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March 30th, 2014

Today was the first day we were really able to get outside and play this year! Took the kids out for ice team and forgot to take a picture. (I’ve been really trying to not take my phone out when we are having family time...) However, I did get some good “before Spring cleaning” shots of the house as the sun was setting. The first day after a very long, and very cold winter…







Own Yourself

Photo credit: Facebook | An undated profile photo posted on Facebook by Maria Kang

Oh yeah…I don’t need one. However, I do love having a reason to pose in my pajamas. Toss in the kids and you have a real family portrait opportunity.

I Don't Need an Excuse.

Just in case you didn’t know, YOU are amazing. Your belly rolls, your toned abs, whatever intestinal casing you have, it’s all yours.

I am going to lay it out real simple for all of you.

You love cake? DIG IN. You love working out? Sweat it up!! You want to be healthier? Own it! You give no fucks? Highfive! See, we are constantly so hung up on body image these days that we forget one huge thing…to mind our own business. Worry about YOU.

But the little girls! They are so confused with the media and magazines!! Here’s a novel idea. Turn off the TV. Give your daughter an intelligent book. Have an actual conversation with a kid.

But what about fat/slut/skinny/whatthefuckever shaming! How about you put on your big kid panties, throw your middle finger in the air and strut your stuff? One of the coolest things about having your own body is that you get to do whatever you want with it!

Look, here’s the thing, you don’t need an excuse. If you aren’t happy, it’s your own fault. It’s not media or society or your asshole significant other destroying your self worth. You are. Don’t let any outside sources tell you how to think or feel. Just stop.

Just. Stop.

Letting go of fear, insecurities and anger isn’t easy. Neither is getting up at 5am on Saturday to score a full box of yesterday’s discounted doughnuts…but it is SO worth it.

It really is that simple and I debated writing an exasperated blog post to stroke our egos but I don’t have time for that shit. YOU, and only you, are in complete control of your thoughts. That inside space where no one can touch or see, is all yours. What you put in is what you are going to get out.

I choose acceptance. I choose happiness. I choose to close with the Beastie Boys.

We need body rockin not perfection
Let me get some action from the back section

Love, Kylee Lane

Your media is not the boss of our bodies.



The TARDIS Bookshelves

This year for Christmas we wanted to get our kids something really cool, like rocket packs or something.

photo (10)Since there was a lack of Consumer Reports info on these, I decided to make something instead. I was inspired by a bookshelf that my late grandfather had made me for Christmas many years ago. Although he was a skilled woodworker, I felt it was a simple enough project to try to emulate.

Both of the kids are huge Who fans. I’d seen many a TARDIS bookshelf on the internet, and decided to try my own take on the idea. Originally this just consisted of blue painted shelves, but quickly got more complicated…



I started with a quick sketchup on a post it note and figured out rough dimensions so I could make a list of what I needed. There is a suprising number of linear feet of wood needed for shelves. Altogether with the wood, nails, screws, paint, and PL200 I spent about $120 on materials to make two of these. I could have got a finer quality of board, but since I was going to paint them I didn’t mind if there were knots in the wood.


Here’s the basic shelf I ended up with. I could have done this better by using a router to make slots for the shelf pieces to fit into, but in the end I just screwed them from the ends with a little construction adhesive on the joint. I drilled pilot holes for the screws to avoid splitting the wood. The router table is another project that I haven’t started yet.

shelf-2The trim pieces on the sides covered the screw heads so I didn’t have to fill them. Since these were not structural, they are put on with adhesive and a few small finish nails. The nails are basically just there to hold it in place until the PL200 dries.


I used the table saw to 45 the corner pieces so the joint looked nicer. I put these on the same way as the side trim.


Starting to look more police box-esque, but not quite there. I felt the top needed another step on it, and that the police box signs across the top needed accenting somehow. I wanted to do this as simple as possible since I was running out of time at this point, and every change I made I had to do twice since I was building two at the same time.


What I ended up doing was cutting 3/8″x 3/8″ strips to outline the signs, and just cut a shorter, narrower board to add dimension to the top. I then used a wood filler to fill screw holes and some of the rougher knots.


I had not yet given much thought to the light, and found myself searching the house for something suitable. I raided Luxury Lane’s supply closet and came up with these jars. I screwed the plastic lid to the top of the shelf so that the jar twists on. The glass jar is painted white from the inside with spray paint. Eventually I may put an LED inside.


Finally all ready for paint. I thought about brushing the whole thing, but knew it would look waaaay better if it was sprayed. Problem was, there was snow on the ground outside, and I needed a usable spray environment. This smells like a new project…


Kylee said I should spatter red paint all over the inside of the plastic.

 I laid down some drop cloths in the corner of the basement, hung plastic sheeting, put a fluorescent light on the ceiling plugged into an extension cord and behold- temporary spray booth! I’m going to make a less temporary version of this someday in the coal room with some improvements; like a vent fan and more space, but this worked for now. The spray rig pictured was a bit overkill for painting shelves. One of those Wagner guns with the paint cup would work fine.


I used a latex Kilz I had laying around to prime the whole thing. Two coats covered well despite having to thin the paint some to get it to spray right. Now that I had the white base for the letters and the windows I had to mask them off. I used contact paper fed into a laser printer to make the letter masks. This worked, but not very well. You get a paper jam 75% of the time. I cut the printed letters out with an exacto and freehand stuck them on. The font used was London Tube. In hindsight, having decals made would have probably been a better idea.


I used spray can flat black over the signs, and accidentally oversprayed the windows that I hadn’t masked yet. I salvaged the situation by misting a light coat over the whole area to make it uniform giving the windows a somewhat frosted look.


The blue paint bled under the window masks necessitating outlining the windows in black permanent marker, another happy accident.


Since I had differing sheens between the different colors, I sprayed a final two coats of polyurethane satin clear over the whole thing to tie it all together. This step really made the finished product look a lot better.

photo 1 (5)


I had to put fans on them to dry everything as quick as possible, I think they still smelled like paint on Christmas morning. Despite my rather average carpentry skills, I was pleased overall with how they turned out. I underestimated the time needed for these by far, I had almost 30 hours into the pair from start to finish. The only thing I would change would be to make them from 3/4″ MDF rather than pine boards. The pine wasn’t cured all that well when I got it, they warped quite a bit before I used them making the whole project more difficult. Something I will surely consider when I make my full size Police Box…

TARDIS Bookcase Full with Love

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Ever seen a chimney fire? I haven’t… yet. I’ve never owned a house with a fireplace until now, and although ours had not been used for some 15 or 20 years I was bound and determined to put it to use.

I reasoned that since it had not been used for so long and probably only seldom before that,  it probably wouldn’t have a whole lot of creosote build up… or I’m just cheap and didn’t want to pay a chimney sweep… unless it was Dick Van Dyke.

dickvandykeHow hard could it be to sweep a chimney? I looked at chimney brushes at a few big box stores but realized that they would not work because my chimney splits into two at the second floor to go around a window. Since there was little chance of getting a brush past two 45 degree angles I reasoned that the best way to see if it needed cleaning was to put a fire in it. A shame, as I was looking forward to preforming my own rendition of “Step in Time”.

The previous owner had stuffed a bunch of fiberglass insulation into the damper to keep the cold air out. What was interesting was that the damper had been left wide open. Way to keep out that cold air!

damperThis one did not have a handle to pull inside the fireplace, it is operated by a screw mechanism turned by a short metal shaft below the mantle. The original knob or handle is missing, so for now I’ve improvised with a vise-grip. Once I worked it back and forth a bit it operates quite nicely. Next it was on to the hearth.

hearthSo after removing a decorative holiday log with ribbon and pine cones hot-glued to it, I swept it out and found a small metal framed opening. Sweet deal, ash pit! Now I don’t have to scoop all that ash out every time I light a fire! But wait, it all has to go somewhere…

The very BEST one ever made. In the basement I found a cleanout door behind the boiler. Apparently it is the best cleanout door ever. It even says so. Opening it was like when Belloq opened the Ark, minus the face melting and head exploding. I was rewarded with a solid wall of dense ash from the beginning of time. And a light bulb.

ash-pitWanting to start with a clean slate, I decided to scoop it all into buckets and haul it outside. I set up the hose of my shop vac on the edge of the bucket to minimize the dispersal. Judging by some of the junk in it, I’d wager someone had been burning their trash in there. Classy. Other than some antique perfume bottles the only thing of interest I found was a small piece of tile that had come from the floor in front of the fireplace. I even found the spot where it fits.

prodigal-tileI counted 18 trips with a 5 gal. bucket before it was all cleared out. This is like the once-a-decade job, the pit is about 4 ft. wide and 8 ft. tall. Thankfully it was not full.


Not sure about the pipe.

Finally go time! Piled on the wood, fire extinguisher at the ready, standby to phone the fire dept. and light the match – works beautifully. No disasters, no smoke filled rooms or flames leaping into the sky out of the top of the chimney. It has excellent draw even with the damper all the way open. The only thing a little disappointing was the heat provided is somewhat lacking. I wasn’t expecting to heat the whole house, but maybe the room wasn’t too much to ask? At any rate, the rather dismal btu production has prompted an interest in converting it to a Rumford style. Google it, the science is sound enough…



Happy Halloween! (And why my kids are cooler than most adults.)

This year my kids chose to be Dr Who (Tom Baker) and Spock (TOS). Sweet deal because these are pretty easy costumes to pull off. We make the kids costumes every year, much like we do ours for conventions.

There is something very special about little nerd kids.
(Dad, seriously, we need to make sure the pattern is sewn right.)

Especially when they express their dedication to a specific character, much like cos-players do for conventions. (It’s only logical I dye my hair to match Spock’s, Mom.)

I also use the term ‘nerd’ loosely as whatever definition it ever had is completely lost in the pop culture realm holding geek and dork and whatever…However, these two are nerds like it is 1975. ♥ While we were trick or treating, every older guy knew who Starla was. Often we heard “Hey!! I haven’t seen a Spock in years!” or a random “Beam me up Scotty!” (Which was never actually said in the original series…) Sadly, not one single person knew Trent was Dr Who. Mind you, we live in a very small area and British television isn’t really hip to the jive in Iowa…except in our household.

While these two went from house to house, Rory and I staid back on the sidewalk watching our kids with absolute parental love. I don’t think I could have been more proud of my children. Starla was scanning every house with her homemade tricorder and Trent never once lost character, using British slang and odd Baker references the entire time. They had some story about why Spock and The Dr. were traveling together, because this was not just getting candy, these two WERE their characters. 

Although no one knew who Dr Who was, with any school friends we met along the way, Trent proudly demonstrated pure Time Lord pose, remarking, “Now they know Dr Who!” He was so excited to get to “teach” his classmates in passing about this marvelous character. At one point some snotty child asked Starla if she was a boy or a girl and Starla merely rose her eyebrow, much like Spock would have, if asked such as obvious and human like question.

Our weekends are filled with Star Trek marathons, meals are met with humorous one liners from the good Dr. and craft time is only put on pause for reading time. Markers and little scraps of paper are all over the house along with piles and piles of books and comics. We take our children’s interests very seriously, which was aided by primarily exposing them to the things WE loved very early on.

I have concluded this is the formula for producing a child that isn’t an asshole. Lots of chores, lots of family time, and lots of science fiction.

Also, Halloween is a pretty big deal for my husband and I. It was on Halloween, almost half of my entire lifetime ago, that we kissed for the first time. It was also on Halloween, years later, when Rory asked me to marry him. So, I can not help but spend this time reflecting back on how our offspring have turned out thus far. Halloween is our family holiday, much more than Christmas or Easter…we don’t even get dressed for those holidays…


The Lanes

Best Recycling Ever

How does Luxury Lane Soap store its precious cargo? Only the coolest way possible…

Rescued library card catalogs!

Awesome, right? This weekend I was finally able to get a couple of the units we saved last year (from a local school updating their system) and clean them up. The drawer size accommodation of my small, ten bar batches of Organic Artisan Soap is absolutely perfect!

I need to make some nicer name tags, but I was so excited to finally get this all together that I just printed and cut a plain sheet of paper. How cool would hand calligraphy look?!

Have you ever wondered where the card catalog cards come from that I use for tags and thank you cards? Yup, thousands upon thousands of them came directly from these units.

Recycling is cool. So tell me, what are some of the most clever ways you have reused something?

All New Natural Soy Candles – Win them before you can buy them!

Finally!! After daily inquires and fist pounding requests (okay…well, maybe it hasn’t been that dramatic…) but after much waiting, candles are BACK!

*crowd goes wild!*

Not only are Natural Soy Candles rolling their way back in, they have been massively overhauled. Firstly, I was able to find a fantastic and extremely reliable wax supplier in Denver, CO who has agreed to cut me some slack on shipping. This means I am able to put that saved money into nicer containers and labels, making these candles much more fashionable.

Plus, due to customer demand, I have been able to purchase larger amounts of high quality oils so that I can make a stronger scented candle without the need to hike up prices. Icing on the cake? Those saved card catalog cards you love so much? Instead of investing money into lids that end up in the trash, I am hand punching circles and using them to protect the top of the candles during transport.

Did you know, soy wax is completely natural & biodegradable with a very clean burn and produces no petro-carbon soot? While being non-toxic and environmentally friendly, it is made from renewable resources and the production of soy wax involves no habitat destruction. It does all that while helping American farmers create growth for the agricultural section of the economy. Plus, you get to enjoy your candle longer because soy wax burns slow, producing a candle that lasts almost 60% longer than paraffin. Bonus? Since soy is a vegetable wax,  it is super easy to clean off of surfaces, simply use soap & water. (This information is included on the back of the candles. Memorize it and impress your friends!)


CLOSED Excited?! Me too!!! YOU have a chance to win one before they even hit the website!! Luxury Lane Soap is giving away a full sized Natural Soy Candle to THREE lucky winners. Easy entry below. Good Luck! (Winner announced Tuesday, October 16th and candles debut online Monday, October 22th)

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