Monday, March 14, 2016

Leash Holders Designed to Look Like Your Pet

Kind of excited with this new project.  It's new but it's not. What's exciting about it is the way it is used, as a leash or key holder.   One of the nice aspects of our design are all the different ways it can be implemented.  On this new item, we are using the front portion and giving it a new purpose.
The tongue is used for the main leash and the hooks can be used for leashes, keys or whatever you want them to hold.
As with our other items, this can be painted to look like your pet.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

DIY - Fixing Up My Lower Bathroom

One of my goals has been to go through the house and fix-up/repair the rooms.  We've lived here for about 11 years and some of the rooms needed work when we got the house.  Now it was time to tackle the lower bathroom. Yea!!??

One thing I do like about the previous owners of the house, they apparently knew less about home repair than I do.   This was one of my discoveries when I tore up the bathroom. After reviewing the damage, it was decided the floor needed new tiling,  walls/doors needed painting, cabinet needed new doors and paint, along with putting up decorative touches.
Was actually pretty pleased with how this turned out.  My first step was to tear out the old toilet that was broken and prep the walls and floor.  This is when I discovered the prior owners DIY skills.   When removing the old toilet, the two anchor screws broke off.  Ok, no biggie, I'll just replace those.  Lo and behold, the toilet flange had been completely cemented in with only the screws showing (what the heck??) . Well, this was interesting, how to fix this?  When inspecting closer, the area was uneven by a large amount.  Part of the reason the old toilet leaked and cracked was from half the base under the toilet being much lower.  
After trying to chip and hack at the cement, I decided to grind down the broken screws and put another later of cement on top, leveling the area and making a solid base.  Since the new snaplock tile was going to raise the area a quarter inch or so, it was no problem.  I now had a nice level opening I could attach the new flange to.
 My next step was  to replace the cabinet doors with wooden ones that would have finger hold indents instead of handles. On one of my visits to the local hardware store, I seen a light green high quality interior paint that was mistinted, on sale for 5 bucks.  Yet, that would work just fine - yes, I'm on the cheap side.
After reviewing Pinterest, I had decided to put a shelf above the bathroom door and a more decorative one above the toilet.   When doing the decorative one, I wanted scalloped wooden braces with a decorative front.  I was so proud of myself, using the scrollsaw to cut out a clam shell on each end and an anchor in the middle.  Wasn't until I went to put it together, I realized, the anchor was upside down.  Well, I'll just tell people that was intentional and my idea of an anchor...
Since the two bathrooms are very small, I wanted the bathroom to be self sufficient, all
bathroom supplies would be kept in the bathroom. The shelf above the door would hold all toilet papers, the shelf above the toilet would hold all towels supplies.  The tiny shower would get soap and shampoo dispensers that would attach to the walls, and lastly, the sink cabinet would have mini-shelves to contain more items. 
I love ocean life and decided this would be a good theme with the bathroom being light green. So I grabbed my brush and paint and a couple of murals up on the walls.  The towel holder was made from rope and metal clasps to represent a ships rope.  

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Make Your Old Interior Doors Look Like Paneled Doors

old versus new doors
old versus new doors
Been slowly working on updating the house the last couple of years. We bought  this  home about 11 years ago and have not done too much to it besides build a new deck.  Decided it was time to work on the hallway doors. They were the original ones that came with the house and were the hallow doors made with that dark panel wood.
I had seen other sites that had put the trimming on the doors and painted them all one color. This is very nice, but I wanted to also use coloring to add dimension to the door. I had decided on having lighter color on the outside of the trim and a darker on the inside. This would 'hopefully' give the illusion of the doors having different depth to them.
This was a very easy project. First I cleaned the old doors up and put wood putty in the spots that had nicks or wood missing.  I then measured the doors and make two squares out of the trim.  One square on top and the other on the bottom part of the door.  You can pretty much use any kind of trim you want, just go to your local hardware store and see what they have and what you like.  When placing the top square, keep in mind that the bottom square may bump against the door handle so plan accordingly.  I know some people state just gluing the paneled squares on are sufficient, but I'm one of those people who want to make sure it will hold.  I used glue and my air pressured stapler.  Once you have the doors cleaned and prepped along with the trimming placed, you can then paint.  Don't be afraid to use your imagination or your own style in painting them.
Thought this turned out pretty well.  It at least made my tired old doors look new again.
old versus new doors
old versus new doors

My First Halloween Casket Prop

Damien and Mr. Skeleton
Damien and Mr. Skeleton
Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. Every year we try to add to our collection of props to get that "just so right" haunted look. . The best props in our collection are the ones we make ourselves; They turn out great,  the supplies cost very little and are sturdy enough to last for years.
This year we decided to work on a life sized coffin to hold our Mr. Skeleton.  As with my other DIY projects, the first place I started looking for ideas was on  Pinterest. Didn't take much time to find a really nice DIY instruction for one made from Foam Board -
The nice thing about doing the props yourself is modifying them how you want them to look.  I did not like the use of duct tape to fasten the sides together and I wanted it to be very sturdy.  We used 2 inch Foam Board instead of half inch and used silicone to glue the sides together.  The sides and lid were also notched in about half an inch to join together better and allow the lid to actually close properly.  Besides making the board impressions, we used a marker top to press in the impressions for nail heads, these were painted silver. There was also the issue of the width of the bottom of the casket (where the feet would go).  It was a little too narrow for my taste so we made it a couple of inches wider.
The instructions we found on Pinterest were nicely done and showed lots of pics for each step. We just wanted to add our own revisions to it.  Which I encourage anyone to do. Use your own style and design when following DIY projects.   finished coffincasket sideiltd2lidcasket 3.

Experimenting- with Various Sculpting Mediums for Outdoors

I'm always on the lookout for a medium I can use that will allow me to create outdoor artwork. My first attempt at creating outdoor art was with Plaster of Paris. This was an interesting material to work with. It would change from a liquid to a solid in just a matter of minutes. Sometimes the timing was tricky when applying this substance. You had to move pretty fast and carving always created a billow of white into the air. After creating my first couple items, I tried my best to weather proof them with acrylic paints and varnish sealants. They always ended up slowly deteriorating due to slight cracks allowing moisture to enter. I know many people on the various crafting forums had great luck weather proofing theirs, it just was not the material for me.
My second attempt was with some tutorials I had received from the Stolloween website. This is a great website to go to for many hands on tutorials with the Paper Mache medium. The main premise being that you can use various materials to create your Mache work Scott Stoll (creator of Stolloween) uses almost all recyclable materials to make his armatures. As for the recipe, he supplies a couple of examples but encourages experimentation. Whether it is actual paper or some type of fiberglass, the fun is in the experimenting. Once you create your item and apply a proper sealant it can be used outdoors. This site is a LOT of fun, I encourage anyone to go there. After working with this medium to make various Halloween items, I decided to try applying the basis of his recipe with a sawdust recipe The results was a wonderful clay I could use that would dry rock hard. My only complaint with this medium is that is it very time consuming. The sawdust clay tends to dry very slowly and needs to be applied in layers on the armature. However, as you can see from the turtle and octopus pics, you can get nice detail on them.
For my next adventure in sculpting, I am going to try what is called Hypertufa. It is a cement medium that is mixed with other ingredients to make it lighter and more agreeable to artwork. I found a nice website that has the various recipes - . One of the recipes is for the underneath part that is harder and less carve-able and another recipe for the outer layer that dries slower and is better suited for carving. I have not tried this yet but am anxious to do so. Perhaps I will start out with a whimsical lady snail or a turtle attempting to reach a strawberry.
Once I have tried these, I will let you know how it went. If you have any advice or stories of outdoor artwork, please share

Recycling Old Bench into Porch Swing

I've always loved a good porch swing, something you could waste away the days on. Nothing nicer than sitting back, gently swinging on a warm summer day, with the wind lightly brushing against your cheek. Perhaps even snuggled up in the pillows, reading a good book.
When we moved into our house 11 years ago, we had no front porch, a very small back deck and no trees in the back yard. We added a nice deck to our house and planted several trees, what better to add than a swing to enjoy the view with. Off we went in search of a new swing.
We prefer to make all our own items with the theory they would be better and stronger than the equivalent if it had been bought. The only problem with making a porch swing from scratch, is you need the time to do it. We just never seemed to have the extra time, constantly putting it off till 'next weekend'. After several weekends expire with no time for personal woodworking projects, I decided to see what ideas they had on Pinterest.
I've got to say, the more I browse that site, the more I like it. So many ingenious ideas from so many sources. After viewing a few pages, I found a few that suggested taking a pre-existing bench and turning that into your swing. What an excellent idea! We had an old loveseat that went to our outdoor set. It had a metal frame, however, the backing was gone, cushions were destroyed and paint needed to be redone. It was destined to be sent to the curb until I seen this article.

This pic on the right is one of the chairs from this set that is still in decent condition. I'm not sure why the loveseat did not hold together as well as the chairs did. As you can see, it had brown weave around the metal bars. The photo below is what the bench looked like after we put the wire backing on and redid the paint job.
The legs were also an issue. Not sure what to do with them, we bent them under the chair which seemed to work ok. It is hard to see the wire supporting the back in the pic. The wired was stretched across and interconnected to add support. The last step was to make new cushions with outdoor material.
The local hardware store had a pre-made porch swing chain set, which included all the parts for setting this up. Viola – a wonderful swing to enjoy the lazy summer days!