accidentally got outside the lines. Then we gave it one more once-over to darken any spots that needed it.

About a month after beginning, we got the barn door hardware up (purchased as a kit from a hardware store, rather than making our own, though we considered that) and mounted the door.

BEHOLD the final product in all its glory!

Speak Friend and Enter

Tolkien's "Speak Friend and Enter" in Elvish & White Tree of Gondor & Celtic Knotwork Barn Door Far View

Life before death - Strength before weakness - Journey before destination

Life before death - Strength before weakness - Journey before destination

Why yes, I am a big Brandon Sanderson fan, thank you for noticing.[4. Since the door is so light, the husband and I joked about cosplaying as Bridge 4 members, using the door as the bridge. Probably we won’t do this, but I feel like we would be forever known as the door people.]

And that’s it! By far, it was one of the most enjoyable projects we’ve done since moving in (see the floors, paint [ALL OF THE PAINT EVEN THE CEILINGS], trim, ceiling fan and window treatments for examples of other projects that have occurred), and I’m planning on using some of the leftover pine scraps to create some smaller art pieces both for myself and possibly for other people.

But that’ll be a post for another day.