Category Archives: Art and Making Stuff

I will always love you… or possibly until trash day

In October I found wood shelves tossed out on the curb. I wasn’t sure what I’d do with them but finding real wood furniture always makes me happy (pressboard or particle board crap just isn’t the same). About 29″ tall andĀ  33″ wide, they weren’t too heavy so I carried them home; I knew I could pass them on to someone else if I couldn’t find a use for them. Otherwise they were almost certainly going to the dump – trash day for that area was the next day – and any other passerby wouldn’t likely see their potential since they didn’t look like much at first glance.

The paint job, likely a stain, was uninspired.

IMG_20191014_121900

Before I even brought the shelves home, the words on the back caught my attention and sealed the deal.

IMG_20191014_121920_kindlephoto-157401

Now that was curious!Ā  Who are Louisa and Joe and why were their – or his – shelves chucked out for trash? Does she no longer love him? For whatever reason, were they no longer together (if they once were)?

It happens that I know someone by the feminine name but she spells it differently and moreover the woman on the shelves wrote her last name too, which I’ve edited out of the photo for privacy. It was an unusual name and googling it got no hits, further compounding the puzzle. I wonder if it wasn’t either of these two people who threw the shelves out but someone else. Maybe Joe nor Louisa was still the owner? Those words are an unusual thing to write on nondescript shelves anyway. Shelves aren’t all that romantic.šŸ˜• Maybe she painted them for him? Or secretly wrote the words on the back for him to find? And when was this written anyway? It just raises a lot of questions, the sort that intrigue me.

Now that the shelves were mine, the first order of business was fresh paint. I decided I could use the shelves in my room, if only temporarily, so I used this green that’s close to a shade I have on half the walls. The shelves aren’t ideal here because they extend past the window but I found myself in need of a little extra clothes storage, at least between seasons, so these will do. Painted, they look like a completely different piece.

IMG_20191018_093459_kindlephoto-157074

After I fixed up the shelves I found these interesting fabric bins at Dollar Tree. This setup may be temporary but for now it’s fine. And I will never paint over or otherwise change the words written on the back. In the end, I find the “secret” declaration of love, whether it lasted or not, kind of touching.

IMG_20191109_061535_kindlephoto-172413

Improvements to my bedroom “decor”

I’ve been tweaking my room for a long time. It was more or less okay when I last postedĀ photo updates in late December but I wasn’t entirely satisfied with what I had on the wall over my bed. Last week I bought myself a present from Ross, a wonderful 30″ wide smiling, metal sun wall decorationĀ for $13. My thought was to hang it over the bed and it did look really good there. However, I got another idea.Ā 

I found a 5.5 foot long painted white board (where else but curbside?šŸ˜Š) and got inspired to make it a shelf high up on the wall behind my bed. I eliminated a shorter lime green shelf from another wall and took objects from it for the new shelf. It’s perfect! I then took one of my favorite framed prints, Anne Worthington’sĀ Sunflower and centered that under the shelf. I flanked the poster with two small mirrors I already had on the wall but just moved them out a bit for balance.Ā  I put the large metal sun to the right over my chair, where it looks terrific and at night is lit by the wall lamp near it. i hung my two long tealight holders on either end of the shelf.Ā  I repositioned every picture & piece of wall art I have for better effect. Want to see it all?

IMG_20190710_081630

IMG_20190710_081536

IMG_20190710_142553

I feel compelled to smile back at him

IMG_20190710_153124

The hanging moon & Maxwell Parrish print in their new spots

The corner on the left of the bed has long challenged me but I’m much happer with this. Here’s the lamp I found a number of years ago which gave me the overarching co!or theme for the room. Prior to finding this lamp and getting inspired by it, everything i hadwas fairly random and nowhere near as appealing as it is now. The lamp highlights the poster,Ā Morning Bouquet, a print I’ve had – and loved – for decades. My painted lime green long mirror is now in a good spot too. Eventually I’d like to get a nicer long mirror, something more substantial, but this works now.

IMG_20190707_205429

Lastly, this hasn’t changed, but it’s the opposite wall, the one with the door (and puny closet), which I see every morning when I wake up. It makes me happy and now everything kind of fits together.

IMG_20190710_082627_kindlephoto-26685941

 

How I make a cabinet with shelves from scrap wood

Throughout the time I’ve been writing this blog I’ve occasionally posted pieces on simple furniture I’ve made. Nobody taught me how to make stuff; I figured it out for myself. Unlike many other things I’ve self-taught, I don’t turn to library books or other instructions because frankly, they tend to look intimidating and demand a lot more steps, effort, and purchases than I am willing to undertake. I make things that suit me – they’re not meant to be heirlooms or wow any carpenter who happens along (I’m smart enough to not let a carpenter or anybody skilled get too close a look at my homemade creations). Point being, I’m not killing myself here; just saving money and having the satisfaction of making something. Oh, and exercising – all that sawing and hammering and hauling stuff about is burning calories.šŸ˜

I was seeing a man many years back who did offer the suggestion that I should use screws in my endeavors rather than just the nails I had been. This was good advice (I mean what the hell did I know?). Screws make pieces stronger and are easier to remove, particularly if you’re making something that might be subject to change down the line.

One style I return to again and again is a simple one for building shelves or cabinets. I took the time two weeks ago to take photos of how I made a simple small cabinet. It’s pretty much the blueprint for every one I’ve previously made. If you’re at all handy, it really isn’t difficult and it’s fun.

I had a few small shutters that I took off a cabinet I remade in the kitchen. They were cute and after I unsuccessfully tried to “re-home” them, I decided to use one in a project. In December I purchased a wonderful little set of five essential oils on Amazon. They’re not available now so the link is there just in case you want to see what I got. I thought it might be nice to have a small cabinet to hold the oils and my tealights. I love tealights and use them almost exclusively. If you wander off to another room for something and aren’t watching them like a paranoid hawk, they’re far less likely to catch your house on fire than tapers or pillars as tealights generally mind their own business quietly and don’t go shooting huge flames skyward.

Here are the four pieces of wood I sawed to the dimensions I needed to make a unit – essentially a box – to be hidden behind the shutter. The teaspoon is there just for size reference.

IMG_20190203_133910_kindlephoto-4793437

Next I started screws in the four corners of the top and bottom pieces. It’s easier to get them started on a flat surface.IMG_20190203_134404.jpg

Here is the bottom and top screwed into place.IMG_20190203_135345_kindlephoto-4750960

I made sure the shutter wood fit nicely as a door the way I intended before proceeding.Ā IMG_20190203_135555_kindlephoto-4707815

Here I have cut a board for a shelf and am checking to be sure I’ve made it the right size before sawing the others. I tend to be a sort-of-measure-once and cut-multiple-times kind of person.šŸ˜IMG_20190203_140259_kindlephoto-4656523.jpg

I sawed two more shelves and eyeballed them to see where I’d want to place them in the cabinet. I got the essential oils out to make sure they’d fit on a shelf.IMG_20190203_141825_kindlephoto-4615242

With a shelf like this that isn’t going to hold much weight, I feel free to just useĀ nails as shelf supports. It is the easiest, cheapest method and they don’t take up any space. I pounded two into either side of every spot I wanted to support a shelf.

IMG_20190203_142708

If I am making a shelf that will hold weight I make wood supports like this one I did in the food cabinet. These are just short boards nailed into place. In this case prior to assembling the tall cabinet I lay the two sides down on the ground and attached the supports; this way I can line them up and the shelf will be even when upright. The photo is a typical support for a heavy shelf, in this case my food “pantry.” I made this one many years ago and it has dutifully held the weight of my overstuffed shelves, including lots of canned goods.

IMG_20190216_134626.jpg

The shutter already had two hinges attached so I used them as is. I only bother to place one screw into each one as a time saver, especiallyĀ  with a very lightweight door like this.

IMG_20190203_144131.jpg

I painted the whole thing white.

IMG_20190203_155540

I often skip adding a back of any kind and just let the wall be the back of a shelf unit. If I build a tall cabinet, I typically add a support piece to the back, though, so the whole damn thing doesn’t sway back and forth. It’s quite something what a little back support will do! In this case, just to keep the wall clean and because it was no trouble, I decided to add a back made from a cardboard box. Here’s the plain box and the piece I cut to size and painted white.

IMG_20190204_134735_kindlephoto-4535921

The back stapled into place.IMG_20190204_135129

Lastly pounded two picture hangers into the top of the back. These have pointy ends that drive into the wood.IMG_20190204_141036

The final cabinet hung on two small nails in the wall. I added the red dots since I already have a similar cabinet nearby that has red dots on its larger shutter door. So cute!IMG_20190215_170140_kindlephoto-143755.jpg

The inside look. I added a second coat of paint before taking this picture just to make it a little nicer.IMG_20190215_170050

The door wasn’t staying quite shut so I added this simple hook.IMG_20190215_172108.jpg

Ā 

Cobbling together a new watch!

I never used to have/wear watches, not for many years, but then I picked up a few inexpensive ones from yard sales. As with most things (accessories) I like to have choices. But for some reason the bands seem to break in short order. IMG_20180708_095821_kindlephoto-2355441So now I have a couple watch faces lounging about with no occupation. I found a purpose for one that has suited me well, attached right on the outside of a purse.

IMG_20180708_095855

Five years ago I bought thisĀ inexpensive bracelet online.

IMG_20180708_095529_kindlephoto-3449387

This is how it looked

I soon realized the peacock stuck out too far for my taste and I was never going to wear it. So I broke the peacock off the bracelet and glued it to a pin.

IMG_20180708_095556_kindlephoto-2411363

But then I had the bracelet part doing nothing. I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of it. It had potential. But I didn’t know what. The bracelet is hinged and opens & closes which I thought was so interesting. It’s not high-end but it wasn’t ready for the garbage.

IMG_20180708_095617_kindlephoto-2459832

The other day I got an idea to attach one of my watch faces to it. I had the perfect one. All I needed was wire and pliers, both of which I had.

IMG_20180708_104215.jpg

I wrapped skinny (high gauge) wire around the part of the watch that holds the band and over the bracelet. I did the same at either side of the bottom.

IMG_20180708_104134_kindlephoto-3515672

 

IMG_20180708_104043_hdr_kindlephoto-20900885

IMG_20180708_104953_kindlephoto-21865073

It looks great!

 

Fun shed door updates summer 2018

It’s summer!! YAY! Last year I showed how I made cute shelves for the shed door from someone’s cast-off metal bathroom shelves in a post onĀ garden decor. I’ve added new things to the shed door and wanted to share them.

First, an overview of the shed. Check out the AMAZING hydrangea in the foreground.

IMG_20180619_125211_kindlephoto-18305467

 

I thought to put an impatiens in one of the little pots on the shed door.

IMG_20180619_125236

I added a hook and red hanging impatiens on the right. Those are new white solar string lights I strung across the top.

IMG_20180619_125241_kindlephoto-18719052

Finally, because the pot is there on the left I want to show you this lone tomato I’m very excited about!

IMG_20180619_125250.jpg

EDIT 6/20: I’ve come back to this post to include a nighttime shot of my new solar string lights. They don’t reach the ground on either side but I DID hang them evenly at any rate; the right side is blocked by plants.

IMG_20180620_212121_kindlephoto-35794335

 

Painting a roadside find in bright colors

When it was still cold I spied this piece of wood (no pressboard crap) furnitureĀ  by the road. It’s half cabinet and half drawers. A true find! I was on foot so I had to abandon the drawers in order to haul the main piece home. Fortunately it wasn’t too heavy.Ā MoreĀ fortunately the drawers were still there upon my return. Not that I thought they’d make a break for it once set free… I just hoped no other passerby would find 3 smallish drawers all that is interesting.

IMG_20180317_190927_kindlephoto-20418782

It’s 33″ long, 29″ tall, 13″ deep (a great size for many options)

IMG_20180317_191135_kindlephoto-7051257

Only once I had it home did I notice the front left leg was a bit chewed up. What the hell??Ā  I guessed a dog might have done the damage (or a big cat?) but I couldn’t think why a pet would gnaw on just the one leg.

IMG_20180317_190747_kindlephoto-20319543

I decided to do a quick-n-dirty repair with spackle. I know that’s unorthodox and remembered aboutĀ wood filler after the fact. Oh well.

IMG_20180317_192359_kindlephoto-21163923

Somebody had stained the piece dark brown. Nothing wrong with that but I wanted color. First a coat of prime.

IMG_20180319_124224_kindlephoto-7021365

I decided to get brave/experimental with the colors. I am more inclined to do this on a roadside freebee. As always I just selected from what I already have. Even these paints, except the white, were free, abandoned. This is with one coat of color. I could add another if the spirit moves me. I am super happy with how it turned out.Ā  (By the by, now that I think about it, everythingĀ on topĀ also was free –Ā  from past finds and giveaways, except the actual plant and the lamp shade.)

IMG_20180323_163411

IMG_20180323_163759

 

 

IMG_20180323_163307_kindlephoto-24482920

It only looks bad up close. Good enough!

IMG_20180325_123419_kindlephoto-9350065

Let’s make a chimes/mobile thingee!

Here’s what I made this morning.

IMG_20180217_114208

IMG_20180217_114157

IMG_20180217_114344

Against the wall so you can see it better

But what is it you ask? (Pretend you asked.) I’m so glad you asked! For many years I’ve used a vegetable steamer or steamer basket which was prone to falling apart. For those unfamiliar a steamer is a metal contraption placed in a small amount of boiling water in a large pot. Food goes in the steamer, a lid goes on the pot and the steam cooks the food. Steamed food is said to retain more nutrients and it tastes pretty good too. When a tiny leg came off, my basket finally fell apart beyond my ability to repair it. I detached all the pieces (recycling the center piece) and set them aside waiting for inspiration because the metal sections looked interesting.

IMG_20180217_114447_kindlephoto-12262692

A steamer basket


When an idea came to me earlier today, I tied the pieces together with dental floss (cheap & strong) and attached the three links to a piece of scrap wood. I made the top hanger from picture hanging wire. The whole thing is about 2′ long. The pieces make a satisfying “clink” when they touch plus each individual metal piece is prone to spinning. I haven’t decided if it should go outside. For now I’m admiring it indoors.

(NOTE: pleased forgive a day or two’s delay in responding to any comments.)