Melanie Daniels

Easy Fall Woodworking Projects

Now the nights are drawing in and we are all thinking about fall and the onset of winter, it’s time to get busy in the workshop. At this time of the year, it can be fun to start new projects, and easy fall woodworking projects are always popular.

Bird Feeder

One easy fall woodworking project is to construct a bird feeder. We are coming up to winter when the birds require more feeding, so doing this will ensure that your garden or yard becomes a haven for wild birds, giving you and your family plenty of feathered interest in the garden. Bird feeders can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. A simple bird house construction or a mini park bench that you hang in the trees will attract the birds, and you can get the kids to help paint it too.

Garden Table

Over summer you may have been entertaining outdoors, so how about a new garden table? One great design is to use supports on each end connected by a supporting length of timber and make the table top out of 3 or 4 rustic straight pieces of lumber. If you leave a gap between each piece of wood on the table, it is easier to construct, and the gaps will make it easier to clean and to avoid the table getting dirty.

Patio Chairs

Patio chairs can look good too. Perhaps yours have been overused during summer, so fall is a great time to think about next year. Simple chairs are easy for the woodworking beginner as long as you ensure that the legs are plumb and straight.

Planters

Many easy woodworking fall projects are decorative. How about some new planters for the garden? Making a wheelbarrow-shaped planter is an easy enough project that can show off your winter plants and add interest to the garden.

Garden or Holiday Signs

Making a sign for your home is very rewarding and can be achieved with off cuts and basic woodworking skills. One simple way is to use pallet wood and just cut out a shape that you like. Prepare the wood with a stain and paint on the name of your house, and then varnish for protection. Fix two holes at the top of the sign and thread with rustic rope or twine before hanging the sign in place.

If you are planning a fall party or Halloween experience, you can position pumpkins and lanterns around your sign. In addition you can easily make your own sign for your home that reflects the seasons. How about a Halloween sign or a Christmas house sign that is decorated with seasonal images?

Fall woodworking projects can be as useful or as fun as you choose to make them. The great thing is that once you get the woodworking home décor bug , you will undoubtedly discover more ideas and inspiration. The homemade artisanal look is very fashionable right now, and it seems crazy to pay good money for something that looks homemade when you could so easily have the fun of making it yourself.

Things You Can Build with 2x4s

There are plenty of things you can build with 2x4s. This is a fantastically adaptable lumber size so with a little ingenuity, some left over wood plus tools and a plan, you have a wide range of useful objects open to you.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the things you can build with 2x4s.

Open Shelf Vanity

How about an open shelf vanity case unit? This is a simple wooden structure that avoids you having to make tricky things like doors. The 2x4s can provide the support structure to the unit, with the shelves themselves also constructed from 2×4 wood pieces. Once you have measured and screwed the fixings in place, you can stain or paint the structure so that all the pieces look uniform and smart.

Storage Shelves

You can create fantastic storage units and shelves for the garden or workshop. If you want to store paint for example you can tailor the width and height of the shelves to your precise needs. If it is for the workshop, it does not have to look that neat but it will tidy your work area and it will add a rustic charm to your surroundings.

Bench

How about a potting bench for your greenhouse or shed? 2x s are great for this. You can easily make a simple wooden table support, plus an integrated high wooden area for hanging things, such as garden tools and twine. A bottom shelf can be added for storing heavier items such as bags of compost.

Other Ideas

You don’t have to only look at functional garden and workshop structures. Depending upon your woodworking skills, there are plenty of things you can build with 2x4s that will look great indoors. Reclaimed wood for example lends itself very well to making rustic tables. Individual shelves and shelving units not only help keep your room looking uncluttered, but they can be great points of interest in their own right.

These types of rustic furniture options have a contemporary appeal, and even if your woodworking is not perfect, careful finishing and staining will bring them back on track, giving even the odd mistake a real wow factor.

As with all woodworking, the secret to success is to measure and to cut the wood accurately. That way your shelves or table will remain straight and be fit for use.

The best way to find things you can make from 2x4s is to decide what you need and then try and find a rough plan online. However, you don’t even need to do this if you are more confident.

 As long as you have some tools, such as a good saw, a mitre, and plenty of wood screws, you can pretty much build what you like. And the good news is that if you are using free or cheap offcuts, any mistakes are not expensive. After all, if your luxury 2×4 table does not go exactly to plan, you can always use it in the shed or the garden, or even dismantle it and have another go!

DIY First Aid Tips When Working with Wood

Working with wood is not generally dangerous, but you do need to take safety precautions and to have a good first aid kit on hand. This is because however careful and safe you may be, sooner or later you will need some first aid assistance! So here are some DIY first aid tips to help you stay safe and to help you deal with minor injuries.

Eye Protection

One of the most important safety measures for woodworking is to always wear adequate eye protection such as safety goggles or glasses. Eye injuries can lead to loss of sight so failing to protect your eyes with inexpensive safety goggles or even an ordinary pair of glasses is a big mistake. These should always be left in your workshop as part of your tool kit.

When it comes to your eyes, there are no DIY first aid tips; you need to get to A and E as soon as possible!

Minor Cuts and Abrasions

Working with wood and all those sharp tools; it is very easy to cut yourself. You should keep a range of plasters and bandages in your first aid kit in order to deal with all eventualities. Antiseptic cream is also important for recovery, as this will soothe and protect against infection.

DIY First Aid Tips for Cuts

·       Run the affected area under cold water for at least 5 minutes. This will slow bleeding and also clean the wound. You can try staunching the bleeding with a wad of clean paper.

·       Once the bleeding has slowed, you can apply a plaster and an antiseptic cream.

·       Sit quietly to slow your heart rate. It is important to also elevate the wound to reduce the blood flow.

Splinters are not generally serious but they can lead to infection. To remove a splinter, you can often apply pressure around the entry point and it will pop up enabling you to remove it. Once you have removed the splinter, apply antiseptic cream to protect against infection.

For all woodworkers, a good quality and current DIY first aid kit is crucial. All Terrain is an American company which specialises in herbal and cruelty free products to target a wide range of issues and they have produced a full first aid kit that is ideal for your workshop or for taking with you on the go.

The DIY First Aid Kit by All Terrain includes antiseptic gel, gauze pads and latex free bandages so you can be assured that all products will not further irritate or damage your skin. There is also aloe gel skin relief to help sooth pain and which can be used on minor burns and abrasions.

Packed in a compact carrying case, this natural first aid kit is ideal for all the family both in the workshop, around the home or when you are travelling. Because as we all know, however careful you may be, accidents do happen, but with the All Terrain DIY First Aid Kit, you will be ready when they do!

DIY Friendship Bracelet

Giving a friendship bracelet is a lovely way to show someone you care and a DIY friendship bracelet is even more special. These simple bracelets can be easy to make yet the finished result is always attractive. They can also vary in their complexity so once you get the friendship bracelet bug, you can turn this simple idea into a beautiful piece of jewelry.

How to Make a Friendship Bracelet

According to Native American tradition, the idea of a friendship bracelet is that you should wear it until it drops off naturally.

One of the easiest types of DIY friendship bracelets to make requires four different colored pieces of embroidery thread. Get your four strands, fold them and tie a knot so that you now have eight strands.  These should now be in the order of 12344321.

First take string 1 in your left hand and string 2 in your right hand. Take string 1 and cross it over string 2 and pull the knot tight.

Then do the same thing, still using string 1, on strings 2, 3 and 4 moving from left to right.

Then take string 1 on the right hand side and make the same knot on string 2, 3, and 4 but this time moving from right to left.

Do this right and you will find that the same color strings will be positioned next to each other, once you have moved through all the strings in sequence. Tie them in a knot and then repeat the same process, this time starting with string 2 and first working left to right, and then right to left as previously.

Keep working through the strings in the same order knotting them as you go.

Once you have got your friendship bracelet to the required length, knot the strings, and leave some of the loose threads for tying the bracelet on to your friend’s wrist.

You can also make a simple friendship bracelet by plaiting four strings in different colours, tying and twisting each strand over the other in order to make a pattern. You do this in the similar way as you would plait hair, just using 4 strands instead of 3 and tying each end of the plait work with a knot.

There are numerous designs for DIY friendship bracelets; the candy stripe, the chevron, and you can also add beads and pieces of jewelry and stone for added impact.

The important thing to remember about a DIY friendship is that the whole idea is that it should be original and homemade, so it does not have to be perfect. In addition, a DIY friendship bracelet is surprisingly easy to do. Once you actually get started it becomes surprisingly obvious and simple to make a basic friendship bracelet and of course the more you do this, the easier and better the finished results will be!

Creative Ways to Reuse & Recycle Mason Jars

Mason jars are wonderful. They can be recycled and used again and again for a range of different purposes. We all tend to use them for storage; they are great in the kitchen or pantry for storing food such as rice, dried beans, and pulses. They are also good for storing preserves such as jams, pickles, and chutneys. However, mason jars are not only useful as food storage jars. There are numerous creative ways to reuse and recycle mason jars, so let’s take a look!

3 Creative Ways to Reuse & Recycle Mason Jars

Mason Jar Solar Light

Mason jars make beautiful solar lanterns. These are fantastically easy and cheap to make, they create a magical ambience at night time, and how they work is genius.

To make your mason jar solar lamp, you can simply buy a kit from Amazon, which will provide you with the lids fitted with solar panels, the wire handles, and a string of LED lights.

To turn your mason jar into a solar powered light, just replace the original mason jar lid with the solar panel lid, put the LED lights inside the jar, and fit the handle around the neck.

Don’t forget to leave your solar lamp out in the sun so that it can charge, and that way it will stay bright all night!

Mason Jar Herb Garden

There are many creative ways to reuse and recycle mason jars, and one we loved was this mason jar herb garden. It is easy to do. Simply wash your mason jars and then line the bottom of the jars with pebbles. Add potting compost on top and then plant your herb seeds or small herb plants.

Place your herbs on a window sill and keep them well-watered. You might need to move your herbs later to a larger pot if they grow too big, but this is a great way to start off seeds and smaller plants, and it looks very attractive in the kitchen. Don’t forget to label each jar with an attractive sign – it looks good and reminds you what you have planted!

Mason Jar Citronella Burner

Summer can be spoilt by mosquitoes and other pests that bite! Put citronella oil in a mason jar, add a wick, and make a hole in the lid for the wick to get through and to let light it!  The mason jar citronella light does not only deter insects, but it also creates a lovely candle light and ambience.

Other Creative Ways to Reuse & Recycle Mason Jars

Mason jars are useful and attractive, so it is a mistake to simply throw them away. You can use them to transform your store cupboard or pantry, and they are also fantastically useful in crafts and in your pantry, garage, or workshop for storing materials.

A shelf of mason jars containing all your useful and necessary bits and pieces looks great and keeps your craft area neat and tidy.

Mason jars can be very decorative. Fill them with pebbles or shells from your last beach visit as a tangible souvenir of your day. Fill them with brightly colored marbles so that they catch light in your living room. There are so many creative ways to reuse and recycle mason jars that these great jars should never be consigned to the trash!

How to Protect Your Lawn from Pests

Your lawn is a wonderful space in summer, and a place where the kids can play or you can just enjoy hanging out under an umbrella. In an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to do anything to your lawn other than mow it, but in many cases the whole ambience of the garden is spoilt by lawn pests.  These can affect the appearance and even worse provide a risk to health if your lawn is home to pests such as ticks and fleas.

Dangers of Garden Pests

A tick bite is no joke. In many cases, a tick bite is harmless although unpleasant, but if the tick is carrying  a certain type of bacteria as many do, it can lead to dangerous diseases such as Lyme Disease. Tick bites can also cause allergic reactions in some people.

Ticks are very common in the U.S. They live in grass, shrubs and leaf piles and affect humans and animals in the same way. These blood-sucking critters stay attached to your body becoming engorged with blood until they eventually fall off in around 10 days. If you do get a tick bite, it is important to see your doctor for some antibiotics so that the bite does not develop into an illness such as Lyme disease. This can be fatal if left untreated.

Fleas are also a common garden pest. They live in lawns and are especially virulent in hot weather. Fleas tend to congregate in areas where pets spend most of their time, and they will jump onto animals and onto humans and bite. Fleas can spread illness and disease. If your pet gets bitten by fleas, it may develop into tapeworms and can even spread typhus to humans.

How to Protect Your Lawn from Pests

It is important to keep the grass short, especially in hot weather and to make sure that there are not too many moist dark spaces. Fleas thrive in warm damp environments and do not react well to sunlight.  It is also important to make sure that your garden is blocked off from visiting animals, because this will make the whole situation worse.

To fully protect your lawn from pests, you should spray your lawn with an environmentally friendly product that will remove pests such as ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes without damaging friendly wildlife such as worms, butterflies and bees.

Flea & Tick Control Yard + Garden Concentrate by Wondercide is a ready to use product especially designed for yards, lawns, patios and gardens. You spray it on with a hose and it kills adult pests, eggs, and larvae. Because it is made from natural products, such as cedarwood oil and sesame oil, it is eco-friendly and does not affect beneficial insects such as bees and it does not pose any risk to children or pets.

If you have a large area to cover, it may be the better and most cost effective option. To use you dilute with water. Flea & Tick Control Yard + Garden Concentrate is not only suitable for eradicating fleas and ticks. It also works on mosquitoes, chiggers, no-see-ums, flies, Japanese beetles, scorpions, chinch bugs, crickets, gnats, and also repels venomous snakes.

DIY Rustic Tables for Your Garden

The great thing about DIY rustic tables is that they can be made out of just about anything. The other good thing about them is that they are always unique and interesting, and it doesn’t cost you a fortune to make them.

What Can You Use?

DIY rustic tables can be created from reclaimed wood or even pallets. The surface of the table can be polished or stained, and if it is an old architectural piece, even better. An old door or some reclaimed flooring wood can look fantastic as a table top. If you are lucky enough to have a table sized piece of wood, you can just use this. Alternatively, you can fit separate planks together and use these.

Of course a table is more than a table top, even DIY rustic tables, so you will need to consider the support. You can find a wide range of plans online or alternatively come up with your own design. However, the important thing to remember about making a table is that it needs to be stable and strong enough to support the table top. So as long as you cut the wood for the table legs accurately and can fit them to the table top, you don’t have to worry too much.

Why DIY?

The whole point about DIY rustic tables is that they look homemade and quirky. This is part of their charm so you don’t have to worry about your woodworking skills as long as you can carry out basic skills such as measuring accurately, sawing, and fitting together with screws.

For easy to make DIY rustic tables, try fitting cross bars as support rather than legs. These can be made simply and even bought from the hardware store. Fit cross bars at each end of the table top and in the middle if it is big, and the result can look spectacular. In addition, this type of rustic DIY table is high enough to suit chairs and to be used for alfresco dining.

Alternatively, you can use pallets to make the entire table. A low level coffee table can be fantastic in the garden and only requires one pallet and some wheels for added height and mobility. To make DIY rustic tables like this, just fit some industrial wheels to each corner of the pallet and rub down and stain the wood. You could also use blocks or other pallet pieces in order to reach the desired height.

Creating DIY rustic tables for your garden adds interest to your outside space. These tables are fun to make and are very inexpensive. A rustic table can transform an area of your garden or your patio into a place for entertaining and eating outside.

To take this further, DIY rustic seating is equally easy. Try finding or making benches, seat sized wood logs, or any other reclaimed wood that you can find. Once you get the bug for upcycling, you are only restricted by your imagination, and with so many great ideas online you can soon be creating your own style of DIY rustic tables and chairs for your garden.

How to Build Your Own DIY Quilting Frame

Quilting is one of those important crafts which has been around for thousands of years and is essentially any sewing process that joins three layers of fabric together.

Quilts are also part of American history and folklore. The early pioneers made patchwork quilts for warmth and decoration and as a way to use up old pieces of material, such as blankets and clothing, transforming them into something practical and beautiful. Quilting is a traditional craft, so it is easy to build your own DIY quilting frame, as it does not require too much in the way of DIY skills, tools, technology, or expense.

Build Your Own DIY Quilting Frame

There are different ways to do this, but if you want to keep things easy and cheap, this method ticks the right boxes.

You need:

·       6 pieces of pine measuring 1′ x 4′ x 8′.

·       2 of these pieces should be cut into 8 x 16” lengths.

·       You also need plywood or board, cut into 4 pieces each measuring 8′ x 31″.

To build your own DIY quilting frame you will also need some tools:

·       Mitre saw or table saw

·       Jig saw, Sawzall, or band saw

·       4 clamps

·       Tacks

First, cut the boards to the required lengths as outlined above. The 16” pieces should be cut at an angle on the mitre saw. Do this by marking off 2” from the corner, and set the saw to cut at a 45 degree angle.

To make the bases for the quilting frame, you need to use the eight 16” pieces. Using the Jigsaw cut a notch in 4 of the pieces at the bottom, and cut a notch in 4 of the pieces at the top. The notch should be ¾ inch wide and 1 ¾ inches deep. The pieces of wood will then slot into each other creating a stable base.

Now get the plywood. This will make the table legs for the quilting frame and will need to be fitted into the four bases.  The plywood legs support the struts of the quilting frame above.

Cut a notch measuring 3 ½ inches in the top of 4 pieces of plywood. Insert the bottom of the board into the bases you made earlier, so that this gap is situated on top.

Now sit your quilting frame pieces on top, clamp and tack into place. Once you have made sure that your DIY quilting frame is stable and secure, you can start using it.

There are many other patterns and methods you can use to build your own DIY quilting frame. It is important to remember that the early American pioneers built these from scrap pieces of wood they had lying around, so there is no right and wrong way to go about it ,and it does not need to be finished to a brilliant standard of woodwork. As long as it works and is stable, you can consider your DIY quilting frame a success!

Allergy Support When Working Outside

Many of us suffer from common allergies, such as hay fever, and symptoms like itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and headaches that can all make the summer a misery. The reason that some people are affected over others depends on their levels of histamine.

Histamine is a chemical in the body that helps it remove something that may bother you such as dust and pollen. Your body does this by causing you to sneeze, your eyes to water, and your skin to itch, and other ways to expel and remove it from your body.

Histamine can be triggered by certain substances and is generally a problem when your bodily levels of histamine are high. Many people are sensitive to pollen, so this is especially a problem in summer when we spend a lot of time outside.

Finding the right allergy support can really improve your condition and in many cases, remove symptoms completely, or at least reduce them to minimal levels.

Easy Steps for Allergy Support

Wear protective clothing. Keeping pollen out of your eyes and hair will reduce symptoms, so wearing sunglasses and a hat when you are working outside will help. For mild conditions, this may be enough to prevent allergy attacks. You can also try wearing a pollen mask for further protection.

Once you have finished working outside, undress and wash your clothes and shower. This will prevent pollen from sticking to your clothes and causing a problem. If the pollen count is high, dry your clothes indoors to prevent pollen from attaching to your clothes as they dry on the line.

Try not to work outside when the weather is hot, dry, and windy.  Pollen spreads much faster under these conditions, and less so when the weather is cloudy and overcast. On days when the pollen is blown about by the wind, you will find your symptoms are more intense.

Find out what type of pollen is giving you a problem. All pollen is different, and you may find that only one type is causing your allergy symptoms. You can take an allergy test to find out. This is usually delivered by a simple skin prick test so chat with your doctor to find out.

Use a supplement for effective allergy support. There are many different products on the market but one that we especially like comes from Neurobiologix, a U.S. brand that provides good quality natural health supplements for many conditions. 

Get Allergy Support

G Hist Support from Neurobiologix is designed to help patients with allergies. It is a natural anti-histamine derived from natural sources including stinging nettle, porcine kidney powder, and vitamins and it is suitable for all conditions triggered by histamine, including hay fever and food intolerance. 

Unlike some antihistamine products, G Hist Support is side-effect free and will not cause you to become drowsy. With G Hist Support, you will still be able to work outside and operate machinery.

One important thing to remember is that you must use your anti-histamine in advance of going outside. Most work very quickly, so taking an hour beforehand should be enough to protect you throughout the day.

How to Make and Use DIY Farmhouse Shelf Brackets

Storage space is always important, so putting up shelves is a great way to keep your home tidy, as well as display your ornaments and treasured objects. Although a shelf is generally only there as a support to other things, making your own DIY farmhouse shelf brackets can also look stylish and effective. In addition making your own shelves is a cost effective way of improving your home.

Steps to Making DIY Farmhouse Shelf Brackets

First up you will need wood for the body of the shelves. You can use just about anything for this, but if you don’t have any spare pieces of wood lying around, try using pine or alternatively white wood. You can get this from any DIY store, and it is not expensive. You can get this cut to size in the store, which makes life easier.

You will also need to get in the brackets. You can make these from wood, but an easier option is to buy ready-made shelf brackets in metal. Check that the brackets are the right size for your wood. The bracket will need to be able to fit around the wood to keep it in place so this is important.

Stain your wood with wood stain. Even though you may be using pine, you can stain it with an oak finish for example which looks great.

The next step is to fix your shelves to the walls. You need to mark out where they will go and make sure they are straight. Mark where the fixing holes for the brackets will go. Then drill the holes and fix the brackets in place. For most DIY farmhouse shelf brackets, 3 inch screws will probably be enough. Depending upon the length of your shelves you will probably need 2 or 3 brackets for each one.

Once the brackets are fixed to the wall, you can just position the wooden shelves on the supports and the job is completed; a fantastically rustic and functional DIY shelving unit that will suit any room in the house.

You don’t have to just stick with using metal shelving brackets, although these are certainly the easiest option.

You could also make your own DIY farmhouse shelf brackets out of wood if your woodworking skills are up to it. You will need a mitre saw for cutting the wood at right angles and need screws or wood glue to hold them in place. These types of brackets do have a wonderfully rustic appeal and can be designed to fit any size.

When making wooden shelving brackets, it is important to ensure that all are exactly the same size with the same angle.

You should fix a wooden bracket at a distance of around 12 inches per shelf in order to ensure that it is stable and strong. In most cases, 4 brackets should be enough for an averagely long shelf. You can use 2- 1″ x 2″ x 6′ boards- or scrap pieces that are no less than 9″ long fitting them together with screws and wood glue once they are in the gallows position.