Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wilson Projects over Christmas Break 2013

I am borrowing my wife's blog for a project update.  If you know me well, you know I like many things, but lists and projects are two of my favorite.  So when I make a list of projects... there is no hope.  Heather know this all to well.  This is what happened over Christmas break this year (2013).  But before we get into the details, I want to make something clear.  This post is not to brag... I love doing projects and I love sharing and talking about them with my friends and family. I love the feeling of creating something from scratch. This seems like one of the best ways to share some of the work with you.  

So here was my list...
  • Create adoption story video
  • Birdhouse for wall display
  • Edison style pendant light fixture
  • Mason jar holder
  • Welding robot in antique wooden drawer
  • Support for sagging basement shelf's
  • Doughboy sticks for family gifts
  • Continued work on my welded AT-ST

I probably won't have time to walk through the detailed steps of each of these projects, but hopefully the pictures will help you get a sense of what went into them. If you would like to see more details or talk through a project, give me a call or shoot me an email. 

Our Adoption Story

The first and the most important project is a video depicting the story of our adoption.  It was wonderful to reflect on this year through the pictures and video we had taken.  As we try to show, it has been one of the most challenging but rewarding decisions we have ever made. 

Edison style pendant light fixture 

The next is my favorite woodworking project.  It was an idea we had after researching bed side lamps.  I really wanted to use Edison style bulbs somewhere and always thought a pendant light over the sink would look nice.  So, I put the two together and built a distressed pine box, stained it dark maple, and wired it to the existing light fixture. 

I ordered most of the parts from Sundialwire, but another good site would be  

Wire - ($1.45 per foot) | 10 ft = $14.50
Bulbs - ($9.00) | 5 = $45
Socket - ($4.75) | 5 = $23.75

Dimensions are 10 inches wide by 40 inches long by 4 inches high.  I spaces the 5 lights evenly across the face (about 6 and 2/3 inches)

The dye I used was Transfast water soluble dye - dark mission brown. 

 Gluing up the box.

Box after some distressing. Right before the dye was applied.  I broke the box while distressing it, so I am repairing it too. Oops. 

Dye applied, now applying a coat (or three) of polyurethane.  I had my helpers for this part. 

Final Product.  It has a beautiful warm glow. Very relaxing at night.  Heather and I love it. 

Welding robot in antique wooden drawer

I started welding figurative art in college when I took a joining process class and found that I really loved it.  I have collected junk metal here and there for years so that I could do projects like this.  For this piece, I was missing a head... so I specifically searched a junkyard to find it. Here are a couple pictures of the piece coming together. 

 I found the head I used in a junkyard.  Pulled all 4 of these babies out of 50's convertible.  It was a train wreck, but still had metal gauges. They were perfect!

I try to lay out the parts until it resembles the sculpture I am looking for.  It takes a lot of time to get pieces that work and look well together. Holding them in place while welding is also a hard skill to master.  The nice part is that you can always grind something off and start over.  Here is a work in progress shot. 

This is the finished product. 

Mason jar holder

Found this on pinterest (here), but used wire to hang the jar instead of a pipe clamp.  Follow the link for the tutorial. I used scrap from the bird house I made from an antique drawer.  After cutting, I coating with polyurethane and then drilled two holes for running the wire through.  I used enough wire to wrap the jar 2 times.  Simple project, but looks great.  

Birdhouse for wall display

I love birdhouses and I have been making them for a few years.  Evan's room include 3, one of which is a nightlight now for the girls.  Heather found some really cool antique drawers that we have been using in projects.  (The welding sculpture and birdhouse in this post both include them).  I found a design I liked and put this together from the wood of a deconstructed drawer. 

Starting box/drawer. 

Rough fitting the birdhouse. 

 Cutting the holes for the front. 

Final birdhouse after a coat of polyurethane.  

Support for sagging basement shelves

I wasn't thinking too clearly when I made the basement shelves last year.  In my head a 4 foot stretch was going to work out just great.  Which it probably would if I would have spent hundreds of dollars making custom 2 inch think hardwood shelves.  Instead I used cheap plywood and so  I was left with some sagging shelves.  I saw a great blog from a friend (here) on how to make PVC look like metal pipe.  It was the perfect solution.  

The blog mentioned above has all the details on how to make them, but here is a work in progress shot. 

Here they are complete and installed. An easy $20 solution. 

Doughboy Sticks

Dough boy sticks are a Wilson tradition.  We have been making them all my life and my Mom says that they have been around for a while before that.  If you search online, there are sticks out there but these are wider providing more capacity for the goodness inside.  

Dimensions and construction
  • 3 ft long
  • 3/8 inch oak dowell rod
  • 2 inch diameter oak end piece
  • 2.5 inch long end piece
Ordered wood from

Construction is simple. Cut 2 inch dowell rod into 2.5 inch chunks.  Drill a 3/8 hole about 2 inches deep in the center and glue in your 3 ft long 3/8 dowell rod.  I dipped the ends in paint for aethestics and soaked them all for a couple days in vegetable oil to treat the wood. They were the gifts to Heather's side of the family this year.

Taking Care of Your Dough Boy Sticks
  • Store in a dry place protected from the elements.
  • Clean after each use (before any dough becomes dried or burnt on.)
  • To clean, wipe down with a paper towel or damp cloth.  Avoid soaking with water.
  • Apply a small amount of food-grade mineral oil, walnut oil, or coconut oil to all wood surfaces before storing.

Choosing Your Dough:
  • Nearly any biscuit or roll dough will bake well on a Dough Boy Stick.
  • Refrigerated biscuit dough (the kind that comes in a canister) is most commonly used.  It is pre-formed, stores easily, and travels well to barbecues, picnics, and camping trips.  Premium, regular sized dough works best.
  • Grand-sized biscuits make a thicker, softer dessert but take a little longer to roast.
  • Crescent roll dough works, but it is harder to form it on the stick.

Making your Dough Boys:

  1. Grease Sticks: Usually we apply some vegetable oil to a papertowel and rub it over the surface of the stick before putting them away.  This will keep the sticks in good condition and ready for the next use.  If they are dry, apply oil or butter sparingly before use but be careful not to over grease as your dough will fall off while cooking.
  2. Shape the Dough: Take one biscuit's worth of dough, and use your hands to stretch it into a bigger circle.
  3. Form the Dough on the Stick: Center the dough on the top of the stick and begin to pull the edges down the sides.
  4. Roll the Sides: Use the side of your finger like a rolling pin to stretch the dough down the stick without making holes.
  5. Finish and Roast: Once the dough covers 2/3 to 3/4 of the stick, you're ready to roast. Heat the dough as you would a marshmallow, turning slowly.
  6. Remove from the Stick: After three to five minutes of roasting, the dough should be golden brown. Let cool slightly, and twist carefully to remove it from the stick. 

Continued work on my AT-ST

For those of you who don't know what an AT-ST is, I will include a photo.  You probably still won't recognize it, so I will give you a hint. It is a vehicle from Star Wars.  I have always loved them and welding one is pretty cool in my opinion... still working on it so stay tuned.  

Saturday, March 31, 2012


I have been neglecting this little space of mine...I know, but My time and thoughts have been elsewhere. My sweet brother in law had to have emergency open heart surgery and our family and his have pulled together to love, support, and serve in every way we can. My heart aches and my stomach churns non stop for the trauma my sister has had to endure...I wish so deeply that I could take it away. And this brother in law is not just an in law....he is a brother. The 3 brothers in law I'm blessed to have, have all stolen the little part of my heart where a blood brother of my own never claimed. It is heart wrenching to see his struggle like this, but I'm so grateful he continues to fight. Fight to return to my sister, fight to return to my nephews, fight to return to all of us. We have been so greatly blessed to witness miracle after miracle to save his precious life. He is still in the ICU taking baby steps toward recovery. I'm layingin his dark room right now listening to him grateful for his breath.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The BEST Sugar Cookies ever...

The boys in my life devour these.
I promise, once you try will never turn back.
 Super Soft Sugar Cookies
(altered from a cook book by Julie Jensen)

1/2 c butter
1/2 c margarine
1 egg
1 c powdered sugar
2 c flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
Cream together butter and margarine. Add egg and mix. Add powdered sugar and beat well.
Add remaining ingredients and mix. On a floured surface, roll out dough about 1/2 inch thick. Add some more flour if the dough is too sticky. Cut dough into whatever shape will make you smile. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 min. Cool on a wire rack and frost with a delicious cream cheese frosting.

Delicious Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (3 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
1 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Mix all ingredients together. Color with food coloring if desired.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Genius in the form of moss.

I'm desperately trying to find a place for this...
 Can you just imagine the possibilities?
It's gorgeous.

In your blender, combine:
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • A few handfuls of moss
  • One teaspoon of sugar.
Blend until the mixture is smooth, and you’re ready to get painting!
You can use a brush to paint your moss onto concrete walls, rocks, or brick. Mist the moss once a day to help it thrive, and soon your green graffiti will take hold!

I'm also contemplating using the above recipe to create something like this little beauty for my bathroom.
What an amazing way to bring the relaxing outdoors in.
It would make my "little things" list every. single. day.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Change for Change happened....

Do you remember last year when I started the Change for Change project?
I pledged to collect money for The Shine Project Scholarship Fund - dedicated to helping inner city high school students go to college and achieve their dreams.
With help from some of YOU we were able to meet our goal and fill the jar.
I sent our collections to my friend, Ashley, from The Shine Project and then waited patiently to see the faces of the lucky kids awarded.

Well, I was so EXCITED to see the pictures this week!
I wanted to make sure you saw them too.
Click on over to visit Ashley and see the faces of the amazing kids whose lives YOU helped change.
Seeing the pictures made me want to reach through the screen and congratulate them myself.

Thank you for helping me help them.
And thank you, Ashley, for letting us be a part of the great work The Shine Project is doing.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I'm back...

I was so happy to be welcomed home by the delightful squeals coming from my little clan of handsome men...
and sad to leave such a breathtaking paradise.

What an amazing week.... Thanks to my Momsi and Popsicle for making it all happen.
Wow! I'm still at a loss for words.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I'm off....

 I'm absent at the moment.
Enjoying some quiet relaxation and play time in the beautiful islands of Hawaii.
See you soon!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day via Instgram



Monday, February 13, 2012

Sweet Preparations...

I'm up to my elbows in cream cheese frosting and melt in your mouth sugar cookies, but I'm almost ready..... 

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