Tag Archives: furniture

Handmade Gifts

I love handmade!   Over the last few years I’ve asked my husband to make me gifts rather than buy them.  He hates to shop and lately I’m the same way.  Handmade means someone took the time to think about the person they’re gifting and come up with something that they think is perfect for the giftee.  Here’s a few of the things my wonderful man has made for me over the years.

This is my favorite photo of the Eddie and I. He took two old single-trees, cleaned them up and put them together to frame our photo.


Three spice racks made from oak, cedar and pine and now full and hanging in my country kitchen! Most of my most used spices in one spot and easy to pick out what I want.


Shelving runs lengthwise in my 30 ft kitchen on both sides. 

He made these in two different years to hold all of my old kitchen decor. 

I hate using plastic storage containers now. I had a large stockpile of 1/2 gallon canning jars so I moved all of my dry goods into the jars. Eddie made me this unique cabinet to go over my pie safe and that holds a lot of our food.

Staples are in airtight containers and easy to put my hands on. No more smelly plastic containers.

Eddie made me a baking tin cabinet from some wormy chestnut boards from the farm.

My round baking tins and loaf pans go in the top shelp. The baking sheets and bread pans go on the bottom shelf.

It fits perfectly beside my range and the spice shelves are directly above it.

This is my newest piece of handmade gifts from my husband! appliance/baking center in the kitchen.

I’m the luckiest girl alive to have such a loving and creative man to live with.  He doesn’t understand why I like the old, primitive look because he likes the more modern look.  I keep telling him I’m just a country girl at heart!!

Country folks!!

Forty-seven Years and Counting

I just love my husband to death and he never fails to surprise me throughout the year with his hand-made gifts for me.  We celebrated our 47th wedding anniversary on Monday the 4th (1972) and have done a lot of reminiscing this entire week.  Forty-seven years is a long time but it just doesn’t seem like it’s been that long.  This year he surprised me with a handmade piece of furniture for my kitchen.

This is my new appliance/baking center in the kitchen.  

The top of the unit holds my most used small appliances.
The bottom shelf holds a couple more pieces, bread bowls, measuring cups, chopping equipment, blender and my new crock pot from my daughter.

I had an old dresser there and about a month ago I described to hubby my image of the perfect work station in front of that window.

I previously had my mixer, air fryer and food chopper on our kitchen wood stove. Moving those off the stove freed up a 28 x 40 inch area for preparing anything I want to cook.

The space enables me to put together on one surface and move straight to the appliance needed unless its baking in my range.

The work area on the stove holds my smaller measuring cups, cutting boards, etc. The warming ovens in the top of the stove keeps my spices, baking powders, etc. Spices need to be kept in a cool dark spot and this is perfect because I close the doors to those ovens when I’m not working there.

Thank you my love for all your ingenuity, patience and time in building me such a fine piece of furniture for our home.  I will use with love and thoughts of you forever!!

Weekend gratification

What an awesome long weekend I just had (Memorial Day Weekend).  I worked my tail off but the end results were so gratifying.  On Thursday afternoon and evening of last week, I moved everything off my front porch and swept down the walls, porch floor and steps.  Then I took a very stiff brush with a long handle and knocked down all the debris from spiders and other bugs and peeling paint from the ceiling and walls.  I worked until dark but even got it all mopped with a solution of two gallons of water, 1/2 cup of bleach and a cup of laundry detergent.  It still looked pretty rough but it smelled good and there were no more spiders and their nasty webs.  The wind was blowing about 20-25 miles an hour so I knew the porch would dry by the next day when I would start painting.  Here’s my “before” pictures:

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On Friday morning I took a trip with my beautiful daughter to Roanoke/Salem area and we visited four spots looking for flowers for my gardens, stands, gazebo and porch.  We had such a great and much overdue trip together.  Those beauties will be shown in another post after they’re where they need to be and taking root.

On Friday afternoon, the paint brushes came out and I spent about five hours painting the columns and wooden trim and part of the ceiling.  Most of the ceiling is a very pale blue siding but it’s has a wide section that flows from the porch columns up to the siding and it’s wood.  I painted it as well in the brilliant white that I put on the columns.  They looked so good but while on my step ladder I realized how dirty the ceiling was and the white siding didn’t look so white so I went at them with a vengence and what a difference.  Everything dried overnite while I worked in the yard on other projects and hubby built me another shelf on the entrance to the porch just like the one on the opposite post.  We use these to sit our binoculars for watching wildlife on the mountain.

On Saturday morning I started putting the stain and water repellent on the porch and it took about four hours because I used a brush and got down on my knees to make sure everything was covered really good.  It was dried by 8:00 p.m. but no furniture was to be placed on it for 24-48 hours.  On Sunday afternoon, I cleaned up all the furniture and put felt pads on everything.  Here’s the results:








The end results and very nice, clean porch that has been washed down, painted, weather proofed and furniture minimized and cleaned as well.  Out damned spiders!!  Not sure how long it will look this nice with two cats and a dog always on it and muddy feet when it rains but it is so gratifying at the moment and a little swish with a broom and a mop to wipe off tracks and we’ll be set.  We’re already enjoying the evenings listening to the quiet!!


Mill wheel makeover

I was checking Pinterest tonight and found this site http://pinterest.com/gustavodalmasso/ who had a board of  water wheels, water mills and grist mills and it was beautiful.  It inspired me to show you what I made from a grist mill wheel that I salvaged from a fallen down meal on the last homesite we lived on before we moved to the farm.  The mill was built soon after the house was built which if I remember correctly was 1805.  Anyway, it hadn’t been used for years not had the barn on the property and every thing was built of logs.  The mill roof and floor timbers were decayed really bad and it hung over Snodgrass Branch  which probablyaccelerated the decay.  When we were tearing apart the damaged building we found all types of milling tools, horseshoes, handmade nails and other relics of that sort which made us think there was probably a blacksmith shop on the farm also.   My major find was the gorgeous, intact mill wheel.  It was dirty, bruised but intact and I knew it was going to be my next project and it had to go into my house.  Somewhere in all of the thousands and thousands of photos I have not scanned yet are the pictures that would completely tell the story of the reincarnation of the mill wheel.  I, so far, have only been able to find one.  I will try to tell in as much detail the steps I took to bring the mill wheel back to life but reincarnated as a household item.  First you have to have an idea of what a mill wheel looks like to know what I’m talking about.  Mine didn’t look exactly like this one but it will give you an idea.  Mine was also inside the building running the grinders, it wasn’t a water wheel like this one.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

This wheel was made of beautiful maple which I found once I gave it the first bath.  It was  twelve inches deep, four feet across and had wooden spokes in the middle of the wheel.  It also had a cast iron plate in the very middle with huge cast iron bolts and nuts on it.  It was not easy to handle but I did have a breezeway on the back of the house which was perfect for the challenge I was about to undertake.  It  took several soft baths to clean off the years of grease and dirt and of course, drying good between baths.  THEN I decided to make it into a coffee table with a glass top.  Next step was to decide on a base for the very heavy top.  We had a huge maple tree blown over from a storm on the family farm and the stump was the perfect size.  Hubby took me with him to cut off the stump and see if it was solid and what kind of shape it was in. The bark fell right off of it and it was solid as a rock, I’m in luck!!  We took it home and I cleaned it up, and  did a little sanding. It matched the wheel perfectly and I set it up to dry really good.  Next morning, I put the first coat of polyurethane on the wheel and let it dry.  Checked out the stump and all of the plastic that I had sit it on was covered with little tiny bugs.   What the heck?????   Hubby checked it out and said the bugs were probably inside the tree and the washing and sanding brought them out.   I put the stump in a plastic garbage bag and sit a bug bomb in the bag too.  I sit off the bomb and closed up the bad and left it for two days and thought sure it would kill them but better wash again and let sit on the plastic and wait.   Next day, more bugs!!  Then I decided to freeze it a couple days in my deep freezer.  It took a few days to thaw and the bugs came out again.   I was ready to cry not knowing what to do.  Hubby suggested I bake it and I looked at him like he was crazy!!  He took it to his hunting lodge where they had a huge wood cook stove and the stump just bearly fit in the oven.  He started a small fire and let it cook but watched it carefully and he baked the stump for me three or four times slowly and on a very warm heat but not hot enough to catch it on fire.  It never smoked and the bugs were no more!!!  By this time I had put several thin coats of clear polyurethane on the mill wheel, sanded the cast iron plate and bolts and painted them glossy black.  The iron plate and bolts is what I would use to attached the wheel to the base/stump.  This is what I had at this point:

Mill Wheel coffee table almost completed.

Mill Wheel coffee table almost completed.

Now that the bugs are out of the base I started the polyurethane coats and applied the same amount to base as the wheel.  Hubby helped me put it together and drill the holes for the bolts.  Wait a minute, what’s the top going to be.  We racked our brains, looked at magazines, window shopped furniture stores and nothing popped out at me.  Then Uncle Bill came to visit and was totally awed at what I had done and decided nothing could cover the looke of the spokes, cast iron plate and base and the only top that could be put on it was glass.  DUH!!! Why didn’t I think of that!!  Uncle Bill wanted to be a part of the project and he bought me a piece of beveled glass 3/8″ thick and pretty little brass L-shaped brackets to hold the glass up off the spokes and plate.   We put felt rounds on the brackets so they wouldn’t scratch the glass as they set on top.  The entire project was beautiful and the table was perfect for my huge 18 x 32 living room space which also had maple flooring.  I was so proud!!

When we moved to the farm we live on now I didn’t have room for it and my Mill Wheel coffee table went to live with Uncle Bill and he was as proud as if he’d built the whole thing from scratch.  Three years ago Uncle Bill  passed away and the table came back to live with me and I MADE room for it until just recently.  It is now retired into a storage building on the farm until I decide to re-decorate the living room again.  Here are a couple pictures of it in our existing house and will give you an idea of how big it is but still beautiful:

Mill wheel in a country sitting.

Mill wheel in a country sitting.

There's about 2 1/2 fit between the edge of the table and the wood stove to pass through to the kitchen.

There’s about 2 1/2 fit between the edge of the table and the wood stove to pass through to the kitchen.

It’s so easy to decorate for the different seasons and holidays.  It can also be a catch all for everything imaginable.   I love this kind of project!!