Current project: repurposed tree round table

Over the weekend, I finally got around to a project I’ve been wanting to do: repurpose a tree round from the tree they cut down in front of our house earlier this spring. Plus, the round was finally dried out enough that I could 1.) move it and 2.) get the bark off in a reasonable amount of time.

The best part was Lucy and Stella (two of my three daughters) were super excited to help out!

Here are the basic steps:

  1. De-bark the tree round. I used a hammer and pry bar. Most of it came off pretty easy, although there were a few stubborn areas.

  2. Sand it down. I used a combination of fine and medium sandpaper blocks to get the round nice and smooth to the touch. Stella and Lucy were huge helps in sanding this behemoth.

  3. Once you are done sanding, wipe the round down with a wet, lint-free towel to prep it for staining.

  4. Put the legs on. This was actually sort of difficult, as the round was pretty uneven on the bottom. I did end up finding four spots that were equidistant apart and fairly centered on the bottom for support. I used Ikea Capita legs that are adjustable, so we can level the table on any surface.

  5. Stain it. I used a honey maple stain, which ended up darker than I pictured, but looks good nonetheless. Stella and Lucy helped stain the top, as well.

  6. Finish with a polyurethane. I used a fast drying clear satin polyurethane to protect the wood and give it a nice, rustic look:

I did three coats on the sides and six plus on the top, since it soaks in so much.

So pleased with how it turned out, but most of all I was glad to make something with my hands and have Lucy and Stella help out. A great experience for all of us!

Personal Sites

During the last quarter of 2015, I got fed up with maintaining my WordPress install and decided to shut it down and write on Medium.com. I moved over a few of my favorite posts, which proceeded to get a decent bit of traffic (for me), so I was pleased with my decision.

The decision to stop using WordPress after so many years came down to a combination of not writing often enough and dealing with three WordPress hacks (not all the same site) in a short time. At the time, moving to a service liked Medium felt like the right move to make.
Continue reading "Personal Sites"

Building Better Defaults

Great inspiration from Shawn Blanc:

Doing a little bit on a regular basis is far more powerful than doing a whole lot at once. It’s also far more sustainable.

But we despise doing a little bit on a regular basis. We live in a culture that craves microwave results. And thus, we have acquired a thirst for instant gratification.

His email newsletter is amazing. Do yourself a favor: click through, read the latest, and subscribe.

Why This Is Not the Golden Age for Photobooks →

From Time.com:

“If we’re working in the car industry, we’d say that there’s overproduction,” adds Lewis. “So we need to shift gears. Take our time. Avoid rushing into bookmaking. Think everything through. If that were to happen, we’d have fewer books and better books. Then, we can start talking about a golden age.”

It's not just writing, music, video, and digital content. The democratization of media via computers and the internet is a good thing overall, but large quantities of creative production cheapens the end product and increases the value of attention (the fan's/consumer's/etc.) Too much choice, too much distraction, too little time to enjoy or even care.

Make, Do and a Beautiful Woman

I wrote a little bit on the concept of Make, Do last month, which centers around this basic idea:

Make with your best effort, and do what you can. Don’t let the possibility of what could be deter you from forward progress.

I've been doing my best to focus all of my energy on that idea, in all aspects of my life.

One area that I've become more interested in over the last year or two is art -- especially the act of making my own art through drawing on my iPad. It's very challenging in a sense, because beyond that one class I took in high school, I have no artistic training or much experience at all really.

I do like the calming feeling of drawing, however, and it definitely helps me to feel creative in other areas of my life. Creativity begets creativity, I guess!

Anyway, one of the goals I had was to do a picture of my wife, and with Valentine's Day coming up I figured no better time than now. So I spent that last week or two working on a watercolor and pencil drawing of her based on a picture I took of her while we were in a Rochester, NY coffee house last year.

You can see the end result above. It's not the most amazing thing ever, but I am pretty happy with how it came out.

Here's to many more years of growing together, Melisa. I love you so much.