Thursday, May 26, 2011

No More Ripped Pants! The story of new drawer pulls.

Years ago (at least 9 years ago) I found drawer knobs that I loved on clearance at Target.  The only problem was they didn't have enough of the leaf shaped ones, or enough of the grape shaped ones to cover the drawers and cabinets in our kitchen.  The solution was to mix them, grapes on drawers and leaves on cabinets.  I had to collect them from more than one Target and I called and had them hold the ones I wanted, but when I drove the half hour to get them, they couldn't find where the person had put them.  Next day when I made the trip again the person found them, and the manager gave them to me for FREE since I had to make the trip twice.  I purchased about 40 knobs that were solid brass (I think) for around $25 dollars.

Zip to the present and the current problem with the great deal knobs.
The brass is tarnished, it is to close in shade to the cabinet color, that wonderful honey oak, and the biggest problem of all?  The kids (16, 15, and 13) keep catching their clothes and tearing them on the knobs.  I have got caught on them also, but not done damage.  We've also had guests have problems with them also.  I just couldn't see spending on average of $4 a knob to replace the 40 or so I would need.

This is an OLD photo of our kitchen, but the only one I could find that showed all of it.  We recently repainted a warm yellow (which ended up the same tone as the cabinets, which is why painting the cabinets is next on my list).  It is large and has LOTS of cabinet space, so it would be expensive to replace knobs.
But recently while out at my local Goodwill, I found bin pulls from Target marked down to a package of 6 for $1.98, then I spied another package of 6 for $2.98.  The cashier, though after looking at both, without my even asking, rang them up both for $1.98 each!  So at least I could change the drawer knobs....

The old knobs were a single screw and the new knobs were double screws, so a little modifying needed to be done.  I took all the drawer fronts off the drawers and removed the old knobs.

(It won't let me rotate this photo!) , anyway here are the old knobs, if anyone is interested I will be happy to mail 12 grape shaped knobs, slightly tarnished for the cost of shipping!

I then talked to Mr. Bruce (I take the kids to a woodworking class once a week, he is the most awesome teacher and woodworker, and I now take projects to work on also, and he teaches me along the way) about the best way to go about adding the new knobs.

Step one was to fill the old center hole.  I found a dowel rod almost the size of the hole, sanded down the tip, and use a utility knife to trim off a piece that was slightly longer than the thickness of the drawer panel.

Next I pushed the plug I'd cut into the old knob's hole and used a hammer to wedge it further in and then use a bent handle saw (Mr. Bruce has all the good tools!) to trim it flush with the top of the drawer front.  Since the new pulls would cover the old holes I didn't bother with filling in the top with wood filler, but when I paint the drawers I probably will.
Next I made a template the size of the raised portion of the front of the drawer panel, so that I could position all of the pulls properly, and marked the position of the new screw holes with another of Mr. Bruce's tools a punch, you could also use an ice pick or similar pointed tool to mark them.  The benefit of the mark is it gives a starting point for the drill bit and keeps it in place when you start drilling.

(Again it won't put the photo in the right orientation!)  The only problem I had with this marking, was I noticed that the screws that came with the knobs had a rounded head and would not sit flush with the back of the drawer panel, which would not allow me to replace it on the drawer.  I knew I would need to countersink the screw head but wasn't sure any of the tools we had at home were the correct ones for the job, since I wanted them to be equal depth.  So Mr. Bruce to the rescue again, with the correct bit on his drill press.  But, the counter sink needed to be on the back of the drawer fronts, I had marked the fronts, so I had to redo my process and then drill the countersink holes.  While we were setting the drill press up, and getting the proper depth on the hole, we accidentally did the countersink holes on the FRONT of one of the drawer panels.  More slices of dowel cut and glued in, then trimmed off.
Next we drilled the center hole for the screw to go through,I got the correct sized drill bit by  holding the drill bit behind the screw that came with the knob and looking for the one that was just slightly bigger than the screw.  Once I had drilled through the center of the countersink hole (which is much easier than drilling the center hole first, then the counter sink hole), I put the new screws in place and tightened on a new pull to see the final affect.  Problem.  The screws were too long.  So this time I knew what to do from previous Mr. Bruce teaching.
 FIRST, screw a nut onto your screw, then position it in a vise (I marked the vise with a pencil mark to make sure I cut all the screws the same length), and use a hacksaw to cut the excess off the screw.  AFTER cutting, unscrew the nut (it should be on the portion of the screw you are going to use, not the portion you cut off) and it will realign the threads that were pushed out of position during the cutting.

Since class was over I took the rest home to finish drilling with our hand held drill. 
You can see the original hole in the middle, the two countersunk holes for the new pulls, and the smaller holes far right and left that the screws come into from behind to attach the drawer panel to the drawer.  All of this is hidden.
Then the final of attaching the fronts back on the drawers.  When we moved into this house in 2003 there were no knobs on the cabinets or drawers at all.  I drilled and added the pants ripping grape and leaf knobs within the next year.  Though I was always short of knobs for the 3 BIG drawers.  I still am with these new pulls.  I'll just keep searching until I find a good bargain.  Until then, I plan to paint the leaf knobs that are on the cabinets with Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint, distress a little, and wax to make them match the new pulls better.  
If you are interested in the old grape knobs, be the first to leave me a comment about them, and I will mail them to you!
New pulls with drawers with still no knobs and old brass leaf pulls new pulls with old brass leaf knobs painted with Old Rubbed bronze spray paint, distressed and waxed.

Also linking to:

Transformation Thursday

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Saturday, May 21, 2011


 This is Sugar.  The kids had finally gotten to an age where we thought they were responsible enough  to help take care of a dog.  We went to the local animal shelters and had in mind to adopt a dog, not a puppy, but after a few days looking and just not finding the "right" dog, we spied this puppy in with her 2 sisters, and another cage with her 2 brothers.  This was our puppy! 

I'm sure all of you can guess what happened.  I ended up being the one to get up in the middle of the night to take the dog out.  I had to remind everyone it was their turn to feed the dog.  I am the one to walk the dog in the morning.   I clean up when Sugar makes messes.  But that is okay, she is my dog, she loves me best!
Most of all I love our morning walks.  We walk 2 miles behind our house.  Past the orange grove, past the neighbors houses, turn right and down the dead end road to the property where the house was torn down and it's just a creek with a homemade bridge and beautiful old Oaks, and some years wild blueberries.  

I do let the kids play with her sometimes, though I think putting their underwear on the dog and then letting her swim in the pool, maybe a bit too much.

And though she loves to run around outside and play, she is quick and you have to keep an eye on her or she is gone.  If you think you are quick, just try taking the frisbee, or ball, or pull toy away from her.  She dares you!

I'm sure though that she likes her time spent with me most. 

(just don't look at those feet used to running around barefoot!)

Other than the foot of my bed this is the place I liked to find her most.  A small couch in our master bedroom, next to the sliding glass door where she could watch the world outside.  Unfortunately when we had the couch recovered John said she's not allowed on the couch anymore, and believe it or not, it only took about 2 times of telling her no, and she doesn't even try to get up there anymore.
Sugar is a Florida Cur, a dog bred for hog hunting in Florida.  Though we don't use her for hunting she is a very strong dog and I have to be careful when walking her, for if she sees a squirrel or rabbit and lunges for it, she can pull a full grown adult over.  

When Sugar was about 2 years old, one morning we set off on our morning walk and about a block away her back legs just gave way.  I had to pick up the 60 lb dog and carry her home.  She was able to stand, but would then collapse.  We took her to our vet, who said it was probably some back strain from getting hit from other dogs at the dog park.  But she did not get better in the next few days, and  I noticed the funny huffing sound she was making before she barked getting more pronounced.  We saw Dr. Jen, another vet at the practice, when we took her again a day or two later.  Dr. Jen had me try to walk her back and forth.  She immediately mentioned a disorder I'd never heard of before and the only way to determine if  that is what she had was a blood test that would need to be sent to the only place in the US where they do the blood work.  A week later we knew for sure Sugar had Myasthenia gravis.  A rare disorder that actually happens to humans also, I later found out one of the older gentlemen at our church also has the disorder and takes the same medication as Sugar.  It affects the receptors on the muscles being able to receive a message from the brain telling it to do something.  It can affect only certain muscles, like Sugar whose back legs were affected.  It is also common to have an enlarged esophagus with this, which was causing the huffing sound, and affected her eating, so that we had to make food that she could swallow in large chunks and feed her in an upright position.  Luckily the medication the Dr. Jen, with help from a neurologist friend, figured out for Sugar to take  helped quickly, the problem was it was very expensive, $500.00 per month.  We got her stable, and most of the symptoms dissolved,  though she still makes a small huffing sound before barking sometimes.  We weaned her off the medication, and she was seemingly back to normal, when we went on a vacation for 10 days.  We had a great dog sitter come to stay with her, but Sugar had a relapse, and by the time we returned she looked so ill again.  Back on the medication again, it's been almost 2 years now.  After she was stable for about 6 months, we took tiny reductions in the medication, and have very slowly been reducing but taking a very long time to do it, so hopefully we could wean her off and have her stay in remission.  Most dogs do, never to have problems again.  We just went on another vacation, and made sure we didn't make any reductions in her medication close to when we were leaving.  This time a close family friend came to stay, and since he is the older brother of my boys best friends, who are over all the time, I think she felt right at home with them.  We came back from being gone a month and she looks wonderful.  So we will again work on reducing the medication an see how things go.  No matter what she is a loved member of our family and is worth the time and money spent on her (though luckily Dr. Jen found a much cheaper source of the medication!), we love her dearly.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Day 21 (Elmendorf and Thunderbird Falls)

 Since all the boys are interested in the Military, John wanted to go to Elmendorf Air Force Base and see if they allow visitors on the base.  Well we got as far as the visitors center outside the gate.  Oh well, Ryan enjoyed the view of the F-15 anyway.

After stopping for a few snacks we headed up to Thunderbird Falls.  It's between Anchorage and Wasilla, and in Chugach  State Park.  It was sunny out and around 55 degrees.  The hike was fairly easy, just those steep parts, and trying to keep up with the kids made it hard.  Luckily I had to stop to find 2 caches on the way up, it gave me a chance to catch my breath.  At the upper look out platform I looked for another cache, but couldn't find it, so I spent a few minutes looking at the view and trying to take photos of the falls.  Even though it was sunny out, the sun was just in the wrong position, and the falls were is too much shadow to get good lighting.   Then off to the lower look out point to check the view from there. The temperature was at least 10 degrees colder down by the river and the falls, there was still ice close to the falls.  Though I am irrationally nervous about slipping on ice or loose rock, I just force myself to go out though and find a way over the slippery parts, and I'm glad I did because the view of the falls was much better from here.

I asked John to take a picture of me, since there aren't many of me, I'm always the one behind the camera.  Usually I don't like how I look in pictures but I actually love this photo!

I dropped John and the kids at the church for their teen group night, to play ping pong, pool and eat junk food, with loud music filling in any quiet space.  I had 3 hours to myself, so of course, I went geocaching.  I found 7 of the nine I looked for, and had a great time.  There is moss growing on many things here, I love how it looks against the tree bark.

This guy kept chattering at me while I looked for a nearby cache, I hope he didn't think I was here to steal his pine cones.
This was one of my favorite hides, the bark of these trees, will peel back and form a tube shape, just right to slip in a camo'd match container.  That said, it is difficult to spot at first.  I just enjoyed being by myself and the hike around this little park.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Alaska Day 20 (Denali)

 We wanted to take another trip to Denali National Park, after we had left the first time we found out we could have driven 30 miles in on the road that goes through the park instead of the 15 we originally thought.  They only  have it open for 1 month of the year for you to be able to drive your vehicle past the 15 mile mark.  The rest of the time (winter) it is closed beyond that point to vehicles, or in summer you can park and take the Park's tour bus to the end of the 80 mile road that runs through
the park, the bus doesn't start running until mid May so we wanted to drive as far as we could ourselves.  I couldn't believe how much snow had melted in the time between visits.  Though the higher you got there was still plenty of snow.  We made a small detour on the way to Denali to the small town of Talkeetna.  There are a lot of historic buildings and a quaint little main street.  We stopped for a break and I was kissed by a Moose to be able to log a cache.

This was another stop in the way, Hurricane Gulch.   There was a cache here, but with the terrain level and the posts about the difficulty getting to it, I decided it was a cache to leave unfound, or someone would be needing to find me at the bottom of the gulch.
 The guys we more excited about a pair of these that flew overhead while we were looking at the gulch.

Ryan wanted a photo of him next to the snow bank at the edge of the parking lot.  This was the level of the snow, not what had been pushed back by a snow plow.  Ryan is 6 ft tall.

Once we got to the park, we stopped again at the 15 mile mark, Savage River.  I took a walk along the river bank and heard this bird chattering at me, looked it up later and it is the Alaska State Bird, the Willow Ptarmigan. 

This must be why he was "talking", his mate was nearby, she was much harder to see.
 Last time we were here, this path was under snow.  Now there were only patches.  I hiked quite a ways out, and just enjoyed the peace and quiet, the only sounds were the river splashing down, and a few birds.

This was the view of the river back towards the parking lot.
 The kids again did their imitation of Mountain Goats. 
 This shows a little better just how high they were.  Later when I walked back I noticed a pathway leading up the rock and went about 3/4 of the way myself before we needed to head out again.
 If you looked closely enough you can see small things starting to grow again, that sunshine sure helps.

As we continued our drive up we saw a few moose, looking for a meal.
 We stopped to see the views, and for the kids to see if they could slide down the hills above where I'm standing to take this photo.

They made it up, now to make it down.

And Kamryn came tumbling down.

 This is Rock Creek, there was a Earth Cache here that required you to do a lot of thinking, figuring and classifying of the river to be able to claim the find.  It was posted in Feb. and no one had claimed it yet as FTF so I took some photos, and when we go back home it took me about an hour of going thorough all the information to come up with an answer for the cache owner.  I did not hear back from her for a few days, she told me in the e-mail she is in Ecuador, and doesn't have internet access often.  She didn't have a chance to read through my answer, so I still don't know if I was correct or not, but she said I could claim it as a find.  So I have a First To Find (FTF) in Alaska!
 This was another view of the cache site, love the willow.

On our way home, we stopped to change drivers, and a Bald Eagle was sitting in the tree, I tried to get close but he flew off, which turned out to be some great photos anyway.