Street Signs!

The girls went shopping this week, can you guess where?? That’s right, Earthwise and Seattle’s Surplus Warehouse… we found used street signs for $5 and brass stencils from a grain building that is being dismantled in Moscow, Idaho. Score! What will we do with our treasure?  Store it in my basement until we (Heidi and Mary) come up with a brilliant idea…we’ll keep you posted :)

DIY Bulletin Board


This easy little project has been perfect for posting drawings, ideas or artwork I make or get from my talented friends both short and tall.

I also clip photos, fall leaves, concert tickets, teen idols (Flashback – I did that in high school) or anything else that inspires me. I’m constantly adding and exchanging things I pin up. And sometimes I don’t change anything for several days, weeks or months.

It’s like a real life, olden days, analog non-electronic Pinterest board! :) Continue reading

Making your own hardware.

Bits and pieces of hardware gathered from salvage yards and hardware stores.

I couldn’t find a style of hardware for our bathroom that worked/fit. I wanted a simple/industrial look that would work with concrete, wood, and metal. I ended up making towel bars, sets of hooks and a toilet paper holder from a few different things that I found while scrounging around in my favorite salvage yards and hardware stores. A person would never be able to find these exact same parts again (even if a person wanted to), but this shows you how you can make something from not much.

Hooks
The parts. I’m not even sure what these hooks were originally used for – does anyone know? I found them at Archie McPhee’s, our local funky specialty store that also carries yodeling pickles. I had two walls where I wanted repeating hooks so I got a bunch of them. They weren’t super cheap ($3.50 or so), but were very cool.
– Got little clamps (Stoneway Hardware) to secure them to a piece of douglas fir wood that matched the rest of the trim in the bathroom. We finished the wood by sanding (#150), then applying a coat of Benite (a wood conditioner), sanding with #220, and then applying 3 coats of satin Profin. These are great wood finishing products by Daly’s. After the final coat, we lightly wiped with 000 steel wool to knock the sheen off. We painted the shiny silver clamps with enamel paint, using a mix of black + “gold leaf” to give it an oil rubbed bronze look. To make sure the clamp was securely holding the hook, we cut a small piece of bicycle tubing and put it between the clamp and the hook.
– We measured and marked the placement on the wood pieces, pre-drilled the holes, and attached the hooks, painting the screws to match.
– With a stud finder, we found the studs on the wall, measured/marked with a level and attached the board to the wall using exposed screws/washers (also painted).
Towel Rack
The parts. The bar piece is an old rail from a sliding door (2nd Use Building Materials). The bracket/plates are huge steel washers (Stoneway Hardware) that just happen to fit – making the bar stand away from the wall so a towel fits and to make it look more finished.
– We cleaned up the rail with rubbing alcohol, cut it with a hack saw, located the stud in the wall, marked it. Then drilled, screwed in a galvanized lag bolt, and painted the bolt to match the steel.
Toilet Paper Holder
The parts. The piece that holds it on the wall is an old bracket from a towel bar (I think). The bar is an old piece of window hardware (2nd Use Building Materials). The bar was just the right length and fit in the bracket. We secured it using J-B 2 part cold weld epoxy. This is really good stuff if you need to attach things – it is really strong.
Ok, so with 11 hooks in the bathroom, there should never be towels on the floor again. Right?
See more of Heidi’s artwork at Old Stuff. New Stories.

Do It Yourself Kitchen Island

Our kitchen is pretty small, lacking counter/storage space. I looked around for a portable “island” “peninsula” or even an “archipelago”, but couldn’t find one affordable/unique. So of course I went to Hardwick’s, our local funky hardware store swap shop. It is an amazing place, filled with anything you might need – old & new tools, hardware, kitchen ware, plumbing supplies and old furniture. You (I) could spend hours there. I found an old stand from a drill press. It was perfect – small footprint, storage (drawers and doors), and best of all, it was hand-made by some old guy once upon a time, complete with his measurement/pencil markings on the inside. It was mine mine mine for $20.

I took it home and everyone said, “what?”. I was a little discouraged. But I cleaned it up, and went searching for a more substantial top.  At my other favorite store, Second Use Building Materials, I found an amazing, thick limestone countertop remnant that just fit. Lucky lucky lucky. I think it was about $20 or so. It was very very heavy. I’ve never attached it to the base, but probably should with “Liquid Nails.”

I wanted casters on this thing, because if I could, I would put casters on everything I own.  I was looking for big chunky ones. It is hard to find a matching set of 4 at a salvage yard, so I got them at Home Depot. They were silver metal with rubber wheels, I painted them gray with metal paint. I installed the casters, painted the cabinet a dark charcoal grey and took some sandpaper to it (another thing I like to do to everything I own).

One thing I’ve always obsessed about is organized spice containers. The little drawers are a perfect size for little tins. I made some labels and stuck them on. Now I am very organized, or at least my spices are.

I am very happy with the additional counter space/storage my little island/peninsula provides (although “some people” in my family think it gets in the way, but I don’t listen to him).

See more of Heidi’s artwork at Old Stuff. New Stories.

Fancying up Plain Curtains

Years ago, I made some curtains from some inexpensive muslin for a temporary fix to cover an opening to a storage area. We weren’t using those curtains any longer and when my daughters needed curtains for their rooms, I thought I could just re-use them. But they wanted more color/fun, so I ended up sewing ribbons and buttons as a border on the bottom to fancy them up. It was pretty easy and probably self explanatory from the picture, but if you want a little more detail:

  • buy fun assorted ribbon in your favorite color palette at local fabric/craft store
  • arrange in a pattern you like on your curtain. (I did horizontal stripes, didn’t worry about getting them straight/perfect.)
  • pin, leaving enough ribbon at the ends to turn under.
  • sew perpendicular across the ribbons every 2″ or so. You don’t have to be precise. Extend stitching beyond the ribbon, top and bottom.
  • sew buttons top/bottom where the stitching ends.

You can vary this is in so many ways – use folded up fabric or bias tape instead of ribbon, go vertical instead of horizontal, use any color/pattern of curtains, etc… wow, I’m kind of exhausted from thinking of all the possibilities really.

~ See more of Heidi’s artwork at Old Stuff. New Stories.