DIY PROJECT: THIS OLD STEREO STAND

Now that the cats have a new feeding stand, an old wood project from my high school years can be touched up and used for something else. Woot! So a long time ago I decided to make a new stand for my dad’s stereo/record player (hence no top) for a shop project. Even with careful measuring and well meaning plans, the stereo didn’t fit my thoughtfully made stand. Even now, I know where I had made my mistake, but all the shop terms and lingo have long escaped my mind that I can’t correctly explain my error.

Obviously, my dad couldn’t use the new stereo stand so I think my younger sister, Becky, moved it to her room and used it for something I can’t remember. I’m not even 100% positive Becky nabbed it for her use when I was still in high school, but I remember she had it when she moved into her first house with her husband. Whenever I visited her and saw the stand, I thought, “Hey! I made that!” Then a second thought usually occurred to me, “Why does Becky have it and not me?”

A few years ago, Becky finally returned the stand to me, and it was used to hold a canvas bin and then a feeding stand for the cats. I’m not quite sure what happened to the proposed stereo stand after all these years, and despite all the nicks, scratches and unexplained color splatter (the brown streaks were my test to check if I should use a primer before slathering it in brown paint), it still holds up. My craftsmanship is just amazing! Maybe I should have my own show on HGTV.

The stand was finished with a stain so I guess I needed a primer to help the brown paint adhere. To be honest, I’m still learning what items should be primed before painting. And if I prime, can I use old leftover paint AND primer (as most paints these days are) for my base? Or do I need a special primer? I had plenty of old leftover paint plus primer that I had used as a primer on the step stool and the cats’ new feeding stand so I just used that instead of running to the hardware store.

I am so new to repurposing old furniture into something new that I don’t even know how many prime coats are needed. One? Two? Since I have no idea I have been using one coat of prime before focusing on the brown paint. Stupid Pinterest projects — the pins look so easy. I spent a few days painting the stereo stand a deep rich brown that I had used on the feeding stand and the step stool, which leads me to a question. Does all the decor in the house need to match?

Our color scheme is a basic rich brown — the reclining couch, TV cubicle stand, and some other small pieces are all deep brown. Should everything match? Or should I throw caution to the wind and paint something red or gray or some other color that complements the color scheme? This is why I’m not an interior designer. Anyway, after days of painting and touching up small areas the stand was ready for the final top coat. A sealant, I guess. Have I mentioned I’m not a professional painter?

Riley gives me the stink eye because I won’t let him outside (he’s an indoor cat). The patio screen door is used when someone can keep an eye on the furry little turd because he likes to press his body weight against the screen to pop it out. In the background of the picture, do you see the upside down food dish? That’s his handiwork and the reason for the new feeding stand. I love my little troublemaker. Who can resist that big ball of orange fur?

I decided the old stereo stand is the perfect place for the paper shredder to sit on top and binders containing important paperwork inside the cabinet. A slim magazine holder — to house documents ready for the shredder — will fill the small space between the paper shredder and the right edge. Once the previously white cabinet stand is ready for use, it will go next to the paper shredder stand and be filled with office supplies.

DIY PROJECT: STEP UP AND DINE IN

With some plywood and some 2×4, Charlie built a new feeding stand for Clara and Riley because Riley, the troublemaker, likes to push the dish off the current stand and spill the food all over the floor. Before giving the cats their new gift, I needed to paint it. Using some leftover paint I found in the basement from the previous homeowners, I primed the feeding stand and an old step stool my dad built when I was younger.

I didn’t have my phone with me when I primed the feeding stand and the step stool, and I thought, “Oh, I have plenty of time to take photos. I’ll do it later.” Instead of taking pictures, I dove right into the brown paint because I’m a moron. For proof that I actually primed both items, I snapped a shot of the area in the backyard where I painted. I figured the lawnmower would take care of the painted grass. I was wrong.

Once the feeding stand and the step stool had been primed with the old paint (one coat because I don’t really know any better), I started painting both items a rich brown to match the other decor (bookcases, couch, etc.) in the house. I used a smaller paint brush because I felt I had more control and I could take my time. My reasoning probably doesn’t make any sense to anyone else, but I feel rushed when using a bigger brush.

Nothing fancy — just a simple step stool my dad built a long time ago and moved it from house to house. I nabbed it when he cleaned out his last house. I probably could add a monogram or something cute, but my project list is way too long right now. A fresh coat of paint definitely made the step stool look nicer and made me happier.

The feeding stand was a few brush strokes away from being complete when Charlie added some trim to the top because Riley likes to either push or tip the slow-eating food dish over the edge for easier access to the food. Charlie believes the trim will keep the food dish in place despite Riley’s attempts to knock it the ground. Time will tell who will win this battle.

Just a few paint coats away from moving the feeding stand from the back porch to the living room, where Miss Clara and Riley can jump up on and whine for food. My little troublemakers definitely have been testing the boundaries, believing the new environment means the kitchen table and new kitchen counter are no longer off limits to them. They are so wrong.

Ta-da! Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful! The new feeding stand fits perfectly between the kitchen and the living room and the top shelf seems big enough for both cats to eat peacefully. We stuck plastic cutting boards underneath the dishes because the cats paw out a kernel of food and eat it off a flat surface. As long as their feeding schedule was not disrupted, Clara and Riley adjusted quickly to the new feeding stand. Yay!

DIY PROJECT: THE LAST OF THE SCRABBLE TILES

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After the first round of Scrabble tile magnets, I managed to create three sets of five-piece magnets (which I’ll publish in a separate post) and needed a plan to use the remaining tiles. I briefly thought about buying an old Scrabble game at a thrift store, but that brilliant plan didn’t solve my problem of getting rid of the tiles. Pinterest gave me another brilliant idea, gluing tiles to a simple picture frame.

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I found a cute wooden square frame on clearance for $2 at a local craft store. A plan quickly formed in my mind: paint the frames and glue the tiles to it. I found the frames so charming I bought five even if I don’t have enough tiles to cover them all. I completely painted one frame light blue and let it dry for a few hours. Due to my impatience, I didn’t want to mess around with a ruler and a pencil.

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Just eyeballing the spaces, I did my best to center the tiles around the opening. With the leftover tiles, I managed to create a few words that accurately describe me: queen, read, writer, zoo, etc. The process was pretty simple and quick, and I absolutely love love love the final result! Sure, the tile placement isn’t perfect and somewhat uneven, but that’s the charm.

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Surprisingly, I still had a healthy amount of tiles and more frames! I painted two frames red and the other two bright yellow and picked one of the red frames for the last of the tiles. I tried my best to eyeball the center of the opening, but my eyeballs were a little off. Oh well. I can live with imperfections — I think. From a distance, the red frame doesn’t look too awful.

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In the end, I am really happy with the final results of the Scrabble tile frames, and I’m even more pleased I had less than six tiles in my stash. Hmmmmm. What do I do with six tiles? Throw them away? Add them to my Scrabble game? Or — the best possible plan — simply glue a piece of magnet on the back and stick the tile to my refrigerator.

P.S. Stay tuned for the final post about my final Scrabble tile project! Whew! From now on, I’m just sticking to playing the game instead of messing with them during arts and craft time.