Author Archives: Caitlin Castelaz

Caitlin Castelaz

About Caitlin Castelaz

Editor and Social Media Director at BobVila.com and DIY enthusiast. Check her out on Pinterest.

Bob Vila Thumbs Up: The DIY Planter Competition Starts Today

Vote now—and vote daily—to choose your favorite among the DIY planter projects competing to win this month's Bob Vila Thumbs Up competition!

Spring is on the way. And after this winter, many of us couldn’t be more relieved. If you have spring fever, one of the best projects to DIY is to make your own planter box. But you need not stick to traditional wood window boxes. This month’s Bob Vila Thumbs Up competitors take the DIY planter to fresh and new places.

Whether you like the look of wood, concrete, or stone, this month’s bloggers have something that will surely interest you. They all require different levels of skill—but they all deserve points for creativity. And they’re all eligible to be this month’s Bob Vila Thumbs Up winner and take home the prize—a $250 gift card from True Value.

SEE ALL PROJECTS

Each of these projects gets the Bob Vila stamp of approval, but only one can win. That’s why we need you to vote now and each day this month for your favorite projects. After all, it’s your vote that will determine who will be this month’s winning Bob Vila Thumbs Up blogger.

Congrats to last month’s winning blogger ——. Read more about winning Bob Vila Thumbs Up project right here.

Would you like to recommend a blogger for the next Bob Vila Thumbs Up? Tell us about it on Facebook or Twitter!


The Designers Who Move In, Remodel, and Leave Houses Transformed

Jersey Ice Cream Co. designs homes instead of serving up frosty treats, but there's something satisfyingly sweet about the way they renovate their lived-in homes.

Jersey Ice Cream Co - Tara and Percy

Photo: jerseyicecreamco.com

Meet Tara Mangini and Percy Bright, the brains, braun, and creative force behind a truly unique home remodeling company, Jersey Ice Cream Co. This duo’s impressive renovations are a sight to behold, but equally impressive is their design process. Consider them the method actors of home remodelers: They actually move into their remodels, and by living there, they ultimately discover what each house needs and how they should look. It means living in an active constructive site, but the results speak for themselves. They spoke to us about their company and being able to work at their dream jobs.

The reason we started doing what we do is…

When this whole thing got started, we were both in that murky mid-twenties stage where we thought “What am I going to do with my life?” We met while Percy was in the midst of renovating his house in Philadelphia. Almost simultaneously, we completely fell for each other, and started working together to design, furnish, and decorate his house. While looking for furniture, we talked about starting an Etsy shop, selling at flea markets, and hopefully one day expanding into design. At the time, Tara was waiting tables and the thought of any of that coming to fruition was beyond belief. The fact that 5 years later all of those dreams have come true, is just an utterly mind-blowing blessing.

Jersey Ice Cream Co - Breakfast Nook

Photo: jerseyicecreamco.com

Our renovation process could be described as…

An organic evolution. We get asked so often how we decided on a paint color or a wall finish or a piece of furniture. And the honest (and usually unhelpful) answer is that we let the project evolve and listened to our guts along the way. Sometimes an unexpected vintage find will totally change our initial thoughts for a space. Sometimes randomly moving a couch will give us a new perspective for a room layout. Living in the space gives us a real understanding for what is needed, and we let our inclinations guide us. I love that our final design feels like a discovery, a surprise, a solution—even to us.

The thing we love most about renovating houses is…

Truly, there are so many things we love about our job, but there are these little moments. Maybe it’s stepping back to really admire something we just finished, maybe it’s that feeling when something suddenly clicks and you realize everything will make sense if you move a doorway, or go with dark plaster instead of light. It could really be anything, but when it happens I feel completely overwhelmed with a feeling of “This is why we do this.” It doesn’t happen everyday, sometimes it doesn’t happen for months. But when we get that feeling we know we’re doing something right.

Jersey Ice Cream Co - Vintage Kitchen

Photo: jerseyicecreamco.com

Our first jobs were…

Renovating and designing Percy’s house in Philadelphia was our first job. It was the best kind of job because we were our own client and we had the freedom to do whatever we wanted. It really allowed us to develop confidence in our work and our style. From there we did a few small jobs, but our first real official “can you believe this is happening to us?!” job was the house at Shipley Corner. We had a little section on our website at the time about what our dream job would be. All we wanted was for someone to give us a budget, some keys to a house and the freedom to do whatever we wanted with it. When someone emailed to say that wanted to hire us to do just that, we totally lost our minds. It’s been non-stop since then.

Our main sources of inspiration are…

Though we look at blogs and Instagram and things like that for inspiration, I think more of our inspiration comes from the world around us. Details on old barns, the paint color of a restaurant, a scene from a movie. It can get really overwhelming scouring through Pinterest and ideas that seem fresh start to look repetitive and stale. I find the farther away I stay from a computer while we’re working, the better.

Jersey Ice Cream Co - Wood Paneled Room

Photo: jerseyicecreamco.com

The most challenging thing about our work is…

One main challenge is that we don’t really have a home base. We live where we work, so we have no actual apartment or house of our own. At times, it’s very freeing, but naturally there are moments when I wish we could go home to a place where we live, with our things, in a house that isn’t currently undergoing major construction. But it’s a choice. I’m sure one of these days we will get an apartment and pull our things out of storage and put dishes on shelves and clothes in dressers. And still, there is a part of me that thinks we’ll do that and discover we like being nomads more than we realized! So it’s a challenge, but also one of the things that keeps us from getting bored, so a mega bonus at the same time.

Jersey Ice Cream Co - Open Shelves

Photo: jerseyicecreamco.com

Our favorite part of the process is…

There is a lot of joy in the design process along the way, but nothing really beats the big client reveal. Usually we are running around frantically trying to make everything look perfect, and their knock on the door is like Christmas and getting an exam grade back combined. Our adrenaline is so high while they are walking through the house seeing everything for the first time. It’s a really exciting and really exhausting day.

Jersey Ice Cream Co - Exterior House

Photo: jerseyicecreamco.com

The story behind our name is…

We went up to the Brimfield Flea Market a few weeks into dating and stumbled across a booth with a bunch of old embossing stamps. I had never seen one before, but Percy explained how they worked, and I slipped a piece of paper in, stamped down, and there it was! Jersey Ice Cream Co! We joked that we would use that as the name of our business, and then, as all too often happens, that joke became real. We worried a bit about the confusion factor a few years ago, but stuck with it. I’m so glad we did.

Jersey Ice Cream Co - Bathroom

Photo: jerseyicecreamco.com

Our all-time favorite tools are…

Tara: My favorite has to be a paintbrush. There have been so many days, when I’m painting a porch, or a kitchen with the windows open, listening to music, maybe sipping on a late-afternoon cocktail when I think “I can’t believe I get paid to do this.”

Percy: I’d have to say my hammer. Not many days go by when I don’t use it for one reason or another, and you can’t go wrong with a classic, right?

Jersey Ice Cream Co - Rustic Dining Table

Photo: jerseyicecreamco.com

If you loved these pictures, find more—or set up a consultation—at Jersey Ice Cream Co.


Bob Vila Thumbs Up: The Penny Competition Starts Today

Vote now—and vote daily—to choose your favorite among the penny projects competing to win this month's Bob Vila Thumbs Up competition!

They’re at the bottom of your pockets, purses, or change jars—but did you ever stop to consider their DIY potential? That’s right, we’re talking about pennies! They can dress up anything from a kitchen countertop to a custom made sign. And their copper tone makes them a coveted material for anyone who wants to showcase the new copper trend in their home for, well, mere pennies. For their resourcefulness, this month’s Bob Vila Thumbs Up competitors, all get a big round of applause.

SEE ALL PROJECTS HERE

Pennies are pretty easy to use in your DIY project. But each penny project can pose specific challenges, too. These bloggers have invented different methods for shining, cutting, bending, or adhering pennies to their surfaces—and they all get points for creativity. But only one can win this month’s prize—a $250 gift card.

SEE ALL PROJECTS HERE

So cast your vote today and every day in February to help your favorite blogger win the prize and be the this mont’s Bob Vila Thumbs Up winner. After all, it’s your vote that determines the outcome of this competition.

Congrats to last month’s winning blogger, Two Thirty-Five Designs. Read more about the winning Bob Vila Thumbs Up project right here.

Would you like to recommend a blogger for the next Bob Vila Thumbs Up? Tell us about it on Facebook or Twitter!


The First Material in This Man’s Furniture Is Passion

For Jermain Todd, there's more to creating a striking piece of custom furniture than knowing the basics of woodworking. Read and watch about the creativity that goes into each of his pieces.

Jermain Todd of Mwanzi

Photo: mwanzi.com

Meet Jermain Todd, owner and craftsman of the St. Louis-based Mwanzi Co. From the sounds of it, he’s certainly one of the busiest makers we know. He creates green and sustainable cabinetry for Greenhaus Cabinets® and the custom furniture brand FeRRUM™. On top of that, he fashions completely custom interior furnishings for residential and commercial clients using local, reclaimed, and repurposed materials. We spoke with Jermain about his work and his process. Here’s what he had to say.

Dining Room Tables in Restaurant - Mwanzi

Photo: mwanzi.com

I started my business when…
I started my business in 2005, but it was not until 2009 that I was able to have my very own wood shop. That period of time was very difficult because I was trying to figure out how to run a business while running it, learning as I went—one obstacle at a time. I didn’t have a lot of money and didn’t have anybody that I knew who could drop $10K in my bank account, so it was a slow, painful crawl to that moment in 2009.

The reason I started doing what I do is…
I quickly realized that I got more emotional satisfaction—and ultimately a greater sense of control over my business—when I sold things that I made, right here, in my studio.

Colorful dining room table - Mwanzi

mwanzi.com

The thing I love most about working with wood is…
Just how beautiful wood looks to me. I think wood looks so sexy. I’m a wood geek. Many times I just stare at a board and admire all the features that were created so organically, so naturally, aware that no two boards are alike—anywhere on planet and at any time in history. And the amount of history they’ve witnessed blows me away. Sometimes I walk under trees and wonder about all the people, things, and events that this tree has had happen underneath its branches.

My first job was…
My first paid job was as a paper boy for a local newspaper at the age of 13.

Reclaimed wood chair - mwanzi

mwanzi.com

My main sources of inspiration are…
Hot and quiet showers each morning. That’s when the ideas for many of the things I will create that day develop.

The most challenging thing about my work is…
Managing my time and prioritizing. In order for me to meet my many deadlines, I have to decide what’s most important for me to deal with on an hourly basis each day. And when you make something custom from scratch, so many things can go wrong that you may not have encountered before—you need the time to deal with it.

Reclaimed Wood Bench - Mwanzi

mwanzi.com

My favorite part of the process is…
The moment with you can see the piece take just enough shape that you can now envision the completed piece form in your mind. Makes me smile every time!

What makes my works eco-friendly is…
The raw materials and finishes that I use. I only use wood that was harvested from trees that grew in my state—but mostly my city, or FSC-certified wood, or reclaimed, or repurposed wood. I also only use recycled steel and only use low-VOC topcoat finishes.

Colorful DIY Stools - Mwanzi

mwanzi.com

Other materials I would like to master are…
Aluminum. I want to start making/welding furniture out of aluminum.

My all-time favorite tool is…
My Festool Kapex compound miter saw.

Multi-stain wood desk - Mwanzi

Photo: mwanzi.com

My biggest DIY success is…
Whatever project I’ve just completed.

To find out more about Jermain’s work, visit Mwanzi.com and take a look at his feature in Once Films’ critically acclaimed Spotlight Series.


Bob Vila Thumbs Up: The Plywood Competition Starts Today

Vote now—and vote daily—to choose your favorite among the plywood projects competing to win this month's Bob Vila Thumbs Up competition!

Bob Vila Thumbs Up Plywood

Bob Vila Thumbs Up - Plywood Cut

When it comes to choosing wood for your next DIY project, plywood might not be at the top of your list. But maybe it should be. Although plywood is not considered the most elegant of materials, its versatility makes it an easy choice for this month’s Bob Vila Thumbs Up competitors, all of whom have transformed and elevated this humble material in fascinating ways.

SEE ALL PROJECTS HERE

By using completely different methods, finishes, and power tools, these bloggers have showcased the diverse design opportunities that plywood offers—and they all get points for creativity. But only one can win this month’s prize—a $250 gift card from True Value.

SEE ALL PROJECTS HERE

So cast your vote today and every day in January to help your favorite blogger win the prize and be the first Bob Vila Thumbs Up winner of 2015. After all, it’s your vote that determines the outcome of this competition.

Congrats to last month’s winning blogger, Domestic Superhero. Read more about the winning Bob Vila Thumbs Up project right here.

Would you like to recommend a blogger for the next Bob Vila Thumbs Up? Tell us about it on Facebook or Twitter!


Meet the Brightest Woodworkers in the Carolinas

Whether you love minimal modern design or have an eye for fine woodworking, prepare to be blown away by Shelli and Seth Worley's exciting wood lighting designs.

Worley's Lighting portrait

Photo: worleyslighting.com

Meet the duo behind one of the trendiest lighting companies around. Shelli Worley and her husband Seth started Worley’s Lighting, a shop specializing in sleek, modern, and minimalist designs made from quality materials. With the help of their family, this Charlotte, North Carolina-based pair is creating some of the most beautiful—and functional—lighting designs we’ve seen in ages. The pieces are well-considered and beautifully crafted, hinting at Shelli’s long family line of woodworkers and designers. In a meeting of the minds, we posed our most burning questions about the creative process to the the folks behind this charming specialty store—read on for what Shelli had to say.

The reason we started doing what we do is…
Worley’s Lighting started as my dream. I always had a passion for decorating and interior design. Deciding to focus my energy into lighting took a bit of time, but I eventually developed a real excitement for it! Lamps are a vital part of any room, and they vary in shapes, sizes, textures, and materials. That’s why lighting has become a great and broad avenue for me to express my creativity and build things that I love.

Bookend lamp - Worley's Lighting

Photo: WorleysLighting.com

We started our company when…
I started the company at a time of transition in my life. I was in between jobs and had a lot of design ideas for home accessories. Those ideas turned into actual products, and, after listing them in our online Etsy shop, they began to sell! Three and a half years later we continue to sell on Etsy and now our own e-commerce website.

We’d define our design style as…
Modern/minimal, balanced by the warmth and natural look and feel of hardwood.

Related: 7 Totally Unique Table Lamps for a Modern Home

My first job was…
When I was 16 I got my first job at a thrift store. We mainly bought and sold clothes. Growing up, my parents encouraged my sister and I to get jobs and earn our own money as soon as we could. I’m thankful for the lessons I learned at such a young age because they lead me to become an entrepreneur.

Our main sources of inspiration are…
I am always inspired by the wood that we work with. I try to keep all of our designs simple to showcase the natural beauty of the wood. I am all about clean, modern lines and wholesome, woodsy materials.

Swinging arm desk lamp - Worley's Lighting

Photo: WorleysLighting.com

The most challenging thing about our work is…
The most challenging thing about our work is keeping up with production in our current facilities. We are thrilled about every single order that comes in, be that from one of our online stores or from a retailer. But currently, we have about outgrown our 1,300 sq. ft. workshop and office space, which creates quite a few challenges for us. We get creative with space-saving solutions—we’ve got a lot of wall shelving and always try to go vertical for storage.

Related: 7 Totally Unique Table Lamps for a Modern Home

Our favorite part of the process is…
My favorite part is the initial designing process. I usually sketch things that pop into my head and spend quite a bit of time contemplating new designs. I love taking what started in my head, putting it down on paper, and then bringing it to life with my two hands.

Gem Stacked Lamp - Worley's Lighting

Photo: WorleysLighting.com

Our favorite materials to use are…
We love wood! Walnut is our favorite. We also love hard maple, cherry, and sapele.

Our all-time favorite go-to tool is…
We absolutely could not function without our multiple JawHorses—they are so versatile. We use them for glue-ups, holding pieces in place to work on them, and lots of other stuff.

If you like Worley’s Lighting as much as we do, check them out online or follow them on Facebook to keep an eye on their newest products or take home a totally unique lamp.


5 Things to Do with… Stair Spindles

Even after they've been banished from the banister, stair spindles can still play an important supporting role. If you have a few left over from a renovation, see how you can reuse them in five surprising repurposing projects.

On your last trip to the architectural salvage yard, you doubtless saw scores of antique sinks, windows, and at every turn, balusters. Most often made of wood, these spindles once supported the handrail along a staircase. When that staircase came down, the spindles—with their slim profiles sporting decorative notches and curves—were freed to be used elsewhere in and around the home. Scroll down to see five creative ways DIYers are reusing balusters.

 

1. SLEEP WELL

Baluster DIY Projects - Nightstand

Photo: etsy.com

The long and slender shape of stair spindles makes them preternaturally fit for use as supports for small tables. With four spare spindles—or even three—plus your choice of tabletop, you can, quickly and pretty easily, put together an elevated surface that would function perfectly as a nightstand or end table.

 

2. TAKE A SEAT

Baluster DIY Projects - Bench

Photo: My Repurposed Life

This charming little bench from My Repurposed Life illustrates how you can upcycle two leftover materials at once. A quartet of balusters, combined with a couple of shutters, creates a bench destined to sit pretty on the porch. To complete the look, give both the shutters and spindles the same distressed finish.

 

3. LIGHT A FIRE

Baluster DIY Projects - Candelabra

Photo: hipcycle.com

Hipcycle shows how well spindles lend themselves to reuse in a candelabra. It’s a simple process, perfect for beginning woodworkers. First, cut each spindle to a different height. Next, use a drill with a hole-cutting bit to form the candle-holding slot in each baluster. Finish by attaching the spindles to a wood base.

 

4. RACK IT UP

Stair Spindle Magazine Rack

Photo: etsy.com

A bevy of balusters may be used to create a magazine rack or a similar storage piece, assuming you can handle yourself in the woodworking shop. In something like the piece pictured, spindles would form not only the furniture legs, but also the vertical members corralling the reading material kept within.

 

5. FOR THE BIRDS

Stair Spindle Birdhouses

Photo: RoboMargo.com

Balusters can help you build a birdhouse that oozes with cottage character. Whether the baluster itself serves as the birdhouse (left) or spindles add on as ornamentation for a larger assembly (right), it’s obvious that for an imaginative maker like Robo Margo, spindles are a stairway to new DIY heights!


Bob Vila Thumbs Up: The Best of 2014 Competition Begins Today!

Vote now—and vote daily—to choose your favorite from among this years previous Bob Vila Thumbs Up winners and pick one to be the best of the best!

Best of Bob Vila Thumbs Up

Best of Bob Vila Thumbs Up 2014

Photo: Shutterstock

Six months ago, we started Bob Vila Thumbs Up as a way to recognize the incredible work of DIY bloggers—from the well-established pros to the up-and-coming makers. Along the way, we’ve been impressed again and again by the ingenuity, craftsmanship, and creativity of all the Bob Vila Thumbs Up competitors. And your votes have determined 6 amazing winners from among those ranks.

SEE ALL PROJECTS NOW!

So this December we’re highlighting those past winners once more—and we’re asking you to vote your favorite to award the winning blogger a $250 Amazon gift card. All of these bloggers are winners, without a doubt, but only the project with the highest number of votes can win the prize. So vote today and everyday through December 17, 2014 (midnight EST) to help us choose this month’s winning Bob Vila Thumbs Up blogger!

A hearty congrats to each and every Bob Vila Thumbs Up competitor in 2014. Thank you for sharing your inspiring projects—and good luck to this month’s competitors!

Congrats to last month’s winning blogger, Domestic Superhero. Read more about her winning Bob Vila Thumbs Up project right here.

Would you like to recommend a blogger for the next Bob Vila Thumbs Up? Tell us about it on Facebook or Twitter!


Meet the Detroit Couple Giving New Life to Salvaged Lumber

For these two artists, making custom furniture reveals their true passion for materials, craft, and their hometown.

Mutual Adoration

Meet Mutual Adoration—the power couple behind one of Detroit’s coolest furniture design studios. Wayne and Clare run a design house and experimental craft workshop in their hometown, building furniture from reclaimed materials. With degrees and hands-on experience in seemingly every art and craft, from photography to printmaking to woodworking and lithography, this pair have combined their powers to create truly unique pieces. They currently sell their custom wares regionally—and on Etsy.

The reason we started doing what we do is…
A couple of months into our relationship, Clare had an art show at a gallery in Southwest Detroit. She created a huge installation using abandoned wood that she had scavenged throughout the city. As we were taking down the show, there were a lot of beautiful pieces of lumber that neither of us could bear to just throw away. We added that wood to a massive collection of maple hardwood flooring that Wayne had stored in his basement. With a hoard of materials and some big ideas, Mutual Adoration was born! The name speaks to our love for each other and also the love we have for our materials, our city, and our work.

We started collaborating when…
Early on in our relationship, we talked about building things together. We each came with different experiences, talents, and skills. After fumbling our way through a few small tables, we got our first custom job. It was incredible! To be able to create together and make money was a dream come true. We quickly learned that to succeed we would have to trust each other and work hard. As we have done that the demand for our work has increased.

We love working together. Seeing our complimentary skill set click into place while creating beautiful objects is the best feeling in the world. And then feeling the love and appreciation from our customers is amazing. Not only are we more connected to each other in doing this work, but the connections we have made with retailers, clients, and consumers is so incredibly satisfying.

Related—7 Incredible Uses for Salvaged Lumber

We’d define our design style as…
Refined rustic. Our work is equal parts big city loft and cozy log cabin.

My first job was…
Wayne: I was in the final generation of after-school paperboys. From the age of 12 to 15, I delivered The Detroit News on my old Schwinn cruiser. I was the kid knocking on your door during dinner, looking for my $2 for the previous week’s paper. I think this makes me sound like I grew up in the ’50s or something, but this would have been the late ’80s.

Clare: When I was in middle school, I earned my allowance by helping my mother. She ran the theatre department for a high school. During their rehearsals, I would help out with props, costumes, and set design. Mostly I was just trying to impress the teenagers by reading poetry and song lyrics out of my diary.

Our main sources of inspiration are…
Our inspiration really comes from our city and the materials it provides. Much of our wood comes from various locations in Detroit, from abandoned homes, warehouses, factories, and shops or as salvage from remodeling projects. Everything is so steeped in history—dirt and rust, wear and tear by generations.

Mutual Adoration - Reclaimed Materials

Photo: mutualadoration.com

We have a deep reverence for the material and its past. The fact that we are working with wood that was cut into lumber over 100 years ago—and, before that, started as just little sapling trees in the late 1700s—is truly inspiring. Our clients also prompt the direction our projects take. Many of our designs have come to Clare in her dreams. She often wakes up with ideas and visions for products, and then during our morning coffee, we’ll make sketches and figure out ways to engineer her ideas.

The most challenging thing about our work is…
Doing it all! We just hired our first employee (the amazing Brenda!) to give us a hand with production and our online store. Up until recently, it was just our four hands juggling all the design work, production, material sourcing, retail and wholesale sales, website design, and the hundreds of other things running a business entails.

In the future, we plan on greatly expanding our wholesale and retail sales, which will necessitate bringing in more employees. Supporting our local economy is very important to us. Detroit has an unmatched workforce of skilled craftspeople and manufacturers. We plan to hire and train additional production and administrative staff and provide much-needed jobs, as we expand and the demand for production increases.

We choose our salvaged materials by…
We take them as we can get them, whether that means quarter-sawn oak flooring from an 1860s home slated for demolition or knotty pine paneling from a suburban bungalow. Any given week might mean hundred-year old hand-hewn beams from a rural barn, cast iron tool bases from a factory, or recycled paint and stain from someone’s basement. We try to find a way to repurpose whatever materials we can get in a way that respects the original form while providing new function, all while keeping waste out of the landfill.

Related—7 Incredible Uses for Salvaged Lumber

Our biggest DIY success is…
The Union Table. Our first Union Table was made as a wedding gift for some dear friends. We wanted a piece that was symbolic, as well as functional. The Union Table is a set of two tables that can be used together as a coffee table or separately as end tables or bedside tables. We create the piece as one, split it into two in a diagonal pattern, and then finish each piece to operate in a variety of ways. The finished product can unify a variety of spaces and, when put together, is truly beautiful. Two becomes one. Maybe a little corny, but we LOVE it. It is the piece that really brought our complimentary skill set together and holds a lot of meaning for us.

Mutual Adoration - Union Table

Photo: mutualadoration.com

Our favorite materials to use are…
Clare: By far my favorite material is knotty pine paneling. It’s beautiful, warm, classic, and abundant. In its un-refinished, amber-hued, heavily varnished state, it is reminiscent of dive bars and ski lodges. To work with it is a dream! It’s forgiving and versatile. The grain contains gorgeous dots and stripes, and, when planing or sanding, it smells like summer camp.

Wayne: I love old flooring. Quarter-sawn oak is my favorite. There’s something about it being stepped on, spilled on, and abused that gives it a beautiful look and feel. It might sound sappy, but when I run a dingy dark piece under the belt sander, uncovering the flecks and grain that was hidden under all the muck, I feel like I’m rescuing it and able to give it a second shot at being beautiful. I’m not sure that the wood cares, but I like it.

Our all-time favorite go-to tool is…
Clare: That would have to be my beloved Flex Cut hand carving tools. I am a printmaker and spent many years making relief prints from wood blocks. Whether I am making a frame, a piece of furniture, or carving a block of wood to be printed, these are my favorite tools for achieving a variety of marks and executing fine detail.

Wayne: I am in love with our new Grizzly 3hp cabinet saw. Most of our early work was done on my mid-70s Craftsman table saw, but it just couldn’t keep up with larger work or give me the precision that I needed. The new saw is like a dream.

To get the latest from Mutual Adoration, check out their website and follow them on Facebook or Instagram.


Bob Vila Thumbs Up: The DIY Pallet Project Competition Starts Today

Vote now—and vote daily—to choose your favorite among the DIY pallet projects competing to win this month's Bob Vila Thumbs Up competition!

Bob Vila Thumbs Up Pallet Project Competition

Bob Vila Thumbs Up Pallets

There’s no doubt about it: The humble pallet appeals to the imagination. There’s almost no end to its possibilities and it seems like every DIYer, blogger, and Pinterest user has considered the pallet’s raw potential at one time or another. But only a few have truly unlocked this material’s full potential. Each and every one of this month’s Bob Vila Thumbs Up competitors has done just that—elevating this leftover shipping supply into benches, beds, desks, and more. And that deserves a big thumbs up.

SEE ALL PROJECTS NOW!

Some of these projects are simple enough to complete in an afternoon, while others take muscle, special tools, and time to complete. But regardless of complexity, they are all completely deserving of taking home the prize—a $250 gift card to True Value.

We love each and every one of this month’s pallets projects, but only the project with the highest number of votes can win. So we need your vote to determine the winner of this month’s competition. So vote today and everyday to help us choose this month’s winning Bob Vila Thumbs Up blogger!

Congrats to last month’s winning blogger, Crafting in the Rain. Read more about her winning Bob Vila Thumbs Up project right here.

Would you like to recommend a blogger for the next Bob Vila Thumbs Up? Tell us about it on Facebook or Twitter!