Hello! I’m Ana, a mother and homemaker from Alaska.
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posted by Ana White

It's so hard to believe that just two years ago today, I saw a link on my friends Facebook page to her family blog. Not really sure what a blog was, I clicked over and read her blog post. Intrigued by blogging, and long searching for the right way to share my love of DIY furniture, I signed up for my own free blog and started blogging. 

What a two years it has been.
Year of Survival
The first year was really a year of survival. Just keeping my head above the water, most of the time. Coming up for air to survive when I couldn't keep treading water to not drown.  There was no grand plan or strategy or anything. It was just me, a busy Mom with a demanding toddler, a husband who liked home cooked meals and worked long hours, no extra money for anything, and a great passion to take my love for woodworking, and share it with the world.
That first year was also full of growing pains, both for me personally and the blog. So many things to learn, processes to refine, ways to become better. I thank you for being there throughout it all, helping me grow and learn over the years.  I am better because of your encouragement.
Year of Balance
If the first year was about survival, the next was about finding balance. How do I emerge from this survival state, a state of working 12, 14 hour days, posting plans at two in the morning after I've finally got my family to bed, my daughter acting out to get her Mommy's attention, my husband saying, "I miss my wife ..." and me not having time to even respond. How do I have it all, a happy, full life with my family, yet still having time to pursue my personal passion and dreams?
These are the internal battles that go on inside any busy Mom's head ... and heart. Can a Mom have a dream of her own?  After giving 100% to your family, there's nothing leftover to give yourself.
Finding balance may have been even more difficult than the first year of survival. I struggled on so many levels to let go, to let others help me, but to keep doing what I love. I went through withdrawals, having anxiety on camping trips about comments not getting answered, plans not getting posted, emails not getting responded to.
But today, after two years of blogging, I feel like though we will always struggle to find balance in life, that at least I can take things in stride and live a fulfilling life.  That it is not selfish to have a dream of your own.  Yes, we can have it all - be mothers that are truly present and involved with their families, but have dreams of our own and the opportunity - and courage and support - to pursue those dreams.
Year of Maturity
If the first year was about survival, and the second about finding balance, this year is my year of maturity. This is the year that we come into our own, that we grow up.  That we find time to become better, to give back, and to grow.  In the next year, I am hoping to:
Refine and Optimize.

We've done quite a bit of this over the last year, but there are still some bugs with the new site.  I'd love to see the new site optimized so it loads ultra fast, and simplified so content is very easy to find.  To this point, the website has been a DIY effort by yours truly - and I'm definitely planning to bring on some help to make it more user friendly.
Give Back.
I want to give back to the community - both the DIY community and blogging community - in so many ways.  With bringing on help with the website, it will be high on my priority list to find a way to help you take your handmade creations and sell them.  There's lots of little things to work out to make this system work, but at the core of what I do, I'm most passionate about increasing the amount of handmade furniture in homes.  Not everyone can build, but everyone should have an opportunity to support local, handmade artisans - Mom's just like me, trying to make a tiny difference in a tough world during tough times.
I will also be making more time to help and support other bloggers.  This follow-your-passion-through-blogging-thing is amazing, the stuff dreams are literally made with.  If you have a dream, but it seems impossible because of where you live, or how many children you have to take care of, because you have no budget - time or money wise - you can still follow your dreams and fulfill your own personal spirit.  I know we spend our days so busy doing laundry, getting dinner on the table, and taking care of everyone else, there's not much left - if there is anything left - for Mom. But if Mom is happy, so is everyone else ... though dinner might be burnt.  Expect to see me doing what I can to support other bloggers - especially Mom bloggers in this upcoming year.  
Video
Three months after I wrote my first blog post, a production company would call.  And many more have followed.  But the timing has never been quite right.  My daughter was young and needy, not ready for her mother to travel and commit to the hard work and sacrifice of trying to take a blog and turn it into a television show.  
Maybe it's this past year of balance, maybe it's because my daughter is just growing up, but I finally feel okay with traveling, whether that means bringing my daughter along or leaving her with Grandma.  I feel okay - just okay, I'm not ubberly excited about it - about committing to working on someone else's schedule, sometimes out of the home, sometimes without a child on my hip.  It is a frightening thought to have to be without my child, as any working Mom will tell you.
Whether we end up with a television show or just creating video tutorials for the website, I'd be happy either way.  For me, it's about taking a plan and bringing it to life, making it even easier to build a bench, a coffee table, or even a house  :)
Momplex
We hope this year we will finish the Momplex.  We are crazy to take this on, and you my dear friends are just as crazy to believe in us!!!  But we are moving along, and it is my great hope that we finally get to start working inside soon.  Oh the cabinets we are going to build!  And the built-ins and banquettes ...  It's going to be fun.  Thank you so much for following along - you'll be reading about our adventures in building in the next few weeks - we've been battling some not so fun weather conditions.  There have been quite a few discussions about calling it a winter ... but your comments and encouragement are keeping us going.  If we keep going, come blizzard or bitter cold, it's because of you and your support.  Thank you.
And I want to leave it with that - thank you.  I am a better person, a happier person, a better mother, because of your friendship and support.  I hope this coming year you will be a part of our community, working one bookcase at a time, one board at a time, one predrilled hole at a time, to build our best poss bile lives.
With love and thanks,
Ana

Backfilling

October 22, 2011 |
posted by Ana White

Momplex Stats

Money Spent So Far: 
$51,000 + Property
Time Spent So Far: 
1000 Hours on Site + TONS of Thinking and Planning

Once we put that plywood down upstairs, I did NOT want to go back and work down in the hole.

Backfilling

But trucks just kept coming, backing up beep-beep-beep

Backfilling

And tilting back kershhhhhup ...

Backfilling

Loads and load and loads of gravel. Not sure how to describe the sound of 10 yards of gravel being dumped out, except that it's loud.

Backfilling

Piled all around the Momplex

Backfilling

Bye-Bye Foundation

This is a great day - the day that I see the foundation of the Momplex for the last time! It's the paint colors and furntiure, the fixtures and room layouts that keep my going when the wind chill is below zero - not piles of dirt and rebar placement and overlapping foam.
But it's how the foundation is built that matters more than anything. As unglamourous and unfullfilling as it is, there's nothing that can ruin a pretty room more than crooked walls or a musty flooding smell.
We had gravel delivered because we want the ground around the Momplex to drain easily, allowing water to quickly flow through the gravel, and away from the building.  If we had simply backfilled with the piles of dirt leftover from digging the basement hole, water would have trouble draining ... just had a vision of (sorry Mom-you aren't reading this part) Mom's wheelchair (in 50 years of course) stuck in a big mud hole.  

Stuck in the mud #3: Wheelchair

We ordered the gravel.
Backfilling

I am lucky enough to have a brother who let us borrow his skidsteer.

Backfilling

Shoveling gravel is one of the toughest parts of building, so we were very very thankful to have a skidsteer to help out. Saved us a few thousand shovel fulls, our sanity, and definitely my back.

Backfilling

Helps to have a good operator too!

Backfilling

Off to get another load!

Backfilling

And Dad of course wanted to ride along.

Backfilling

We watered the ground and compacted every so much to keep the ground from settling too much in the future.

Backfilling

Compacting is just like mowing a law - except it's lounder and the vibrations are much worse. And you are always in the mud. Good thing this guy - our cousin Justin visiting for a few weeks, donating his vacation time to working on the Momplex - is perpetually optimistic.

Backfilling

You can see the ground that has been compacted vs the ground that has not been compacted yet. If you don't compact, the ground will eventually settle, and you'll be wondering why your flower beds keep sinking, or why there is a moat around the Momplex!

Backfilling

And we just kept on backfilling and compacting, until eventually ...

Backfilling

The hole around the outsides of the Momplex is gone! Hooray, we have finished the foundation work and can get back to building the upstairs walls of the Momplex!

Thanks for reading and keeping us encouraged - couldn't do it without your support!

Ana and Family

Rustic Hall Tree

October 20, 2011 |
posted by Ana White

Build a rustic hall tree inspired by Pottery Barn Grant Hall Tree! Free simple step by step plans feature detailed diagrams, cut list and shopping list. Everything you need to diy your own beautiful furniture!

Rustic Hall Tree

Handmade from this plan >>

Projects built from this plan. Thank you for submitting brag posts, it's appreciated by all!

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About Project

Author Notes: 

So I run into this problem all the time ... two ways to build something, so which do I blog?

When Teresa requested plans for a Hall Tree inspired by Pottery Barn Grant Hall Tree, I drew up plans using a plank style.

But then I felt that this design may be a tad complicated, so I drew it all over again!  But the good news for those of you not afraid of joining boards (use your Kreg Jig, it will make life easy!) the model is available by clicking above - just follow the basic instructions in this plan.
I ultimately choose to blog plans using plywood because 1) I built my mudroom out of PureBond Plywood and LOOOOOOVE it and 2) It would be much easier 3) and cheaper 4) most of use are going to end up painting anyway!

Dimensions

Dimensions: 
Rustic Hall Tree
Dimensions: 
Dimensions are shown above.

Materials and Tools

Shopping List: 

1 - Sheet of 3/4" Plywood (as shown PureBond Formaldehyde Free Plywood in Pine) or other sheet goods cut into three strips each 8 feet long, 15 3/4" wide (referred to as 1x16 boards throughout this plan)
4 - Tulip feet 4 1/4" tall
1 - small crown moulding piece, 7 feet long
2 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long
3 - 1x3 @ 8 feet long
1/4" plywood (full sheet in matching plywood grain)
You can use either pocket hole screws or countersunk screws

2 inch screws
3/4 inch finish nails
1 1/4 inch finish nails
2 inch finish nails
1 1/4 inch pocket hole screws
wood glue
wood filler
120 grit sandpaper
Tools: 
measuring tape
square
pencil
safety glasses
hearing protection
drill
jigsaw
compound miter saw
nailer
sander
countersink drill bit

Cut List

Cut List: 

3 - 1x16 @ 31 1/2" (one will get trimmed down for top shelf)
1 - 1x16 @ 10"
2 - 1x16 @ 61" (Sides - will cut out sides in decorative shape)
2 - 1x2 @ 15 3/4" (Under Shelf Support Trim)
2 - 1x2 @ 31 1/2" (Bottom Trim)
2 - 1x2 @ 14 1/4" (Bottom Under Support)
2 - 1x2 @ 8" (Top Shelf Supports)
1 - 1/4" Plywood @ 61" x 33" (Back)

Back Inset Frame
2 - 1x3 @ 39 3/4"
3 - 1x3 @ 31 1/2"
1 - 1x3 @ 26 1/2"

General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!

Step 1

Rustic Hall Tree

Build the shelf system with 2" finish nails and wood glue.

Step 2

Rustic Hall Tree

Cut out sides as shown above with a jigsaw from 61" long 1x16 boards.

Step 3

Rustic Hall Tree

Mark sides for location of shelf system and attach. You can use either pocket hole screws or 2" screws countersunk from outsides, or even 2" finish nails, as all shelves get supported with 1x2s later.

Step 4

Rustic Hall Tree

Top Shelf - use a circular saw or jigsaw to trim the remaining 1x16 @ 31 1/2" down to 8 3/4" wide - put the prettiest side to the front.

Step 5

Rustic Hall Tree

Nail from sides and top for extra support.

Step 6

Rustic Hall Tree

Bottoms get nailed in - or you could use your Kreg Jig here.

Step 7

Rustic Hall Tree

Fill in the blanks - you don't necessarily need these, but when it comes time to add the tulip feet, you will need something to attach to. You may even need to add additional boards, depending on how your tulip feet attach.

Step 8

Rustic Hall Tree

Build the back frame as shown above and attach in place with finish nails.

The back frame sides are not essential - but the top and bottom are because you will not have anything to hang hooks on. If you don't have a pocket hole jig, the easiest work around is simply nailing the top and bottom 1x3s in place and omitting everything else.

Step 9

Rustic Hall Tree

Now the top.

Step 10

Rustic Hall Tree

Shelf supports just get nailed in from sides and top.

Step 11

Rustic Hall Tree

Adjust for square and nail back on. Be very aware of what you are nailing to and using the right depth nails here.

Step 12

Rustic Hall Tree

Attach tulip feet per manufacturer recommendations. NOTE - Depending on the type of crown moulding you purchased, you may wish to move the tulip feet to fit the crown moulding. Do a dry fit, or perhaps put the moulding on first, feet second.

Step 13

Rustic Hall Tree

I'd love to be able to give you exact dimensions, but for moulding, you should always cut to fit. Miter corners with a miter saw. Attach with glue and finish nails.

Step 14

Rustic Hall Tree

Install hooks!

Finishing Instructions

Preparation Instructions: 
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth. It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.

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