Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Linda's Garden

 About a week ago I was approached by one of my customers Linda to come out and visit her home to see what she had done with some of the pieces she had purchase at my store Restore & Rework in Castro Valley.  To my amazement I was floored by all of the ways the pieces were used to accent the garden.  As I walked around each step I took I was careful not to miss a thing.  Her use of rusty, chippy and second use items was and should be recognized and published so I decided to do it.  I never asked but she did not find the metal letters at my store still they get you in the mood and a preview of what is in store.
 Linda creatively used this old garden rake to store some of her treasured garden tools.  Guessing that these guys are for display only and have seen better days but still give you the impression that they are ready to work if needed at any given moment.  I have seen other uses for these rakes including holding up wine glasses and for a jewelry display but I think I like this use the best.
 The spiral plant holder was purchased at my store in fact I think if my memory serves me right it was the first piece Linda bought at my store.  I figured she would have used it in the garden but I guess I was wrong.  It has great patina and an awesome shape, it fits in well in her home with her collectibles displayed here in the corner.  Would have never thought to do that so Linda you are even more creative that I.  Keep it up.
 So I must take some credit for this piece.  I did a blog on it when I built it and trust when I say it was not easy to make.  But looking at it here it looks wonderful.  A great addition to her dining area.  When I photoed it I felt like it was meant to be here in her home.  It flows well with her decor and she knows how to bring it all together in her home.
 I love this idea.  A rusty twin mattress used to display her license plate collection.  It is just another great use of second use.  And now the plate pop out as though they are suspended in air.  I might have to steal this idea for my shop.  Now where to find license plates?
 Here is a picture of Linda, she didn't want her picture taken but I did it anyways.  She is an amazing woman and has a great eye for seeing other uses for things.  It is a gift I know.  I asked her how she goes about finding her treasures and she said to me that she never knows what she is looking for it just appears and then she creates when she gets home.  I have told her she needs to blog about her work and maybe someday she will.  Hopefully this blog will encourage her to take the next step.
 Great use of drawers.  I believe it was an old wooden filing cabinet.  Now it holds her succulents in check.  The plants seem to love their new home, I would if I were them.  This is displayed under her potting bench.
 Now I have seen it all.  Guessing this was an old metal mop bucket ringer.  Holding the plants with built in drainage.  Just don't pull the handle on this it has begun to live its second life.
 Never asked Linda about this one but this window box was attached to her storage shed and she added plants of course and these little tea plates to give it some interest.  Guessing when she breaks a plate inside her kitchen she can come outside and grab one and no one would ever know.  Kidding I wouldn't want to break up this display.
 A rusty watering can now needs to be watered itself.  I have sold many of these in the past but this one looks like it was meant to hold plants and not be a water source.
 This old mailbox purchase from Restore & Rework was a great find of Linda's.  I had a feeling when I found it she would be the one to get it.  I actually had considered keeping it for myself but while I was deciding I put it out in the shop.  It last long, a day or two and Linda found it.  Look at it now, a great planter.
 This is where Linda washes her hands after gardening in the backyard.  Ya right.  Was a sink now a planter with rust.  It elevates in an area in her garden that needed some height and she chose the right spot for it.  Just about is a mirror which I photoed but thought this shot looked better.
 An use for this mailbox is to store her working garden tools and guess what they never get lost.  You know where they are at all times and keep out the spiders to boot.  I sell these at the store as well.
 Chicken wire and an old window pane to display Linda's kitchen wares.  This was taken inside her home just off the kitchen.  Look at how it holds everything together but gives it an organized look.  I think she also put an curtain just above to give it the look. 
 I just love how this combo of plants are put together.  Something about purple and yellow and green.  I have used this combination many times over.  I want to take this home with me. 
 A tool caddy or trowel as they call is now housing plants and garden tools.  It sits on the floor under the patio, I think.  I have lost track of where all of these pieces were place since there was so much to see in her garden.
 A rusty bike and rusty garden tools hang out here.  The baskets in the bike now hold plants and just beyond a birdhouse (not one of mine) and garden tools stacked just beyond.  I get the feeling that this garden is somewhere in the country not near my own home.  So many pieces to look at and so much inspiration.
I saved the best for last this little Scotts vintage seeder.  It is embedded in the green moss.  It looks like it has always been here, maybe it was.  Either way just fitting for her garden.  Linda my sincere thanks to you and the invitation to check out your amazing garden.  Your use of all the great finds in your garden has inspired me and hopefully will inspired others.  Keep it up you have a true eye for it.  Cisco

Friday, May 24, 2013

26 hours and 200 miles later

 Getting out of town these days is more difficult than you would think so when my wife decided to arrange an out of town overnight er for the both of us for our 24th anniversary I had to oblige.  My son and daughter volunteered to run the shop for the day (Sunday) and I am closed on Mondays so it worked out just fine to make the trip.  Our plan was to head to Occidental (where ever that is) for the night and make it out to Marshall the next day to our favorite hang out Hog Island Oyster Co.  I have the sense some relaxation and good eats is in store for the both of us.  Oh and by the way 24 years was not an easy task but glad my wife has decided to keep me around.  Here is us crossing the Richmond/San Rafael bridge.
Our first stop not scheduled of course was this little place called Jewels to Junk.  Since my wife had taken on the driving duties I had a chance to check out the scenery.  I noticed this sign and had to take a look see, well I asked the boss first and she said OK.  I ended up finding a few little treasures like a crawdad wire cage and cement deer.  We also checked out the shop next door called Gulick's Antiques.  If you are driving down Gravenstein Hwy in Cotati it's worth a look.  I found another cage at Gulick's, I guess they have a lot of Crawdads in Cotati who would have known.
See the little guy on the right that one belongs to me now.  This is the sleeping deer I picked up at Jewels to Junk.  Guessing he is a jewel since I don't sell junk in my store.  Kidding I do actually sell junk, good junk.  The deer has a broken ear but he will fit in just fine with all the other misfits at my store.
  Our next stop was this little place called Nothin' New the owner was super cool even though it was about 4pm and she was hitting the bottle a little early.  Still she was very bubbly, could have been the wine and was pretty generous on the pricing guessing the wine helped with that too.  I ended up picking up some broken shutters and a rusty wire basket.  Trust me there was plenty more to buy but since we were driving in our Camry only smalls were purchased.
 These are the babies I really wanted to own.  The doors here, awesome, chippy, and missing the glass.  I might just have to make a trip back for these well if they are still there when I return.  The only negative about the place was that all of these goods are sitting outside in the elements.  Some pieces if left outside can handle the elements others don't do as well.  I can imagine lots of inventory gets trashed after a while.  Oh and another thing prices get much higher inside the store verses outside, guess it makes sense you pay for protection.
Look at all of this junk at Nothin' New.  My wife gave me a 15 minute time limit and for good reason.  I could have spent hours here.  Next time I will allow for more time and come on my own until then.
We made one more stop actually to use the facilities at the Antique Society I think they have about 100 dealers selling out of this place and they have a public restroom to boot.  The place was on the expensive side and my guess is they cater to designers, still it was great to look around at all of the displays and see what direction we are all headed.  Here is one dealers space.
Here is another space, some great displays to look at some better than others.  This one was my favorite.  Not much to buy here just eye candy as they call it.
 So after our bathroom break we finally reached out destination The Occidental Hotel and Lodge.  The place was nice and clean and they had a pool but I didn't find the "lodge" part of the hotel.  I always think a lodge should have a fireplace and communal place to relax you know for sipping wine and such.  Thinking they should probably loose the lodge from the name, just saying.
 So right across the street from the hotel was Union Hotel and Italian Dinners.  It was recommended that we try the place out and we did, it did not disappoint.  My wife and I both had the steak.  Maybe we should have shared a meal since along with the steak came bread, we love bread, salad, dish of kidney beans, dish of salami and cheese and then clam chowder and pasta and vegetables.  I know, I know we just want more but the food just kept coming.  Have you ever seen that Gumby and Pokey episode where Gumby gets stuck in a dream and they just kept bringing him food, that's what we felt like.  Oh and of course we had a bottle of wine to wash it all down.  I know extra sit ups.  After dinner it was time for bed we crashed early, comatose I think.
 The next morning we got up and had breakfast at Howard's in Occidental.  Great food, great service and great coffee a must stop if you are town and don't forget to try the coffee cake it's the bomb.  After breakfast we headed to the Russian River here my wife is standing on the bridge overlooking the river.  Yes boring to most but beautiful to us.  After walking around Del Rio here and visiting the old Rio Theatre and other road side adventures we decided we will return to this area in the future.  This place in the summer is a popular destination for swimming, canoeing, hiking, biking and just relaxing fun. 
 After the Russian River we checked out of the hotel and began to head out of town but first I needed to take a snap shot of these mailboxes on the side of the road.  You know I sell them in the shop and they have other uses other than holding mail.  I decided since no one was looking to take one of these ha did you really believe that.  Anyways just beyond the last box we discovered Freestone Artisan Cheese. 
 Here is the front view of the place, super clean inside and full of goodies to taste.  We both like tasting so we decided to check it out.
 Inside they sell bottle your own Olive Oil.  You fill it up and seal it yourself and off you go.  Among other things they sell besides cheese are crackers and serving dishes and cook books.
 My wife decided to try the Triple Cream Cowgirl Creamery cheese.  She ended up buying half the round for our special day.  The only drawback to the place was that we thought they made the cheese there not true.  Still worth a stop if you want to taste some local cheeses he carries.  Here assuming this was Omar (we never asked) he sliced us some samples, yumm.
 After the cheese adventure I wondered around the place only to find an artist working on her piece or art.  She allowed me photo it though she wasn't done with the piece.  Ya I know it needs a little work but its art, right, looking through the eye of the artist.
 She wasn't the only one painting.  Guess it is the spot for inspiration and art.  I am sure they were annoyed with me since I kept asking questions but they answered all my questions and I was out of their hair before you knew it, good bye ladies.
 So the guy at Freestone Cheese recommended this place called Wild Flour Bread not Wild Flower.  There was a line to get in the place, not sure why it was just bread.  They do have samples to try and that's how I got hooked and am sure everyone else.  The place is in the middle of nowhere land but lines out the door that must tell you something.  We ended up buying a loaf of the Olive loaf and some Lime, Ginger, Coconut Scones.  I checked out their website today and they have tons of write ups on their bread.  A must check out.

 They also have a garden to explore, do this if you want to be inspired.  I did and I am now.  My guess is that they use some of these herbs for the bread and other recipes.  As I walked around I noticed they use recycled piece to hold up the plants. 
 Another photo just lovely.  Here's the one I posted on Facebook.
 So still not at our destination for this day we decided to take a side trip to Bodega Bay.  Being in my top 3 movie category of all time The Birds was filmed here.  This place called the Bodega Country Store has tons of Birds memorabilia.  If you like the movie check out this little place it will take you back.  Really we needed something to do since our reservations for lunch were not until 2.  I have pictures of the church and the schoolhouse from the movie as well just across the street from this place.  Sad to say the Tides Restaurant from the movie was burned down and the Post Office scene I thought was here was actually a set in Hollywood, damn.

So finally from Bodega we reached our destination Hog Island Oyster.  I love this place and the food.  I had a birthday party here once in November a few years back and it rained on my group.  The funny thing is that no one even cared.  We were all wet and still having a great time.  That's what kind of place this is.  You just get lost in time not thinking about the world around you. 
It is best to reserve a space even on a Monday (today).  You can shuck you own oysters or have them do it for you.  Cheaper to do it yourself.  They run about a $1 an oyster much cheaper than buying at your local market and much fresher.  The farm is somewhere out there in the bay behind the sign.  They harvest them and bring them back to land for us land lovers to enjoy.
 Here is our proof of purchase for the tables that is.  You must have a reservation and they do check and you get a stamp.  It is official, shucks.
 Surprise, look what they had waiting at our table.
 A shot from the farm looking just East.
 Here we are together.
 Our lunch, oh was it great.  Champagne and oysters some cooked, some raw with our bread we purchased earlier in the day from Wild Flour and cheese from Freestone.  Wake me up when it's over.
 Our make shift ice bucket donated by the table next to us.  I am sure there were wondering how we did it.
 So sad all good things must come to an end.  Back to reality 26 hours later but with hopes of returning someday soon.  Thank you for reading.  Cisco

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Making a table from a window pane

 When Linda one of my customers purchased this window from me a few months back and asked me to make her a table out of it I was glad to obliged.  At the time I didn't realize what I was getting myself into or maybe did but wanted to take on the challenge.  I knew it wouldn't be easy.  As far as projects are concerned this one being medium to hard.  The results are to the say the least satisfying and the piece came out quite unique.  I think I out did myself on this project.  Although the whole process took me about 4 hours it can be done if you choose.  
 The first step of course was to find some legs for the table.  A feat in itself.  I scoured a few markets before I found these beauties.  They had the right look, just the right chippiness and just about the length I needed to attach to the window.  I ended up finding them at the Alameda Antique Fair.  The price a little higher than I wanted to pay but when you find something you like you have to react, it may not be there when you return.  One lesson I have learned at these markets.
 These are the tops of the legs all wood no particle or fabricated anything here.  I had to remove the hardware and check for nail fragments left behind by the previous owner.  Not sure what they came off of and the dealer who sold them to me didn't know either. 
 Here are the bottoms, they look just perfect well except for the bottom grade, all of the legs were uneven as though they came off a slightly slanted table.  Either way I was going to cut the bottoms to get them completely even. 
 I've shown you this before but this is my revolving wood stack of scraps.  I use it all the time and add to it from time to time.  Sometimes wood comes walking in the door, well not literally.  Sometimes I take a piece off another project and some of it I buy.  My only criteria, well two, it has to be 100% wood and it cannot be compromised with pests.
 After finding some wood to use for the sides and cutting the legs to be even on both sides I placed the legs exactly where I needed them to be.   Keeping in mind how to secure the sides, looks of the piece when completed and difficulty in doing those things. 
 After determining where I wanted the legs to go I took some measurements and cut the wood to fit, cutting four pieces two at 48" and two at 14".  Here is the way I attached the pieces to the bottom of the window.  I think they call this counter sink but don't quote me on that.  I used a special drill bit to start the holes at an angle.  I used 3 screws on each side and I used recycled screws which I have tons of.  These flat heads I used are harder to work with, I should know I have a blister to prove it but I wanted the piece to be all from recycled materials all the way down to the screws.
 So I started with one board and then loosely place the leg back to see how it came together, use it as a guide.  Then make a mark on the window for location just in case the board moves and screw in your next piece.  Use the leg to double check your work before you add all of the screws, trust me on this one you will save yourself some time.  Things move and it will keep your sanity to a controllable level.

To give the table further support and to have a piece to attach the legs to I added these braces to each corner.  I used a piece of wood from the original wood and cut it at a 45 degree angel.  I used 6 screws for each brace, 4 to attach the side pieces and 2 for the legs right down the middle.  Yes probably overkill but I wanted to make sure the piece was built with solid construction.

 Here you see I work my way around the piece attaching each leg one at a time and then moving on to the next leg and side.  I just wanted to make sure it was even at all ends and doing it this way was easiest for me. 
 My chop saw came in handy for this project including cutting the legs even, sides of the table and the braces.  I use it all the time and it was my best purchase to date other than the trailer I currently own.
 After I finished adding all of the legs I turned the piece over.  It would be the first time I would see it the way it should be seen 4 hours later.  Yes I am slow especially when I work on something new to me and it is a custom order.  The customer wanted me to attach a glass door knob which she provided.  Of course the knob broke in the process when I attached the dowel.  Note to self tell customer and be extremely careful when using a glass knob in the future.  Here is the replacement knob I will be using.  I drilled a hole, added a dowel and will glue it once I get the customers approval.
 Doesn't it look good, the knob that is, the new one, right, everybody?  Come on back me up on this one.
 So here is the final product displayed of course with some garden accessories.  I am pleased with the results and sure the customer will be as well.  And in case you were wondering no it doesn't wobble.
 Here is the side view now if I could just bottle this up I could make some money.  Thanks for reading.