What shall I do with that pile of old wood then?

What is it about men and wood?

I find it hard to resist walking past a pile of wood, without scavenging any. My cellar bears witness to my obsession with picking up bits of wood off the street.

Last Friday evening was a typical example of my obsession. Walking back to the car after work, I came across three wooden pallets that had been abandoned by the bins. The car was too far away to haul the pallets. I needed to be elsewhere, and could not come back straight away to collect the wood.

All Friday evening and Saturday morning, there was a nagging feeling that I should have got the wood. My mind just refused to let it go. So I took a detour on Saturday afternoon, and collected the wood.

scrap pallet wood
scrap pallet wood

This time there was a legitimate reason though, as I’d wanted to make a scrap wood planter for quite some time. In my mind’s eye, I saw a rustic trough with carry handles, and stencilling on the sides.

I took a break from my usual weekend furniture painting, and set aside a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon, to explore and create.

My partner Rebecca was attending a seminar on Sunday. I wanted to welcome her home with a gift that I’d made myself.

The construction was very simple. The timber was square-cut, without mitre joints. The ends were screwed together, with the handles attached at the back and sides, to provide added stability.


The handles were made by splitting the timber lengthways. I used scrap marine ply for the floor, and made drainage holes, using a flat drill bit.

I further refined the design, by creating a simple set of legs, to lift the bottom off the floor.

The outside was then roughly sanded with 80 grit paper, and then stencilled with very simple design.

Rebecca was very pleased with her surprise present.

Pallet wood trough

What shall I do with that old tweed jacket?

Tweed is having a moment once again. We’re seeing it everywhere. Not just on geography teachers, but also on young trend setters.

Graceson Emporium in tweed cap. Image by Saskia Nelson

There is now a plentiful supply of old tweed jackets on the market. Some obviously in better condition than others.

My Partner Rebecca who is a magician with a sewing machine has  recycled old tweed jackets on a number of projects around our home, including cushions, purses and slip cases for our I-Pads.

I also wanted to incorporate tweed on an upholstery project of my own. This old oak stool seemed to be the ideal small project to undertake. It was all a little too brown to suit my taste.

Oak Stool awaiting makeover by GracesonEmporium
Oak Stool awaiting makeover by GracesonEmporium

I carefully removed the existing covering, saving the upholstery pins and wadding, to reuse on the finished item.

Next, the legs and main body were painted in Annie Sloan Country Grey chalk paint, and finished with a coat of clear beeswax.

I used  Instagram to get feedback on the choice of fabric for the seat. Tweed was the overwhelming favourite. We have a drawer full of cut up old tweed jackets, left over from various projects, so it was simply a case of hunting for a piece that was wide enough. In the end, Rebecca joined two pieces, to give me something wide enough to work with.

Oak Stool_Work in progress
Oak Stool_Work in progress

I’m very pleased with the finished result. What do you think?