DIY Rustic Star Decoration from Reclaimed Pallet Wood

Today it’s rainy and gross outside.  Storms are brewing, we’re under tornado watch – in short, it’s wet and windy.  In my opinion, the only things these kinds of days are good for (besides nourishing Mother Earth) are fun projects, deep cleaning, and organizing.  It’s been awhile since I did any of the latter, and I thought I’d start with my blog.  I’ve chosen a new layout, which I am MUCH happier with, and while looking through some of my old posts, I realized that I had never posted this project that I did last fall.  It was so much fun, and it’s so cute, I can’t believe I never shared it with you all.

The store where I worked at the time had a bunch of pallets they were ready to throw out, so I brought a couple home.  One is in pieces; the other is still taking up space in our garage.   Nonetheless, I did get this project done pretty much right off the bat, but I haven’t had the opportunity to find somewhere to display it yet – that’s a plan for this weekend.

What I made was a rustic star out of bits and pieces of the pallet, some wood glue, and some nuts and bolts.  Very simple, very easy – once you’ve gotten the pallet apart.  If you’re looking for new ways to add to your outdoor decor this spring and summer, this is the perfect project.  It’s quick and easy, and you can have it out before the daffodils are blooming!

Materials

  • 5 pieces pallet wood, or any reclaimed wood, all about the same length and width.  Mine measure approximately 30″ x 3-1/2″ x 1/2″.  You could also use new boards for this and paint them.
  • 10 coordinating nuts and bolts.  I used 1-1/2″ bolts that are treated so they won’t rust outside.  You can find these in the bins at your local hardware store.  Ask an associate if you’re not sure – the one at my store was very helpful.  Note that if you’re using thicker boards, you’re going to need longer screws.  Mine stick out about a half-inch from the back of the boards, and I’m fine with that.  However, if you’re worried about it scratching something, you need to either use shorter bolts or remove the ends after you’ve put it together (my husband’s suggestion).
  • Drill and bit, coordinating with the size of your bolts
  • Wood glue – optional
  • Clamps
  • Permanent marker
  • Gloves and eye protection  – please, please, please make sure you wear these – very important!

1.  Let’s get started!  Put on your gloves and eye protection – I am a stickler for this!  Pallets can carry harmful bacteria, and we don’t want any splinters turning into something nasty, or any bits of sawdust flying into your eyes.  I prefer to douse my pallets with a potent mix of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water and leave them to set in the sun until dry.  This will help to remove any odors as well as kill bacteria.  I know there are mixed opinions about the use of pallets for decorating.  I am very picky when choosing my pallets, and I advise you to be too.  I would never put pallet wood inside my home because of the potential hazards –  I prefer to use them to cheer things up in the garden.

2.  Once you’ve prepped, you’ll need to take your pallet apart.  This is time-consuming, but it will be worth it, I promise!  A hammer and crowbar are your best friends for this job.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Make sure to remove all nails from the wood – if any are stubborn and won’t come out, make sure to either saw off the back of the nail or bend it with a hammer so that it lies flush with the board.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

3.  Once you’ve gotten the five pieces that you need, you’re ready to begin.  It’s really quite simple.  Remember how you drew stars without lifting your pencil when you were a kid (or, if you’re like me, still do)?  You’re simply going to do the same thing to lay out your boards, arranging and rearranging them until you’ve got them laying well.  The most important part here is to make sure that the top board at each point of the star lays pretty flush with the bottom board at each point.  You don’t want any big gaps.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

4.  Now you’re ready to clamp.  Place clamps at strategic points on the star so as to keep everything from moving.  It needs to be held together very well so that when you drill, nothing moves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Take a permanent marker and mark two spots on the top board of each point of the star – these are the spots where you will drill.  Make sure they are in far enough from the edge.  Just wing it.   It’s rustic – if all the bolts aren’t positioned exactly the same, it just adds charm.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Now get your drill and drill a hole at each of the spots you marked – there should be 10 total.  Drill all the way through both boards.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

5.  Thread a bolt through each of the 10 drilled holes and secure with a nut on the back of each.  If you’d like, you can loosen the clamps in small areas at a time to squeeze some wood glue between the boards before you secure them with the nuts and bolts.  This is not necessary but may make the end result hold up better, should the wood begin to rot, or the bolt strip through at some point.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

6.  If you used glue, leave the clamps on overnight to allow the glue to dry.  If not, remove the clamps – you’re done!

DPP_0003

Where will you hang yours?

Pinecones and the park

Hubby and I spent a leisurely morning at a park in our area recently.  It’s a great little place – never too crowded, except on those too-gorgeous-to-resist days, when the park is crawling with photographers trying to get that perfect family portrait.  You park, you walk past the playground areas, and suddenly, you come upon a covered bridge, which we don’t have many of around here.

There are picnic areas, and once you’ve crossed the bridge, if you are in a mind to go off the beaten path a bit (which we always do), there’s a little path that goes around and loops back to a gorgeous rocky area of the river.

We finished the loop and came back up the path to the covered bridge.  As per the understood laws of society, the interior is covered in “Jimmy loves Norma” in every imaginable form.

On our way into the park, you know what else I noticed they have there?  Pine cones.  That’s right.  I spent the last 15 minutes or so of our adventure picking up pine cones.  They were just so huge and perfect and fresh!  (No, I do NOT have a pine cone fetish.  At all.)  You see, I came across this wreath project awhile back that I have been just itching to make.  I mean, how beautiful is it?  And it really can stay up for two seasons – fall and winter – which makes it the perfect project for me right now.

This garland and this topiary are just two more projects I would love to make for our home.  I have gobs upon gobs of pine cones now, so I ought to be able to make several.

Hubs got a bit bored towards the end.  I tend to get tunnel vision, and that day was no exception.  He had that “Isn’t this enough pine cones?” look on his face (on other days, you may also enter “yarn” in place of “pine cones”).  But he was such a good sport about it.  That’s just one of the many things I love about him.

-Shannon

Shop Launch Sale Starts Today!

I have been busy as a little bee around here.  Sew sew sew, paint paint paint, knit knit knit.  Or maybe I’m as busy as a Christmas elf.  Getting ready for all those gift shipments.  I thrive off the busyness.  It’s fun and exciting!

As several of you no doubt know by now, I recently re-launched my Etsy shop.  I sell handmade home decor and wearables – aprons, vintage-inspired signs, pillow covers, coasters, knit hats, you name it.

For the month of October, everything in my shop is 20% off for all buyers with Etsy coupon code LAUNCH.  Simply log on to Etsy and place one (or more!) of my items in your cart.  At checkout, enter the coupon code to receive the discount.

Feel free to share the coupon code – the more, the merrier!  It’s never too early to get a jump on all that holiday shopping, and I’ll be adding new items all month long!

So stop by and say hi.  As always, thanks for reading!

-Shannon

Fall Mantle Decor

My poor mantle had somehow managed to get overlooked all summer long until suddenly I found fall staring me in the face – leaves falling, cooler nights, the whole shebang.  I was at Michael’s yesterday, and they were having a GREAT sale, so I decided to give the ol’ girl a face lift.  Tell me – what do you think?

Before…

…and after!

Inspiration and Faves, Week of 9/9 – 9/15

This morning I noticed that quite a few leaves have started to fall from the crape myrtle in my front yard and I realized the autumn season is right at our door, even here in the South.  Today I thought I’d share some of my current home decor faves for the upcoming fall season.

1. I just love the look of mercury glass, and Pottery Barn’s Champagne Mercury Glass Pumpkins caught my eye, as did the mantle display featuring these beauties alongside a rustic assortment of pumpkins, dried vine, and a variety of charming aged platters in a silver tone to complement the silver of the pumpkins.

2. Kim of ethanollie currently features a cute vintage wicker picnic basket in her Etsy shop.  This would make the perfect basket set for the picnic I have been contemplating for hubby and I this weekend.  The weather here has just been too gorgeous to pass up – I’ve been driving with the windows down and spending as much time as I can outside all week.  Anyone else?  I know I can’t be the only one…

3.  The Traveler side table from Anthropologie… what can I say?  I am a sucker for old trunks – always have been – and this would be just too cute in my living room at the end of my sofa.  Alas, the price tag does not agree with me, but a girl can dream/drool, right?

4.  I must apologize for this next one as well.  It’s definitely out of my price range, but I love to window shop even when I can’t buy.  Pottery Barn’s Clift Glass Table Lamp Base in Espresso looks just charming with the complementary Espresso Burlap Tapered Drum Lamp Shade.  I love the look of burlap, this fall more than ever.  There’s something very rustic and homey about it.

5.  Another rustic beauty, the Happy Halloween Banner from Pottery Barn is sure to charm at your autumn parties this year.  In fact, it’s inspired me to try to make my own burlap version…I’ll update on that later.

6.  Fellow crafters, beware!  I just fell in love with this paper sewing machine from Anthropologie.  Is anyone else trying to figure out how to make this out of old pattern papers?

7.  Last but not least, this rustic barbed wire heart wreath from gazaboo stole my heart too.  There is just something rustic and charming about this piece that makes it appropriate for both city and country life.

Tell me what you think!  Where are you finding inspiration as you prepare your house for fall?

Cheers – Shannon

Happy Stripe Pillow

Hello all!  Today I thought I’d share with you a pattern for a cheerful quilted pillow cover with an envelope back.  It’s a great project to while away an afternoon and a fantastic way to use up any 1 to 1-1/2″ strips you have lying around from past projects.  You can also currently purchase the featured pillow cover in my Etsy shop (http://www.etsy.com/shop/peachesandgingham).

Happy Stripe Pillow

One of my babies had to put her two cents in and I couldn’t resist sharing a pic of her sweet little face. Okay – here we go!

Happy Stripe Pillow

Finished size:  Approximately 16″ x 16″

Use 1/4″ seam allowance throughout, unless otherwise noted.

Materials:

  • 1 to 1-1/2″ wide strips cotton fabric in assorted colors and patterns, approximately 10.5″ long (you may double the length to make enough for two pillows at one time).  I used 12 different strips from two of Moda’s summer collections, each around 22″ long.
  • Approximately 1/2 yard solid white cotton fabric (I used scraps I had lying around, but I imagine 1/2 yard would give you plenty to work with, if you needed to purchase any.)
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Scissors and/or rotary cutter, guide, & cutting mat
  • Pins (I prefer safety pins, but use whatever feels comfortable to you.)
  • Approximately 18″ x 18″ piece batting, whatever fiber and density you like (I used 100% polyester with a traditional loft, which measures about 3/16 of an inch, purchased at my local craft store.)
  • 16 – 18″ pillow form (found inexpensively at most craft/home supply stores)

Project Guide:

  1. For the front, you’ll need to cut the following from the solid white fabric: (1) 2 top strips measuring 4″ x 18″, and (2) 2 side strips measuring 4-1/4″ x 11″.  Go ahead and do that now.
  2. Arrange your fabric strips in the order you like.  I wanted a sort of gradual rainbow effect, so mine are sorted by color and tint.
  3. Place two of your 1-1/2″ strips right sides together and stitch along one long side; press to the darker color.  Repeat with each strip until all are joined.  If you used long strips in order to make two center sections for two separate pillows, use your rotary cutter or scissors to cut the piece in half now, somewhere close to the 10-1/2″ mark.  Using your rotary cutter or scissors, square up the corners and even out the edges along the rough outside of the newly created center block.
  4. Place one of your 4-1/4″ x 11″ white fabric strips together with the center block, right sides facing, and stitch together along the 11″ side;  press to the darker color.  Repeat with the second strip on the opposite end of the block.  Using your rotary cutter or scissors, square up anything that is uneven.
  5. Place one of your 4″ x 18″ white fabric strips together with the center block, right sides facing, and stitch together along the 18″ side; press to the darker color.  Repeat with the second strip on the opposite end of the block.  Again, using your rotary cutter or scissors, square up anything that is uneven.  You’re getting there – the top piecing is finished!
  6. Place your top piece right side up on top of the piece of batting.  Pin in place so it doesn’t move around too much while you’re quilting the top.  Move to your machine and quilt as desired.  I simply stitched horizontal lines on mine to emphasize the stripes – and for level of ease! – but it would be beautiful stitched with a more free-form design as well.  If you desire to stitch horizontal lines as I did, here’s what I did:  (1) Use a ruler to line up the edges between each strip of fabric in the center block (i.e., the ditch), and make small marks at the ends of your fabric so you know where to start and where to leave off quilting.  No worries – the marks will be hidden in the hem after you’re all done!  (2)  Simply start at each mark and guide the fabric toward each ditch, and stitch along the ditch for each piece.  The lines along the top and bottom are a little trickier – you just have to eyeball it, or else mark your fabric.  I didn’t worry too much about making mine look even – I think a little variation gives it character.
  7. Once you’ve finished quilting the top, you’re ready to make the back pieces.  For the back pieces, take the final measurements of your finished top piece.  The width measurement for the back piece will be the same as the width of the top piece.  For the height of the back piece, add 3 inches to the measurement of the height of the top piece and round up to the nearest inch (for example, 19.5 would round up to 20″).  Cut one piece of solid white fabric with these measurements, halve the height measurement of the back piece, and make your cut there (you basically just cut the back piece in half).  So, using the above numbers, each back piece would measure the width of your front by 10″ height (mine measured 17.5″ x 10″).
  8. On one long end of each back piece, fold a hem of 1/4″ and press into place.  Fold over again and press to create an enclosed hem.  Stitch into place.  Repeat with second piece; press both.
  9. Trim the batting on your top piece to the size of the top.  Pin the two back pieces to the top piece, right sides facing and with the envelope seamed parts overlapping in the middle.  Stitch all the way around with a 1/2″ seam allowance.  Make sure to back stitch a few times over the envelope opening on each side to reinforce it.  I usually back stitch at the corners too, just to have a little extra backup.
  10. Trim your corners if needed to help them lay right – but be careful not to cut your stitches!  Remove the pins and turn the cover back to its right side showing.  Press the outside, insert your pillow and voila!  You’re done!  Now wasn’t that fun?  Thanks for sewing with me!

Shannon

Hello hello!

Hi all!  I’ve been plotting and planning my careful entry to the blogosphere this past month, only to discover that I CAN’T WAIT!!!  My goal for peaches+gingham is to share my life with the world – my passions, my pursuits (as my favorite author and storyteller, Jane Austen, would say) and inspire others around me to live their best life possible where it all begins – at home.  Ask anybody who knows me and they will tell you I am a homebody through and through.  I enjoy travelling but usually find I cannot wait to be home again, and I thoroughly enjoy trying to make my home as welcoming and cozy as possible.  It’s a constant work in progress, and I enjoy every minute of it.

I’m starting this blog as a way to share and connect with others, like-minded or not, and as a way to inspire and be inspired. I find much of my inspiration on the net and have become a pretty avid reader of a couple of home decor/inspiration blogs that I particularly enjoy.  You’ll find that I am by no means a decor snob.  I’ve always liked things to look nice without spending a fortune, and I’ll be sharing fun home and craft projects and recipes that I have used to beautify my home without spending an arm and a leg.  I believe every person should feel comfortable in their own space, whatever that may mean for that person.  For some, it is country cottage.  For others, it is minimalist and modern.  For some (like my neat-freak self) it means a clutter-free home (for me, at least, clutter you can’t see; if it’s tucked away in the junk drawer out of sight, I can breathe); for others, if it’s not messy, it’s not cozy!  I encourage you to embrace the person you are, not just in your day-to-day dealings with the world, but in your home too.  As you do, you’ll find your home is a space to relax and just be you.

I look forward to journeying on together – check back often for projects, inspirations, and just plain ol’ good times and fun!  Let me know what inspires you in the comments below, whether in your decorating or in your life in general.  I can’t wait to hear your responses.  Happy decorating!