Crystal Madrilejos

Design & Creative

Generation 2.0 isn’t a total overhaul, just a tweak. In version 1.0, I made it to accommodate rectangular tissue boxes. But it turns out that because of the way the tissues are layered in the box it doesn’t work too well to pull them out upside down. They tore. So this one was made for square tissues boxes and it works much, much better since the tissues are layered and folded inside the box. It was made for our friend Michael C.


In thinking about what to get some of the nieces and nephews for Christmas I remembered seeing wooden guitar cut-outs that the Make Believe Company was making. So I did my own versions. One is based off of my Fender Coronado. The other is a Les Paul.

The latter was given to a friend for his daughters. Before I started his I asked him what his favorite guitar was, he simply texted back: gold top. It worked out quite nicely seeing as the top is technically golden.

Here’s our nephew Falcon mid howl. He has an interesting way of holding the neck but far be it from me to tell someone else how to rock.

As you may have picked up on from my use of the past tense and the visual of Falcon rocking, these guitars have already been distributed. So Christmas presents was the goal but they turned into Autumn gifts instead. Oh well, there’s never a bad time to give a gift.


PS – We have video of Falcon, too! It’s hilarious. If we can put it up we will.

There seems to be a void in the world of tissue box design. For whatever reason, the patterns that adorn boxes of facial tissue are inevitably horrible. And this isn’t a new revelation. Grandmothers across the globe have been crocheting tissue box covers for years now and others have come up with even more impressive solutions. For example, one of my favorite remedies does away with the box altogether:

Since Crystal and I battle the occasional allergen and we have boxes of tissues throughout the house I wanted to try and ease our eyes from the patterned hell. I focused on our bedroom where end table space is limited and access can be a problem. Here was my “solution”:


Ever since we cleaned out our barn for use as a woodshop we’ve (Crystal, Crystal’s bro Tomas J., and I) have been collecting “stuff” that we feel could be used for something in the future. I’m always happy when I actually get to use this “stuff.” It makes me feel like I’m breathing new life into something, and I’m not just a hoarder. Over the past few weeks I’ve been working on a little outdoor coffee table of sorts for my parents that utilized some of what we’ve collected. My folks have a seating area on their porch and needed a table to accompany a bench my Mama recently painted. So I scoured the barn and put a table together with materials that all had former lives at one time.

1-2) For the frame I used an old rusty, musty thing we found in Crystal’s parents’ backyard. After some of my elbow grease removed and sealed the metal from future rust it turned out pretty good.
3) The majority of the tabletop was this piece of wood. I’m assuming it’s pine. When in doubt, just say it’s pine. This picture is of a leftover section.
4) The board in image 3 wasn’t quite wide enough so Tomas J. and I cut it in half and added a strip from a scrap piece of 4×4 in the middle. Again, the pictured piece was leftover from one of the ends I cut off. To finish the top I put end caps on each end to hide the ugly end grain. (The word “end” made up 17.6% of that sentence.)

Below is the finished product.


I forgot to mention in my last post that a few good friends of ours chipped in and for our wedding got us a substantial gift card so that we could buy the table saw. Andrew’s been wanting one forever.

Also, last year one of our local hardware stores closed down and had a huge sale. Andrew found this.


I was thinking that this post would be an update, but I was looking back at the archives and realized that I have never posted about our workshop in the barn. The farmhouse that we live in, like most farmhouses, has a barn. Andrew remembers when he was young and horses were in the field and in the barn. They were taken care of by a woman named Marge. The horses and Marge are gone and the barn is pretty much empty except for some hay the Towne’s use for the alpacas and a ton of wood scraps.

When we first moved in almost all the stalls still had old hay in them from when the horses were around. We had to wear masks while cleaning it out because it was an allergy nightmare.

Basically, this is what it looked like before and while we were cleaning it out:

And this is what it looks like now:

Thanks to my brother TJ for all his help getting the barn into shape. In the past year the workshop has produced a dining room table, a bed frame/desk, a toy chest, a stool, a compost bin, a trellis, a kid’s desk, Hungarian shelves, and a storage box for pool supplies (I’m sure I’m forgetting somethings)!



Puzzle Box

Baby Layla has been the focus of yes, have some. lately, as is evident here, here and here. The latest gift for the little one is this Puzzle Box I made. At this point, six of her could fit into one of the small compartments, but she’ll grow into it. And until it’s filled with her toys, I’m sure Mama and Papa can use it for blankets, or clothes, or any of the other large amounts of “supplies” that little, tiny humans require.




One of the many great things about living in Ohio is we finally have more room to make things. During the really cold months it’s a little more difficult because the barn is too cold to work in for extended periods of time. We have a basement where it is possible to do work as well, but the ceiling is really low and Andrew has to duck every time he goes down there.

Last summer we found this school desk at a junk shop for $18 and fixed it up for our niece. The whole thing was covered in layers of paint and was all around ugly.

We stripped all the paint off the wood, refinished it, repainted the metal parts and added my nieces last name across the top corner. Voila! Brand new desk.