Nail guns and jigsaws and sanders, oh my!

You guys. I have been bitten by the power tools bug.

You never expect it to be your parents that pull you into an addiction, but in my case, it was my Dad who gave me the gateway drug — a jigsaw. When I got it home and tried it for the first time, I was terrified. I was cutting through some thin hardwood from Home Depot, cutting it down to use it as a chalkboard, and unbeknownst to me I had the wrong blade on it and it was on the wrong setting. It chewed through the board like a Tasmanian Devil, leaving a jagged, toothy edge, terrifying me in the process.  The blade seemed as likely to take a turn and head for my hand as to cut through the wood.  I almost put it away and forgot about it, but, instead, did a little bit of research, got a new blade, and tried again. Soon, I was cutting everything that stood still long enough for me to get a hold of it. This was great for a while, but, pretty soon, I realized that cutting wood was only step one. I needed something to help me use the wood I was cutting.

A nail gun.

It seemed simple enough — I found some on Amazon that cost under $50. I was about to click “add to cart” when my eye fell on something in one of the reviews about an air compressor. Crap. That seemed entirely too complicated and scary and expensive. But every project I was pinning lately involved a nail gun. So after spending a little time on the Internet, I found a refurbished Bosch nail gun with a compressor for around $140. When it got here, the huge box sat in the corner of the living room for weeks because I was too intimidated to get it out and try to learn it. Finally, I sat down one evening with Justin and we figured it all out. When I pulled the trigger for the first time, he moved to the other side of the kitchen. No faith, I’m telling you. It really is kind of scary — it makes a loud noise and emits a puff of air strong enough to make you think something is hitting your cheek. I still wince every time I use it, but it’s SO easy and SO nice.

I am now having the BEST TIME out in the garage, trying to come up with things to make with my nifty new tools. Along with that closet full of wood I got at the auction some time back for $1, I recently bought a pile of barn wood for $50 — pretty expensive, truthfully, for what I ended up with, but there should be enough there to make it worth the money. Right now, I’m focusing on some Christmas projects, because the Holiday Market Shara and I are selling at is November 16th and Daisies and Olives Holiday Open House is November 22nd. I’ve made a couple of trays that I picture being used as hot cocoa trays or just holiday decorations for coffee tables or buffets:

And I’ve gotten quite handy at these scrap-wood Christmas trees:

And I’m trying to do some kind of caddies — I’m thinking of them for Christmas greenery, maybe, or to hold silverware on a buffet for a holiday party…this is kind of the idea but this one needs some work.


None of the pieces are perfect, but I’m hoping that as I continue, I’ll keep getting better at building them. And they’re supposed to look kind of homemade and rudimentary, so that’s a plus. It’s just so fun to nail something together and have it turn out kind of how you pictured in your head. By the way, on the trays and trees, I’m using the painting technique described by my hero over on Beyond the Picket Fence.

I need to make some more signs for the booth, though, at the same time I’m working on this holiday stuff. I don’t want to do any of this while the kids are up, since I don’t want them around the jigsaw or nail gun (duh!) so right now I can only work on stuff while they’re napping or after they go to bed. If only I didn’t need to sleep…


October 31, 2013 - 9:47 pm

Shannon LOVE everything here!

October 31, 2013 - 11:11 pm

Shara YOU are my hero. I have always wanted to learn how to use power tools. I get an idea in m head and I think, “I could DO that” if I knew how to use a saw, use a nail gun, blah, blah, blah. The things you are making are DA BOMB. Love those trees and they trays and the caddy is awesome too. We are going to have a GREAT booth!

November 1, 2013 - 9:57 am

Heidi@TheMerryMagpieVintage I’m completely impressed because I’m fairly sure that I would chop off all of my fingers. I love those caddies! have you ever tried anything bigger, like one of those little garden benches? I have 2 old ones that I’ve bought and love them. They don’t look at all hard to put together and they’re a useful item–I’m always on the lookout for them at sales.

November 1, 2013 - 10:33 am

Crystal in Texas Wow! Is just all I can say! I seriously am so impressed with these beautiful items you are making…how do you letter your things? Do you use stencils…please don’t tell me you just free-hand…I might just expire from envy!
And you and Shara are my heroes…my sister and I are planning to go on a thrifting trip up your way in the next six months or so…we will definitely have to check out your booths!
Anyway, great, great job!

November 8, 2013 - 8:10 am

Chelsea Green The Merry and Bright Tray is awesome!

November 11, 2013 - 9:37 am

Lara Jo THANKS, Chelsea!!! Hmmmm…maybe SOMEONE will be getting one for Christmas! 🙂

November 11, 2013 - 9:41 am

Lara Jo Thanks, Crystal, I really appreciate it. Free-hand???? Never in a million years. I even had to trace that simple snowflake that’s on the Merry and Bright tray — I can’t draw ANYTHING. I am so envious of those that can. I’m using my Silhouette machine for most of it — I have cut costs by using Contact paper instead of the vinyl that the company sells and I use that to make stencils. Because it’s supposed to look old, it doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect, which it rarely is, because the wood is so textured it’s hard to stay in the lines even using a stencil. And then for some things (like the snowflake), I’m tracing using carbon paper, which was about $7 for a pack of 25 carbon sheets and that will last me YEARS — I can use on sheet on tons of signs.

A THRIFTING TRIP? Be still my heart! I’m so envious. I have been threatening to head out your way to Texas for a while now. It seems like you have a ton of great thrift stores and I have been lurking on the Dallas, Ft. Worth, and Houston Craigslist ads for a while and MAN is there a lot of good stuff out there! You have to let us know when you’re coming and maybe we can all get together!

November 11, 2013 - 9:44 am

Lara Jo Heidi, I cannot use the jigsaw yet without flinching the entire time. Someone should video tape me, I’m sure it’s hilarious. It just seems like it would be SO EASY to have a horrible accident with that thing. I have not tried a garden bench yet, but that woman at the site I’ve been linking to (Beyond the Picket Fence) builds all sorts of things like that and it all looks fantastic. I’m not the most precise of builders, yet, so I think I need to get better at measuring and cutting in a straight line before I try to build anything bigger than what I’m doing right now.