Thursday, April 2, 2015

Junk Pile Finds: Life is Good

Good Morning!

It's late, but I felt inspired to write a post. Well, that and there are five baskets of laundry practically punching me in the face to get folded. Naturally I locked myself in my office and am pretending they don't exist. My daughter must be rubbing off on me. Next thing you know I'll be sitting on my bed, fingers in my ears, singing "la la la" next time there is a sink full of dishes.

Spring is finally starting to peek it's head which means I get to do more projects. (Yay!) It also means I have to use iron resolve to work indoors all day. This evening I finished up my first coat of sealant on my fixed up picnic table. However, once that was done, I didn't know what to do next. I have tons of plans for the exterior of our house. Our acreage is very pretty, but there is work and maintenance to do. Today I felt fairly overwhelmed by it all. I hate to have idol hands, but I also don't want to spend every hour this summer trying to get the yard ready to enjoy, to only have fall sneak up on me.

As I was looking around my drab yard, I remembered something from a keynote speaker a few months back. I had the pleasure of hearing a presentation by Bert Jacobs, co-founder of Life is Good. In his office, there is a jar. It's the same concept as the swear jar, but for negativity...and the money is used for beer. (Best. Jar. Ever.) If someone in the office says, "I have to do _____" they have to put money in the jar. So, if I said, "I have to fold laundry" I would have to drop some money the jar. It's not grateful to think about tasks as burdens. There is someone out there that would love to have the ability to do laundry or even have running water. Instead, think of as an opportunity, "I get to do laundry." So, while there is so much I want to get done, every task is an opportunity that I'm grateful for. This time last year I was just hoping to find a house maybe with some land, but this year I am lucky enough to have a lovely ugly house in the country. Although the yard is large, my children also get to run and play every evening. That's definitely something to be grateful for.

Speaking of opportunities, I had two really cool opportunities right in my backyard. I noticed after we bought the house there was an old  bench and picnic table tucked back in the trees. Both looked pretty sad and weathered. However, when I pulled them out, I noticed they were both still salvageable. Let's be clear though, my salvageable and my husband's version are very different. (Remember that screen door I dumpster dived for?) The picnic table is going to be featured in a different post since there is a tutorial to go with it, but the bench was a simple fix.

I was a bad blogger and didn't take a before picture. (Shame on me!) I realized this after I took the bench apart. I did take a picture of wood so you could see what kind of shape it was in. The metal legs were plain black and had some rust here and there. The bench came apart much easier than I thought it would. The bolts were in pretty good shape so I kept and reused them.

The first thing I did was give those metal legs a good through cleaning. I took a wire brush and steel wool to the metal to get the flaking rust off and give my paint a nice rough surface to stick to. Then I grabbed a can of spray paint in my favorite blue. (Yes. We have covered my blue and aqua obsession at length. I'm looking for a 12 step program to break the habit. Until then please send all your aqua and blue items to me. I will hoard them for free.)

The tricky part was finding the wood. The wood had to sit in the grooves of the legs and match up with the holes in the back of the legs. That meant I really need an exact match to the old wood planks. I wandered into Lowe's one day with one of the planks of wood and asked someone to help me find a matching piece of wood. Please picture a crazed lady waving splintering wood around yelling for help. Then imagine her in paint covered public. That is a pretty accurate description of most of my Lowe's trips.

The only wood they had was a cheap pine. Not exactly great for being outside, but since it only cost me around $6.00 for all the wood, I could justify replacing the wood in a couple of years.

When I got home, I used one of the planks as a guide and cut my long boards in half. A coat of stain and a couple coats of sealant over the top and everything was put back together. It's looking pretty styling and will be a fun addition to our backyard. My husband's favorite part is the entire project cost less than $10.00. It's the perfect bench to watch the kids play from as I slowly become anemic from mosquitoes bites. Ah. South Dakota summers. :)

One last junk project before I go. This post is quite long. I must really hate that laundry opportunity in the living room.

I found some old tire irons and bunting pans at a garage sale a few years ago. I think I spent maybe $5.00 for everything. I decided to create flowers for my front flower bed. These were super simple. I just hammered a hole in the bunting pan, threaded the tire iron through and used a rubber band on the back to make sure the pan didn't slip off. They are a fun way to celebrate spring while I wait for my flowers to peek up.


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