DIY Bedside Table

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I love this bedside table.  I want it to be my bedside table but it’s not the right height.  So how is this DIY free?

I am a craigslist free section addict, with some good timing and some well worded email, you can scoop all sorts of stuff for free.  Usually the stuff is being given away due to a move, renovation or simply no longer wanted.  A word of caution here, there is all sorts of dodgy stuff, use your best judgement.  A couple of times I have changed my mind about the item once they told me the pick-up address.

I nabbed this bedside table and one other table via craigslist.  We made arrangements for me to pick-up both tables one afternoon from a nice townhouse complex.  It’s vintage, solid wood, no cheap particle board here.  When I got it, it was painted cream and bubble-gum pink, and came with a few stickers.  Perfect for a 6 year olds bedroom, but not very nice looking.  I apologise for not having a before picture, I had one but poof! it’s gone.

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So the bedside table itself was free, and the paint was paint I had leftover from another project.

Step 1- Clean the table- nothing fancy, just soap and water

Step 2- Deal with any chips, or other lumps and bumps.  For big problems I use a tiny bit of mud – the same mud that is used to fill holes in walls.  Smooth it down, once dry, sand the excess mud off.  For little blemishes, a little sanding is all that’s needed.

Step 3: Prime time! I will admit that up until recently I never used a primer.  But after a long chat with a nice old man at Home Depot he convinced me.  He told me that I could avoid having to strip the old paint off and do a ton of sanding if I just used a primer in-between the old paint and the new paint.  I am fairly lazy, so I was all for less work.  So slap on a bit of primer.

Step 4: Paint the new colours!  This is where is all comes together.  I pop on the Netflix and start painting, usually 2 coats.  I love this step, I hate having to wait for the paint to dry, I want to be able to see the finished products immediately.

Step 5: Go in for the detail work.  I used some fine tip small paint brushes that I bought from a dollar store.  Or you could use painters tape to make sure that you get crisp lines where the two paint colours meet.  I hate painters tape, it makes my lines worse, but that’s probably because I rush putting it on.

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The finished product is up for sale on the internet.  It’s true, I don’t really want it to sell, so I have it listed for way too much.

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Cheap and Green

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I often read blogs reviewing and recommending eco-products.  I usually find that the product either is only eco-branded; meaning that it looks like a green product, but dig a little deeper and it’s just a standard product with some great packaging.  Or maybe it really is a great product, but it’s so expensive I just wouldn’t buy it for myself.  Why is it that eco-products tends to have fewer ingredients, but will also tend to be more expensive?  I guess better quality ingredients cost more, but that isn’t always true.  My friend has a theory that the more expensive the product the more we are likely to think the product should be amazing.  If it were to be inexpensive, the product would appear to be junk.  Maybe that’s true, but it’s annoying for this eco-girl on a budget.

 

I’m picking a random example- http://www.ecocandleco.com/index.html

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Priced at $21-$31 per candle, they are pretty pricey.  These candles are made of soybeans grown in the USA.  American grown soybeans are probably better than other countries where soybean agriculture is blamed for de-forestation and endangered animal habitat loss.  However, most of the soy grown is genetically modified and 80% of it is destined to be used as cheap food for livestock.  Soy is cheap, and so is soy wax.  It’s one of the cheapest options out there, so why is the candle so pricey?

Inevitably I start thinking that I can just make candles myself in a much more eco-friendly economical way.  In the past I went to the local candle making store and bought all the supplies I needed.  This time I decided I could be even more eco-thrifty minded.  I asked friends and family to save me the wax from candles that they had burned.  I also posted on craigslist that I wanted to start a small wax recycling program.  Within a few months I had a large box full of wax and jars.

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I jimmied up a double boiler with a pot and a frying pan and started melting waxes to make the colours I wanted.  When the wax was between 180-200 degrees, I’d add the scent oil and pour the wax into jars.  Pop in the wick and the candle is pretty much done.  I decided against buying jars and cleaned out old candle containers and mason jars.

So far I have made about 10 candles, and have used about half of the wax.  The wax and jars were free, the wicks were $2 for 25, the fragrances were about $20 for about 15 half used bottles purchased off craigslist.  For the cost of one eco-candle, I can make 20 candles, and I have stopped a heap of stuff from going into a landfill.  I also have a fully stocked candle cupboard, and I have a stockpile of emergency Christmas gifts!  I think in comparison to my candles, eco-candles aren’t very eco at all.

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If you have eco-thrifty projects on the go I’d love to hear about them!

 

 

One person’s trash is another person’s Visa payment

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A few months ago I posted about the “throw it out culture” that has developed.  (https://alittlebitmoregreen.wordpress.com/2014/08/20/throw-it-out-culture) Everyone wants the coolest, newest and best thing, but what happens to the old stuff? My dad is moving and trying to downsize some of their bigger pieces of furniture, but it’s been impossible to find anyone that wants the stuff.  Aren’t there people in need?

I’ve been working on a new project for the last few months.  I’ve been collecting free furniture and refinishing the pieces to re-sell.  I like searching for something worth refinishing and I like transforming something that was unwanted into something that is amazing.  (Okay maybe not amazing, but nice).

IMG_0531This bedside table is far from amazing, but I saw the potential it had.  Since bed bugs are such a problem, I am careful about what I pick-up and from which neighbourhood.  But with a bit of effort, and a friendly email I’ve been quiet lucky to get about 5 pieces which will keep me busy for awhile.  I put on Netflix and spend an hour or so a week sanding and painting.  The end result…

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A bit of sanding, paint, drawer liner and new knobs and it’s way nicer! Total cost: 33 cents.  The paint I had left over from another project, and the knobs were six for $1.

Earlier this week I posted the finished item on a Facebook auction site and the final bid was $26.  Now I’m not going to get rich off this, but I am $25 closer to paying off my Visa card.  I also get a little satisfaction from knowing that it’s not going into the garbage heap.  I have two more items that will be finished in the next week or so.  Do you want to see them?

Eco-Friendly Renovation on a Budget?

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I bought a 20 year old condo about a year ago.  It hasn’t really been updated since, I have light pink counter tops and white/pink floor tiles.  Actually there are 5 different floor types (tile, hardwood, carpet and 2 different styles of linoleum).  Considering it’s a one bedroom apartment, it really a lot of different floors!  Clearly the condo needs a lot of work to make it more my style.  I need to do it on a shoestring budget and I want to do it in the most eco-friendly way that I can afford.  Of course if money wasn’t an issue this would be so much easier.

My first project is going to be my kitchen.  I have a plan, check back to see how it goes!