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April 1, 2012 / aaronmarkson

Rain Barrels

Since it’s been nice out, we’ve turned our attention to a few outdoor projects we’d like to complete this summer.  I made a 3 barrel rain collection system to use to water what will be our vegetable gardens.  I made a video rather than taking pictures.  It was a simple and cheap project.  check it out.

March 24, 2012 / aaronmarkson

Pedalboard: Making Music

Most of my posts have been about our house, but I thought I’d share about another side of me…making music.  I play electric guitar in a band called Farewell Milwaukee, and have some “tools” that I use. Along with my guitars and my amp, I use some effects pedals to get the specific tones I want at different times.  I had made an awesome pedalboard out of an old suitcase that has served me well for a few years, but due to increased traveling, it has taken quite a beating, so I recently bought a heavy-duty travel worthy case with some birthday money, and built a new pedalboard to fit.  This is the band playing at First Avenue in Minneapolis:

The new pedalboard is pretty simple.  I used some maple that I had…measured & cut it. I put it together with some pocket holes/screws and wood glue.  I stained it with some leftover stain I had, and then cut a piece of plywood to fit, covered it with some automotive carpet so that velcro will stick to it. (the velcro is on the bottom of the pedals) I used small “L” brackets to attach the top to the frame. I mounted my power supply underneath with some brackets I made out of some aluminum, and run it to a jack on the side. this allows me to just plug in an extension cord, and the whole board is powered up.  All in all, I am happy with it. Hopefully it is more sturdy than the suitcase board.

March 12, 2012 / aaronmarkson

Wall Art

My wife has become an avid user of Pinterest and has found lots of ideas for things to do around the house.  She even has a section titled “things maybe my husband will make me”.  Some of these things will never actually be accomplished due to the time/cost/practicality involved, but some are projects that are very do-able.  This is one of those.  I can’t take credit for the creativity of this idea because someone else came up with it, but I am fairly satisfied with my version of it. Check it out:


It is a fairly simple project. Take some plywood…cut out some rectangles…draw out some silverware…cut them out with a jig saw…stain…seal…and hang.  We’ve been living in this house for 9 months now, and still hardly have anything on the walls, so it feels nice to have some decorations up.

March 5, 2012 / aaronmarkson

Attic Remodel: Framing 3

Well, I took some time off from working on the attic. We went out west to see friends and ski a few days, and then I got a cold, and then I just got lazy…. Today, I had the day off and enough motivation to get off my butt and do some more work on the future master suite. I am almost done with the framing. All the new walls are up, but I still have some 2×2’s to put in the closet to allow for more insulation. I also have to figure out where I want access to the space behind the knee walls and frame that accordingly. I am also going to put some built-in storage in the bathroom. I also ran a hot and cold water line up to the bathroom that I will tie into later when doing the plumbing work. Here’s what it’s looking like now.

February 16, 2012 / aaronmarkson

Attic Remodel: Framing 2

I haven’t done much visible work lately. I have been busy with the band and other work.  I was able to frame up one of the walls for the bathroom, which proved to be a little tricky due to the top of the wall meeting up with the roof half way between where the angled rafters meet the collar ties.  This wall being up served to remind me of how narrow the bathroom feels because of the angled rafters taking up a lot of head room one side of it.  I knew this going into the project because the previous bathroom was in this same location. We did make it longer, so it will be bigger, but we’ll have to be careful about the depth of the vanity and other things in order to keep it as open as possible.  I also routed new pex supply lines up from the basement to the new bathroom in the attic.  No new pictures, but I hope to do some more work on Saturday, and then I’ll share updated pictures.

February 10, 2012 / aaronmarkson

Attic Remodel: Framing

My layout has been given the “thumbs up”. The next step in the project is to start framing walls, update the collar ties, fur the rafters down for more insulation, and get everything ready for plumbing and electrical work.  It’s one of those steps that many people may not find that exciting, but is quite exciting for me.  The room really starts to take shape and it becomes easier to envision the final results.  I still have a more framing to do, but I started by framing the wall that separates what will be the walk in closet from the rest of the space. The Closet will be in the dormer off the front of the house.  It’s a decent size space, but pretty short and angled, so we felt it would be best used as a closet.  I also started putting 2×2’s on the rafters in order to make more room for insulation.  While this will cut a little into the overall space, It will be worth it to have a properly insulated space that stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  I am also moving the collar ties up 6″ to make the ceiling height 8′ in the main area.  This is making a huge difference in the overall feel of the room.  I still have 5 more collar ties to install, a bunch of 2×2’s to install in the “closet” as well as frame up the walls for the bathroom.  Here’s what it’s looking like now:

February 6, 2012 / aaronmarkson

Attic Remodel: Demo

I’ve been ripping stuff out of the attic for a little while now as I have had time.  I’ve made mess after mess and filled what seems like countless trash bins and bags with debris.  Just when I think I am done with one mess and am cleaned up, it’s time to make another one.  All the sagging textured drywall is down, the wood paneling is off, the faux tile wall in the bathroom is gone, carpeted bathroom is history, and just bout everything else.  I was originally planning on keeping the existing insulation if it was in good condition.  Well, so much for that.  Not only did a bunch of it fall out when doing the rest of the demo, but it was crumbling and falling apart, and I imagine not doing the best job at insulating.  So I think I am going to replace it.  This will also make a mess…but will  make it easier to do electrical work and the end result will be a much better insulated space.  Here are some pics of the space: