Monday, June 10, 2013

Runner's Tchotchkes

It's definitely running season around here. Not that we have thousands of people running here and there but you can catch at least one or two of them every day while "running" (i.e. driving) around town. Plus, as I am on the event committee for our town's only half-marathon race that culminates this Saturday (finally!), I am keenly aware of those people trucking down a street in pursuit of a finish line somewhere even if it's just returning back to their house or other point of origin.

I made the following running inspired items trying to find a classy or at least unique way to display the tokens that every runner who registered for some sort of race is bound to have and not know exactly what to do with other than throw away or stow in a box or drawer.

Bib Number Coasters

How They Are Made

This simple project in which I found one of my more generic bib numbers, probably from some high school or college track or cross country race or a smaller road race, and used Mod Podge Hard Coat to adhere it to basic glass tiles from a local home improvement store is an elegant solution to display this badge of honor.

I went to Hobby Lobby and picked out some fun scrapbook paper sheets and then cut my bib number with an exacto knife. I then traced the tiles onto the scrapbook paper so I had four squares that surrounds the bib on each tile. I then trace the bib piece onto the scrapbook paper to get the shape right and then cut our the portion where the bib would fill. I used a foam craft brush to apply the Mod Podge to the back of the bib and the scrapbook paper then placed it onto each tile. I let it dry as per the bottle's instructions and then put two layers of Mod Podge over the top of the whole tile to let dry and create the hard coaster surface.

I then got a roll of cork with a self-adhesive back and cut out squares to place on the backside. I think the coasters work perfectly for drinks and other items while giving me a fun way to display an old bib. I liked how this one turned out so much, I think I'll do another!

Race Bib and Medal Display Plaque

I saw this idea on Pinterest and had to see if I could duplicate it with a few revisions compared to the designs I saw. I made it for my husband for Christmas as a motivator as long winters in Nebraska and then the following spring can sometimes make it quite difficult to keep up a running routine. It is hung right next to our closet so he walks by it every day.

I bought a pre-routed piece of wood from Walmart to start as I didn't feel like messing with trying to route one myself although that would have been a little cheaper. I then just spray-painted it black and stenciled the text at the top. I used a silver sharpie and it worked perfectly!

I then got some hooks and pre-drilled the holes and placed them on the face and the bottom of the plaque for the medals to hang. I think I may need to add 2 more hooks--one on each end, to complete the look and allow for more room to hang but I wanted to see how three would look. I was a little unsure what distance to place the hooks for the bibs since not all bibs have standard sizes or even where the holes are placed. Since I didn't want to put more holes in the bib and ruin any other graphics on it, I thought why not use the same safety pins you use to pin it to your shirt? This has seemed to work great and adds a little more interest and nostalgia to the piece.

I think my husband will be able to fit quite a few bibs on there until he runs out of room. Now medals on the other hand, 3 hooks will not be enough! That's a good thing though. I can always make another wall hanging....or start using them as cat toys!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Peaceful Patio

After last summer, I could not wait until we could sit outside with a drink in one hand and my feet up enjoying some sort of delicious grilled meal and enjoy a little world of my own. You see last summer/fall my husband and I spent most of it racing to finish literally a ton of concrete that became our back driveway, sidewalk and back patio. More on that in a future posting.

That season is over now but the following summer (right now to be exact) is the perfect time for us to get out and finally enjoy that new patio area. And what would a calming backyard get-away be without the bubbling sounds of water to listen to and pass the time.

So I stopped by our local home improvement store to see what kind of fountains they had and not to my surprise--not a lot. And the ones that they did have were either way too expensive for what I was looking for, too large for our space, or involved some sort of fake broken looking pot, a water wheel, gnomes and driftwood, or some other chintzy looking motif.

So on to the internet I went to see what could be found. Of course, "the answer box" presented me with a load of ideas on how to make your own. So make my own I did since the cost was considerably cheaper plus I could make it look more like what I wanted.

Most of the DIY examples involved using a flower pot so I went looking for one that wouldn't look quite so much like I put a fountain directly in a flower pot.

Here is the finished product:

DIY patio fountain

I still need to make some adjustments as the sealer I used on the inside of the pot does not seem to be working as well as I hoped. Since the base is an un-glazed clay pot, if not sealed properly, not only will water continue to seep through but over time it can eventually deteriorate the pot itself. No worries though since I have an option of using another type of brush-able sealer later. In efforts to get this put together for this past week's family visit I went with what I had on-hand.

I used a 140 GPH pump with about a foot of 1/2" tubing to connect to the fountain spout. The platform on top is actually a ceiling fan diffuser that I spray-painted with Rustoleum Hammered Metal spray paint. It worked perfectly since there is plenty of venting for the water to filter into the pot plus the fountain spout rests perfectly in the center once removing the center section of the diffuser with tin snips. I also cut a small section out of one of the tiers to allow enough room to squeeze the plug end of the fountain connected to the pump through. Again, it worked perfectly!

Ceiling fan diffuser before
DIY patio fountain
Finished ceiling fan diffuser used as top platform

The pot I used as the base I got on clearance for $15  and then sealed the drain hole on the bottom with epoxy. The rocks I got for free over Memorial weekend when visiting my family. They live near a lake that has these type of stones along the top of some water breakers near one of the marinas/camp areas.

DIY patio fountain

I bought a round paver stone to use just as a little platform, elevating the whole fountain slightly and giving it a little more presence.

I was happy to find a pot that coordinated well with the rest of our outdoor decor even matching a large square metal flower pot I already had. My husband said that without the rocks and fountain on top it looked more like an ash-tray. I kind of agreed but I think it looks much better now that it is finished.

The whole project cost around $60--it is hard to find much of anything of this size at that price range off-the-shelf. The labor was fairly minimal (except for an error in mixing the epoxy in which that step had to be repeated) and compared to any other fountain I had seen in person or online, I liked the look of this one much better. I like that it is a more modern take on the DIY flower pot fountain examples I found and it gives our outdoor space a relaxing and calming sound to enjoy dinner, evenings with neighbors, games with friends and family or just a few minutes sitting outside and enjoying the weather.