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We took a chance on this $129 inner spring mattress from Walmart. It came vacuum-packed, flattened, rolled up, and stuffed into a bag. The packaging was so unique I decided I’d better set up the video camera so people would believe me when I tried to tell them about it. (The folks at Walmart had a hard time believing me when I was trying to describe it so they could locate it in the store!)

The mattress is surprisingly comfortable — on par with those twice the cost or more. It was a great purchase!

(And yes, I know I spelled Walmart wrong in the video.)

Here’s a great run/walk for neighbors of the Colony Woods community in Chapel Hill, NC. The loop is exactly 5 kilometers (3.11 miles), and it goes by most of the properties in the neighborhood with only limited overlap. Because it’s a loop, you can pick it up at any point, and you know you’ve gone exactly 5K when you get back to the starting point (or 10K if you do it twice). Based on your weight you’ll likely to burn 250-500 calories jogging at about 5 miles per hour. It takes about 40 minutes.

Map of Colony Woods 5K Loop

Colony Woods 5K Loop

There are a few hills, but they’re spaced out nicely.  Starting at the intersection of Colony Woods Drive and Fountain Ridge Road and starting by heading south, here is a chart that shows the changes in elevation along this loop.

Colony Woods 5K Loop Elevation Graph

Colony Woods 5K Loop Elevation Graph

Some details: I’ve added to route to WalkJogRun.net as well. The elevation graph is a cleaned-up version of what was made available by HeyWhatsThat.com. The map image itself is a derivative work based on an image from OpenStreetMap.org and is licensed CC-BY-SA. The image was adapted using Inkscape.

Great Bread

This is the blog for a great bread-making technique. We’ve made it countless times and it has been a big help in meeting our culinary resolution to bake all our bread this year. http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/

Every time I opened our entry closet I wanted to scream. I’ve been wanting to re-do it for a long time, and I finally bit the bullet and did it.

Coats, which we accessed most, were often pushed back in the cubbies behind the walls, and the rickety wire shelving in the middle held a bunch of stuff that we hardly ever accessed. So I moved the shelves to the sides, and the hanger rods in the middle. If we need extra hanging space now, we can just take out a couple shelves.

Next comes some paint, a shoe rack, and an umbrella holder. Plus I want to wire up an LED light “fixture” to a reed switch so that the lights come on when you open it up. We’ll see how that one goes…

Before and after: (Click for larger views.)

We wanted a table with a drawer in a little nook for our entryway. I just have some finish sanding to do and then finish, but it’s pretty much assembled (except for the hardware). I should have sharpened my chisels before trying the dovetails — they’re very rough, but it gives them charm, I think. Except for the table top, it’s all recycled maple.

Click for larger images.

Just call me Martha Stewart. 🙂 I finally got around to making three simple fabric-covered window cornices for our reading room, using all scrap wood and about 1.5 yards of fabric that my wife picked out for about $12. 1/4″ plywood was sufficient. The hardest part was actually installing them. (What a pain the in the you-know-what!)

I was shocked to find that these can actually cost $200-300 if you have someone do them for you! I found shape ideas (and really high prices) here.

I got oriented by reading through this Lowes tutorial.

Custom Window Cornices

I saw this in Wood magazine a few months ago and it seemed like the perfect solution for my cramped shop. It’s made from maybe a half dozen 2×4’s, some pegboard, some scrap plywood and a little scrap MDF on the top. Oh, and four 4″ double locking casters from Grizzly — probably the most expensive part, but well worth it.

It’s pretty much all half-lap construction. I modified it to fit these tools, and added a little rack to hang a couple of roller stands. The pegboard is set into grooves that were cut in the centers of the 2×4’s before it was all assembled (clearly). The shelf rails are not adjustable. Well, unless I want to unscrew then and move them. You can also see here how I mounted the tools. I used a dremel tool to saw off the ends of the bolts. There is more scrap pine glued to the bottom corners to help support the wheels.

The spring clamps are on a 1/2″ MDF scrap that I notched for a couple pieces of scrap pine. I glued in the pine, and screwed them into the MDF from the back, then screwed them onto the side of the rack. A bunch of my cheap but incredibly useful clamps go on two sets of these racks. I used a dado blade to notch them out so the bars just fit. I don’t expect this to be a long-term solution because the notched pine is pretty weak.

It was really easy to build. Let me know what you think! (Click for larger images.)

I finally put the last of the mulch down on the raised garden I built for my wife. The darker/moister mulch is what I just put down.

Here’s the view from the back — it shows how the wall disappears into the hill, and the lower edged planting area in front of the wall. In the background you can see the remaining drainage work I need to complete. Water collects in the area of the gray rock/drain. I’ll be putting big rocks (9″-1′ rocks) along that same contour and filling the left with while river rocks after grading it a little better toward the underground drain. The right side will be graded a bit better, too, so the water doesn’t collect there either.

This one is from the garage door. You can see the steps leading up to the bench swing, and way in the background you can see the play structure I’ve been building for the kids. (It’s not yet finished but it seems like the whole neighborhood loves to play on it.)

This angle makes the garden look a little like a Pillsbury dough boy hand puppet. I was basically winging it as I built it, so that was a bit of a surprise when I realized it. On the very edge of the frame in the rocks on the left, there’s another drain that collects all the water from that nook and runs it along the concrete patio, under the “path” to the swing, and out into the yard where it connects with another underground drain. (Excuse the mess in the bkgd!)

Here’s a little drink holder I threw together to hold my beer. I’ll make one for the other side, too, and then paint them.

Here’s the little girl who was hiding behind the drink holder in the previous picture. She loves to sort the rocks.

Let me know what you think! This was my first real landscaping project and it was loads of fun!

I built this specifically for a little nook between the kitchen and the dining room, with a shelf height designed specifically to fit unopened tubes of Glenfiddich. (They don’t really fit anywhere else in the kitchen.) I still plan to add a glass rack to the bottom.

The glass on the doors is textured, which is why the contents of the cabinet are a bit fuzzy.