Home Made Headboard

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As  I mentioned earlier today, one of my skills to improve this year is wood working.  However, earlier this year we had a dilemma, and I think the solution turned out great, so I wanted to share it with you.  I have a great low cost way to get some extra furniture into your house.

My wife’s family comes out every year to visit us form Pittsburgh (our original home).  Well every year up until this point, they have had to sleep on an air mattress.  Well this year, thanks to my wife working at a mattress store for a few months, we actually have a bed for them.

Quick side not, beds are high margin items, and employees get great discounts.  If you need extra cash, and a new bed, consider a part time job at one.  Get your cash, get some discounted mattresses, and move on.  Just a budget stretching side note.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a headboard to go along with that bed.  Now we could have just left it, no one would have cared or said anything of course, but I was feeling like I really wanted to make something.  I discovered earlier in the summer that I liked working with wood when I built my chicken coop.  So I decided to build one.

Now money was tight, and I don’t have a table saw.  So ripping a big piece of plywood was completely out of the question.  So whats big, mostly flat, and looks great once its got a coat of pain on it?  Why pallets of course.  I made a headboard out of two pallets, and you can too.

Two pallets, 4 2X4 and a 4X4.

Two pallets, 4 2X4 and a 4X4.

The design is blindingly simple once you think it through.  First, you scavenge two pallets and paint them.  They are much easier to paint when they are still on their own.  Then you attach the pallets to each other so they form one long solid piece.  Thats the majority of your headboard already, and if your bed isn’t on a frame, you could use as is.  We just wanted to go a little nicer.  So  I Framed in the pallets with two by fours.  I started with the top, since I wanted to cut it long enough for an overhang on each side.  Then you cut the legs on each side, just cut them long enough to run from your top beam to the floor, and make it however tall you want.  Lastly, you run a last piece on the bottom, mainly for symmetry.  Then I went ahead and cut two little chunks of 4X4 just to offer some extra bracing on the bottom.  Total cost, about $20 and an hour of wood working.  Paint was cheap, but took a couple hours to dry.  Here is our finished product.

finished headboard

You literally can’t mess this project up, so go make something today.


Growing your skills

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Its now officially three days into the new year, have you worked on any of your resolutions yet?  I am guessing that most people probably haven’t.  Its so easy to sit down on a piece of paper at the beginning of the year and say you want to lose ten pounds, or get that big promotion, or look at rainbows more.  As I mentioned the other day, it’s only going to change if you put some action into them.  I personally set some ambitious goals for myself this year, and I found a great site to keep me motivated to achieve them, and I wanted to share so that you can start growing too.

Because everything is better with peeps, also they grow.

Because everything is better with peeps, also they grow.

How many of us grew up with a father or a grandfather that seemed able to fix anything with a hammer and some caulk?  I remember once my grandfather’s clock in his truck quit working, so be framed in an alarm clock on the dashboard.  Hilarious, and effective, I bet that truck was always on time.  How about a mom or a grandmother who could simultaneously can food for winter, embroider a beautiful piece of art, and make homemade soap?  Do you feel like any of that rubbed off on you?  I sure didn’t.  I would sit in my house hoping that the light switches never break because I was terrified of replacing one.  A saw was a foreign object meant only for removing fingers and a hammer was good only for breaking things.

While I am no longer completely terrified of wood working and home maintenance, I still feel my biggest area of improvement is in my skills.  I personally feel like my generation no longer knows how to do anything.  If something breaks, or we want something new, we call a guy.  We are afraid to even try to fix it ourselves.  In a homesteading situation, that can be both dangerous and very costly.  What if before calling a guy, we simply took a half hour to see if we could fix it?  Hell, with Youtube you can probably find a video showing you how to do it.  Which, by the way, is exactly how I hung the screen door on my back porch.

Thirteen Skils Badge

Thus I invite you to join the 13skills challenge.  At a basic level, the site is a way to set goals for yourself in different skills, and allow you to mark them off as completed.  There is even social media integration so you can share your successes with your friends.  Although this site is hosted by the Survival Podcast, its geared towards everyone.  Skills run the gamut from the classic “Firearms” and “Permaculture” through “Second Language”, “Social Media”, and “Entrepreneurship”.  There is literally something there for everyone.

In addition to being a great tool for self accountability, there is another component to this.  You are instantly inside a community of 4,000 people and growing who are all either learning or teaching skills.  Do you know how to woodwork, teach someone else on the site.  Do you want to know how to fix a sink, I bet you can find someone to teach you.  What a great way to help keep these skills flourishing, than to pass them directly to a new mold-able mind.

I personally am very excited about growing as both a person, and a homesteader this year.  You can check out my profile directly here.  I am absurdly proud to be member 346 out of 4079 so far.  Below are the goals that I have set for myself in the coming year.  I look forward to working on myself, and I would love it for you to walk with me as well.

Butchering — Planned

To humanely kill and butcher a chicken in such a way that the animal dies quickly, and the meat is edible. I have killed two chickens before, one which I ate, but had help from the wife, and another that I ruined on my own.

Container/Portable Gardening — Planned

To successfully grow at least three types of kitchen or medicinal herbs indoors.

Meditation — Planned

To be able to meditate for at least 10 minutes a day, preferably in the morning, to allow for a calmer existence.

Pickling — Planned

I would like to create at least three different styles of lacto fermented food this year, one of which just has to be sauerkraut.

Hunting — Planned

Neither my wife or I have ever been hunting before, and this year once we move to Idaho, we would like to go. We will take someone along who hunts to teach us.

Permaculture Design — Planned

I would like to attend at least one permaculture class or workshop.

Get Out Of Debt — Planned

Pay off our car and AMEX card to free us up to start saving for some land.

Making Salves and Balms — Planned

I would like to make at least one skin salve that actually feels like it solves a problem. Bonus points if it comes from herbs I grew myself.

Fitness — Planned

I would like to continue my paleo fitness journey, and achieve and maintain a weight of 210lbs.

Wood Working — Planned

I want to build for my wife the table and chairs she saw at Crate and Barrel. They look like they are just made from 2X4s, but they cost $4,000. I can make those.

Writing — Planned

I would like to continue the blog I have started, and success will be defined as either making $1 from something I wrote, or writing a minimum of 5 posts a week.

Fishing — Planned

I have never been fishing on my own in my life. I would like to take my lovely wife fishing with me at least once in Idaho.

Real Estate — Planned

I will successfully execute a short sale on our Arizona house by April 1, freeing us to continue to Idaho.