Summer Blog Bloopers: The Cutting Room Floor

For Monday's post, I thought it would be fun to throw a bunch of pictures on here from the summer. These are shots that just didn't quite make the cut for the blog or just didn't fit a particular topic I wrote about that week. Enjoy! This shot is from our trip to Twin Lakes this summer to camp with three other families. It was fun and not-so-fun. Like, the kind of trip where Daddy says, "I will pack this tent up if you don't stop fighting and we'll go home RIGHT NOW." It all evened out, however, with this jaunt to Twin Lakes on our last day. Too gorgeous for words. I love Colorado.

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For the first time ever, I grew my garden from seeds, using the wonderful stock from nearby Broomfield's Botanical Interests. I started the broccoli too late, so it struggled to make it in the summer heat. We did get one glorious head, hurray. Here's a bite:

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This little bit of graffiti was found by my eldest daughter at Wal-Mart in a cardboard display for s'mores fixin's. I was delighted. Kaisy, somewhere, is blushing. What a lucky fella.

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This summer, we had the pleasure of visiting friends in Breckenridge. I snapped an action shot of our middle girl. She's dancing, laughing and obviously enjoying something sweet.

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Another shot of Twin Lakes. The girls trashed their clothes within minutes...perfect! We had dry duds ready to go for the ride home.

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This shot didn't make it into the blog about redoing a Craigslist Queen Anne-style table for our family room makeover. I think I thought our garage was too messy. That seems silly to me now. Who cares?

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We also traveled to Wisconsin over the summer to celebrate my parents' 50th anniversary. The trip was delightful and chock-full of don't-forget-this moments, like watching your baby toddle on the shore of Lake Michigan for the first time.

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And I never could work a blog around this photo, but it's definitely one of the best of our summer. The backstory: our sweet baby got her very own booster seat after rejecting her highchair. (If you are a new parent, this might not make sense. But eventually, your little tot decides they have had enough of the highchair, thank you very much.) When we installed the seat, both of the baby's older sisters insisted on dragging their chairs around to join her at her new spot at the end of the table. They did this for days. I think they really love each other, and if they do, I am thankful. So very thankful.

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The Magical Wood Shop: Tyler Morris Woodworking

For our family room makeover, I knew I wanted gorgeous new bookshelves to replace the battle-scarred, petulant unit that we placed on Craigslist last week. (Update: it's sold!  Score one for Team Honest. We told it like it was and still, a really sweet lady bought it. I think of her every day. Did she get home and as various parts fell off of it, did she slap her forehead and say, "Oh, now I get it!" I hope not. Maybe the old bookshelves got their act together after I publicly shamed them. Maybe? Probably not.) Anyway, back to the bookshelves. We didn't have the stomach (or budget) to purchase another set of bookshelves, so I decided to make them. I read a ton of blogs and settled on open wooden shelves with wooden shelf brackets. After checking out the shelf brackets at Lowes, I felt there was something else out there. I didn't know what, exactly, was out there, but I figured Mr. Google would tell me.

My searching led me to Tyler Morris Woodworking in Fort Collins, less than an hour's drive from our home. Tyler makes gorgeous shelf brackets and so I called him (probably babbling) about how I loved his brackets and I couldn't wait for the mail and could I drive up there today, like in four hours, and oh yeah, I'm bringing three children under age eight to your workshop filled with dangerous tools?

Tyler graciously agreed to allow us to crash his woodworking shop. The first thing I noticed: it's really clean and organized. I thought to myself: Jonathan would loooove this place. My man is so organized and the chaos of four women drives him crazy. True story: he just bought a plastic tub for all of our shoes we kick off in the garage. Our scattered shoe piles were pushing him over the edge. So now we have a shiny new tub that is brimming with eighteen colors of Crocs.

But anyway, back to the wood shop:

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Tyler and his team make shelf brackets, corbels (a fancier bracket for countertops), recipe boxes, serving trays, cutting boards and a branch tray that is out-of-this-world pretty. This is the cabinet where he grabbed our order. Look at that neatness!

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While we were in the wood shop, my two older girls made up a gruesome game why the baby wasn't allowed out of her stroller. Basically, the game was all of the ways Baby Fenske could be injured if she were to climb out of her stroller and toddle around. (Of course, everything in the shop was safety protected, turned off and otherwise harmless to well-behaved children. My girls were, thankfully and unexplainably, good for our visit.)

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Tyler Morris Woodworking Fort Collins CO

We chose the "Straight 10 Wood Shelf Bracket" which is gorgeous. There are four woods to choose from: Oak, Maple, Cherry and Paint Grade (which is American Poplar). Since we planned to paint our brackets, our choice was easy: Paint Grade. They are $18 a piece and feel like a mini-woodworking miracle. I had to restrain myself from petting the bracket and calling it "My Precious."

Saturday, I lined up the shelf brackets for painting. They come pre-sanded, so it was a pretty easy job to cover the kitchen table with newspaper, grab the primer, brush and go.

Tyler Morris Straight 10 shelf brackets

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I applied one coat of Valspar Bare Wood Primer to each bracket. It was a little tricky getting under each part of the bracket. You also have to hold the bracket, so that part doesn't get painted at first. I ended up laying each bracket down and painting over the part that my hand covered. I'm sure there's some more proper woodworking way of doing this, but I just went with it.

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I let the brackets dry and then lightly sanded them. I took a damp cloth and wiped off any sanding debris. Now it was time to paint!

I chose a deep gray because I wanted contrast with the new wall color which will be a light gray. (I'll do another blog post on the gray wall color.)

Straight 10 shelf brackets from Tyler Morris Woodworking

This gray is "Storm Cloud Gray" by Benjamin Moore, color matched to Olympic's no-VOC Premium in semi-gloss. I love the way they turned out. As I went, I would sometimes miss a spot and the white primer would blaze on through. I got better as I painted all nine brackets, but it was dicey at the beginning. If you look carefully at left (above), you can see one of our gray paints we sampled on the wall.

Straight 10 shelf bracket by Tyler Morris Woodworking

I adore these shelf brackets and can't wait to see them on the wall of the family room. Thanks so much to Tyler for his good-natured patience with our visit (and my pesky questions). We'll post more pictures soon!

Next up: Can a gray wall color battle insecurities, make me feel designer-ish and generally produce a peaceful feeling of well being? I certainly hope so!