Showing posts from December, 2012

354 Posts - Not 365 This Year

This post marks the 354th - and final - post of 2012.  That puts me 11 short of my annual goal of 365 posts - one each day.  Not bad, but not the full Monty like the past two years.

Between things at work, the addition of a new family member, a ton of travel (Disney World 2X this year alone!), a heck of a lot of projects and crafts around the house, and plenty of pizza eating and making, things around the Parrillo homestead were busy.

2013 looks to be another great year ahead and I'll be sure to chronicle all of it - in it's glorious minutia - right here on the blog.

Here's to a great 2013. A great wife. Two great daughters. An amazing family. A good job. Even more surprises. And...maybe even another whole year of blogging (almost!).

Christmas Haul: Reclaimed Birdhouse

I don't actually know the craftsman who put this together, but Nat tells me that it is made entirely with reclaimed materials.  I'm thinking that it is going to hold up just fine once it goes outside in the Spring.

Christmas Haul: The Stump

Santa Claus also brought me a bright green Stump.  Sure, they advertise it working with the ipad and iphone, but it works perfectly with my Nexus 7.  Take that, 'made for ipad' sticker.

Craft: Pinecone Elves with the Babe

The Babe and I rounded up a few pinecones from the tree in our alley a few houses down and with a little bit of felt, a wood bead and some pipe cleaners we had ourseves an elf.  The Babe even drew the face herself.  She couldn't have been more proud of herself after this we made these.

Christmas Haul: The Victory Lab

Although I haven't read many books in the past few years, I'm going to give it a go with this new book that my brother-in-law gifted me for Christmas called "The Victory Lab - The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns".  It was on my list, so I'm excited to give it a go.

Snow Maker Set Up

I put the snowmaker up on Christmas Eve, but the temperatures were a few degrees too high to get any accumulation.  Maybe for New Years?

Christmas for the Babe and the Bird

These two ladies had quite the Christmas Day and Eve.  Santa treated them right.

Dollhouse: Done

With the help of Nat, we made it under the Christmas Eve deadline to get the dollhouse.  We left the top floor walls just primed so the Babe can pick out what the wall coverings look like up there herself.

Dollhouse Stairs

With the help of Nat's Dad, we built these dollhouse stairs by slicing a 1x1 in half on a 45 degree angle.   Then I glued them to a thin veneer board.

A little bit of obnoxious pink paint and we have a sweet set of stairs.  For the dollhouse, I had to make two of these - one for front, one for back.

Santa & the Elmhurst Police are Watching

This sign is posted in the big fountain in the Elmhurst City Centre right in the middle of town.  They have quite a few decorations set up and they must not want the hooligans around town messing with them.  I'd say it looked to be quite effective.

Cowboy Cooler - The Other Project

In addition to the dollhouse for the girls, I have been making a rustic cowboy cooler for one of my brother-in-laws for Christmas.  Last year, I made Equation Boy/Man a basketball rack (he had just put in a new hoop) and I had some cedar boards laying around, so this seemed like a nice project.  Today, I put the hinges on top, epoxy'd in the spigot and put on the last coat of polycrilic.  With just 2 more building days to go (Today and Saturday), I have to finish up a few of the last minute details and get this one done under the wire.

Dollhouse Progress - 4 Days To Go

With Christmas just a few days away, the Elves at the Parrillo House have been getting busy trying to finish up some projects.  I've been at this Dollhouse for the Babe for a few weeks and things are finally getting close to completion.  Today, I made the shingles, painted them and tacked them on the roof tonight.  I still have to make a few more for the other side and then fit in the floors.  The walls are built, but waiting for my partner in crime to paper them up with wall paper.

I don't have the stairs figured out, but by Saturday night, we'll have them built, painted and installed.

One Year Later: Sink Cabinet is Finished

We 'finished' up the basement project last year before Christmas, but it took until today for me to finish painting the cabinet and re-attaching the cabinet front for the cabinet on the right.  That side has a little bar sink in the cabinet, so I cut the front off of the drawer and had a big hole on that side for 12 months.

I was using trim paint to cover the dollhouse, so while I had the brush out, I figured I'd paint the cabinets.  Then, the compressor was down in the basement for the dollhouse project, too, so...what the heck.  Let's finish this thing.

Dollhouse Progress - 6 Days To Go

The frame is built, the floor boards are dry fitted and the glue is drying.  Off to the paint shop next, then on to walls and roof.  Just eight building days to go....going to be tight.

DIY Snowmakersnow

The forecast for later this week calls for snow followed by very cold weather.  I know I'm hoping that the snow doesn't actually come, but that we get that brutal cold weather.  Why's that?  Because holding in my hand up there is a DIY snow machine.  Add a pressure washer and compressor and we'll (hopefully) have some snow!

The Parrillos will be having a white Christmas...

Dollhouse Progress - 8 Days To Go

I put together both sides of the house using pocket screws.  This was my first project with pocket screws and the jig worked perfectly.  Really liking how they look and how strong they are.

Baby Homeless Baby

This baby belongs to one of my nieces.  She's like 10+ years old and looks like she's homeless.  My sister tells me that they've tried to scrub it with various products and nothing takes the  - what they call - "love" - and what I call "soot" - off her face and hands.

NIU Huskies: "We Look Good in Orange"

If the fact that the NIU Huskies from the Mid American Conference were playing in a BCS game while my Illini were at home licking their wounds wasn't bad enough, now the NIU athletic department is taking direct shots at us with a full page ad in the Sun-Times.  "We look good in orange"?  Really?  I know that's a line about the Orange Bowl they're set to play in, but they're also rubbing it in a bit, right?

Dollhouse Build - Day Two

I got both end pieces framed up and built on the Babe's dollhouse.  I used poplar boards because they were straight as an arrow and after building the two frames, I'm glad I did.  They were easy to square up and with the help of the Kreg Pocket Screw Jig, they were easy to drill together without splitting.

Stowaway on the Mantleburg Line

The Babe added this guy to the end of her log-rolling car on the ole' Mantleburg line in the basement.  I think we'll let him rid along for a while.

Google Cafe 312 Open for Business

Yesterday, we held a ribbon cutting for our new cafe at the office featuring our Alderman Brendan Reilly and the office leadership.  Here's my shot from 'behind' the ribbon.

Here's a nice story about what the new cafe space means for both Google and for the local food scene.

Brookfield Zoo Holiday Magic

On Saturday, we went to the Brookfield Zoo 'Holiday Magic' - along with thousands of our closest friends.  We're members, so Nat and the girls go pretty regularly and she's never seen the parking lot as full as it was two nights ago.

The lights were great and the star of the show is the music-sync'd Christmas tree display around the center pond/lagoon.  They have 100ish trees lit up that rock-and-roll with the music.  And fortunately, it isn't all Manheim Steamroller.

A disappointment, however, was the animals.  Most of them weren't around or they were inside and we couldn't go in to see them.  The big cats, however were on the prowl, so that was kind of neat.  Every other time we go see the lions and tigers and other cats, they just lay around on the rocks and yawn.  We saw one stalk something - which, I think, ended up just being a shadow - but it was neat to see.

If you're taking your kids, make sure you bundle up and bring some light-up toys f…

Christmas Pyramid Cake Fan Assembly Arrived

Look what arrived via the mailman yesterday?  My fan assembly for our Christmas Pyramid.  Yep...that means we have another project we have to tackle in the next two weeks to get ready for the big day.  I'm thinking I'm going to bring this thing to my mom's house for the big fest on the Eve.

Another Christmas miracle!

Beads for the Christmas Pyramid

Using my handy drying board, I was able to put a few coats of red paint on these eight beads that will adorn our Chistmas Pyramid.  Just waiting for the fan assembly, rod and bearing cup to arrive to give it a test run.

DIY Candle Lamps - Installed

I finished the eight candle lamps over the weekend and put them up on the steps to the house.  They didn't stay in this position for very long and have moved up to be by the front door for the time being.

I put flicker bulbs in them and at night they provide a nice orange-ish contrast to the little white traditional lights that we have up on other parts of our house.

Parrillo Family Photo @ Renegade Craft Fair - Holiday 2012

Nothing more to say this year about our annual visit to Renegade except for:  parking sucks.  The place is way too packed, and what the Tribune said yesterday.

We, did, however take our annual family photo.  The Bird made it in there!

Here's our Renegade photo from Holiday 2011.
Here's our Renegade photo from summer 2011.
Here's our Renegade photo from Holiday 2010.
Here's our Renegade photo from Holiday 2009.

Train Table Set up in Basement - 2012

With the help of my brother-in-law Bill, I got my train table up and running last week.  It is 5' X 9' and has a layout that is called "Round-n-Round the X-mas Tree".  The Babe has had quite a lot of fun running the train around the track most days.

My dad always put out his Lionel train during Christmastime when I was a kid and he gave me this set a few years back when the Babe was born.  Although it takes up a lot of space, I really like having it set up for the holidays and will (hopefully) be putting it back up in the years to come.

Choir Boys Vintage Planter - Vintage Christmas Fair 2012

These two guys were the final pieces we picked up at the Vintage Christmas Fair.  They look great next to the Spaghetti Trim Santas and the little Christmas Tree girl.

This piece has a couple of holes on the back and a large container, so I'm assuming it was a wall planter of some sort.  Will we be mounting them on the wall?  Not likely.  I think Nat will stuff them full of candy canes and they'll find a spot on top of the piano next to our other choir boys.