Friday, June 29, 2012

Privacy Wall/Storage Bench Tutorial

The second part of my summer patio project was a little more difficult than the first one I did, my Refinished Potting Bench.
You see, one corner of my enclosed patio is a “junk pile” – the location of the air conditioning unit and the spot where I keep broom, shovels, plant stakes, etc.  I hate looking at it and have always tried to think of some way to hide it.

Then two ideas came together to get my wheels churning for a solution. First, the bench I acquired when my sister downsized, and my intention to take every possible opportunity to use up supplies and materials I have on hand before I buy anything new.   Here’s the result.

I’m going to step through what I did although I won’t necessarily SHOW you how I did it, for two reasons. First, I sometimes forget to take in-process photos.   Second and more importantly, it’s like making sausage – you like the end result but you really don’t want to see it being made.  My techniques are sometimes messy and hit-or-miss so I wouldn’t want you to follow my lead! 

Here’s the bench.

When I took a good look at it, I noticed the back panel was cardboard, so that had to go. I wanted my unit to be easily movable, and as luck would have it, I had a set of casters from some other long forgotten project.  I had to add some plywood on the bottom of the unit to make it sturdy enough for the casters. 

I then sorted through all my left over wood pieces from various household projects, most of them baseboard trim from some remodels.  I laid the pieces out to fit the back of the bench, braced them on the back and glued and nailed them all together.

Next steps: Primer coat and first paint coat.

I decided to use glazing with the cream color paint over the blue layer on the back wall and part of the bench.  It’s not real visible in the photos, but it’s there.  

Once again I used these cabinet knobs that I got in a garage sale a while back.

 I wanted to hang some planters but I didn’t have any more garden pots to use.  I’m a semi-collector of tins so I grabbed these, two of them chocolate chip cookie tins from Doubletree Hotels that I acquired back in the day when I traveled for business.  Do the Doubletree Hotels still give out free cookies and milk?

 I used hammer and nail to put holes in the sides and used twine for hangers. 
 I'm going to use the storage bench for garden tools and miscellaneous supplies. That's sand in those buckets; I read once that you can keep your tools from rusting if you stick them in sand.

And there you have it.  My only expenses: an extra piece of plywood for the backing and four small black wastebaskets from the dollar store.

My privacy wall/storage bench is doing what I wanted it to do: it hides the mess and it's pretty to look at.  And that makes me happy!

Have you seen its companion: Refinished Potting Bench?

Linking up: My Repurposed Life.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Refinished Potting Bench Tutorial

I have been very busy on my patio for about a week now, working on two different  projects I was determined to do this summer. I was also determined to use supplies I already had on hand and not buy anything new.  I succeeded about 99%. I'm kind of pleased with how my projects turned out; not so sure my body is pleased with what I put it through!  Here's the first project - the one that was a little easier.

Here's the before and after:

I'm almost embarrassed to show that "before" photo!  Here's the steps I took to take my potting bench from ghastly to gorgeous. First, get rid of the junk and assess what needs to be done. 
The wood needed some TLC, so I used a wood cleaner I had left over from another project to clean and condition the wood.  The cleaner also removed some algae on the legs.  Next, some sanding and the bench was ready for painting.

First a coat of primer ...

Then a first coat of blue.  Why blue? Because that's what I had, silly! Remember? I'm using what I have on hand.  LOL!

 I have to admit that I usually don't plan my projects to the last detail before I start and I have been known to make decisions on the fly.  After I had the first coat on, I decided I wanted to try a little color-blocking so I pulled out some cream colored paint and made my on-the-spot choices.  That made for a very long day - the sun was going down by the time I finished.

The next day, some finishing touches:  I picked up these cabinet knobs at a garage sale a while back.  I thought they were cute, much cuter than the holes in the bench, don't you think?

I have had these garden pots for several years, although they became blue just last summer when I loaned them out as table decor for my nephew's graduation party.

The watering can was rescued from a neighbor's trash when they moved two years ago, and I spray painted it with Rustoleum Key Lime Ultra Coverage 2X paint.  (Love that paint!)

My one new purchase specifically for this project are the two green bins and the blue bucket, all from the Dollar store!

So ... behold my new potting bench!  Stay tuned for the second half of my project - a much tougher job than this one.

Have you seen its companion: Privacy Wall/Storage Bench?

Linking up: My Repurposed Life.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Fearless Visitors

Great. Just great.

I thought I had just one psycho raccoon that comes to my patio after midnight, manages to tear open my metal can with a locking lid (!) where I keep the bird seed, and settles inside for a long night's feast. 

I had no idea there was a family involved!  These two babies showed up tonight.  I watched them get themselves stuck on the top of my fence and then stumble-bum their way down.  By the time I got my camera they were settled in under the bird feeder and enjoying their meal. 

Apparently mama and daddy didn't teach them to run away when humans show up.  I was about two feet away snapping pictures and they just calmly looked at me and kept right on eating. 
I didn't have the heart to take a whack and chase them away.  They are kind of baby-cute.

I just Googled and learned that raccoons are highly intelligent and adaptable, and can be very destructive (as if I didn't already know that). I think I'm going to have to take steps to clean up my patio area of anything that attracts them.  So hey you two ... just know that you got a reprieve ... for now. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Funnies

I'm a little late with the funnies today ...!?!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sneak Peek and Ouch!

I know my posts have been a bit sporadic lately.   Wish I could say I have been on vacation or enjoying some summer relaxation ... not a chance! I actually have been busy with a couple of projects and those projects have been somewhat hindered by this:

No, I didn't injure myself.  I have had a flare-up of De Quervain's Tendinitis, which occurs when the tendons around the base of the thumb are irritated or constricted.  I was treated for it before with cortisone injections and the next step could be surgery.  I have had my fill of surgeries for the time being so I'm trying not to strain my hand and wear the brace as much as possible to relieve the symptoms.  That's tough to do with my latest recycling project.

I won't tell you yet what it is, because I feel it will be either a grand success or a monumental failure - no in-between!  So for now here's just some sneak peeks.

I hope to finish in the next few days if the weather holds out.  No way can I do this inside!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day, Dad. I miss you.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sunday Funnies

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A New Rose With Special Meaning

Whenever I can, I like to find plants for my garden with the name of someone special to me. For instance, this tea rose is Just Joey.  It is in honor of my nephew Joey who passed away many years ago at the age of four. 

My climbing rose didn't survive the winter so I had to replace it. And when I saw the name of this rose I knew I had to find it.  My niece Dawn passed away just a few years ago at the age of 39.  This rose - New Dawn - is as beautiful as she was.

Just so you know, I also have a few perennials named in honor of family or friends who are thankfully still alive!  The beautiful thing is that whenever I look at each of these flowers I can't help but stop for a quiet moment to remember their namesakes.

My Garden Marathon

I knew I was going to have a few very busy weeks so a while back I did a garden shopping and planting marathon - all in one day!!

Since I had a gift card for the garden store from my niece, I decided to step out of my usual comfort zone and plant some of her favorite color combination - yellow and purple.  I surprised myself because I really really like it!

I was so thrilled to find this Black-eyed Susan vine to climb up two trellis posts.  It's climbing beautifully and blooming profusely. I'm quite sure by end of summer it will be over the top of the trellis. What more could I ask for?

 I repainted two of these flower boxes hanging on my fence.  I have had them forever and they're getting pretty nasty, so this might be their last year.  But in the meantime ...

I had some of the purples left over so I put them in these pots that I had painted for my nephew's graduation party last year.  I like this color combo too.

You've probably seen tutorials for stacked pots like this.  Not much to it - I just propped up the pots, put the soil in, and planted around the perimeter.  I hate when plants are spaced too far apart and look skimpy, but I may have overdone it here, although the plants seem to be doing well so far.  There wasn't a whole lot of room for the plants but I managed to get them in.  By the way, that's a yellow Gerbera Daisy on top and I'm just now getting new blooms.  I'll post an update in a few weeks.

OK, gotta run.  More garden tomorrow!
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