As promised, here's the first of many posts about Matthew's visit at our place!
Let me back up a little and fill you all in where I left off. Matthew had been at our place at the end of December and we were able to celebrate the New Year together. After that, he spent the month of January in Florida with his friend Joel, helping out a friend with some landscape work, practicing his dulcimer, visiting his brother and sister-in-law, researching, and doing a lot of praying about decisions that will be made in the near future as far as what job to pursue and where to live, etc.
During that time, we've been staying busy with all of the baby goats on the farm. Mom and Dad were also able to make a trip up to see Jordan, Caleb and the girls at the end of January. They had a wonderful time, despite the frigid temperatures, and came back home to us safe and sound on February 2nd!
Matthew arrived back at our place on February 3rd! I was one happy girl! I was beginning to feel like the month of January was never going to end...
But end it did, and it was very nice to have Matthew with us for such a long time. We spent a total of 35 days together, and I am so thankful for each and every day we had together.
So, I'm sure that you are all curious as to what we did in those 35 days...hmm? A lot! And one of those special times was building a hope chest together....
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A few months ago, Matthew had asked me if I had a hope chest, which I did not. Little did I know that his mind started ticking as soon as he heard that. When he arrived at our house, he asked to see my grandfather's wood-working tools. He had already mentioned that he'd like to build something together, and that he had something in mind, but he didn't tell me what.
After making sure that my grandfather had all of the necessary tools to complete the job, he let me in on the secret. He was going to build me a hope chest! And he wanted my help!
What girl would turn down an offer like that?!!
After looking over several different designs and colors online we had a pretty good idea of features that we liked as well as things we disliked.
So Matthew sat down with paper, pencil and ruler and sketched out two drawings of different designs and asked if I liked either of those. I picked out one that I really, really liked.
Photo bomb by Ethan!
It's amazing we get any work done together!
After finishing the rough sketch, Matthew set to work figuring out how much wood we would need. He did all of the figuring in his head, as I sat there nodding and smiling, knowing that I would need paper and pen to accomplish that!
The next day found us checking prices at Home Depot as well as Lowe's to see how they compared for what we needed.
Having fun shopping together!
Going over prices....
After buying most of the wood that we needed for the project, we loaded up and headed home, ready to start building the next day!
We spent the first few days working on it in my grandparents garage, since that's where all their tools were. After doing all of the necessary cutting and lots of figuring, we were finally able to bring the project up to our house to work on it as we had time.
During one of the steps we used a nail gun "gone bad"! No matter how straight Matthew held the gun, it kept shooting the nails out slightly bent so that they would stick out of the wood, aggravating both of us. At one point, while Matthew was holding the backside of a board, the nail came out of the wood, and succeeded in hitting Matthew thumb. All he said was "Oww" very calm like, but as he pulled his thumb away from the board it was already forming a puddle of blood. It wasn't very big, but it was too deep for comfort. Once he got it washed out and bandaged up, he went right back to work.
I enjoyed helping him when I could, handing him a tool, or holding something for him. He did an excellent job of explaining each step to me, and I liked just watching him work. He was very encouraging anytime I tried to help. I have used a drill before, so I felt comfortable putting some of the screws in, but I let him handle the nail gun!
Matthew spent quite a few hours working on this hope chest, many of which were all by himself as we made cheese or milked. He was diligent and hard-working and I admire him all the more for all the time he took on this lovely gift to me!
The next trip into town that we took, we stopped by Home Depot again to pick out a color for stain. That's a hard decision to make when you don't know what color your other furniture will be some day!
Matthew offered to take a picture of our choices so that we could go home to decide. Or at least, he was supposed to be taking a picture of the colors....not me....
...there we go!
Here it is almost fully assembled!
It was really starting to take shape and after a good sanding from Matthew it was really looking good!
Almost finished! Attaching the trim and feet...
Victoria was even helping!
...DRUM ROLL PLEASE!...
My finished Hope Chest!!!
My guy with his work of art!
I knew Matthew could work with wood (he built himself a dulcimer after all!), but I had no idea just how skilled of a woodworker he was! I feel extremely blessed, not just because of the gift of the hope chest, but because of how sweet it was for Matthew to want to build me one, for all the time and effort he put into it, and for the special treasure it will always be to me!
My siblings were all very good at giving up their time to chaperone us so that we could work on this project together, for which I am very thankful! They are the best siblings a girl could ask for!
The next time he comes for a visit, we are going to work on applying the stain. (We picked a light cherry color.) The adventure continues...and I can't wait to start filling it!