Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Entertainment Unit coming along...

We chose Birch ply for the large expanses of shelf to cut down on unwanted sound vibrations.  Birch has a beautiful, subtle grain that stains very nicely to match the Cherry.

Notches for the back panels of the lower shelves.

All the Cherry facing and verticals cut and sanded.

Facing the shelves with Cherry.  Glued and nailed.  Building this with the Gibbs' grandson in mind - you know he'll be climbing it like a ladder some day.  

Four out of 7 shelves completed.  Assembly of the unit should start on Saturday.  I'll be gone to WI with Ana while Chad finishes it.  So, I guess we'll just have to make a family visit again once I get back.  Besides, it will be cool to see the entertainment unit with the TV, books, and such all moved in.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


For anyone just joining us, AiramanaHeirlooms is brand new.  Well, only the name is new.  I've been designing things as long as I can remember.  Chad has been building things as long as he can remember.  We've been combining the two as long as we've been together.  But this is the first time we have committed ourselves to starting a woodworking business.

This past week has been big for us.  We had our first commission as AiramanaHeirlooms to build an entertainment unit for the Gibbs.  As they are good friends of ours, we brought Anamaria along for a visit.

This corner is getting an upgrade
So, Chad went about taking some measurements.

I scribbled some notes.
Ana just scribbled.
When we got home and got Ana into bed, we pulled out some graph paper and started getting more specific.  It has been a loooooooong time since I've done any drafting.  

The first, last, and only instruction I ever had was a couple glorious weeks in 7th grade Tech Ed.  I really enjoyed that class, which was a complete surprise since I don't think I had even used an orbital sander before that.  The drafting and design appealed to my need for order.  I was a very disorganized kid.  Life gets messy.  Oh, but on that half sheet of paper, ruler, pencil, straight edge, everything lined up in place, perfectly.  Every time.  It was very relaxing and centering for me.  BUT, I seem to have forgotten more than I ever learned.

Gibbs' Entertainment Unit
Fortunately, today, on Twitter, on #woodchat, to be specific, Google's SketchUp came up, and I got hooked up with a sweet tutorial.  This made all the difference.  There is so much that can be done, and in trying to keep things looking simple and user-friendly, there is a lot you simply need to know.  Today, I was so grateful for some of the folks I've met on Twitter.  Within half an hour of posting a question, I had just the answer I needed.  So, I watched a couple of the tutorials a few times and jumped right in.  This is SO COOL!  You can swing everything around and look at it from any angle.  It was also kind of cool because it was almost like I was theoretically building it.  So I was able to problem-solve some angles and measurements on my own and have a much better 3D understanding of what Chad would be doing out at the shop.

Finally, this week, we printed off some business cards.  Because... People are asking us for them!  And we are finally ready to do this as we are settling in with all the online social networking spots we are going to be doing for now.  So, here's the front and back of it.

I designed these myself - including the plaid.  The QR Code is from Matt at  

Oh, and I sold another Black Walnut Pendant!  So, that's pretty awesome.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Doing Things Together

I have this theory that everything is more fun, or at the very least more tolerable, when you do it together.
Anamaria and I doing dishes
I think back to my childhood, I was going into 1st or 2nd grade.  We lived in rural Minnesota.  Nice little neighborhood surrounded by farm fields.  A short, frayed string of cul-de-sacs and dead-ends.  Very few folks around there had paved driveways.  It really didn't matter though, because back then, back there, we all just played in the road.  Our driveway was wood chipped, and it was my big summer project chore to pull the weeds from it.  Most of the driveway wasn't too bad because it was driven over.  But the section back by the garage was a jungle.  I remember being overwhelmed.  There were Just So Many.  And how picky was I expected to be?  I mean, there were tiny little bean-sprout looking things almost like carpet.  Not to mention the gigantaur weeds that I had to get my big brother's help to pull.  And bugs.  And heat.  And knowing you don't get to do anything fun until you are done.  Which took forever.  By the time I had one section done, I'd turn around and new little sprouts were popping up.  REALLY!?!?!  It didn't help that my dad could be a super-stickler, depending on his mood.  Easy to do when you aren't the one pulling weeds, alternating between a tweezer and a jackhammer.

The Project
So, I am making it a goal of mine to do household tasks along with my daughter.  Not Always Easy.  In fact, generally it takes more time and makes a bigger mess.  Oh, and add to that my toddler has the attention span of a fruit fly.  She's done + but I'm not + she needs me to be + but I'm up to my elbows in whatever it is = great moments gone frustratingly sour.   Still, I am determined that this is something that is important.  I don't know.  I haven't read any books about that specifically.  I just remember the Wood Chip Driveway.

Carefully pouring in the tomatoes and chilis
My logic is that when you are little, you are learning a work ethic.  Chad has a great work ethic.  Me, not so much.  But I'm learning in order to teach my daughter because life is so much more attainable if you have a good work ethic.  Also, when you are little, you are learning to take pride in what you do.  Little ones are so proud of themselves, from repeating syllables, to putting her own dirty diapers where they go (that is a very important responsibility to her that she takes very seriously).  So, I figure, now is the time.  Also, when you are little, everything else is so big.  Maybe today, if I went back to that driveway, I could have it done by lunch.  Chad helps me with this all the time.  I still get so overwhelmed when dishes or laundry get out of hand.  He just starts at one end and keeps going until it's done, like it's not even a big deal.  So, often I'm channeling my "Inner Chad" as I pick up the destroyed living room at the end of the day.  But to me, an often unacknowledged aspect is the prioritizing of things.  How is a kid supposed to know how picky to be?  Not picky enough and you get scolded and have to do it over again.  Too picky and you waste your life on unimportant details.  And last, there are those moments where grownups can forget what it's like to be doing whatever that chore is.  There is honor and respect in sharing the burden.  That is good leadership, plain and simple.

Shaking out every last one!
Oh, and as an obvious bonus, the time spent working together is often grounds for some of the most profound conversations a parent will ever have with their child.

Mixing/eating the tomatoes and chilis (she loved it!)
This is why on Facebook you'll see pictures of Anamaria with us out at the shop.  Or rearranging Daddy's tools on the workbench, or even hauling a rake around the yard last fall.  Participating in things together is a big part of our family.

Delicious success!!!