Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Barrel of Fun Project!

I owe this barrel of fun project to my cousin, Amber. She posted a photo of a wine barrel porch light and I fell in love with it. I couldn't stop thinking about. However, wine barrels can cost between $110 - $250 a piece. That's a little out of my price range. So, I kept looking and finally got a fantastic deal at my favorite antique store for this barrel. It is a little smaller, was missing a ring and of course you can see one of the ends is missing.

I found a place in Salt Lake City that sold barrel rings individually. They couldn't match the width of the ring already on the barrel, so I bought two wider rings that matched. They were under $5.00 a piece. The first thing I did was sand the barrel to accept the finish.

Next came coming up with a design. I have punched enough tin that I knew how difficult this project could be. I kept the pattern simple. I didn't want a pattern that would be seasonal, like the snowflake pattern on the photo Amber had posted. I came up with this design.

I enlarged it to the size I needed for each section and photocopied the design.
I decided on the spacing between the patterns. Don't panic if it doesn't turn out exactly perfect. The spacing on the last pattern is 1-1/2 inches between instead of the one inch on the rest. It's hardly noticeable. Just make sure you start at where you intend the back to be. If you don't end up with a full pattern, try repositioning. I just taped the pages (8-1/2 x 11 inches) right to the barrel with scotch tape.

It is extremely important to have the right drill bits for this project. I used brad-point wood drill bits; a 15/64 for the smaller holes and a 3/8 for the larger holes. Just center the point of the drill bit right in the middle of the hole on the paper pattern. Make sure your holes aren't going to be too close.
Drill directly through the paper pattern. Don't worry if the paper hole tears bigger than the drill bit size. It will look fine underneath on the wood.

Here is the very first completed pattern.

What was so awesome about this project was my enthusiasm was contagious. My youngest son wanted to dive in and help. He had inherited his uncle Randy's drill and was just itching to give it a try. After he gave it a go and liked doing it, we headed to our local Harbor Freight store and bought a second set of drill bits ($14) so we could both be drilling at the same time. We had lots of fun, and he was so proud to use his uncle's tools.
I used my dad's old drill, wondering if it was the same drill he used when he installed our swap cooler and drilled through his index finger.  Oh, the memories! 

And, of course, I couldn't have done this project without my husband. While we were drilling, he built the platform and light stand to go inside. I don't think I even asked him. He loves lighting. He treasures his antique lightbulb collection, and when we go to the hardware store, he always gets detained on the lighting aisle.

He used LED bulbs to make it more energy efficient and to keep it cooler.

So, here is the completely punched barrel with a test run on the lights. We blew out the holes with an air compressor. Each pattern took about 10 minutes to drill. We did it in an afternoon.

Next came the finish. I used Watco Golden Oak danish oil. This old wood was very dry. It took several coats. I finished the barrel with two coats of Minwax Tung oil. These are my favorite products on all wood projects. We turned it upside down and used the bottom for the top.

I just love it! And, what made it special was we worked on it together. Whatever you do, have fun doing it!

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs! 
Fly into a good book at: 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

That Didn't Hurt!

As I am battling severe pain from an enlarged liver that is twice the size it should be, I am reminded of the following time I had a liver biopsy and the doctor's words to me. Let's just say there's good doctors and there is incompetent doctors and just leave it at that.
A number of years ago, a friend who had Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction like I do suggested I have a liver biopsy because his liver had been severely attacked by the illness.

I decided to schedule the test since I had been having pain in that area. The surgical nurse described the procedure, explained the liver has no feeling and therefore they would only be using a local anesthetic. She showed me the instrument used to take out a small core of the liver. It was similar to an apple corer, but only 2-3 cm in diameter and much longer.

I laid on the cold surgical table, anxious but not too concerned. After all, it was a procedure, not surgery.

“Are we ready?” the doctor asked.

The nurse nodded and handed him the tool. He raised it in his fist and plunged it hard into my chest just below the breast bone. With a quick intake of breath, my eyes flew open and so did my mouth. I couldn’t speak. My body stiffened, and I clutched the sheet in both hands at my sides. Choking out a sob, I stared at the doctor.

For a moment, I was transformed to a dark alley with a mugger thrusting a knife into my chest. So this is what it is like to be stabbed. Blood must be gushing from the wound. Pain radiated from my chest outward. The violence of the stabbing left me paralyzed.

“You…you…stabbed me,” I said, letting out a strained whimper.

“Doctor, she’s gone into shock,” the nurse stated.

Ya think? My heart hammered uncontrollably in my chest. I felt about to fall off the table with dizziness. I couldn’t catch my breath. Of course, I knew I wasn’t in that alley, and I couldn’t see any blood pouring from my body. But, the shock of the doctor thrusting that instrument into my chest, threw me into shock, not to mention, agony. Who said organs have no pain sensors?

The doctor looked at me in confusion. “That didn’t hurt.”

I wanted to belt him right in the mouth. “Yes, it did.”

“The liver has no nervous system.”

“Give me a knife and I’ll prove it to you,” I said through clenched teeth.

I don’t remember much of what happened after that. I’m assuming the nurse gave me something through my I.V. to calm me down. To this day, you’ll never convince me that organs can’t feel pain…joy…or any other emotion. If you’ve lived long at all, you know the heart can definitely feel pain. Believe me, so can your other organs.

Symptoms, then, are in reality nothing but the cry from suffering organs.
 ~Jean-Martin Charcot, translated from French

No man is a good doctor who has never been sick himself.
 ~Chinese Proverb

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
Fly into a good book at:

Copyright of dog photo: absolutimages / 123RF Stock Photo