Tree Stump End Tables

Last time I was at my in-laws house they mentioned they had a ton of tree stumps in the yard and they needed to get rid of some of them. So I promptly ran out back, scooped up 4, and put them in my trunk.

I’m always so bummed when I see these on other blogs and they’re all like yeah I just grabbed some from my yard, so easy! woo hoo! And I’m sitting in my house in the middle of my urban neighborhood waiting for a hurricane to maybe knock someone’s tree down so I can maybe sneak out in the middle of the night and steal some stumps. But no more!

tree stump end tables

 

While these really are easy to make, they do require some patience. These stumps had been drying out in my inlaws yard for about two years, so when I took them home they were pretty good to go– but you do always want to be careful that they are dry and that there’s no critters in there. Even though they were dry, I wasn’t sure about the critters, so here’s what I did:

diy tree stump end tables easyI used a spackle knife to scrap off all the bark, which for four of these took under 15 minutes. Then I grabbed 2 gallons of bleach at the dollar store and poured them into a big bucket. Each of the stumps got a good dip, then a good hosing off.

The bleach changed the color a little bit, of course, but I actually like it better. Plus, I now have piece of mind that if there was anything in there it’s dead now.

After I hosed them off I let them sit outside for about 2 days (the smell of bleach was STRONG), then I let them dry out even more in my basement for about another week.

diy tree stump tables

Once dry, I sanded the crap out of them. You want these things to be smoooooooooooth as butter. This probably took about 20 minutes per stump, I just put on a movie and sanded until it was over with both 10 then 180 grit paper. After sanding I wiped them down with a damp cloth, and painted the top of 2 with Behr’s Waterscape (leftover from my half bath). No primer or anything, just one good thick coat and let dry.

I sealed each stump with 2 coats of polycrylic– just to be even more sure they were safe to keep inside. Don’t forget to sand the bottom as well!

I thought they could use a little more spunk, so I added silver upholstery tacks to one (just a rubber hammer and the tacks, they all went in really straight and I didn’t need to pre-drill any holes)

I also added some little felt pads to the bottom of each to make them easy to move around– I picked up a back of like 100 of these for a dollar and use them all the time, it’s worth keeping a good stock.

guest room end tables

Two of the stumps ended up in the guest room, they’re a great size to put your glasses or cell phone on.

diy easy tree stump end tables f

They’re such a cute little additional the room, and add a nice bit of interest too.

The other 2 will show up in a post next week. I know, you can hardly wait to see. ;) haha.

tree stump end tables

 

Another Delicious Applesauce Recipe

I was going to post not one but TWO small and easy DIY’s today today, they’re all set up in my house and have been done for a week…. but then I had so much fun with my family this weekend that daylight was gone by the time I was free to take pictures.

So instead you’re getting an applesauce recipe. Because there aren’t enough of them floating around this time of year. Ahem.

But wait! This one has a cute kid in it!

apple pic

First, you must take your 2 year old nephew (or, you know, your own kid) apple picking. Make sure he’s wearing his sunglasses and Spidey hoodie.

Next, get home and let the reality of how many apples you picked settle in. Separate 6 pounds of the zillion you have, peel then core them. I used 3 different types of apples (Cortland, Macintosh, and one other I don’t remember)

Chop them up into chunks, then add them to a pot with:

  • about 1 1/4 cup water (or apple juice if you’ve got it)
  • Cinnamon, clove, pumpkin spice (no measurements here, just enough to lightly coat)
  • A good squirt of lemon or lime juice (I used lime)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used regular old granulated, but brown sugar would probably be awesome)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Stir occasionally while they simmer for about 25 minutes.

If you have a mashed potato masher, go to town. Then, if you like it very smooth and chunk-free (like I do), run it through a food processor or blender.

easy applesauce recipe

 

You’ll notice this recipe doesn’t have a ton of measurements or requirements, and there’s lots of options. There really are a ton of ways to make it, and really the only essentials are apples, a liquid of some kind, and cinnamon. Everything else is just to taste!

So tell me… what you are doing with all your apples? I have about 10 pounds still left.

Wood Shims and Word Art (and the September Silhouette Challenge!)

Three years ago when we moved into this house we had to repair a bit of water damaged drywall in our basement, and because we knew nothing at all about home repair we bought a giant bundle of 4ft long wood shims (for about $10) to assist with this project. At the time I didn’t know they came in neat little 4inch long packages.

Anyway I’ve been using the shims to make wall decor ever since. Today’s project almost used up the last of it:

wood shim wall art pennant

Back in February I used my Silhouette Cameo to add a little Stevie Nicks quote to a map (I work at a college and the library regularly puts old/outdated books out for free. I regularly hoard them to make projects like this.). Here’s a close up, edited version of the quote so you can see it a little better:

stevie nicks quote vinyl letters

To mount it, I used my miter saw to cut wood shims down to a pennant shape.

Then, I used Gorilla wood glue to attach them to solid piece of 1×2.

After lettering it dry for 24 hours I used some Minwax stain cloths (leftover from my craft craft console table build) to stain the wood. I also added a little bit of gold craft paint to accent the edges and add some glam.

assembly wood shim pennant

I was afraid nails would split the shims, because they’re not really meant for stuff like this, so I applied the glue to the back of the 1×2 and then all around it as well. It’s solid as a rock now, and the 1×2 also serves as the hook for the wall.

guest room corner

This little corner is just so cozy now, and was sooooo inexpensive to put together:

  • Antlers and orange frame from Marshall’s, probably less than $20 for both
  • High-Chair is a $0 hand me down from a friend, updated here
  • Lamp is from Ikea, maybe about $10
  • Wood barrel was $6 from the Habitat Restore, spruced up with a walnut here
  • Wood Shim Wall Pennant cost $0 to make because I had everything on hand

wood shim wall decor gray guest room

Oh yeah, that wall map is yet another wood shim project (here). I may have a problem.

Also, the wood slice quote (which reads “everyday I’m hustlin’ “)? Another Silhouette project (here).

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Want to Check Out More Silhouette Projects?

My Silhouette Challenge friends and I are all sharing projects on our blogs today, take a look at the projects below for a wealth of Silhouette inspiration!

Our Sons & Daughters Wood Shims and Word Art Simple DIY Canvas Art Pallet Signs Chalk Paint Pumpkins with Fabric Leaves Make a Personalized Scarecrow DIY Wall Art for the Bathroom Decoupaged Fall Leaves Lampshade Gimme A F.A.L.L! Eat SOMETHING Sweet Baby Love Quilt Big Reveal Sketching Inspiration for my little Dancer - September Silhouette Challenge Family Feature Presentation Wall Art Last Unicorn Shadow Box Makin' my office a little more artsy fartsy Family Command Center DIY Grandparents Sign with Photo Frame Dream Big Little Girl Canvas Art Fall Pallet Sign {Grateful, Thankful, Blessed} Pumpkins and Apples Sign Handmade Freezer Paper Cloth Napkins

1. The Moberg Family // 2. Sandpaper and Glue // 3. American Honey // 4. Weekend Craft // 5. Grey Luster Girl // 6. From Wine to Whine // 7. Cutesy Crafts // 8. Practically Functional // 9. Home At Eight // 10. McCall Manor // 11. Dragonfly & Lily Pads // 12. Adventures in All Things Food // 13. Create it. Go! // 14. Please Excuse My Craftermath… // 15. The Outlandish Momma // 16. The Sensory Emporium // 17. My Paper Craze // 18. unOriginal Mom // 19. My Favorite Finds // 20. Architecture of a Mom // 21. Black and White Obsession //

14 Amazing DIY Backsplashes

Last week Hometalk emailed me that they loved my DIY painted faux tile backsplash and they wanted me to curate a board full of other inventive and DIY backsplash ideas, and I was super excited to do so. There are a zillion unique options out there, at a huge mixed range of prices, and even options for renters too!

14 amazing DIY backsplash ideas 1

 

 

There’s 14 great ideas all clipped here, but I thought I’d highlight my top 3 here on the ol’ blog.

1. Engineer Your Space created a backsplash with fabric stapled to a piece of plywood, then placed a piece of tempered glass in front of it for safety and protection (this idea looks to be about $100-$150…. so it’d be a great idea for a renter who can’t actually add a real backsplash). Read more about it here.

fabric and tempered glass backsplash

 

2. Sara at House Bella added whitewash wood paneling to her whole kitchen and it looks so, so neat.  She installed the paneling both as a backsplash and counter front update for less then $100… so I bet supplies enough for just a backsplash would be awesomely inexpensive. Read more about it here.

diy backsplash inexpensive whitewash wood paneling

3.  Betty from Oh Everything Handmade added these gorgeous clay tiles to her kitchen and gives a great detailed tutorial on it. I love the design of them, so different from the subway tile we all see (and love) everywhere! Tile is obviously the most expensive of your options, but if you’re in a home you plan to be in for a bit, or a home you plan to flip, I think it’s totally worth it. Read the how to here.

clay tile how to install

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Head on over to my my Hometalk board to scope out all the rest! There’s some awesome stainless steel and glass options, and of course some reclaimed pallet back splashes on there too.

What kind of backsplash do you have? And if you could have any kind, what would you install or create?

 

 

 

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies (so easy you’ll gasp out loud)

I hesitated to write this post. These cookies are hands down the #1 request I get when I go somewhere… and I bake a lot. And I bake a lot from scratch. But I’ve got a secret…

These cookies are totally not from scratch. Don’t tell anyone, mmkay?

mint chocolate chip cookie easy recipe

Here’s the deal- buy a chocolate chip cookie bag mix (store brand, Betty Crocker, it doesn’t matter). Then doctor it up like so:

  • The bag mixes usually requires 1 egg– make that one egg a farm fresh egg. The yolk is SO much more yellow and the white is awesome and it fluffs up your cookies like you have no idea. Trust me.
  • Add a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract (homemade if you can- I’ve got a recipe for it here). If your bag mix happens to call for water, do half water and half vanilla instead.
  • Add a tablespoon of sugar, which will help balance the extra liquid you just added with the vanilla
  • To make the cookies mint chocolate chip, add some chocolate mint leaves. I grow it in my yard so I usually use 5-7 good size sprigs, rip off the leaves, grind them up in my food processor, and stir them right in.

 

mint chocolate chip cookies

 

 

And my last tip, but definitely the most important- preheat the oven to whatever the bag tells you (usually 350*), but when you put the cookies in lower the temperature by about 25* (usually to 325*) and bake for a few extra minutes. The decrease in temperature softens your cookies and makes them rise much better. This works AWESOME with cupcakes too.

BAM- you’ve got cookies that take less then 20 minutes from start to finish and everyone thinks you’re a master baker. You’re welcome. :)

easy chocolate chip cookie recipe

 

So tell me, what else do you hack to make amazing and easy? Pasta sauce (gravy, if you’re Italian like me) is another one I doctor up 100% of the time as well.