Category Archives: Other Projects

A Bright Idea

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A few weeks ago, I found a little white lamp with a wobbly top.  With my hopeful outlook, I figured fixing that little wobble would be a piece of cake.  After fiddling around with it a bit on my own, I turned to the internet for some inspiration and possibly some direction.  The repair sounded simple enough, but would require taking the lamp a bit more apart than it already was.  Not wanted to make a decision on the fate of this poor little FREE lamp, I figured I’d sleep on it (for a month or so).  Now, something I’ve yet to mention is that the very moment I acquired the lamp, my friend inquired, “Are you going to paint it?”.  At that point, I had absolutely zero intention in making this an even bigger project that it already seemed.  So, of course, my answer was, “no”.  Fast forward to today, after much hemming and hawing, I’ve come to the conclusion, that this lamp will be much more of a statement piece if it has some color to it.  Currently, I’m thinking orange.  I stopped by the local lighting store…which just happens to have a sign in a window advertising, “lamp repair”.  During my errands this afternoon, I brought my lamp along, in anticipation for a stop at the lighting store.  The person working at the counter was incredibly helpful and tried to tighten the loose part right then and there.  To no avail, as the nut inside the lamp was just spinning and spinning.  I inquired as to how much it would cost to complete this (seemingly simple) repair.  $30.00 was quoted in response to my question.  Well, for my lamp to go from FREE to $30.00 in one foul swoop was a bit too much for me to handle.  Needless to say, I passed on that option.  However, the stop at the lighting store was not a waste of time.  I was able to gather information on what tool would be needed to tighten the nut AND that the felt (on the bottom) would ultimately need to be removed and replaced.  Genius, I know.  With this knowledge now occupying space in my mind, I set right to work removing the felt AND loosening the nut.  That’s right, you read correctly, I (with assistance) loosened the nut…hence the reason why the whole top is flopping around.  You may be asking yourself, “Why on earth?”.  Well, the way I see it, it’ll be a whole lot easier for me to paint in disjointed pieces.  At least, that’s what I’m thinking.  That being said, things have a way of becoming more challenging before they become easier.

I suppose we’ll see.

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Juniperus occidentalis var. occidentalis

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A few weeks ago, I was hiking and came across some awesome Western DSCN6537Juniper (Juniperus occidentalis var. occidentalis) branches.  The branches were just waiting to be cut into manageable pieces and given the opportunity to truly shine. In total, I brought home 5 pieces of beautiful wood. This evening, DSCN6539I finally had an opportunity to see how it looked after some time with the chop saw. I was able to cut quite a few wood cookies from those 5 segments. And, I’m not sure if it is actually possible for it to look even more incredible now that it has been cut into wood cookies…but it does. In addition to each piece looking so unique, this wood also smells great. Unfortunately, I can’t quite share that scent through the internet at this time…but, trust me, it is quite delightful.

Now, I’m only hoping they’ll all dry with non of the wood checking (ie. cracking, splitting, etc.). Ahhh…just think of the possibilities!  I’m thinking I see some of these as coaster, some as name tags, and some as pocket tokens.

Wood Cookie Cutting Time

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DSCN5326A couple weeks ago, I noticed some neighbors had put some tree limbs out by the street to be hauled away by the city.  I got thinking that some of them might make some neat wood cookies.  Plus, the branches were from a type of tree (Bradford Pear) that I haven’t seen on the west coast.  So, with assistance, we were able to drag a couple of them home.  And there they sat.

Fast forward to last night.  We pulled out the chop saw and got to work cutting cookies (and creating tons of sawdust).2015-12-31 22.41.29  Yes, I know the wood was still green…but, it’ll be a whole lot easier packing cookies, as compared with packing branches.  So, with plenty of help, we cut a bunch of wood cookies (of all sizes).  I’ve grouped them into small, medium, and large.  Now, I’ve just got to find space to pack ’em all in my luggage.

Just think…of all of the name tags, ornaments, and wreaths these wood cookies can be used to make.  The possibilities are nearly endless.

UPDATE: Rustic Wood Round/Cookie Wreath

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With the holidays just around the corner, a great deal of my time has been spent getting various projects ready to sell at a holiday craft bazaar.  If you’ll recall from (about this time) last year, I jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon with my version of a rustic wood round/cookie wreath.  Unfortunately, that DSCN5119particular version didn’t sell last year.  So, the two lonely wreaths sat…just waiting for this year to roll around.  After some moderate brainstorming, I was inspired to add a little greenery (we’re talking real greenery here, folks).  With fresh greenery, that meant a green bow just wouldn’t do, so I decided to change the  color of the bow as well.  In reading various posts and trying to figured out how they actually attach the greenery, I noticed that some of the other wood cookie wreaths had used something called a craft ring as their base.  After thinking about it a bit more, I figured a wider base would provide increased surface area upon which I could glue the rounds.  DSCN5117I was able to find the craft rings I needed at Michaels and set to work dismantling all of the previous year’s hard work.  I scraped and sanded off the old glue on the wood cookies and set to work re-gluing them on the wider base.  For this step, I used my trusty wood glue once again.  I then spent the next couple of weeks thinking about what type of greenery I would like to use AND (perhaps most importantly) where I could acquire said greenery.  Conveniently, I was able to find many of the things I wanted to incorporate located all around me.  I found the cedar at the base of some large trees on the edge of a McDonald’s parking lot.  The holly came from trees which line the road on my way to the local Taco Bell (FYI: I asked the owner before I snipped off some twigs).  The pine cones (which I didn’t use this time around) DSCN5118came from my very own backyard.  Now, I’m not sure why I didn’t even think to add greenery last year to the wreaths last year…especially considering that I made 3 swags at nearly the exact same time.  Perhaps I was just trying to keep the wreaths simple.  Alas, I digress.  DSCN5116With the wood cookies attached to the new base, I simply started laying the greenery on ’em.  Add a little green floral wire to mix and you’ve got a very simple way to add so much flair to what started out as a basic wreath.  As I mentioned earlier, a green bow just wouldn’t cut the mustard, so I did my best to recreate the bows from last year…this time, with the red burlap ribbon.  I’m pretty certain the making of the bow was the hardest part of this whole project.  For me, I found it pretty tough to get the bow to look perfect.  With that being said, I was very pleased with the end result.  In fact, the two wreaths I took to the bazaar were the very first items to sell.  I suppose I better get started on making more for next year.

SOLD: 12/4/15

Skirting Around an Idea

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This past weekend, I paid a visit to a nearby rummage sale.  I came across the ad on Craigslist and figured it was one worth checking out.  We arrived toward the end of the three day sale, so the workers were more than happy to make deals.  After nearly an hour perusing through the variety of items for sale, I came across quite a lovely selection of men’s neckties.  The majority of the ties were vintage and many caught my eye.  However, being the fairly stingy…’eh, thrifty person I am, I felt 4 for $1.00 was far too high of a price.  Plus, I didn’t really have any idea of how I’d use such fun neckties.  So, we took our bags of treasures to the car.  I was still hemming and hawing when a suggestion was made that I could fashion some sort of a Christmas tree skirt with the ties.  Brilliant!!  I’d like to say I thought of the idea, but alas, not this time.  We promptly headed back into the rummage sale, making a b-line to the area with the ties.  Much to my delight, the price had been slashed to 6 for $1.00.  Now they were speaking my language!  However, it seemed someone else had also spied the wide variety of ties, as many of the ones I really liked had already been bought.  DSCN3980I think I had been gone maybe five minutes.  No worries though.  I was able to purchase 9 really great neckties which I plan to use to make a tree skirt for my smaller artificial Christmas tree.  So, I am now on the hunt for more great vintage ties (at least 9 more) at a great price.  With an idea in mind, I have yet to find a pattern that fits my exact needs…though I have found some that are headed in the right direction.  Luckily, I’ve got nearly a year to work on this project.  As I allocate more ties, I have a feeling that my plan will continue to take shape.

Who knows…the possibilities are nearly limitless when it comes to vintage supplies.

Rustic Wood Round/Cookie Wreath

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With the holidays soon approaching, I figured I’d post a piece with a crafty holiday flair.  Earlier this fall, I came across quite a few pieces of Big Leaf Maple wood…mainly nice-sized branches.  Not knowing what I would do with them, I held onto them and let them dry for a bit.  DSCN3711And then I came across this fabulous wreath on Pinterest.  I figured I, too, could come up with some way to make something like that…with the supplies (and budget) that I have.  Here is the point at which I got out the chop saw and set to work.  Since I had the saw out, DSCN3716I cut way more wood rounds that I could possibly need.  I am still blown away by how much sawdust was created during this process.  Sorry, I didn’t think to take any pictures of that step.  For the base of my wreath, I found two 12″ embroidery hoops at the local GoodWill Outlet (bins) and figured they’d work perfectly.  I tied a little twine up at the top to create a loop from which the wreath could hang.  Originally, I was going to leave the wood rounds rough…think, straight off the chop saw.  But, I figured they’d probably glue better if they had a smoother surface, so I sanded all of the wood rounds I would need.  This part was the definitely the most time consuming part, as the wood was still pretty ‘green’.  With the sanding finally complete, I broke out my trusty wood glue and set to work gluing the first layer of DSCN3700rounds into place directly on the embroidery hoop.  With that layer dry, I meticulously glued another layer of wood rounds onto the first layer…taking care to cover the places where the first rounds had intersected.  I just loved the way that the wreath looked at this point, but figured no wreath would be complete without a bow.  The wreath I was using as a DSCN3715model had a burlap bow, so I was off to the store to find something of the burlap variety that would work with my particular wreath.  Using a 60% off coupon at JoAnn’s, I was able to purchase a great dark, olive green roll of burlap ribbon.  The ribbon was too wide for my 12″ wreath, so I used pieces that had been cut in half length-wise…saving yet more resources, money, etc.  With the help of this simple tutorial on YouTube, I was able to make my very own burlap bow.  Using green floral wire, I attached the bow to the top of the wreath.  I like the rustic simplicity of the wreath, so have yet to add cones or greenery.  We’ll see how it grows on me.  Now, it’s all ready for hanging and spreading some holiday cheer.

Rustic Wooden Planters

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In keeping with the yard projects, I figured I’d post this one before I become all-too obsessed with the furniture projects.

Just a block away, some cedar trees were felled quite some time ago.  The rounds that had been left behind have been sitting there for years and years and years .  It was recently noticed that the majority of the inside of the wood rounds had already decomposed, leaving behind a lovely wooden ring.  So, we loaded the rounds up in the push-cart.  After preparing the soil is the area we wanted to put ’em, we dug holes deep enough to have just about half of the round in the ground.  We tried to make ’em as level as possible, which was a challenge on a slope.  After adding some new garden soil to the ‘planters’, we finally decided upon what plants would help to add some color to that part of the yard.  There you have it, two rustic wooden planters.

Here’s to keeping it green!  I just love the end result!!

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