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"Where better to care for the soul than in the details of our daily lives?....The soul has an absolute, unforgiving need for regular excursions into enchantment. It requires them like the body needs food and the mind needs thought... An enchanted world is one that speaks to the soul, to the mysterious depths of the heart and imagination where we find value, love and union with the world around us. As mystics of many religions have taught, that sense of rapturous union can give a sense of fulfillment that makes life purposeful and vibrant." ~ Thomas Moore.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

D I Y Potting Bench ~ Happy Dance !

Hello Beautiful People,

I just finished putting up and working on my potting bench. I've wanted/needed one for so many years as a gardener and understanding now the need to do less work while bending or squatting...oy, the pains...which is what made me realize I needed to work without bending, then the concept of a work bench came to mind, so I went online for ideas for that, then I found this wonder thing called a potting bench....Eureka! THAT'S IT! That's exactly what I need! Then googling around and looking at the prices, and whoa....not for me, not what I need. Back to the drawing board.

Fast forward 10 years. Potting Bench never left my mind especially after countless marathon 6 hours days of gardening and the pains afterwards I knew I had to have one soon, which meant I had to make one, as usual! But I didn't have tools, nor the skill, I thought, to make one.....well, I have the skill to figure it out, its only a multitude of rectangles for goodness sake! but not the desire at all to be cutting boards and measuring and screwing and power tools etc, such noise....but worse, is that even if I wanted to do this I didn't have the help I would need, because the housemate is not a project type person as a chef and a recluse, he's the last person into this kind of thing, unless I do some fancy talking. Its like pulling teeth without anesthesia, not kidding. And I don't know of any handy men at all.

Well, one day last week, I woke up and went outside, saw once again the "mess" in the area and that was it. You know how things go on and on and just one day, that particular day, it all has to change? That was last week, and after! I stormed back inside to find a simple way to make a potting bench paleeze! and found a beautiful and simple inspiration by a woman no less, the fancy talk came out easily and without thought....... And so the housemate was "talked into" helping ME make one with the tools he already had and with some wood we already had and all could be done in just 2 hours!.....the 2 hour project I think is what got him, to think she and her dad finished it in just 2 hours total and it was beautiful.
Here is the inspiration for it from Thrifty Decor Chick .

Her inspiration was one from Pottery Barn, Nice! The price for this One thousand dollars?? ludicrous.

pottery barn abbott island

 But my inspiration was the one she made....she used cedar, and it cost her about $130.00 she said.

DIY potting bench

 And so, with the wood we already had from a salvage, I thought we could make this with just enough wood so mine was free! Then while measuring John started to talk about how the rains and humidity here would take its toll on this wood really fast and that at best it may last a year. !What?! Then I have to make another one [and go through the work of trying to get his help?] Nope. I asked about the prices of pressure treated wood and he told me, he remembers numbers and figures, and I had enough $ to buy the wood.
We went to Home Depot on New Years day and while walking towards the lumber dept they had an entire row of tables that looked just like what I was about to make! and I saw they didn't use the extra "support" on the inside of the legs as in her picture.....and this table I shook and moved and it was quite sturdy as it was and John said that would be less wood, and he did measurements in his head and off we went.  We had only 2 lengths cut while there because John said he could cut the rest. Don't know why he wouldn't want someone else to do it with some fine tools because he struggled quite a bit with his, but it was his decision. I was getting confused with the measurement talk. I picked up some hooks too and home we went and he began to cut as I stood there and watched carefully, for guidance, you know. :D  And a funny thing happened, the second side we put together even with my "guidance" looked entirely crooked even when I measured. this bizarre happenstance I corrected by laying the first piece over it and adjusting and when I measured again it was still exactly the same but looked entirely different. We shall leave that one a mystery LOL.

Thrifty Chick definitely said how easy it all was for her and her dad, it went like ''butta'.....well, that was NOT my experience. And by the end of the day, we had to borrow a tool to drive in the screws because though his was charged for months, it only lasted about 20 minutes of driving. We also ran out of the proper size screws which I had to borrow from another neighbor. :-/   I realized he did not have proper tools at all and explained to him what was happening and that is why he struggled with everything he did and why he worked so "hard" because his lousy tools didn't do much work. I could see him pushing with the drill driver to get the screws in and pushing with the jigsaw trying to cut lumber and I thought if the tools did the job, he wouldn't be struggling would he? So I had to pay attention to the tools and ask questions about them which he didn't like, and I learned he wasn't working with the right tools and is why he "dreads", [his word], working on projects. Sooooo after borrowing a tool to see if we could try to finish this before day ends I told him he needed to get the proper ones to finish this if he didn't want to go nuts and continue to "dread" this work or any work in the future. I certainly didn't want him to dread it, and with good tools he wouldn't have to! I told him to be easy on himself and make life easy when he can. He listened. Thank you God. Next day before I even got up, he bought a drill driver AND a circular saw and I might add, he told me with a great deal of pride and a huge smirky grin on his face too! I think he secretly realized, but god forbid he tells me!, that he does like tools after all!. He even waited for me to be there before he used them, such pride! lol

And then.......after that.................. it went like "butta" :D:D:D And even John was smiling! 
God.......... HE is so much work!

And so the moral of this story, is you never really know how long anything will take regardless of what another person's experience is because of many variables, including, the quality and availability of proper tools, the skill of the person, the mood of the person and the weather, and there are others. But this one took 2 days, still not bad for a project.....once we had the proper tools. I would definitely say proper sharp tools are a must. Also pre drilling the holes for the screws are a must, as well as being a clever psychologist! wink.
 This project cost me about $90.00 for the woods, the nails and the sealer.

Ok, now for the pics.

This is the untreated salvaged wood we began to measure but did not use, and I'm glad.

I don't remember now how many pieces we got but I can find out if any are interested. Its about 4 pieces 1 x 6 x 8 which are for the top and bottom shelving and for an extra shelf on top of the bench that I wanted in addition to the inspiration picture. 3 pieces 2 x 4 x 8 for the framing, and 1 piece 2 x 4 x 12 which was cut into 4 even pieces and are the legs at 3 feet in height each.
Always have more screws/nails in various sizes than you think you need.

These are the outdoor 1 x 6's being cut with John's NEW Circular Saw and he was happy after this, because he was actually NOT other words, not struggling, because the tool was doing the work like its supposed to. This was an epiphany for him actually.  [enter smug grins on his part here]

This is the finished bench but I also wanted a top shelf which I had gotten 2 extra 1 x 6's for. I did it a little different than Thrifty Chick as I did not add the extra inner support pieces on the bottom, but only one length of 4 foot going through the middle which you can barely see beneath the bottom shelving. I did do the top with 2 extra supports beneath the shelving which you can see above. Already this table is coming in handy!

Note: anything that looks crooked or off is just an optical illusion, ok ? :D

Here it is with the shelf I wanted on top. I also sanded the corners of the wood smoother so they weren't so sharp and sanded off any print. I had hosed it down to remove the sawdust, ready to seal and stain next day.   I was testing its outdoor purpose with the twine LOL

{the aluminum ladder stays up all year because sometimes I like to go on the roof for expanded views of sky}

This is after I seal/stained it with a color that I thought matched the wood of the old bakers rack it's going next too. I don't really like this color but it does remind me of the look some woods have when the sunset hits it. I'm ok with it.    For now.

It is MUCH worse than Christmas trying to go to sleep knowing I have a potting bench almost ready and waking up to bolt outside and just look at it. LOL

This morning we put it into its place in front of the kitchen window under the awning. I had to add bricks under each leg because 3 of the legs stand on soil and I didn't want it to decompose any time soon!
 I'm soooo in love! :D

4 hours later............I can put nice things on the top shelf like all the little beautiful little planters I love having around like the cloche with a plant to see from the inside. I added hooks to hang things. Some of the hooks were very expensive in the lumber section but I went to the gardening section and found these white rubber covered hooks 5 in a package for $1.39. Got 2 packs.


 I put my tiny candle chandelier on a hook on the awning so I can garden by candle light :D:D:D

I am in love with this little corner..............

And finally my clothesline because again, I'm in love with aqua and I wanted aqua working clothes for my coming projects......and this is one color that is beautiful in Nature! I dyed them yesterday......3 parts aquamarine with 2 parts yellow.......sigh,,,,,,perfection!

because we have to look good you know, even while working with dirt....

because we belong to the .......

 The entire "mess" is gone. I have a place to work, and everything looks neat and like I have more space. I will not have to bend to do everything, and I have places to store some things. Its outdoor safe and its pretty. What more could I ask!? I'm a very happy person today.

Now all I have to do is take some aspirin, go to the kitchen, put some music on, clean counters, and get a couple of dishes cooked today. I can do that ! LOL :D:D:D

I encourage anyone to make your own and play with the design until it is just what you CAN do this! .lol....yes like the Thrifty Chick I'm yelling too ! LOL

Tomorrow I begin working on painting the kitchen, making it more white as I'm Going White not just with my room nor just with the living room no, it must go on until everything is White, and I do mean Everything.  John doesn't know yet, but I'm painting the entire outside of this house white too. *yikes* is going to be the palest "Soothing Aloe" mint green for the walls and everything else painted off white, including the cabinets, baskets, shelving, brackets and a dozen other little things. Will post on that shortly. Very shortly :D

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  1. Another great job! You inspire always me! I am not sure where I can put one but now I am rethinking about an area that might just work! Thank You!

  2. Your potting bench came out great. I love that extra shelf on the top. So funny how you described your housemate and how he was determined to work with the tools he had, until you convinced him otherwise. I can just imagine what my hubs would do if I asked him to make me one. He is definitely handy around the house but is not a builder at all! Perhaps I will have one someday, our yard is so small I don't have a need for one now. Enjoy your potting bench and your pretty gardening clothes.

    1. Thank you Diane. I guess yes, if you have such a small space and not much gardening you wouldn't need one, but I do alot when I'm out there and its still not anything I can do NOT bending and squatting is more that can be done. While I was going through all the pots and plants in that area I was bending and in pain washing the pots and again, I thought...."if only I had....." and then the lights went on and I realized...."oh my god, I do have one...what am I doing bending"??? too many years working like that, will take getting used to not being tortured and remembering I have a helper, the new bench. I'm already using it outside and am finding more uses for it too....such a lovely thing in my world!
      Yes, the housemate, is more work than I care for, but its good when its over, its over. :D
      The aqua is soooo much fun.....
      thanks for visiting.

  3. I love your potting bench! It looks so lovely. Love that little hanging votive up holder too. Love the color of your laundry and can't wait to see more white! :)

    1. Thanks Sandy, yes more white is being made now. Today I painted some candlesticks, some beautiful wooden baroque alter candles, white...the frames in the hall white, and other little things. I begin the kitchen Wednesday, waiting on the housemate to do it in one day. I love my clothes in pale aqua! love! :D

  4. Dear friend.....THIS IS AWESOME!!!!! I mean it.



  5. I chuckled along the first half of this post. I could relate so well to the hubby and tool thingy. Then I oohed and aaaahed at the photo's,you did so well and i'm so jealous. LOL xx

    1. lol it is truly easy once you have the right working tools....really anyone can get it done.

  6. My dear,

    I am SO THRILLED to see how you took an ideal object of desire, how you planned the execution of duplicating it, then to see the result? FANTASTIC! AND I LOVE the idea of salvaged wood. WHY NOT? It is already there! It has a worn quality that has stood time and has proven strong and beautiful. CHEERS my now have your potting bench that will give you hours of joy. I can't wait now for spring!!! HAPPY DANCE! Anita

    1. It is an amazing process, yes you explained it well.
      Can you just imagine how looking at the Cathedrals of Europe must be to those who envisioned it?? LOL
      I had another vision for the front porch then the whole house....oy! what kind of mission have I set myself up for!? But it "looks" sublime....I will explain later.
      thanks for visiting. Wish you a speedy spring!

  7. Oh my darling, that potting bench is simply gorgeous! (honestly I didn´t even know such things existed, but I´m not a "green-fingers" at all; my partner always says that my plants should have a voice like dogs and cats and children, so they could CRY for water when they needed and I would pay more attention before they die... LOL LOL LOL) However, I find you did a great job -with the housemate´s help- and agree completely with you, having the appropriate tools is essential to these kind of projects... I love how it looks in that corner of the garden, specially with all the beautiful details added (the little chandy is VERY YOU!!!). Sent you an email last night, and I´m already looking forward to receive your answer ;)
    Hugs and blessings,

    1. Thank you for your comments, they always make me happy. Hysterical what you husband said about plants needing voices to scream at you to water them...I'm still enjoying very much the organized area and knowing when I do get to work out there, it is there to help me! LOL

  8. Very very pretty... love the bench and little corner of your garden. I can see myself here. Truly enchanting.


    1. Thank you, and you are invited ! lol....the magic is always here.
      Can't wait to begin more gardening, after I finish re-doing the kitchen in white.
      blessings, lady

  9. What a Lovel potting bench! thanks for sharing and inspiring me :)

  10. It looks FANTASTIC!! I love the part you added to the back, I'm thinking about doing it too.

    1. Hi there! so nice to see my inspiration here! It did come out nice yes? lol and I love love love it and I HAVE YOU TO THANK FOR YOUR POST~!
      I love going out there now knowing all is in order and there is a place for everything and a place to work.....soooo nice....I thank you so was your post that convinced my housemate to help me with it....
      I had to have the shelf because I know I would want more storage for nice things especially since it was directly on the outside of my kitchen garden its a great addition.
      How is yours? using it for entertaining?
      blessings, lady


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