Live Edge Black Walnut Table “Proud as Punch”

Live Edge Black Walnut almost done (2)

My continuing education teacher Sheldon is a rock star. He’s helpful, kind, and so knowledgeable. I haven’t done a lot of this true woodworking before, but he knows the ropes. After lots of work was done we assembled the table to inspect it before gluing. Because the table is two inches thick it was clear I needed reinforcement when gluing so Sheldon taught me know to keep the table level by putting in “biscuits”. Check out a biscuit joint tool.

Live Edge Black Walnut Table Making Biscuts

My husband came to join in the heavy lifting fun this night and joyfully took pics because in our entire marriage (actually my entire life) I have never made biscuits before that evening. He was pretty excited– I guess there’s a first for everything.

After making biscuits it was time to glue. We decided to glue the project in two parts so when the two halves were glued  it would be narrow enough to still run it through the planer.  Glue and brace:

Live Edge Black Walnut Table Bracket 2 Live Edge Black Walnut Table Bracket 1 Live Edge Black Walnut Table Brackets 4

The project dried for a few days and then Thursday night class was a banner night. I hand planed and smoothed out the table for almost four hours. I planed. And planed. And planed. And you wanna know the craziest thing? I liked it. My arms a sore though, I’ve gotta be honest.

Live Edge Black Walnut planing 3 Live Edge Black Walnut almost done (6) Live Edge Black Walnut planing with Sheldon Live Edge Black Walnut almost done (8)

After hours of work using a jack plane, then a smooth plane, then a spoke shave (all new tools for me) Sheldon came to check my work. After careful inspection there was one part to fix but he said, “I am just proud as punch with the work you did tonight.” People, I felt so freakin cool, it was the best compliment ever.

Live Edge Black Walnut almost done (1)

Next steps, order the base from a welder (I wish I could weld!), then sand my arms off and then lacquer the beautiful beast. I am learning so much during this project that these posts are a far cry from a detailed tutorial, but, if you have any questions about the process ask and I’ll try to answer. Or at least I can ask Sheldon during my next class for you!

Happy Creating!

Live Edge Black Walnut Table

Live Edge Table

Photo by Comoorganizarlacasa

For years I have been enchanted by live edge tables. The wood grain and the rough but classic look is stunningly beautiful– no one does it like mother nature. (So says the girl that painted oak yellow.)

I have fallen in love again. First my husband, then my kids, and then this cry-your-eyes-out-beautiful slab of California Black Walnut:

Live Edge Black Walnut Table Selection 2

For my birthday my husband gave me my favorite gift ever “Thursday nights off for a year”. It didn’t take me long to maximize the time to take a community continuing education class. IF YOU WANT TO LEARN WOODWORKING, TAKE A CLASS! The hardest part of the 8-week course was deciding what to build… I am so excited about how my table is coming along I literally dream about walnut tables each night.

I couldn’t find any slabs wide enough for a dining table, so I bought a large slab and two more boards of walnut for the center. The wood selection process:

Live Edge Black Walnut Table selection

Check out the feathering on the slab! Are you drooling?

Live Edge Black Walnut Table Feathering

The slab might look small but it is 85″ long and 22-24″ wide. Because I wanted to have live edge on both sides of the table I had to cut down the center (which broke my heart!) to add the boards in the middle. After a lot of planing, measuring, and adjustments here is a rough idea of what it will look like:

Live Edge Black Walnut Table Half Way Glued

Are you as excited as I am!? I only have three classes left and a lot to do, but I plan on having this table until the apocalypse (and beyond) so it’s all worth it.

Happy Creating!

Central America — Belize It Or Not

Blue above me, blue below,

ribbons of sky waver on shallows of indigo.

Cerulean shimmers on distant sea.

Cobalt balloons to deeper immensity.

Encircled, enfolded, engulfed.

Perhaps I, too, dissolve to blue.

-Poem by Jean K Rhodes (my grandma)


I have been off line for a while, my husband and I celebrated our 15th anniversary in one of our favorite places… Latin America. We both lived in South America so we’re fluent in Spanish, he also speaks Portuguese and a little French (oh la la). I absolutely love Latin America, the people, the culture, the land, the food and don’t even get me started on the water! There is something that warms my heart about strangers kissing me on the cheek in the street and offering me delicious bread. We will definitely retire somewhere south of the border one day.

If you’re traveling to Belize and Guatemala, here are my two cents. This isn’t a formal review, but from a travel lover, it’s just some of my favorites from the trip.

First, English is the official language in Belize, which tripped me out a little. It was so wierd to be in Latin America and read & hear English everywhere. They actually speak a little Spanglish mixed with Creole and it’s awesome. Like so much of Central and South America the places to enjoy are endless– try to see it all, the jungle, the Caribbean, the Mayan history.

Tikal Ruins Guatemala

TIKAL- Mayan Ruins

(Those winter white legs weren’t white for long!) As always, Mayan ruins take my breath away. Hey, I was a history major. Tikal had some of the most spectacular ruins I have seen (I also love Chichen Itza in Mexico and Machu Picchu Incan ruins in Peru) Tikal is off the beaten path but well worth it.

Swimming with the Crocs Belize

JUNGLE This place blew my mind. The green, the flowers, the wildlife, and the smells… I could stay there for a while. Horseback riding and cave-tubing really are as fun as they sound. We had birds and even a jaguar at the resort (“Banana Bank” resort, if you’re heading that direction and want more details, leave a comment below!) It was a treat for a desert rat like me.

IMG_20160224_161208222 IMG_20160225_131042295_HDR

SAN PEDRO- Caribbean (Are you humming the Madonna song? Ya, we were too)

Belize food is EXPENSIVE. But if you stray off road a bit you will find some awesome taco stands. The best ones are on the west side of the island in town (where the produce and cargo boats come in). Just walk the streets and ask the locals or stop when you see a busy taco stand. A great taco stand makes my day in any country (including the US). Our favorite taco shop was Neri’s. Their menu is painted on a cement block and it’s next to a wood pile, but that it just part of the fun. You can eat a delicious meal with a soda that has real sugar cane for about $2.50:


The best snorkel stop was Ho Chan and Shark Ray Alley. They are popular for a reason and totally worth going for. Honestly, I would go back to Belize just to take my kids snorkeling there.

Snorkeling In Belize

We did some diving too, but I got crazy sea sick and bailed out of the last dive. It’s such a bummer to be the whimp… kills me. We didn’t make it to the Blue Hole, it was stormy on the day it was planned and we were staying far away on San Pedro, but I’ll go back one day!

blue hole belize Scuba-Diving-Glovers-Reef-Belize-900x338Photo by and

That is my whirlwind review of an amazing part of our world. Now it’s back to updating this house, I’ll chime in soon on some of those projects.

Happy Creating!

DIY Wood Ski Racks

My husband built this for our garage and I’m so proud of him! I can’t remember the last time he wanted to do a project, it just makes me so excited to see this in the garage.

DIY Wooden Ski Racks

I’m a garage person. When I was a kid our garage was packed with everything except cars. For years after I left home I didn’t have the luxury of a garage so now I’m a little loco about storing a bazillion things AND parking in the garage too. With skiing being my sanity this winter we really needed a ski organization system, but the ones you buy are too rich for my blood. (And yes, if you look closely you will see that we spent close to nothing on our kiddo’s skiis– they are learning and 20-year old hand-me-downs are working fine!)

This project cost $7 for the board and the dowel, we had the screws and other items on hand. Project time was about one hour, cross my heart.


  • 1×4 board (we used a 8′ board)
  • 3″ wood screws
  • 3/4″ drill bit
  • 3/4″ dowel (each piece will be 6″ buy linear feet accordingly)
  • saw
  • wood glue, if desired
  • stud finder


  1. Mark a line down the center of your 1×4 board, horizontally
  2. Cut dowel into 6 ” pieces (2 for each set of skis you need to hang)DIY wooden ski racks dowel
  3. Count how many skis you need to hang to figure out spacing and cut down your board if desired. Our skis hang about one foot apart.DIY Wooden Ski Racks spacing 2
  4.  Use a 3/4″ drill bit drill a hole on each marking (2 holes 1″ apart and each pair of holes 4″ apart). Prop your wood off the floor so you can make a clean hole.DIY Wooden Ski Racks 34 inch bit
  5. Insert each dowel piece into each hole. You can use wood glue on this part, but the dowel fit so snuggly into the holes it wasn’t necessary.DIY Wooden Ski Racks spacing 3 DIY Wooden Ski Racks spacing
  6. Hang your board high enough on the wall for the skis to have room to hang. With 3″ wood nails make sure to drill into studs. Our fancy walls make it easy to find the studs, but you may need to use a stud finder.
  7. Hang up those skis! Out of the corner and onto the wall!DIY Wooden Ski Racks 3 DIY Wooden Ski Racks 2

Now, you can get to the mountain even quicker and happily exhaust your children in all the beautiful powder, which is what it’s all about.

skiing with cousinsafter a long day skiing with cousins

Happy Creating!

1 2 3 40