8.21.2014

Working on "OLD" Together

Three sisters age 92, 94 and 96 live in a house together.
One night the 96 year old draws a bath, puts her foot in and pauses.
She yells down the stairs, "Was I getting in or out of the bath?"
The 94 year old yells back, "I don't know, I'll come up and see."
She starts up the stairs and pauses, then she yells,
"Was I going up the stairs or coming down?"
The 92 year old was sitting at the kitchen table having tea
listening to her sisters. She shakes her head and says,
"I sure hope I never get that forgetful." She knocks
on wood for good measure. She then yells,
"I'll come up and help both of you as soon as I see
who's at the door."

8.19.2014

Tuesday Tips & Tricks

Need a place to put your kid?
Make a hammock with a blanket tied around a table.

Fast and Easy Way to Cut a Watermlon

8.15.2014

Removing Paint-covered Hinges

Norm Abram's Best Trick of the Trade

Q: We're planning to refinish the original cabinets in our 1930s kitchen, but the hinges are buried under layers and layers of paint. How do we remove the hinges without damaging them or the surrounding wood?

A: In order to take off the hinges, you'll have to back out the old straight-slot screws that hold them in place. That requires clearing the screws' paint-clogged slots. Given the age of your house, there are probably layers of lead paint on the hinges, so before you start, put on a respirator and lay down a wide piece of plastic sheeting under the work area to catch any paint chips.

8.14.2014

Removing a Section of Baseboard

Norm Abram's Best Tricks of the Trade III 
Q: I need to remove a section of baseboard to install a cabinet in my kitchen. Can I do that without prying off the entire board?

A: Sure, that's very doable. The key is to make a perfectly plumb cut so that the cabinet's side will butt tightly against the baseboard. All you need is a level, a handsaw, a sharp chisel or a utility knife, a nailset, and a hammer or a screwdriver.

Step 1: Use the level to mark a plumb line on the baseboard (a square is unreliable because you can never assume the floor is level). If there are any nails in the baseboard where the cut will be made, drive them all the way through with a nailset.

Nail or screw a 14 scrap block along the line on the side of the baseboard that will remain. This block serves as a guide to prevent the saw blade from wandering and to help you achieve a clean, straight cut. Tape a thin piece of cardboard to the floor to protect it from being hit by the saw.

Step 2:
Place the blade of a fine-tooth handsaw against the scrap and start the cut, going straight up and down. Once you get a kerf started, turn the blade very slightly so that the cut angles behind the block. This "back cut" helps you get a tight fit with the cabinet. As the saw sinks into the wood, tip it forward so that you don't gouge the wall. The kerf won't go all the way to the floor, so finish the cut with a chisel or a utility knife. Pry off the baseboard on the waste side of the cut, then remove the guide block and fill the holes left by the fasteners. Now the fun begins: installing your cabinet.



8.13.2014

Making Room for Outlets in Drywall

Norm Abram's Best Tricks of the Trade III 
Q: How do I cut the holes in drywall to fit around outlet boxes when the receptacles are already in?

A: Typically, drywall goes up after the boxes go in but before switches and receptacles get installed. But because your receptacles are already in place, the tricks I'd normally suggest for locating drywall cuts—like using lipstick to outline the box—won't work. You shouldn't have to remove them, though, if you follow these steps. Just be sure to cut the power before you start working.
Step 1: Start by hanging the first sheets at the top of the wall. Place a level against one side of the box, overlapping the bottom edge of the drywall. Plumb the level and mark the drywall on the side that's against the box, as shown. Do the same for the opposite side of the box.


 Step 2: Measure from the top and bottom of the receptacle to the bottom edge of the drywall. Pencil those dimensions on the upper sheet for the next step. Now prop the bottom sheet of drywall in position against the studs and under the bottom edge of the first sheet.

Step 3: Measure down from the joint and mark the location of both horizontal cuts. Then use your level as shown to mark the side cuts. Pull the drywall away so that you can safely cut out the hole with a keyhole saw. When you put the sheet back against the studs, the outlet box should slip neatly through the hole.





8.12.2014

Removing Tricky Hinge Screws

Norm Abram's Best Tricks of the Trade III 
Q: I'd like to remove a door, but three of the hinge screws simply spin in place when I try to unscrew them. Is there a trick to getting them out?

A: First, remove any screw that will come out the usual way. Then gently pry or pull on the hinge leaf to pull out the stripped screws a bit. Now when you push the hinge back into place, the heads of those stripped screws will stand out just enough for you to grab them with a pair of pliers, as shown. Pull each one out with a firm tug.

If the screws are still in good condition, with intact threads, remove any debris with a wire brush and reuse them.

If you plan to remount the door, you'll need to fill the stripped screw holes first. Whittle some small pieces of wood, put a dab of yellow carpenter's glue in the hole, and pack it full with the wood pieces. After the glue dries, trim off the excess bits of wood and you'll have solid material for the screw threads to bite into.

8.11.2014

Cutting Molding on a Miter Saw

Norm Abram's Best Tricks of the Trade III 
Q: When I cut molding returns on my miter saw, the blade usually sends the return piece flying and ruins it. Is there a way to avoid this without losing my fingers?

A: The safest way to keep those little rascals under control is with a plywood backer that closes up the gap in the fence.

Start with a strip of ¾-inch plywood long enough to cover the entire fence. Secure it with washers and pan-head screws at both ends of the fence. Then set the blade at 0 degrees and cut completely through the backer. This creates a kerf, a small gap the same thickness as the blade, which indicates exactly where to place the molding before you make your cut.

Then when you do, the backer prevents the return from flying through the gap. Just remember to remove both backer pieces before making angled cuts.

8.10.2014

Choir Notes


The Process of Life
From Music and the Spoken Word
Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell

When a young family moved into their first home, they decided to build a playhouse for the kids in the backyard. The parents and children threw their hearts into the project, carefully selecting the wood, the shingles, and all the supplies. Great pride and satisfaction swelled in their hearts as it took shape. When friends came to play, the children would proudly show them how the playhouse was coming along. And the first thing they said to Dad when he came home from work was, “When can we work on our playhouse?”

But when the playhouse was finished, the parents noticed that the children rarely played in it. They discovered “that having the house wasn’t really what motivated them. It was the building of it, and how they felt about their own contribution, that they found satisfying."1 Turns out it was the process that was important, not the finished product.

You’ve probably experienced this yourself. It’s a common phenomenon: A championship team rejoices when they raise the trophy, but they also cherish the smaller victories and defeats throughout the season. Parents feel proud on their son’s wedding day, but the memories that persist are of the smaller, simpler moments of his childhood. A college graduate is grateful for the diploma she receives, but what she’ll long remember are the long nights studying for finals, the professors who inspired her, and the excitement she felt every time she learned something new. It seems that getting there is indeed half the fun—and almost all of the memories.

So instead of waiting only for something to end, try to enjoy the moments along the way. Though there may be difficulties and wearisome effort, don’t be so eager for the destination that you miss the simple joys of the journey. Remember what the family learned from their playhouse—real growth and bonding and learning come in all of life’s ages and stages, not just at the end.

1 See Clayton Christensen and others, How Will You Measure Your Life? (2012), 37–38.

8.09.2014

Squat Development

8.08.2014

8.05.2014

Tuesday Tips & Tricks

Freeze a pacifier in an ice tray with water, juice, 
milk, or formula to sooth a teething baby's gums.

8.03.2014

Choir Notes


We All Need Love
From Music and the Spoken Word
Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell

We all know that food, water, and shelter are essential to sustain life. But there’s another basic need that is too often overlooked—the need to love and be loved. Gentle touches, soft words, sweet smiles, and adoring looks nurture our soul in a way that nothing else can. No matter how old or young, we all need love.

Recently, a man noticed that his once-energetic dog had become old and tired. The same dog who used to bound into his arms when he walked through the door now barely lifted an ear when she heard him coming. Where she once followed her master eagerly wherever he went, now she rested on her bed most of the day, every day. She didn’t even run to her food dish at mealtimes like she used to.

In fact, it seemed that the only time she had energy enough to lift her tired, achy body was when she saw her master petting the cat. When that happened, the dog would slowly rise from her bed, gently amble over, and press her body against the man’s leg until he petted her too. As soon as he did, she contentedly wagged her tail. The dog’s needs for food and exercise had diminished, but her need for love was as strong as ever. Even though she was old—perhaps especially because she was old—she still needed to be loved.

People are much the same. We never outgrow the need to be loved. A woman with a lot of experience caring for the elderly observed that often, older people who live alone do not have occasion to feel the warmth of a human touch. So the woman made it a point to hold their hands, hug them, or pat their backs when she was with them. She noticed how much they appreciated even these small acts of affection.

Don’t we all? And don’t we need, just as much, the emotional uplift that comes from expressing love? Loving others is the essence of living a good life. For “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God” (1 John 4:16).

8.02.2014

8.01.2014

Hello Celery

Celery is a strongly alkaline food that helps to counteract acidosis, purify the bloodstream, aid in digestion, prevent migraines, relax the nerves, reduce blood pressure, and clear up skin problems.

Celery contains compounds called coumarins which are known to enhance the activity of certain white blood cells and support the vascular system. Celery’s rich organic sodium content has the ability to dislodge calcium deposits from the joints and holds them in solution until they can be eliminated safely from the kidneys. 

Celery is a well known natural diuretic and has ample ability to flush toxins out of the body. 

Celery also has significant anti-inflammatory properties making it an essential food for those who suffer from auto-immune illnesses. It also contains significant amounts of calcium and silicon which can aid in the repair of damaged ligaments and bones. 

Celery is rich in vitamin A, magnesium, and iron which all help to nourish the blood and aid those suffering from rheumatism, high blood pressure, arthritis, and anemia.

Christmas Countdown