Category Archives: DIY Projects

Build a Kindling Box from Pallets

When we moved from the cabin, we left our kindling box with the new owners.  We needed a new one before winter and I wanted an excuse to use a bunch of pallets I had saved up for a rainy day.  I had no idea about the work it takes to disassemble the pallets and sand all the wood, but I am glad I tried it because the look of freshly sanded pallet wood is so beautiful!  The only new wood for this product were the 2 x 4″s for the frame, the hinges and the handle.  Everything else was from my wood pile!

I started building a frame for the top and the bottom of the box. I decided to use angle braces because the pallet wood would provide the strength I needed for the project.



After the frame was built, the real work began.  There are many ways to disassemble a pallet, but the easiest way I found was to cut the pallet boards on the outside with a circular saw as close to the support board as you can.  You lose a little length on the board, but you have less chance of splitting the boards and you want to cut off those nail holes anyway.  Once you have cut the outside edges, you can pry up the center.

Once you have all your boards processed and the nails removed, the fun part begins…sanding!  I used 80 grit sand paper because I still wanted to leave some of the rustic markings and stains.  This is the portion of the project that took a long time!  After the sanding was complete, it was a matter of deciding how to place the boards on the frame.  I had enough of the same pallets to make the skinny ends look uniform, but on the longer sides, I had to be more creative.  I had some boards that were thicker and some that were wider, so I worked to make both sides look similar, even tough I was using different sized wood.  Check out the finished product!

After assembling the box, I attached all the pallet wood with a 2″ finishing nailer so you would not see the nail heads.  Now, I had to decide how to stain it.  Because I loved the soft look of the wood with the color variations, I decided to use Penofin Clear Penetrating Oil Finish and it really brought out the color of the wood.  It will also provide good protection from the weather.  For the top, I used some left over corrugated metal and I added a small handle to the front.  A sculpture from a local artisan completes the project!

Would I work with pallets again?  Yes because although time consuming, it is rewarding to salvage old materials and re-purpose them.



Bathroom Makeover for $35.00

The house we purchased last year was only 3 years old and it had good bones, but the color choices of the previous owners were not our taste.  Because they had kids, they had some interesting color choices in the bedrooms and a crazy color in the guest bath.

The shower tiles were also not my first choice and we hated the floor tile.  What I hated more though, was the thought of pounding up all that tile.  I could live with the shower tile and we have yet to decide what to do with the floor.  For 10 months, we have ignored this room, calling it the ugly bathroom and we left the Caribbean blue paint in place.  This week I could stand it no more, so I decided to paint the bathroom and see if we could live with the rest.

I chose a dark brown paint, called “Mud Puddle” because I wanted to contrast the light tile and the white vanity.  I also thought that would make the floor look better…it didn’t!  So we will still have to take the plunge and change that at some point.  So, for a $35.00 can of paint, this guest bathroom now looks stylish and sophisticated.  Try this transformation on a room you love to hate and enjoy the difference it makes!

Make a Hot Tub Pretty

When we purchased our hot tub, we decided to put it close to the family room door in an area that was partially protected from the elements by the house and the master bedroom deck.  The problem was there was nothing there but dirt, so there was not much ambiance.

Pre-deck 2

Since we already had poured a concrete pad, we decided to build a slightly raised deck around the hot tub that would cover up the entire area and turn that corner into a retreat spa.  Because the deck we were building was less than 12″ off the ground, we did not need a permit, but if you are thinking of recreating this deck, check with your local building codes.

We started by setting posts in concrete with holes dug down 24″.  (That is below frost line for us here in Colorado).  Then we built a frame as close as we could to the hot tub, remembering to leave an area so you can access the internal equipment.

Middle Deck 1

Once the frame was finished, it was time for the deck boards.  There are many types of deck boards you can use here, including synthetic wood, but I am a redwood girl at heart, so that is what we used.  This part of the project is just like building a regular deck except for working around the hot tub.  For shelter from the rain, we went to Target and picked up a pre-fab pergola to put over it.  The result changed the entire hot tub experience from sitting exposed in the middle of the yard to being in a spa!  The entire deck project including the pergola cost us around $1,000.  Enjoy!

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Transform a Room with Paint

Remodeling does not have to be expensive.  You can change the look of your room completely with a fresh coat of paint.  When we bought our “fixer-upper” condo, the paint had not been refreshed in many years and was drab and boring.  The first thing we wanted to do was paint it and bring some color into the room!

View from the Living Room

Because the color of the furniture was very light, we decided to paint a darker “feature” wall and paint the rest a brighter yellow.  Our goal was to create a Caribbean beach look and make it fun and inviting.  At first, I thought the color may be too dark, but it is only paint and you can always change it!


A couple of months ago we were back down at the condo and decided it was time to replace the furniture.  The furniture was old and sagging and it was time for a refresh.  Of course, the furniture we chose was simply not going to work with that Caribbean blue wall!  We decided it was time for the condo to grow up and look more sophisticated, so we repainted the wall a soft green.  Now the look has changed from the fun beach look to a calming island look!

Living Room After 2

We love the look we have created and it only took a couple of gallons of paint to change the tone of the room.  Don’t be afraid of color…you can always change it!

How to Turn Landscape Rock into Grass

When we purchased our little fixer-upper, one of the things I wanted to change immediately were the white rocks in the front yard.  The landscape fabric underneath was old and weeds were coming up in the rocks everywhere.  It was, well, ugly!  We tried for awhile to live with them, but after awhile, they had to go.

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We started digging up the rocks and found more rocks of a different color.  Because of the size, we knew we could never get all of them up.  so, we decided to get as may as we could and then just cover the rest with top soil.  We added 3-4″ of top soil on top of what was left.


After we got all the top soil in place, we started laying the sod.  It is a small yard so the job was not that difficult!  We picked up our sod at the Home Depot and it really was good quality sod.  The result is awesome!  We have now had the sod in place for two summers and it still looks great.  So if you find yourself with the same issue with landscape rocks, consider this approach.  It worked great for us!

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