I was recently invited by a friend to visit her new home and was thinking about something for a gift to take. Not because I needed to, but she has, on different occasions, surprised me with some of the most used things in my house. I’m not one to be known for giving gifts(well, unless my gardens on then it’s a case of begging people to take it so I don’t have any more to can), so it’s the perfect opportunity for me to take the time.
I am flat addicted to Pinterest, so naturally while getting my daily dose I thought of her. There was an awesome centerpiece via lovegrowswild.com that I just knew I could make (’cause the necessary tools included a miter saw and Kraig jig) so I went to scrounging.
First was a visit to my pallets. I flip through mine like a card catalog until I find the perfect piece of wood. I couldn’t resist these when they were offered, and I’ve used quite a bit of wood from them, like for my strawberry planter, but I think I’m getting down to the boards that won’t come off without breaking.
So after I split choices one and two while trying to remove them, I gave up. On to the barn. We have a friend that does a lot of odd jobs, and he had built a new deck for a guy (and removed his old one) so we inherited the by-products of the endeavor. I have used this wood for everything!! It hangs on the eves of my house, is the sides for my favorite shelving I have built, and a million other this and that’s.
So step one for me was cleaning up the wood. I removed the nails and took a putty knife across the board to knock off loose paint. With that done, I started looking for all my needed supplies (I know…should’ve been step one). So after about twenty minutes I gave up ever finding a black marker or measuring tape and went to winging it…which just so happens to be how I’ve accomplished everything good in my life.
I thought the inspiration piece looked a bit long (especially for a gift…How much space in her new home is she going to want to donate to this?) so I took liberties.
Cut 2 end pieces:
I could not find a measuring tape, so I used the piece I cut off to square my board to account for the width of the bottom piece and two other little pieces laid up sideways to account for the sides. Cut one and use as a template for the second.
Cut 3 pieces as long as your box:
Next I had to figure the length of my box. I wanted it to be three masons jars long, plus just a little in case I found some cool old jars in my stash instead… I have, um, a couple more than I need. I sort of fussy cut the side pieces. It was a bit wasteful of wood, but I wanted those old nail holes and a knot on the edge. So I put my jars on the board and marked on both sides of them, then I just cut both ends. I didn’t measure at all. I used the first piece as a template for the other two. It wasn’t until the third piece that I realized I was lucky to have enough, considering the last of my board was bad.
If you use a Kraig Jig, set your screw holes:
This is where I really should have read her tutorial instead of looking at the picture and only getting as far as required tools. I knew my ends included the thickness of the sides, but I wasn’t thinking. I sank Kraig holes in my ends, which was wrong. Remember my “fussing cutting”? I only had enough wood left to replace one of the ends. So there are some unused holes in my box.
Drill all your holes in the long pieces!! Two of the pieces will need a hole at each end. One will need a hole on four sides(that’s your bottom piece).
Next is the fun part, screw it all together. Super simple. All except for my screws getting dumped under the deck, and fishing them out to realize why the inspiration box was so long. I screwed both side pieces to one end then I tried to screw on the other end. I mentioned before that the Kraig bit is incredibly long…I could not find a good angle to get to the screws as my drill with the bit did not fit down in there. I know you can use a short square bit…but where was I going to find that in the dark? I just got it where it was touching the screw and sort of hit and miss drilled it in, but my bit is way worse for wear! Also, put your holes for the bottom piece on the outside, because there will never be a world that you’ll be able to screw in the side screws from the inside. If your wood already has paint on one side like mine, the inside of your box will look better if it’s all unpainted like the rest of the inside. So, the holes go on the “raw” side for the two long sides, on the painted outside for the bottom. That appears to be the drawback of the Kraig Jig. Your drill and bit lay at about a 30 degree angle to the wood, which doesn’t work for tight spots. This box, along with the desk I made and other projects I’ve done are incredible stable, though. You won’t believe how tight they hold, so just make a longer box or find a short bit (that doesn’t come with it)! If you’re not using a measuring tape just lay your drill with the Kraig bit in it and mark your wood just a touch longer than that. It’s still worth using!
So with the box together, and the next day with it raining, I stained all the wood so that the ends didn’t look so fresh. I put a thick layer of stain on one side at a time, using a second rag to wipe it well as soon as the side was covered. (Put your used rags in a small container of water until trash day…you don’t won’t them combusting) I originally planned on faux painting the entire box, but I like the old paint. I’m going to make another for myself, cause I had a hard time letting go of this one (the fact that I gave it to her loving it so much myself must mean something of our friendship).
Then I went in an dug through my reclaimed furniture pieces and found two handles that were actually Lowe’s clearance at 30 cents each. They were way too shiny, though, so I went out on the covered porch and was going to paint them black. When I barely had spayed yet I was actually happy with that, so I stopped. There was rain blowing in a bit and I actually got these cool little water spots that I love (I know you can’t see them but I know they’re there.)
I didn’t want to paint or even use the shiny screws that came with them so I dug around the back corner of my laundry room/indoor shed to find some black ones and knocked down a basket which held part of last years herbs that I never needed. So, even though I had planned to just go out the morning of and pick wild flowers to fill the jars, I already had some dried (and due to be replaced). I just used them instead and didn’t have to face the heartache of wasting them. (It’s odd, you pick it hoping to never need it.)
What was mainly there was yarrow and self-heal, which was quite fitting and two of my favorites. To me self-heal epitomizes using your inner strength, as medicinally it doesn’t really do anything specific. But it, as its name suggests, helps every organ of your body function with strength, even when it’s weak. I certainly would give my friend strength to always succeed strength when she doesn’t think she has it. And yarrow is also near and dear to me. I ordered it out of a seed catalog when I first started studying plants and medicine. I sent off for it, planted it, watered it, weeded it, waited for it to grow and bloom. Then one day it did, and turns out I have the stuff growing everywhere around here. Always did. I liken it to my spiritual quest. I searched, dug, prodded, poked, and was figuring my Faith would never bloom, and then one day finally recognized that Christ was always there. I didn’t need to do anything to “get Him.” I just hadn’t recognized Him. So here’s to her recognizing the things in front of her, and not looking for things she already has. There were other things in the jars, elder, red clover, and mullein flowers, but you can’t see them unless you look down into the jars. Those, to me, would symbolize my hope for her and her family’s comfort (mullein flowers), beauty (elder flowers), and health (clover). Health, Comfort, and Love. Only a symbol for there’s only One Source (the Eternal Father through Christ), but certainly what I would give her if I were able. Oh yeah, and also one awesome old-looking box.