Mail Bag

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Thank you for all the beautiful letters you have written me over my years of blogging. I truly love building, and DIY furniture is my calling. 

But sometimes, especially times when challenges come along or the work load gets to great for me, I feel down and loose confidence. Your letters have kept me inspired and excited about what I do, and have encouraged me to keep going. I so appreciate every single letter that has been sent to me. 

I am so sad that your letters can get lost in my inbox, and sometimes, when I'm especially busy - just when I need your letters the most - I don't get a chance to read or respond and your letters get lost among thousands of other emails. This is heartbreaking for me. 

So I wanted to create a place where everyone can see the beautiful words you write, and where I can go for encouragement and inspiration when things get tough, or just when I need a smile. Thank you for caring enough to write! 

This is a positive comment thread, so any negative responses will be promptly removed.


I have looked at your blog a great deal over the years. Always dreaming and longing for my own home and a drill. The cramp apartment with three children and a husband already was filled with many furniture pieces that I was frustrated in building something else that would take up what little space we have. We have been really blessed although followed with hard lessons I have my home finally. From a 900sf apartment to a 2100sf home in a really safe area with a great school system. I have always been a woman of many sorts. I would dream of the nice boutique baby clothes but could never afford them so I started to sew. I wanted some decoration but could not pay for paintings so I taught myself. I wanted to play the piano since I was little so I found some books and began. I now have the gift of carpentry. For my first project I build the fancy X table, but instead I added five inches and made it counter height. I now am building floating shelves in the bathroom, a stool, and a wall hook shelf. All that has been inspired by you. Now that our company is letting people go and will slowly fade me out next spring. I feel that I could really start my own business. I can sew, paint, re-purpose, and create furniture. I really feel empowered to go into business for myself and if all else fails start extreme couponing again!

Thank you Ana for everything you do and when I get a professional camera I will post some photos for you. Also in all that you do and ask so little I am buying your book.


Hi Ana, just wanted to tell you how great it was seeing you on the Home & FAMILY show. It just shows that if you put your mind on something you really want or do, just go out and do it ! And like you, my husband & I built an addition on our house, built a big shop for my husband ,changed the attic into our bedroom,enlarged our bathroom and now we're changing our front garage into my shop/store! My husband is also teaching me how to weld.(I'm 52,never to old to learn) I love working with my hands & seeing things that I built and created. Keep up with the great work and I'll be buying you wonderful book!!!

Hi Ana-

I stumbled onto your site by accident and have pretty much visited it everyday since. I love that you are a female builder. I get flack all the time when I see expensive furniture and say "I bet we could build that". I love the rustic x console and would love to build it for mom for christmas. She works so hard and never gets herself the nice things she wants. My only problem is that I do not have a Kreg jig and do not think I can afford to buy one. Is there a way to build it without using one? I would greatly appreciate your help. Thanks so much.

Hi Ana-

I stumbled onto your site by accident and have pretty much visited it everyday since. I love that you are a female builder. I get flack all the time when I see expensive furniture and say "I bet we could build that". I love the rustic x console and would love to build it for mom for christmas. She works so hard and never gets herself the nice things she wants. My only problem is that I do not have a Kreg jig and do not think I can afford to buy one. Is there a way to build it without using one? I would greatly appreciate your help. Thanks so much.

Hi Ana-

I stumbled onto your site by accident and have pretty much visited it everyday since. I love that you are a female builder. I get flack all the time when I see expensive furniture and say "I bet we could build that". I love the rustic x console and would love to build it for mom for christmas. She works so hard and never gets herself the nice things she wants. My only problem is that I do not have a Kreg jig and do not think I can afford to buy one. Is there a way to build it without using one? I would greatly appreciate your help. Thanks so much.

My cousin told me about your site and now I have far too many projects I want to do! I am brand new to woodworking and loving it! I'm just finishing up my second project which is the Jelly Cupboard! I love it! Thanks for the tips for beginners. I should have read it before starting projects because it is so full of good info! Thanks for making the plans so easy to follow and understand! LOVE all the projects! Keep it up, PLEASE!

Holy Smokes..Where have you been all my life! I'm so excited to find someone who can show me how to make the things I've had in my mind for years! I love love love this bed but
I have a king size mattress. Can you tell me how to adjust the plans for that?
I'm going on Amazon and getting your book! Thank you ! This is great!

I am thankful for people like you. I have search for awhile for plans to build a loft bed for my son and you were the only one that had them for free, But have you ever considered instead of the ladder to build stairs w/storage?

Quite possibly the best damned DIY site I have ever seen. This should be nominated for a Webby Award.
Thanks for this and keep up the outstanding work!


Your site is awesome! I have built two pieces for my wife already with more to come now that she knows I'm good at it. I think you should put up some gun cabinet plans or ammo boxes so us guys can build something for ourselves. We need some furniture too! Keep up the good work and thanks for keeping me busy.


I just found your site last night and I couldn't sleep because I was so excited by all your projects! So much possibility! I appreciate that you've taken so much care to include directions for newbies like me. I took wood shop in middle school, but that was a LONG time ago. I'm staying with my in-laws for now, and my father in law has a great shop. I'm hoping to try out a few projects while we're here, so when we move and have a place that needs furnishing I can do it myself! I found this great piece at and was hoping you could make up a set of plans for it (you know... when you have time!)
Also, I added your book to my Christmas Wish List (on Happy Thanksgiving, Best of Luck and Thanks for the boost in confidence, creativity, and enthusiasm :)


Hello ana,
My name is Jonathan Cook and I am a firefighter in Galveston Texas. Your site has provided me with so many things to make on my salary and helped to satisfy my building needs :). I pass your site on to others any chance I get and just wanted to say great job and thank you !!! Your site is one of a kind and i have even noticed imitators, but they don't even come close. I guess I just wants to give you some credit for providing such a great site that men and women could appreciate.

Hi ana, I live in California in the city of orange. I recently found your website by accident. I was desperately searching for a picnic table for my back yard and I came across your beautiful providence table. Boy was i glad to find your website.i was actually looking to buying a table not making one. I have no experience what so ever, but my husband talk me into attempting to built was I surprised. I fell in love with wood work. Only problem is that i get lost if my husband is not helping me. Do you have any suggestions in how to start? Did you take some classes? Is there books out there that would help me? I see so many beautiful things in your website that i would love to make for my home but I don't know where to start. I know it would take time and practice but that's ok. Thank you so much for your hard work.

A friend just told me about this website when they asked me to build the Hailey platform be. I was really surprised to see how nice this website is! There is so many plans and they are easy to follow. The only thing I would suggest is that you have suggestions of which type of wood for the projects. For instance the picnic table should be made of cedar or redwood if it is outside. Other than that this site is great!

Hi Ana, I stumbled across your blog a few years ago, and have been drooling over many projects, since that time. This past year, we've been dreaming of building a loft-bed system for our daughter, and we're hoping to start on that in the New Year--my hubby and his father, mainly. We love elements from a couple of different systems, and plan to mix and match...the help we need is that we want to take the Secretary portion from the Grant Secretary unit, and make it fit into the desk/shelf unit of the Chelsea bunk system. (We're also taking the dresser-shelf unit from the Cabin Bunk System for the other end, and leaving out the drawers...using the cubbies for baskets instead)...What I'm wondering, is, would you have the time or willingness to alter the Secretary unit to fit into the shelf units of the bed systems? as the plans appear, the shelf is 6" too wide. My father-in-law could probably adapt it, but he is not computer literate, and it would be so nice to hand him a set of plans with the measurements already figured out.
Thanks so much for all your help!
By the way, I love watching the Momplex. You and your family are so inspiring.

Hi Ana! I just found your page on Pinterest and I am obsessed! I am a beginner at wood working and building things. We are building our first home, and I want to add a Banquet for extra seating in our breakfast nook. Do you have a plan for a beginner? I would love to pick your brain on this one. You inspire me so much! Any help would be greatly appreciated.


My husband absolutely loves all the projects I bring him and that get added to his honey-do list when they come from your site. Do you have autographed books available for sale? I ordered mine from Amazon,and it arrived, but a personalized one would be much better. :-)

I would love to get a couple of autographed books! Please let me know if there is a way to get a couple of copies.. One for myself and one for a dear friend who helps me through every project.

I love LOVE your website. I've finally collected all my tools and have started on the Grant Secretary Hutch for my office. So far no brag pictures have been posted, so I guess mine might be the first!!

What I really need to build next is the Logan Modular Wall System from PB. Do you have any plans for it? I have scoured your website and cannot find them. I want to build two "base with doors" and two "hutch with open shelves" to go on top. Please let me know if I have just missed them, or if they are possibly in the works. Thank you for all your wonderful work!!

I am fairly competent with wood-working, but was presented the challenge to build a fort/playhouse for my 5-yr old for Christmas, for which I had few ideas (my experience is primarily in competition car stereo speaker boxes). I cruised the web for some pictures and ideas, finding mainly your run-of-the-mill prefab kits that just didn't do it for me. Then I stumbled upon your site (and the playhouse on the deck) and here I am 3 hours later, still looking around your site, truly amazed at all the great ideas and just overall positive vibe your site has to offer. I have found several projects that I will certainly be tackling in the near future, as well as some twists of yours that I will add to plans of mine, and just wanted to extend a sincere "thank you" to you. Keep doing what you're doing! From all the comments I see on here, you are definitely enriching lives!


Hi Ana,

I have looked everywhere for plans to build a stand alone sling bookshelf found on Amazon and one step ahead catalogs.

It looks like a very easy project and I was wondering if you had any direction for me on how to get started.

HI Ana. I absolutely love your page... You are truly an inspiration to me. I have a question. Since you are so handy, I found a coffee table and would like to recreate. If you have an idea or a few pointers I would really appreciate it. Here is the link

I know you must be a busy woman... Hope you have a great holiday!!


Having suffered a break in of my home and with it, the destruction of what little furniture they couldn't take, I am in need of 2 sofas, one for the living room and one for the family room. Looking at the sofa they left me, upholstery and a good part of the stuffing and frame destroyed, I realized there was enough left of it to re-purpose into a new sofa, saving me both time and money on building a new one from scratch. Things like the back and some of the cushions can be stripped off and reused.
If anyone has access to free furniture (i.e. on FreeCycle) why not take it and use the frames or, as I am going to do, part of the frames to build new? Most are just held together with screws, and it is a great way to save money and natural resources.

Thank you Sassyl, that's a great idea.
I'm glad you shared it.

So sorry about the break-in and destruction
of your stuff. It sounds like you have a resiliant
spirit. Blessings and good thoughts to you.

Dear Ana, I live in Penang Malaysia running my own little home school for local children. I would like to build a cube shelving unit to hang on a concrete wall where I can store all the education materials. It can be a very simple design and I have my own tools. I would start with a 12" deep and 8 cube wide X 4 cube high. Later I may add on to this. Thanks, Nick

Hi Ana,

Firstly, I have to say what a brilliant site you have, and how kind of you to share all you have learnt with the web community.

I am looking at trying one of your projects, and I note that you list the Kreg Jig quite frequently. I have found someone here in Australia that sells them (and amazingly for a change, not marked up excessively as US products so often are!), but there are several options, and I am wondering which one would be the best to buy. I was hoping you might share your thoughts? They have available here, the K4 pocket jig, the Master System, and the Kreg Junior.

Hi Ana,
I am looking around for an alternative for a desk that I thrifted. I found a beautiful costs about $450. I have built several items from your site before and know that this is probably something that would be a fairly easy and inexpensive build with the right plans (that's where your skill and expertise is needed!). Here is the link:, you have to scroll down the options to look at the stool. If you ever get the chance, I thought this would be a fantastic addition to your site! Thank you for all that you do! My house is beautiful because of you!

My husband has built a really cool coffee table out of reclaimed wood and old wooden crates and we want to mount it on casters. I can source only brand new casters which are modern and ugly or antique casters that are prohibitively expensive. Where can I get retro-look casters that won't break the bank? I'd prefer to buy them somewhere in the GTA if possible rather than order them on-line.

Hello Anna:

I simply love your work. My husband and I are in the home buying process and have been distressed by the cost of the cheaply made furniture in the stores. Your plans look like just the trick. I am excited to try them. Fingers crossed! :)

I would like to build a corner bench with pull out storage for an eating nook in the kitchen like this one, but have yet to find plans for it. It would be a great addition to your site! ;)


Hello Anna --
For the past 7 years I have been on Social Security Disability due to kidney failure and the 27 years before that I worked in the construction trade. I did framing and finishing construction. My area of expertise was finish work.

When I went on disability I lost three quarters of my monthly salary due to the fact that the government does not want you to live like humans.

I came upon your website and really got a little excited. I thought to myself that I could build bunk beds for resale to the public. My biggest draw back is not having the money to build beds to put on display and was wondering if I could use some of your pictures as a sort of gallery for people to look at and order a bed from?

I realize what I am asking but it sure would be of great use for me to get this business off to a great start. I can give credit to you however you would like. Please, just let me know by emailing me at

I have become lost in your website, I love all of the plans!! My husband and I have been making some of the children's chairs with the cubby box under them. They are looking great..once we complete them I will try and post a picture of I would love to make a loft bed for each of my boys. We have four

I was wondering if you have seen any plans on how to build a Chuck Box/Kitchen? My son's troop is in need of some help to build/rebuild their chuck boxes for their camping trips and thought you might have some suggestions!

I love your website, I was so glad I had come across it during my endless search of ideas on pinterest. You have put new ideas into my head...and I don't think my project list will ever see an end haha.

I see that you have a plan on here for a vanity stool, but I was wondering if knew of a way to make a vanity stool type with a short back. Kind of like this: ----- I have a pretty good idea but doing the back part has me a little stumped.


I came upon your site from a picture that someone posted on pinterest and I have to say I am inspired. I recently came into a lot of tools, and after I clean out the garage and build a workstation, I am doing to dive right in building one of your coffee table designs for my first project. I wanted to thank you in advance for having such usable plans for each project. I can't wait to get started and post a finished product.

I am in desperate need of a plan that I cannot find. It is in my head, but I cannot find it online. I hope you can help me!

I live in a condo (we have been trying to sell for 4 years now) with limited space. My child is 5 and we are trying for a second one. I need to be able to put them in the same room when the time comes. But the layout of the room is odd. I need a bunk bed loft that I can have removable built in crib underneath with storage on the side(s). Crib at first, then can be removed to throw in a normal mattress for the transition for the "big kid" bed. Is there any plan available? I am at your mercy of your wonderful furniture plans! Thank you.

Hi Ana. Your website is wonderful! I used the plans for the canopy daybed & was very happy with it!
I would like to build the Townsend Coffee Table from Pottery Barn (linking to it doesn't seem to be working) .
I was wondering if you have any plans that are similar to it.
Thank you!

Hey Ana, from Florida,

I love your bed design for the Pottery Barn Stratton Bed! Can you tell me if the dimensions are such that I can use the bed design without the drawers and add the Pottery barn baskets instead?


I have been dying to have a kitchen table (that's right, i don't have one). This website has inspired me but I was hoping to build a round kitchen table. Even an oval table that can be expanded to sit more than 4 would be amazing! We have a very large family and when everyone comes over, we have to sit 14 down with just my husbands parents, siblings and their husbands/wives. We are building a large table for our patio (thanks to plans on this website) that can sit everyone but need something for everyday. Any suggestions or plans for a round/oval table that can possibly expand?

Dear Ana,
I just recently started to look at your website and it is very inspiring for me. I am a stay at home mom for two years now and I need an outlet. Your projects seem to be the key for me. I just read your story about your health and eating habits. I agree with you a hundred percent. I have battled weight all my life from teen years to now. A couple of months ago I ended up in the emergency room for what we thought was a reaction to some thing. I have been to allergists and doctors and they found nothing. I am now seeing a thearipst because I have developed anxiety so bad that waking up and doing day to day things were difficult. Now I am slowly doing better with the anxiety and I have cut back on food. I am not allergic to food so they say, but what you said about living in a fog made sense. I have lost twenty pounds and I am feeling better than I have in a long time. I take it a day at a time and know that no matter what happens you get through it. So instead of depending on food I look to other things. I hope this gets to you and makes sense to you. Thank you for being open and honest .

Hello Ana, I love the site and have done a couple projects from your site and all have turned out great. I was thinking about building a train table with side drawers for my 2 year old son and I was wondering if you had any plans. The train table that he has now we bought and was poorly made and I wanted to make him something that will last a long time. We have a baby girl coming in 2 months and I have a feeling with the two of them the current table won't last much longer. I have looked online for days and found some plans but the directions are complicated to a beginner. I guess I have been spoiled with your plans and the ease of following them from PH screw sizes to finishes. Once again thank you for all your hard work.

Hello Ana!

Long time stalker of your blog & recently received your book as a gift and am feeling so fulfilled. Not sure if this is the place to make requests, but I came across this amazing piece of furniture for a sewing table. I have limited space so it is perfect. Unfortunately, I don't have $1500 lying around. Is there any way you could make plans from this?


I love love love your site, it's amazing. I am wanting to give my daughter a "big girl" room. I found the perfect bed but it was super duper expensive and was wondering if you take request for plans? I would purchase them from you. I just know we could make her bed for much less and it would be so special for us to have built it. Keep up the great work!

the only difference is I wouldn't want the extra bed underneath, that would be play area. Her room is not big

Ana, I am in the middle of a whole-house renovation, and i recently came across your base cabinet plans. Using your plan, i made a new sink base tonight, in about 5 hours. Took a while, but you would be hard pressed to find a difference between this and a professional made cabinet! I love it, and i cant wait to finish it and install it! Thank you so much for your wonderful blog and for giving me what i needed to make my kitchen beautiful without spending thousands on brand new cabinets! I spent $50 on a cabinet i would have spent $400 on at the store!

I can't begin to describe the sense of accomplishment I feel now that I've finished redoing my bedroom nightstand. Before it was boring store-bought espresso, and now it is beautifully rustic with tons of character that I gave it. (I did the distressed turquoise with chocolate glaze finish) I am so grateful for your blog and the amazing direction you give. This was my first project, but I assure you it won't be my last. It's as if I've discovered a whole new passion of working with my hands, and I will be an avid reader of your blog from here on out. Thank you!

Ana -- when I first found your site two years ago, I was immediately inspired...but completely afraid that there was no one I could succeed and do what you were doing. I had NEVER used a saw before, much less build furniture. For two years I have continued to come back to your site and find/pin things I LOVE and started gaining the courage to ask for tools so that I could build my own furniture. Last week, I built my first piece, and now I am HOOKED. People didn't think I would do this -- and I didn't think I could do it well -- but we were ALL wrong and YOU were right! I, too, am a stay-at-home mom and I can't wait to get started on my next project. Thanks for your inspiration, encouragement and all of your hard work. I tell everyone that if I can do it -- a person who had never used a saw before -- then ANYONE can do it!

Thanks so much!

Hi Ana!

I stumbled on your site as I was looking for a lower cost alternative to a piece of furniture that I love. A day later I bought your book, and last night I read the whole thing, cover to cover, word by word.

I'm energized! I can't wait to start on my first project. I've spend the past few months finishing projects for Christmas, and can't wait to make something for my home!

I have a couple of requests for plans if you take suggestions... Do you take suggestions?

Pottery Barn Daily System

I'd really love to have something like this in my house, but its not quite right for my needs. Instead of a white board calendar, I need to hang a removable landscape oriented wall calendar. Instead of a large landscape oriented white board, I need a portrait oriented smaller white board, the size of the corkboard. I need a magnetic board the same size as well.

Can you help?

Thanks for your inspiration!


Hi Ana! I recently found your blog and I am in love with it! I have always been a little bit of a fixer-upper/DIY-er so your site is PERFECT!

I would like to get your input on a project that requires careful consideration. We recently bought new furniture and so are completely re-arranging our entire living room. Prior the TV(42" Plasma=VERY heavy!!) was on a far wall which made for a very awkward room arrangement and we would like for it to be above our mantle now. The problem arises in that our walls are plaster (house was built in 1940's) and the mantle is only 9.5" deep wheras the TV base is 12" at deepest mark.

My solution is to build somewhat of a hutch to go around/above the mantle so as to ensure more integrity and the appropriate dimensions to allow for the TV to rest safely above the mantle. This would also allow for us to incorporate additional shelves and space for the cable receiver and DVD player. Can you offer advice or possibly point out some plans that I can easily adapt to avoid trial and error? We are on a tight time window to get this complete as our furniture is being delivered Friday and I would prefer to have all of the changes and painting completed prior to it's delivery.