Sunday, April 24, 2011

Baseball Bat Table

Baseball bat table? I know, it definitely sounds weird. I didn’t know what to think when I was skimming through one of my weekly craft emails and saw a link for a baseball bat nightstand, but I had to check it out. When I read this post from the wonderful blog, Love of Home & Family I was super-excited for two reasons: one, I had a baseball bat that I found at a thrift store and had never put to use and two, I had a baby shower coming up for my newest nephew and the theme for his nursery is none other than sports! I just knew it was meant to be and couldn’t wait to get started!
The first thing I had to do was find an old table to use as the base and top. I threw around the idea of buying the wood from Home Depot and cutting it to shape myself, but the price was going to jump way over my budget and the tools required weren’t readily available to me in the short timeline I had to complete the project (about two weeks).
I spent over a week searching Craigslist for possible end tables, nightstands and plant stands to make the project work, but I came up empty-handed… until 3 days before we were leaving for the baby shower in Wichita. The Tuesday before we were leaving for our weekend getaway, I did my usual Craigslist search and couldn’t believe that the perfect table candidate had been posted the day before. I swapped emails with the owner and finally picked up the table on Wednesday over my lunch break.
Once I had the tables (I actually purchased two because they were plant stands that came as a pair) I immediately called my Dad to see if he was free that evening to help me work some power tools (Caton was out of town on business that week and we have decided it’s probably not best for me to use power tools by myself at home without him – hehe) and luckily, he was. After work, I went home to grab my baseball bat and headed over to my parents’ house for a quick dinner and we got to work. I forgot my camera (I was so anxious and excited to get over there and get to work), so I’ll have to show you the finished product. Here is a quick run-down of what we he did: (1) Detach the top and base from the center post of the table. (2) Use a hand saw to cut off a tiny sliver of the base of the bat (where your hands grip the bat) to make it even  (the top of the bat had a bigger surface area and he felt it was smooth enough to fit flush against the top of the table). (3) Take the sander attachment of the Dremel and use it to smooth out the bottom of the bat that had just been sawed off. This step was an afterthought once we realized the cut hadn’t been made perfectly even and the table was going to lean slightly to one side once it was put together. (4) Pre-drill holes into the top and bottom of the bat and then screw the top and base of the table to the bat. And, ta-da, you have this:

I was so excited that it worked! Later that night, once I drove home as slowly as possible so the newly assembled table wouldn’t roll around too much and snap apart, I decided to get it prepped and get a coat of paint on it (since it was already Wednesday evening and we were leaving Friday afternoon). First, I took some wood putty and fill the screw holes (and any other imperfections), let it dry and sand it off for an even finish with the wood.  

Next, I took some old grocery ads from our recycling bin and taped them around the bat since I knew I didn’t want any paint to cover the authentic coloring it already had. Then, I took a can of white primer spray paint (although I could have just as easily used a can of paint and a brush, but I had the spray primer on hand) and coated the top and bottom about 3-4 times.

Once that was dry (it only took about 10 minutes for each coat to dry), I decided to get the baseball seams on the table before I called it a night. I used a suggestion made by Love of Family & Home and got a glass dinner plate to trace each half circle with a pencil, then I drew in all of the seams by hand and traced the whole thing with a red Sharpie (although I could have just as easily used a small brush and some craft paint, but I had the Sharpie on hand and thought a marker would give me more control and precision than a paintbrush). 

The next evening, after everything was 100% dry, I finally talked myself into trying to paint home plate on the base of the table. I used a ruler to draw the straight lines and then outlined the entire thing with a black Sharpie.

Next, I took some brown paint that I picked up on sale at Micheals, poured it on a plate and used a sponge brush to dab the paint all around the plate to look like dirt. What do you think?!

So, at the end of night one (although, I took the picture the following morning), this was the final result.

Even though I went to work on Thursday morning thinking the project was complete, I had been debating back and forth about whether or not to try to antique the baseball portion of the table and was especially nervous since I had never tried to antique anything (yes, antique is being used as a verb here!), but in the end I decided it would look best. So, when I got home from work that evening, I poured out a good pile of the paint I had used for the dirt and soaked up a good amount. After I rubbed it all over a small portion of the table, I took an old rag and wiped it off, leaving behind a small amount of brown that made the baseball look old and used, just how I wanted it to appear. I didn’t take any action shots since I was so nervous I would leave the paint on too long, but here is an after shot.

I just loved it! In fact, I loved it so much that I called it done and decided this was the final product… until I realized how extremely white the home plate looked, especially with the newly-antiqued baseball. And let’s be serious, home plate rarely looks this clean and perfect, expect for the minute before the game actually begins. I had debated back and forth on whether or not I should do the exact same antiquing method I had used for the baseball, or if I should change it up. In the end, I decided to change it up a bit, so I took more brown paint and another (smaller) sponge brush and started putting the paint all over home plate in small, imprecise strokes that made it look good, but not too good and dirty, but not too dirty… sorry I don’t have a technological term for that particular method of painting. Hehe So, in the end, this was my final product and first homemade gift for our newest nephew!

I seriously cannot get enough of it and can’t wait to see what it looks like in his sports-themed nursery! I gave it to Erica and Dan a few weekends ago at their baby shower and it was a huge hit!

Speaking of Erica's baby shower, I want to throw in another quick project that I did for the shower gift. You may remember me mentioning these awesome baseball and basketball frames in this post.

I took out the back and glass, laid them out on some cardboard in the backyard and covered them with silver spray paint that we already had laying around for other projects. What do you think?! It's pretty amazing what a few coats of silver spray paint can do to liven up (and modernize) a few picture frames. Love!

So, there you have it! I could not be more excited to give these super-personlized and made-with-love gifts to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and know that they will fit so perfectly in their new nursery. Now we just have to wait and see if the little guy is a sports fan!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bargain Shopping - March 2011

I mentioned in this post that I love bargain shopping, so I decided to do another post about all of the items I found throughout the month of March. Maybe it will be a new monthly tradition to post about the great deals I have found over the last month?! Then, I’ll do follow-up posts throughout the next few weeks to show how I’ve transformed the not-so-pretty findings that someone gave away into super-cute treasures that I can’t wait to display in our home or give as gifts. Here are the items that made their way into my shopping cart over the month of March:

I fell in love with this blue vase (that came from the floral company, FTD - I know this thanks to the sticker left on the bottom) from the second I saw its overwhelming powder blue color adorable little dots. It may mean absolutely nothing to anyone else walking down the aisles of your local Savers store, but to me it was perfect because it matches our dishware we received for our wedding. We LOVE that this piece will match our everyday dinnerware that can be found here and our serving pieces that can be found here! Regardless of the fact that I would never be able to get the color to match perfectly even if I tried, I love the idea of painting this new dotted piece in a bold blue or red, or maybe a bright yellow?!         
When I saw this black Butter Crock I couldn’t believe that it was sitting on the shelf at Savers. Holy cow! I shared my love for our Butter Crock in this post and still can’t get enough of ours. Since the price tag on these little guys is around $20.00-$30.00 in the retail stores, I knew this was going to be one of my best finds ever! It didn’t hurt that it looked like it had never been used a single day of its life; I would bet someone received it and had no idea what to do with it or why they got it in the first place, so they just gave it away. Lucky me!

I was so pumped when I came across these basketball and baseball picture frames. I don’t know if you can tell from the picture here, but they are solid metal and must have cost a pretty little penny when they were originally purchased. The detail is just amazing, they are super sturdy (and heavy) and have a felt back.  I found these just weeks after learning that my brother-in-law and sister-in-law were going to decorate their future son’s nursery in a sports theme. Ahhh, so perfect! I had to look beyond the yellow gold, but I have, and I’ll show you the results soon!

Plates and candlesticks have been on my radar for a few months now, ever since seeing a fun project idea in a DYI craft email I received. These white plates and candlesticks didn’t catch my attention as I walked by them separately, and a couple aisles apart, but when I remembered the shape of the plates as I walked by the candlesticks I couldn’t believe how well they matched. Let’s just say I turned on my super speed walking abilities to go back and grab the plates before they were snatched up. I know, I know, they don’t match exactly. But I think the octagon shaped plates and the hexagon shaped candle sticks look pretty amazing together. I have big plans for these geometrically shaped pieces. More to come!

I had just wrapped up a trip to Savers when I dropped by a nearby Dollar Tree on the way home, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. The Dollar Tree (you know, the place where everything is one dollar) was selling plates & bowls that had none other than... dots! Can you believe it?! I couldn’t resist picking up one of each, just to bring them home and see how closely they resemble our Crate & Barrel version. Of course, they don’t match exactly and they’re not nearly as high quality or pristine as our beloved dishware, but I thought it was so cool. I have no idea what I will do with them, but I’ll keep you posted.

Holy cow! Just call March the “month of dots”. I was shocked and excited to walk into our local Salvation Army with Caton and see this white dotted pitcher sitting in the front window. And no, this wasn’t the Dollar Spot version of dots; I’m fairly certain this pattern is an exact match to our serving pieces from C&B. The $4.95 price tag looked a bit steep for a Salvation Army purchase, but Caton and I both felt great with the price knowing how expensive our real-deal stuff can be and we’re positive we are getting one-heck-of-a deal with this one! Isn’t it adorable? I can’t wait to display it in the middle of our dining room table, maybe with a pretty bouquet of tulips or daisies that my adorable husband has brought home for me on a whim... because, you know, he's amazing and he does that!
Here is a quick breakdown of my spending for the month:
Blue vase – $3.99
Butter Crock – $2.99
Basketball & baseball frames – $3.99 each
Plates & candlesticks - $0.99 each (plates) & $1.99 each (candlesticks)
Plate & bowl - $1.00 each
White dotted pitcher - $4.95

Total for the month of March - $27.87
Not too shabby considering I am getting at least 3 gifts out of these great finds (I’ll post about the projects once they’re completed and the gifts are given/received)! I know a couple of you loyal readers have mentioned you want to go thrift shopping with me and I am all for it. I’m thinking a nice girls day of shopping – a sunny Saturday afternoon, thrifting around town and a happy hour with the boys to wrap up the day (you know, so we can show off our great deals to the husbands/boyfriends). Now, let’s schedule a date!