Modern Wood Fence – Step 4: Progress


I don’t have a concise title for this post. I was going to call it staining posts, spacing and nailing planks and troubleshooting but that seemed to long. Also, the next step is going to be more of the same.

I failed to take any pictures while we worked on this first side of the fence so here it is. You’ll notice that about half-way between each 4×4 post (that’s either anchored to the concrete with an EZ Post bracket or concreted into the yard) Jason added another vertical 2×4. Each plank is nailed to this 2×4 to keep the planks from warping or bowing out between the 4×4 posts, which are a little less than 8′ apart.

This is where we left off when we had to go buy more wood. We just have a sedan so it takes a lot of trips to the hardware store to get all this wood.

Our handy EZ Post brackets cause a minor predicament because the planks couldn’t be nailed into the post for the bottom 6″ or so. That is enough room for pesky disgusting cats to get into our garden. Not acceptable.

Jason came up with this solution to add 2x4s along the sides of the posts at the bottom so he’d have something to nail the planks into.

That works.

Here’s a look from the other side. Lucy approves.

We’re using this scrap of wood as a spacer to make all the planks equal distance apart. When we’re working together (and I’m not taking pictures) it moves a lot faster because I get the next plank ready and place the spacer while Jason does the nailing. (Oooooh… I love those sexy arms!)

Proper fence etiquete is to put the outside, finished side of the fence facing your neighbors and to put the backside facing your own yard. Because this fence is not going around the perimeter of our yard—and we may some day add a perimeter privacy fence–we opted to put the finished side facing in. That created another slight problem when it came to the first corner. Jason came up with a clever solution using a 2×4.

Here’s an illustrated top view of the corner solution:

Nice and clean looking on the inside corner.

We’re using 8′ long planks and we purposely put the fence posts less than 8′ apart so we could trim off the excess and get all the ends clean and square at every post. Jason set his circular saw to the depth of the planks (they’re 1×3’s so approx 0.75″) and trimmed off the ends of the planks at the center point of the post.

It’s fun to watch.

Here’s what the other side of the post looks like. The planks are cut at the halfway point of the post so that Jason has room to nail the planks for the next section of fence.

We may or may not have learned this lesson the hard way on the first post: make sure you put all the horizontal plank nails only into one side of the post.

Because in the next step, you’ll be adding more planks to the other half of the post.

Excess post is cut off with the circular saw. (We got one 10′ post for this corner because of the height variance from the patio down to the yard. Not necessary, obviously.)

So here is where we left off. Out of wood. Out of time. And it got cold out.

We’re hopeful we can get it done in the next couple of weeks. Notice where Jason started testing out the stain/sealer.

The finished fence should end up looking just like this architectural trellis on the face of our house:


Step 1: InspirationStep 2: Planning, Step 3: Posts


Butter Dish


We need a butter dish. I saw this super cute one from West Elm via Making It Lovely. I like owls. $16 seems a little steep but I’m not ruling it out.

Dear blog readers, do you have any suggestions? Have you seen any beautiful mid-century modern butter dishes out in the interwebs?


CBB 3.0 – Update (Framed, Roofed & Closed)


Our friends’ home building project is moving right along. (I’m way behind on updates, sorry!) Since the last time I updated, the walls have been framed, the metal roof added, and the exterior walls have been closed up:

Nice high, sloped ceilings. 9′ in the front half of the house, up to 12′ here in the back of the house.

I love how the house looks from the back. That beautiful deck looks out over Shelby Park where we can sit to watch the tides roll in next time we have a flood. Just kidding. But we will definitely be spending a lot of time under that sloped roof. I heard a rumor that Leila and J might even be installing an outdoor TV and surround sound stereo system out there…

The front of the house looks… well…  I think it’ll look great once the stairs and landscaping are added.


Click CBB 3.0 under the “FILE UNDER” menu on the right to see all the updates on this house.

Where Children Sleep


I saw a link to this amazing photo documentary book called Where Children Sleep by James Mollison on the blog Design Mom. It’s a powerful and heart-breaking with photos of children from all over the world and the places they sleep. I guarantee it will change you.

Here’s a sampling:

Phone Photo Friday


I got some new glasses from Warby Parker.


On the Precipice


Have you ever been on the brink of something huge and felt simultaneously excited and inadequate? A couple weeks ago Jason and I made an important decision about our future. I feel without a doubt that it’s the direction God is leading us — it’s something that’s been in our hearts for a long time but lately has been stirred up to the point that we can’t ignore it. Immediately after the decision was vocalized and we were in unity about it, I started getting overwhelmed with fears about my shortcomings and worrying whether or not this is something we’d be able to pull off. As Christ-followers, we recognize this as a spiritual attack. Obedience with passion and excitement to move forward is met with resistance in the form of fears and concerns. I tossed and turned that night, wrestling with my thoughts.

The next morning, I cracked open my short daily devotional book, Jesus Calling. It is a 2 minute read of encouraging words from the prayer journal of missionary Sarah Young. What it said on March 11 is exactly what I needed to hear that morning to squelch the burning feelings of inadequacy that had plagued me the night before:

“Walk by faith, not by sight. As you take steps of faith, depending on Me, I will show you how much I can do for you. If you live your life too safely, you will never know the thrill of seeing Me work through you. When I gave you My spirit, I empowered you to live beyond your natural ability and strength. Thats why it is wrong to measure your energy level against the challenges ahead of you. The issue is not your strength but Mine, which is limitless. By walking close to Me, you can accomplish My purposes in My strength.” (based on 2 Cor 5:7 and Gal 5:25)

I’m sharing this hoping it will encourage someone else as much as it did me (not just to make you wonder what’s going on with us.) I can’t reveal what it is yet; for now we’re still holding it close as we figure out the next steps. (Hint: I’m not pregnant. I know some of you were thinking that.) If God has put you on a precipice with a view of what’s ahead, be strong and courageous! Though I may not be capable of what will be required of me, I know that He is with me and He will make me able.

Modern Wood Fence – Step 3: Posts


Our fence plan required 19 posts, 6 of which needed to go across concrete to divide our parking area from our patio. We wanted the fence height to be 5′ on the patio side—high enough to create some privacy and division but not too high that our friends can’t peak over and say hi when they arrive for a cook out. We were able to by 10′ 4×4 posts and have them cut in half at Home Depot. Obviously, we needed 3 posts for this. Here’s a sort of before shot, where Jason is checking the height to make sure it’s good. I was standing at our back door to that this shot.

You can’t dig post holes in concrete, obviously. Jason’s had some experience with attaching fences to concrete in the past so he knew stability can be tricky. We found these great E-Z Base post bases at HD that are made just for this purpose. They’re hard to find and a bit pricy (around $15 each) but they work great. Four deep screw holes need to be made with a powerful hammer drill. We found some handy 4″ concrete anchors in the same section at the store.

The trickiest part of using these E-Z Bases was getting them onto the 4x4s. They’re made to fit as tight as a glove for obvious reasons. We found the best technique was to get them partly on the post with our hands and then slam the post and E-Z Base against the ground. It took a few slams but the post would gradually slide down into the base all the way. They’re very sturdy. Jason is making sure they’re straight and level.

The rest of the posts were done the regular way. We have a manual post-hole digger and Jason is a post-hole-digging-machine. He got the 11 holes dug, 2′ deep, in a matter of hours. We got 8′ 4×4 posts for the rest of the fence. With 2′ underground, we’ll still have plenty left to get a level 5′ fence and trim the tops off the posts. Jason bought fence post concrete to put in each hole. (Who knew they made that?! It’s fast setting!) Half a bag of concrete and half a gallon of water was needed for each hole. Concrete is cheap. It dries so fast it and it wasn’t windy so most posts didn’t need any additional support and Jason was able to level them as the concrete was setting.

I helped Jason level and set the last few posts after the sun went down. This is Jason’s third fence building project and he said he finished the posts much faster than he expected.

On to the planks… (Is that the right term? That’s how we refer to our horizontal fence pickets.)


Step 1: Inspiration, Step 2: Planning



Happy First Day of Spring! I’ve always been a summer girl—bring on the heat!—but spring in Nashville is breath-taking. (Especially if you have allergies, harharhar…) I love all the flowering trees. Here’s the view out my front door in the morning:

And some various signs of spring from around our yard:

Phone Photo Friday


My husband is pretty awesome!

Back to School


Last winter wrote about how using an over-the-shoulder tote bag for my laptop was hurting my back. I used my old high school LL Bean backpack for a while until I forgot about the back pains and then stitched to a messenger bag again. When the back pain returned, I decided it would be worth the investment to get a nice, adult, laptop-friendly backpack for carting my macbook pro to and from work. After reading about the super-smart backpack that zips onto a carry on suitcase on Design Mom’s blog, I decided to check out FUL’s offerings. I ordered this gray Concrete Jungle:

I was thrilled about the padded laptop compartment and all the zipper pockets. When the bag arrived, however, I immediately realized it was too chunky and masculine for my taste. Bummer. I decided to give it a test drive anyway but was disappointed to discover that my laptop was too big for the sleeve. Double bummer. I also had some reservations about committing to a gray bag since I often wear brown. I sent the backpack back and started a new search.

Enter backpack number 2: The Victorinox Curb from This pack also boasted a padded laptop compartment (big enough this time) and various other zipper pockets. The simplistic design in rust colored canvas seemed to be just delicate enough for my style and would work with a brown coat or a black coat. I’ve been using it for about a week now and I’m very pleased. It’s light and comfortable with thick padded straps. It has more pockets than I know what to do with. And, I know it sounds corny but it somehow makes my laptop feel lighter.

A new backpack makes me feel like it’s time to start back to school shopping. Perhaps I should splurge on some new shoes, too?