Tuesday, May 27, 2014

thrift store finds: may 2014

Bring isn't exactly a thrift store, but a reuse store that features mainly building materials. But they do have a large furniture warehouse at the back and a gallery space at the front that sometimes hosts a collection of harder-to-find items or art shows of stuff made with recycled materials. Today's post features things we spied at the store earlier this month while hardware shopping for a project.

Here's a wallpaper cutter from the late 19th century.

 A gigantic Low-Voltage Circuit Tester.

An antique trunk and an accordion my kiddo was pretty set on. (I think he's convinced he could school his music teacher if only he was allowed to touch the accordion.)

Another antique trunk. This one was priced rather high, even during the 50% off furniture sale. I went back on another day and someone had tried to force the lid shut and broke the back off.

An army trunk.

A mid-century drafting table/light table/desk with brass fixtures.

And those are just a few of the cool things we spied. They also had three rows of antique theater seats and a couple of sets of lockers that somehow escaped my camera. I'll stop back in this week and snap some pictures for a future post . . . unless you get there to buy them first!

Thanks for reading.

Linking up to:
The Cottage Market

Monday, May 26, 2014

a mother's day planter with new house numbers

The kiddo and I dipped into our scrap lumber pile to put together a new planter + house numbers for his grandma for Mother's Day. Actually, it was partially a birthday present for his grandpa, too, whose birthday had been a couple of weeks earlier. They've been needing something like this for awhile as someone (they both swear it wasn't them) had run into the previous house number post quite awhile ago.

Here's the before and after:

The Mr. picked up some potting mix and we picked out a plant at the hardy plant sale (it's an ornamental grass that's drought resistant and will eventually have golden plumes on top), but otherwise, we had all of the materials on hand.

If you make a planter out of your own scrap pile (old fence boards, leftover trim, etc.) your dimensions will vary based on what you have on hand, but here's a general guide:

Decide on your dimensions and sketch it out. A sketch will help solidify your plan and guide you as you work . I decided to make this planter three boards wide and two feet high, to make maximum advantage of our leftover and recycled wood.

Making a four-sided box planter, I constructed two sides with the trim overhanging a bit to cover the ends of the other two sides. I used 1x2 lumber scraps leftover from another project screwed onto the top and bottom.

On the backs of these two pieces, I added a couple of scrap lengths of 2x2 to the edges to act as interior braces.

The other two sides were built with the trim even with the ends.

Then I screwed the four sides together using the 2x2 braces to make everything secure, and screwed bottom boards in place. Spaces between the boards make for efficient drainage.

(Grainy early-evening photo alert!)

Four short stubs of pressure-treated 2x4 (leftover from a fence project) make great rot-resistant feet (the Mr. nailed them in place from the inside), and I let the kiddo help me stain the planter. He helped me pick the stain color, too. (It's Benjamin Moore Arborcoat in redwood color).

I managed to stop him from coating the front panel, though, which left room for the house numbers.

(If you make a measurement error {like I did} when planning the sides, some lengths of cedar garden stakes can be added at this point, too, to cover the corner gaps and add a nice design element.)

Not pictured here is the layer of black plastic I stapled to the inside (with holes cut through for drainage) to protect the wood from the wet dirt. Most of the planter is made with cedar fence board scraps, but my hope is that the plastic will keep the supports from rotting right away.

We waited until we had the planter in place before filling with soil, then planted it and added about six inches of mulch to the top to keep the plant happy and the soil moist.

As with any project, there are things I'd do differently next time around (like hiding the screws by screwing from the other side, measuring better, stenciling instead of free-handing), but the good thing about building anything for the first time is that you learn little things that will help you out the next time. And you know what? No one who loves you will complain about small imperfections anyway.

Thanks for reading!

Linking up to:
My Repurposed Life

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

shutter slat plant markers

Here's a quick one! I picked a pair of shuttered closet doors up from the free pile awhile back, and I've used the lumber + hinges from the frame elsewhere. I have a ton of these useful little shutter slats, though; they make nice, sturdy plant markers together with a little permanent pen.


Way better than the plastic tags that come with the plants, much sturdier than popsicle sticks, and the slats are pretty easy to come by at Habitat ReStores and other recycled building supply places.

Spring is springing! Gotta catch up with the weeding, so I'm keeping it short. Thanks for reading!

Linking up to:
My Repurposed Life

Saturday, May 17, 2014

fairy flower surprise gift (giant tissue paper flower)

These make a nifty way to present a tiny gift to someone special, whatever the occasion.  Extra large fairy flowers are an especially nice way to package costume jewelry for kids' birthdays; this one, for example, concealed a comically large metallic ring with a huge purple plastic gemstone for a girl who loves fairies.

I think these flowers make a nice gift in themselves, as well, or pretty awesome party favors. They're also versatile, easy to make, and use materials that are reasonably easy to find.

Start with six squares of tissue paper. To make the largest flower possible, use full-sized sheets of tissue with an end cut off to make a square. For smaller flowers, use smaller squares of paper. I used two sheets each of green, pink, and yellow, but you can alter the colors to match your theme.

Stack them up, and make one-inch wide accordion folds from one end of the stack to the other.

Use scissors to round the ends of the folded stack, then use a green pipe cleaner (aka chenille stem) to cinch the stack at the middle.

Carefully separate the layers of paper, gently pulling and shaping them up and towards the center to look like petals and leaves.

Use a length of 20 gauge steel wire to make a long stem, and use it to follow the green pipe cleaner around the center of the flower.

At the flower's base, twist the pipe cleaner and stem wire together, then wrap the entire stem with patterned washi tape or masking tape. The stem should be sturdy enough to hold the flower upright.

The center will be where you place the bundled present! Wrap your gift in layers of tissue paper and twist the top. Use two short lengths of pink chenille stems to twist around the top of the bundle, curling the ends.

Apply a rolled piece of the patterned masking tape or a piece of double-sided tape to the bottom of the bundle. (Hint: If you're planning on traveling very far or the jewelry is very expensive, I'd attach the bundle with hot glue instead of tape.)

Insert the bundle into the flower's center and press hard to secure it in place. Make sure to include a line in an attached card to let the recipient of the gift know to check the center of the flower for a hidden surprise!

If you plan to make a bunch of these as party favors, you can cut up to a dozen sheets of paper into squares at once to save time, and then build the flowers assembly-line style.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 12, 2014

cotton canvas couch covers

Cotton canvas couch covers. I can't say that four times fast. They weren't too hard to make, though, which is nice because I meant to get these done fast, in time for a baby shower I was hosting.

I started with the back cushions. There used to be three long cushions on this sofa, and none were practical for pillow forts or useful as floor cushions. I pulled the fluff out and used some cotton muslin to make four large pillow forms. These are just simple squares, 19 x 19 inches.

When the forms were all stitched up, I used the canvas (painter's tarp) to sew a couple of 20 x 20 squares together on three sides to make pillow covers. I hemmed the fourth side, but left it open. With the open end at the bottom and a snug fit, the open bottoms aren't too noticeable.

The seat cushions needed to be measured and traced. I cut them in two pieces then stitched around the perimeter on three sides with box stitching on the fronts. The fourth side of each was left open for easy washing, and I just tuck them into the edges in place.

It's not perfect, but it's a nice change for spring. The brown was just looking kind of dirty all the time; this helps. The new covers are really easy to remove and wash, and the canvas takes dye well if I decide the color needs to change. Overall, I'd call this one a success!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

coffee sack burlap chair reupholstery

You last saw these chairs at Thanksgiving, 2011, when I repainted and upholstered them with some whimsical sheep fabric . . . it lasted a while, but it was pretty dirty and hard to scrub clean.

I recently reupholstered them again with the front and back of a coffee sack for a little change of pace.

Easy as pie, just like last time. You'll want to fold over the edge of your burlap, though, and staple through a couple of layers to keep the burlap from warping or unraveling.

 Here are a few more coffee sack projects I've tackled:

Coffee Sack Tree Skirt
Lamp Shade
Wall Art

And here's where you can find a coffee sack or two if you're interested in trying this at home!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

pendleton blanket bunny

 I worked up a prototype bunny for a little friend's birthday, and I was pretty happy that my tinkering had such sweet results.

This is made with mill scraps from the Pendleton Woolen Mill here in Oregon.

After a couple of small changes, I hope to have a few of these cuties ready for my Etsy shop; I'll update here when that happens, so stay tuned or send me a little message if you'd like to be notified.

Have you been putting bits and pieces together to make anything cool lately? Leave me a link. I'd love to see it!

Thanks for reading.

Linking up to:

The Cottage Market 

My Repurposed Life 

Skip to My Lou 

LouLou Girls