Secret Shelf Tutorial

So yesterday I showed you the desk we built. Today I will share all it’s underneath secrets!

I don’t know about you, but one of my big pet peeves is unsightly wires that hang all over from our desk. My eyes are instantly drawn there, and I can’t seem to focus on anything else. OCD anyone?

So my husband came up with a fabulous fix!

Secret Shelf Tutorial

Secret shelf tutorial to hide those wires!

We flipped the table over, and attached two rectangles (1×6 cut 4″ long) that Jim previously drilled larger holes in (for cords to pass through). These are the supports for a shelf.

Secret shelf tutorial to hide those wires!

He then screwed on a board (1×6) to the tops of those supports.

Secret shelf tutorial to hide those wires!

Easy Peasy. And a Brilliant solution to the wire storage problem!

Secret shelf tutorial to hide those wires!

He mounted a plug bar to either side of the inside (not shown) and then drilled large holes (3) along the back so the wires could pass through (and the large plugs).

Secret shelf tutorial to hide those wires!

No one knows it’s there (except for you, of course)!

Secret shelf tutorial to hide those wires!

What problems have you solved today?


Project Reveal

Remember that project I mentioned here??

Well, we finished it!

It is a computer desk. But not just an ordinary desk. Oh no.

One with a secret.


We found the plans on our favorite building blog Ana White (no relation-but I’m starting to wish we were) and altered the plans. First, we made it shorter to fit the space we had. So instead of 96 inches long, we did 76. Much better. We also made it one board width narrower. The math part did slow us down slightly (we are not mathy), but still finished it in a day.

We added some simple hinges spray painted black. The stain and clear varnish that we used is low VOC- no odor- and just plain awesome. The color is Sesame by SamaN. I also did a little aging with some acrylic paint.

Jim came up with a fantastic idea to hide all the ugly wires and boxes and technical computery stuff (not his words, but mine).

A secret shelf!

I will show you a tutorial tomorrow.

For now, I am loving our new desk and can’t wait to build something else!! I have to say that building with my husband is so much more fun (not to mention so much quicker as 4 hands can do more than just 2) than building alone. I am glad he agrees.


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Table Stain

Remember the other day when I showed you our picnic table?

Well, I found a stain and clear coat that both work well. They weren’t my first choice, since they are both low VOC instead of NO VOC, but better than most of those toxic products out there.

My first choice was a NO VOC stain and varnish in one, but unfortunately NO ONE carries it!! So we went with Benjamin Moore Arborcoat (Transparent Teak #637).

This is turning into more of a review, unintentionally. What we expose our girls to (and ourselves) is so very important to us, so we take these kinds of decisions seriously. After putting all the work into making a piece of furniture that will get a lot of use, I want to protect it as best I can from the wet damp weather here, without having an adverse effect on our environment or our health.

With that said, I also wanted to be able to actually use the table this season (which is so short) without waiting weeks for Tung oil to dry.

So here we are. It is done! If you are looking for easy picnic table plans, I highly recommend checking out Ana White’s (no relation) Blog!

I am starting on the benches this week (weather permitting). Yay!

What do you use to stain outdoor furniture?


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Knock-Off in Wood

Remember my cryptic pile-of-wood post?

Well, this week, my husband and I have built something I have always wanted, but couldn’t find one that was affordable and to our liking.

A Picnic Table!!!

Not just any picnic table. A Restoration Hardware knock-off table. This table retails for $2965.00!  I found the plans here on Ana White’s (no relation- although that would be cool!) blog.

I made mine for under $100.00 {including the pocket hole jig that I bought for it}. It measures 8 feet long!

I am just in the sanding the heck out of it stage right now. I have been researching different stains and sealants for exterior furniture. It has been quite the search. There really aren’t a whole lot of options for No-VOC exterior waterproofers. I have narrowed down my options,though, and will show you once it is all stained and sealed.

Do you have any recommendations??

I also am all ready to start on the matching benches. Oh I am so excited! This table came together so much quicker than my first one with the new addition of my Mother’s Day gift~ A Compound Miter Saw!! I don’t know what I ever did without this beautiful machine. Really. And my husband holding the wood. I highly recommend both {except you’ll have to use your own husband}.

I can’t wait to get it all ready and finished so we can have some (um, enough to sit at an 8 foot long table) people over to help us break it in!

**OK, when my husband previewed this for me, he totally giggled at “husband holding the wood“.  Admit it. You did too. Ha!

Something for My Lap

The other day my husband comes in from the garage with this mock-up thrown together laptop desk that he made. {He wouldn’t let me photograph his because I may have said something like “Wow that is ragged”, Heh.}

I thought the idea was brilliant, though! I often (more often than not) blog in bed, and my laptop just sits on the blankets without any airflow.

No airflow= HOT computer. Not good.

So I decided that I should make my own laptop desk using some scrap wood we had (and the measurements Jim had already taken for his own~Thanks Honey!).

This is what I came up with:

I love it. It was the easiest thing to make too.

I had a old plank that has served as a shelf for years, and then I cut two 2×6’s the length of the sides.

I just screwed 3″screws (cause that’s what I had) through the top.

I had some left over stain from my farmhouse table, and then finished it off with a coat of Polycrylic.

It fits me perfectly. And now my laptop will be healthier for it, and maybe not burst into flames.

Do you use your laptop in bed?

Do you have a desk for it??


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More Teacher Gift Ideas

Do you remember the Produce Bag Tutorial? Well, I thought of another gift idea for those wonderful teachers in our lives.

I had a bunch of scrap wood lying around from the myriad of projects I have done, and they were just calling out to me to be made into a gift…or two.

I used a board and cut it into 7″x9″ pieces, but any size would work.

I first sanded the wood. Then pre-drilled the holes on top for the eyelet screws. Then gave it a few coats of chalkboard paint.

I screwed in the eyelets once it was dry. I also took this time to sand lightly to give it an aged look.

I screwed in tiny hooks on this one, and then drew with a paint pen all around.

I sewed a quick little felt chalk holder to hang from one of the hooks.

Then I made another board.

I drew on this one as well but gave it a built-in chalk holder.

These came out really well, and were fairly easy to do. I love that I had most of the supplies already.

A view from the back.

I can’t decide which I like better.

Good thing we have plenty of teachers to give them to.

What will you be giving to the Teachers in your life?


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Bench Attempt 1 and 2

So after my Farmhouse table, and small Plant Bench, and even my phone table, I thought I could just wing a bench to sit on. Almost like a window seat that could be used as extra table seating if needed.

I sawed and measured and drilled (not in that order), and made this:

I was so proud. I brought it inside and asked my husband to sit on it.

He fell off of it.

The whole bench is so tippy!

Here’s a close-up of the legs.

Ugh. I thought I was being clever by connecting three 2×4’s.

Not so much.

So, I took it apart and started again.

This time I made different legs….

and then I dropped it.

It’s still tippy (and now also chipped).

I hear third time is a charm, though, so I won’t give up yet!

Does anyone know how to solve this problem?

It will be on carpet so I think I need to make it heavier.



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Yes, I Built a Bench

School has begun, and I am doing flowers for a wedding. So, what do I do when I get a minute to myself?

I built a bench for our plants.

It had to be done.

I have been staring at this left over wood in the shed and staring at our plants on a shelf away from the window and put two and two together. Literally.

I am getting the hang of this winging it thing.

Someone likes it for herself.

I distressed it. I love this term really. It should be De-stressed cause it takes the stress out of painting perfectly. I am a slap-it-on and get-it-done kind of a gal…and especially like having it look like it came from a boutique.

There it is with our plants on it!

And here it is with our Falafel on it (pretending to be a plant).

*whistles* “Nobody here but us plants“.

I think our plants will have to share with a certain little girl.


What did YOU just have to make today?


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My Wood Project Revealed

Remember the woodworking project I mentioned here and here and here?

And this wood?


This is what I made:

A farmhouse table!!!

I have dreamed of owning a table like this…forever (but who has a spare $2595.00 for it?).Um, not me.

I got the bug to make my own while perusing the Ana White Blog (no relation). If you haven’t been, you should. It’s an amazing resource for DIY plans and empowering woman energy. I saw this table and thought I could do it, even though I have NEVER built anything out of wood before { I know it seems a little crazy to take on a project this big for the first one, but I tend to just jump in when motivated}. And guess what?

I did.

The best part is it cost under $200.00 (including the circular saw I had to buy, sandpaper, lots of screws, glue, wood filler, Special Walnut 224  stain, and polyurethane).

I am so beyond proud of myself. I am a firm believer that you can do anything you put your mind to. And this proves it.

**Technically, I needed my husband to help me lift it in and out of the garage (cause this sucker’s heavy) but that was it. Go Girl Power!

If I can haul 8 foot boards and notch them with a circular saw, anyone can.

The only question is: What will I build next?


Have you taken on any big projects lately? I’d love to see them. Just leave a comment so I can hop on over to your blog too.