DIY Housewarming Candle Holder

Nothing says housewarming like lighting things on fire… right? It is called houseWARMING after all.

No no, this post isn’t about burning your friends house down, but I will show you how to warm it with a small (controlled) flame.

Meet my adorable housewarming gift idea; the DIY Housewarming Candle Holder.

Continue reading “DIY Housewarming Candle Holder”

Acacia Wood Furniture Maintenance

Remember how I talked about maintaining our acacia outdoor chairs last year? Well guess who forgot to bring them in the garage over winter (hint it was us) and they were looking pretty shabby.

This year we decided to try out a different type of wood oil, in hopes that it would bring back some luster.

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Mixwax Teak Oil (or “Huile de teck” when you wanna be fancy and say it in French/forget to turn the bottle around when taking pictures for your blog)

We gave the chairs a wash, and placed them out in the yard to dry, and get oiled.

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Prepping the chairs for oiling

We used applied the Minwax Teak Oil with a foam brush, and after a few minutes work, our chairs were looking so much better! We plan on potentially giving them a little sand and a few more coats of oil because they guzzled it down. Poor thirsty chairs.

They look so much better!
They look so much better!

We’ve got a lot more to do in the backyard, but at least the chairs are looking a bit better!

What do you use for your wood furniture maintenance? Have you used Minwax Teak Oil before?

Wood Paneled Peninsula

My least favourite part of the kitchen used to be the peninsula. It was short and stubby, too small to use as a prep space and looked awkward.

I had originally hoped to build the peninsula deeper to house a beverage fridge and get full counter depth cupboards & drawers. However it became apparent that to do that we would loose valuable dining room space, and be unable to have a 6 person dining table.

We were not willing to compromise on the dining table (we love to entertain!) so the peninsula needed to stay skinny. If we couldnt make it wider we could at least make it longer. We added only one more cabinet, which not only made the kitchen symetrical, but made so much more work space. Its amazing what a foot can do. Now you can stand comfortably at the peninsula and chop veggies or converse with someone in the diningroom.

Such a small change, but a world of difference. Now the peninsula is my favourite part of the kitchen. The concrete waterfall is the icing on the cake, but you may have noticed we added a bit of a special touch on the back of the peninsula as well.

The peninsula used to be backed in an Ikea cover panel that matched the Ikea Adel kitchen cabinets. It worked just fine, but after we added the extra cabinet, the old cover panel wasn’t big enough.

Naked Peninsula Back
Naked Peninsula Back

We could have went out and bought a larger one, but thought it might be a fun area to add something special, and make our kitchen look a bit more custom. Enter a trip to the hardware store.

We picked up three 6 foot long pieces of tongue and groove 1×6 unfinished pine flooring from Home Depot along with a 1×4 piece of kiln dried pine. Back in the garage we cut down our lumber to three feet long on the miter saw, and headed into the house armed with some wood glue and a brad nailer.

We started at the top of the peninsula with a board facing groove up. We brad nailed it into the cabinets making sure we nailed through the sides of the cabinet frames, not just the backer. When attaching the second board we added a bit of glue to the groove, slid it tightly against the other board, and continued nailing. You will notice that we didn’t run the wood all the way to the wall. The stove is tucked into that corner, and to give the stove a bit more breathing room, we opted to only panel to just past the oven door. It saves on wood, and I will worry less that I will light my house on fire when I run the self cleaning oven.

Nailing up boards
Nailing up boards

Once we reached the bottom, we went to the garage and cut the groove off the past piece with the table saw so we would end with a nice smooth board.

Cutting off the last tongue with the table saw
Cutting off the last tongue with the table saw
Last board installed
Last board installed (note the absolute chaos of the kitchen in the background!)

After the boards were installed we got out the wood filler and filled in the brad nail holes.

Nail holes (and the stupid little divot my brad nailer leaves)
Wood Filler
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Nail holes (and the stupid little divot my brad nailer leaves)

After letting the filler dry, we took the sander to the boards and gave it a quick finish sand.

Now we were ready to finish it. We pushed back the countertop (we hadn’t yet adhered it to the cabinets at this point) taped off the area, and added a coat of wood conditioner then two coats of stain (same color as our dining table & coffee bar shelves).

Staining the paneling
Staining the paneling

After staining we finished it up with 5 coats of Satin Poly. Five coats may have been a bit of overkill, but its beside the stove and oven, and will get its fair share of abuse.

Poly & foam brush
Poly & foam brush

Next up we needed to address the toe kick. For the rest of the kitchen we have plain white toe kicks, but it just seemed weird to carry on the white for the back of the peninsula, so we opted to use a piece of 1×4 pine stained & polyed to match.

We then moved the countertop back in place, making sure the wood was flush with the countertop edge, attached the countertop to the cabinet, and slid the stove back in place.

Making sure the countertop was flush with the paneling
Making sure the countertop was flush with the paneling
Peninsula Back & Toe Kick
Peninsula Back & Toe Kick

Total Cost: About $15!

Chevron Cheese Board

As the Holidays are fast approaching, I am rapidly trying to knock a few items off the big old To-Do list, including making a few handmade gifts. This year has been a tough one to produce a lot of homemade gifts. Both El Granto and I have been working long hours at our day jobs, and by the time we get home we’d rather snuggle up on the sofa together than go back out to the garage and get to work.

This past weekend with nothing planned on the calendar, we decided to take a trip to the lumber yard, and start making some cutting boards for holiday host/hostess gifts.

After we had cut up all our wood, I noticed a few spare pieces too small to make into another cutting board, but rather than just toss them into the scrap bin pile, I opted to make a little side project.

Here’s what I did:

Set the miter saw to a 45. Took two scrap pieces of oak, stacked them on top of each other and cut a 45 through both of them at the same time. I then cut the same 45 at the other end of the pieces, again cutting through both boards at the same time.

Two pieces of wood cut into parallelograms
Two pieces of wood cut into parallelograms

This made two pieces of wood about 9″ long that were EXACTLY the same. (the exactly the same is important.)

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Two boards cut exactly the same, then one board flipped over

I then took those two boards, added glue, and clamped them together.

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Boards glued & clamped

Once they were dry, I sanded, got the wood wet, let it dry, then sanded again. Why get the wood wet? It raises the grain, so you can sand it down again. If you don’t do this, then the first time the board is washed, the grain will raise and the wood will become rough again. It still may raise in the future, but at least you’ve sanded off the worst of it.

After everything is nice and sanded, I gave it a few coats of mineral oil, then followed up with some cutting board oil/wax.

Ta da: Hipster Chevron Cheese Board

Chevron Cheese Board
Chevron Cheese Board

El Granto had the brilliant idea that we should make a few of these, then we can slide them together at parties to make larger boards. I see another trip to the lumber yard, and more parallelograms in my future.

Farmhouse Table Reveal + Plans

Aaaaand were done! Daniel and Adelle moved into their new place and took their newly finished modern farmhouse table and benches with them. Mind you as much as we will enjoy our garage space back, we will miss working with Daniel and Adelle on this project! It’s different working with friends than a spouse, it’s laid back and there (usually) isn’t any swearing involved. Throw in a piña colada or two, and it’s a party with work involved.

If you missed the beginning of the project, check out part one, two, three, and four.)

So without further adieu, here is the table!

Farmhouse Table

Farmhouse Table

Farmhouse Bench

It fits perfectly in their narrow condo, and the benches hide away completely when not in use, making this table able to function as stand in kitchen prep surface.

Farmhous Table

The deep stain color works great with their white walls and light floors.

The table also does a mean job of holding a glass of wine or two (we had to test the table out…come on!)


The table is loosely based on the Ana White farmhouse table plans. (We changed size, removed the breadboard ends, and used dowels instead of screws for the table legs. ) For in depth instructions on how to assemble the table check out her plans here.

Farmhouse Table



Lumber Buy List:

5 – 2×4 @ 8′
3 – 2×10 @ 8′ (we used kiln dried pine from Downtown Lumber for the table top, it was worth the extra expense! If you cant find kiln dried pine, purchase spruce 2×12’s from your local hardware store, and rip down to 9 1/2″ wide removing the beveled edges while you’re at it (they will be huge crumb catchers if you leave them)
1 – 4×4 @ 10′ (if you cant find 4×4’s in untreated spruce or pine, use cedar)

Cut list:

4 – 4×4 @ 29″ (legs)
2 – 2×4 @ 78″ (long aprons)
2 – 2×4 @ 17 1/4″ (short aprons)
1 – 2×4 @ 85″ (stretcher)
2 – 2×4 @ 24 1/4″ (stretcher supports)
3 – 2×10 @ 96″ (table top pieces)


Cut all lumber to length.

With Kreg Jig set to 1 1/2″ material, drill one pocket hole every 8″ or so on one side of two of the table top pieces (the outside tabletop boards). Then attach the outside table top pieces to the center table top board with wood glue and 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws. (see our post on building the table top here.)

Drill Kreg Pocket holes on top and sides of all apron pieces. Make 2 holes on the ends, and a hole about every 8″ on the tops.

Notch out legs for the stretcher supports. Make notches 3 1/2″ high by 1 1/2″ deep positioned 6″ up from the bottom of the leg, and 19 1/2″ down from the top of the leg.

Notch out stretcher supports. Make one notch in the center of each stretcher support. Make notch 3 1/2″ wide by 1 1/2″ deep.

Assemble legs by attaching short aprons to legs (inset by 3/4″) then set stretcher support into leg notches, and attach with screws or dowels (see how we did the dowels here).

Attach long aprons to legs, with pocket screws.

Flip tabletop upside down, center legs upside down on the table bottom, and attach legs to table top with pocket hole screws.

Attach stretcher to stretcher supports with screws or dowel.

Sand, stain & finish as desired.

Farmhouse Bench

(for TWO benches, halve the amounts if you’re only making one)



Lumber Buy List:

7 – 2×4 @ 8′
2 – 2×12 @ 8′ (7′ if possible)

Cut List:

8 – 2×4 @ 16 3/4″ (legs)
2 – 2×4* @ 61″ (aprons) *= we ripped a 2×4 down to 2″ wide. You can also buy 2×3’s instead of 2×4’s
2 – 2×4* @ 6″ (short aprons) **= we ripped a 2×4 down to 2″ wide. You can also buy 2×3’s instead of 2×4’s
2 – 2×4 @ 61″ (stretchers)
4 – 2×4 @ 6″ (stretcher supports)
2 – 2×12 @ 77″ (bench tops)


Cut all lumber to size.

Drill pocket holes on apron pieces (Kreg set for 1 1/2″ thick material). Two holes on each end, and about every 8″ on the top. Drill two pocket holes on top of small aprons. Drill two pocket holes on each end of stretcher supports. Drill two pocket holes on each end of stretchers.

Attach stretcher supports to legs 3 1/2″ up from the bottom with 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws. Attach long aprons to legs with pocket hole screws.

Flip bench top upside down, and attach legs (also upside down) to bench using the apron pocket holes and pocket screws. Attach side aprons to bench top. Attach stretcher to stretcher supports.

Repeat for second bench.

Sand, stain and finish as desired.


SOURCE LIST: (one table + two benches)


Lumber (see above)
Minwax oil based stain in Jacobean
Minwax wood conditioner
Polyurethane – Minwax Oil Modified in Satin
200 2 1/2″ Kreg pocket hole screws (Lee Valley)
Wood Glue
Foam brushes (Dollarama)
Sandpaper (150, 220 and 320)
Kreg Screws – Lee Valley & Home Depot

Tools Used:
Miter saw
Table saw *not necessary, you can get material ripped to size at the lumber yard
Circular saw
Kreg jig
Palm & orbital sanders
Measuring Tape

Difficulty Level (on a scale of 1-5):

three out of five

Total Cost: $400 (Lumber $320, Screws $20, Finishing materials $60)
Time frame: Two weekends (one to build, one to finish)

Burnin Down the House

In my quest for a stain for the media cabinet, I have about driven myself nuts with options. I have tried a stack of stain cans, jars full of “custom stain mixes” and even shoe polish. I am desperate, and indecisive. I don’t know why I am having such an issue with making my mind up, I guess we’ve just put a TON of work into the cabinet, and I don’t want to screw it up. I want it to be PERFECT. (Not that I am anal retentive or anything…) I think I have come up with a stain that I am happy with (more on that next week) but I wanted to show you one of the unorthodox options I was working with that turned out pretty cool.

Meet burnt wood


Yep, I torched that wood with a propane torch. Turned out kinda neat, right? Thats not stain at all, just raw pine that’s been torched. The theory on it is that you lightly flame the wood, and bring out the remaining sap. The sap, which is all sugary (maple syrup anyone?) burns when the flame hits it much like the top of a crème brûlée.  You have to be very gentle with it, or else you’ll be left with firewood. The trick is to use even strokes and to not stop and start on the wood. Pretty much exactly like spray painting.

Its a cool finish, and something we may use around the house, but I think its a bit too much for the whole media cabinet. I thought it might end up looking like a country & western bar up in here. As much as I like cowboys, it was a bit much for our living room.

Ever used any nontraditional wood finishing methods? Ever torched any wood?

DIY Pipe & Wood Table Pt 1

****UPDATE**** Check out our revised version of the Pipe & Wood Table

We are hosting my family’s Christmas at our house this year. We currently have a 4 person dining table. No way could we all perch around that table no matter how many chairs we pushed against it. We needed to scrap the kids table, and nut up and get a grown up table.


Restoration Hardware’s Flatiron Dining Table

We put pen to paper and designed a simple tabletop with industrial black pipe legs. I had taken inspiration from this Restoration Hardware Flatiron table. Except we went with a basic “H” leg construction with a cross beam near the bottom of the legs.

We had originally wanted a nice thick reclaimed wood top, and had sourced a supplier, however that fell through and everything else we could lay our hands on was “city priced”  (you know when you go to an antique store in the city and a simple item is priced 10 times higher that you ‘d find it at a flea market in the country? That’s “City Priced”.) So the cheap ass me wasn’t gonna pay city price for wood, so I nixed that idea and instead we decided to use 2×12″ construction lumber. We don’t have much invested in the tabletop, so if we get our hands on some nice reclaimed wood in the future, it won’t hurt our pocketbooks to swap it out. The legs are hardware store “black pipe” gas line pipe and fittings. These can be sourced at any large hardware store (orange & blue) and as they can cut and thread the pipe for you at the store, its super easy to work with.

We made a 72″ x 34.5″ table that is 30″ high. This is a standard 6 person table, but 8 can easily be squeezed around it.

Shopping List
1 – 3/4″x10′ black pipe $18.99
1 – 3/4″x6′ black pipe $13.80
4 – 3/4″x6″ nipple (heehee) $1.64/each
8 – 3/4″ Floor Flange $3.99/each
6 – 3/4″ Tee $1.64/each
1pkg 3″ felt furniture pads $4
2 – 2x12x12 spruce $17.50/each
Wood finishing materials (to be discussed in pt. 2)

Wood Cut list
3 – 2x12x6′
(Cut 2x12x12’s in half to make 4 – 6′ long pieces, and you can use the left over piece to make a bench.)

Pipe Cut list
The hardware store will cut and thread your pipe for you. There is a (substantial) fee for this. At our home depot it was $1 per cut and $2 per thread. We ended up having about $40 in cutting fees, which was actually more expensive that the pipe itself, but a necessary evil.)
1 – 3/4″ pipe 51″ long
4 – 3/4″ pipe 20″ long
4 – 3/4″ pipe 10″ long

The crazy machine that cuts and threads your pipe!

We got our pipe and wood cut, gathered all the rest of our supplies and like a strange hardware store parade, headed to the checkout. A word to the wise, the pipe is greasy and dirty and yucky. Make sure you put your nice wood on a separate cart, and bring a tarp to protect your car. Also have some dish soap and goo gone ready at home to thoroughly clean and de-sticker your pipe when you get it back. Be prepared to get little metal splinters that will hurt. A lot.

Pipe, and flanges, and wood stain oh my!

We decided to use the Kreg Jig for attaching our boards together to make the tabletop. This is quick and oh so very easy, and all the screws are under the table where no one other than the dog or a crawling child will ever see them. We laid out our three best boards on saw horses in the garage.

best three boards laid upside down ready to be Kreg jigged together

We decided on placement making sure to alternate the crown of the wood (the crown is the way the grain curves, look at the end of a piece of lumber and you’ll see the grain pattern). Once we were happy with how our board would be arranged, we flipped them over and aligned them, making sure they were square. Our saw guy at the local hardware store didn’t fare so well with making all the boards the same length, so we lined up one end, and let the other end overhang knowing we’d trim it down later. Then we marked our kreg jig screw placements.

We put two screws in 8″ from the edge of the boards, and about every foot for the rest of the table. We alternated which side the screws came from so that we would get a more stable and solid tabletop.

The Kreg Jig is super easy to use. We set the jig and drill bit to 1.5″ thick wood, clamped out the jig (with protection on the “good side” so the clamp wouldn’t mar the table top) and drilled. Easy-peasy lemon-squeezey.

Kreg Jig Clamped

After all the holes were drilled, we re-aligned everything, and got to screwin!

Screwing together boards using Kreg pocket hole system

After the tabletop was screwed together we trimmed off the scraggily cut edges using a circular saw. Then we gave the table a good sand with the palm sander. We wanted to leave a few of the rough wood’s imperfections, but ensure everything was nice and smooth.

After it had been sanded, we took it inside and got working on the legs.  We thoroughly cleaned the pipes using a combination of citrus grease cutting cleaner, dish soap and goo gone. There was a lot of errant stickers and tape on the pipes along with the grease, so all these tools were needed. Be careful for any sharp metal or burrs, definitely wear protective gloves and eye protection.

To start out, attach each the 6″ pieces of pipe to flange. Next up attach a T to each of the 6″ pipes.

Flange + 6″ Nipple + T

Screw a 10″ pipe into the side of each T. Attach another T to 2 of the 10″ pipes. Attach two legs together by the middle T, then do the same to the other set.

Attach two feet together by 10″ pipes and a T

Now attach the 20″ pipe to the top of the T’s and another flange while the dog enjoys a peanut butter filled bone.

Forgot to take a good pic of this step! Oops, but you get the point.

Make sure all your legs are exactly the same height. You may need to tighten or loosen a few joints to get everything equal.

Here’s the tricky part. Grab a friend and attach the long 51″ piece to the two open T’s. One of you will have to spin a set of legs around to get this done. You will look like an absolute fool doing this, but its the only way to get it done. Once everything is screwed together, you’re ready to attach your legs to the table.

Legs Assembled
Legs + Tabletop

Flip your tabletop over, and set the legs on top. Make sure everything is square, straight and level, and screw in your flanges using 1″ screws.

Apply your felt furniture pads to the bottom of the feet flanges, and flip your table back over. Now you’re ready for finishing! (we will be finishing the table inside due to the cold cold cold temperatures of our unheated garage.)

So here it with its legs attached and waiting for its finish work. Whatcha think?

Ta Da! Table
table table table

One great thing we quickly found about this table is that if you have an uneven floor like we do you can unscrew certain parts to even the table out so it won’t wobble!

Promise, we’ll be back soon with how we finished the table, and a cost breakdown.

**UPDATE** Check out how we finished the table.

****SUPER UPDATE**** Check out our revised version of the Pipe & Wood Table