It shouldn’t come as any surprise that I’ve managed to find a lot of tools for the shed, garage, and workbench in the most thrifty of ways; a girl’s got to save her dough where she can, and even though we have a plentiful arsenal of great tools, that doesn’t mean I’m always paying retail for them at the big box stores. A lot of people turn to garage sales as a place to find salvagable furniture, home decor, or kids clothes and toys, but we’ve found a lot of other tools and materials at these events too.
It’s resourcefulness at it’s tool-finest. Check out this week’s post on DIY Network to see my Top 10 garage sale tool picks (and then go scavenging through your own neighborhood this weekend).
We actually popped over to a church sale earlier this morning and snapped a few photos that validate my point: inexpensive tools are plentiful. Not shown: unused window and door insulation, tool belts, Dremel attachments, sandpaper, and gardening planters.
And don’t even get me at the kitchen goods; this isn’t a post pushing “tools of the kitchen” but Pyrex, skillets, and muffin tins, anyone?
We scooted home with 5 candles (for 80-cents), a basket (50-cents), and some tub and wall trim that might come in handy while Pete works to update his parent’s bathroom. For a mere 10-cents, it’ll be worth a shot.
Refinishing the buffet infused a nice energy into the previously empty sunroom, and pushed me to complete another jobber while I was on a roll. The project? Oversized art to occupy the wall above the buffet. My first attempt at creating some new sunroom art (outlined here), was a major flop. That trial of white tracing paper on white plywood with white paint accents didn’t work, and the polyurethane that I used like modpodge even dried with a yellowish tinge. I didn’t like that. You wouldn’t have either, see?
Back track: I’ve been lugging around a piece of art from my old roommate Katie for years (seriously, almost 6 years). It’s a piece I really like even though it was designed as a desktop for Katie’s friend Jess (see her named written in amongst the stars?). And because I’ve liked it, I’ve bothered to find ways to store it safely for the last almost-six years, wishing that I had the perfect place to display the colorful piece in this house.
After we cleared out and reorganized the garage, I decided I wanted to move it inside and make better use of it, and so the idea to use the backside of the plywood as an art surface was born. I trimmed it to a shorter length (took 12″ off the less-ornate end that didn’t even so much effect the name “JESS”) and then primed it to have a clean finish in the backyard.
After my efforts to create a more textured, decoupaged look with tracing paper failed, I moved forward with brainstorming a new design. I knew I still wanted something clean and simple, something that wouldn’t compete with the sunburst floor or the chair cushions that I’m still planning on making in the next few weeks, and something that wouldn’t considerably darken the room; the walls are entirely white paint and windows right now, and I love the brightness that comes with that when the rest of the main house features more saturated tones and dark, cozier colors (my paint palette can be seen here).
As much as the polyurethane yellowed the plywood surface and the tracing paper rippled, I didn’t consider the plywood unusable. Instead, I started fresh with a clean coat of white paint (interior satin, straight out of my leftover paint stash in the basement, a.k.a. free).
As you see in the above picture, I only painted the top 2/3 with white paint, leaving the lower 1/3 blank to be painted different colors.
The plan? Create an oversized ombre painting. In pink. Home + Ombre = H’Ombre, mi hombres.
Because there wasn’t much paint left in the quart of white, I began adding quarter-teaspoons of pink paint from a leftover Benjamin Moore sample into it gradually to slowly tint it.
Faintly tinted for the first application, a stripe that spanned the plywood in a rounded stripe around the middle of the board, you can only faintly see a difference between the white and the light pink.
With a little more pink added to the quart of paint, I added another streak of pink just slightly below (and overlapping) the first stripe of light pink. Note: I didn’t let the paint dry before moving on to the next color, and this helped make slightly blurred transitions and kept things from looking harsh.
The process continued as I tinted and painted about 3 additional shades before adding a dramatically pink stripe right along the bottom.
Up close, I actually ended up liking how the rippled tracing paper added texture behind the gradation in colors; almost has a wave-like effect that adds to the piece. It’s a #megafail made happy!
I hung it on the wall in the sunroom above the new buffet table quite easily by myself, considering the heavy weight of the plywood.
After considering the placement of the studs in the wall, and measuring for height, I determined the placement for two d-rings on the back of the plywood, one on each end of the panel to distribute the weight.
To securely hook the d-rings on the wall, I opted to install a two heavy-duty anchor screws directly into the studs. I left them unscrewed out about 1/4″ so that the d-ring could loop right over them.
I mentioned installing it myself; I covered the new buffet with thick towels, hoisted the plywood on top of it, and then hooked one side at a time. Once the left side was hooked and felt secure, it was easy to move to the right side and do the same by doing that motion where one hand reaches behind to hold the hook and you try and remain as flat as possible, even sucking in your gut, while you watch through the remaining gap between the plywood and the wall and try and watch the hooking action happen. Don’t say you haven’t done it, it’s frustrating as can be with nothing but relief and grand achievement when you finally get it to hook satisfactorily.
The piece, as a whole, feels very anchored on the wall. It doesn’t shift when I jump around or bang on the wall. Doesn’t loosen when I pull downward on it, or when I try to pull it straight off the wall; it’s hooked well, and its weight will work in its favor, keeping it safely in place.
How’s it look?
Additional little fact: I made a little/impacting change in the organization of the sunroom by moving both the table and the pendant light over to the right (closer to the front of the house by about 2-feet) in a way so that they align with the door opening; this gives us more space in the back of the sunroom to play and move around the room.
And another fact, because I’m full of factoids today: I took these photos from outside, looking through the open windows to give a perspective I wouldn’t normally be able to in the very narrow sunroom. Pretty, right?
The pendant was easy enough to shift; all it required was moving the hook that the wire wraps around. You can see in this picture how it had been centered in the room beneath the wooden ceiling patch (fixed here) and shifted to the left about 2-feet. By moving it that closer to where the outlet was, I was able to lower the pendant 2-feet also, bringing it down to a nicer over-the-table height.
It was previously anchored higher on the ceiling because we were needing to walk beneath the pendant, but now with the table in place, I realized that I could bring it down a little bit and I’m really glad to have made the adjustment.
The biggest impact happens from the living room, where the pendant and table are now so nicely centered in the glass paned doorway.
Stepping back further, the line of sight is so nice when you’re walking into the house, even if it is a bit over-lit in this photograph.
What do you think? Nothing quite like impacting art and a little furniture wiggle to make a room really stand out.