Oct 30, 2014

Front Entryway Bench and Shelf


The front foyer is a part of the house that is often overlooked. You might pass by it a dozen times a day, but most of the time you don't really notice it. That happened to us. After painting the walls and hanging a new light, we updated the closet doors to bi-folds and then left it. What more does an entry need, really? How about a place to sit and put on/take off your shoes?

Build your own entryway bench

We had an antique table by the door - just to set down your bag or drop your keys - but, as so often happens, it turned into a place to dump everything. My solution for the dumping problem was to remove the table and hang a smaller shelf - but that still didn't give us or our guests a place to sit down.

We scoured the internet looking for ideas and finally came up with a hybrid of several styles, but it most closely resembles this bench by Ana White.

We used 2 2x8 boards for the seat, cut down to 4-foot lengths, planed to get a nice tight join, and then joined together with pocket screws and 4 metal plates on the underside.

Build your own entryway bench

The legs are 3 2x3 boards attached with pocket screws, forming the letter A. If you're making a bench, watch that your bench legs don't stick out farther than the edge of the seat - that's a tripping hazard. We had to monkey around with the angles until the legs were tucked in enough.

Build your own entryway bench

The two braces under the seat keep the legs from bending outwards. They are attached to the legs at the cross piece of the "A" and then screwed into the underside of the seat.

Build your own entryway bench

I stained the bench in Jacobean by Minwax (shocking, right?) and then gave it two coats of wax and buffed with steel wool. I love how smooth the wood feels after the steel wool treatment. I've tried it many times - on a toybox, nightstands, and a table.

Build your own entryway bench

The shelf that we mounted on the wall above the bench is also DIY. We used a 2x10 plank which I sanded smooth - after banging it around a bit with a hammer to give it a worn look. Again with the Jacobean stain, wax, and steel wool. While I liked the idea of a floating shelf, this plank is just too darn heavy. So we found some simple braces at Home Depot that give it enough support without drawing too much attention - we wanted the wood to be the focal point.

DIY Entryway Shelf

The same mirror went back above the shelf. This is the one that I accidentally gave an oil rubbed bronze look. I think I'd like to replace it though - maybe with something in a different shape - there are too many squares and rectangles in that hallway for my liking.

Build your own entryway bench

The hardest part was taking pictures of it afterwards. First because that area gets very little light so keeping the photos from looking dreary is a task. And then there was the problem of my furry assistant stealing the ball every time I turned my back. Doesn't she understand the importance of a good shot? J

Build your own entryway bench

Build your own entryway bench

Build your own entryway bench

Build your own entryway bench

Build your own entryway bench

Build your own entryway bench





Oct 16, 2014

A Little This, A Little That...


It's been a quiet week here at the Turtles and Tails homestead. We delivered the receiving blankets that I made for our neighbours' baby, and I got some quality baby-holding time.

Tom decided to get the garage ready for winter while I rearranged furniture inside the house, and made more of a mess, I think. Over the weekend we worked on a project that shouldn't have taken a weekend - one that I'm planning on sharing as soon as I take some daylight photos. If you follow me on Instagram (and you definitely should) you'll see a sneak peek.

I got my DIY on and installed trim around the windows in the basement. The windows are pretty small and plain, and I thought they needed something to beef them up a bit.


I used pre-primed trim and it just took a few simple cuts. I used the air nailer to attach the pieces, caulked the edges, puttied and sanded the holes, and gave it a coat of semi-gloss paint. Tom was away for the day and I managed to get it all done and cleaned up before he got back.


It's been two days and he still hasn't noticed the change. I'm not surprised though - I painted the spare room one weekend when he was out of town and after a month I finally had to point it out to him because he hadn't noticed.

The one thing that has kept us endlessly entertained is the enormous flock of geese in the field behind our house.


There are a couple of large puddles back there and, like clockwork, the geese arrive every morning just before 8 to hang out and make noise. The grasses near the fence are long, and occasionally the birds will wander over to grab whatever grains they can find. These birds are huge. It's kind of alarming when you see them all close by, just staring at the house. What are they plotting?


But I know they won't be around much longer - the call to head south will come soon enough - so we have to enjoy them while it lasts.


It's the weekend again and we don't have any big plans. It's going to be cool, but dry, so maybe we'll drag the dogs to the regional forest to wander the trails and enjoy the leaves.


And just to end on a goofy note, this is what I came upon while getting ready for work this morning:


All I can ask is: Why, Chloe, why?


Oct 10, 2014

One-of-a-Kind Gift - Handmade Receiving Blankets


We have a new baby in the neighbourhood. Our next-door neighbours just had a sweet baby boy two weeks ago. These are the people that we share a "party wall" with, and it's a testament to the builders that we haven't heard a peep. (That also makes me feel better about all the noise our dogs make when they're crashing into things.)

So what kind of gift to get them? I'd mentioned in the Blue Mountain post that we'd planned on buying them a rocking horse, but the woodworker at the farmers market didn't have any in stock. I couldn't think of anything that they probably didn't already have - they both have large families. Tom pushed hard for me to make more receiving blankets like the ones I made for my cousin's baby.

handmade receiving blankets

Off I went to the fabric store for supplies.  So many patterns to choose from. But since I only needed a little piece of each (22" x 36") I went with a package of mixed patterns instead.

handmade receiving blankets


My original post on making receiving blankets has all the detailed instructions if you're looking for them - I'll just show some photos here. I went with a group of patterns in soft shades of blue and yellow, and a group of louder prints with bright orange and turquoise.

handmade receiving blankets

I had forgotten how much I like making these - except when my discount bobbin kept messing up the tension and I had to pick out the seams THREE times. Sometimes it'd not worth it to try and save money. Those 12 new bobbins went right into the trash - but at least I'm only out $3.

handmade receiving blankets

Which one is your favourite? I like the train wheels - they look like peace signs. Tom likes the bright stripes. Hopefully the baby likes them all. J

handmade receiving blankets






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