Monday, October 14, 2013

A Centerpiece for Mama (and me)

This past Saturday, Brent and I packed up the fam and headed to Omaha.  Two things were on our agenda - to squeeze in a ton of quality time with our good friends that live there and to partake in a previously unbeknownst event called Junkstock.

Junkstock is not the kind of place you take most men or children.  I say "most men" because Brent would've enjoyed about 30% of it.  The majority of men would've found it to be extreme punishment.  My brain was going bananas there - everywhere you look is one great idea after another.  It's kind of like these vendors went in and cleaned out old barns, schools and estates and either sold the item as is or re-purposed it for something else.  Tons of refinished painted furniture, old cabinets, windows, mason jars and milk crates.  At least 3 times, I stammered "this is the best thing that has ever happened to me."  Plus, it was held on a farm and in the middle of a field.

You can imagine my mind was reeling with ideas of things I wanted to make.  I spent the majority of our time in church the following day furiously scribbling out ideas so I couldn't forget them.  As soon as we got home from church, I knew exactly what I wanted to build first.  On the way out of Omaha, we stopped at one of my favorite stores to browse around and I saw this.  Ahhh...old crate, mason jars and candles.  Yes, please!  But I didn't have a crate.  Guess I will build one!  And since I was going to build one, I figured that I might as well build a second one for my mom.

Hanging out in my junk pile was this piece leftover from our workshop construction.  I used a palm sander to get a little of the paint off but I wanted it to look a little rustic, so I left a little on there.

My mom's centerpiece was most likely going to end up on her fancy dining table, so I wanted to be sure there were no screws through the bottom that would potentially scratch it.  I also don't like it when you can see screws through the front, which means this little project needed to be assembled with the good ol' Kreg Jig.

First, clamp it to your table.

I always slip a piece of scrap in to get my adjustments correct.  The piece I am twisting with my fingers needs to be adjusted to accommodate the thickness of wood you are using.  

Put the special Kreg Jig bit in your cordless drill.

Clamp that back handle towards you to secure your piece and drill away.

The goal here is to make sure you haven't drilled to deep and the pilot hole goes through the bottom.  This one looks like a success!

Assembly time.  I put the sides on first.

Brent cut a thin piece of plywood to fit in the bottom and used the nail gun to tack it on.

I used this leftover stain from our basement to add a little color to the box.

All done and ready to take to my mom's house!

I picked up a few scented candles and with the help of my talented sister-in-law, we took some of my mom's old fall decorations and used them to adorn the box.

Now it was my turn!  I wanted mine to look a little rougher and a tiny bit darker so it would contrast with my buffet.  So I first did a coat of turquoise glaze to fill in all of the scratches and holes.  Simply mix any color paint with clear glaze and it will extend the drying time, giving you extra time to rub the glaze into the cracks and then wipe the excess off.

In this picture, I just painted a coat of the glaze on - it does not need to be perfect!

Then rub the glaze into the deeper spots with a dry cloth and wipe off as much excess as you wish.  Usually I also finish up by wiping it down with a damp cloth - but it really depends on your preference.

On top of the turquoise glaze, I applied a coat of Martha Stewart Metallic Coffee Glaze to give it little more depth.  This stuff also has the tiniest amount of sparkle to it!  I've had this tiny little jar for a few years and have used it on dozens of projects.  It stretches really far and I still have 3/4 of the jar left!

Owen and I took a little trip to the craft store to get some floral filler and tiny pumpkins and pinecones.  And here is our finished project...

I filled these vases with my extra pinecones and pumpkins.

I am excited to change out the box with different colored candles and accents as we move into different seasons.  For Christmas, I will slip some pine or spruce cuttings in there, maybe flocked, maybe not.  A few holly berries would be nice paired with the hurricane vases filled with sparkly christmas tree balls.  A yellow and coral flower arrangement in there for spring would be cute, too.

One project down, at least 10 more to go!  My vision for our workshop is slowly becoming more clear. Imagine a day where a bunch of us girls can decide on something we'd all like to make, we can gather up in the workshop and all build our own, with Brent there to help as needed.  Maybe some drinks, maybe some food.  And at the end of the day, everyone goes home with their creation!  Some day...


  1. FABULOUS Heidi!!! I'm curious about something tho that I think you left out of the instructions. Regarding the turquoise glaze you put on, I see a bottle of hershey's chocolate sauce. Does that go on before or after the turquoise? ;) I'm jealous of your mad tools skillz and vision!

    1. Kate, thank you for reminding me of a crucial step. If you are working on a project with a child "afoot"...have a steady stream of chocolate milk available. It keeps them satisfied so that you can get more work done :)

  2. Just clicked over from YHL. I have to admit I wasn't sure where you were going when you said crate, but I'm happy to say I really love this project! Such a fun and simple idea. If this were an episode of semi-homemade with Sandra Lee, I'd suggest buying a flower box and then roughing it up to get a little texture. :-) Great job!

    1. Honestly, I wasn't sure what to call it :) It is sort of like an indoor flower box - so picking up one of those cheap cedar ones at the home improvement store would be a fantastic alternative! Thanks for the comment and the suggestion!

  3. These turned out so great!! I keep seeing projects like this that make me want a Kreg Jig. One of these days...

  4. I found you off of YHL. And, when I sifted through some projects of yours I swore I recognized the house! I live in Lincoln, NE! Totally following your blog. Great ideas! We should totally do a craft night together :)