winter warriors: party of two.

My, my, my, how the holidays do fly!  Also, how time-off can be spent so quickly!  I feel like I hardly made any contributions to our renovation project during December, since it was the end of the semester (what a crazy time, for teachers and students alike!) and I was inhibited (imbibed, rather) by the holidays.

I had to leave sweet Matthew at home for several trips, so he was slaving away on Argie while I was off having a grand ol’ time with my family and friends in Jacksonville, Florida, (oh, I do miss the beach!) for Christmas (we also received so many awesome, Argie-themed gifts, we’ve definitely started something here), and for a quick stint in Chicago, Illinois, after the new year. Luckily, we managed to find a bit of time to escape down to Tomten to do a little farm-sitting and spend some quality time ringing in the new year with Caleb and Sarah.

Despite it all, I feel like socializing and spending time with my friends and family that I don’t get to see often enough was a worthwhile investment of time, and I had so much fun! A teacher (or anyone with a job for that matter!) needs to enjoy some downtime and take a break every once in a while, right?

a coffee crawl in JAX could only start at Bold Bean!
JAX has a bit more going on in this department than RVA; it’s cool to see!
at Vagabond, in JAX
hanging with this short friend, doing touristy stuff, in Chicago.

Back at the homestead while I was gone, Matt had quite a bit to report, as he didn’t take a break and was plenty busy in my absence…

Lots of progress since the last post. We got engaged, duh. 🙂 I made the ring. It was the third ring I’ve made. I made two practices, then the real one. The final ring didn’t take too long to make, maybe 2-3 hours total. That’s because I had all the right tools. Well, dad had all the right tools for me.  By trade, clockmakers (dad’s a master clockmaker) and jewelers aren’t that far apart.

I started with some sterling silver stock, 5mm wide.

(  I cut a piece of paper to wrap around the mandrel at the same size, and then used that piece of paper as a template for the length I needed.

I cut the silver using a jeweler’s saw.
This is a ring mandrel.

Once cut to length, I started to hammer it round.

Once it started getting round, I hammered it on the mandrel, further rounding it.

Once the ends were getting pretty close to touching each other, I used a special pair of pliers (similar to these ones: ) to squeeze the ends together in a circle.


When a minimal amount of light passes through the gap, it’s time to solder!

that’s a hottie.

It was a little too small, so I hammered (tap) around the ring while around the mandrel. This gradually made it larger; I stopped once I reached the desired size. Then, it was ready for me to file the pattern into it.

I used a small, rounded file and filed alternating grooves around the ring.
ready to get all buffed up.

Once the pattern was filed; it was time to take it to the buffing wheel! This took the shine to another level!

All ready for proposing!

Now for the other progress. Argie is seeing LOTS of progress. We’d love to post more of these things, but it’s hard to find the time. (Lame excuse, I know.) I made the ring while Danielle was at her mom’s for Christmas.

Along with the ring, I made a shelf over the bed,

what we see from below…
Danielle is already putting it to good use!

and, I made a “kitchen-console” (aka pantry) for holding our fridges and lots of food and food-related goodies.

ain’t she a beaut?!

The piece of plywood I bought for the sides was the most expensive piece of plywood I’ve ever bought: $84!! But its red oak, and it looks great!

red oak plywood.
Oh, and Caleb came to help out with setting the foundation for and acted as project foreman of erecting what will be our privy!

gettin’ started.
workin’ hard.

I had time to do some of the sheathing earlier this week, too…


One last thing: a new toilet shelf – it had previously had some of that ol’ crappy padded pink crap on it that we decided we couldn’t bear to look at any longer.

toilet before
ugh. before.


ahh, much better.

So now, we are settling into our space as it evolves and our schedule for the new year (and new semester). I’m ready to feel like a true contributor to this project again!  Honestly, though, I did take time during my last weekend before school started and finished painting the bathroom, and orchestrated picking out and acquiring the new linoleum we will be installing in the bathroom (super-stoked to finish/update on that!).  Now I just need to find a bathtub and get it fixed up so that we can restore running water to Argie once again and start taking baths in our own home!

paintin’ and posin’
I love these colors!

Further, we’re really happy to have Mondays off (a day off together each week, oh joy!), so we can sleep in and also spend time working on Argie together. This way, it doesn’t seem like so much of a burden to put on Matt, since he has spent sooo much time working on Argie these past few weeks, as well as making this beautiful new ring I now wear daily.  We are so happy.

Christmas cuties!

For the near future, we’re working on staying warm (we’ve figured it out, we’ve got a system with the heater and some new rugs) and staying busy, which will keep us humble and happy (hopefully).

Cheers and love and stuff,

Matty P & Sweet Dee

our first snow in Argie.
how romantic?!


  1. Love the post! Glad you got rid of the pink in the bathroom. Love seeing all the progress and seeing how the engagement ring was made. Very cool. Hope the Canadian air isn’t too bad there, it’s awful in Chicago! Oh well, just need another layer! Happy New Year and congrats on getting engaged!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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