Spring decor: DIY candle holder, cheese tray and more

Hello, friends. I don’t know about you, but I am ready for spring!

Today I thought I’d share a few thrifty spring decor projects anyone can tackle in one afternoon. (This is part of the Creator’s Studio Blogger Challenge. You also have a chance to win! By ‘liking’ your favorite submission – ooh, I hope it’s mine 😉 you’ll be entered to win a package of the same 8 Rust-Oleum® products bloggers received. Voting is open now until February 22, at 5 pm CST.)

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These projects are derived mostly from this junk pile in my backyard:

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Yes, when shopping for elegant dining room decor, what better place to start than the garbage heap? 😉

DIY candle holder

The first piece I snatched from the pile was a block of wood, a leftover hunk from one of our porch posts, I believe.

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I used my 1.5″ forstner drill bit to cut three holes in the top. Then I sanded the whole piece really well. (Note: As a safety precaution, use a respirator mask and work outdoors when cutting or sanding pressure-treated lumber. More info. here.)

I gave the piece two coats of Varathane® stain, first with Bleached Blue, then Briarsmoke.

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After the stain dried, I applied the Royal Design Studio Springtime in Paris Stencil, using the Pearl Oyster Stencil Creme, to the front and back of the wood block.

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Finally, I filled the holes with votive holders and tealights. Done!

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DIY cheese tray

For my next project, I began with a piece of plywood, which I cut into about a 12″x10″ cutting board. I sanded it really well, including rounding the corners.

Plywood-cutting-boardI sprayed the board with a coat of Rust-Oleum Chalkboard Spray paint.

Rustoleum chalkboard spray

Courtesy photo

After that dried, I coated the piece with a few layers of food-safe mineral oil. Finally, I added chalk labels and cheese. Voila! A trendy cheese tray.

Chalkboard-cheese-tray

Rust-Oleum-Chalkboard-Paint-decor

Stenciled-candleholder

Spring centerpiece

For my final spring decor project for the dining room, I began with a few dusty rattan balls I found in the basement.

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I gave them a coat of either Rust-Oleum Mirror Effect (Gold) or Specialty Metallic (Copper) spray paint.

I also created my own moss balls by using spray adhesive to stick faux Spanish Moss onto craft foam balls. All materials again were found in my treasure trove of a basement. 😉

DIY-moss-ballsI added a coat of Gloss Spring Green, followed by a light coat of Metallic Dark Copper spray paint.

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I displayed the pieces in a wire basket, creating the perfect spring centerpiece for my dining room table.

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What do you think of my upcycled spring decor?

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Have you DIYed anything spring yet? I’d love for you to leave a comment and tell me about your project.

Disclosure: I’m thrilled to help spread the word about Rust-Oleum products. I was provided the products featured in this post at no charge. As always, all thoughts, opinions and projects are 100 percent my own.  

Hot tub redo done! (How to make an old hot tub look new)

Hello friends! I hope you had a blessed holiday season. It was definitely one of my favorite Christmases ever. I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with family and friends. The older I get, the more I cherish these moments together.

Today I wanted to share photos of our finished hot tub project! A few months ago, we purchased a used hot tub for $600 from a friend of a church friend.

We installed a paver patio for our “new” hot tub first. Then I stained the outside of the hot tub cabinet and did some landscaping to finish off our new backyard oasis. I chronicled the specific details of how we did these projects here:

Here’s what we started with:

leveling-hot-tub-base

hot-tub-base staining-hot-tub And here’s what we’ve got now:

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In addition to doing the paver patio ourselves, we also tried to keep the landscaping budget as low as possible. We’ll still need to bring in a little topsoil and seed in the spring to get the area looking its best. The cost breakdown to date is as follows (approx.):

  • 4-6-person California Cooperage® Hot Tub – $600 (purchased used from a homeowner and picked up)
  • Stain for hot tub cabinet – $12
  • Paver patio – $1,000 (We have extra pavers on hand to do some more hardscaping in the future.)
  • Landscape fabric (already had on hand)
  • Edging – $20
  • 2B (that’s the size) river rock – $60
  • Trees and shrubs – $300
  • Electrical supplies to hook up hot tub – $150
  • Stumps and large rock accents (already had on hand in our woods) 🙂

Total project cost = $2,142

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Below you can see where we decided to end the paver patio and allow some room for landscaping against the house.

hot-tub-landscaping-2 hot-tub-landscaping

While this project definitely cost us some significant time and money, we feel it was well worth the effort. Our family gets in the hot tub together nearly every evening. It’s a great time of bonding for us, and it sure beats watching TV! Plus we know we saved a ton of money purchasing a used hot tub and installing it ourselves. A new hot tub of this size would begin at about $5,000, not counting the cost of the patio, landscaping, electrical supplies, etc.

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What do you think of our “new” hot tub?

5 habits of organized people

I have always admired the uber-organized among us. Getting and staying well-organized does not come naturally to me – an easily distracted and creative-minded DIYer. It’s been a struggle my entire life; that’s why I dedicated an entire book to the subject of organizing.

Over the years, my methods have become more realistic, and my habits have improved a bit. But I still have a long way to go. That’s why I decided to share this post today. I wanted to do some research to see what sets apart the highly organized people out there from the rest of us mere mortals. This is what I found out:

1. They face their Goliaths. Super-organized and productive people don’t typically avoid tough projects, issues or problems. They charge into them, facing them quickly so they can move on and keep those things from becoming giant, stressful time snatchers.

2. They’re disciplined. Statistics show that organized people have the ability to identify and eliminate time wasters. They also tend to take personal responsibility quickly. They are in the habit of consistently hitting goals, meeting deadlines and fulfilling promises. In short, they hold themselves accountable.

3. They have laser-like focus. Organized, productive people are able to concentrate on the task at hand and tune out distractions. They understand that not everything can be important. They distinguish between important tasks and trivial ones and focus on the most important stuff first. They don’t get bogged down with busy work. Of course, laser-like focus isn’t a natural ability for many people – including myself. But it is a skill we can all cultivate. Check out this article on 12 ways you can find and foster focus.

4. They plan their days. Although this is probably a fairly obvious habit of the organized, it bears mentioning because it’s so vital to creating an advantage at the start of each day. Rather than taking precious time to figure out where to begin, having a plan or clear path for the day’s schedule creates a sense of urgency and momentum early in the morning.

5. They’re able to get back on track faster. When organized people are interrupted or things don’t go as planned, they are quickly able to adapt. Their normal, organized routines come in very useful at times when the unexpected happens, because all the other things that are important have already been taken care of or are on autopilot, providing the margin necessary to respond without scrambling or dropping the ball.

Getting and staying organized has been a life-long quest for me. I’m currently reading Jane Stoller’s Organizing for Your Lifestyle: Adaptable Inspirations from Socks to Suitcases. It’s helping me refocus my efforts and go back to the basics of setting up working systems in our home that everyone in our family understands and uses daily.

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I think that is a key part of keeping an organized home – developing systems and holding family members (especially kids) accountable for their part in managing those systems.

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Do you struggle with getting organized? Do you have any tips for how to stay on track?