Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Revisiting Former Thrift Store Finds

So, back in September I was driving through the tiny town of Madras, Oregon, when I stumbled upon the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. There were so many treasures to be found, and I left with a car chock full of goodies, including a 5' rustic wooden beam (for only $2.00). 

I knew I could do something with it, I just wasn't sure what. Inspiration struck. Instead of using a plain everyday ol’ pot for your greenery, why not transform the salvaged wood beam into a planter?  Using a very large drill bit, that makes holes big enough to plant in, you can instantly create an original planter box that can be easily moved from one spot to another, inside or out. 

Evergreens add a nice touch of color on gloomy winter days, but most mature trees or shrubs cannot be moved during the cold weather, so I chose miniature lemon cedar trees. They smell amazing and their bright shade of green brings a burst of nature’s sunshine to any dreary location. The best part? You can repot it with tulips, hydrangea or daffodils in the spring and summer months. Use it as a table centerpiece, a mantle piece or to line a walkway. The possibilities really are endless.

  • An old wood beam.  The one I used was 5½” by 5’.  You can find one at your local salvage yard
  • 4” drill hole bit
  • Electric Drill
  • Hammer
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Five miniature lemon cedar trees

How To

  1. Drill five holes into the wood beam.  You can randomly place the holes apart or measure them equally apart.
  2. With hammer and a flat-head screwdriver, chisel out the wood inside the hole you’ve created.
  3.  Plant the lemon cedar trees in the holes

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

DIY Holiday Wreaths

It's December again and I'm sure you have lots of ideas for decorating your home, and lots of reasons why you're too busy to do them. Well, here are two of my favorite DIY wreaths made from items you's normally toss in the trash. They're easy to make and they look amazing Get ready to wow your friends and family with your awesome upcycled decor!

Lath it Up
If you have ever torn down interior walls of an old wood framed house you’re familiar with lath.  Haven’t heard of it before?  Let’s ask a few questions.  When hanging artwork on the wall does the nail bounce back when you are trying to hammer it in?  Do you hear a crumbling sound of plaster?  Does the small nail hole instantly become bigger?  Congratulations.  You have lath. 
Combined with plaster, lath is what creates your interior walls.  It’s rows and rows of long thin boards nailed horizontally to the framework of the house and then plastic is installed on top.  Sadly much of this material is tossed into the dump during phases of remodeling.  It’s very messy to work with but it can be recycled. 

During the deconstruction of our home, we had what seemed to be a never ending supply of lath.  Am proud to say we reused, recycled, and renewed it all.   And every holiday season when it’s time to decorate, friends and family all have something I made for them.  A pretty wood red wreath.   Yep, I had lath, lots of lath.   

  • Red Spray paint
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Miter saw, commonly known as a chop saw.
  • Measuring stick
  • Protective goggles
  • Drinking glass
  • Drop cloth
  • Pencil
  1. Set the miter saw to a 45 degree angle cut.
  2. When cutting the lath make sure each end cut is parallel with the other. Meaning, if you cut one end at a 45 degree angle, cut the other end in the same direction.
  3. There are a total of 25 pieces of lath needed. The list of lengths follows.
  4. Using the drinking glass to act as the center opening of the wreath, start gluing the longest to the shortest pieces together, overlapping the corners. It will look like a sloppy triangle at first. As you continue, you will be wrapping the wood pieces around the drinking glass. This helps prevent the wreath from looking lopsided and creates a circular center opening.
  5. Spray paint the wreath red and let dry.
  6. Hang and enjoy. Great for use indoors or out.
  7. Optional: you can spray paint the wreath different colors so you can use it year round.
  8. Lengths of lath needed:

a)    4 at 2ft
b)    2 at 18”
c)    3 at 16”
d)    2 at 14”
e)    2 at 12”
f)     3 at 10”
g)    2 at 8”
h)    3 at 6”
i)      2 at 4”
j)      2 at 3”

Light Bulb Wreath
One of the few situations where being a dim bulb isn't such a bad thing. This wreath is super easy to make and you are keeping all of those burnt out light bulbs from the landfill. Score! 


  • Light bulbs (I used 48)
  •  Styrofoam wreath, 10" circle
  • Green floral wire
  • wire cutters
  • two cans of red latex spray paint
  • hot glue gun & glue sticks
  • Miniature silk fern plant
  • scissors
  • Duct Tape
How to:
  1. Cut two pieces of wire, approximately 1' long
  2. Twist one end of the wire around the neck of the light bulb.
  3. On the opposite side of the neck of the light bulb, twist the other wire around.
  4. Pull the remaining pieces of wire straight down and away from the light bulb so they look like prongs.
  5. Repeat the same process on all of the bulbs
  6. Starting with the first bulb, poke both pieces of wire through the top side of the wreath form until they poke out the back side of the form.
  7. From the back, pull the wire until the bulb is firmly touching the form.
  8. Twist the wire together to prevent the bulb from sliding.
  9. Cut away any extra-long pieces of wire and press the wire flat against the backside of the form.
  10. Continue the same process all around the wreath from start to finish.
  11. Spray paint the entire wreath, making sure that every surface is covered. Let dry.
  12. Add strips of duct tape to the back of the wreath form to cover all of the wire.

Of course, you can modify either of these wreaths with ribbon, pine cones, string lights- whatever makes it your own. If you do, please share photos of your version on my Facebook page. Happy holiday DIYing!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Board with JOY

One of my favorite DIY projects is a sign my good friend, Joanne Palmisano, author of Salvage Secrets, made.  It’s a new sign from an old piece of wood.  It inspired me to try and make my own holiday sign from a vintage kitchen cabinet door that had been painted red on one side.  In just a few hours, the standard door with no appeal was repurposed into new festive décor.  The true sign of creativity, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Cupboard Door (this door was already painted red; you can add a top coat of red paint)
Hand sander
150 grit sandpaper
Utility Knife
Paint Brushes
White paint (I used Yolo Colorhouse AIR.01)
Painter’s tape
Three pieces of paper, each with your choice of font of each letter, spelling JOY
Saw tooth hanger
Option: Shellac Sealer

How To:

  1. Apply one coat of red paint on the door and let dry
  2. Sand red paint, just enough so you can see some of the under coat color showing
  3. Wipe down door dust with a  damp ragCreate a template for your letters.  I made a trip to a Copy Center store with three letters on a standard 8”x 10 ½” size piece of paper and enlarged them to the size I preferred which was 9” x 10”.  Your font will determine the letter’s dimension
  4. Cut out letters and position them on the board
  5. Tape letters down and trace them with a pencil
  6. Remove templates and with utility knife cut along the letter outlines.  You might need to trace a few times over
  7. Paint letters using the white paint. Two coats.  Let dry in between coats
  8. With sandpaper, sand the letters to expose some of the undercoat paint color
  9. Wipe dust off with damp rag
  10. Apply a coat of shellac on both side of the board if you intend to mount it outside
  11. Center and hammer in a saw tooth hanger on the back of the board
  12. Mount the sign, sit back and enjoy your new DIY holiday sign

Sunday, November 17, 2013

DIY Class at West Elm

Too much fun at our West Elm DIY Holiday workshop! Thanks Lisa Roher for letting me teach this fun, fun class at West ElmDo you want to join one of my DIY workshops? Let me know and I will let you know when and where the next one is!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Baby Buggy aka Wood Carrier

My baby buggy frame, a galvanized tub and wood logs.  The perfect combination for easy access for our outdoor fire.   Roasted marshmallows anyone? Or better yet, a glass of wine by the fire?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Pocket House

Photo credit: Steve Cridland
Several months ago I scouted the cutest carport conversion. What was it converted to? A pocket house! Yup, you read that right. This tiny 425 square foot home replaced the dilapidated carport and now acts as a guest house and rental for friends, family and folks passing through Portland, Oregon.

I was thrilled to get the call from Small Room Decorating when it came time to style it for the photo shoot. As always, photographer Steve Cridland captured the look and feel of the home perfectly. Check it out for yourself, now through February 2014.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Jell-O Mold Becomes a Living Wreath

Photo credit: Steve Cridland
Cooking molds are a dime a dozen at the thrift store.  They are stacked three high next to the regular finds of cutting boards, and mismatched coffee cups.  Walking down the aisles of donations, I look at the abundance of leftover kitchen cooking accessories and wonder what I could do to slow down the amount of castaways that end up here or even worse, the dump.

As I was holding a mold in my hand, I turned it upside down, sideways, lifted it over my head, and then put it on the ground, all in hopes of triggering a solution.  (And yep, I also got plenty of strange looks from bystanders).  But trust me, it works.  Because I thought hey, this is the same shape as a wreath.   So I gave the checkout gal $4.99, stopped and bought some plants on the way home and before the day was over, I'd made a new wreath from an old Jell-O mold.  The best part? No recipe needed.

Cooking mold/Jell-O mold
Floral Clay, (it comes in one long strip)
Dry floral foam
Floral pins
Ice Pick
Plants (I used a sedum, commonly called hens and chicks)
Knife or Styro foam Cutter

Photo credit: Steve Cridland

  1. Hammer one hole on the side of the tin (this is for the ribbon) and four holes, equally apart on the bottom of the tin (this is to be able to soak the wreath in water).  
  2. Loop and tie a piece of ribbon together.  Make sure the knot is bigger than the hole you have made on the side of the tin.
  3. Thread the looped portion of the ribbon through the side hole.
  4. Press strips of floral clay inside the bottom and sides of the mold.
  5. With knife or Styro cutter, trim pieces of floral foam to fit inside the mold.  Leave about an inch from the top for the plants.
  6. Place plants on top of the floral foam, making sure to cover the entire area.  Secure plants with floral pins.  Test it by tipping it upside down.  Add more floral pins if plants want to fall out.
  7. Hang outside and enjoy!
  8. Recommend watering once a week by soaking it in the sink. 

West Elm + Me + Mason Jars = DIY Holiday Decor Workshop

Just five days left until my workshop with West Elm and there are just a few spots left too! 
See you there?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Better Homes & Gardens Photo Shoot with Lincoln Barbour


With the help of the home owner's adorable pooch, Pete, photographer Lincoln Barbour and I wrapped up shooting and styling an amazing master bathroom for Better Homes & Gardens.  
Lincoln is getting ready to move his camera to a better location to get the next perfect shot...in the shower.  Yep, our talented photographers such as Lincoln always end up in the closet, crammed up against a wall, in a corner, or in this case, Lincoln in the shower.
Before Lincoln asks for a lens or a lighting solution, Mike Grippi who I should nickname "Radar" is one step ahead of him.  They are a fine tuned photographer machine.   They did forget to call me and tell me to wear my beard though.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Top 10 DIY Halloween Wreaths

Halloween is almost here, are you ready? No reason to reinvent the wheel... er... wreath, with so many resources for ideas, inspiration and materials. Here are a few of my favorites. Which one do you like best? Do you have an awesome DIY Halloween wreath to share? Post it on my Facebook page.

Happy Halloween!

  1. Spider Wreath compliments of the DIY Network

     2. Eerie Eyeball Wreath- Country Living

     3. Mummy's Tomb Wreath- the Chicadee Shop on Etsy

     4. Felt Flower Wreath from Living Locurto & Little Things Bring Big Smiles

    5. Yarn and Bat Wreath from Eighteen25 & guest blogger Just a Girl

    6. Yarn Pumpkin Wreath from Craft-O-Maniac

   7. Wriggling Snake Wreath from Martha Stewart

   8. Crow Wreath from Boxwood Clippings

   9. Mummy Wreath from Pretty Providence

  10. Skeleton Wreath from Mega Crafty

Saturday, October 26, 2013

West Elm Holiday DIY Workshop, November 6th

There are only a few openings left. Call West Elm to RSVP.  Only $10.00 includes multiple mason jar projects, twinkle twigs, candles, all materials, West Elm discount, refreshments, and fun times!  Payments made day of the workshop
West Elm DIY Workshop
November 6th, 6-8pm
Seats limited
Just heard, right know there are only 7 spots left!!!!
Just a few of the fun Holiday DIY projects we will be doing at West Elm in the Pearl, in Portland Oregon!  Drop by and see the display behind the check out counter. 

Silver and Gold sparkles with these mason jar vases that we are going to make. Plus I will share some of my secrets of DIY shortcuts..."Basically sharing my mistakes so you won't repeat them! 

I love this Christmas tree from West Elm.  Special store discount for everyone in the class.  And a HUGE thanks to Flowers For You for bringing armfuls of willow branches so we can make our jeweled accessories.  Great gifts, super tabletop decoration and best of all, hand made by you.

Friday, October 18, 2013

West Elm DIY Class with Shannon Quimby

The Class is already half full, call and sign up quick!  I can't wait to DIY with you.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Old Junker Door Hides Trash

I never knew that a crusty old door, hiding my garbage cans and recycling bins would be featured on another bloggers site; it's sort of funny that I found something old and junky to hide my trash. The glass was busted out, but there was a vintage charm waiting to be remembered, so I painted it and hung flowers where the window used to be and now it's a quaint screen that keeps the trash from view.

Skye Knox from Home Jelly saw the beauty beyond the trash and shared a step by step how-to guide on her site. The other photos are more exterior shots of my previous home, a 1902 farmhouse that I owned for nearly 20 years and recently sold. I sure do miss it. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My DIY Ladder for the October Issue of Today's Vintage

I love taking walks on the coast with an empty bag to scout for treasures washed up on shore. Driftwood is abundant and offers endless possibilities for DIY projects. This month, in my column in Today's Vintage, I share one of those possibilities- a decorative driftwood ladder. 

Here's what you'll need to make your own:

  • Two long pieces of driftwood approximately 7ft long (these will the side rails)
  • Six shorter pieces of driftwood approximately 2-3ft long (these will be the ladder rungs)
  • White paint 
  • Scrap leather 
  • Scissors

*Note; tree branches can be substituted for driftwood

How To:
1. Paint all the pieces of driftwood white

2. Cut pieces of leather, 1/4” thick and approximately 3ft long

3. Lay out the pieces of driftwood in the form of a ladder, making sure the rungs overlap each side rail approximately 2-4” and are at least 12” apart

4. With leather strap in hand, attach the rung pulling taut, to the side rail by crisscrossing the strap over the rung and rail forming an “X” 

5. Repeat the same process on each rung and rail until everything is attached and you’ve built a ladder
Note: this ladder is for display only, not to climb on


Monday, October 7, 2013

DIY Holiday Class at West Elm: November 6

Our projects will be inspired by this look. Go to West Elm after October 21st to see my display of what we'll be making. 

Sparkle It Up for Holiday - DIY Accents with Shannon Quimby

Do you love to DIY? Want to get a jump start on Holiday decorating? Grab your friends and join me for a hands-on, fun filled evening, making table top décor and lighting ideas with mason jars. Best part? You get to take it home!

Event Details

  • When: November 6, 2013 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
  • Where: West Elm in the Brewery Blocks, 1201 NW Couch St., Portland, OR
  • RSVP: Space is limited to 24 attendees call West Elm at 503-224-4880 to reserve your spot.
  • Cost:  $10.00 includes take home fabulous holiday DIY projects, West Elm discount, fun giveaways for your holiday shopping and decorating.