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.

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Projects with Potential

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With the dry weather finally here, I’ve actually got some pretty great conditions for working on those projects I’ve had on hold for a while.  However, until that forward progress happens, I figured I’d share a bit about some projects that I have recently re-homed.  Here me out.  Somehow, I find it fairly easy to acquire new pieces to work on, but the time to work on them doesn’t seem to come as easy.  So, this past week, I let a couple of them go.  DSCN6237One of them was a truly fabulous, vintage spindle/spool full/double bed frame I had gotten for FREE off of Craigslist nearly a year ago.  It did need some structural work (mainly repairing some previously poorly-done repairs), so it just sat around waiting to receive some attention.  Attention that I currently don’t have the skills to make happen.  The second piece was DSCN6255a record holder/stand/cabinet I acquired at a recent garage sale…turned FREE sale.  It had pretty good structure and seemed like it’d be fun to refinish.  That being said, it was in pretty rough shape, but I figured it wasn’t in much worse condition than any of the other pieces of furniture I’ve worked on.  The top was peeling off and well, it was taking up space.  Hmm…I sure do seem to have a thing for “diamonds in the rough”.  Guess I just like to see something transform from something that someone would literally give away into something truly remarkable.

With that being said, there are still two pieces awaiting my attention.  I do hope to make some forward progress on the vintage bookcase I started working on last summer.  I’m still unsure on what color scheme I want to use on that…which seem to be my current hold-up.  In addition to the bookcase, I’ve also got a piano bench that I said I’d refinish for a friend.  This piece is a pretty straight forward project…literally just sanding, staining, and clear coating.  Simple, right?  Seems to be some famous words I’ve said, ‘eh…heard a few times.

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

Primed and Shelved

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I figured it was about time to provide some updates on the progress of the vintage bookcase I’ve been working on.  Probably close to a month ago, I was able to get the piece sanded.  I actually ended up using more stripper on it, as there was still a sticky residue on the surface I had removed the laminate from.  So, after far too much time sanding, I finally got it to the point where I felt it was ‘good enough’.  I caulked a couple places, so as to prevent any gaps and such.  Then, I was finally able to DSCN4816get it primed.  Since all I had at that point was the actual bookcase frame, the priming was relatively painless.  And there it sat.

Fast forward a few weeks, I took the existing orange shelf to the local ReStore to see if I could find some wood that would work to make two shelves out of.  Believe it or not, I did find just the piece of wood I needed.  It was exactly the width and thickness of the sample shelf I had brought with me and appeared to have enough to make two shelves out of.  I’m pretty sure I paid something like 50 cents or maybe it was $1.00.  Either way, a steal of a deal.  The actual piece of wood kinda looked to me like a ‘built in’ cutting board.

And here we are.  Just yesterday evening, (with plenty of help) I was able to get the two shelves cut for the bookcase.  Luckily, I had enough sense to measure both openings where the shelves would sit.  As it turns out, the second shelf opening is nearly an inch wider than the top shelf (which is where the ‘sample’ shelf came from).  Yah, yah, the shelves still need to be sanded and primed, but every step moves this project forward a little bit more.

So there you have it, something that is actually starting to look like a bookcase.  Now, I still need to figure out what colors I want to paint it.  Until I make up my mind about that particular detail, we’ll have to consider this project ‘shelved’.

Vintage Bookcase

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With yet another project complete, it is time for me to get started on the next one.  After all, summer only lasts so long…I’ve got to take advantage of this beautiful weather while I can.  Alas, I digress.DSCN4579

A couple of weeks ago, I acquired (for FREE on Craigslist) an awesome, vintage bookcase.  It was left to its own devises while I finished the patio table.  I must say, it was pretty eye-catching as it was.  But, knowing me, I’ll strive to DSCN4586make it even more of a statement piece.  The jury is still out as to what direction I want to go with the painting.  I’m thinking of using one color for the inside and a different color for the outside.  So, something similar to the record cabinet I finished a while back.  With that being said, I have been able to get quite a bit of prep work done.  This past Thursday, I got the entire piece stripped (which is never
a glamorous part of prepping any piece of furniture) DSCN4588and wiped down with paint thinner.  I ended up taking the veneer off of the whole front surface…which literally, ‘eh, figuratively came off like butter, so that was probably a really good move.

Next steps will include sanding the whole piece AND creating two new shelves for the inside area.  I hope to pay the local ReStore a visit at some point this week to find some wood for the shelves.

Done and Done

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Well, after nearly two years of off and on attention, I am pleased to announce that the wood slat patio table is done.  I believe I mentioned in an previous post that working with oil based paints is not my medium of choice (in so many words).  So, I dove head-first into painting this beauty.  DSCN4550I had figured that DSCN4551since I was covering a dark green (except where it had been scraped and sanded down to raw wood) with a dark green, it would be a piece of cake.  Silly me, when is anything as easy as it seems…especially when it comes to furniture projects?!  The slats I had replace and primed took quite a few coats of the green in order to actual cover the white primer.  Lesson learned (for now).  The fact that the paint I was using was gloss also played a role in making perfect coverage a bit of a challenge for me.  I had originally allotted two days to work on the painting aspect of this piece, but ended up spending nearly a week painting, re-painting, flipping and painting, a DSCN4568
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bit more painting…you get the idea.  Anyway, after all of the work and waiting and more work, I love the way it turned out.  Alas, not too shabby for a free table and a $3.00 can of paint, if I do say so myself.  Once again, I’m happy to have taken something that was very close to being on its last legs and transformed it into a functional beauty.  As they say, another project done and done.

Now, it’s time for me to get to work on the next project. Stay tuned…