Archive for August, 2010

I saw these three words on a postcard over at AONC and thought:

  1. Wow! That is exactly what I’m pushing myself to do.
  2. What a great lesson to teach my kids.

Learning is so much more than going to school – kindergarten, elementary and high school, then maybe on to college to get your degree. I’ve probably learned more just talking to my wonderful wife – how to love, forgive, be patient, talk to people, and more importantly…listen.

I stopped learning for a few years and recently realized I was really stagnating. I didn’t read, didn’t challenge myself. I just kind of floated through life. Coasted like a car going downhill. I can’t make up that time, but I can will do a better job going forward.

Creating something feels so good. Standing back and saying “I did that” is a rush. I know some of my creations will last well beyond my time on this Earth. I don’t expect to be da Vinci or even Norm Abram, I just want to see what I can accomplish with the talents I’ve been granted.

I don’t want to collect experiences the way some people collect beanie babies. That’s just a different kind of materialism. I want to remember the simple times too.

Last night when we took advantage of a break in the string of 100 degree days and walked up to the playground at the school about 2 miles from our house. It was a tough walk – pushing the 2 kids in the stroller. But we made it. And we had a fun little picnic on the grass, played wiffle ball and watched our son run around on the playground while I played alligator down below.

Learn. Create. Experience. Three simple words I will remember and apply to everything I do in life.


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On Saturday I completed goal #2 on my list. I finished staining the bookshelf I built for our living room. I actually purchased the wood for this project back in March, but with all the work on the house we’ve been doing to prepare for our baby’s birth the project was pushed to the back burner.

The piece was built using plans found on Knock-Off Wood.

My goals for building this project were:

  1. build a functional, attractive piece of furniture for the kids’ toys
  2. increase my knowledge of building furniture so I will eventually be able to build a piece from scratch (without plans)
  3. build the piece of furniture for less than it would cost to buy

I can safely say my bookcase fulfills #1. At my son’s birthday party that night, everyone was complimenting me on how nice the bookshelf looks and were shocked that I built it.

Here is a similar bookshelf to the one I built, available for $300 at Pottery Barn. I spent less than $100 to build my version of the bookshelf.

Cost breakdown:

  • lumber – $65 (approximately – I can’t find the receipt)
  • stain – $10 (can was $15, but we used part of it to re-finish our kitchen table)
  • miscellaneous supplies – $10 (sandpaper, screws, nails, etc.)

Time breakdown:

  • about 2 hours to cut and assemble the wood
  • about 30 minutes to sand
  • about 2 hours to stain it

Finished product:

I absolutely love the way it turned out, and it fits perfectly into our style – simple and traditional.

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