The Greenhouse

This is a little project I’ve been working on in my spare time. “Little” quickly morphed into something much larger. I guess that’s what happens when you get more windows than you expect, you don’t draw out a plan ahead of time, and you’re still a bit shell-shocked from surviving your first winter in New England; you just pick up your cordless screwdriver when the sun comes out and go to town.

Some items from my freebie pile for the build:

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The shell of the greenhouse:

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And then…

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Why yes, winter is hanging on that much that the daffodils are only now blooming. AT THE END OF APRIL. Sigh.

The garage door roof is perfect for flipping a side back for ventilation.

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I may be the only person in America growing corn right now.

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(I may be building a greenhouse, but I never claimed to have any skills at “greenhousing.”)

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EVERYTHING was repurposed, from the trim to the paint to the windows to the door. Hopefully this makes you think twice about something you’re considering tossing. You never know what you could build with all of that stuff until you take some time to…build.

I haven’t been inspired to write much as of late.  Technology often overwhelms this gen-X-er, and being a small business owner requires you to do a lot of technological stuff for marketing. (BOO.)  If you want to still follow my work in photos even if there isn’t some random story to accompany a piece, please click on the Instagram tab on my site.

I’ll be back soon! Promise.

 

 

Posted in Reclaimed wood

Jamaica, Vermont

Thrilled to be accepted to The Best Little Arts & Crafts Show in Vermont, taking place on May 6! It’ll be a great weekend to visit this idyllic village AND it’s much more affordable than traveling to the other Jamaica.  May 6-7 is also the dam release at Jamaica State Park — one of my favorite events of the year. It’s an awesome event to participate in or be a spectator at!

Hope to see you in the Green Mountain State in a week and a half!

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Posted in Reclaimed wood

The Transformer

As a rustic artist, I typically steer clear of “modern” builds, but there was just something about the angles on this oddly shaped rectangular slab that caused me to “branch” out. (Yeah. I know. What a bad pun at this hour of the morning on a cold & dreary Friday.)

This piece was inspired by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and is my definition of what he would call “organic architecture.”

Meet The Transformer, a multi-functioning piece that blends the beauty of many different cuts and kinds of wood: 200-year-old blue barn wood, logs two ways (skinned and with the bark left on), slabs two ways (round spalted maple slabs and a thick rectangular slab), and walnut 4×4’s.

In Rochester, one might call this a garbage plate.

Need a solid table for your porch and prefer the more rustic look of aged barn wood? Here you go.

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Oh wait, would you rather have a funky, modern bench to seat extra guests? Flip it over.

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Boom.

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Please message me if you are interested in The Transformer. Since I created this on the fly, I’m not sure if I’ll ever build another one of these things unless I’m inspired randomly by something. Anything. You never know. Never say never.

Local delivery is available!

Posted in Reclaimed wood

The Workbench

I’ve been (figuratively) sitting on a prized piece of lumber that a woodworker gave me in the fall during a trade. It doesn’t have a live edge. The grain isn’t something that sets it apart. It was uneven and covered in dust, dings, dirt, and dents.

My kind of lumber. And it was the story behind the wood that made it even more invaluable to me.

Since it was 8 feet long and I hesitated cutting it, I thought for months about turning it into a reallllly long bench.  Then one day, instead of doing what was on my punch list to do, I had an idea and approached it with my saw without thinking twice.

My sister often jokes to my nephew, “See what Aunt Meli is doing? Do the opposite.”  She’s not far off. The “measure twice, cut once” and “think before you act” adages are not ones I believe in when I build. Sure, it gets me into trouble at times, but if you know me, I struggle with over-thinking EVERYTHING. It (no joke) takes me an hour to click “post” to Facebook. I will spend half a day reading and re-reading an email before I hit “send.”  So I know that if pause too long when I have an idea, I’ll probably talk myself out of it and potentially miss out on a great building project or growth opportunity. Being spontaneous, especially when I work, is a necessity for me.

The prized piece of lumber that I started hacking in half was my friend’s father’s workbench. Long pieces of wood pressed together and held with iron bolts. His dad passed away, and he’d been holding onto it, unable to part with it.  A lump formed in my throat when Richard said to me, “Mel, I think you could do something with this. Do you want it?”

So I cut it in half, attached it together, and framed it with a piece of weathered wormy chestnut that was the same gray color as the old workbench. Adding a protective topcoat brought out the beauty of all of the aged pieces.

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Paired with a whiskey barrel, the piece makes a perfect high top dining room table. I will sit at it, running my fingers over the nicks in the wood, and wonder if my friend and his dad made some of those dents while working on a project together. If that’s where he learned his stunning woodworking skills. I wonder what was built with the help of this workbench.

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I’m not parting with this piece. The workbench? Heavy. The history behind it? Priceless.

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Time to wrap up. My dad is coming over for some precious shop time together.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Reclaimed wood

High Top Barn Wood Table

I feel bad for anyone who has had to share a washing machine and dryer with me.

I have some bad habits and downright annoying quirks. Not emptying my pockets before doing laundry is one of them. Or maybe my downfall is what I put in those pockets to begin with…

What I store in my pockets depends on the season. Spring, Summer, Fall? Peanuts. Fall, Winter, Spring? Tissues. All year long? Dog biscuits. Yeah. I don’t even have a dog.

Hey, you never know when one of your little buddies is going to come up to you and want a treat.

Like yesterday. Look who decided to wake up after a six-month nap.

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(Diesel is in dire need of a bath. He smells like he’s been underground for half the year. Or, as my sister pointed out, a rodent.)

The problem is, sometimes I don’t remember that I put a dog treat for Sam in one of my many cargo pant pockets. And that I had a wad of tissues in another since my nose seems to be perpetually running in the cold. And peanuts? They are stashed everywhere.

I don’t remember until I take my laundry out of the machine and see a pile of skinless, squeaky clean peanuts at the bottom of the basin.  Or I open the dryer to see shredded tissues covering every article of clothing in there. I won’t mention what happens to the dog biscuits when water hits them. You can deduce the outcome.

While working on this high top table, Sampson was roaming around the shop. Now that Diesel is up, I’ll have another office companion. And the tissues are still going to be an issue because of allergy season.  It’s a trifecta for my poor laundry machines. It’s said that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. Maybe I’ll learn by the end of April to empty my pockets.

The table top is made from a prized stash of green barn wood from a 200-year old barn.  The legs are from fence posts and the cross section from aged iron.

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Measuring 40″ tall, this table just needs a few bar stools and you’re ready to entertain.

I hear the dryer buzzing that the load is done. I’m almost afraid to look. Day 1 of 21. Let’s see what kind of new habits I can develop with a little bit of discipline.

 

High Top Barn Wood Table:  please email me if interested

 

 

Posted in barn wood, Reclaimed wood, rustic decor, rustic table

Pallet Love Seats

There are a lot of things people don’t tell you. Like, if you pierce your tragus, you will never be able to comfortably wear ear buds again. Or if you need to get rid of stale bread crumbs, emptying them down your garbage disposal and then adding water to “flush” them away only creates stuffing in the pipes in your wall. But if multiple published sources give you advice on the same something, maybe take a moment to think that perhaps it made it through the final book edit for a reason.

There is a reason why maple syrup making books tell novices to “only boil indoors in the final stages of syrup making.”

Do not, I repeat, do NOT ever, EVER try to make maple syrup IN your home. Ever. I don’t care if there’s a blizzard. How short you are on time. How you ran out of firewood or some other excuse that makes you think that boiling indoors is the rational alternative. Nononononono. There is a reason why the books warn against this.

It’s no secret that I suffer from impatience. To me, it’s better to do almost anything else than wait for something. (No surprise that my family is notoriously early for everything.)

Maple syrup season is in full swing in VT. This was the weekend that officially kicked off spring in Vermont – not like you’d know based on the amount of snow on the ground (and falling as I write) and frozen taps. But still. You found plenty of free pancakes and hot maple syrup  around the state this weekend if you decide you want to spend a few days in a blissful sugar coma.

I collected six gallons of sap a few weeks ago, and then realized I had to boil it all down before leaving the state for awhile. The weather wasn’t cooperating (hence only getting six gallons that week), and after lugging my sap jugs up the mountain because the snow was too deep for the ATV, I wasn’t about to just pour it down the drain. So I did what all of the books said not to do.

This is my third year making my own syrup from sap harvested from maple trees on the property, but this was my first time moving the operation indoors. And my last. For 7 hours, the steam rolled and the microwave fan hummed away, dispensing the steam away from the stove. By hour 8, every window in the cabin had fogged up so much so that I was surprised that the cops weren’t called by my few neighbors to investigate what the heck was going on. By hour 10, the cabin was 74 degrees (and below freezing outside), my pores were open, and I was stirring in a tank top in something that resembled a log steam room. By hour 11, the microwave fan shut off (uh oh) before totally self-destructing by beeping the doom and gloom code no microwave user ever wants to see: SE. By hour 12, three hours past my normal bedtime, I’m half-delirious, cheering on my bubbling pot of goo, staying awake by asking Siri to pull up YouTube videos on how to repair Samsung microwaves DIY-style. By hour 13,  I’ve created a masterpiece.

Somehow, I must have fallen asleep for a crucial 15-minute time span where my syrup boiled into some crazy maple honey concoction.  I am hoping to replicate that this week once the sap starts flowing again. Outdoors. Gallons of sap and hours of work resulted in one little olive jar’s worth of maple honey stuff. No wonder syrup is so expensive in stores. But SO WORTH IT. I didn’t want to leave my treasure behind, so it road tripped with me and was taste tested in Maryland, where it stayed.

I was gone for about 10 days, all the while wondering how I was going to remove said microwave from the wall and repair it. Apparently time away from me was all it needed. I returned to the cabin, plugged it in, and it hummed away. Crisis averted. Lesson learned. That little olive jar of maple syrup was almost worth $349 in Samsung bucks.

There are some things that just need to be done outdoors, like syrup making. Given the brutal New England winter that still hasn’t let go, I’ve also been doing a lot of building inside. Large pieces. It’s great to have an indoor shop, but then, like with the syrup, when you get to the final stages, you face problems that go beyond testing your microwave’s limits. Like how to get the beasts that I make out the sliding door and up the hill in deep snow.

Sleds and patience are a killer combo.

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New pallet furniture designs for Spring 2017! Order yours now – East Coast delivery options available and also available for pickup if you want to come and get some syrup in the Green Mountain state.

From traditional benches to ones that give you a little space from your neighbor with a table in the middle, there are many styles to choose from.

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Rustic in look but with a smooth 320 grit finish, these sets are built to last, even if they remain outdoors uncovered all year long.

Many cushion options are available. Also sold sans cushions.

Pallet pieces range in price from $75-$199. Please email me for a quote and/or to place an order!

Posted in pallet loveseats, pallets, Reclaimed wood, rustic decor

Pallet Bar Set

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One of a kind pallet high top table with two comfy, wide bar stools. The tabletop and seats are finished with 320 grit, making them very smooth. Made 100% from recycled materials!

Three piece set (table, two stools):  $165.00 

(East coast delivery available: please email me for a delivery estimate.)

Posted in pallets, Reclaimed wood, rustic decor, Stools