A New Chapter Begins

Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the Ohio River Paddlefest, recognized as the nation’s largest paddling celebration with 2,000 participants traveling 9 miles through downtown Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky in canoes, kayaks, and other human-powered craft. I love this event. It is therapeutic for me to be in my kayak and I don’t make the time to do it often enough. It was a blessing that this year’s event fell on August 7 as the day coincided with a chapter of and vision for my life permanently closing. I would have moped around in bed most likely the entire day, but I had a reason to get going early and what a beautiful morning it was.

I was armed with a PB&J sandwich, granola bar, mango Gatorade, an energy flavored Vitamin Water and my Pandora radio shuffle playlist of Yolanda Adams, Forever Jones, Wayman Tisdale, James Taylor, Macy Gray, Bonnie Raitt, Ashford & Simpson, Maze & Frankie Beverly and The Commodores. Pandora has a psychic sense sometimes as the very first song to start my journey was Natalie Merchant’s Where I Go, a song who’s lyrics talk about going to the river to “To soothe my mind, to ponder over the crazy days of my life, watch the river flow, ease my mind and soul”. The playlist was spot on throughout approximate 4-hour paddle. I paddle to the beat, so I had a great mix of slow and fast tunes and I stopped to nibble or drink during the commercials.

I’ll admit I started off sad, here I am in the midst of 1000s of people, but paddling alone again. I wasn’t 100 yards into the paddle and I came across this couple.  My mind quickly spun all types of positive scenarios on how great of a relationship they must have.  About a mile into Pandora struck gold again by playing Yolanda Adam’s Never Give Up who’s chorus states “keep the dream alive don’t let it die.  If something deep inside keeps inspiring you to try, don’t stop and never give up, don’t ever give up on you. Don’t give up”.  That song and the friendliness of the paddle community was the snap out of it slap in the face I needed.  Last year I traded my lime green Tsunami 12.5 kayak for a blue Tsunami 14.5 and it drew attention.  Several people gave me positive feedback on how well it tracked in the water and how natural I looked in it.  All were shocked when I shared that was my first time in it and first time kayaking since the last Paddlefest in 2019.  

I had a great conversation with the leaders of this group from River City Paddlesport.  They brought their 30-foot long voyageur canoes up from Louisville, KY.  I checked out their website and Louisville has an event called Mayor’s Hike, Bike, and Paddle, which sounds super cool.  It is held Memorial and Labor Day weekends.  River City coordinates the paddle portion and the plans for this Labor Day sounds absolutely amazing.  They will “lock through”. A flotilla of canoes and kayaks will leave the waterfront and paddle through the Portland Canal to the McAlpin Locks. Once everyone is secured to a line, the doors will close in the lock and drop 37 feet. The lower doors of the lock will open and we will paddle to New Albany’s Jaycee Boat Ramp near the Sherman-Mitten Bridge.  Sounds like a reason for a road trip.  I’m definitely going to try and make that, but my life is getting ready to get really busy (tease).

Despite not paddling for 2 years I signed up for the 9-mile (go big or stay home, right) and stretched it out even further by adding the optional 1-mile paddle of the Mill Creek.  Growing up in Cincinnati I’ve heard of the Mill Creek, but wow did I learn a lot more about it in that one mile journey.  I now know were my sanitation waste ends up.  I also now have another connection for paddling via the Mill Creek Yacht Club.  They’ve got a paddle coming up on August 21, MCYC Urban Stream Adventure, that I will definitely participate in, another chance to get on the Ohio River.

Coming out of the Mill Creek detour the winds picked up and we were paddling into it. I was starting to tire out, but then once again Pandora hit a chord with another Yolanda Adam’s song, This Battle is not Yours, and that was the spark I needed to fight through the winds. I actually abandoned the shuffle and went full on gospel for the rest of the paddle. I made it to the finish line, got my boat loaded thanks to the young men from Hughes High School football team, and enjoyed the best chicken and waffles from Sunny Side Brunch food truck. It was a great four hours.

So about my blog title and featured image. The new chapter is due to me officially filing Sista Girl with Skills with the state of Ohio and IRS to form a LLC and obtain my employer identification number. I’m still working through the logo, but the business is official. My business has two divisions. The first is a bakery division (yes I bake too), which is what prompted the official filing. In the last few weeks demand for my zucchini bread, zucchini muffins, and carrot muffins has soared. I am an official cottage industry and I have aspirations of taking it bigger. The second division I’ll keep under wraps, for now, but it will lead to more frequent post. Let the NEW journey begin.

I’d love your feedback on the logo. I’m working on getting a caricature image of me to add to the bakery text.

Serving Her Purpose

People that have followed my three year restoration journey have frequently read things where I talked about my vision for my home. Recently the vision of hosting friends as overnight guest materialized when my former employee, but more important descriptor friends Vicki Schwartz and her husband Steve spent a long weekend with me. Vicki worked for me when I ran the “good” visitor center that used to be located on Fountain Square in what is now Graeter’s Ice Cream. That center closed in 2005, but I have maintained a friendship with Vicki and her husband ever since. So much so that when I’ve traveled to North Carolina anywhere close to Winston Salem, which is where they live now, they have hosted me at their home (once by myself, once with a teenager, and once with my two dogs, now that’s friendship). They come back to Cincinnati at least once a year and they got to see my house during construction, I didn’t have walls yet. I told them then when it was finished they must stay with me on one of their visits. Covid delayed that opportunity by a year.

They got to stay in the Janet Suite and I gave them a key, so they could come and go as they pleased. They arrived on a Thursday night after an eight hour drive.  I was prepared with cheeses, ham, turkey, and a variety of chips; something light as I thought they’d be more tired than hungry.  What Steve had a taste for was a peanut butter sandwich, so thankfully I had that in the pantry. Vicki joined him and had PB&J.

Of course they loved the house.  I’ve shared pictures of the finished product, but they said the images didn’t do it justice.  They truly did not want me to put up a fuss.  For breakfast I had fresh baked muffins for them.  Steve just needed two cups of coffee and Vicki brought her own tea bags.  Friday they spent the entire day out visiting other friends.  I had not gotten a chance to give the yard a fresh cut, so I did that.  It warmed my heart to see clearly how at ease they felt in my home.  I loved seeing my “bathroom of positivity” (decor is filled with positive motivational statements) so lived in.  Friday night they had dinner with friends, so an easy day of hosting for me.

Saturday was hang out day for me and Vicki and Steve got to visit some of his car friends (he has a vintage Alfa Romero that he’s had in the Cincinnati’s Concours D’elegance many times).  Vicki was part of the original docent class for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, so she wanted to go there and hoped she see any of her former fellow docents.  We lucked up and caught James (Jim) Brock as he was arriving for his shift.  Before moving to Winston Salem Vicki hosted her docent colleagues at her home, so I quickly offered to host them next year when Vicki and Steve make their trip in 2022. They had recently lost one member of the original class, Verneida Britton who also use to work for me at the Visitor Center, to cancer.

Saturday evening I hosted a Visitor Center reunion cook out.  Our boss, Joan Kaup, and two other of my staff, Carolyn Sherman and Sandra Bowen came with their husbands.  I am the age now that these ladies were when they worked for me.  Sandra and I recently reconnected when she came to my first open house (I didn’t know she was following the journey), but Joan and Carolyn I have formed friendships too.  What was amazing is that it turned out Vicki and Steve knew Joan’s husband Rick from when he lived in Mariemont (where they lived) with his first wife and Vicki actually use to work for Sandra’s husband.  It turned out Vicki’s and Sandra’s tenure didn’t overlap.  It was an evening filled with great conversation and no concerns about Covid-19 as the entire group had been vaccinated.  It was nice to remember that I actually had some enjoyable years of employment at that start of my CVB career.  I’ve gone on road trips with Joan, Carolyn, and Vicki as a testament that friendships can be formed at work. 

Sunday during the day they visited more friends, but that evening they took me to dinner at the Chart House. I hadn’t been there in years. Beautiful setting as our table was near a window with clear views of the Ohio River. Great food, more great conversation, and awesome key lime pie for dessert. I’d get that pie as a carry out it was that good.

Monday was the departure day. I was able to pack them turkey and ham sandwiches for the road. In route to home they had planned to stop at the cemetery where Vicki’s parents are buried to place flowers and do any needed clean up. Vicki sent me a text sharing they were back on the road after consuming their delicious sandwiches. Not that I want to monopolize their visits to Cincinnati, but I hope they will chose me over other friends when they make the trek next year. It was nice having them visit. My house was filling the purpose for which she was restored and now with the mask mandate lifted I hope more visitors will come.

This photo showed me it was time to address the graying wood of my pergola. Stay tuned for the first “maintenance” project for my restored home.

Cassandra’s Greenhouse

After completing Cassandra’s bench, the next project at her house was a greenhouse. Cassandra is converting her entire backyard, even the blacktop driveway into a urban garden oasis. She had planned to buy a greenhouse, but I pointed out that she could build one cheaper. My 4×8 Lean-to shed only cost approximately $500 in materials, a fourth of what she had planned to pay. She asked if I would help her and I said yes. Since I had successfully built my shed, by myself, I told her to check out the greenhouse plans at Plans Design, where I bought mine. Their greenhouses were similar to my lean-to, so I thought the learning curve would be eliminated.

She didn’t like their plans, but found one she did like.  It called for setting nine 4×4 post in the ground.  That seemed like an odd approach and I knew making nine holes, especially in the location of her yard that she wanted would be difficult, but once past that it seemed like a simple plan.  While weather did play a small part in slowing down progress this project took six weeks to complete, way to long.  I don’t know the final cost of all the material, but I’m sure it was over $1,000.  The plans did not call for a floor, we added one.  The plan didn’t have windows, we added one and another is planned.  This build tested my resolve, stamina, ingenuity, and patience.  

Now that the greenhouse is complete I really question the design choice of using 4×4 post for the structure. The person that designed it lives in Canada, so perhaps this is standard for sheds in that country. It called for pressure treated (PT) wood. Traditional wall framing with regular 2x4s would have cost far less and the project could have been completed much faster. I was ready to throw in the towel after digging the first hole because we hit so many tree roots. For that reason I’m not going to list where she bought the plans as I wouldn’t recommend them. Too much of the build was left for you to figure out; they were not complete or concise and now she has a structure that can never be moved even though its size made it moveable. The plastic sheeting was easy to work with and it does provide a visual airiness. If you have no concerns about security, I could see making my lean-to shed with traditional framing but covering it with this plastic; perhaps even a combination of wood and plastic siding.

56-year Battle With Spring Allergies OVER

I have suffered with spring allergies since I was 3 months old, January baby. My doctors always hoped I’d outgrow it, but it was bad when I was an infant and young child. My skin would break out in severe eczema. The mucous from my eyes formed so heavily over night that my eyes would be stuck shut until my mother used hot compresses to remove the dried, caked mucous. My eyes stayed blood shot red and they felt as if someone had poured sand it them they were so gritty. The congestion in my nose was as severe making it hard to breath. I was considered asthmatic as a child. I was placed on high doses of predisone and eye ointment to get through the season. The dose of predisone had to be gradually reduced as the symptoms subsided, I was never allowed to stop it cold turkey, so I was on the drug approximately 3 months of the year.

The ointment turned to drops, but the prednisone routine lasted until I reached my mid-30s when I decided to go to an allergist to find out exactly what I was allergic to, pollen wasn’t enough of a descriptor for me. Well it should have been as I’m allergic to just about everything blooming in the spring, but I did find out my worst allergen are Elm trees, which sucked given I had two giant ones at my childhood home. I started taking allergy shots, once a week, for the next 9 months. I was ready for my first allergy free season that spring and that did not happen. I had the worst season of my adult life. It was so bad that not only did I take prednisone, but I was given a steroid shot to obtain immediate relief. To add insult to injury I lost the ability to eat fresh fruits like apples, pears, peaches, plums, nectarines, and cherries. Eating them made my gums feel like someone was taking scraping a wire brush across them. I stopped the shots.

I started going to a new general practitioner who put me on Loratadine (now Claritin OTC), Azelastine HCI and Fluticasone Propionate (now Flonase OTC, but I still get prescription as I think its better) nasal sprays, and Naphazoline hydrochloride and pheniramine maleate drops (now Naphcon A OTC). I still suffered with red, itchy, swollen eyes that I would treat with ice packs in the morning and a runny, congested nose, but hey I was off prednisone. This was my routine for the last 15 or so years, but about 10 years someone told me about the medicinal properties of ingesting locally sourced honey and I tried it. I saw a huge improvement, especially with the redness in my eyes, but not enough to stop the drug cocktail.

I had to give that background as the last 10 days of my allergy life has been miraculous. I was contacted by a friend’s husband, Al, about an opportunity to become a distributor for the Vollara line of air and surface purifiers. He knew my career industry, hospitality, had been hit hard by Covid-19 and that I was looking for new revenue streams as I wait for my clients to return to meeting. I read his literature, watched some videos and was intrigued. I had cut my grass for the first time about three weeks prior and the sleeve of my shirt was soaking wet from the constant wiping of my nose and eyes. I knew it was time to get my nasal sprays refilled and restock my eyedrops and pills. For years I would take my Claritin at bedtime to reduce the overnight inflammation, so literally the day before he called I had purchased a bottle of Xyzal from Sam’s Club. I decided to try it because their TV commercial said you should take it at night. I had taken one pill from the bottle.  I told him I was going to try the FreshAir Personal unit and do an experiment on myself.  I stopped taking the Xyzal and did not purchase or take anything else during the three days it took to receive the device.  When it came, I charged it overnight.

The next day I put it on to cut the grass.  Unbelievable, my eyes never watered and my nose did not run.  I kept it on anytime I was outside and even in my car while driving.  The next morning my eyes had their normal early spring itch and I was a little stuffy.  I had early errands to run, so I put it on while I was getting ready and noticed that within about 15 minutes the stuffiness in my nose was gone and my eyes didn’t itch.  At that point I decided to wear it all day, inside and out.  I only took it off at night.  I have no symptoms that warrant the use of the nasal sprays or pill.  I did use the Pataday drops when I found myself rubbing my eyes.  I blame the dark circles under my eyes on my allergies.  The years of watery eyes and rubbing made the skin underneath raw and it scarred, so that was a preventive measure to not rub.

Day four I decided to order the Air & Surface Pro unit for my home.  24 hours after running it on its highest speed and purity level 2 I woke up with no stuffiness and no itchy eyes.  I am stunned, amazed.  As if the first 10 days wasn’t validation enough Friday I worked a catering job, a wedding rehearsal dinner, that was outside under a tent in a very wooded sub division in Liberty Township. I was outside from 4 – 10:30p and not one tear drop or nose sniffle. I am a true believer in the power of the ionization and ActivePure technology behind these products.  ActivePure® (originally called Radiant Catalytic Ionization (RCI)) is a proprietary air and surface purification technology recognized worldwide as NASA Certified Space Technology by the Space Foundation; inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2017.  It reduces up to 99% of airborne and surface contaminants such as mold, fungi, germs, viruses, VOCs and odors without ozone.  Who knew space technology was all a girl needed to be free of allergies and why didn’t someone tell me about it 56 years ago.

If you’d like to see videos on the product and technology behind it check out the bottom of the JTK Consultants tab from my home page. Even once my allergies are over and the mask mandate is lifted my FreshAir Personal will be worn around my neck to provide me with a personal shield of defense from the next toxin out there seeking to do harm.  My Air & Surface Pro will run 24/7/365 in my home. They also make a FreshAir Mobile unit that I plan to purchase when it is off backorder to take with me when I travel. It has the same ActivePure technology of the Air & Surface Pro and can cleanse up to 500 sf. Perfect for a normal size hotel room.  We are constantly hearing we should listen to the scientist when it comes to Covid-19. Well Dr. Deborah Birx, former White House Coronavirus Coordinator, has joined ActivePure Technologies as chief medical and scientific advisor and she is firmly behind the product. There are a couple of videos with her sharing her view on the technology on my JTK Consultants page also.

If you live in the Cincinnati area and are interested in any of the three products, I am stocking them. Get it direct from me to save tax and shipping. Email: jtkconsultantsllc@outlook.com. Mobile unit on backorder until Mary 17.

That’s What Friends Are For

20180726_112023Some friends say they are going to do something and others do what they say. My friend Joan falls in the do what they say category. She was the only non family member that performed physical work on my house without expecting to be paid. In my pre-electric days she or her husband Rick would come and change the batteries in my Simpli Safe security system if I was not able to do so. The batteries had to be changed every 3 days. She got down on her hands and knees to pull staples out of the floor and to clean the floors after the dry wall crew left them a mess. She painted walls. Many days she worked, since she had the key, while I was out of town on business travel.  She called Sista Girl with Skills about hiring her for some repair work and projects at their new condo; her friend showed up instead.

From close to move-in was only about 20 days, but fortunately she had access to the space prior to and was able to line up some key tradesmen to start the day of the close.  I felt like I was testing my GC (general contractor) skills as I was able to connect her with two tradesmen I used on my project.  There were noticeable fade marks and some deep scratches on the composite wood floors.  I referred and she used my kitchen floor savior, Sergio Sosa of Sosa Flooring to fix them and he did a fabulous job.

I also got to dabble a bit in interior design. The finish had worn off on the master toilet paper roll fixture. I found some Kohler Devonshire fixtures that were a perfect match to her existing faucets. She ordered and I installed them. Also in the bathroom for some bizarre reason the builder put a door with a huge glass opening for the water closet. The previous owner had grandma looking sheers covering it. Joan found this really cool patterned, static cling product that we applied to the inside of the glass. It obscures enough when door is closed.

The initial call included asking if I could replace the tile floor in her guest bathroom. She hated it. It was hideous red color and looked like a brick floor. It was it perfect condition. The first time I walked through another of her friends was there and suggested that she just paint the floor. I agreed and even reminded her to call Miracle Method, a company she had told me about. The floor wasn’t the only issue. The border in the tub area was red too. My biggest victory was getting her to leave a perfectly good, well made, dovetail drawers, vanity alone. She did not like it either. She called Miracle Method, they painted the floor white with black specs and painted the border black, the bathroom is gorgeous. That vanity just needs new knobs.

I helped put up curtain rods, set up the wifi, changed out some light fixtures and removed the existing closet wire racks, which left a boat load of holes that I had to fill and then paint the walls, so that she could get her California Closet systems installed. I so wish I had taken a picture of the wire racks before I took them down because she gave them to me. I’ll be able to use them in my garage project. It is amazing what limited pops of color can do to mundane spaces. Joan was the person that gave me the idea to wallpaper my closets, so that guest will get a pleasant surprise when hanging their coats.

My most time consuming project was patching holes created by my electrician Mr. McGhee. She needed several new outlets and he had to make small holes to fish wires through. Honestly I hate patching holes, drywall is not by strong suite. Plastering is truly an art. I have not quite mastered the feathering technique, so I over apply mud and have to sand a lot. I decided to try a new technique learned on YouTube, the California patch. You use the paper from the drywall as the tape. I will admit I was patting myself on the back after this work, my best patches to date!

My last project may become another side hustle, cabinet shelves. Joan had two boards, one painted white and another laminated particle board that she asked if I could cut down to the right length to give her some additional shelves in her kitchen cabinets. She did not care that they wouldn’t match the originals. The laminated board was too narrow and could not be used, but I planned to cut the white one down to size on my miter saw. I had not thrown away the scrapes from Cassandra’s bench project, so I told her I could make one for the smaller cabinet.

Her original shelves appeared to have a laminate meant to imitate birch. I ripped the scrap down to the right width, cut it to the right length and then applied 3/4″ pine trim on the outer edge to hide the plys of wood. I sanded them and then coated them with polyacrylic I had on hand (3 coats on the top, 2 on bottom). When they were done it was hard to discern which was which, especially the shelves I made with birch plywood. I hated the thought of her having this one white shelf, so I made one for that too. These turned out so well she asked me to make two more AND I even made one for my own kitchen. I had wanted an extra shelf in the cabinet where I store my coffee mugs, but they wanted $50 for that one tiny shelf. Since this was scrap wood, not all the grains were running horizontal, but that wouldn’t be noticeable and did not impact function. Hence the potential new side hustle. Need a shelf, call me.

I thought all was done and I got a request for three more shelves for the guest closet. They discoved the condo basement storage is minimal, so she wanted some additional shelves for her California Closet system. These would be painted and I didn’t have enough scrap left so I bought a 2’x4′ piece of 3/4″ pine and I did not get the good stuff. It was full of knots, especially on one side, but I thought they’d cover with paint. NOT. After the first coat I ended up filling the knots with wood putty. After 3 coats on bottom side and 4 coats on top side the shelves looked great, but lesson learned to buy quality plywood if I’m asked to make anymore.

The cover photo is a view from their balcony. I was in high school the last time I went downtown for the Labor Day fireworks. I was my mother’s number two when she was invited to her colleague’s Lytle One apartment for a fireworks party. I said then I’d never get in that crowd again, a private balcony party is the only way to go. Well I’ve already been penciled in, so now finger’s crossed that Covid-19 will be at bay enough to let the show go on.

Cassandra’s Bench

May be an image of turnoverI met Cassandra in 2019 at a client’s conference. She is a Black Studies professor at UC and as it turns out lives near me. She is also the owner of Sugar Tin Pies (her hand pies featured on a SGwS charcuterie board), the most delicious pies I’ve had. Covid reared its ugly head the very week of that same client’s 2020 conference. I was attending again, but decided about two weeks prior to drive versus fly to Atlanta. I reached out to Cassandra to see if she’d like to share the drive and she did. We had 16 hours roundtrip to fill the air and of course I talked about my house and DIY skills, which led to her asking – Do you think you can build a window bench??? I replied, Maybe???

I told her I couldn’t get to it until I finished my house and a couple of build projects I was working on (i.e. my dining table, desk, headboard, and beverage station). She was not in a hurry. I had everything but the beverage station complete, but when my headboard design changed and I used all my bead board for the foot and side rails that project was nixed. I had already bought and cut the plywood for that project, so I gave Cassandra a call and told her I could start her project and that I might already have most of the wood needed if the size worked out. I went to her house and took some measurements and sketched out my thoughts. With plan in my mind’s eye I went to work.

My design idea was to create two boxes, which would keep the area between her heat register and wall outlet free from blockage. The top would be cut in three sections that would be hinged for lids that would open for storage. The box to the right would be wider than the one on left, so I decided to put a divider in the center of it, just to make sure the lid wouldn’t sag over time. I would also add a support piece to the opening area, so that top would also not sag. First step was taking all my plywood boards to the Manufactory to rip them down to the right lengths and width. I need to either invest in a real table saw with outfeed table or figure out how to build one and attached to my work site table saw. I can’t cut long pieces at home, safely. Even though I have the Kreg jig system at home I used theirs to drill all my pocket holes. I’ve never used a dado blade on a table saw, so I decided to use it to create the channel that the divider would set in. With everything cut and drilled I did a dry fit, everything fit, so I went home for the final assembly. Once the boxes were complete I topped the exposed edges with 3/4″ pine trim.

With the boxes built I turned my attention to the lid, which I decided to make out of 5/4 x 8 x 10′ Select Pine Board I had Cassandra order from Menards and I picked up since it was near the Manufactory. I wanted solid wood for the top and wanted it thicker than the 3/4″ plywood I used for the boxes. It would mean I would need to join 3 boards together in order to get the needed width of 21″. I used the Manufactory’s joiner on the edges, but returned home for the glue up. I have added to my arsenal of tools a Makita Plate Joiner purchased at Rockler. The drive to Manufactory for quick jobs is getting old, although if I had glued it there I could have done the full 10′ at one time. I didn’t have enough clamps for that, so I cut enough for the small box and glued them and then glued up the remaining.

I am in a couple Facebook groups for HGTV shows I watch and another member posted a dresser she painted with Valspar Cabinet Enamel Semi-Gloss Enamel Interior Paint found at Lowes. Her project looked good, so I told Cassandra to buy that, thinking it would save money. I intentionally did not include a link to the product as I thought it painted on thin and the price difference between that and Sherwin Williams’ All Surface Enamel Oil Base, when on sale at 30% off, was only a few dollars more. I treated the Valspar as the primer and used Sherwin Williams for the final coats, 3 on the boxes and lid bottoms and 4 on the lid tops.

20210117_134714After applying the Valspar to the first side of the box panels I noticed that it really absorbed into the plywood, which was a mix of Birch I bought for my project and Pine left over from Funmi’s project. It was rough and the cracks in the grain was very evident. Luckily I painted the side I had planned to be inside of the box, so I hoped the layers of actual paint would make the surface smooth. Not wanting to take that risk on the outside I sanded the opposite side with 120 and 240 grit paper. Remarkable difference in smoothness and it showed once I applied paint.  Hugh and needed difference.

Before starting with the Sherwin William’s paint I attached 1×4, ripped down to 3 inches, primed pine trim pieces to the face of the boxes to tie-in to the trim around her windows. Since I had the small lid done I decided to take the small box and lid to Cassandra’s for a semi rough fit. Height was perfect, but upon seeing it she asked if the edges could be rounded as to not be so sharp. She lives in a cute 1920s bungalow so she no longer had sharp edges and didn’t want the contrast. It would have been easy to make that happen prior to attaching the trim by running the boards through the router table, which I’ve grown very comfortable using. This would have to be done controlling the router with my hands, I was nervous, and not sure it could be done.

I’ve joined the Cincinnati Woodworking Club and have gotten to know one of the members, Gene Wiggs, who actually came with his wife to tour my house after reading about it and also extended an invite from me to tour their home and his fabulous woodshop. I sent him pics of what I needed to do and he assured me it could be done with my router so I went for it. Fear of using my router free hand is gone. I gave Cassandra a choice of a 5/16″ or 1/2″ round over and also showed her my plans for the top’s edge; a 1/2″ round-over with a drop. She selected 5/16″.

With the edges complete I turned my attention to the lid once again. I bought Flat Tipped Butt Hinges w/Removable Pin, 2-1/2″ L x 2″ W, in Nickel from Rockler. When I was hanging the final door for my office I purchased a hinge jig. I pulled it out for this project and it worked like a charm. I used my clamp guide to cut off the excess length with my circular saw. When I first started using a circular saw I couldn’t cut straight to save my life. I never used a straight edge as a guide, duh! With the lid cut to size I used the 5/16″ round over bit along the edge of the underside and the 1/2″ round over set to step down depth on top. I cleaned out the can of Valspar to prime the lid before starting the final coats of paint.

I started the final painting during the snow and cold days Cincinnati was experiencing. My basement didn’t get warmer than 60 degrees, so each coat needed a full 24-hours to dry. I used a 6″ foam roller to apply the paint. Oil-based paint stinks, but after 2 coats they were pretty, the third made them absolutely beautiful. Since it was so cold I had Cassandra help me transport the pieces to her house so they could cure in a warmer space. I gave it about a week.