How to Save Money on Christmas Gifts

Facelift, Paint, Reclaimed, Upholstery

Saving money on Christmas gifts is easy to do when you avoid shopping. Plain and simple. It is a tried and true plan that works every time. I set this budget-friendly plan to action today and worked outside (it was 50 and sunny in December!).

 

IMG_3638

The cowprint vinyl stool was painted to look like wood grain. I don’t even want to know why. 

While Christmas shoppers were scouring the toy aisle, I decided to finish two stools I had purchased over a month ago. Both stools were painted and badly nicked. On a previous project day, I had used paint stripper to remove the top coat of paint and most of the under layers, but not all of the paint. Truth be told, I ran out of sunlight.

 

IMG_3636

The seller purchased this stool at an estate sale. It was sold with a bathroom mat stapled to the seat.

The unfinished stools were directly in my eyesight everyday when I pulled in and backed out of the garage. Overtime, I fell in loved with in the  partially-removed paint look. Back to today. I bonded with the sander and went to work smoothing out the legs and removing some, but not all of the remaining paint. I made to decision to keep some of the layered paint. Crazy, I know.

 

IMG_3743

Rustic and refined

To finish and condition the recently exposed wood, I applied mineral oil to the stools. The depth of the wood grain came to life. Rae is huge fan of animal hides, but even she was happy to see the faux cow go in the trash and be replaced with a romantic and soft pink motif.

I want more warm days before Christmas!

Advertisements

Vintage Storage Bench

Facelift, Paint, Reclaimed
The original Craigslist find

The original Craigslist find

I found this adorable mini dresser/nightstand/storage bench on Craigslist. I was attracted to the curve of the feet and the knobs. According to the brass plate located inside the drawer, the furniture was built by Davis Cabinet Company.  Through research on the company website, I was able to determine that the piece was built August ‘72.

Original black speckled finish

Original black speckled finish

In 1972, Davis Cabinet Company used a quality varnish to seal the finish of their furniture. This nightstand/storage bench had a beautiful base color stain, but it was finished with a black speckled effect and sealed (I’m mean, really sealed). I wasted my sweet, precious time sanding to remove the speckled finish from the drawers. In hindsight, I should have used the varnish striper in the garage, Zinsser Power Stripper, prior to sanding.

Manufacturer production date stamp

Manufacturer production date stamp

Fortunately for me, I had no intentions of sanding the entire bench. On the top and side, I applied Sherwin Williams primer, hand sanded with 220-grit, wiped off the dust, and primed again. I envisioned a color-block design with classic colors, so I applied two coats of a dreamy cream paint.

Davis Cabinet Company brand plate

Davis Cabinet Company brand plate

The front of storage bench and the drawers, after sanded smooth, were stained with Minwax ebony. The dark ebony complimented the existing hardware and provided a beautiful contrast against the cream paint.

Perfect height to put your boots on

Perfect height to put your boots on

I have no idea what the original purpose was of this piece of furniture (I can only find one online), but I think it looks amazing in a front entry. The height is ideal to sit down and put on your shoes. A cushion will be the pièce de résistance.

Black Walnut Slab End Table

Black Walnut, Junkstock, Reclaimed
Original slab

Original slab

This past June at Junkstock, I purchased a big ol’ slab of black walnut from A&R Salvage. The slab was roughly 29”x18.5” with one edge of bark.  A week before Junkstock-Harvest Edition, Mr. R&R finally had time to use the black walnut from Junkstock in June. Mrs. Keto and I were busy crafting indoors, so we sent the Misters outdoors to make a table. My only request was to use the walnut slab.

Thick walnut legs

Thick walnut legs

Mr. R&R and Mr. Keto removed the remaining bark and used the table saw to rough-square the ends. Even with the bark removed, the slab is still considered to have a live edge on two sides. One handyman went to work sanding the slab and the other handyman went to work creating the legs. The legs were made using a scrap of black walnut that was 5” wide and 2” deep with bark. They were cut to 19” tall.

Table top-  see the sets of two maple dots? Those are the dowels connecting the top to the legs.

Table top- see the sets of two maple dots? Those are the dowels connecting the top to the legs.

The coolest feature, in my opinion, is how the legs were attached to the slab. The legs were placed at an angle to be located completely under the walnut top. The boys then drilled directly through the slab into the legs and inserted two maple dowels (with wood glue) to connect the pieces. The tops of the dowels were sanded smooth against the black walnut slab. I’m a fan of the visible color contrast.

Tons of character is this one-of-a-kind end table

Tons of character is this one-of-a-kind end table

The table top and legs were finished with multiple coats of poly to protect the wood and enhance the natural beauty of the black walnut.

Junkstock- Harvest Edition

Junkstock, Reclaimed

The reviews are in; Junkstock was once again a huge hit. With much regret and sadness, I was unable to attend my favorite event of “peace, love, music, and junk.” My busy work schedule did not deter Mr. R&R from visiting Junkstock on his own (he seriously loves it!).  He has an amazing eye for rustic and refined “junk”.

Industrial thread spools

Industrial thread spools

Industrial thread spools– Mr. R&R texted me a picture of these and said “want some?”. Yes, please. Each spool is 9 inches tall with assorted colors of peeling paint yet they still have the sticker identifying the type of thread (how cool is that!?!). I believe these spools will be unique rustic candle holders on the center of a dining room table.

Sewing machine base to make an accent table

Sewing machine base to make an accent table

Singer Sewing Machine Base– I have wanted a Singer sewing machine base for years. Mr. R&R purchased the most beautiful one I have ever seen. The foot pedal still works! The only decision yet to be made is the type of wood to use to create a top. Live edge black walnut? This sewing machine table is going to be a stunning accent table when complete.

Boys and their toys

Boys and their toys

Artillery Shell Dummy and Box– I’m honestly speechless about this one. When I received the text of his “great find”, I was confused as to why he was so excited.  The shell was a dummy used for military practice with markings on the corresponding wooden box. I showed the picture to my co-worker who was immediately as excited as Mr. R&R about the find. Clearly, I was wrong and this was a glorious junk find.  Mr. R&R is still pondering where in the house to display this piece.

I would love to give a shout-out to the vendors who sold the amazing products above, but Mr. R&R didn’t keep track of any vendor names. “I bought the spools over by the big tent with the cool tables made out of metal”. Yay, I can’t really use that to tag or find the vendor on Facebook.  Either way, THANK YOU toJunkstock and Junkstock Vendors across the country. I can’t wait to see you in June.

Footstools—Around since ancient times, well, this one might not be that old

Facelift, Reclaimed, Upholstery

Yes, I admit it. I am drawn to stools of all kinds. They are adorable and so functional. Today’s featured stool is a short footstool that I rescued from a consignment shop.

The "before". I do not believe this was the original fabric.

The “before”. I do not believe this was the original fabric.

When I saw the footstool in the consignment shop, it caught my eye mainly because it was out-of-date and needed my love.  I made the educated guess that the dirty embroidered upholstery was not original to the piece due to an extensive amount of fabric used to cover the underside and the nails, not staples, holding the fabric in place. It was the first time I had seen upholstery adhered in this fashion.  With all of that in mind, I still proceeded with the purchase.

I removed the embroidered upholstery and was astonished by the amount of fabric used.  It appeared that the fabric was embroidered to cover the top and sides and the extra pattern material (which was twice the size of the footstool top) was folded in a non-typical manner. A wood shim was actually used to attach the feet since there was so much extra material. I replaced the embroidery with a modern geometric print of green, gray, and white.

New fabric and new paint for the base

New fabric and new paint for the base

The footed-based of the stool was badly nicked. I sanded the base to remove the remaining varnish and remove the visible scratches. I applied one coat of primer and used 220-grit to hand sand the primer. I then applied two coats of gray paint.  When the paint was nice and dry, I re-attached the newly upholstered top to the painted base.

Sit back and relax!

Sit back and relax!

Time to put my feet up.

Saw Blade End Tables

Reclaimed, vintage, Woodworking
Oak boards for table top

Oak boards for table top

Mr. R&R is exceptionally supportive of the projects I take on (and ask him to make), but this week he had his own design to create: end tables with saw blades all made using pieces reclaimed from the family farm.

Materials for a Custom Saw blade End Table:

  • 2 – 8”X19” Oak boards for the table top
  • 4 – 21” tall 2×2’s for the legs (reclaimed and sanded smooth)
  • ½”x2” and ½”X3” trim pieces cut to size for the trim (reclaimed and sanded smooth)
  • Used, old, rusty saw blades
  • Epoxy
  • Danish Oil
Lip created to hold exopy

Lip created to hold epoxy

Table ready for saw blades and exopy

Table ready for saw blades and epoxy

Mr. R&R began the process by combining two oak boards to create a table top 16”x19”. He tested various stain colors, linseed oil and Danish oil, but ultimately decided to use Danish oil. He cut the ½”x3” (½”x2” for 1 of the 3 tables) reclaimed wood to create a trim edge around the table. Here’s the trick though, he did not adhere the trim to be flush with the table top. The trim was set to create ¼” lip above the table top. The lip allowed room for him to place the saw blades on the table and fill the space with Glaze Coat (Epoxy). And don’t forget to add table legs before pouring the epoxy. All the exposed reclaimed wood was finished with Danish oil.

1 of 3 new saw blade tables

1 of 3 new saw blade tables

The end tables are beautiful and manly at the same time. The tables are a wonderful way to preserve a bit of farm history.

Youth Group Blessings Board

Barn Wood, Pinterest, Quotes, Reclaimed
Bible verses on canvas

Bible verses on canvas

I believe that God gives us all talents and calls upon us at different times to use them. 1 Peter 4:10 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” I recently was asked to help lead the 8th grade Wednesday night youth group. I was nervous and excited at the same time. The theme of the group is “Every Day God Experiences” and I felt a calling to help the 8th graders, including Rae, acknowledge and see the presence of God in their life.

The 8th grade meeting room is at the beginning stages of a remodel. The walls have been painted, but lack artwork. I knew I could easily paint canvas with bible verses, which I did, but I wanted something more. After reading the lesson plans, reviewing notes from my own prayer classes, and a little Pinterest research, I was compelled to make a Blessing Board.

Staple the twine to create a zig-zag pattern

Staple the twine to create a zig-zag pattern

With the support of our Youth Director, I put Mr. R&R to work constructing a frame for the board. He used reclaimed trim to construct a large frame. The corners were attached with wood glue and re-enforced with staples. Next was my turn to use the staple gun; I stapled twine to the back of the frame to create a random zig-zag pattern. I screwed hooks to the front of the frame to holds bags containing small clothespins and scraps of colorful paper.

This made my heart happy.

This made my heart happy.

The Blessings Board was introduced this past Wednesday. At the end of the night, the 8th graders where asked to write down, anonymously, when they felt the presence of God that day or simply, a blessing of the day. The responses were beautiful and filled my heart. The activity will be repeated each week and I look forward to seeing the blessings of God fill the board.

James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above”

Blessings Board

Blessings Board

Shipping Crate Turned Bar

Entertaining, Reclaimed, Woodworking

Written by Mr. R&R

Shipping crate in its original weathered condition

Shipping crate in its original weathered condition

A family friend, Cock-A-Doodle-Doo, works in ag construction and recently contacted me about an old weathered shipping crate from Italy that we might use in a project.  I was intrigued, and inquired about the dimensions of the crate. Cock-A-Doodle-Doo “thought” it was 6’ X 3’ X 2’, which I thought would work for end tables or some coffee tables.  The shipping crate was delivered to our house and I was a little surprised; the crate was 7.5’ long by 42” tall by 42” deep.  My mind quickly changed courses and this shipping crate was destined to be the long sought-after bar to put in the basement behind the couch, pending some minor modifications.

Poly, poly, and more poly on the lid

Poly, poly, and more poly on the lid

I immediately started cleaning the shipping crate using a steel wire brush on the crate lid, just to remove some of the dirt that had adhered to the cover. Then I took the top of the crate and began applying polyurethane, 2 coats to both the top and the bottom of the cover.  Next, I sanded the cover with 220 grit sandpaper sponges in order to smooth out what would be the top of the new bar.  Throughout the week, I applied another 5-6 coats of polyurethane to make a smooth, rustic looking bar top.

Re-assembly of the cut-down crate

Re-assembly of the cut-down crate

I asked a good friend, Dr. Z, to come over the next Saturday, as we had less than 1 week to complete the bar before the opening night of college football, and the party we were set to host.  The “Evil Blackhawk Fan” neighbor was then generous enough to bring over his power washer to clean out the inside of the crate to remove quite a bit of dirt and grease from various chicken equipment parts (original contents of the crates).  That was apparently the easy part since the break down and re-assembly of the crate took several different tries.  We chopped down the base of the shipping crate by removing 4 board widths from the length of the crate, and 2 board widths from the depth of the crate.  Putting the crate back together proved a little challenging since we wanted to keep the corners flush and maintain the rustic integrity of the crate intact.  After 3-4 tries, we got it all put back together and the bar top put on the crate base.

The bar is finished and ready for football season!

The bar is finished and ready for football season!

Three door hinges mounted on the back of the new bar allow for the bar top to open, revealing the large crate storage. Once I finally settle on what to put inside the base of the bar (I’m leaning towards a nice shelf), the new basement bar will be totally complete.  Until then, the bar is still perfect as is for watching college football with friends.

-Mr. R&R (I can write too)

Custom Serving Trays

Entertaining, Paint, Quotes, Reclaimed, Silhouette

It should come as no surprise that I would make serving trays since I love entertaining. I can’t wait to welcome an overnight guest with a tray of flowers and freshly baked cookies at the end of their bed. My brain was flooded with ideas and I couldn’t stop at one; I made three serving trays and I can’t decide which is my favorite.

A blank "canvas"

A blank “canvas”

The base of the serving trays were cabinet doors from Habitat Restore. The oak cabinet door was a manufacturer sample and beautiful in every way. The other two maple (or maybe pine, what do I know?) doors each had a round inset to open the door so I simply made that side the underside.

Serving tray creation steps

Serving tray creation steps

Heart serving tray

Heart serving tray

The oak door was beautiful and I couldn’t bring myself to paint it. I decided to use the clean lines and inspiration to create a simple design. I used my Silhouette to cut a heart shaped stencil. I painted the heart terra cotta and realized it blended with the oak and looked boring. With the heart stencil still in place, I applied black acrylic paint and gently wiped away the black paint with a paper towel. The finished look was distressed and perfect.

"Its kind of fun to the do the impossible"- Walt Disney

“Its kind of fun to the do the impossible”- Walt Disney

The remaining two maple/pine doors were painted with an acrylic base coat (blue and taupe). I applied two very different quotes using vinyl to the dry acrylic paint. I painted over the blue door with terra cotta wall paint and marsala wall paint over the taupe. After the top coat of paint was dry, I removed the vinyl quotes to reveal the base color below.

All 3 new serving trays

All 3 new serving trays

Mr. R&R helped me by installing handles (another Habitat Restore find) on all three trays. I admit that I’m jealous that he was able to complete that in the time that it would have taken me to locate the correct size drill bit. He even attached the little rubber feet. He’s a keeper.

Maybe someone will use a tray to bring me breakfast in bed. Hint, hint.

Football Party Trivets

Entertaining, Reclaimed, Silhouette, Spray Paint

College football begins September 3rd. Are you ready? I was raised in Husker Nation, but truth be told, I don’t really watch football. Hosting football parties is much more important to me than watching the game (I hoped I don’t get kicked out of Nebraska for saying that.) Mr. R&R watches football and I gladly take on the challenge of hosting the best parties.

Base color applied with football sticker

Base color applied with football sticker

Part of being the “hostess with the mostest” involves proper serving ware. I asked this year’s guests to bring a side dish to share to the College Football Opener party. In anticipation of warm dips and freshly baked goodies, I needed more trivets. And of course, the trivets needed to match the football theme.

Rubber feet to hold the trivet in place (applied AFTER baking)

Rubber feet to hold the trivet in place (applied AFTER baking)

The trivets started as old cabinet doors from Habitat Restore. I painted each door with a base color that would be the color of the football design (pick your favorite school color.)  Then I applied a vinyl stencil to the dry paint color. I completely covered each door with black paint. After the paint was dry, I was able to remove the football vinyl sticker and the Husker and Hawkeye colored trivets came to life.

Trivets ready for hot dishes

Trivets ready for hot dishes

I researched how to protect painted products from hot dishes and came across engine enamel. Apply a few coats of Rust-Oleum Engine Enamel, in clear, to the trivet and then bake at 200 degrees for an hour to seal the finish. The trivet is now ready to party.

Go Big Red!  For Mr. R&R’s benefit “Go Gophers!”.