Found Wooden Candle Tray

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I found this hunk of wood in the park back in the fall, and it was interesting enough that I brought it home.  I left it in the garage for a few weeks to dry out, then I dropped it a few times to make sure the wood was solid enough to work with.  And only a few little pieces broke off, so I knew I was good.

Found Wood Candle Holder 1

First we leveled out the wood with these little screw-in feet.  I’m not sure what they are actually called, but they were in a baby food jar in the garage so I’m going with that.

Found Wood Candle Holder 3

Then I measured a routing drill bit to fit the size of a standard tea light. Sorry for the blurry.

Found Wood Candle Holder 2

Then we drilled holes in our hunk o’wood.

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Stained it.

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Post-staining.

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Sprayed it with lacquer.

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And here is the finished product.

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And the finished product on fire.

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How’s THAT for instruction?

Grape Crate Pet Beds

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We currently live in an Italian neighbourhood and in the fall a good many of our neighbours squished their own grapes to make wine.  The result was that there were plenty of these nice wooden crates at the curb when they were done.  I knew I HAD to have them, to make SOMETHING, but I didn’t know what, exactly, I was going to do with them.  Then my brother-in-law got a cat.  Then my brother got a cat.  Then my sister-in-law mentioned that she was going to get a cat.  And cats like boxes.  And these boxes are cat-sized.  So there you go.

Grape Crate Cat Beds 1

First I had to clean them off and scrape off the labels and sand them a bit.

Grape Crate Cat Beds 3

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The sides of the crates were made from particle board, so I didn’t sand too much, naturally.

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I did wonder how the porosity of the particle board would affect my ability to stain it.  I guess the only way to find out is to do it!

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I used a variety of stains for this, the dregs that were in the bottoms of cans from previous projects.  One was a gel stain, which I had never used before.

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You can see how dark it goes on.

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It almost covered up the ink on the sides of the crate, but came back through once I wiped off the excess.

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Here you can see the other two stains, which were more translucent.

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Wiping off the excess with a rag after painting it on.

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It came out darker depending on the roughness of the wood.

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And I forgot about the whole STAINING part of stain, and forgot to wear gloves.  Oops.

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Once they’d dried, I painted on a quick layer of varathane.

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Again, because I didn’t sand them too much, we weren’t looking at baby’s bottom smoothness here.

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The completed boxes.

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I bought three pillows, each 13″ x 20″, which nearly fit the inside of the boxes.

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Fortunately my mother has what amounts to a fabric store in her basement, so I had plenty of patterns to choose from for cushion covers.

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I made the cushion covers in the same fashion as I make all my other cushion covers: with the simple overlap in the back that eliminates the need for buttons or zippers, which are beyond my skill level.  I double-sewed all the seams because I wanted them to last through being removed for washing.  I got the whole thing done super quickly, too, because I was using my grandmother’s sewing machine, which has two settings: terrifyingly fast, and supersonic.  And I didn’t sew my thumb to anything, either, so I count that as a win.

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The cushions, stuffed inside the covers.

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And inside the box.  There’s a little gap on the sides, but once the pillows get squished down by the cats they’ll fill the whole space.

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I decided they were too tricky to wrap (and a waste of paper), so it’s more of a token wrapping job.

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His & Hers Key Hooks

His & Hers Key Hooks

I love making useful things out of other things.  Especially when you can personalize it so you know that no one else has anything quite like it. This monogrammed key hook is a gift for a friend of mine.

The wood I found in the garage.  I needed to saw off the crooked end to make it straighter.  Little did I know that I am incapable of sawing things in a straight line.  So it’s just as crooked, but in the other direction.  But now it’s QUAINTLY crooked.  On PURPOSE.

His & Hers Key Hooks

The vintage-style brass initials, as well as the little crow with verdigris, I got from Dime Store Emporium’s Etsy shop.  What a neat place!

His & Hers Key Hooks

This aluminum plate I found on the street.  Conveniently it had been pre-weathered and pre-antiqued by the tires of passing cars.

His & Hers Key Hooks

These hooks I got at Wal-Mart.  Not everything can have such glorious beginnings.

His & Hers Key Hooks

Now you want to lay everything out beforehand, just to prove that you have a plan.  Having a plan is good when you don’t have any spare parts leftover if you should happen to mess it up.

His & Hers Key Hooks

After I’d cut the wood and sanded it baby-bottom smooth, I added hanging hardware, right off the bat.  I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t damage or disturb any of the front stuff, which was why I did it first.

His & Hers Key Hooks

Then I wanted to stain it.  I had the option of three colours of Distress Stain, and one of India ink.

His & Hers Key Hooks

I thought I’d try the stains out first on another piece of wood, to see how they looked.  This was a good idea.  See?  I’m planning ahead again, not just winging it, which seems to lead to trouble sometimes.

His & Hers Key Hooks

I ended up going with the blue stain, and just doing the face of the wood.  Let that dry.

His & Hers Key Hooks

Then I used black acrylic paint around the edges.  Let that dry.

His & Hers Key Hooks

Then I screwed on the hooks. I had to use my world’s oldest drill to get the holes started for me, though.

His & Hers Key Hooks

But the screws went on and looked really good.

His & Hers Key Hooks

Then it was a simple matter to whip out the glue gun and hot glue the metal pieces into place.

His & Hers Key Hooks

And it turned out better than I thought it would, which is always a bonus.

His & Hers Key Hooks