Archives for posts with tag: wood

Carpenter bee trap

I’ve had a hard time deciding to make this since carpenter bees are beneficial pollinators, but are also very destructive when it comes to the wooden parts of a house.

When we moved into our house, one of the things we knew we needed to repair was our garage. Almost every board in it has been replaced, there was a point when we used a truck to pull the back wall back to (almost) plumb, and a new roof was installed. In order to get rid of the old lumber, I cut it into smaller pieces and with each cut I found holes. These were big holes, about a half inch in diameter, and they had been made by carpenter bees. Some of the boards resembled Swiss cheese and I was surprised they had any structural integrity left.

Last year, I found the carpenter bee had returned. There were holes in the wood braces over our back door. I plugged them with steel wool and that seemed to prevent them from returning.


Bee hole plugged with steel wool

Last week we had a warm spell, and the bees were back. I am normally an advocate of outdoor insects, but with all the work we have done, I don’t want these guys to start building housing developments in our house or garage.

I decided to try making a carpenter bee trap. There are several versions of instructions on the internet, but I chose this one since it used a single 4×4 piece of wood rather than building a box.  A hole is drilled up the center, then holes along the side are made at a 45 degree angle. The idea is that after the bees crawl in, the upward angle prevents them from seeing light to get back out, so they move downward and into the glass jar.

We’ll see if it works.




The wings are supposed to be made with Popsicle sticks. Somewhere in my house there is a package of them, but they have wandered away from the bin of wood I have. Fortunately, a package of wooden plant markers was in the bin. The pointy ends got cut off, and the wings of a small wooden airplane were born.

Cutting boards

I could have named this post identically to yesterday’s. More cookies, more crochet and I also started using the beeswax finishing paste on the cutting boards. Not all of them have been treated yet, and I see one that still needs to be sanded, but the center ones in the photo have been and provide a good idea of how they look once treated.

By taking over the finishing, my husband has the time to keep cutting, gluing, planing and sanding. This isn’t my craft, but it does show you what has become of my dining room table. Do you see that the fall table cloth is still on there under all that wood? It has not been clear long enough in the past month to even change it out.

One bonus benefit of this is the paste works as an excellent hand softener which means less snagging of dry winter hands on my yarn. 🙂



It’s that time of year where every minute counts.  After having declared that I was not going to bake cookies this year, I got pulled in. I blame Marianne of maRRose CCC .  On Friday she posted a recipe for tried-and-true cut out cookies. These are a weakness of mine, but I have never found a recipe I liked.

I can report back that these are delicious. Thin and crispy, not too sweet. The only problem I see with them is that I ate too many of them already.

I was able to get a little bit of crochet done. For some reason, even though my current project is just rows of double crochet, I have had to frog it multiple times. I am guessing it is due to being distracted and not being able to put down the thoughts of what else needs to be done.

Finally, I cooked up a beeswax paste to use for finishing wood. My husband is making cutting boards for Christmas gifts this year, and he needed a food-safe finish for them. The “recipe” is an emulsification of one part beeswax and four parts oil. It has been heated, stirred, and cooled and is now ready for application. I can’t wait to see what it looks like on all of the woods he is using.




Nativity ornament

Can you tell I have been in a “since these supplies are out, what else can I use?” state of mind the past couple of weeks? Last week it was felt, this week’s supply bin of choice is wood.

Were I to buy the materials for this, I would get a smaller star and clothespins with the truly round heads, but I was going with what I had on hand. A small handsaw cut the legs off of the one clothespin easily, but I did turn on the drill press to make the holes in the star. What’s the point of having the power tools if you don’t use them?

This little project is a nativity ornament, but it could also be cute for a couple with a new baby, swapping out the star for a heart.


My husband is making cutting boards for Christmas gifts this year. This had generated a lot of wood scraps. I thought I’d grab a piece and make up a little village to put on a windowsill.

The original inspiration was here. Mine are not as fancy and are much smaller. The short buildings are maybe 2 inches high.


Cat added to show scale

I used a miter saw to cut the roofs. The paint was some metallic spray paint left over from past home projects, although I did wipe some acrylic gold over the one silver house to provide a little color contrast. These could also be cute with letters stenciled on them to spell out a Christmas message, but they will stay as is for now.

snowflake clothespin

While snowmen make up the bulk of my Christmas decorations, I also like to use snowflakes. It is rare we have a white Christmas, and this brings a little bit of the “dashing through the snow” vibe into the house. Because there were  two sizes of the spring clothespins in the house, I tried out three different designs.

These could be painted white, but I kept them with the natural look. I added glitter to the small one although it is hard to see in the photo, and like that effect too.  The small size is the more traditional tree-ornament size and the glitter will catch the lights nicely. The large ones will probably end up hanging in some windows.

Because I hate waste, I did a quick search for what to do with the removed springs. I don’t have enough loose beads to do the necklace slider justice, the entire bar section should be covered, but the star ornament worked out nicely. There is enough tension in it to hold the shape pretty firmly even when hanging.



Browsing through my Pinterest boards, I came across an image of a kissing clothespin. The original was painted, and the link is now broken. (Which should teach me to wait 3 years after pinning a project before starting it.) I just played around with some Sharpie markers and used the tiny craft clothespins I have. Wooden clothespin + marker = bleeding color, but I still think it’s kind of cute.

Later in the day, after 4 days of non-yarn crafts, I had the itch to pick up a hook. I have one skein of a beautiful purple tweed wool I originally bought thinking I would make felted coasters. After making 24 coasters already, I decided to use it for something different. I am hoping that the pattern I found for a one-skein scarf will live up to its name.

cedar chest

This was my grandmother’s cedar chest. It is not a fancy decorative one. It was tucked in the corner of her living room when I was a child and after she remarried at 74(!) and moved, it found a new home on a screened-in porch. The outside of it got a little bit weathered there, and that might be why no one else in the family wanted it.

I have not used it as a cedar chest because it also has the misfortune of smelling strongly of moth balls inside. Everything that spends even a little bit of time in it picks up the scent. It has sat on my sun porch for about 10 years serving as a place to store clothes and items we plan to donate.

But now, its (hopeful) transformation had begun. Google was a big help in both talking about what people have used, and what has not worked to get rid of the mothball scent.  I emptied it out, and lightly sanded down the inside. Apparently, the camphor gets into the crevices of the wood and holds on tight. The next step was to put something called “bad air sponge” in there. I’ve read mixed reviews about this product. Mainly people complain that the scent from the sponge can be institutional and worse than the smell you are trying to eliminate. I plan on keeping this product in the closed chest for a couple of weeks, then switching it out for some activated charcoal to get rid of an new odor that might be in there. There may be more sanding in between.

I’m hoping this works because I would love to fix up the outside and get the chest back into true working order.

I did make a cotton scrubbie today, but one picture of a scrubbie looks pretty much like the other ones I’ve had on here.  I will be making more as  I’ve realized I don’t have enough on hand to get me through wash loads if I don’t get to it each week.  So instead of another nearly identical photo, I thought I would take a picture of part of the project my husband is working on.


We live in an older house, and I love the charming features that it has.  One thing that I had never thought about was the radiator covers.  Our current covers are pretty much wooden boxes with radiator screens painted white.  They never bothered me, but apparently they were driving my husband crazy.  He has been making new ones for our living room out of cherry wood.

Cherry is beautiful. He hand picks each board to get the exact grain pattern he wants.  It is sort of like “fussy cutting” when you are making a quilt. These are the tops, one had 2 coats of stain, the other has one. We have the drawer from another piece of furniture in the room he is using as a comparison to get the right shade.  It has been interesting to watch him build the bottoms.  We couldn’t find any plans, so he’s been designing them himself…and he keeps adding features. There are slats on the sides, and curves where on the old ones there were only straight boards nailed together.  I’m always happy when the staining starts because it means the end of the project is in sight. Cherry can be blotchy, so it first gets a sealing coat, then stain, then multiple layers of shellac with sanding in between. The final coat is wax.

The time that goes into these projects means we could certainly have bought them cheaper, but so often it is the process that provides more value to your life.