Repurpose and Remodel: Restoring a Handmade Porch Swing

My grandfather was an excellent carpenter. He and his brother built me many neat things over the years but my favorite is this porch swing.

It’s handmade, solid wood and heavy. In fact, it’s so heavy that in the 15 years since he built it for me, I’ve never had a place to hang it. It’s been in my mother’s basement for years.

As you can imagine, 15 years in a damp basement takes its toll. We had several rotten slats and a rusted chain. We were blessed the frame was still in good shape .

I promptly ordered the things I thought we would need and I got to work replacing the slats that were rotten or warped. I toyed with replacing all the slats but since some were in great shape, I decided against it.

I then gave the whole swing a good sanding with my orbital sander and removed the rusty chain.

I then put two coats of primer and one coat of paint on the swing and replaced the chain with a new one.

My mom got me this arbor for my birthday so I could hang the swing. It’s very pretty and very sturdy. And we know the song isn’t hanging straight- the arbor isn’t exactly level yet. We haven’t anchored the arbor yet because we are waiting to put down some pea gravel to deal with the mud. We also want to cut those bushes but there are birds nesting in them, so we want to wait until they leave.

I’m so excited to have this swing at my house- finally! I miss my grandpa so much so I am happy to be able to have this gift he personally made for me. It looks so pretty hanging from the arbor. It brightens up our yard quite well!!

I can’t wait to finish this area so I can show it to you!!

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“Pin”spiration from around the WWW….lamppost Pinterest roundup

We have a blank slate front yard, but we have a small, circular flower garden beside our sidewalk. It’s cute, and it was made to feature a very pretty Japanese maple. Mr. Lumber and I have talked for years about adding a lamp post to the garden. We think it would totally change the whole look of our front yard.

Now, our great debate is whether or not we want a wired lamp post or a solar one. Today, I thought I’d share a Pinterest roundup of some of our favorite lamp post inspiration.

  1. Modern lamp post and small flower bed.

I love this small flower bed because it’s colorful, the flower bed is small and would fit nicely next to a drive way or sidewalk. The plants are low-maintenance plants, too.

2. Rock flower bed and portsmouth lamp post

I love the colors in this flower bed. I also love the rock edging and the brick sidewalk. All of the colors in the flowerbed are so pretty and they look great together.

3. Begonias and lamp post

This simple, round flower bed with only one type of plant is more simple, but just as pretty. I see this being more for a smaller front yard. It’s simplicity makes it prettier.

4. Lamp post with flower baskets

This lamp post has two hanging baskets with it. It would definitely take up a little more room, as it is a bigger lamp post, but it would definitely still be pretty and would add a lot of curb appeal to one’s house.

5. Lamp post with a climbing vine

I love all the different colors in this picture. The climbing vine is very pretty and it would be an easy way of covering a faded or dated lamp post. I just think this looks neat with the flowering vine.

Which lamp post and flower garden is your favorite? Comment below and let us know!

Scrap Wood Challenge: Finishing the Adirondack Chairs and Tables

This page is not a building plan, or even a tutorial. Think of it as more like an “update.” Remember these chairs?

And do you remember these tables?

Technically only two of our chairs are scrap wood builds, as we actually purchased the lumber to build the other two. The tables are scrap wood builds as well.

I always knew once these chairs and tables were finished, I wanted to paint them a bright color. Since we have a gray house with black shutters, I envisioned a bright red or a navy blue. But before I painted them, I filled in the holes with wood filler, sanded the chairs with 40 grit sandpaper and an orbital sander, and I put two coats of primer.

I learned something while painting these chairs: if you’re painting something that is raw wood and has never been painted or stained, you will need to use a good primer first. I applied two coats of primer to my chairs and tables prior to painting them. You also only need about 45 minutes drying time between both coats.

I let the two coats of primer dry for about 24 hours, and then I applied the red. I just love this color. It’s Benjamin Moore outdoor paint and it’s called “million dollar red.”

I ended up applying two coats to each piece of furniture, and allowing 24 hours drying time between the coats.

Our cute little firepit area is far from finished, but I can’t help but love the way these tables and chairs turned out. The coolest thing is about the whole area is that we built the furniture ourselves. I can’t wait to show you the finished patio. Stay tuned!

Scrap lumber challenge: Ana’s Adirondack chairs

My husband and I are in the midst of cleaning out our garage. While most of the “clean up needs” are simply a matter of putting things away, my scrap wood pile is a pretty big issue.

Yikes. That’s a lot of scrap wood.

Maybe I should change my blog name to “Lumber freaking everywhere.” Seriously, my scrap wood pile has gotten a little out of hand. With the cost of lumber these days, you can’t throw it out or waste it. I decided instead I’d build something from the scrap wood instead. My dad and I did a lot of woodworking projects together, I always enjoyed it, and I really miss it. And since we are quarantined, it isn’t like I have tons of things to do.

I wanted some wooden adirondack chairs for our new firepit patio, but I didn’t want to pay for them. Also, a lot of wooden adirondack chairs are overpriced, not real wood, and not very sturdy. If you aren’t familiar with Ana White, you should be. She is a blogger in Alaska who does tons of woodwork projects. She also publishes very thorough plans with diagrams and pictures, step by step instructions, a shopping list and even a cut list so you will know how long to cut your boards. They’re also 100% free!! I flipped through her plan catalogue and found an adirondack chair plan I thought I could build.

Source: Ana White
Source: Ana White

See how easy she makes this? Her plans are phenomenal.

I happened to have enough scrap wood to build two chairs. I only needed to buy the screws. I quickly cut out all the pieces I’d need for two chairs.

Here are all the pieces for one chair.
  1. Begin by taking your front and back legs and attaching your stringer piece to them. I chose to attach the top of the stringer piece at 11 inches. This will be one side of your chair- two legs and a seat support.

2. Flip over your chair and attach your 2×2. This is your arm rest support. You will want this on the opposite side of your stringer piece.

3.Then, you will mirror this on the other side .

And now you have both sides of your chair base completed.

4. Join your two sides of your chair base together with a 2×4 stretcher piece.

It’s starting to look more like a chair!

5. Now you attach five chair slats to your seat support at 1/2 an inch apart.

6. Get yourself a really cute shop cat to follow you around and meow at you while you work. Actually, that step is optional.

Tommie Gray keeps an eye on things.

7. Build the back of your chair. Connect your back slats using two 2×4 bracers. I did mine at 1/4 inch apart.

8. Flip it over and secure the 1x4s to the 2×4 bracers using 2 inch wood screws.

9. Attach your back brace to your chair frame, and secure the chair back to the brace.

10. And finally, attach your arm rests to the chair.

Annie Sue likes the new chair. She thinks it’s hers.

And then you have a comfy adirondack chair, made from real, solid wood. Shop cat approved!

I ended up building two of these chairs from scrap wood, and purchasing lumber to build two more. I’ve now built four of these chairs altogether and one side table. I still need to fill in the holes with wood filler, sand them, paint them, and put them out by our fire pit.

I can’t wait to show you the finished product, and next week I will show you how I built the side table.

Creating a fire pit patio

As most of you have probably figured out, we are in the midst of a little backyard revamp. We have been working on revamping our flower beds, tilling our garden spot, and changing out banisters and rails on our porch.

Our garden is ready to go!!
Flower bed clean out

A few weeks ago, we got a very nice propane fire pit. We had this small, not very useful paver patio.

It was so narrow you could barely put a chair on it without tipping off the back. We didn’t really use the space well either. We decided a long time ago we wanted to expand the paver patio to the fence and extend it a little more in the front. Since our state has implemented stay home orders, we aren’t going anywhere on the weekends. This gives us plenty of time and opportunities to get our projects done. Plus, Lowe’s has been having some killer sales.

Did you know you can order and pay online and park in a pick-up only space and they’ll load it up for you? Just like Instacart. And no going inside the store and getting sick.

We measured and discovered we would need 2 more rows on the back and one row on the front. This came out to 24 pavers. We ordered and paid online and Lowe’s loaded them up for us. We got home, leveled off our patio area (it isn’t perfect but close) and installed the pavers.

Phase one complete

We are not yet finished. We are in the process of building some chairs for this space, which we will show you soon. We are also going to add some tables or garden stools and some colorful plants. I’d love to have a different sign and some string lights as well. I cannot wait to show you the finished product! Tune in often to check out our backyard progress.

Our patio “still to-do list:”

*build four wooden chairs

*add some cute tables or garden stools

*add some decorative elements, like string lights and cushions and a new sign

Check back soon!!!