Last summer, in the midst of the August showers, a neighboring building lost a beautiful maple tree in a major thunderstorm. It was quickly disassembled by the electric company, presumably so it wouldn't fall onto the power lines. And there it sat. For weeks.
Then, a month or so later, I heard a loud grind out of my open windows (horray for open window weather!), and spied a big truck with a wood chipper in their yard.
"Surely," I thought, "they're just gonna grind up the small stuff and use the trunk for something." But, they just kept throwing in big, beautiful chunks of pure hardwood, turning it into mulch. I immediately rushed out and asked if I could have what hadn't been chopped.
The guy was very hesitant (apparently no one had ever proposed such a crazy thing), but allowed me to escape with an armful straight limbs and branches (sadly, no trunk segments) as long as I promised not to tell anyone. So, don't repeat that.
My branches have been seasoning and drying all fall and winter, and are now ready to be turned into all kinds of fun "bring the outdoors in" projects. First up, these playful tree branch magnets which cost a mere $1.00 and some glue to make, and can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes.
This simple twig pencil project is a great way to add a little rustic, outdoor charm to your office or workspace. Or, it could make a great spring project to do with kids, and a smart way to reuse all the fallen branches and tree limbs that come along with these April showers.
A tree branch slice coaster is a wonder of simplicity: it's rustic, it's organic, it's functional, and adds some outdoor style to your coffee table. And they're easy to make, costing you much less than buying a set; you just gotta know what you're doing.
I'm digging this rustic, cabin-look wall hanger DIY project, which adds some vibe, visual interest, and plenty of storage. The how-to comes from The Effortless Chic
With winter finally making its way out of our lives (for now), there's a whole lotta cleaning to do. Inside? Sure, but this also includes trimming all of those "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows"-looking branches and debris from your yard from all those record setting wind storms this year (yes, that happened too.)
If you've been around the design and craft blogosphere in the last five years, you've probably seen Bryan Nash Gill's "Woodcut" series, where the artist makes large-scale relief prints from crosscut sections of actual tree trunks and limbs.
Gill is about to release his first book of prints,
8-Tracks never made it, cassettes are harder and harder to find, and CDs are certainly on their way out, but the vinyl record? Here. To. Stay.
If you head to any flea market, thrift store, or charity shop, you'll find plenty of functional, yet ugly and worn out, turntables and record players. What to do? Take them home, rip out the guts, and install on a nice slice of wood.
Looking to spice up your living room walls on a budget? Well I cam across Debra Pagel's wood slice wall sculptures on Etsy and thought to myself, "Wow that's really cool stuff. And that's actually something I could make!" It's not often that such realizations come to me (my tiny NYC apartment isn't exactly conducive to many sculpture projects).
It's been crazy windy in my neighborhood this week. So much so that I've had to turn around early from two bike rides, and head outside at sunrise to pick up my recycling from all over the street in my pajamas.
But there's one good thing about windy weather: all the sticks, branches, and limbs that show up on the sidewalk, ready to be taken home and made into something.
I sorta have a problem with reading the wish lists and gift guides of my fellow design and DIY bloggers. I can't help it; I love getting a peak into the real lives or my peers, as well as the opportunity to learn about cool new stuff.
This year, I kept noticing one item pop up in lots of lists: the Enchanted Forest iPhone Dock from Anthropologie. It's a fun nature-meets-technology way to stand and display your iPod or iPhone. It's awesome, but at $100, it's a lot to pay for something that doesn't have speakers, a clock, or even a way to plug it into the wall. Of course, the fact that it's 100% wood and doesn't sport any fancy electronics means something else:
It's easy to make one at home.
If you've got a drill, some sort of saw, and a spare iPod USB cable, you can whip one up in an hour or two for absolutely free! I'm pretty sure this is the world's best Christmas gift for iPhone owners, especially cause it's handmade! I'm giving mine to my sweetheart (she's been banned from ManMade and all its networks until Christmas morning).
I'm a huge fan of bringing in natural elements whilst maintaing a modern aesthetic, so I think this tree branch coffee table is as cool as it gets. Especially since its handmade, and super easy to DIY.
At first, it appears to be a collection of solid branches, but the step-by-step photos reveal its a lot easier (and less expensive) than it seems.