Guest Blogger: Getting Things Done in March

Keith here. Late again. Finding the time to accomplish tasks one has put off for so long (due to lack of time) is proving as difficult as one (other than myself) might have suspected. Still, I am proud to display here today some late tasks checked off my list for the past month of February. My main goal was to complete a mirror frame for our upstairs bathroom. The wife had found a couple tutorials on some home decor blogs she follows and, after a cursory glance, I decided to just wing it. The construction was fairly straightforward: purchase the framing material (in this case, three 8' 1 x 3s of select pine lumber from Home Depot), cut to length, join together into the frame shape, and adhere to the mirror.

The devil is in the details. I always measure everything multiple times. Not out of any fastidious carpentry rule, but merely because I have mild OCD and an overly anxious personality. I cut the ends of the lumber to 45 degrees with my miter saw, so they would fit together in the traditional frame shape we all know and love. The difficulty came in the joining. In the past, I would just have glued the frame together and let it set over night. But I tend to make a mess doing this and I wasn't in the mood to be patient, I wanted this task complete! So I went out and purchased a Kreg Jig. This little device allows me to drill holes in the wood from the back-end at such an angle that the screw goes through the two pieces of wood with ease, sealing the borders together without the need for glue. The workings of this device were complicated and required multiple passes through the instruction manual and several failed practice tests before I got it right. But now I had the frame assembled.

As always, I gave the structure a quick sanding down; I like all my edges smooth and rounded. I gave it a quick two-coated paint job (semi-gloss white) and hauled the bad boy upstairs for installation. The blogs we had read all sealed the piece to the mirror with silicone caulk. I decided this was fine for the bottom edge, but I wanted a little extra support than just a bit of caulk. So, during my measurements, I gave myself a little wiggle room at the top and on the right side (where we had extra wall space) to place a few screws. I used my countersink bit to inset the screws a bit which we will fill in later with wood putty and then paint over.

 The caulking didn't exactly go as planned. The wood was bowing out at the bottom and the caulk was taking forever to dry (which was giving Allie and I massive hand cramps from holding it in place). So we taped the whole thing up and, where the frame was bowing out, we placed a variety of heavy objects (dumbbells, textbooks) to keep everything where we wanted it. Then we left it all to dry overnight, and crossed our fingers the whole thing would stay in place.

There are still a few small things to do to have the project fully completed. I have a few hours ahead of me with a razor in hand, cleaning up the spill-over caulk, and as mentioned earlier, we need to address the screws. But all in all, the wife and I are pretty happy with the result, and with everything accomplished in a single day (more or less). I'll share some final photos in my next guest post. After getting the mirror frame up, I also decided to tackle a few other smaller tasks that have been on my list for a while. I hung a pull-up bar in our sunroom-turned-gym, as well as a few hooks for our jump-rope and stretch bands, and also hung a dry-erase board for our running schedule and cross-training tips. The home gym is slowly coming together.

As we're already half way through March, you'll probably be hearing from me again soon, hopefully on time this month with another accomplishment under my belt.