Melanie Daniels

Woodworking Letters: How to Carve Words into Wood

If you love DIY wood projects, you’re in the right place! Wood carving is one of those great hobbies that is not only enjoyable; it creates extremely satisfying great results. If you are thinking of getting started on wood carving and are considering which type of project to embark on, you may hit upon the idea of making a sign for your house or your shed. Woodworking letters into a sign seems like a worthy ambition but how do you ensure that your efforts pay off with great results? Keep reading to find out!

Getting Started with Woodworking Letters

First, you need some good quality woodworking tools. To create woodworking letters by hand, you need a good quality chisel and a dummy (a mallet specially designed for carving letters). Alternatively, you can use knives or gouges or whatever you feel comfortable with.

The second thing you need of course is your wood for the sign. However, if you are new to carving woodworking letters, you should not even touch this yet. Instead, practice your carving skills on scrap pieces of wood so that you get an understanding of how deep you need to carve, the angle, and how to create the best possible effect from the wood. You can pick up free wood scraps at a local hardware store.

Which Type of Wood Should I Use?

The type of wood you use will large depend upon how you want it to look. However, some woods are far easier to work with than others.

Basswood is a great wood for beginners. It is inexpensive and easy to use and because it has very little grain and is soft, is a good one to start with.

Butternut and Aspen are also similarly priced and are easy to carve. Although these woods are all technically hardwoods, they are on the softer end of the scale.

Oak is a beautiful wood, but it is fairly hard and may be difficult for the novice hand carver. Oak works fantastically well with power tools but unless you are already experienced with power tools and creating woodworking letters it is not the best choice to start with. 

Black Walnut is beautiful. It is also expensive and not that easy to work with.

Designing the Sign

Once you feel confident with your carving skills, you need to design your sign. You can do this via your computer’s Word program. Find the font that you want with the correct line spacing and print out the word in the correct size. If your printer cannot provide this for you, a trip to your local printing or copying store will provide what you need.

Using some spray glue, stick the lettering to your piece of wood so that you can follow the pattern with your chisel. Once you have outlined the design, you can remove the paper from the wood and go it alone.

Using a Router Instead

If you don’t want to carve by hand, why not use a wood router? There are numerous router attachments specifically designed for creating woodworking letters. You can use a router freehand or use a simple plan and results can be equally impressive. 

Is it is good as hand carved sign? Yes! Is it as fun to create? This comes down to personal preference but for our money, you can’t beat hand carving for satisfaction and enjoyment.

What Soil Macroorganisms are Beneficial for a Healthy Garden?

Your garden needs the right type of soil for anything to grow, yet sadly it often becomes depleted by over cultivation and the use of artificial chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Over cultivation and chemicals kill off vital microorganisms and strip the soil of natural minerals.  

What’s in Your Soil? 

The mineral balance of soil is important. The most common macronutrients are potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sulfur. Gardens also contain organic substances that have rotted down, such as dead plants and animal matter. You may also spot soil maccroorganisms like millipedes, snails, or mites who are feeding off your garden and help to decompose plant material, helping to fertilize your garden. 

You can improve soil macroorganisms with some simple gardening steps such as adding compost, avoiding pesticides which kill them, and by avoiding disturbing the soil too much. Mulching with organic matter can also help. Planting in companion crops can also help protect your plants and provide nourishment for macroorganisms.

On the other hand, soil microorganisms such as bacteria need food, oxygen, and water to thrive; so as long as your soil is fed with organic matter, kept lightly aerated and watered, it should retain its powers to grow your plants. However, as any farmer will tell you, soil is depleted by frequent cultivation, so it does need to rest or be treated from time to time.

Boost Soil Macroorganisms

To improve soil macroorganisms, you can try adding a natural remineralisation product to boost soil fertility. For example, Drangonite for Robust Soil Fertility by Premier Research Labs is easy to apply. This product contains premier quality volcanic basalt minerals that will revitalise your soil. You just work it into the first three inches of your topsoil and let nature do the rest. It is a preferred alternative to unnatural pesticides or chemical fertilizer. 

Volcanic dust is crammed full of minerals. Although in its natural form such as after a volcanic eruption, the acidity will kill everything in its path, over time the minerals become absorbed by the soil. Volcanic material does not contain nitrogen or calcium, but it contains just about everything else that your soil needs to thrive. It is the equivalent of a superfood for your garden soil.

Using this product in combination with organic material will improve your soil quality and make it more fertile. Feeding your garden with soil macroorganisms will create the perfect growing environment for the following season.

Try These Seasonal DIY Wood Projects

Once the weather starts getting colder and the nights start drawing in, it is a good time to start thinking about DIY wood projects. The type of DIY projects you pursue will largely depend upon your skills, your tools, and your confidence levels, but it is important to remember that all these things can be learned over time. So what are you waiting for?

4 Ideas for DIY Wood Projects

Small seasonal projects can be satisfying. Here are a few easy ideas to get started.

Christmas Table Centerpiece

A wooden rustic display stand that you can use as a table centerpiece for your Christmas candles, flowers, or decorative leaves, is a great way to liven up your room.

Candle Holders

What about some rustic candle holders? You can make these in an afternoon out of an old piece of fence post. Just cut the posts to the required sizes and paint them with a candy stripe decoration. Once the paint has dried, drill a small hole in the top of each one and insert a tea light. The result is a festive light stack which will look great indoors or outside in the garden.

Advent Calendar

Another great festive idea is to create your own advent calendar. Again, it is so simple that you will be amazed you haven’t thought of it before. Cut a triangular piece of wood and paint it. Then hammer in some nails as hooks for small galvanized tins, available in any hobby store. Fill the tins with seasonal treats and presto, you have your own homemade advent calendar.

Christmas Card Holder

Every year, the Christmas cards seem to increase in number. Keep them tidy and display them all in their full beauty by making a simple wooden tree holder. Get some lightweight boards and cut them into lengths – reflecting the conical shape of the Christmas tree. Paint the board in seasonal colors and fix them to a central board – the trunk of the tree. Now glue on pins for the cards and there you have it – the perfect seasonal support for your Christmas cards.

Your DIY wood projects don’t have to be big to be satisfying, and starting out on small decorative pieces gives you a way to build up your confidence and get used to using the tools.

You can find hints and tips online via Pinterest. If you are new to woodworking, following YouTube videos can show you how and suggest lots of great seasonal ideas to decorate your home.

One thing is for sure. Once you have the DIY home decorating bug, you may find that your ideas for DIY wood projects will grow ever more ambitious and complicated. This time next year you may even be considering making some more permanent pieces for your home. Happy holidays!

Toy Lawn Tools for Kids to Learn Basic Gardening Skills

Most of us want to get our kids away from the computer screen or smartphone and out into the fresh air. When you teach your kids basic gardening skills, this lesson will stay with your kids forever. A good way to spark an interest in gardening is with some toy lawn tools that your child can use to be just like mom or dad and help out in the garden. Keep reading to find out which toy lawn tools to add to your child’s collection.

Must-Have Toy Lawn Tools

There are some very sophisticated toy lawn tools out there. The leading toy lawn tool manufacturer, Husquvarna, sells a range of products aimed at young kids between 2 and 5.

The Husquvarna toy lawn mower, leaf blower and weed trimmer are identical in appearance to the real-life models and feature realistic noises and a gentle air flow. These toys will make your little one feel that he or she is helping out in the garden and helping you with the outside chores.

Another great option for toy lawn toys is the range of products from Constructive Playthings. As well as the lawn mower, leaf blower and weed trimmer, this set comes with a toy hedge trimmer and even a chainsaw. Don’t worry; it is not dangerous even though it just seems risky handing what looks like a chainsaw to a child. This range is battery operated and comes with included safety goggles and gloves so your child will feel and look just like mom or dad.

What about a toy gas lawn mower that looks like the real thing and makes mechanical sounds as your child pushes it around the garden?

The Little Tikes Gas and Go Mower would be a great choice for the mini gardener and can provide hours of fun. Your child can fill the pretend gas tank with water and as an added advantage, because the sounds are mechanically generated as it is pushed, you don’t have to worry about batteries.

Other Toy Lawn Tools for Kids

You can buy a wide range of child-friendly gardening tools such as trowels, buckets and watering cans online and in stores such as Target or Walmart. You can find rakes, hoes spades, and forks all in child-friendly sizes and bright colors.

Safe and well-constructed, your child will be able to actually dig and help in the garden with these child-friendly hand tools. He or she is more likely to want to plant and care for their own part of the garden if the tools are the right size for them to use.

One tool that many kids like is the wheelbarrow. A child-sized wheelbarrow enables your child to copy you in the garden and actually help with chores such as clearing leaves. Suitable for children aged 3 and over, this is a fun way to encourage your child to get involved in the garden.

You can’t start your child too early in the garden. With some toy lawn tools, your kids can discover the joys of gardening and learn basic skills that can last a lifetime.

When your kids are helping you with yard work, be sure to also include them in any outdoor building projects, such as those involving pallet furniture as well. Woodworking and building skills will help them in their futures just as much as gardening.

Great Pallet Furniture Ideas

Upcycling is popular right now and a popular trend that seems to go from strength to strength is making furniture out of pallets. The pallet furniture craze may have started with some basic simple ideas, but these days designs are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Who could have imagined that making furniture out of recycled wooden pallets would have ever become so fashionable and stylish?

The pallet furniture craze started with garden furniture. Keep reading to learn more exciting pallet furniture projects you can try at home today!

Pallet Furniture in the Garden

Pallet furniture used outdoors offers versatility, style, and convenience.

For example, a pallet bench can be easily created from just one pallet with some basic tools, a plan and some basic woodworking skills. An upright pallet makes a cool vertical planter and makes an attractive alternative to the more usual hanging baskets. Once you have tackled these easy projects, why not try a double seat and pallet table or even a picnic table and chairs?

An outside bar is also a great feature for summer entertaining. A pallet furniture bar will usually require 3 or 4 upturned pallets and is easy to make and great to enjoy. We have also seen a rustic and sturdy gate made from a shipping pallet.

Smart and functional pallet furniture is a great way to use your DIY skills and saves you money as well.

Pallet Furniture in the Home

These days, the pallet furniture craze has come indoors as well, and you can make some personal pieces of furniture at the fraction of the cost of buying new.

Pallet bed frames are attractive and stylish. These low-level beds (think IKEA) will suit a fashionable apartment and provide a comfortable support to any mattress or futon.

Storage areas, shelves, display cases, and seasonal DIY wood projects are a great use for pallets as well. If your woodwork skills are more advanced, even your kitchen table and chairs can be created from shipping pallets. The list is endless and only limited by your imagination. Pallet furniture is functional and fashionable; it seems that we can’t get enough of it.

Where do you find your pallets?

A few years ago, pallets were easy to find and many people gave them away as firewood. These days they are not so easy to find for free, but they are still an economical material especially when you consider how much money you will save by making your own pallet furniture.

Try your local distribution center or major hardware store. There are millions of wooden pallets in the world and up until the craze for making pallet furniture, they were seen by most people as a waste product.

Alternatively, look online such as on sites such as Craigslist. You might still be able to find good condition pallets for free, but even if you have to pay a small price for your pallets, it is certainly worth it.

Relax Lotion and Other Ways to Create a Home Spa Experience

After a busy day in the yard creating pallet furniture or doing yard work, you could use a home spa day! We all need to get some pampering into our lives but it is not always practical to spend time and money in a spa. So which relax lotion should you buy, and how do you recreate the full spa experience in your own home?

What You Need for a Home Spa

First up a spa experience is all about comfort, relaxation, pampering, and indulging yourself with time in a stress-free environment.

Turn off your phone and make sure you are not going to be disturbed. Nothing spoils a pampering experience more than being pestered by your family or having to answer phone calls from work.

Take a leisurely bath with lots of lovely fragrant bath bubbles or oil. Illuminate the bathroom with scented candles and play some peaceful music to get yourself into a Zen-like zone.

Plan your activities. Maybe give yourself a facial and prepare some hot towels to add to the sense of luxury.

When you visit the spa, one of the most important skin products is the relax lotion. This nourishes the skin and is filled with relaxing aromas that seem to take away the stress of the day.

There are some wonderful products out there used by professional spas. Although they may smell nice, in many cases these products contain harmful chemicals, such as parabens and sodium laurate, which could dry out your skin.

Natural Relax Lotion Options

If you are trying to stick to only natural skin care, these three brands have caught our eye. All brands have a wide range of natural skin care pampering products that will suit even the most sensitive skin.

Alaffia

Alaffia is an all in one skin treatment that contains natural botanicals and bee products including honey and pollen. Based on coconut and shea butter, this high quality relax lotion will leave your skin silky smooth and you feeling relaxed.

Alaffia is based on natural African skin care formulas. All products are chemical free and can provide a natural way to pamper and nourish your skin.

Weleda

Weleda is a well established brand first founded in Germany in 1921. Known for its opposition to animal testing and for producing pure paraben free products, all Weleda products are suitable for the most sensitive skin.

Weleda lotions relax and moisturize the skin and you have plenty of choices available. Weleda Wild Rose Renewing lotion will nourish your skin and help you feel restored. Other Wild Rose products include Wild Rose Day Cream and Wild Rose Night Cream. All creams and moisturizers in the range can be used with equal confidence.

Derma E

Derma E is an eco-friendly brand of skincare that will pamper your skin. Crammed with healthy antioxidants and nutrients, this is a quality brand that delivers the luxurious experience of a relax lotion.

Choose from a wide range of products tailor made to your skin type. Derma E’s Jasmine and Vanilla Hydrating Shea Body Lotion will help you relax and will nourish your skin. Other skin moisturizers include Lemon Grass and Thyme Restoring Shea Body Lotion or Rose Lotion.

What will you do to prepare for your home spa experience?