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This is a great beginner’s project, if you ask me. I was able to get all four shadowbox units put together in one 2.5-hour naptime. Just in case you’re interested – or want to build these for your family room! – here’s how I did it.

1.) Decide how much storage space you need. I wanted to be able to store around 400 DVDs, so I wanted about 16′ of space. I made four units that are 48″ long, 8.5″ tall, and 5.75″ deep. We bought 8 boards of 1×6 pine (which is a total misnomer. One-by-six boards are actually seven-eighths-by-five-and-three-quarters. Who knew?!) and had the lovely guys at Lowe’s cut them to the sizes we needed. They didn’t even charge us for the cuts! We ended up with 8 boards 48″ long, 8 boards 9.75″ long, a box of sheetrock screws, 12 L-brackets, and 12 metal sheetrock anchors (a.k.a. mollies). We spent a grand total of $56.00. Supplies we already had on hand, that you’ll need to do this project yourself, were a power drill with a 1/8″ bit and a screwdriver bit; wood filler; sandpaper; and paint.

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2.) Sand the rough, splintery edges where the Lowe’s guys hacked into the boards. Use a coarse grain sandpaper for this step.

3.) Measure the boards and mark where you will be drilling the pilot holes. On the short boards, I drilled a hole in each corner, all the way through. Make sure you put your board on top of a piece of scrap wood, unless you have a sawhorse or something. You don’t want your drill bit to hit the concrete of your garage floor.

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Drilling the pilot holes in the long boards was a little tricker for me. I had to brace the end of the board against the floor in a 45-degree angle and then hold my drill at the same angle. This is probably *not* the best way to get a nice straight pilot hole! Plus, your bicep will be killing you after two or three boards. If you know of a better way to do this, please clue me in.

4.) Time to screw the boards together! It took me some trial and error on the first unit, but the rhythym came together eventually. I found it was easiest to:
-start all four screws into the short board. Let them come through the bottom a teeny bit.
-brace a long board against the wall of the garage at a 45-degree angle.
-line up the two screws at the top corners of the short board with the pilot holes in the long board. This is why it’s good to have the edge of the screw already through the board.
powerdrill the screws in almost all the way.
-stand up the second long board, and line up the bottom two screws of the short board.
-power drill the screws in all the way, and tighten up the top two screws.
-flip the unit over carefully, because it’s not totally stable yet!
-start all four screws into the second short board.
-position the short board on the two long boards.
-powerdrill the screws in all the way. They should even countersink (go below the plane of the surface of the board.)
-flip the unit over again, and countersink those four screws. (For some reason I couldn’t get them to countersink until this point in the process.)

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5.) Check to make sure the units are square, and not wobbly. Woo-hoo!

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6.) Fill the space where you countersunk the screwheads with wood filler. You can also fill the spots at the ends of the boards where the Lowe’s guys hacked them and gave you that lovely splintery look.

7.) After the woodfiller dries, sand it smooth. You can use a finer grain sandpaper for this step.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten. Time invested so far, from shopping for supplies through doing the woodfiller: about 3 and a half hours. Not too bad!

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I’m starting a new project today.

We are big-time movie buffs, and we buy a lot of DVDs. The collection currently numbers around 300 (it’s always hard to decide how to count those TV-on-DVD collections) and there’s no end in sight. In Florida, we stored them on a DVD rack that stood on the floor. When we moved to Tennessee, they started out on those shelves but soon moved to the shelves of the hallway linen closet – once Jonas became mobile, there was no way to really secure all those DVDs, much less the shelves themselves. When we got here, I didn’t even want to unpack the three boxes of DVDs until we had a place to put them! For “the time being,” they were unpacked onto the picture ledge that’s built in to the wall in the family room. It’s 16 feet long. Only about 3 feet remains open and unoccupied.

In brainstorming storage options, we came up with- and rejected- a number of things marketed for this very purpose. Those cool album binders that store over 100 DVDs in about 2 inches of space? Vetoed by Chris, who doesn’t want to toss the DVD cases and booklets. Those enormous shelf units with glass-front doors? Vetoed by the budget. A large wall-mounted shelf that would hold about 200 units and take up nearly the entire wall space of the picture ledge area? Vetoed by Michelle, for aesthetic reasons.

When I saw these online for $160 each – with each unit storing only 98 DVDs – I knew I had a
project on my hands. My daddy didn’t raise no fool…. I know for sure I can build 4 shelves for less than that price! I’m certainly no master carpenter. Heck, I’m not even a fraction as experienced a woodworker as my Dad and his brother Daniel. But everyone has to start somewhere. I do have a few basic skills. My dad and I did once build a birdhouse, with my very first tool kit, and I seem to recall hammering at least one of those nails all by myself. Plus, I’ve been watching HGTV and DIY networks for months and that has to count as some sort of handywoman apprenticeship, right?

So I roughed out a plan for the shelves. Then I called my dad to ask him if I’d forgotten anything, miscalculated anything, or gotten myself in over my head. There will be four shelves, about 48″ long. That gives me 16 feet of storage space – hopefully enough for four years’ worth of movie-buying. I’m going to do straight corners on my shelves, like the one in the picture; even though mitered corners are beautiful, I think I’m more likely to wimp out and create a UFO* if I make this too complicated. I’m planning to use my new power drill to put the shelves together – mine won’t have a backing piece. I’ll hang them with L-brackets and mollie bolts. Oh, and I’m going to paint them to match the wall color – I’m hoping for a cool, floating, built-in shadow box sort of effect. Hopefully it will turn out okay.

*~*~*~*

It just started raining here, so I need to bring my diapers back inside. I hope you’re all having a lovely holiday celebration today, rain or shine. Happy Independence Day!>
*Unfinished Object

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The upstairs bathroom:
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It’s not really “done,” because we want to add a storage etagere soon. And on our list of eventual upgrades, we’d like to re-do the lighting. I know this isn’t the best picture, but at least you can see the bright, happy color we chose!

(And thanks again Holly – it goes up so much faster with an extra pair of hands!)

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Jonas’ room is done!

The door on the left is his closet; the door on the right is to the hallway. That’s a puzzle of “Horton Hatches The Egg” hanging up.
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Coming around the corner, that’s the door to the hallway; those are two little chairs that go with his table (which is in the playroom). I’d like to get him a rocking chair for his room and reunite all 4 of the leather chairs downstairs.
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Next corner- his dresser, obviously with his “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” picture frame from Grandmama, and a Cat In The Hat pull toy.
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Wall opposite the doors – that roller shade is AMAZING at blocking the light. The valance has several Seuss characters on it. The poster is “I know it is wet & the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny!” The trio hanging over the crib is actually a set of lacing cards – feat. Sam I Am, Horton, & The Cat. The blue fleece blanket hanging over the crib rail was a gift from Mimi.
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Coming back around to the closet door again. The red bin holds blankets right now – on top is a Seuss print quilt that I got from Pamela, a friend in FL, at my baby shower.
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Whaddaya think?!

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I took some very good advice the other day and gave myself a break. I bought the second stair gate and the wide gate (to separate the playroom from the office) and got them up, and now even though there are still a handful of boxes down here, this room is baby safe. I can come down here with Jonas and relax. In fact, this morning, we came down here with our drinks (milk for him, coffee for me!) and I watched a bit of news – and then I turned on Nick Jr. for Jonas and GOT. TO. TAKE. A. SHOWER. :-O I mean, I shaved my legs and everything. Can’t begin to tell you the wonders that does for my sanity and energy level.

I also took a break from painting – gave myself the evening off, you might say – watched a chick flick on TV, and (shock! amazement!) my enthusiasm for painting is back with a spring in its step. Look out, walls! 😉

Progress report on the painting, while I’m at it: downstairs is as done as it can be for now (I’d like to paint the beams in the ceiling, but I need Chris’ height & arms to do that job). Jonas’ room is *nearly* finished – the blue is done; I need to just touchup a few spots on the trim work and do another coat on the door. I have a feeling it will take a long time to dry though – we had rain this morning, and it’s still very cloudy and humid outside this afternoon. We won’t move Jonas in until the paint fumes are totally gone, so I’m betting he won’t be all settled in his room until Sunday at the earliest. I can NOT WAIT to get his room all arranged and decorated (and post pictures, natch). It feels like I’ve had the idea for that space for YEARS (well, since I planned it out while I was pregnant, I guess it has been about two years!) and now it is finally all coming together.

And now I’m going to enjoy some chocolate cookies and a Diet Coke (gotta love those 100 Calorie Snack Packs and the teeny tiny mini cans of soda. Having a snack this way is *so cute* and way better for me than sitting down with the box of cookies and overdoing it. What, am I the only one who does that!?)

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We’re here! We’re here! Yay!

The cable guy just left, and I’m (obviously) back online. Don’t expect too much in the way of posts for the next few weeks, though, because there is SO. MUCH. TO. DO! Who has time for blogging? 😉

I’m working on a nice, long, catchup post to tell you all about the Moving Out Day drama. It was stressful and ridiculous. Then, I’ll tell you about the Moving In Day drama. It was much less stressful, but still taxed my nerves. After that, I’ll regale you with the tale of First Visit to Lowe’s As A Homeowner – and subsequent sobbing phone call to Chris when I realized my new power drill didn’t come with the bits. (Sounds funny, sure, but at the time it was a major tragedy.) Oh, and there’s the one about when I moved *everything we own* into the center of the family room to paint! That one is more fun than a barrel of monkeys! We’ll wrap up the series with Stupid Cable Guys and Women Who Need Them Anyway. Stay tuned…

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Meet the author

MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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