My Two Bits

Repurposing A Thrift Store Coffee Table into a Bench

Several years ago I purchased a coffee table and two end tables at a thrift store for $75.00 for all three tables. Since then, we’ve moved to our home on the lake and the tables just didn’t ‘work’ here. I’ve had the coffee table at the foot of my bed as a pseudo bench, but the black wrought iron frame and reddish wood top just looked fonky. I had been looking around on the web for a *real* bench to put at the foot of the bed, one that would go with my tufted leather headboard. But, after seeing the prices… then the shipping charges… there was no way I would be going that route.

That’s when it dawned on me that I could use the coffee table! Repaint the frame to coordinate with the metal wall art above the headboard, and pad, cover, and tuft the top of the table to coordinate with my headboard; and all for less than $100.

  • 2 cans Rustoleum/Krylon Hammered Brown Spray paint ($4.50/each)
  • 1 can Rustoleum/Krylon Hammered Metallic Copper Spray paint ($4.50)
  • 2 yards (I ordered 2x what I actually needed just in case) chocolate faux leather ($44.00 – including shipping)
  • 1 foam twin mattress topper – 1-1/2″ thick ($19.99)
  • Twin flat sheet ($0 – had an extra already)
  • 10 1-1/2″ cover buttons ($6.20) (already had the template & tools)
  • 1 – 6″ straight upholstery needle ($1.5)
  • 1 coffee table ($0 since I already had it)

First I flipped the table over, and unscrewed the 10 screws to remove the table top from the frame, then, using my spray paints painted the frame and allowed it to completely dry.


While the drying was going on I measured, marked and measured again, on the ‘back’ side of the table top where I wanted the button tufts to be located.  In this instance I wanted two rows of four buttons.  Using a 1/2″ bit in my drill I then drilled the eight holes I needed.


Next came the foam and sheet.  The sheet, doubled over, then the foam, then the upside down table top.  I trimmed the excess foam from the ends, leaving enough so that it would wrap the edge completely.


Next, I sat in the middle of my project, literally, and starting at the corners began pulling, wrapping and stapling the sheet and foam to the bottom side.  I used 5/8″ upholstery staples in my staple gun. Then trimmed the excess material.


Here’s the new bench top prior to adding the faux leather and tufting buttons.


Almost done! Just needs faux leather, tufting, and buttons!

Almost done! Just needs faux leather, tufting, and buttons!

I had to wait a couple of days for my fabric to be delivered by UPS.  But, once it arrived I lay the fabric good side down, put the bench top top-side-down, then once again sat in the middle of my project and trimmed excess fabric then began at the corners with the stapling.

fabric down

fabric on

I think covering the buttons was the hardest part, resulting in mashing my thumb a couple of times, here’s a quick picture tutorial of button covering 101:



Maybe I should take that back, doing the actual tufting/securing the buttons may have been the most physically challenging aspect.  I used a long, straight upholstery needle, waxed upholstery thread, and my handy-dandy staple gun.  Starting from the back/bottom side I stuck the needle (w/approximately 18″ of thread doubled through the eye) through each of the pre-drilled holes, up through the padding and fabric, then through the button shank.  To secure the button I passed the needle through the shank a second time, then poked the needle back through the fabric and padding and ‘roped’ the hole (usually by the third time of ‘feeling’ about with the needle point).  Tightening the thread to where the button would be flush with the top of the bench I then shot a staple near the hole and threaded both the ‘tail of thread’ and the needle under the staple and grasped all four strands of thread tightly.  Using my other hand I pushed on the button, mashing it down as far as I could while pulling the threads on the other side as tightly as I could.  That done I wrapped the thread through and around the staple a couple of more times then knotted the thread several times, trimmed the tail a couple of inches past the last knot and stapled it to the wood.

Now try that seven more times…..

If you do, you end up with a new bench:




AFTER another


Well, it’s been a few months, so spank me. Please.

Just kidding.  But I *have* been horrible about blogging over the last year and a half.  For some reason life always seems to get in the way =S

I promise; I’ll try to be more consistent.  And yes, I hear you laughing in the background.  But a flea market find of all things has inspired me.  At least it’s not another recipe.  But, a new project always seems to be inspiring; besides keeping my hands busy. Besides what else am I going to do while I download a website & forum database backup, ftp all the files for upgrading said website & forum, and run the upgrade scripts?

Anyway, last Friday I spotted two awesome wrought iron rockers (not sure whether you’d call them ‘fan backs’ or ‘peacock backs’, they sorta look like the latter to me) and I knew with a bit of cleaning up and some pretty seat cushions they’d look fabulous out on the deck.

My Find

My Find

Of course the husband didn’t care for the idea and came up with all sorts of excuses.

“We came up here on the four-wheeler”

I reply “We can go back and get the truck”

“They won’t fit in back of the truck… not with the cover it has”

I reply “So… we have a trailer we can hook up to put them on”

“I don’t feel like doing all that”

I reply “So, fine.  I’ll wait till you go back to West Africa on Sunday, and *I’ll* come back and get them!”

He throws his hands up in the air and moves to the next vendor down the row as the lady sitting at the cash register bursts out laughing.

Since the flea market is only open Thursday through Sunday I had to wait till today to run back up there in the truck.  All the while hoping someone else hadn’t beat me to the punch errr purchase.  Luckily, no one had.  When I walked into the place the vendor started laughing; remembering the exchange she had witnessed on Friday.

I made a good deal on them, loaded them up and brought them home.  The have a few rust *stains* but no actual rust and I figure a bit of rubbing with some fine steel wool will take care of that; then a fresh coat of some Rustoleum Spray Paint will freshen them right up.  Of course I’ll have fun hunting down some outdoor seat cushions for them at this time of the year, but maybe I’ll get lucky and find some on close-out/clearance.


After scrubbing, repainting & adding cushions

That Time of Year: Fly Season

Yes it has rolled around yet again; fly season. With 10 horses and sundry dogs and cats, flies can be a real problem around here. So what do I do? Run around with a fly swatter 24/7 murdering flies? No. Run around with a can of chemical fly spray? No. Read on and I’ll tell you.

First we spread our manure all around the 30 acres. In a single layer it dries quickly and doesn’t provide those nasty flies with mini-manure honeymoon suites. How do we do this? Easy. As we pick the manure out of the stalls we put it in a Newer Spreader. Newer Spreaders are the best thing since sliced bread when you have a lot of horse dooky to deal with.

The next level of attack against the evil flies are fly predators, a completely natural, chemical free solution; I get mine from Spalding Labs in monthly shipments (March – October) of 20,000 predators per shipment (two or three shipments are doubled for a total of 40,000 predators.. these double shipments are for starting off and for July, the height of fly season).

Since the predators’ eggs (the eggs are what are shipped to me) are like cavier to ants I can’t just set them on the ground or sprinkle them around in the stalls or around the barns. Not that there are ants IN my barn, but they would think they were invited to a Rave and take the place over if I didn’t *hang* my predators up. Since I just received my first shipment of the year the other day I had the sealed container in the house until I started seeing the little buggers hatch out and crawling around; which happened this morning. So, I took them out to the barn to release them.

First I found 3 empty plastic tub containers (in this case Electrodex, electrolyte additive we put in the horses feed) and using my handy dandy knife with the box cutter blade

My Handy Dandy Knife

My Handy Dandy Knife

I cut a window on two sides of the tub. Then poked holes on the sides (near the top) between the two windows.

Tub with windows cut

Tub with windows cut

Next I stole… errr borrowed …… some of my husbands bright colored string we use for setting our fence rows or when we need to set out an area for a new out-building, and ran it through the two holes and tied it back to the main line above the plastic tub. And put about one-third of the predator packet into the tub.

Predator Eggs in Tub

Predator Eggs in Tub

Tub with String (look at all those predators that hatched!)

Tub with String (look at all those predators that hatched!)

Next, I tossed the spool of string up over one of the cross beams

String over crossbeam

String over beam

String over beam

and then tied it off to one of the stall front panels

My fancy tie job

My fancy tie job

I hung three up sort of evenly spaced down the center of the barn.

Three Tubs Hanging

Three Tubs Hanging

The predators ‘spread’ by themselves to do what they do…. eat nasty fly larvae.

And now I have my next project to finish which I’ll cover in another posting!

Bowling For Memories

There are few things as satisfying to me as making something with my own two hands. Sure, I helped create two beautiful daughters, but besides about an hours worth of exercise I didn’t have much to do with it… genes, dna and nature did the real work. Though not very talented in the artsy department (my stick figures and flowers won’t be on exhibit anywhere any time soon… ever) I have dabbled in a few things over the years.

Clay was an enjoyable medium, nice and squishy, but, again none of the ashtrays, little bowls or figurines (that all seem to look like blobby things more fitting for examples in the evolutionary chain) will ever be on display anywhere; and I definitely never had any experiences at the potters wheel a la the movie Ghost. In fact, I never had Unchained Melody playing in the background when I worked. Maybe that’s why. Well, discounting the fact I’m *not* Demi Moore…

I’ve designed and made the outfits my daughters wore when they competed at horse shows; took up basket weaving for a while, but, one can only have so many baskets sitting around; counted cross-stitch pieces are framed and hanging about the house, but, when I started having to wear glasses/contacts the cross-stitching fell by the wayside. Cooking is a bit creative, I suppose, but the end results don’t stay around long…. if I’m lucky. These days about the only thing I ‘make’ are web pages and php/sql driven forums.

Quite honestly, I don’t really have a ‘creative’ bone in my body. But recently, after reconnecting with old friends on Facebook and reminiscing about the past, I realised I did have something I had created that I’m quite proud of; the wood bowl I made in shop class in high school.

When faced with the prospect of early graduation, that meaning I wouldn’t be able to compete in Gymnastics, which wasn’t until the Spring Quarter, I proceeded to fill my schedule for Winter & Spring with every elective the school offered. Drafting, Co-ed PE, Drama, Home Economics, and Wood Shop. Yes, Wood Shop. I guess I was lucky not to have been born five years earlier, because before my sophmore year girls weren’t ‘allowed’ to take courses in ‘the manly arts’. Of course with Title IX and the Women’s Rights Movement many avenues opened for females, well males too because before then they weren’t allowed to take Home Ec. Fair’s fair, turn about, and what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Despite the new opportunities female participation in the Wood Shop classes was low enough that there would only be two or three at most in the classes each Quarter.

The curriculum included safety practices, instruction on what woods were best for different projects, as well as ‘horror’ stories of who cut off a finger the previous year, or that the former instructor had worn a tie to class and got it caught in the big planer and ended up planing himself into pieces. Scare tactics, maybe, but it did make one act a bit more responsibly and safely around the equipment, even teenagers. Well, for the *most* part…..

The required cutting board, candlestick/spindle and whale wall hanging completed; and having learned the basics of glueing, cutting and sanding, useing band, jig, and scroll saws, and the lathe, we moved on to the ‘final exam’ project. A bowl. This project entailed combing through the inventory of wood in the back of the shop; looking for not too big pieces of various woods. Once the pieces were collected the glueing together began. Several layers and widths later, one ended up with a big square block of glued together wood. Then it was on to the lathe. I won’t go into detail, but, you eventually ended up with a big *round* block of wood. Which you then proceeded to hollow out the middle of, again, using the lathe. Sanding, polishing and flocking the bottom of the bowl completed the project. And hopefully an ‘A’ received for the finished product.

My bowl has survived the last thirty-four years despite many moves, children and a husband that just doesn’t understand his wife’s pack-rat tendencies. During the holidays it’s used to hold walnuts, almonds, and other nuts for cracking, and has become a tradition of sorts. The rest of the year it’s where pens, pencils and spare change accumulate. The bottom needs re-flocking and I’ll get around to it eventually… but, there’s this recipe I want to try….

bowl-0011 bowl-0041 bowl-0031