Next to my two sons I have two major passions in life. One is woodworking and the other is gardening. I’m a happy gal when I can smoosh the two hobbies together and create something to feed my creative bug. I built these planter boxes nearly 5 years ago and they’re the most often asked about item in my garden. They were simple to build and the only tools I used were a tape measure, miter saw and a cordless drill. In August I built one for a gal after she saw mine while on a garden club tour I hosted at my home. The planter was identical to my three with the exception of me adding the Kreg Jig tool to my bag of tricks which stiffened the corners up. You’ll see this tool in use as you read through this post.
When I was designing my planters boxes I had certain things on my wish list. Here they are:
1. I wanted to be able to reach the plants easily and have it high enough to keep the weeds from invading the box. I have a wild flower field beyond my property line so weeds are definitely part of the landscape.
2. I needed some method of containing the soil and plants without having to build an elaborate treated wood box. Inevitably, a wooden cavity design would eventually rot out. Furthermore, a wood box would have added to my materials list considerably raising the cost as well.
3. Lastly, I wanted some way of easily removing the soil and plants should I decide to move the planter to another part of the garden. For example, needing to move a planter further into the shade during the extremely hot parts of the summer.
Keeping all the things on my wish list in mind, the planter below is what I designed. I used 2 concrete mixing tubs you find at the big box stores located in the building supply department. They’re made of heavy plastic and measure 36″ x 24″ x 8.5″deep at a cost of around $15. Basically the entire planter is built around these heavy tubs. The tubs fulfilled all 3 of my wishes. They’re high off the ground, they won’t rot, they are inexpensive and they’re removable. With the help of one other person you can pull the tubs out, set them on the ground, move the cedar planter and replace the tubs without disturbing the plants. I’ve even gone so far as to pull the tubs out of the planters and into the garage when I knew there was a major hail storm coming! All gardeners know that heartbreaking feeling of watching all your hard work and money being crushed by 3-4 minutes of hail!
I’ll give you the exact measurements of all the wood pieces I cut but the chances of you finding the exact same tub I used are probably slim. Just keep in mind you’ll have to build your box around whatever heavy tubs you can find. No worries though….you can do this!!
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Now that the growing season has come to an end here in Iowa I’ve spent some time looking back at the pictures I took of all my bloomers. I started most of these plants way back in February and March of 2014 and it’s hard to believe summer has come and gone already. One of the reason I love living in Iowa though are the wonderful seasons we experience. I thrive on change so about the time I get tired of 3-4 months of a certain kind of weather I’m blessed with a new season which is so refreshing.
As you can see I’ll plant flowers in just about any kind of container I can find. Many of the tubs I planted in are from sheep feeding tubs my dad gave me after his ewes nibbled the supplement out of them. I also planted a lot of my flowers in landscaping pots that my favorite nursery man gave to me for free. He had loads of 2-3 gallon pots he was thrilled to get rid of. I planted the flowers in the pots and then sunk them in the ground at varying heights which gave me a tiered looking garden. I’m a big fan of Proven Winners Supertunias and their Superbells which are unbeatable for the mounding color they provide. The window boxes are Supertunia Bubblegum which amaze me every year no matter what the Iowa weather throws down on them. I also love Petchoa Supercals in the colors of Neon Rose and Artist Rose. They too are like eye candy for any garden lover! Although this season has come to an end I’m already thinking about what I’ll do differently next year. Hope you enjoy my 2014 sea-of-color summer pics!
The great thing about doing custom woodworking is getting those “unusual” kind of jobs. I received a call from Scott Carnahan from Sports Plus, a local sports medicine and physical therapy center, asking if I’d build a floating platform for their weight training station. Basically it’s a combination of plywood, squishy mats and hardwood flooring. I have to admit this was new territory for me but I’m always up for a challenge. Scott introduced me to Matt McQuiston who is their strength & conditioning specialist. Matt knew exactly how he wanted it built and had it nicely planned out for me on paper. One of the biggest challenges with this build was keeping the floating floor in place which required the handy work of a talented welder. I left this part of the job in the hands of John Jr. at Central Iowa Machine Shop in Marshalltown, Iowa. He and his guys did a great job of creating what I asked for and I’m for sure keeping their number handy for the future when I need them again. Enough background….here are the project pics!
Welded frame starts the process
2nd Layer-Thin rubber mat
4th and final layer-3/4" rubber mat
My Festool track saw did a wonderful job cutting this very tough mat. Lots of shallow cuts!
Installation time at the site
Center panel needs lots of cushion. Planed down 2x6 did the trick
1 layer of CDX plywood and the start of the oak flooring
Created this template to use for a pattern when cutting the CDX plywood for this section
I sprayed 3 coats of General Finishes Water Based Poly after the decals where installed
Can't imagine not having my beloved Fuji Sprayer! Love this machine!
Matt giving the new platform a try
This is the second piece I’ve created to be auctioned off for a fundraiser for our high school’s new athletic facility. You can read about the first piece I made and a little background about the fundraiser here. I really enjoy giving back to my community and especially to our school district as both my boys will be at the high school next year. I’ve enjoyed seeing all the cooler chests people have created on Pinterest and thought this might be a popular item for a fundraiser using the school’s old bleacher boards. It’s going to be hard seeing this project leave my shop as it would be PERFECT for my son’s high school graduation party next year!
Overview: This cabinet holds a 48 quart ice chest. I added a drain in the bottom which it did not have.
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I’ve been blessed with a beautiful shop and a community that has been very good to me so when I was approached about creating some projects for a fundraiser for our high school’s new athletic facility I was thrilled to help out. The renovation calls for all the douglas fir bleachers to be removed. I stood in awe when I went to the roundhouse to help remove some of the wood for the projects. I was told there’s close to 60,000 linear feet of wood in that gymnasium. Makes me cringe to think of the demolition crew just ripping it all out. We’re working on trying to save as much as we can before the crew arrives at the end of the school year to start their work. Anyway, here’s a sample of my first creation.
(Where’s Waldo….I mean where’s kitty…anyone find her in the picture below?)
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I love it when I can use cut-offs for little projects like this birdhouse. I made this from some left-over bleacher board I had when I made this project and this one too. Although this birdhouse is rather plain the angles in it pose a little bit of a challenge. Overall though it was a fun project and I’ll be donating it and the other bleacher board projects to a fundraising event our community has going on tomorrow night at the country club. All proceeds will go towards a new athletic facility being built at our local high school. Go Bobcats!!
Although I love to build fine furniture there are days when I enjoy taking something old and turning it into something useful. Allows me to be extra creative! I was invited a few years ago to go with some pro trash-to-treasure pirates to a town that has a city-wide garage sale every year. What people don’t sell goes out on the curb and people like me come along and snatch the rejects. I was embarrassed at first but it didn’t take me long to come out of my shell and grab 2 redwood fence gates some guy put on the curb after replacing his backyard fence. To tell you the truth I think I was invited because I had a truck and trailer but it allowed me to throw the other pirates stuff off when I needed more room for my finds. On our way home we looked like The Beverly Hillbillies with the amount of stuff we had piled in the back of the truck and trailer.
Here are the steps for creating my treasure that hangs in my 18′ foot open foyer of my house. It’s big…..5′ x 6′ but it fits perfectly on a huge wall going up my open staircase.
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Some of you may have read in my bio post that I’m raising my 2 sons on my own. We lost my husband to cancer over 5 years ago when my guys were 9 and 11 years old. Although single parenthood was a huge adjustment for me the years have gone by so very quickly mostly because my 2 sons have been an absolute dream to raise. Our hearts were broken when learning my husband had terminal cancer and we felt devastated when he passed away 5 months later. The bond the 3 of us have now is indescribable and the heartache we experienced 5 years ago has made us stronger people in many ways.
My guys most definitely are on the right path to success. Hopefully you’ll allow me to brag a little within my own blog. This post is about my youngest son, Aaron. He’ll be 15 in early June and has had an interest in the military since he was about 8 years old. This mama experienced a milestone last weekend when Aaron decided to join the U.S. Navy Sea Cadets. I had to fight back the tears when dropping him off for his very first overnight drill weekend. Good grief….it was worse than when I dropped him off for his first day of kindergarten! Wasn’t that just last year?!! Along with learning how to march and experience some boot camp training he had the opportunity to learn some basic scuba diving skills. Iowa is not known for its scuba diving opportunities so he had an absolute blast with the training. Today, in his traditional Navy uniform, he had the opportunity to be part of the Color Guard in the opening ceremonies for the Special Olympics held at our local high school. I’m partial to a man in uniform and I have to say this uniformed man is my favorite!
Whenever I get a chance I like to work on my photography skills and the dog or the cats are the only ones who don’t roll their eyes when they see me coming after them with the camera in my hand. This is our kitty Leo who is a Snowshoe Kitten. He’s a mix between a Siamese and an American Shorthair. Great cat with a wonderful personality. Best part about it is he was an Animal Rescue League cat and we were thrilled to give him a home! Support your local ARL!