Monday, July 11, 2011

The Parsimonious Penny Pincher

Hello Turning a House into a Home readers, I am Kristen's husband John.  My wife has inspired me to take on some of my own diy projects lately and she has asked me to share some of them with you throughout this week.  I used to consider myself a cheap person.  That is, until I married my wife.  Frugal is an understatement when I describe her spending habits.  A parsimonious penny-pincher I think is a more accurate description (sweet alliteration, I know!).  I have friends with spouses that are big spenders and live outside of their means.  We definitely do NOT have that issue in our household.

One of the many things that my wife's frugal habits have shown me is that the small patch of woods behind our neighborhood is an untapped resource of creativity and a beginning to many diy projects.  It is the same as modeling clay is to a sculptor or blank canvas to a painter.  I will frequently make a "woods run" for more supplies (Yes, our neighbors do think I'm crazy as they stare at me and wonder why this man frequently carries branches back to his 3rd floor apartment).

When Kristen needed a new plant stand on our balcony, did I go to Home Depot?  Of course not!  I made a woods run!

I searched the woods until I found the right branches that I wanted to create a plant stand.  I wanted straight, long sticks that would work for the top and legs for the stand.  I also wanted some smaller pieces for supports.  All the wood I used I found on the ground and did not cut anything from a tree.  At the same time I did not want anything that had been down very long as it may have started to rot.  Once I had some supplies, I was ready to cut!

I began by cutting the branches into smaller pieces for the legs and the top.  Now, normally I like to plan how I'm going to make a project.  I will draw diagrams, look up different ideas, make very careful measurements.  With this project, I totally improvised everything as I went along.  In hindsight, this was not the best idea and I definitely could have benefited from a little more planning.  In fact, I ended up starting from scratch half-way through the first try.

Also, if you ever do this, use a miter block or a chop saw.  Your cuts will be much straighter than mine and
the time it will take will be drastically reduced (especially with the chop saw).  I did however know how large I wanted the top to be.  I wanted the top to be 12"x12".  I cut 2 - 10" sticks that I could secure the top to then I cut 9 - 12" sticks that I glued to it.  The legs were all cut at 14".  

Once I had my top and legs cut, I glued the top together.  I used screws to fasten the legs to the top.  From there I screwed in some supports.  The side supports I drilled holes into the legs that the supports could fit into and slid them in with a small amount of wood glue.  Overall I used four screws, some wood glue, and some gorilla glue to fasten the wood together.  I did not want to use too many screws as I think they take away from the overall natural look.

We now have a rustic plant stand for our growing container garden on the balcony. We have yet to decide if we want to stain it to match the bench we built out of branches as well or if we'd rather leave it natural.  Not only is my wife happy with the end product, the plants are loving it, too.



Heather said...

Great job, John! Looks awesome!

Rebbie said...

Hi John, I love your new plant stand. Have fun blogging this week.

Woodooz said...

This is a neat DIY... Has a rustic finish to it and am sure would look absolutely awesome in a balcony garden :) Way to go !

Angie - Big Bears Wife said...

Great looking stand! isn't it great to make something instead of going out and buying it

Nayana said...

It turned out rustic things.

Abby said...

Love this! Very cute and practical. I love your blog!

Your newest follower,
(come take a look if you like)

A Sunny Yellow Window said...

Great job! Love it with the pots on it!

Brooke Buhl said...

I love the title of your blog and love how you make the most of your small space! Take a peak at we have a lot in common!

Unknown said...

Really cool and so in style right now. I love the price too. I spent last week in New York City and I saw many organic, raw, rustic wood pieces. They were priced from hundreds to thousands of dollars. I love yours more.

notyet100 said...

Luv the plant stand:)

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely stunning... I'm surely going to try that as well.. wow!! wow!!

Be Colorful Coastal said...

John, so great to see a guy out here. We need more because you bring such a fresh perspective to blogland. The project turned out great. Love the look and your tutorial made it seem doable. Thanks for sharing on Motivated Monday at BeColorful

Unknown said...

Love this project!! I am featuring it on my blog. If you would like to check out the post and pick up a "featured" button, here is the link:

Thanks SO much for linking up!! This weeks party has started up and if you have a new project feel free to link it up!!

Mel's Designs from the Cabin said... it, love it, love it!! can you make a woods run to my cabin and teach me more about making wood furniture from branches...I'd love to try're inspiring! Thanks for the details on cutting and piecing the branches. Home Depot is one of my favorite places, accept for the smaller local old hardware stores in the a visit is not out of my I do enjoy making stuff from scratch too...keep it up...there are lots of us out there in blogland...Mel's Designs from the Cabin just visited you....Mel

Comeca Jones said...

Adorable! he loves you sooo. *giggle* you guys are fun!

Comeca Jones said...

Sorry John I left that comment for your sweetie.

Anonymous said...

How clever! I have this linked to my planters post too today, well done!

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