Category Archives: reuse

remix: umbrella table


During a barbeque this past summer, Terry converted this picnic table into an umbrella table. The table umbrellas are mounted on a pole runnung through the table into a base. Terry began with a sun umbrella that had no base.

drill a hole in the plywood picnic table topper

He covered the top of the picnic table with a plywood cut to size, then drilled a hole — just large enough to accommodate the umbrella pole — through the plywood and the table below

table cross piece to act as an umbrella base

Under the table he mounted a board to serve as the base for the umbrella.

an extra piece of 2.4 for stability

The final touch was an extra piece of 2.4 for stability. Bravo Terry!

Remix Umbrella Table

Just add tablecloth and serve!

doll house


doll house front

Several years ago I built this durable doll house to barbie doll scale. The wood was largely bits and pieces I had laying about in my workshop.


The bathtub feet are wooden beads; the mirror is a picture frame with silver foil paper inside. I used baker’s clay to mold the bathtub and sinks, and there’s a nice detail shot in the baker’s clay article. .


The wall paper and matching curtains came out of wallpaper books I got from small decorating store. The curtains were hung on craft dowels.

Living Room
A woven placemat became the livingroom carpet; a framed greeting card became the artwork.

Front Door
Picture hanging hooks served as the coat hooks beside the front door, as well as the front door handles.

Kitchen Sink detail

Miscellaneous fasteners and L-hooks became taps and faucets.


Scraps from my own kitchen curtain were used for the main floor curtains.
opening the front door

I would have loved this when I was a kid.

the back of the doll house

I made it up as I went along, and it was great fun figuring it out and making it.



Frisian Flag

Opa is still most comfortable gardening in his wooden shoes, or klompen. Wood or not, over time holes are worn right through the wood in the vicinity of the toes. When that happens, it means it’s time to get new klompen.

But what of the old ones?

make a planter

This works best with two wooden shoes, because they can be hung from the string that ties them together.

If you want them to last, start with a plastic bag ~ milk bags* work quite nicely. It works best to start with a seedling that will fit into the bag with a little extra soil, and then the bag can be inserted into the wooden shoe. I expect you could do this without the bag, but then the klomp will break down much faster.
Flag og Groningen
It is important to pull the tip of the bag through the opening worn through the toe. Once a corner of the plastic bag is outside the shoe, it can be punctured for drainage. When you water the plants (best done daily, and carefully) the excess water drips out the wooden shoe toe.  (As you might imagine, this type of planter is best employed out of doors.)

Naturally, they can be decorated any way you like. I chose to paint mine with flags from the Nederland provinces of Friesland and Groningen.
wooden shoe hanging planters

Milk bags* are the most common way milk is sold in Ontario. Originally, there were three 1 quart clear plastic bags of milk packaged together in a larger opaque bag. When Canada went metric in the 1970’s, they started selling 4 litre bags of milk, but they kept three interior clear plastic bags inside, now each holding 1 1/3 litres of milk.

In case you’re wondering how we get the milk out of the bag and into our cereal without making a horrendous mess, you’ll be pleased to know the milk bags fit inside handy milk pitchers. Once the sealed bag of milk is settled inside the pitcher, you cut off the top corner of the bag and pour from there. It works a treat. 🙂

As you can imagine, these bags are durable and if washed out immediately, can safely be reused as a freezer bag for storing food… or as a planter bag for your klompen.