Saturday, March 15, 2014

Starting Over.

The last two years have been quite a journey.  I never thought I would use a power tool, let alone own several, and then become pretty skilled with them.  Never did I imagine I would be able to tell the difference between almond, oak, or olive logs. Never did I imagine I would be out in my garage working and sweating in the summer, or freezing in the winter - all to make something new from a log! Never did I imagine that I would enjoy sitting in a garage that was either too hot or too cold, music playing and working away on anything I wanted to make. Never did I imagine I would look at a log looking for the beauty of it and make something other people would want. Never. Funny how life does that to a person. 

With all that said,  I no longer have a workshop where I can keep the logs or use the loud power tools. Somehow I don't think an apartment manager would be too understanding of a 12" skilsaw revving up at 10:00 at night. 


This was a very tough decision for me to make, but instead of closing my shop, I have decided I want to start my shop over from scratch. I feel a bit lost, as the logs were such a huge part of my shop and life. I used to work with them about six days a week - now zero. It was a bit of a shock at first. But, I am not one to sit and dwell, but more of a "what can I do now" type of girl.  I have been teaching myself to sew, and looking into a variety of fun things to make. I hope you will bear with me as I go through a trial and error period.  I love a good challenge, and I am definitely up for it.



I will always be so grateful to have been a small part of so many weddings, proposals, gifts, and even funerals of people I have never met. People who trusted me to make something they would enjoy - I can't explain how amazing that feels - it just feels amazing. 

Maybe someday when I move again, I will make sure to have a workshop and just might get back into making log items as I really love doing that. :) This is a huge change, but I firmly believe in making the best of any situation and to always move forward. I am excited for the new things I will be making and hope you will be too.

Here are some of the things I have made that I loved making. Maybe someday I will make more. :)

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Monday, February 24, 2014

My Workshop - Deerwood Creek Gifts


A customer asked me what my "workshop" looked like. My workshop? I had to think for a minute as my workshop is in an overcrowded one-car garage.  The customer thought I had a fabulous workshop where I made my orders. I think she was imagining Santa's workshop where it was clean and sparkly. (I wish!) Well, I wouldn't exactly call this fabulous, clean, or sparkly, but it is a great place to work and I love it. Here are two pictures.

These pictures were taken on a rainy day. The rain makes it pretty "cozy" as I have to squish all the tools and logs inside the tiny one-car garage instead of spread out on the driveway.  But, as small, dusty, and dirty as it is, I love being out there. 

Other than that, here are a few random pictures to show a bit about me.

This is me about to make some orders.


Ah the rain. Gotta love when my goggles fog up. ;)


A new pile of logs. This makes me happy.


This picture has nothing to do with my business, but thought I would put up a picture where I wasn't covered in sawdust or wearing goggles. 


And this is Neil. I love this little guy.


This is me having a discussion with Neil telling him to quit running in the house. ;)

Take care all. I hope your workshop is fabulous and it is somewhere you feel creative. Please feel free to leave questions or comments. :)

Cindy Breninger
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Sunday, February 23, 2014

How To Make A Bookshelf for Around $25.00

Several months ago I was looking to buy a bookshelf. I must have looked at hundreds and found that most were either too big, too small, or too expensive - not what I was looking for. My teenage son said he bet he could make one that was just the right size - and he could make it for around $25. 

Challenge accepted. 

Materials List
Five 12" by 48" boards
36 Bricks

My son and I went to Home Depot. We looked around at the lumber and it was a little more than we wanted to pay. We then headed over to the plywood section and picked out a 4' by 8' piece for about $8.00. Plywood is not as thick or as strong as a board, but for this purpose, it was perfect. 

The employees cut the plywood to our dimensions right there in the store while we waited. Thank you Home Depot for this service. For those of us with small cars, cutting the plywood is a lifesaver.

We now had our five 12" X 48"  pieces of plywood. We were half-way through to going home. We then went to the brick section to see what they had. I had never bought bricks before and was pleasantly surprised at the price - only $.25 per brick. We picked out 36 bricks for a total of $9.00. 

So far we were up to around $17.00. We went home and stacked the bricks and added the plywood. I was so excited as I stepped back to admire our masterpiece and...I HATED IT. It was dull and boring and well, ugly. I was happy I had some shelves to put all my craft things, but well, it was not very appealing to the eye. 

HERE IS THE BEFORE PICTURE

NOT APPEALING. UGLY.


We went back to Home Depot for paint as I wanted to pretty it up. I didn't care what color I picked as any color would be an upgrade. I was hoping to get either black, gray, or burgundy. My son and I always check out the misfit paints first. This is usually on a rack near the paint section. It is a rack where people either didn't like the color, or the color was incorrect. The store marks the price WAY DOWN. As someone who loves to save money - I LOVE THIS SECTION.  I ended up getting a quart of dark gray paint for $2.00. Yep - $2.00 for a quart a paint - pure awesomeness! 

We were about to leave when I spotted the Martha Stewart paint section. I wasn't going to buy any, just browse, but ooooh, some of the colors were so pretty so I had to take a closer look. Now, we all know what happens next - I ended up buying the Martha Stewart Cast Bronze Metallic Paint with a specialty finish. How could I not? I wish I could tell you how pretty this paint is. It looks good in pictures, but in person, it is just beautiful. 

***This is not a commercial or advertisement for their paint, but when I find something that is a good product, a good price, and looks great - I want to let other people know.  This paint looks like it has bits of metal and it shimmers. I am in love with this paint. The paint was $5.58 for 10 oz - it was worth every penny. Have I mentioned how much I love this paint???

We went home with our $7.58 worth of paint to pretty up the $17.00 of ugly plywood and bricks. 

I placed two plastic tablecloths down (I already had these so I am not including them in the total, but I bought them for $1.00 each at the Dollar Store/Tree) and started painting. 



 The plywood was easy to paint and I was done pretty quickly. I thought this project was almost complete - and then I got to the bricks. I have never painted a brick in my life. Not sure if I ever want to do it again. They are so coarse that I went through one sponge brush and one paint brush - the bricks just shredded them.


To save paint, I ended up only painting the four sides that would be showing - which was a good thing as one jar of the bronze was exactly enough.

Then I let everything dry for a few hours...

Once dry, I put the shelves back. I layered most of the stacks with four bricks, but two layers I used three bricks. 

I love how this turned out. So much better than what we had before. And, for $24.58 (tax not included) it was the perfect price! It didn't take very long and I love how big it is and how easily I can change it around. 





I didn't use a top coat on this, but I will probably add it at a later date. If I do add it, I will use Polycrylic. I didn't add this to the price as this is something I always have in my house, but it is usually around $9.00 - $17.00 depending on the size.


 I hope this post didn't sound like a commercial or advertisement for any store or product. But, I shop at Home Depot, Lowe's, Michael's, Hobby Lobby, Dollar Store, and Dollar Tree probably on a weekly basis for my business, Deerwood Creek Gifts. If I use a product I love, or a store where I shop, I don't mind sharing that with others. 

This was a fun project to make. It was it easy, only took a few hours (waiting for the paint to dry), and was cheap in price. 

If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear them. :)

Cindy Breninger

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

How to Make A Yule Log



Hi! Today let's talk yule logs. I have been by asked by a few people how I make them. They are pretty easy to make and if you have a saw, a drill, a sander, and a dremel, you can make them too. 
***Please note: I do not have a drill press. I normally drill by placing the logs in a vice and then drilling by hand. For the yule logs, I have found it is easier for me to keep the logs on the floor using my boots to hold the logs steady. Now, I know this is not the safest or smartest thing I could be doing, but, it works for me. My boots have been "accidentally tested" and the drill didn't leave a mark. But, please do as I say and not as I do. If you have a safe way to drill, I would suggest you do that. :) 

Ok, now that I got that business taken care of, here is how I make yule logs:

Step 1 - Get some logs and cut them to the length you would like. I usually cut mine between 10" and 14", but use whatever size you like.




Step 2 - Sand the bottom so it is flat. It is much easier to drill the holes when the logs are not rolling around.

Step 3 - I place the candles where I think they will look good and mark where to drill.


Step 4 - Remember - I do not have a drill press, so this is how I do this. Do not do this! Ok, now that I have lectured you on safety again, drill the holes. 



Step 5 - I have found that the yule logs produce A LOT of wood shavings. I mean A LOT! 


Step 6 - Once the holes are drilled, I use my dremel to clean up the sides of the holes so they are smooth. It also helps if you want the holes to be bigger.


Step 7 - Once you are done, whaaa-laaa! You have two yule logs. I love these and think they are so pretty. I hope you do too.


P.S. My drill tends to get pretty hot. So, when I am letting it cool down, sometimes I get bored sitting around and waiting, so I make sawdust "art". Here are two for you. 


Well, that is all I have for tonight. I hope you are having a great time making and creating new things. I love to create and love to stay busy - here's to lots of creativity for all of us! 

Cindy Breninger
Deerwood Creek Gifts

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