Getting Control: The Project List

Taking on a project the size and scope of “building a house” has some interesting side effects. There are the ones you would expect, like the persistent trail of sawdust you end up leaving wherever you go, and then there are some that are a bit more surprising.

What I’m struggling with right now is that some of my smaller accomplishments don’t feel nearly as satisfying as the bigger projects did. I mean, painting a wall is great… but creating a wall from scratch? Much more satisfying. So basically this house is exactly like that smart kid in school who ruined the grading curve for everyone, except I can’t retaliate by giving the house a wedgie.

Part of the reason behind my “Five at a Time” project rule was to create a little artificial motivation to finishing these smaller less-exiting (but no less important) projects. I also have high hopes that it will help me make better use of the scant 168 hours we’re allotted each week to get everything done.

Here’s how the current list is coming along:

  1. Finish labeling and filling my new spice jars and then pack them away until I have a kitchen to put them in. – DONE
  2. Draw 4 more tiny planets and finish up this frame. – DONE
  3. Prime and paint the kitchen. – DONE
  4. Poly and re-hang the doors to the master bath. – 2 Down, 2 To Go
  5. Finish Doors for master bath vanity.
  6. Finish tile around master bath tub and fireplace.
  7. Finish tile counter in mom’s bathroom.
  8. Finish chandelier makeover for friend’s closet. – DONE
  9. Hang door trim in bathrooms.
  10. Assemble the second PB inspired pinboard I cut all of the parts for.

For anyone who is counting that’s 5 (and a half) projects left, and technically I only need to finish 2 of them before I can start a new one. Vying for that spot are a couple of projects you might have heard me mention before….

Building a bed using plumbing parts.


This thing will end up being heavy enough that I’ll have to enlist Atlas for help whenever I end up moving, so my practical nature is warring with the fact that I really want to build this thing. My saving grace will be if one of these other projects sounds more compelling.

Building a new desk.


I’m actually in desperate need of a new work space, and I’ve been talking about building this thing for a while, but I haven’t nailed down the exact look of it yet and you never want to jump in with the tools until you at least have an idea of what you want it to look like. (There’s never a guarantee it will actually turn out that way, but it’s a good start.)

Telling the Memorial House story.

While limiting myself on the number of lumber-and-tools projects I have going on at any given time is good for space and sanity reasons, I give myself free reign when it comes to taking pictures and writing– which is great for creativity, but probably not so good when it comes to not looking like a zombie every day.

Aside from writing content for this website,, and The Family Handyman, at any given time I’ve got at least two or three other creative writing projects going on in the background. Several months ago I started writing the story of building this house… not for an actual book or anything as fancy as that, but so that as things change and I move on to other projects the story of what we’ve done here doesn’t get lost.

So I didn’t break my rule and start a new project, but I did let myself put together a couple of “page” mockups so it could inform how I write the story.

7 Responses

  1. I do a book on Blurb every year for Chris’ Christmas present. It’s super easy and usually takes me about 10 hours. I put together a TON of pics and narrate the whole thing with my blog posts or bits from Chris’ website. They’ve been about 160 pages each year and they are SO MUCH FUN to look back on, even only 2 years later. I can’t wait for 30 years later. Craaaaaaazy.

    1. Yes I love blurb! the screenshot you see above is actually using their plugin for Adobe InDesign so you can publish right from there!

  2. I agree Blurb books are the way to go! You have seen my old art blog right? Lots of blurb layout ideas and pictures of my wedding and honeymoon albums for page layout ideas. The HM album would probably be the closest to what you’re doing since it has a lot of text also. It turned out to be a massive book. I’ve actually done about 5 photo books including ones for family and friends through professional and non-professional printers.

    Hope that gives you some layout ideas!

    1. These are great Robin, thanks! I love your wedding album… it looks huge! lol I’m actually using the Blurb plugin for InDesign (so glad they finally made one of those). So far it’s working good, but I need to brush up on my ID skills.

      1. LOL it was huge! I went a little overboard with that one. I didn’t realize that the pages would be so thick (like thin cardboard with laminated pics on either side) so when it came it was the size of a dictionary. The HM album actually has over twice as many pages…200 something…but I didn’t put very many of them on Flickr. It was a two week trip so we had a lot of stories and photos between our two cameras.

  3. Priming and painting the kitchen is a small accomplishment? I guess it’s all relative, what’s big and what’s small. I thought I had a “little” job cleaning the old birds nests out of the eaves yesterday, and it ended up taking all day. Then I had to catch my boy cat and give him a bath because he got in there when I was halfway through and came out filthy. Still haven’t corralled his sister– she sneaked in, too.

    Off topic– Kit, what’s the serial number for your favorite drill? I’ve Googled “Makita 18v Compact Li-ion Cordless Driver,” but several different models come up. My Black & Decker cordless has gone to that great toolshed in the sky, so I’m looking around.

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I'm not interested in a mediocre life. I'm here to kick ass or die.