The Newby Family Got Bigger

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I love weddings. The merging of two families together and spending time with friends and family that you haven’t seen in a while. I feel lucky to have been living close to my brother Justin these last couple of years. It allowed me to feel like a part of his life, get to know his new family dynamic and meet his lovely bride and her two daughters.

Justin and Kori’s wedding came a few months ago in Washington and it was beautiful. Welcome to the family, we love you and wish you all the best!

Proud of Myself

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Wedding Photos taken by Loni Newby Photography

I’m no fashion blogger as evidenced by this post and this post back in 2011 and the fact that I dislike dressing up and being the only one in the photo .. its weird. So excuse my lack of a close up but I have to share this with you from last year… Cause I made this outfit! Can I say pleased I am with myself?! I definitely learned some things now that I would have changed if I had a do-over. The biggest thing I would change is the hem. I would have given myself more length and leeway if I would have realized that I would need to have double cuffed the hem because this thing frays like crazy.

But overall I am satisfied with the results. Its not perfect, but I am okay with that.

On a side note, I love this last photo of me and my niece, Brooklyn. I rarely get to see her and each time we have to “rebond” for her to warm up to me. This usually entails me complimenting her on her outfit and how much we match.. In this case it was true we both wore purple and had on white shoes we were then instant friends again.

Bobby’s Handiwork

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Being unemployed sucks, but it does have the perk of allowing me to have time for a few fun projects. Kristen has been thinking about everything she wants for our new apartment for the past 2 years and has accumulated a list of things that we need. Rather than purchasing all of them, because being unemployed means you have a lot of time but little money, I decided to build some of them rather than buy them at the store.

Snowboard Rack Inspiration Source

The first project was the board rack. This is one that is both a major space saver and super cool wall decoration. Snowboards look really cool and rather than taking up space in your closet why not put them up on the wall where you would have hung up some cheap painting or photograph.

To make the rack I started out with (4) 10′ long hem-fir 1×4’s.

Next, I cut them all in half so that they were all of equal length.

Then, I laid out my notches on a pattern board. The notches ended up being 9.5″ – 10″ apart. We decided on this distance because it fit our five boards nicely in the wood we had available and the proportions were good.

After marking the notches, I used a miter box saw set at forty degrees to cut them out a blade width at a time until they were big enough to fit the boards nicely. The long board notches ended up being wider than the snowboards, mostly because of the curvature of the longboard decks.

I made six identical notched boards and used screws to hold together two groupings of three of the boards.

Then I screwed the remaining two un-notched boards onto the backs of the notched bunches so that there was a section of wood that I could use to screw the whole assembly into the studs of our apartment walls.

Finally, I stained the completed project to try and match the trim in our apartment.

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Project number two was our kitchen table. Kristen and I spent a lot of time debating the merits of numerous tables until we finally found one that we could both agree on. As far as furniture goes, for the most part, we both like very simple, contemporary pieces with dynamic forms and clean lines. Unfortunately the table that we were looking at purchasing was also a little too small which was another good reason to re-engineer the basic idea. There was one thing that we could not agree on, but I will talk about that later.

Table Inspiration Source

One nice thing about this style of table is that it does not take a lot of expensive tools to make. I did the whole thing with a jig saw, a skill saw, a hand sander, some clamps, and my power drill. For materials I used one sheet of 4′ x 8′ Sande Plywood, 2″ wood screws, wood glue, and clear stain. I had never heard of Sande plywood before this project, but Kristen liked the look of the grain when we were shopping at Home Depot and so that’s what we ended up purchasing.

The table is built out of two basic components, the legs, and the round table top. I was worried about 3/4″ plywood being sturdy enough and so doubled up the plywood on both of them. This gave me the added benefit of being able to hide most of my wood screws.

To start things off, I designed a leg profile that was both visually appealing and looked like it would have a wide enough base to be sturdy. I cut out a prototype leg and then used it as a stencil to scribe the rest of the legs.

Next I drew 6 of the legs onto my sheet of plywood and two 36″ circles.

Then, I cut my 4×8 sheet into smaller sections with the various parts to make my complicated cuts a little easier.

After cutting out all of the legs comes the trickiest part. The first picture of the table shows the joint where all of the legs come together. After cutting out the leg profile I set my saw to 30 degrees and used that to bevel the edge on three of the legs. Using the clamps and some miscellaneous things in the garage I balanced and held the legs together just enough to screw the first three legs together. After having this first tier of leg base put together, then I had to modify the remaining three legs so that they would glue flush to the already assembled tripod once again having to bevel inside edge. When I was relatively happy with my cuts (course sand paper is pretty good at evening out edges if they don’t come together perfectly, especially if you cut the legs out with a skill saw like I did), I glued the last three legs onto the faces of the first three.

I finally had a stable tripod for my table top. I laid one of my 36″ circles I had cut out onto the the legs and screwed it into the base. Then I glued the remaining circle on top of the first, to hide those screw heads that Kristen did not want visible on the table top.

After thoroughly sanding the whole thing I brushed on a clear stain and was done. After I had already purchased the Sande plywood I read some stuff online about how the wood does not stain well, but the clear stain I put on ended up looking really nice.

Two National Parks and a Monument

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Throughout our summer road trip we had either been staying with family or camping (with the exception of Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island). South Dakota was probably the most exciting camping night of the trip, after spending the day with Shelli in Minneapolis we drove to Badlands National Park and pitched a tent after midnight. That night was probably the most exciting out of all the nights we had been camping… because we set up of tent in the rain, listened to thunder amidst the flash of lightning, did not get eaten alive by mosquitos and the site was not off a busy highway… all in all it was the most peaceful of all.

Once the morning came we dashed out of the tent while there was a break in the heavy rain and packed up before the clouds opened up and dumped all the water out like it had been doing all night. We got into the park anticipating to go on a hike through “The Wall” but quickly realized how impossible that would be given that the natural landscape is clay and silt. And with the heavy rainfall the trails were slick and we didn’t go off the pavement as much as we would have liked but we still got to take in some of the views before we went to our next destination that day.

On a side note, I am disappointed that I couldn’t find much more information on the South Side of the Badlands National Park, it doesn’t seem to be as supported as the North Side because of politics with the local Indian Reservation. I was hoping to get down there after reading this article from the New York Times (written in 1998) but I knew our car wouldn’t make it on unpaved roads. One day we will go back and explore each park for days instead of hours.

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Wind Cave National Park

Two hours east and we came to Wind Cave National Park. The majority of this park is a hilly green range and doesn’t seem too exciting except for the fascinating bison that openly roam the country side and randomly charge stationary vehicles (seriously there are many signs that say to not stop your vehicle near a bison.. but many people do anyways, not the smartest choice). Hence the name, underneath the bison and green pastures are intricate caves that haven’t been 100% discovered yet. We purchased our tickets to go on the Natural Entrance Cave Tour and spent the 90 minutes going further the further into the caves. We saw many different paths to go while underground and I am astounded that people do not get lost more often. I already felt disoriented and couldn’t figure out whether we were going north, south, east or west.

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Mount Rushmore National Monument

To end the day (before we drove to Montana to visit my brother Cameron) we stopped by Mount Rushmore. Bobby went on the presidential hike while I got conned into buying a book at the gift shop by an old man, I probably should have gone on the hike instead.

And then began another long drive to end the day.

A Long Process

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Just to take a break from our huge road trip we took this summer I just wanted to give everybody an update on life, currently.

It seems like we have been moving for months. We decided to move in July, with our move out date being mid- August. Once we made the decision life has been a whirlwind of two-week notices, yard sales, going away parties, packing (oh the packing), donating and throwing things away. Not to mention how to decide how to move. Moving pods, driving moving truck and towing the car or selling everything and starting from almost scratch. We decided we weren’t emotionally invested too much into the furniture we had so we sold nearly everything. Yet we still had enough to fill up the Corolla to the brim with a mattress on top of the car and barely enough room for Bobby to sit in and drive across the country. I packed 7 suitcases and boxes and took the train.

Once we got to Illinois we have been staying with my parents until we found employment and an apartment. Well the day has come, next week we are moving into the city! We originally were looking for a studio apartment but the better studios were kinda pricey. Then we found a two bedroom apartment three blocks away from Lake Michigan for only $25 more than the studio we loved. Obviously we took the two bedroom because those brick walls and balcony were to die for!! Pardon the phone quality images, I will give an update once we give it a good dose of Bobby and Kristen flair.

So next week we are moving! Do you have any tips for a house warming party?

A Day with Family

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I had been looking forward to spending the day with my sister, Shelli, for months!! The time finally came during our cross-country road trip and we met in Minneapolis to swim, explore and eat wonderful food. Now that we live in the Mid-West I am looking forward to spending a lot more time with her and my niece and nephews.

On our way to South Dakota, Bobby and I stopped in Minneapolis. Shelli took us to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and it was hilarious to see Shelli try to organize Micah, Malaya and Cale to appear as if they are holding the cherry… They didn’t quite listen and the result was equally funny. Now the only downer is that I never got a photo with Shel, we should probably fix that over Thanksgiving.

I love seeing Bobby interact with my nieces and nephews because they are all fascinated by him and I don’t know what he does! They just love him it always is, “Hey Bobby, Bobby… hey Uncle Bobby!” Part of me wants to be jealous but its just so cute how much they like him that it is no big deal. Cause his little nephews treat me with the same amount of admiration.

Pictured Rocks – East Shore

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The second day at Pictured Rocks was much better, we were able to stay away from the mosquitoes and walk along the shore which Bobby really wanted to do the day before (but the hike we went on was elevated and wooded so we did not have sandy beaches except for one brief moment). Our hike took us to the Au Sable Lighthouse and through some cool shipwreck remains.

I think my favorite part was the abandoned shipwrecks. It was astounding to see how the lake has warped the ship into something nearly unrecognizable. It was a completely different experience than the shipwreck in Oregon that we saw last year.

My mom used to tell me the tales of the Edmund Fitzgerald. The ship that came across a big storm with fierce winds that sank to the bottom of Lake Superior. I loved listening to this song (embedded below) that used to accompany of mom retelling of the story. I don’t know why I always enjoyed listening to stories that didn’t always have happy endings. I guess I was an odd child.