Category Archives: Making Stuff

Let’s make a smallish outdoor dining table!

I was in the mood for a project this week. In the summer I put up a seasonal screen tent because the mosquitoes are god-awful and there’s no other way to be outside. I’ve used small tables in it which are fine but I was thinking it’d be nice to have something larger for a “dining” table, but not TOO large because there just isn’t space. Tables like I had in mind aren’t cheap and sticking to my usual policy of finding castoffs or making stuff, I thought maybe I could make something from the limited scrap wood I had on hand. The lumber I have is almost all wood that other people have tossed out; I very rarely have bought any from an actual store. So I usually try to work with what I have – I like stretching my mind that way and I do think it’s better than going out and buying stuff if I can avoid it.

I don’t trouble myself with looking up instructions or using intimidating “plans” – I wing my projects and learn from doing. As I said, I was going to use what what I had in my scrap wood, which wasn’t much, but I had an idea! I had made the little table but it was never quite as sturdy as I’d have liked and I was no longer using it anyway. Here’s the raw parts.

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First I made the outer frame. While I’ve never made a large table, I’ve looked at them and know that most have a square or rectangular frame on which the top of the table sits.

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Then I knocked apart my old little table to use the legs. Here they are attached. As you may see from the holes, they started life as some sort of IKEA furniture, which somebody later threw out. I just faced the sides with holes toward the inside.

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Since I only had little boards I came up with the idea of addng a middle support so I could use 6 small boards for the top. Here are the boards in place.

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Paint was going to be of the essence. I have a small collection of paints, most of which were free, either found by the road (this community tosses out A LOT of stuff) or given away by someone. This one color was so loud I wasn’t sure what I’d ever use it for but this seemed perfect. Here is one coat. I thought this color would look great contrasted with white on the legs.

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The next morning I applied another coat and clear spray gloss to the top only to help preserve the paint. Not that I think this table will last forever but just to help sustain it

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Here it is in its new home.

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I had used the legs “as is” because I was disinclined to have to handsaw those thick pieces but I could see the table was too tall. I’d left open the possibility of making it shorter (in terms of where I’d nailed on the low support pieces on either end) so I sawed off about 2.5″. Much better! (I decided to only take off a little at first lest I accidentally end up with a coffee table!)

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Oh, I should mention the bench in the photo is an old “reclaimed” bench I fixed up and the chairs were also – what else but – roadside freebies.  They aren’t exactly what I’d like (I had nicer chairs that wore out) but they are okay for now. Eventually I want something comfier again.

A day or so later I was having my “inaugural” snack at the table when it occurred to me you might like to see that. So here is a glass of homemade tomato juice and a bowl of salted peanuts in the shell. It happened to be a very hot day and it was delightful! I was so tickled with the table.

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I tend to accomplish things in spurts and when I get ideas they build on each other plus I have Serious Spring Fever. I had two little outdoor wood tables found by the road last year (I took the best two of several that were tossed). I had painted one this light green but decided to perk it up. Here is the change between the colors.

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The other little wood table is kinda shabbier and the wood is not as nice and I decided to just paint its top the same red/orange as my new “dining table”.

IMG_20170517_072458_kindlephoto-7948172I don’t know if it’s worth the trouble to paint the legs since as I say the wood is disintegrating. But what a difference even a little paint made!

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I also added fresh paint to the top of this little metal table because it was looking a bit down in the mouth. This “moss green” spray paint was another freebie someone tossed out. What a pretty shade.

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Making a display shelf for Pepsi and Coke bottles

Way back in 2o14 I did a short post on the Pepsi and Coke bottles I’d saved. I didn’t keep them because I’m obsessed with either product (I don’t drink either product) but because they evoked a sentiment and I just thought they were cool. They’ve kind of drifted around a bit, not really having a “home.” I came up with an idea and a good spot in a little hallway this week.

I didn’t want to go to a lot of trouble so this was a get-it-done project. Using scrap would I nailed one narrow board to another at right angles. I used just 4 brads at equal intervals; if this shelf was going to hold heavy objects or was wider you couldn’t get away with only using measily nails to attach it but here it’s fine. It happened that the one board had a red strip I’d painted when it’d been part of something else so I decided to leave it and paint the rest to match the green wall.

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I drilled two holes into the support board that would be flush with the wall and screwed the shelf into place. I couldn’t wait to add my bottles! Plus a red tin cup for good measure.

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Easy home made earring display

I’ve been meaning to post a picture for awhile showing how I hang/display my earrings. I am ALL about earrings.  When I was young I couldn’t WAIT to get to wear them. They are definitely my thing. I’ve previously posted how I hang my necklaces on the wall. My philosophy is – and I tell this to other women when I get the chance – if you don’t see it you won’t wear it.

This is a simple bulletin board I painted. I cut and strung the strings around & stapled them into the wood. I added cup hooks on the sides for hooks that couldn’t go over the string, like hooks that close (if you mostly wear post-style earrings, this display is not for you – I’ll get back to ya if I come up with a decent “post” style display!). I used a bulletin board because I happened to have one but other frames could work too. Part of why I like the bulletin board is for its neutral color; it doesn’t compete with all the earrings so they show up.

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Of course this could go right on the wall and look very nice and I have done that previously. Now however, since wall space is at a premium, I have it on the side of this 6′ IKEA cabinet I use in place of a dresser. Here’s a wider shot.

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Chinese lions get a paint job

The Chinese lions have appeared in the blog before, most recently last summer. They also turned up herethere, and here too. The story is I found the pair chucked out by the road and rescued them. This was several years back and they’d since started to look like they’d been taking in a bit too much sun.

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It was time for a little sprucing with gold paint.

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Although they weren’t painted differently originally, I thought the eyes should be red.

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You can sort of see the newly red eyes. And look at those teeth! (Somebody hasn’t been brushing.) Gotta love the intricate detail.

 

Seeing red (dots that is)

I’ve been on a decluttering/prettyifying kick (something I do regularly). I made this simple, shallow cabinet with scrap wood and someone’s discarded shutter last year. I custom-created it to fit in a small space between two doors. You know how “they” say you shouldn’t keep pills, vitamins, etcetera in the bathroom? Well, this to hold those kinds of items. I have really taken to shallow storage – no more wrestling around in the dark recesses of a cabinet trying to find one tiny item while knocking others out onto the floor. Or buying 3 of something because you didn’t know you still had extra supplies tucked out of sight.

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[A side note: this little unit is 3′ tall because that’s what boards I had on hand when the idea and mood struck to do this. Sure, I could have waited and acquired other boards another day but baby, when I am in the mood to do something, I want to do it NOW. One of the things I truly love about being an adult is nobody can stop me and lecture me on how that’s not the right way to do it, you have to plan and take careful, precise measurements and write things down and go to the store with an itinerary. I say fuck that. I gots to do it when the mood strikes!]

So the other day in a fit of getting rid of stuff I came across a stash of red stick-on dots. I never specifically needed red dots but they were included in a Dollar Tree pack of multiple colors  I got for a project. I was about to offer it on Freecycle when inspiration hit.

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They look kind of pink here but they’re really red in person

I had  A LOT of red dots so I put them on, and next to, this other 6′ tall, deeper cabinecornerde that’s tucked into a corner. Such a simple thing but it really makes a difference. They’re fun and cheerful. And when I get bored of them it’s easy goodbye.

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The Last of the Mohicans IKEA shelves

Last year I found some IKEA shelves thrown out. I like tossed-out IKEA furniture especially single bed frames and shelves because the lumber is good, easy to work with and lightweight. As you might imagine their furniture comes apart easily too. I have no qualms about salvaging & subsequently knocking apart pieces otherwise headed for the landfill. This was a unusual find, a tall unit with six 16″ square shelves.

Remember back in grade school they taught you how Indians (they said Indians then) used every last part when they killed a buffalo? Ate the meat, made outfits from the hides and fashioned utensils from bones? That’s how I felt about how I used these IKEA shelves! (On hearing that somewhere a great warrior chief is spinning in his grave.)

First I made wall art which I later slightly updated. Next I got the idea to make a headboard. Then I used two of the long thin boards to make a privacy lattice by nailing them to the an otherwise flimsy piece of lattice (the kind that Lowes or Home Depot sells in big sheets but this was cut down). I now give you The Last of the IKEA Shelves, a simple “laundry station” above the washing machine in the kitchen. I used the last two long pieces of wood to make the rectangular frame and small pieces I already had for the shelves.

This is a bit over four feet tall and tucked into a space between a cabinet (a $5 yard sale IKEA unit that I painted red) and attached to the existing cabinet and a window.  I even remembered when designing (and I use that last word loosely) the unit to take into account that bottles would stick out past the 4″ shelves and potentially impede opening the cabinet door which would be a real bitch to discover/realize belatedly and is somewhat typical of how I make things in my I-want-it-done-now approach to construction (again, loose use of a word).

I am really happy with it. The design is super convenient and allowed me to give away a tall metal shelving unit that previously held the laundry stuff (and took up too much space).

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Easiest holiday decoration ever

I call this “lights in a bowl”. Should you attempt this 3o second display just make sure the lights don’t get too hot and/or don’t use the Waterford crystal okay? The picture doesn’t exactly show it right – if it’s not clear those are multi-color mini-lights – but I assure you it’s very pretty.

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