First woodworking project

It seems that a lot of our house has custom measurements that make purchasing simple things difficult. We have been working on the powder room since November, and we have run into many issues. One included a closet in the powder room with a custom sized bi-fold door that was badly damaged. A replacement door would have been at least $100.

So we looked at wire shelving options. Also close to $100.

Then I decided to build the shelves myself. The pine boards were only $40.

But of course, with any DIY project, prices start to add up. Well, I had to buy the supporting boards. The sandpaper (first 220 grit, then 400 grit). Pine wood needs a special conditioner before staining? Better buy that. Oh, and the stain too. There's a post-stain coat? Brushes for the stain, rags for the stain. All in all, it probably came close to $100 anyway, and definitely took more time. But, I can say I made them.

In case you are interested in woodworking specifics, here they are below:
- 1 x 4" pine boards were cut to 17 3/4" lengths.
- 1 x 1" pine was cut to 13" lengths.
- Boards were sanded with 80, then 120, then 200 grit before conditioning
- Boards were conditioned with Miniwax pre-stain wood conditioner for 15 minutes before staining
- Boards were stained with Miniwax Red Mahogany Oil-Based Wood Finish
- 2 coats were applied
- End grain was sealed with 1 coat Miniwax wipe-on poly (satin finish) before staining
- Wood was sanded with 200 grit before wipe-on poly was applied to faces of board
- 4 coats of wipe-on poly was used to achieve the finish shown. 400 grit sandpaper was used between coats. "Sanding" with a paper bag was used after the last coat
- 4 1 x 4" boards made up each shelf. They were spaced with 1/4" tile spacers.
- The 1 x 1" boards went under the shelf for support. 2 were used per shelf. These were attached 2 3/4" from each edge. Two 1" brads (attached with a brad nailer) were used per board on the shelf. I joined from the 1 x 1" pieces so the brads would not show on the top of the shelf.

All in all, I cannot say if I like woodworking yet. There is a HUGE learning curve, and so much of this project was nail-biting. However, I have this pin that may be the next project. It seems to not be much more difficult than the shelves; it will just require cutting at an angle.


Chicken Apple Sausage

Last year, when we bought our house, I was sure that I'd be doing EVERYTHING and buying as little as possible. What's the point of having a house if the entire thing isn't DIY-ed? My Pinterest board become a homesteading paradise, and I bought quite a few things that I was sure I'd immediately use.

And then, reality set in. I was working full-time, and I was in the last stages of my master's degree. Our house, which was a foreclosure, was (and still is) requiring a lot more of the "unseen" fixes--things that are crucial to the house, but things that are not fun to show off to friends and family when they visit (seriously, who cares that we now have 2 working sump pumps in our basement? People want to see fresh coats of paint, new furniture, etc.).

However, this April I presented my master's research and completed said degree. While there are still issues with the house that are preventing us from beautifying the house, we are able to slowly interject these with the boring projects.

One of those early purchases was sausage casing. Now, after at least a full year, I was able to carve out some time to justify something as silly as making sausage from scratch.

I followed this recipe, except that I use my fancy Kitchen Aid meat grinding attachment (another early purchase that has yet to be used) instead of a food processor. Although I have no plans to eat these today, I am just grateful for the opportunity to make them.