Built-in Library for (most of) Our Books

We have a serious book problem at our house. We both came into our marriage with large collections and an obsession with books. We stop at every bookstore and library sale we pass. Add to that an inability to get rid of any (I have so many college textbooks and anthologies that I just can’t bear to part with. What if I NEED them later?) and we quickly filled several bookcases and still had more in boxes.

Gordon decided that for my birthday last year, he would build a bookcase into an entire wall in our front room. He said it was boring once it was four feet tall, so he got distracted. But with my birthday this year fast approaching, he figured he’d better finish it so I couldn’t accuse him of stretching it out just to avoid picking a gift this year. It took late nights, many trips to Lowe’s, and the whole house smelling like stain for awhile, but our little library is now my favorite part of the house. Continue reading

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Sharpening Stone Case

Gordon gags when people say upcycle, because it usually means they’ve taken something useful (like a pallet) and made it useless (like a sign that says “Love is Everything” or “Live, Laugh, Love” or “I don’t need love, I have wine”).  But this is a post about upcycling and he’s just going to have to deal with it. Continue reading

Apple Cider Press

Visiting my grandmother in the fall always meant picking apples from her backyard orchard and drinking apple cider. Now that she’s gone and my parents live in the house, we knew there would be several trees full of apples that needed to be cidered.

I spent a lovely day picking apples with my parents while Gordon built an apple grinder and press. He used these plans from Matthias Wandel for the grinder and designed a small press using a scissor or bottle jack. Continue reading

Pizza Dough Press

Pizza PressWe bought an outdoor pizza oven for the back deck this summer in celebration of actually having a deck. After lots of pizza parties we realized the most time-consuming part of the whole process was rolling out the dough, since the pizzas themselves only take 2 minutes to cook. So we made a pizza dough press to do the dough shaping for us.

It’s basically an oversize tortilla press with some modifications.

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Handmade Mountain Dulcimer

Sometimes the power goes out and you can’t actually use any of your power tools. Sometimes you want to form an impromptu bluegrass band anDulcimer on porchd don’t have an instrument handy. Just in case both of those things happen at the same time, we made a dulcimer using only non-power tools and typed out all the directions.

If you’ve ever wanted to try making a stringed instrument, the dulcimer is really the place to start. It’s relatively easy to make and easy to play, and will make your Appalachian ancestors proud.

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