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 d├ęcor.  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