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. 🙂


DIY Witch’s Broom

With Halloween just around the corner I wanted to share a quick DIY witch’s broom project that was a happy accident.  It started with the purchase of these flower stems at Joann Fabrics.  I was working on creating a headpiece for a Halloween themed photo shoot and loved the look and texture of these flowers.

Upon closer inspection I realized that the flowers stems were just wrapped around branches and could be easily removed.  So I untwisted them, one-by-one while enjoying a little TV time.

I was left with two piles of pretty flowers destined for photo shoots and these two bare branch things.  I considered putting them upright in a vase or bucket with lights for a spooky arrangement, but when I saw the two together I suddenly saw a broom.

I grabbed some scrap black ribbon and wrapped the two stems together.  Normally I would have secured the ribbon with hot glue but I’m not sure I’ll use these the same way next year and I was at my office rather than at home so a few pieces of clear tape did the trick.

It looks pretty good in our office with the other Halloween decorations – follow me on Instagram and Facebook for peeks – but I wanted to get a nice shot of it so I took it back home and propped it up on the wood pile.

Not bad for a free project made from leftovers from another project!  I still think it needs something to finish it off.  Maybe a bow at the base of the stem or a hanging loop, but I can figure that out next year if I use it again.  If you have ideas in the meantime I’d love to hear them! And in case you’re wondering how the flower headpiece turned out here’s a peek from the session!

Isn’t she gorgeous?!  She’s a hair and makeup artist and did the makeup herself based on a couple of inspiration shots I sent her.  I’ll be sharing more of these awesome shots soon and give a quick recap of the location we used, which is a local historical park.  And I’ll be working with this lovely lady again in the future for some other fun ideas. 🙂

Recent Bargains


Just before No-Spend January started (hence the Christmas centerpiece) I snagged a couple really good bargains on a trip to the thrift store. I only paid $45 for all of this! Several of them got a makeover during the last month – I’ll be sharing those very soon – and several became part of my Valentine’s décor – which will also be shared soon.

Although my favorite find was the milk glass vase for $0.99, I was pretty excited about the tall hurricane vase since I had bought one on the local buy/sell page for $5 about this time last year and ended up selling it to someone at a spring bazaar even though it was only part of my display because she liked it so much and offered me double what I paid for it! I snagged this one for $12 and although I originally planned to paint the base I’ve decided to leave it as is for now. The wooden pedestal bowl is still mid-transformation, but I think it’s going to be fantastic when it’s done – just in time for some spring decorating.


But the best recent bargain is this leather arm chair. Wanna know what I paid for it? NADA! Zilch! Absolutely nothing! Every once in a while trolling Craigslist’s free section pays off! 😉 One of the arms is a bit wobbly and needs some reinforcement, but the hubs is pretty sure he can take care of that at some point. That point will probably be right before we have company coming one day when it’s a priority. Oh well, at least for now it looks pretty darn fancy!

Now that No-Spend January is over, I decided to check out a local clothing consignment store last Sunday and brought home a lovely Banana Republic jacket for just $7! I also found a pretty pink scarf at the thrift store in their ‘new/retail donated’ section for just $9. I’d been on the hunt for one for some time now so finding one at such a great price was even sweeter.  Isn’t finding a great bargain wonderful?  Tell me about your recent favorite in a comment!

The Wheel Thing

The other day the hubs texts me this picture and asks “You want? It’s free.”

Do I want a rusty metal wheel thing that I have no clue what I’ll do with for free? Ummm, OF COURSE! I love that he knows me so well. 🙂

Apparently, it had been sitting in a pile of scrap at his work and was about to be destroyed. He rescued it from the pile and set it aside to bring home. Only problem was that he’d forgotten his truck was in the shop for a blown water pump and he had a Jeep Cherokee for a rental.

Luckily, his 17 years of Loadmaster experience wasn’t going to let a little thing like that stop him from bringing this treasure home to his bride. And this is how I first saw it the following morning as I got in my truck to head to work!


I still haven’t decided exactly what I’m going to do with my amazing rusty wheel, but I’m thinking it will likely end up as a trellis of some sort in one of the gardens or become ‘yard art’ – possibly holding bird feeders and houses or those cute bucket planters that hang over fences. What would you use something like this for? Maybe your suggestion is better than my ideas, so I want to hear it!

Well Worth the Elbow Grease

Yesterday I recounted all of the freebies we’ve scored on Craigslist, so I thought I’d give a little progress report on our biggest find – the hot tub.  Here’s what it looked like after the hubs gave it a good cleaning and started working on the plumbing.


After he got the guts fixed, he scored a super deal on supposedly ‘oops’ paint at the box store and started updating the exterior as well.  Here’s a few shots of the difference.



And here’s the finished product, looking pretty darn good for investing less than $100 when a new tub this large would have run us $10-15,000!


Unfortunately, it’s sitting in the garage unused until we move to the new house since there isn’t an outlet for it at the rental and we learned it’s illegal to have a hot tub in your garage in Anchorage!  Who knew?!  Ironically the 220 plug at the new house has been the most expensive part of this venture, bringing our total to approximately $450.  Now we’ll just have to see what it costs us to run!  Wonder if the hubby can rig a generator to a treadmill the dogs run on.. wouldn’t that kill two birds with one stone? 🙂

A Few More Freebies

Windows These old wood framed windows are my latest Craigslist freebie score!   I don’t have a specific plan for them just yet, but I’m thinking several might be touched up and enhanced with holiday themed vinyl cutouts!

As I drove home with my new treasures, I contemplated all of the things we’ve found for FREE since moving to the mainland and having access to the genius of Craigslist.  Let’s recall some of my finds.  There was the massive hot tub, the fruitful raspberry plants and wildflowers, a future fire pit drum, next season’s strawberry planter/compost barrel, an interior door that will become a new desk top for my office, NEW Christmas decorations that came with a large heavy-duty wheelbarrow in need of a new tire, 2 chairs for photo props, shutter style bi-fold doors for craft fair booths or photography backdrops, and of course a delivered load of used tires for my rain garden!

As you can tell, I’m a regular in the free section.  It’s kinda addicting – I’ve even got my hubby scanning the list pretty often! 🙂 I actually get all warm and tingly reclaiming and reviving something that would have otherwise been added to the landfill.  But I’m apparently not the only one, as someone did beat me to the vintage metal lockers I was hoping to snap up for the garage a few weeks ago! It’s amazing what’s offered up – free for the taking if you put in a little effort.

Yet even with all these amazing finds, there are still things I’ve passed up just because it’s just better to wait until we’re in the house and ready for that item or project – like free chickens or an old fridge the hubs can convert into a smoker (luckily not in the same ad!).  And the fact that the garage is starting to feel a bit cramped… But, that’s the beauty of the Craigslist free section – there’s always more to choose from!  So I’m sure there will be another old fridge available when we’re ready to hunt and in need of a large smoker next year.  And I bet there will be an old chest freezer for free or nearly too!  As you know, I’ve also found several great deals like this and this on Craigslist that were low-cost albeit not free.

Are you a Craigslist freebie hunter too?  What treasures have you found and restored?  I want to hear about them!