Freebie Doggie Toybox

Today’s post is another DIY container, but this time instead of holding flowers it’s purpose is to corral the numerous dog toys that are always around our yard.  It started with this free crate I picked up at a work event.  The vendor said they had a huge stash of them and wanted to eliminate some so I could keep it.

I first thought about putting cedar boards around it but I couldn’t find a quick and easy way to keep them attached so I moved on to a free covering option I already had in my fabric stash – burlap.  I dug out a large scrap piece left over from previous projects and cut did a quick dry ‘test’ fit.  Then I trimmed it down and grabbed some twine to secure it to the crate.  I pulled apart some of the fibers and threaded the twine through so I could tie it.

The cats decided now was a good time to ‘help’ even though this project wasn’t for them.  Apparently burlap is a good spot for a kitty nap…

I conferred with the Hubs about the best way to wrap the box and secure the liner inside.  He made a few suggestions and then just told me to hand it over so he could work on it while he watched a movie and I edited client images.  Knowing his vast knowledge of knot tying and securing loads from almost 20 years in the Coast Guard I happily accepted the offer.  About an hour later he presented me with this.

He wove the twine through the top edge of the fabric and the holes on the crate pulling it taunt as he went so everything stayed smooth on the outside.  This will keep the fabric from pulling up every time the dogs pull out a toy.

Meanwhile, Stella was still hard at work on that nap…

I took a break from editing photos and placed the box in the backyard.  I was able to fit the toys we had in two smaller baskets into this one container so I went with the spot next to the firewood storage where it’s more out of sight and helps cover the electrical conduit.

It sits under the eave of the house so it’s mostly protected from rain, but because we didn’t cover the bottom any water that does get in it will be able to drain out easily.

Seeing it in place, I’m glad I went with the burlap instead of the cedar.  It blends in more, even when it’s filled with the dog’s brightly colored toys.  I showed the dogs where their new toys and they didn’t waste any time rooting through the pile to find their favorites and head off into the yard with them.  Now if only I could train them to pick up the toys and put them back in the box!

It’s a pretty nice upgrade for spending nada and it keeps the yard a little cleaner. 🙂

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My New DIY Planter

Continuing my theme of DIY planters this week, here’s another that the Hubs made for me.  It started with this cute wooden caddy I picked up on the buy/sell page.  I had planned to use it as a planter, but the support bar down the middle just wasn’t going to work for that.

 I mentioned my disappointment to the Hubs and we chatted about how I wished it had been configured.  He must have been listening and wanting a project, because a few days later he surprised me with this.

This sucker is solid wood and super HEAVY.  We gave it two coats of the teal outdoor paint we’ve used on other projects like the bin planters and firepit chairs.

Once it was in place I realized how deep it was and knew I didn’t want to fill the whole thing with dirt.  So I had the Hubs drill a couple drainage holes in the bottom and we gathered scrap wood to create a little platform half way up the inside.

Now I needed something to hold the dirt and actually plant in.  I decided to try the foil baking pans from the grocery store, since they were cheap and readily available.  I added two to my grocery order and picked them up the next day.

The pans fit the width of the box perfectly.  I decided to use two, end to end to fill the space as much as possible.  Next came planting.

I had some violas that needed a home so this seemed like a perfect spot for them.  Plus the Hubs really likes these little blooms, so it was fitting that I fill the planter he built me with flowers he likes. 🙂

They still need to grow into the space a bit but they look pretty cute for now and add a bit of color to this corner of the deck.  I like how they spill over the side a bit too.

Next year I’m thinking I’ll use ferns in the caddy since the area will be more shaded when the gazebo cover goes up soon.  Perhaps I’ll snag a couple faux ferns like the ones I used out front in the vintage cart so there’s 0 maintenance!

Repurposed Bin Planters

Today I’m sharing another couple of planters I mentioned in my recap post.  These cuties were made from old conveyor belt scoops that I got from Alaska Picker.  The first I snagged at the AK Picker Day sale – right after finding the garage sale milk can.  I hunted high and low for more of them but someone else had beat me to them.  So when I spotted another at the Alaska Chicks Vintage sale I immediately claimed one.

The first still had a section of conveyor belt attached, but the second was mounted to a piece of old barn wood.  I wanted them both to match so I had the Hubs remove both the belt and board so I could mount them on new boards.

The Hubs cut me two pieces of wood from some scrap we had from another project and I dug out my outdoor teal paint to give them a couple coats.  A little distressing around the edges gave them the perfect rustic look.  The Hubs attached the bins to the new boards and I had this cuteness!

I wasn’t sure where I was going to use them at first but when I came out and saw the big open area on the chicken coop expansion I knew they’d look great there.  After I painted the coop the Hubs drilled some drainage holes in the bottom of the bins and put them up with a couple of screws. I filled them with purple alyssum to finish them off.

I absolutely adore how they turned out.  The combo of teal, rusty metal and purple flowers makes my heart do a happy dance.  And it’s perfect for decorating a chicken coop – not to fussy but not to messy either.

I still have a little painting to do on the lower part of coop and the Hubs plans to finish off the storage area door with siding to match the rest of the coop.  I’ll share more about the expansion and new set up once it’s all done.  We also plan to fill the area in front of the coop with pavers and pea gravel to finish everything off.

Of course neither the chickens nor the dogs – or the cats for that matter – care about any of that.  They just like having a window where they can see each other face to face.  But this doggie/chicken/kitty momma is happy to have a pretty space for them all.

Upcycled Milk Can Planter

One of the projects I mentioned in my recap was an upcycled milk can planter.  This was a fairly simple project that came together quickly.  I spotted this old milk can at a garage sale on my way to Alaska Picker day back in the spring.  When I heard it was just $20 I claimed it right away.  It was pretty rough, but I knew I could at least do something with the shape since it was pretty sturdy and solid.

I tried scrubbing the discoloration off thinking it was dirt, but while I got lots of dirt off the piece the lines remained, so I had to decide the best option to cover them.  After a quick Pinterest search I went with basic black because it would hide all of the flaws and cover the odd pattern.

A couple coats later it was looking pretty good.  I picked up a black pot to match it and shoved it into the opening as far as I could fit it.  And when summer finally arrived it found a spot out on the deck and got a couple of plants to brighten it up.

It’s a perfect fit next to the hot tub stairs and helps hide the plumbing a bit when looking out from the bedroom.  Plus it coordinates well with the lounge chairs nearby.

I filled it with marigolds to help ward off bugs near the hot tub, purple alyssum and some creeping Jenny that trails over the front of the can.  A little birdhouse tucked up next to it brings in the teal I’ve used elsewhere in the yard.

Not bad for a $20 garage sale find and a can of spray paint!  I look forward to using it for many years to come with other trailing plants in a variety of colors.

My New Garden Bell

With all the other yard projects we’ve been working on the Hubs finally got my upcycled propane tank garden bell installed!  This was my first purchase at the Junk Bonanza show in Portland 2 years ago and it had to stay at my Mother-In-Law’s house until we made a trip with the trailer because it was so heavy.

I wasn’t sure exactly where I’d hang it but when we ended up with an ‘extra’ footer while constructing the new deck the Hubs suggested we make it into an arbor for the bell.  I was totally game and knew it would look great there.

He worked out the footings for the other side and put in a cross bar at the top last season before winter arrived.  We picked up from there this season, hanging the bell with the chain it came with and building a box around the base to act as a planter for a clematis I needed a trellis for.

Once the planter box was constructed I filled it with dirt and transplanted the clematis, then covered the dirt with wood chip mulch to reduce weeds.  I’ve been slowly training the clematis branches up the two posts.  Eventually it will cover the entire structure and frame the bell beautifully.

I also had the Hubs install the coordinating bird bath on a hook off to the side.  That way I can fill it when I water on dry days.  Now I just have to let it grow and enjoy the pretty rusty patina as I  wait for the blooms to show!  And work on incorporating the planter box into the rock landscape I have planned for around the deck. 😉

Expanding the Egg Table

The Hubs picked up a fancy new smoker a few months back and has been using it pretty regularly, so he decided to incorporate it into his existing egg table.  He had originally sealed the whole table with Thompsons water seal but that didn’t seem to be holding up too well to Alaska’s winters so he knew he was going to have to sand it down and refinish it this season anyway.

He built a new section to wrap around the smoker that matched the style of the original table and attached it with his Kreg tool.  I was working on other projects while he was doing this stage so I didn’t get any pictures of it but you can figure out the setup from the finished images in this post. He cut a small hole in the side to access the wood chip drawer on the smoker.

We decided to go with outdoor deck paint for the refinish and chose a dark grey that should hide dirt and any minor damage it might get outside.  The Hubs said it went on like tar so it should provide a pretty good barrier to the elements.

The new extended size is a perfect fit for the smaller rug we had from last season and makes stepping out from the house to grill a bit comfier.  The new expanded top gives him plenty of room to prep things before they go into either the grill or the smoker and is the perfect spot for my big cast iron lantern and piggy planter.

Once it was all painted, he added the bottle opener we picked up forever ago to the side, which is conveniently located right next to our new dining set.   And with the herbs growing nearby he can pluck some to add to his culinary masterpieces.

I’ve also found that it works well as an impromptu potting bench when I’m prepping pots for the deck.  Good thing he’s ok with sharing every now and then! 🙂

Our Patriotic Porch

Back before Memorial Day I switched out the decorations on the porch from spring to patriotic for the summer holidays.  I usually decorate with simple red, white and blue items for the whole season to celebrate Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.  That takes me from May all the way through early September without having to update anything, which is perfect for those already busy summer months.

I added faux ferns to the little vintage cart I got at the Junk Bonanza show, so I don’t even have to water anything.  A cute little patriotic bunting from JoAnn’s makes it festive.  I plan to add some birch logs to the crock, but if I don’t get around to it before the end of the summer that’s ok.  Our little moose statue rounds out the display with that sweet wooden face.

The metal star I already had on the porch works well with this set-up so I left it up.  I’ve traded my various holiday door mats for a classic welcome that will work throughout the year.  It was one of my best finds at Home Goods on our trip to Portland back in April.

The vintage bells I got at the Alaska Chicks’ Spring Market were added to a wreath I already had.  It’s my simple nod to “let freedom ring” and the blooms on the wreath tie in with the door color.  I also added a couple small flags to the potted plants on the steps, but forgot to get a picture of them.

And since I didn’t get a chance to share the spring set up back when it was in use here it is for comparison. J  A few faux bouquets from the clearance bin at Michaels that can double as photo shoot props and my cute new Mr. Bun Bun from Pier One thanks to a gift card and coupon I won during their Enchanted Spring Open House event. A bird house from my ever-growing collection tied it all together.

Do you decorate your porch for summer or for the patriotic holidays?  I’d love to see!  Leave me a comment with a link so I can check out your decorations!