Packing Crate Jewelry Stand

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

This project was a spin-off of a spin-off of a spin-off (which I will be posting about later).  I figure at this point it counts as my own idea.  Especially since it turned out so well!

This is a Christmas present for my elder niece.  A little while ago, I gave her all my earrings, because I can’t wear them anymore.  So I figured I would build her something to store/display them, along with any other jewelry she has.

So for this project, I had everything I needed on hand, though I did purchase my very own hot glue gun for the event.  It was definitely much smaller, easier to hold, and less burn-y than the one my dad has.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

You will need several straight-ish sticks, with protruding smaller branches.  It being windy season here in St. John’s, these were easy to find.  I also had a swatch of vintage-style lace that my mother gave me when I was studying at home last year.

And I found these segments of wood in the dilapidated shed in my backyard.  I’m pretty sure, due to their thickness and the fact that one of the pieces has part of “St. John’s” written on it, that it’s from some packing crate from some time ago.  I scrubbed off the cobwebs and left them to dry overnight.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

Then I sanded off all the rough bits.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

You will also need some nails or screws to keep your wood together.  I have this jar of copper clouting nails that belonged to my great-grandfather (you can tell, because he labelled it).  I like the colour of the bright nail heads, plus the thinness and the tapering of these particular nails means they won’t split the wood grain as much as a regular nail.  But they’re pretty much just large carpet tacks, so I have to keep in mind that they’re not that strong.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

So first I hammered together the basic frame of the crate.  Now, I don’t have a vise, or any clamps.  So I’m using my knee.  Clever, I know.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

I like the studded effect of many nails.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

Cut the lace to the size of the frame.  The lace is how my niece will hang up her earrings, and will provide a nice background for the rest of the stuff.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

Using hot glue, fasten the fabric to the frame on all sides.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

Trim off the excess.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

Add another line of glue and fold down the raw edge.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

So here’s the front.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

And the back.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

Now I’m going to add a few more pieces of packing crate to the back, you know, to make it look a bit more like a packing crate.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

Now to add the sticks.  Trim them to fit the inside of the frame and fix them in place with hot glue.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

Keep going until you’re satisfied with how it looks. Here it is, in the setting sun.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

And the back.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

And with some of my jewelry on it.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

A brooch stuck in the lace.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

Even a wee branch for rings.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

I hope she likes it!

Packing Case Jewelry Stand


Wattle Fencing

Gren pees on my peonies.  It’s annoying.  He also gets his lead tangled around some of my more delicate plants, and he’s already dug up and eaten an entire lupin.  I needs me a fence.

When Doodle and I were last in Ferryland, we saw these lovely wattle fences surrounding the 17th century kitchen gardens.  This ancient style of building was very popular in rural areas, like most of Newfoundland, where scraggly vegetation was everywhere and iron nails were at a premium.  Settlers clearing areas of land for their houses and farms could easily re-use the saplings and brush they removed in making strong wattle fences to keep their livestock and gardens separate.

Photo by Doodle

I showed pictures of wattle construction to Cait, extolling the virtues of its sturdiness and simplicity — just sticks!  Cait then raised the counterpoint to me that the little pig who built his house out of sticks didn’t fare particularly well against the big bad wolf.  I rebutted by saying that if you saw the illustrated pictures in the books you could CLEARLY see the pig did not use the wattle method and his shoddy construction was at fault.  Cait then informed me that I was the Mike Holmes of fairy tales (which is only funny if you know who Mike Holmes is).  I take that as a great compliment.

You can use any flexible sapling for your weave, the longer and straighter it is the better.  We used mostly maple, as there are no shortage of those around.  In fact, there is a vacant lot about half a block from our house that has recently been sold to a developer for condominium building.  We figured that the property was going to be razed anyway — who would miss a bunch of scraggly teenaged trees?  Still, we did feel like we were trespassing, no more so than when an unmarked police car pulled up to us.  It turns out the officer was just there to get some paperwork done, but for a moment we thought we were going to get in big trouble.

Use pruning shears and a pruning saw to cut your saplings and remove any smaller branches and leaves.  Make sure to use the branches relatively soon after you cut them so that they maintain their flexibility.

Now I’m not making a particularly tall fence here, nor is my weave going to be all that tight.  I just want to use it as a barrier to keep out small dogs and children, but I still want to be able to see the plants that are behind it.

All the information I found about these fences told me that I would need wayyyyy more branches to do it than I even thought of.  I probably used a hundred or so sticks for a fence 12.5m long and 30cm high.

First I needed stakes.   I sawed off the thickest 50cm at the bottom of each sapling, cutting it at an angle to make a sharp edge.   I ended up with 25 stakes for my 12.5m garden bed.

Using a stout hammer (you can use a mallet as well), I pounded in the stakes, spaced about 50cm apart, as far in as they would go, which was about 20cm in most cases.  If you have one or two that hit rocks or aren’t as firmly embedded as the rest, don’t fret.  The more you add to the fence, the stronger it will get, and the more-stuck stakes will help to hold the less-stuck stakes into place.

Once you’ve got the stakes hammered in, you can start to add the saplings.

Start at one end of your fence with the thicker part of a sapling, and weave the sapling between the stakes until you reach the end.

Repeat with more saplings until you get to the end of the row.

Reverse the direction of the saplings for the next row, so that the thick and thin ends alternate, and make sure to work the saplings around the opposite side of the stake than you used in the previous row.  Use a hammer or mallet to wedge the saplings closer together if you want a tight weave.

Keep going and going.  And going.

Until your fence is as high and tight as you want it to be.

I used smaller branches to help hold in some of the more recalcitrant sapling ends.

But of course I ran out of sticks.  So I’m not finished yet,  and it will be a while before I can get the Pie to help me steal saplings again.  I’ll post a picture when I finally do finish, though.

For more information on wattle fencing, you can check out these links here:

Allotment Forestry

Heritage Foundation

I Can Garden

Twig Trivet

Here is another nifty gift idea from Martha Stewart.  Next time you’re in the park on a nice day, pick up some straight, strong twigs and take them home with you.Once you’ve got them home, saw them or cut them to the desired length (a trivet is generally between 6″ and 9″ square, but go with what you prefer.

Grab yourself some waxed thread, like sail thread or whipping twine.  We had some old stuff lying around but you can pick it up from a marine supply store.  Waxed string is handy for all sorts of things because once you tie a knot it won’t slip or loosen and will stay pretty much wherever you put it.

Take a length of the twine and fold it in half, slipping your first twig into the loop in the middle.  Double-knot the twine and attach another stick.  Knot again and so on.I reinforced mine by winding the twine around the twigs a few more times.  Then knot the twine so that the knot will be on the bottom of the finished trivet.

Wrap and tie the twine on the other side as well.Cut a piece of felt or wool cloth to fit the trivet and glue it firmly to the bottom to protect whatever surface you put it on.Let the glue dry and then that’s it.  You have it made!

Autumn Leaves Butterflies

On a sunny afternoon back in October my mother and I wandered down to the neighbourhood park to collect some leaves and twigs for some of my various projects.  She was looking for seed pods to draw or whatever it is that artists do.

I found a ladybug.

My mother had a go on the swingset.I got a pretty good haul.  I only picked up leaves from the ground and only twigs that were from broken branches, so no plants were harmed in the making of this DIY.We’ll talk about the twigs in a later post, but today we’re going to focus on the leaves.

I sorted them into piles of similar shapes.And put them between the pages of some of my mother’s art books for pressing.And left them there for a couple of weeks.And then when they were flat I glued them onto pieces of mat board to make butterflies!

You can mat them and frame them or do whatever you like with them!Enjoy your pretty insects!

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