Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Just a Little Crafty and A Crafting Fail

I am not what most people would call artsy. With me function is king. When my wife told me she really wanted a bedside table I said, "We have those old potato crates that can be stacked and make a real nice bedside table". I thought it would look nice, but that was not the look she was hoping for. She still doesn't have that table, it was not that high on the priorities list.

If I were to try to define my style, I would call it Rustic Chic. Before today I didn't even know that was a term and I still believe it was only coined so folks like me could feel like we are at least a little in style with something. In fact the term is being debated as to whether it is a complement to rural/country people or an insult. Let's see, city people buying things to decorate their homes or offices to look like what they think country peoples homes used to look like. Hum, I don't care. Some people just want to be offended. I wouldn't care if they called it Rural Chic. Hey I may have coined a new term.

It is the holiday season and we are rapidly coming up on Christmas. Fresh cut Christmas trees have arrived by the thousands at local home improvement, department stores, and even vacant lots. Before these beautiful trees go to homes and are decorated for the season the bottom branches are removed and part of the lower stump is cut off and discarded. That is where the gears should start turning in our heads.

As you can see in the picture above I took some of the limbs that were trimmed and decorated the hearth. We had the artificial poinsettia blooms and the painted pine cones already. Total cost of this decoration zero dollars.

On To The Trunk

From the trunk I decided to make drink coasters. I am not sure where I got the idea, but a friend of mine and myself both decided to do the same thing. He was lucky enough to work the Christmas trees on Black Friday, so he was able to use the electric chainsaw and cut pieces to the right thickness from the very beginning. I wasn't so lucky so I took all of the larger pieces I could find. I have found that larger pieces are easier to work with and you can get more coasters out of each piece.

This would be really easy if I had a band saw, but I don't so I am using the fold-able pruning saw that I keep in the truck with me. The most challenging parts are trying to keep a consistent thickness between the pieces (or at least close enough) and keeping each piece the same thickness all the way across. Some variation is acceptable and adds character to the coaster, but I do not want the glass to look like it is leaning. I had to throw a couple away due to uneven thickness.

There you go. Just a little sanding and a coat or two of spar varnish and these coaster will last for years. Great for the home, great as gifts and if you don't varnish them they only cost you some time and sweat. By the way you cannot find coaster like this on Amazon, at least I have not been able to and on eBay a set of 4 runs from $10.00 to $20.00 a set.

The coaster pictured above is large enough to be a pot holder as well.

A word if warning if the 12 coasters I cut 9 cracked. I don't know if this is unique to Douglas Fir. I have never had wood crack this bad before.

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May you have Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes.

For instructions on making a homemade wreath you can go here. You can always scale it down to fit your need.

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