Dans le Lakehouse

Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

November 17, 2017

My Plans for an EPIC Driftwood Sculpture + Other Creative Driftwood Decor Ideas

One of my goals in life is to make a massive driftwood sculpture, inspired by the talented Heather Jansch.  Her driftwood sculptures are so captivating, I can't stop thinking about them: 

Photo Via

Instead of a horse though, I'd like to erect a massive Komondor sculpture in my backyard, inspired by this sculpture of a Puli in Hungary:

(As an aside, how amazing is it that there is a sculpture park in Budapest celebrating the nation's dog breeds?  I've never been more proud to be Hungarian!) 

Instead of lumber painted black, I plan on using driftwood, which I think mimics the cords of the typical Komondor so perfectly.  So my newest hobby is collecting driftwood.  A LOT of it...

Earlier this year I refrained from collecting driftwood because, for awhile anyway, it was protecting our eroding shoreline, but then one day it disappeared.  That's the nature of driftwood I guess, it drifted away...right toward our neighbor, who burned it all in a massive bonfire.  Dude, you had enough for two horses, where are your priorities?  I started collecting it late in the season and soon the lake will freeze, so this is definitely long term project.  But I have still been dipping my hands into icy water to add to my growing pile.

Meanwhile, I've been collecting beachy ideas for driftwood decor that don't require quite the epic haul - plus some pretty pieces to just buy (because sometimes that's just more fun).  ALL of these ideas and DIY tutorials are much easier than my DIY idea (I honestly have no idea how the heck to make a massive Komondor sculpture, but that's a problem for Future-Me to sort out).

Here Are My Favorite Driftwood Decor Pieces:  

This dreamy driftwood and clay spoon is handmade by Fall for DIY and I'm obsessed with it's earthy, natural look.  Plus it looks so easy to make!

This Etsy shop makes the most gorgeous driftwood pieces, like this mirror and coffee table (which is seriously inspiring some ideas of my own):

I actually spotted a driftwood mirror at the IDS back in 2012, not realizing that I would ever find my dream home on Lake Superior and develop a craving for all things beachy.  Tutorials abound on how to make these but I don't think it's too complicated (famous last words). 

A little chalk paint in some watery hues really complements this easy peasy driftwood art so beautifully.  I love the scale of this piece (from Sustain my Craft Habit). 

This driftwood wreath is another cool take on beachy, driftwood art.

I love this driftwood table lamp because it has such graceful lines.  A knock off could easily be made by hacking a really simple, inexpensive lamp by affixing some driftwood pieces...

A few years ago, Sarah M. Dorsey knocked out two AMAZING DIY driftwood tables: this Target hack and also this herringbone coffee table.  It is absolutely dizzying how much work went into making these two table - you have to click over and take a peek!

If DIY isn't your jam - or you just don't have access to driftwood - this driftwood and brass jewelry stand (available through Etsy) is a great way to bring that beachy feel inside.

If my sculpture doesn't pan out, maybe furniture would be fun!  I am so inspired by these massive, organic hunks of driftwood turned into furniture - like this glass topped coffee table or this glass topped driftwood table:

Because I first planned a horse, I hauled out a few large, curved root pieces but with my sculpture plans changed, I love the idea of making a driftwood table with glass top with those random pieces.  If I changed the top to something less breakable, it could be an outdoor table instead.

Big Fab Designs, an Etsy shop, makes such stunning wall art made from wood, including beautiful driftwood.  The weathered wood with the vibrant hues is such a striking contrast!

These DIY driftwood boats from Alisa Burke are so pretty - I love the swirly blue sails and it looks like such a fun and easy craft project, I think kids would love making these.

There are so many beautiful ideas for using driftwood, but these are my favorites right now!

I've never really gone too "coastal" with my decor, staying away from anchors and seahorses and opting for a watery color palette, a mix of wood tones with some driftwood greys and creamy whites, and beach glass inspired finishes here and there, but I do find myself pinning more and more modern coastal spaces these days.  If I have any driftwood left from my sculpture, I might just make a pretty mirror or wall hanging - it would look really perfect in the fish room.

P.S. If you're planning on making a little driftwood craft - or tackling a massive project - check out this post on how to clean and sanitize driftwood

November 15, 2017

Unique Gift Ideas with UncommonGoods

I am so excited to be working with UncommonGoods, sharing some picks from their amazing gift guides (like the Bedside Smartphone Vase, above).  You might remember I collaborated with them a couple of years ago.  I still love and use both of my UncommonGoods finds, especially that turquoise woven basket with a handy lid!  You might have spotted it in my office makeover; it's where I stash paperwork with incriminating details that needs to be destroyed.  I love it so much that I even purchased the same style of basket without a lid for pet toys (you can spot it in this post about how I keep my house clean with two pups).  I feel good about supporting UncommonGoods because of their commitment to sustainability and craftsmanship.  As a company, they support a community of artisans, designers, and creative thinkers.  They share stories behind the products and makers.  Plus they carefully curate a beautiful selection of home accessories, jewelry, and just plain fun pieces - no need to wade through a million listings to find that one piece.  EVERYTHING carried by UncommonGoods will have you clicking "add to cart".  And for my Canadian friends - they ship to Canada with prices in CAD and duties/taxes calculated at checkout, which means no hidden costs.     

Online shopping can be overwhelming, so I appreciate the carefully chosen selection of beautiful, practical, and unique items that UncommonGoods offers.  From casual work buddies to BFFs, from gardening enthusiasts to style mavens, you'll literally find something for everyone - even those impossible to buy for loved ones!  You can even find a personalized or customized gift idea or shop by interest to really find that special gift.   

Here is a sampling of my favorite finds:

This Molten Sculptural Bowl tops my shortlist because of the modern, coastal vibe.

Speaking of beachy, I love the coastal vibe of this Beach Glass Marble Pendant. I love jewelry as a gift because you don't need to worry about sizes, it can easily be mailed - or tucked nicely into a stocking - and, if worse comes to worse, it's easily re-gifted (guilty).

For the reasons above, this Waterfall Stairway Pendant also caught my eye - look at that enticing rough cut of the stones.

If anyone has, ahem, me on their list this year, I'd love this Aquamarine Pendant!  So, so pretty and my favorite color.  I promise I wouldn't re-gift...

You're going to think UncommonGoods only carries jewelry with the way I'm drooling over their necklaces.  That is just the tip of the iceberg for small gifts you can tuck into a stocking.

For the knitter in your life, this Create Yarn Bowl is such a thoughtful gift that shows you care about their favorite hobby.

Whenever I am stuck on a gift idea for someone, I give tea!  I used to work in a local tea shop and now I'm a tea snob, so I like to treat anyone I can to some fancy loose leaf teas.  This Green Herbal Tea Kit is so perfect and has such a nice presentation.

Another gift idea that is beautiful without having to worry about sizes or fit: a dreamy Hand Dyed Scarf!  It has such soft, pretty colors.

This Stoneware Match Striker is so versatile because everyone keeps matches in their homes, whether they're lighting a fire at night or just a few candles, and I'm sure everyone on your list would like to upgrade from the grubby box in which their matches currently reside.

A BRASS Plant Mister for your friend with the greenest thumb on your list - so practical but pretty enough to leave out, it sure beats the $1 plastic water can so many of us hide under the sink... If your friends are plant killers like me, don't worry, there are so many unique ideas for gifts you can give your friends to show how much they mean to you all year long.

I need this waterproof Drifter Action Speaker in my life!  This is perfect for anyone who has a cottage or loves to spend time on the beach.

This White Sailing Ship Kite is so cute, you'll be tempted to keep it and hang it as a mobile in your home.

So clearly I just created a list of things I want, with my not-so-subtle beachy/modern/turquoise theme here...  If you're trying to track down that perfect, unique, meaningful, practical yet beautiful, can't-find-it-in-stores gift, take a peek at UncommonGoods.  Happy shopping!
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November 10, 2017

DIY Wood 2x4 Step with Welded Base

DIY Wood Step with Welded Base

I have a super embarrassing story for you.  As a DIY blogger, I should be ashamed!

When we bought this lakehouse, we drove a small black hatchback.  We eyed up the house's carport and four car garage (it looks like a two car in photos, but it's two car lengths deep) and, although we agreed we'd miss the attached garage we had in the townhouse, we were happy there was a garage at all - and the carport was a nice bonus.

Fast forward a few months and we bought our Ram 2500 truck and plunked on some roof lights and... it wouldn't fit in the garage!  Oops. Well, we figured the garage was pretty far from the house anyway so we'd park in the carport.  Ha! Too wide for the carport!

We parked outside for a winter, maybe two?  It was terribly inconvenient and now my winters are blurring together.

Eventually we realized that the truck would fit in the carport if the concrete step wasn't in the way, so we decided to remove it and build a narrower step which would afford us the extra space to fit the truck in (although we could still only open the doors on the one side, lol).

You know I hate decor/renovating waste, so I was thrilled that my father-in-law had a use for the concrete step.  He happily took it, and gave us his old step until we made our new one.

One Step Forward (haha), Two Steps Back
Well, we got so bogged down in planning super complicated designs (poured concrete with our own form and fancy details and tile and blah blah blah), that winter snuck up on us and we didn't make our new step at all!  Hubby's Dad laughed at us every time he saw that his old step was still in place.

See?  Pretty embarrassing!  

Especially because this year's warmer months almost slipped by again, but we vowed to FINALLY finish that damn step!  On the bright side, the extra year helped us decided we weren't really that smitten with concrete.  I had actually grown to love the weathered wood step Hubby's Dad lent us so we created a bright, shiny new wood step with a welded base, which we hope will weather to a lovely grey.

DIY Wood Step with Welded Base

This is Project #2 in my grand scheme to test out untreated cedar and copper, inspired by my roof/siding combo (Project #1 was our cedar bench with welded base, if you missed it).

For this project, we opted for a simple cubed design and our metal of choice: square metal tubing.

DIY Wood 2x4 Step with Welded Base

(Don't mind the horrific spider).



How to Weld the Step:

The basic process is the same as our other welded projects (like the welded bed frame and welded desk we've made).  We sketched out our design and took some measurements before creating a cut list.  It just makes shopping for supplies so much easier!  With everything purchased, we started by cutting out the pieces.

We laid out the framework - measuring it to make sure it's square! - before tack welding it together.  Hubby opted to weld the bottom frames first and then attach them together with the upright legs.  The welding magnets help immensely here - they were such a great purchase!

Once everything was tacked in place and squareness was verified, Hubby went ahead and completed all the welds. 

Here's the step base, before grinding:

Using the angle grinder, he removed any weld spatter and smoothed out the welds.

And, voila!  Such smooth corners:

With the welding and grinding done, I painted the metal the same copper as our DIY bench and DIY firepitThis is quickly becoming my favorite paint, not just because I love the color, but because it's also so much more forgiving than other spray paint - even other Rust-Oleum products!  I've watched sags and drips magically level out with this paint and the dry time is so much less fussy.  I have been using this high heat enamel for so many different projects, I just love it.

Copper Spray Paint

Can you see the tabs Hubby added?  Technically, you could drill through the square metal tubing, but these made it so easy to affix the wood step, which is just 2x4s glued together with waterproof wood glue.

DIY Wood 2x4 Step with Welded Base

All we did to prep them was to give them a light sand because we're going to let nature take its course and give them a nice grey, weathered finish - I hope.

You can see we upgraded the storm door too, to help showcase the new front door better.  But, if I'm being honest, the wind off Lake Superior grabbed the old one and whipped it against the house, beating it mercilessly, so we were kind of forced to make this update - and we chose one with a better latch!

DIY Wood 2x4 Step with Welded Base

A certain someone loves the new view for guarding the house, too:

Go Away Mat

The best part of finally finishing our front step is that I can use the "Go Away" door mat I bought at HomeSense years ago - I had been saving it for the new step!  It works too, because a package that required a signature was just left quietly beside the step, even though I was home to sign for it...

DIY Wood 2x4 Step with Welded Base
DIY Wood 2x4 Step with Welded Base

Excellent.... I might have to stock up!  This one is even more direct.

I know my front door is devoid of planters and embellishment and other blogger necessities, but honestly there's no room!  With our massive truck parked in here and the dogs bursting our the door, any kind of decor would just slow us down (and get knocked over, for sure).

But check out that "Before" and "After" - even without tchotchkes, it's such an improvement. While you're at it, picture it with new wood siding too...

DIY Wood 2x4 Step with Welded Base

Did you notice how sparkling clean the concrete is?  I found a pressure washer in our garage and spent three days CLEANING ALL THE THINGS.

P.S. Check out our other welded projects by clicking here.
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