Jun 30, 2016

One-Weekend Tool Shed


We always have lots of little projects on the go at the same time around here. Tom is even working on his very first post - showing off his solution to our drainage issues along the side of the house.

We really only get a chance to work on renovations on the weekend, and it's been pretty hot and humid lately, so to get a break Tom decided to knock out a quick project under the shade of the deck.

DIY Tool Shed

Since we don't have a garage (yet), all of our tools are stored either in the basement or out in an old metal shed that's a good 5 minute walk from the house. There's nothing like hiking out and back to get a rake or shovel, only to then realize you also need the pruning shears.  Or that you set down your gloves on a shelf and forgot them. And I'm not a huge fan of storing the grubby line trimmer and chainsaws in the basement - which is where they are now.

We have quite a bit of free space under the deck and 6+ feet of headroom, so it seemed the ideal place to put a tool shed. The logical spot for it happened to be where the previous owners had left a huge stack of bricks, so they had to be moved first. I was (conveniently) busy working on the bedroom ceiling, so Tom moved them all to the back of the property by himself. He'd load up the bucket of the skid-steer by hand, drive out back, unload, repeat. I've never seen him so tired. It definitely made up for skipping the gym that day.

Yep, these are bricks

Once the area was clear of bricks and weeds, he laid down 2 ft square patio stones to keep the shed up off the ground and away from excess moisture. He needed to cut out around the pipes for one so he chose the stone that already had a crack in it, knowing that it would probably get worse (it did). But it's at the back of the shed so it's not too obvious.

DIY Tool Shed

He built a framework of 2x4s, securing it to both the back wall and the stones. The frame slightly overhangs the stones on each side so that gravel can be added. Then if water does get into the shed it will run off through the gravel.

DIY Tool Shed

The framework for the roof is built at a slight angle - 2 inches higher at the back than at the front - so that water will run down and away from the house foundation. On top of the roof frame is a sheet of plywood, and then a corrugated roofing panel. Right now it's still open at the front, but we'll eventually add on the closure strips once they're back in stock.

DIY Tool Shed
DIY Tool Shed

For the walls, he first put up sheets of plywood, then attached fence boards over them. You could just attach the boards directly to the framework, but the plywood provides an extra layer of protection from the elements by filling the gaps between boards. Along the front he left a bit of the frame exposed so that the door has something to rest against when it's closed.

DIY Tool Shed

On the inside, he needed two shelves to store the chainsaws, with room for the generator to be stored below. At first he was going to build shelves along one side front to back, but since he wanted to keep the shed as shallow as possible the shelves wouldn't have been long enough to hold the chainsaws. So he built the shelves at an angle, from the doorway on the right hand side to the back right corner. This gives him maximum shelf length and the shelf is still deep enough to hold the chainsaw. The shelves themselves are also made from fence boards on top of a 2x4 frame.

DIY Tool Shed
DIY Tool Shed

Tom built the door much the same way as the access door for our under-deck storage at the last house. He took a sheet of plywood and attached fence boards to it to match the width of the opening. He then ran the saw along the ends so that the door would match the walls of the shed. (It's slightly shorter at the top so that it doesn't rub on the roof.) Two 2x4s are attached horizontally on the inside of the door for added strength. Note that the ends of the 2x4s are angled so that they don't bump against the frame when the door is closed.

DIY Tool Shed
DIY Tool Shed

The final step was hardware. He chose some pretty decorative gate hinges and handle that are also heavy duty. The hasp has a swivel post and a hole for the padlock.

DIY Tool Shed Hinges
DIY Tool Shed Hardware

Inside there is a 2x4 mounted horizontally to the back wall with hooks all along to hold all of our gardening tools. There is still plenty of room to add more, and to still move around.

DIY Tool Shed
DIY Tool Shed
DIY Tool Shed

One more project checked off the list!

DIY Tool Shed (and a cute dog)
DIY Tool Shed

Jun 9, 2016

Nashville Road Trip

A week or two ago I took a break from renovations (I still need to show you what I've been doing to the master bedroom) and headed off to Nashville, Tennessee with my two aunts and my sister for a girls' long weekend. We hit the road Thursday morning at 6am and were back on Tuesday, late.

Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge (Shelby Avenue) Nashville

It's about a 15 hour drive, if you include bathroom/lunch stops. I was appointed the navigator and only got us lost a few times. Apparently I have trouble with left vs. right under pressure. Detours due to construction are also not my friend.

With only 4 days of shopping/sightseeing we weren't able to see everything we wanted to, but we tried to hit the main points. Definitely the highlight for me was going to the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night. It was a really great lineup -  Maren Morris, Ray Scott, Exile, Mountain Heart, and Carrie Underwood among others. I loved every minute of it. We were way up in the nosebleed section, but the sound was still fantastic.

Grand Ole Opry
Grand Ole Opry
Grand Ole Opry
Grand Ole Opry
Grand Ole Opry

It poured rain on our first day in town so we spent a good deal of time at an antique mall that my sister was dying to see. I didn't really see anything I wanted (that would fit in the car), but I had a great time taking pictures of every weird and wonderful item that caught my eye.

Looking back, I think I should have bought this. It would have looked good in our basement tv room (that hasn't been built yet). There was also a game board for "Finance", a precursor to Monopoly.

Monopoly Blueprint - Gaslamp Antiques

This papier-mâché baby is just the stuff of nightmares. I think it was $50. And it said "handmade". Thank goodness there's only one of them in the world!


I wanted this pendant light very much. But I think it's too rustic for our house. I bet I could make one though if I change my mind.


Everyone needs a shirt (dress?) made of bottle caps, right? And it was a steal at only $13.

bottle cap dress

This vendor had all kinds of assemble-it-yourself birdhouses. They come on one flat sheet that you punch out like paper dolls and put together. Too bad he didn't have any more of this one.

motorhome birdhouse

So, yeah. Not much to say about this. Maybe it would be less scary without the eyeballs? Nope, still scary.



Before heading off to shop one day I made everyone stop at the Dukes of Hazzard museum (Cooter's Place) first. The best man at our wedding made a joke that my husband (a mechanic) used to look like Cooter until I got my hands on him...and then he looked like Chandler Bing. So true.

cooter's place dukes of hazzard museum

They had the General Lee there, hooked up to Cooter's tow truck, so of course I had to get my picture taken in it. If you can't be a dork on vacation, when can you be?

cooter's place dukes of hazzard museum

When we drove up to the place there was a lineup halfway around the building. We thought that it was the line to get in and almost left right away, but it turned out that Tom Wopat (Luke Duke) was there signing autographs. Crazy. It would have been cool to get an autograph for my husband - and to gloat about meeting Tom Wopat - but no way was I standing in that line. And I think my family would have left me there if I'd suggested it.

cooter's place dukes of hazzard museum


On Sunday my sister and I headed downtown to do all that touristy stuff on Lower Broad. This is where all the honky-tonks and souvenir shops are. I think my sister is addicted to $10 or less shops because she dragged me into every one - especially for photo ops. Don't we look awesome?



We hit both candy shops in the area as I had to find my beloved Cow Tales - the best caramel candy ever made, and sadly not available in Canada. My favourite was Savannah's Candy Kitchen - heaven for sugar lovers. And they make so much of their product right there. You can watch them make gophers and chocolate dipped apples when you first walk in - they even make their ice cream on site.

Savannah's Candy Kitchen Nashville

I may have bought some huge gophers, and a pecan log roll, and ice cream cone gummies...it's probably a good thing that the store is 800 miles away.

Savannah's Candy Kitchen Nashville

We wandered all over the place, up side streets, and over the pedestrian bridge. We even hung out the window of Rippy's Bar & Grill to get shots of the entire street. I couldn't stop taking pictures of the buildings - they're my thing.

Lower Broadway Nashville
Printers Alley Nashville
Printers Alley Nashville
American Steam Feed Nashville
Printers Alley Nashville
The Quarters 2nd Ave Nashville
Seigenthaler (Shelby Avenue) Bridge


And of course we went to see the Ryman. No music though, just a comedy-fest going on.

Ryman Auditorium Nashville
Ryman Auditorium Nashville

On our last day we went to Belle Meade Plantation. What a gorgeous place. In its heyday, the plantation was 5400 acres - now there are only 30 acres remaining. It was renowned for horse breeding, with today's Kentucky Derby winners still able to trace their bloodlines to Belle Meade horses.

Belle Meade Mansion Nashville

How can I condense 100+ years of history into just a few lines? I don't think I can do it justice so I'll just leave you with this link. We toured the mansion and had the most wonderful tour guide, Kate. She relayed the history of the plantation from start to finish as we worked our way through the rooms, keeping it interesting with little anecdotes here and there. You could tell that she was very passionate about the subject.

Belle Meade Plantation Nashville

I appreciated that the guides don't gloss over some of the uglier portions of the plantation's history - for example, that the owners were slave traders/slave owners and at one time owned 136 slaves. The plantation is a constant work in progress as items are discovered and donated and as more history is revealed. Right now the historical society is working hard to restore/recreate the slave areas of the plantation, but it is slow-going as so little of the history was written down.

Belle Meade Plantation Nashville
Belle Meade Plantation Nashville
Belle Meade Plantation Nashville
Belle Meade Plantation Nashville


The plantation grounds are breathtaking, with clearings here and there (full of magnolia trees!) so you can take a break and just relax away from the more hectic city center. They were preparing one of the carriage houses for a wedding reception while we were there - I can just imagine how magical having your wedding there would be.

Magnolia
Belle Meade Plantation Nashville
Belle Meade Plantation Nashville
Belle Meade Plantation Nashville
Belle Meade Plantation Nashville


It was a really short trip, but it was enough to convince me I want to come back. There are so many more things to see and do. One thing I didn't get to experience much of was the food. Nashville is also known for its food scene. I need to try out the Hot Chicken, fancy pancakes, and even though I ate a lot of biscuits, I think I might have room for more. I'll leave you with a couple of the best meals I did have.

Avocado Quinoa Salad at Harding House - Belle Meade Plantation 
Harding House Belle Meade Plantation

Bistro Steak with French Potato Salad at Marche Artisan Foods
Marche Artisan Foods Nashville

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