Reclaimed wood (and being the change I wish to see in the world)

I mentioned yesterday that Sunshine wanted reclaimed wood walls instead of sheet rock, and that I chose not to fight that battle because I’m saving my arsenal for the kitchen cabinetry battle. I don’t mind letting him win that one since he is giving me a lot of control over the way the boards are arranged on all the surfaces that are getting them. I also like that reclaimed wood is reducing waste and all that hippy-dippy-trippy crunchy stuff, because it’s important to me and I have to be the change in wish to see in the world.

Before I get into pictures of the wood and such, let me give you the back story on the reclaimed wood. Sunshine searched craigslist for reclaimed wood, and came across The Tired Lumber Company just north of Dallas, offering reclaimed pallet wood for sale. He set up an appointment with them and took off without me to go get some wood. When he got back, he told me a story that made me wish I had ridden along.

The Tired Lumber Company is two young, minority teen-age boys who’s dad wanted them to learn the value of money and work and all those important life lessons.

Side note: I mention that the boys were minority because supporting woman & minority owned businesses is one of those things I really like to do. These are populations that have been disadvantaged for centuries, and the only way it stops being that way is if people start to step up and seek out these businesses and support them; so I have to be the change I wish to see in the world.

Apparently, the ad hadn’t been on Craigslist for long, because Sunshine said that he was their first sale. He cleaned them out. Sunshine bought every single board these two kids had reclaimed from palettes their father brought home from work.

When he got home with this wood, I was delighted to see that some of it had interesting markings on it. I was a bit disappointed that much of the wood was really new looking. Sunshine donated some wood stain that was left over from the window framing project and took me to the local hardware store for some supplies. We picked up 2 gallons of goof paint (white and light blue) and a can of stain so we could add some variety to these boards. We also grabbed a few random objects from the barn to use to distress some boards and give them a bit of character. The carpenter got into the spirit of things and made me a special tool to distress the boards.

It was really just a stick with a bunch of little metal objects attached that I used to beat some dings and dents into the boards. Then the carpenter got even more into it, and he started cutting remnants of cedar from the window frame project so they’d be a thickness that worked with the thickness of the palette boards. Then the carpenter went batshit crazy and drove to his house and loaded up a trailer with old fence panels and baseboards and such he had in a pile after he made some repairs to his home.
Sunshine and I stained and painted boards for several hours. Not all of the boards got painted or stained. Some were delightfully weathered already, and some showed several years of paint colors from the carpenter’s house. Some boards got both paint and stain to give them a cerused effect, which is a technique that uses paint to highlight the grain in the wood and then stains the wood the desired color.

Mr B got into the spirit of things, too. He broke out his torch and burned some of the boards.

I wasn’t around when he did that, so I gave him creative freedom. I was intending to have the boards feel more “collected”, and giving up control over Sunshine’s staining and Mr B”s burning was a way to achieve that feeling.

We’ve already put some of these boards to use. The bedroom will have a sliding barn style door leading into the bathroom, and the carpenter already has the door mostly assembled!

Sunshine and I will be putting the vast majority of these boards in the bathroom, on the outside of the bathroom wall in the living room, and on the bedroom side of the wall the sliding door goes on. We are also going to be using these boards on the living room side of my kitchen island. By doing it ourselves, we save the carpenter from having to deal with me and we save some money too. The money we save by doing the walls ourselves can be spent letting the carpenter do more specialty stuff, like building me a couple of spice cabinets to inset in the kitchen walls on either side of my stove.

We’re now getting into the fun parts of building a house. While I am absolutely the girl who thinks the hidden stuff is the sexy part, I do still like the process of making this house my very own with all of the lipstick and mascara stuff. And yes, I think it’s sexy to talk about things like structure and proper plumbing and safe electrical systems. Having a house fall apart because it was poorly built is not sexy; there’s definitely an appeal to having a solidly built home that protects me when I’m inside it.

We’re also about to slow down the progress a bit, so Sunshine doesn’t have to work so hard. I’m hoping we can find a refrigerator and and dishwasher at the ReStore or at the used appliance shop near us. It will save us some money while helping the planet, and that’s definitely a win-win.


This is what the windows of my house will look like.

They’re going at the top of the eastern wall of the house. They’re wrapped in cedar, just like the frames around our doors.

I still can’t believe we got these massive, double paned, tinted windows for free!

It’s starting to come together, slowly but surely.

Final note: it’s getting very close to time to start making sure the plans agree with my wants and needs for electrical outlets and lighting and such. I’ve been window shopping for our lights and appliances and storage solutions. It’s almost like making my Christmas wish list 🙂

DIY Fabric Wreaths

Hey there peeps! It’s Tia again, here to share one of the crafts I’ve been working on with some of the goodies Miss Cindy sent me in that truck load she told ya about.
Now I know I said before that we’d be making some junk journals but it’s almost time for The Christmas and so I wanna show you these cute little wreaths instead. We’ll make those journals in January, just in time for your New Year’s Resolutions.
I won’t pretend I’m some sort of craft guru no matter what Cindy says. Mostly I just like to see if I can make things instead of buying them. I’m thrifty like that. Or cheap, whatever.
So these little wreaths are amazingly easy, they’re cute and customizable, and you can make them with stuff you have in your craft stash or that you can find at your local thrift store. And it all costs less than half of what these cost at those fancy pants stores like Pier One.
What you’ll need:
Scrap fabric
Metal hoop or embroidery hoops
Ribbon or twine (to make a loop to hang the wreath)
Ribbon, pinecones, flowers, or whatever else you’d wanna decorate with
Hot glue gun or an equivalent adhesive to attach said decorations
First you’ll need to cut your fabric into strips. The metal hoop I’m using (found at Michael’s a million years ago for another project…) is about 5 inches in diameter. So I cut my fabric strips about 4-5 inches long and about an inch wide. As you can see in the photos, this is not a project where measurements need to be absolutely precise.
I chose to use two different fabrics simply because I like the contrast but you can do whatever is pleasing for you. The fabric I’m using came from Cindy’s truck load of goodies but if you don’t have any on hand, you can grab some fat quarters at the craft store for a buck or so a piece.
Now I’m dealing with some brain fog and didn’t remember to count how many strips I cut nor did I measure the fabric ahead of time. My bad. Sorry! I will say I wasn’t more than a yard total.
After your strips are cut, you’ll knot them around the hoop. I chose to do two of the red check pattern for every one of the white with red pattern. By all means, play around with what looks good to you! To make the knots, fold a strip of fabric in half, fold over the hoop, and pass the ends of the fabric strip through the loop made where it’s folded. (I tried to show you in the photos.) Pull the ends tight and that’s it! Keep tying knots until your hoop is covered and your wreath is as full as you’d like.
And that’s it. If you’d like to hang up, tie a loop of twine or ribbon at the top. You can also bust out your hot glue gun and add all sorts of decorations: jingle bells, pinecones, plastic snowflakes, glitter, dried or fake flowers, the possibilities are endless.
tias finished mini wreath.jpg
Oh, and these cuties are good for all kinds of things, not just The Christmas. You could do pastels and make one for Spring/Easter. Or use orange and black and make one for Halloween. You could make them in coordinating colors for a new baby’s nursery even or to show support for your favorite sports team.
One last thing, I did go back through and trim my ends at an angle just to give it a more uniform look. Obviously you don’t have to do that.
Now go forth, my friends, and decorate with all the little wreaths! And yesterday Cindy was telling y’all about how we’ve been craft swapping. If any of y’all would like to join us, please comment or email Cindy. We’re pretty low key, just trying to offer goods/services and share our talents while making connections with like-minded people. Crafting makes me happy, it’s a form of therapy that helps me deal with life with chronic pain. If I can make things for others and trade for something to help me out? That’s cream cheese icing on the proverbial red velvet cake.
Until next time peeps, be good to one another. Spread kindness like confetti. Hell, spread confetti like confetti. That shit will make anyone smile!


Little Hat Ornaments

I started making little hat ornaments today. I originally got the idea from the Handimania blog, and I made some of the toilet paper tube ones last year for the holidays.They were so cute, and I gave them as gifts to all of my recovery sisters at my sponsor’s Christmas party she threw for all of us.

This year, I am applying that concept to some repurposed materials.

side note: I’m not posting step-by-step instructions or pictures of each step, as her pictures and directions are much better than I could ever do.

Some time ago, I salvaged a cardboard tube from the center of a roll of flooring and convinced Sunshine to chop it into slices for me with his powertools. It yielded a lot of slices–two reusable shopping totes full.


Then I dug into that vintage rug yarn that was given to me last week. I don’t do much rug-making, and really couldn’t think of much else to do with it as it’s quite rough and scratchy.


I followed her exact recipe except for the size of the cardboard tube slices and the length of the strips of yarn. I also used a metallic yarn to make the ornament hanger string instead of a matching piece of grey yarn; I thought it looked more festive.


I think the finished product is really cute.



Simple =/= Easy

Back when we still lived on Caddo Lake, one of our neighbors had traded a set of concrete steps for a large three basin commercial kitchen sink. Then he discovered it didn’t fit his outdoor kitchen area, so he had to do something with it. Enter Sunshine, king of the weird trades. Sunshine traded 6 (six) wild pig skulls for this sink. Which we had no place for until we moved here to the middle of buttfuck nowhere, a magical place where the almost limitless space quickly becomes consumed by all the stuffs and things that people seem to accumulate.

I digress…

It seems like such a simple thing, putting in an outdoor sink.

If only…

Sunshine and Mr. B had many long drawn-out discussions about the best location for this sink, and I’m certain that the plan changed at least eight times. Once Sunshine felt pretty certain that the plan wouldn’t change again, he quickly started implementing that plan. See, Sunshine is gong to need this giant sink to process his wild game he kills, because the kitchen in the pink house isn’t going to be vacant and unused forever.

So Sunshine spent several days digging pits and trenches for the drain lines for this sink. He spent another day and a half installing another lift station and a leach line so that we had proper drainage. He also had to do the rough-in in anticipation of the upcoming concrete pour. After that, he spent an entire day mixing and pouring concrete so that we had a stable foundation for this monster sink, and he had to finish fast because it was starting to rain on him. After the concrete cured, he built a roof overhang to shade the sink area. There went another day of Sunshine’s life.

side note: for the overhang, he didn’t have to buy anything. We had piles of lumber and tin that had been salvaged from this house and from Mr B’s mom’s old shed that was torn down.

The actual installation of the sink went pretty smoothly and didn’t take long. It was the plumbing that was a pain in the ass. See, Sunshine ain’t no plumber–he stacks rocks for a living. To his credit, he didn’t give up. After several trips to the local hardware type store, he finally got to cross the outdoor sink off of the to-do list.

outdoor sink

Now we have a three basin commercial sink just outside the laundry room.

final note: This outdoor sink is already proving to be quite handy. The cats need their water bowls replenished several times a day, we can wash our hands without tracking muck/dirt inside, and the cats think it’s a wonderful place to play.

We made a chicken house

chicken houseMy boss is ready to give away the four chicken nuggets one of his chickens hatched. Sunshine told him to give us a couple of days to build a chicken house for them.

We dug around in all the lumber that Sunshine cut off the raggledy-ass old back porch of the pink house, and Sunshine dragged this weird round thing made of corrugated metal to the back of the yard. He bought a roll of chicken wire, a few long 2X4s, and some screws and staples.

We made a chicken house.

We used the old craptastic front door off the pink house instead of buying new wood to try and build a door. We wrapped it in chicken wire to keep it from falling apart.

We were able to use a lot of salvaged wood and piece parts so that we didn’t have to buy much.

Now, we just have to get somebody to catch those damn chickens for us to bring them home.

Power tools are cool

Sunshine and I built a wooden box for our raised garden bed we are going to try this fall.

I have to say, I’m really proud of how much we didn’t have to buy to build this box. We used some of his old scaffold boards for the sides, and some of the 2X4s he cut off of the janky old back porch became the wood we needed for bracing. We used some new screws that were left over from some random project we had already completed.

The coolest part was the power tools. I’ve long known how to use a cordless drill as a screw gun, so that part wasn’t particularly exciting for me. I did get to use the cordless skil-saw to cut some boards, which was all exciting and new for me.

Since we’ve gotten here, I haven’t been allowed to use power tools that often.

I was given a sawsall to use on the catcus plants, probably because Sunshine got tired of me fucking up his hatchets and axes and shit.

I was allowed to use his small electric sander to try and sand some slices of cedar tree (great natural moth repellent–gotta protect those ridiculously expensive sweaters I have). I say “try” because the damn thing died on me. Sunshine and I went to our local pawn shop and got a good as new sander that has a larger sanding surface area, so I went back at it with the cedar slices after we got done with the box for the garden bed.

I also got to use the cordless drill as an actual drill this week. We bought some remnants of PVC pipe to use to make fire logs out of junk mail and other old paper. We originally found this recipe for fire logs through a video on one of Sunshine’s survivalist-prepper-black helicopter sites, and it involved two five gallon buckets. One of the buckets had holes drilled in it because this recipe involves soaking the junk mails in water for a few days then using a specially fabricated attachment on a drill to turn it into a puree of sorts. Well, Sunshine had the brilliant idea to use PVC pipes to get a uniform size and shape log on a consistent basis. So we bought the remnants of the pipe from the local hardware store, and I was handed a drill and allowed to go to town drilling holes for the water to drain out of as we dry the pureed paper fire logs. I still haven’t been allowed to use the big badass saw that cuts the PVC pipe and cedar tree slices, but after seeing what that saw does to anything that it accidentally grabs hold of, I’m OK with that.

If I had known that I would get to use power tools more often, I might have agreed to this simple living shit a long time ago.