Hello! I’m Ana, a mother and homemaker from Alaska.
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posted by Ana White
We all love handmade gifts for their quality, their uniqueness, and the specialness of knowing someone put their precious time into making that gift. Be it a quilt or a bench, a dollhouse or some new mittens, it's all the more special when it's made with love.
This Christmas I have a special challenge for you. A challenge that you may already do, a challenge that your family and friends can participate in. 

The Challenge

I challenge you to not only handmake a gift for someone you love, but to make two of that gift, and donate the second to someone in need.
If you are making a doll bed, grab a few extra sticks of lumber and make two.  If you are making a pair of mittens, buy a little extra yardage and make two.  The work in handmaking a gift is in buying the supplies, planning, and setting up a workspace - making two of one thing is a doable goal for most any busy mom.  And you can involve your children through the whole process.

Beyond Building

Not a builder?  You can still participate - whether you sew or knit or crochet or whatever your creative outlet may be.  
U Create
I've teamed up with Kari from Ucreate to provide you with amazing tutorials beyond building.  Here's just a tiny tiny sample of tutorials she posts:

Why I'm Doing this Challenge

Remember when I made Grace the Dream Dollhouse?  
Grace and I decided that we would donate the dollhouse to her preschool so all the children can enjoy it.  It was a difficult decision for a four year old, but we considered how much more use the dollhouse would get, and how many of the children do not have mothers who build toys.  The joy and excitement in the preschooler's voices and smiles has inspired this challenge.
Where to Donate
I know some charities may only accept new in box store bought gifts or cash  :( but there are many many charities that recognize the value in handmade gifts.  Some charities accept handmade gifts to resell for cash at Holiday Bazaars, some donate directly to people in need.  Check out Handmade for Charity, Crafting for Charity, or consider selling your item on Etsy and donating the proceeds to a local charity.  

Accept the Challenge

To accept the Make Two Challenge:
1.  Blog about accepting the challenge, using the graphics below, linking to this post url.  Once your post goes live, link it up in the link list that follows.
2.  Not a Blogger?  Share this post on Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else saying "I'm In!"
3.  Or you can just leave a comment saying "I'm In!"
4.  Challenge your own family and friends to join in and put their time toward handmaking a gift for not just loved ones, but those that are in need.
5.  In December, I will post a "Share Your Make 2 Challenge" post with a link list so you can link up again with your completed projects.

Who's In?

And look who's already joined in!  If you are in, link up to the blog post committing yourself to the Make Two Challenge!
Make Two Challenge
Make Two Challenge
Make Two Challenge
Make Two Challenge
Make Two Challenge
posted by Ana White

Momplex Stats

Money Spent So Far: 
$55,000 + Cost of Property
Time Spent So Far: 
1120 Hours on Site + TONS of Thinking and Planning

Today is a great day for DIY. Today, we can proudly say, yes, a family can - and have - poured a concrete house. 

We are not contractors. We are not professionals. We are merely a family, just like your family, with this great dream we call the Momplex.
It is this great dream, this vision of my mother cooking Thanksgiving dinner in her very own home, of my mother-in-law finally having the perfect sewing room so she can be even more amazing with her quilts, that puts me in work overalls and layers of down and tells me that yes, you can pour concrete.
After putting the last block in place, it's time to prepare for our final concrete wall pour.
Pouring Upstairs ICF Walls

First up, we put the braces up to hold the blocks in place. The braces also act as a means of plumbing the walls up - they are adjustable so you can pull or push the walls out.

We found putting up the shorter braces to be remarkably easy to do.
Pouring Upstairs ICF Walls

The braces also have a scaffolding arm so dropping in rebar, and eventually the actual pour are all within easy reach. If you choose to do an ICF home, I hope you consider the ARXX blocks because the bracing system makes the whole process so much easier.

Pouring Upstairs ICF Walls

But for the outsides of the Momplex, we borrowed scaffolding from family to brace around windows and corners. Does this look cold outside? The wind is blowing too ... brrrrr ...

But I was actually sweating hot trying to push the scaffolding through piles of snow - it's not a four wheel drive operation - or even a two wheel drive operation.

We pushed that scaffolding around all 176 feet of the Momplex, through snow drifts and down and up the hill to prepare the entire outside for the concrete pour.

It was a long, long day.

Pouring Upstairs ICF Walls

The next morning was clear and cold. 10 degrees and a slight wind to the east.

I started off with jumping jacks to warm up. Warm up as in stop shivering, not as in getting my muscles loose :)

We will be pouring concrete today into the ARXX blocks. Because the blocks are insulated on all sides, the concrete is protected from the cold as it cures up. We've heard stories of concrete being poured on Christmas Eve at 40 below.

Pouring Upstairs ICF Walls

Then the concrete pump truck arrived and stretched out.

Pouring Upstairs ICF Walls

Just waiting on concrete! I liked this picture because the roof will look just like this when done! Motivating!

Pouring Upstairs ICF Walls

With the number of windows, we began by pouring a first row of concrete, filling in window sills.

Pouring Upstairs ICF Walls

Good thing we had the pump truck!

Pouring Upstairs ICF Walls

Concrete is placed in the sills. Remember the sills have an opening in the middle for concrete placement. The concrete is then vibrated.

Pouring Upstairs ICF Walls

Then it's packed down and the window kit consisting of a piece of foam is placed over the concrete, followed by a piece of 1/2" plywood cut to the window sill size. This finishes the window itself out and keeps concrete poured above the window from leaking out the sills.

Pouring Upstairs ICF Walls

But then with the great weight of concrete being placed over the windows, we need a brace to support the window headers. We have all this precut and I just screw in place.

Pouring Upstairs ICF Walls

This window is complete, just waiting on the concrete to cure up!

Pouring Upstairs ICF Walls

While Uncle Bill and I work on windows, the concrete continues to pour upstairs.

Pouring Upstairs ICF Walls

Once the concrete is poured to the top, we go around the top and neatly screed it.

We decided not to put the top plates on - treated 2x12s with anchor bolts in them - because we are concerned that the anchor bolts would transfer cold to the concrete, resulting in concrete not curing properly. So we decided to cover the concrete in foam until it cures.

Pouring Upstairs ICF Walls

Our ground crew hands up foam in precut widths.

And takes scrap pieces down and keeps them from blowing away.
Saving everyone countless trips up and down ladders
Always thinking one step ahead.  The foam is layed over the tops of the ARXX blocks, now filled with warm concrete.  We press screws through the foam into the ARXX blocks to keep the wind from blowing the foam off.
And what does our fabulous ground crew want in return for such hard work?
She finally got to stand on the scaffolding and see what was going on up there. 
We are so thrilled to write that the concrete pour - a critical step in being able to continue to work through the winter - has completed successfully and the concrete cured well!!!  
We took a few days off and are back to work today.  With your support and encouragement, we hope to continue to work on the Momplex through the winter, and although Mom might have to wait until next year to cook a Turkey in her own brand new highly efficient house, step by step, block by block, we are working hard to make that dream a reality.  Thank you for reading!

Our Momplex Dream is made possible with the support of Lowes.

posted by Ana White
Dwell Magazine Aug 2011
Medium: 
Magazine - Print
Date of Press: 
August 01 2011

Suprised to find one of my favorite projects built by Marion of Bumper Crop inside Dwell!!!

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