Monthly Archives: July 2014

  • Introduction to Picnic Basket Crafting

    Picnic baskets have evolved from traditional to stylishly modern. Whether you’re having a picnic in your own backyard or at the park, basic picnic basket crafting can be done with relative ease. Customize a basket to match your personality and you’ll be getting compliments in no time!  The key to getting started is to work with what you already have! Intro Environmental Safety

    You can easily transform an old wicker basket. First, paint the outside of the basket in any color you like. Then sand the basket down to give it a vintage look. You may want to stain it too. To line the inside of the basket, use an old piece of fabric; be resourceful!

    Place the basket on top of the fabric and trace the bottom. Before cutting the material, add about an inch all the way around to allow for any mistakes. Then measure around the top circumference of the basket. Again, add about an inch and a half to the measurement before cutting.

    Sew some lining together with fabric and add pockets for silverware and napkins. Test the material by pinning it to the inside of the basket. Once you see that it fits, sew the pieces together and you’re done!

    Another version of revamping a basket you already have is to simply loop a leather belt through a basket that has cut out handles. It is a quick and easy way to put your own stamp on a traditional basket.

    Next, you may have a old fruit crate lying around the backyard. This is the perfect piece to turn into a usable picnic basket. Paint the bars, tie cloth material on the insides with ribbon, and use wood glue to add a handle. As an alternative to a wooden handle, use a strong old scarf you may have in the back of the closet. Just be sure to tie it tightly so it doesn’t fall off when you are holding your new picnic basket!

    Finally, a little love and care can turn a canvas bag into a useful picnic bag. Spray paint or design the outside, and sew some material on the inside to create a pocket for cutlery, napkins and, water bottles, and other necessities.

  • Intermediates: Laying the Foundation for Covered Spaces

    Laying the foundation for covered spaces, like garages, requires prep work. With a solid plan in place, the work can be completed within a weekend. Before starting your project, keep in mind that large-scale extensions and new covered spaces likely require approval from your local building department. Once you have those formalities settled, a correctly drained foundation can be installed. Intro Environmental Safety

    For garages, mark out the area of the floor you’ll be working with using spray paint. Draw out the floor plan to scale on graph paper. The ground that the foundation will be laid over should be level and drained. This can be done by digging three inches into the soil and filling with pea gravel. Ensure the gravel is firmly patted down.

    Footings need to be taken care of next – they are the trenches that run along the inside perimeter of the slab. Digging down at least eight inches is best. Each trench should be at least four inches wide. When the slab is poured, it will anchor the concrete pad in place.

    Next, lay half-inch rebar in the trench on small rocks or chunks of cinder block so that they are held up at least two inches from the bottom of the footing trench. Build a 2 x 6 frame around the rim of the footing trench and hold the frame in place with stakes that are pounded into the ground.

    When you are ready to pour the slab, lay down 4 x 4 crib wire and more rebar. It’s best to keep the rebar and wire tied together to keep the slab from cracking as the ground moves over the years. Pour the footings first and agitate the concrete as it is being poured or pumped with an electric vibrator or a wooden tamp. This will get all of the air bubbles out of the mix.

    When the footings have been poured and secured, pour the main slab. While it’s easiest to have it pumped in, this can also be done manually but you’ll likely need the help of some friends who can maneuver the cement flat with shovels.

    Once the concrete is poured, it will need to be leveled. A 2 x 4 lumber can be used to tamp down the mixture by moving it back and forth quickly. Low spots will need to be filled with cement and then leveled down again. This needs to be done as quickly as possible because the concrete may start to stiffen within 30 minutes depending on the temperature.

    Once the concrete slab has leveled out, the finishing process entails using a steel pole trowel to float the surface of the slab. Keep at it until you’re sure there are no bumps. Once the slab is shiny and smooth, let it set until it begins to dry out.

  • A Beginner's Guide: Innovative Garden Party Decorations

    A step up from your standard "backyard party," the term “garden party” is usually associated with elegant food, décor, and entertainment. For something extra special, many couples enjoy having friends and family over for garden parties. To “wow” guests, innovative decorations are a must. Decorations do not have to be complicated and expensive. Colorful and consistent, the best decorations work well with the space, first and foremost. Intro Environmental Safety

      First, consider everyday items from your house that can be spruced up. Turning coffee creamers and eccentric glasses in your cupboard into unusual vases is attractive, easy, and unexpected.

      Float flowers in a fountain for added color and elegance. If your garden does not have a fountain or water feature, position rustic buckets and pails throughout your garden space. Throw in floating candles for added charm.

      Lighting has a big impact on the look of any party. If you are holding a function that will go into the evening, consider using innovative candlelight decorations. For example, line the route to your garden with luminaries. Or, for something more simple, fill plain brown bags with sand and stick a jar inside with a candle.

      For lighting on the tables, carve out the tops of fruit such as apples and pears and pop in small votive candles. Dot these around the table to add an earthy tone to the décor.

      If your event is sit-down, consider using natural garden materials for the name cards. Attach cards to blooming flowers from your garden with colorful ribbon. Leaves from the plants in your garden also work in this scenario.

      If the event is a little more informal with a buffet-style option, use small clay flowerpots as cutlery holders. Place forks, spoons, and knives in three separate pots and decorate the pots with chalk.

      As with any event, implement these ideas where they make sense. All suggestions do not have to be done at one event. Adjust your decorations accordingly depending on the size and style of your garden party. The most important element is fun.

  • Advanced: How to Build a Roof over your Head

    Building a roof over the weekend is not an easy task, but it is not impossible for advanced Weekend Warriors. There are many elements to consider when attempting to build a pitched roof. First, you’ll want to decide on what type of roof design you would like. Intro Environmental Safety

    The two most popular types of pitched roofs are gables and hips. A gable roof has two sides and comes together at a high point, usually right in the middle of the house. A hip roof has four sides and all sides slope downwards to the walls, usually with a gentle slope.

    Depending on your location, a more steep roof may be better than a gently sloped roof. For example, in areas that receive high annual snowfalls, steep pitches are more common as the slope sheds snow and ice more easily and prevents too much build-up from weighing down the roof.

    In addition to power tools and construction equipment you can purchase from EquipSupply.com, you will also need these four main elements to build a pitched roof:

      1. Wooden joists that will support the weight of the roof.
      2. A breathable membrane which keeps the rain out while the roof is being built, offering an extra layer of protection to any water that gets through the outside layer of the roof. In some older houses, roofing felt is used in place of breathable membrane. The membrane is placed over the joists and nailed in. Nails should be stainless steel or hot dipped galvanized to withstand moist conditions.
      3. Wooden lumber, which is tanilised (pressure treated with tanilith) to protect them from moisture. The lumber pieces are fixed to the joists with nails through the breathable membrane.
      4. A tile covering to provide waterproofing for the layers below. It can be slate, clay, or concrete.

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