30
Jun

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

 

 

Okay, I am going to be honest…I started this post a few days before Memorial Day and the title read “Happy Memorial Day!”  I don’t know if you read my page about how long things take me but I really, truly  was not kidding.  My mom always says “A day late and a dollar short”.  I am usually a month late and way more than a dollar short!  Fortunately for me the 4th of July is not far behind Memorial Daly so I thought I would just revise a bit. 

Anyway, I didn’t want to miss the designated opportunity to honor the men and woman that have served or are serving our country and their families.  I so appreciate their services and my freedom because of it.  In our home, it is a honor that when we see a person that is serving our country, that one or all of us, is determined to thank that person.  I don’t think that Americans should only thank and honor the courageous people that have earned and protected our freedom on Memorial Day or the 4th but I do believe that each day is a good reminder of our luxuries, privileges and rights we have because of the people that have sacrificed their time, income, health, family and lives.  Thank you!

 

Love this photo with Leah holding the flag and Hays in the background. Thank you Nana for the cute photo!

 

 

We, like most, went to a barbeque, ate great smoked pork roast, deviled eggs, and Jell-O dessert on Memorial Day.  Like stepping back into the 1950’s…  For the 4th we basically have the same thing planned with family from all over this great nation.  In order to properly celebrate either holiday I think our colors need to be flying. However, the day before Memorial Day, we had a little adventure with our flag that I wanted to share.

 I have always wanted a flag outside my home (bucket list), in fact over 10 years ago when we were looking at the house it was one of the big things that aided in the decision to buy the house.  I realize that it is not that difficult to pour a concrete slab and put up the post but just driving up to the property with the red, white, and blue flying, gives me chills and a smile.  I’m embarrassed to say but our flag has been a hot mess for at least a month.  It was time to change it, as it was tattered and torn a bit but about a week ago it had gotten caught on the top of the pole.   We have a light on our flag so it is a permanent fixture that we don’t remove every evening.   I had attempted to remove the rope so that I could bring it down and replace it, but I just didn’t have the strength.  That rope is crazy hard and usually my husband must take care of it.  Jason has been super busy and not home much so it was getting put on the back burner.  On Saturday, the kids and I (well mostly the kids and I was supervising) were doing yard work and my 16-year-old son, Hays said, “I can’t handle this!  We need to fix the flag”.  So, he got the rope undone but Old Glory was caught on the top of the pole and she was not going down without a fight, you go girl!  We couldn’t find a ladder tall enough to reach the top of the pole so within a few minutes, Hays was on the roof of our home and he was going to jump to the pole from the roof!  Really?!  This was remarkable!  You have got to know my son.  He is not impulsive.  He is not crazy and he has a lot of common sense but for some reason he thought he needed to try and jump ten feet to a six-inch diameter pole.  What the???  With much discussion, from his sister and I, he changed his mind.  We parked his truck next to the pole and he decided to scale it.  This was super cool and I was impressed with his dedication to get our flag down and replace her.  He had to scale the pole five or six times and he usually had a hand saw or scissors in his mouth.  I was hesitant to post this video because to get our flag down required some cutting/ripping of the flag and I really felt like we were being disrespectful and it made my stomach sick a bit.  In the end, I decided to share.  Truthfully, this video insert is about a 16-year old’s initiative and dedication to have the symbol of this great nation displayed appropriately, with the respect that it deserves.  I am not comparing it to the service of the members of our armed services but it was a great reminder of the persistence, dedication and ingenuity that our American warriors must have, to protect this amazing country.

As soon as we got Lincoln up to pose the wind died! Oh well, still a cute picture of the kiddos.

 

 

 Hays Flag Video

PLEASE excuse the commentary (especially mine).  We were a little excited.  My daughter, Leah took the video (she kind of sounds like me) and the little boy is my son Lincoln.  I love, love, love the blue sky and clouds in the back drop.  Typical Colorado.  You will see he doesn’t get the flag down in this video but I wanted to spare you anymore commentary and the destruction of our flag.  Yuck!

 

It took another few weeks to buy a new flag and rope and get that beautiful girl back up there.  Since we had to cut the rope Hays was going to climb again but Jason helped with a ladder.  He also added a new topper, which is awesome.  It is a light that shines down on her that is solar and turns on when dark out.  It was a bit of a task to get those colors back up but boy is she worth it. 

Our new flag with the solar light.

 

Success! Isn't she beautiful?

 

Happy 4th of July!  I hope you all have an amazing day with friends and family celebrating our freedom!

 

 

 Old Glory

Just in case you didn't get enough of our new flag.

29
Jun

Rustic Flower Box (Caddy/Organizer)

I love pallet wood! In fact, most of my wood crafts are done with pallet wood.  Not only is it free (most of the time) but it is already weathered and rustic so requires very little work to get the look I want.

This is one of my easier projects that can be made in a few hours (less dry time for stain or paint) for someone with a little bit of skills and energy.  For me, it usually takes about a week.  I usually do one to two steps every other day depending on my energy level or pain but it is doable by one person who struggles with fine motor skills, large motor skills or both!

I really think this is a cute and functional gift that any woman (maybe a man would like it to hold pens and pencils on their desk) would love.  The photo above shows it with fresh cut flowers from the yard but any flowers would work.  The first one I made, I gave to my sister-in-law, Jackie, and used Baby's Breath.  She left the Baby's Breath in and allowed it to dry so she has flowers all the time (photo at the bottom).  Pretty good idea.  I also intended this as a table top caddy.  The three jars will allow for forks, spoons and knives and can easily be carried to the table.  I think it would work great for entertaining outdoors.  You could even remove the jars and put condiments like mustard and ketchup.  Those little red and yellow squirt bottles that you get at the dollar store would be super cute.

 

Materials

  • Wood (any type is fine)
  • Finishing Nails
  • Wood Glue
  • Chalk Board Paint
  • Stain
  • Nails with a large head
  • Hammer (or nail gun)
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Two Handles
  • Nail Gun (optional)

 

Step 1

Figure out which jars you are going to use.  I used three mason jars and measured them so that I could make sure that my caddy had enough room for all three plus a little space (in case they want to put napkins next to silverware).  I decided that a 10"  x 4 1/2" box would work.

 

Since my wood is about 3/4" thick I bumped my length up to 11 1/2", on the longer sides, since I am insetting the side panels.  I also found the bottom piece at this time.  I like to use one that is wide enough that I don't have to cut the board to fit the width only the length.  I found a piece that was about 6" wide so with the two sides (1 1/2" total thickness) I cut my shorter sides to 4 1/2".  If you want to inset the bottom piece (so that it doesn't show on the outside of the box) just cut it to 10"x 4 1/2".  I know my way is more complicated but I wanted a taller box to cover the jars.  I also really struggle putting nails in; my depth perception is way jacked up.  I usually go too high or too low and then the nail is showing and trying to get the nail out is impossible!  This way, I nail from the bottom (see picture below in Step 5) and I can measure where the nails need to go. If I still screw up and have to remove nails, it's the bottom and no one will see it, so it doesn't matter. Right?

 

Step 2

Cut wood to the dimensions you need, including the bottom and the chalk board.

For the bottom, I had the four sides cut and dry fit together just to make sure the bottom will fit.  If your brain works correctly, you can easily skip this step (as your measurements are likely accurate) but I always double check myself.  I also like to do it this way as pallet wood thickness can be variable (see left side piece in above photo in Step 1 and how it bows out). For the chalk board piece, I used a scrap of wainscoting (the back side) because it is thinner.  I cut mine to 4" x 2 1/2".  It is really up to you how big you want this.  I cut this at least three times until I got the size I wanted.  I just kept holding it up to the box to see if I liked it.  Also, keep in mind what you are going to write on it so that you have enough room.

 

I like to use a miter saw aka a chop saw. I cut two sides at the same time so they are exactly the same.

 

 

 

I use an orbital sander and start with 120 grit then finish with 220 grit sanding paper.

Step 3

Next sand and stain boards and paint chalk board.  I like to do this before I assemble the box.  I can sand easily and get the stain everywhere and if you wait until you have the box assembled the corners can be tricky to adequately cover with stain.  Also, if you are like me, the construction may not be that sturdy and sanding (with an orbital sander) can be a little rough and may break your caddy.

 

Apply three coats of chalk board paint.

 

Stain one side and let dry then flip wood and do other side.  Between coats, store brushes and rags in Ziploc bags.

Step 4

At this point, I put the chalk board onto the front of the flower box and the handles on the sides.  It is much easier to do it now on a flat surface than once the box is assembled.

First, make sure your nails are long enough to go through both pieces of the board (in the case of the chalk board).  For both the chalk board and your handles, you'll want to make sure they are not too long that they go all the way through the wood and stick out in the interior of the box.

Measure to find center of your flower box

 

Make sure your nail is long enough to go into both pieces and not too long that it will go out the back side.

Drill a hole in each corner of your chalk board that your large nail will slide through.  Then drill smaller corresponding holes into the front board of your flower box.  I choose drill bits based on the nail size.  I use a larger bit for the chalk board so the nail just slides through then a size smaller so that there is some "tooth" into the actual flower box but the pre-drilled hole usually prevents the wood from splitting.  Before putting the nails in, I like to sand the tops so they are shiny.  You could also spray paint them before if you would like a different color especially if your handles are a different color.  My handles had silver on them so the raw nails coordinate nicely.

You'll also want to measure and mark each side for the placement of the handles.  The first time I made this flower box, I thought I could "eyeball" it and that was a mistake.  Even 1/2" off is pretty noticeable because the handles stick out.

The handles were a big pain in the...  I used some ones I had removed from an antique dresser (normally, I would try and leave an antique piece as original as possible but these handles are difficult for me to use and since I would be using the dresser daily, I opted to change them out).   They look great on the flower caddy but I really struggled attaching them.

Measure the center of sides for handle placement

 

My handles have two screws so I had to measure the distance between the two and center them.  The first time I tried to put the handles on I just screwed them in and my wood cracked in half!  I had to cut, sand and stain another piece.  Strongly recommend pre-drilling.  Pallet wood can be so temperamental.  Place a drill bit in the hole of your handle until you find one that fits then go a size smaller so that you will have some "tooth"  when you screw them into your sides of the flower box.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find the diameter of drill bit you will need to pre-drill.  This fit so I went one size smaller.

 

 

 

 

 

Broken! Ugh! I use chalk to mark on my center. It comes off easy and I don't have to worry about a pencil mark leaving a dent in my finished wood.

 

If you are using a store-bought handle/knob this will be much easier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5

Time to assemble! I use a little brad nailer to do most of my crafts but this one is really simple to hammer in the nails, plus the nails for my brad nailer weren't long enough.

I start by "pre-nailing" each piece.    I put wood glue on one edge and then nail.  To make it easier, I stack wood under one side while nailing the other side on (for the first board).

 

Checking my nail length again

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Apply a small amount of glue.  Since you have already sanded and stained you don't want to deal with hardened glue.  If you get a little glue that squishes out, just wipe off with a damp rag.

 

 

Ta da!  One flower box caddy!

 

 

Lastly, spray paint your jars whatever color you would like.  I only spray the outside of the jar since water will be added to hold flowers and there really is no reason to paint the inside.  Once the paint is dry, I sanded mine a bit (with 220) to make them look rustic. 

This was the second one I made.  My first flower box I made was for my sister-in-law for her birthday.  For her caddy, I attached the sides to the edge of the front and back pieces.  I was trying to avoid the nails showing on the front but I didn't care for the edges and "seams" showing.   On my second one (above) I inset the sides and I think the nails add a little rustic character to the caddy.

 

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