Split log table riser

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I figured it was a good time to make a little something to make the table (that I made) even prettier, while being functional. I’ve wanted a table riser for quite sometime. No time like the present to make one!

split log table riser

We happened to have this split log in the shed since we moved in. I don’t know where it came from, but it intrigued me. It has a rounded bottom, so I wasn’t sure it would work, but between my husband and myself, we figured it out!

split log table riser

First, we cut off the ends to neaten them up using my circular saw.  I sanded the whole thing with our mini electric sander. I didn’t want to lose much of the bark on the rounded side, though, so I went light there.

split log table riser

Since the bottom is uneven, we did this in an unscientific way. We evenly spaced the blocks, then placed the board (round side down) on top of them, then very carefully glued them, one at a time, making sure it was level. Then we waited while they dried.

split log table riser

My husband attached them each with two extra long screws. And it worked.

split log table riser

All that was left was to brush on a clear coat of varnish.

split log table riser

 Now it is ready to hold platters of food, or decorations, or anything we want! I can’t wait to use it.

Wood Plank Feather Paintings

Wood Plank Feather paintings using acrylic paint and a thin marker

I was going through my “bookmarks” last night, and saw that I saved something from Remodelaholic. One click led to another, and discovered their feather printables that you can mount on wood boards. That sparked my creative interest, so of course, I wanted to try my own. Only I didn’t print the feathers out. I, instead, referenced them to make my own wood plank feather paintings.

Wood Plank Feather paintings using acrylic paint and a thin marker

I dug through our wood scraps and found this nice sized 1×8. I cut it into 4 pieces, 10″ long each. Then I painted them white with some acrylic paint.

Wood Plank Feather paintings using acrylic paint and a thin marker

After they were dry, I grabbed my thin black sharpie marker and sketched the different feathers, using the printables (on my computer screen) as my reference.

Wood Plank Feather paintings using acrylic paint and a thin marker

I then took black acrylic paint and painted thicker lines. After that dried, I went over with some diluted colors.

Wood Plank Feather paintings using acrylic paint and a thin marker

I went over them lightly with a sheet of sandpaper to distress them.

Wood Plank Feather paintings using acrylic paint and a thin marker

Because they are meant to be a little wild looking, I free-handed all of them. Really fun project, and quick too! the longest part about these was waiting for the paint to dry.

Wood Plank Feather paintings using acrylic paint and a thin marker

I love how they turned out!

Wood Plank Feather paintings using acrylic paint and a thin marker

I just have to figure out where to hang them, now!

What have YOU made today?

Closet into mudroom: Upcycled Cinderblock Bench

We have lived in this house for almost 4 years now, and over these past years have been getting to know what we want where. We rent, though, so are limited in the radical changes we can make (or want to make). Paint, a little wood, and some removable installations are where it is at, for us.


This is how the closet started out. It was gross…and the first thing you see when you open the door!


For a while, it looked like this. I was babysitting children during the week, so it had to be simple and accessible for them. But I have always dreamed of having a mud room. Seriously. It is the little things.

So I took everything out, and revamped it over this past weekend.


I gutted the whole thing, patched up all the holes, gave it a fresh coat of paint, and started again. This time, I painted the trim white, along with the top shelf. Then we all built the bench. I say “we all” because the girls painted the cinder blocks, Jim cut the wood planks and installed them, and I painted the planks and made the cushion and pillow. It was a family effort, and I really love it.

On the left side, there are two more hooks for our library bags, and a basket for our umbrellas. We only have three bins underneath for shoes, but have been making it work (even though there are four of us).

I wasn’t sure how I would like the cinder blocks. I really didn’t want it to feel like a college dorm room, but I didn’t want to build anything that we couldn’t easily take apart, either. Since they are painted, and mostly covered, I think they look good! I actually love walking into our home and seeing it.

How about you?

What is the first thing you see when you walk into YOUR house?

Sewing Table

We built MORE furniture. This time, it is something that I have wanted for a while.

You see, I sew in a corner of the living room (which is now minus one chair), and since we moved that chair, I have room now for my very own sewing table. No more cutting fabric on the floor, or taking it to the kitchen counter!


This was difficult to photograph, but I can tell you a bit about it’s features.


We added a shelf onto one side, so that I can put containers of notions on it. I have all sorts of things I like to have at my fingertips. Clover Wonder Clips, pins, chalk, scissors, measuring tape, thread, etc. This is 72 inches of space to do that!


I also got two yards sticks from Ace Hardware, sanded the brand logos off, stained them, and attached one to each side of the table. I LOVE how they look!


We used another plan on the Ana White site, called the Narrow Farmhouse Table for the base. We did shorten it 20 inches and added our little details. It is a good solid plan that is easy to follow and to do. It matches the desk we made (which is also in the living room).


This is a strange photo, but I was trying to get the whole thing in the frame. It is 76 inches across!

Wood: Pine

Stain: Saman Sesame

Clear varnish: Saman

Making ends meet

Heh. I am the worst at coming up with titles. They usually have to make me giggle in some way.

Anyhow, this post is about the fact that I moved a chair.

Just a chair. It set off a chain of events. Just like that.

Let me start at the beginning. There is a large sofa-type chair in our dining room where the girls love to sit and read while I am cooking. And there was only one in the dining room. I am sure you can see where this is going.

Yes. They fought over that chair every day.

Finally (uh like 2 years later) I realized that we indeed have another identical chair in the living room that goes unnoticed because of it’s location. You see, everyone wants to be where the action is, and that is usually near the kitchen. Cause that is where I seem to live. And me = place to be

So I moved the living room chair sister into the dining room. AND THEN I realized that we needed a place to put a lamp on, next to each chair.

So Jim and I built end tables.


We just went to our favorite site for free building plans Ana White (no relation, but I so wish we were. ha!) and used the Truss End Tables plans.


I love how the wood we used looked like it had zebra stripes after it was stained.

We have built several things from her site so far (like this, and this, and this). That last link will take you to the very first project I made ALL BY MYSELF! I have discovered that I love building with my husband, much more, though.


I have to say that this was not as easy as I thought it would be. These plans are not as specific as we would have liked (or are used to), and there were beveled and mitered cuts. That was enough to cross our eyes for a while.

I absolutely LOVE the way they came out, however. We have gotten very good about choosing very straight wood. That is one of the most important things you can do.

Because this is our third project together, we really worked out who was adept at doing each job. My forte seems to be the cutting and using my cordless drill to screw, while Jim is a champ at pocket hole screws and holding the wood nice and steady.

We both have very strong views on the proper way to use a hammer, though. Good thing we have two.

Total time spent on actual construction: approx. 3 hours

Wood: mostly pine

Stain: Special Walnut 224  stain

Clear coat: Polycryllic


What have YOU made today?

Bird House Pyrography

I had one final gift, for dear friends on New Years, to make. I came up with another wood burning project!

birdhouse8m I started with a small bird house blank that I picked up for $1.00. Then burned designs onto it,

birdhousem This is one of my favorite pieces so far!

birdhouse2m Side view, I kept it fairly simple, but could easily get carried away.

birdhouse4m If I were a tiny bird, I think I might want to live here.

So far, what I have learned about pyrography:

  1. Dots are very easy to do.
  2. Wood is uneven and burns at different rates in different places.
  3. Any knots in the wood are completely frustrating to go over because they do not take the marks very easily.
  4. I have to watch my pinky finger at all times cause it is a tricky little finger that likes to go near the hot part of the tool.
  5. And finally, slow and steady win the race.

What have you made this year?

They’re doing Pyrography

One of my favorite holiday movies is White Christmas. I love all the music and the costumes and the story. Just everything, really.

Anyhow, there is a song in there called “Choreography“. Just in case you haven’t seen it…

Stay with me now, there is a point. For some reason every time I burn something in wood I think of that song, but instead of “Choreography“, I insert “Pyrography“.


All that to say, I have tried more wood burning. This time I used blanks from the craft store.

pyro1m I made a few spoons. These were unfinished raw wood, and it went much smoother than the finished bamboo ones I did.

pyro6m This one is my favorite.

acornboxCollage I also made a box with 5 different designs on it.

pyrobox2m I think I am getting the hang of it. I still haven’t figured out a way to avoid smelling like a forest fire, though. These were gifts for lovely friends we spent yesterday with. Christmas, this year, went by fast.

How was YOUR holiday? What did you gift?

Pyrography Plans

Remember my post here about that stack of wood? Well, I got myself a wood burning tool, and had/have grand plans for making beautiful things with it.

As with anything new, I think this will be a learning process.

spoon I burned a bamboo spoon as my first project and found out a few things. #1- Unfinished wood is better to burn. I kept scraping up the waxy finish with the tool. It didn’t make it smooth sailing, that is for sure.

spoon2 and #2- I think I will try pine next time. The bamboo has a bumpy texture which also added to the difficulty.

spoon3 For my first attempt, I think it is OK.

logs2m As for the wood “cookies” that I sliced up the other day, they are still wet inside. It was supposed to be a cured log, but when I cut into it, there was moisture. I am not sure I will be able to make all those gifts I had wanted to for Christmas. I suppose there is always next year!

Now if I could just figure out a way to avoid smelling like burned wood after creating.


Have you tried Pyrography? Any tips for a beginner?


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