Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How to Build Raised Planter Beds

how to build raised beds 
Hey everyone! I thought you all might like to see how I made the raised planter beds in our back yard. I did this as a guest post for Gail, at My Repurposed Life, a while back and never did put it on my own blog, so here we go! :0)

When we moved into our home, I soon discovered our back yard is pretty much one big rock pile, so I decided raised beds would be our best bet for pretty flowers and vegetables. (see,  just look at all those rocks we dug out!)  YIKES!

plans for raised beds
I started off by measuring how big I wanted our beds to be.  A good rule of thumb is not to make them any wider than 4 feet so you can reach in and work in the middle without having to climb into the beds. (I didn’t follow that rule, cause I don’t mind getting a little dirt on my feet) :)
I used cedar for our project because it’s very rot resistant and we live in KY and get loads of rain and snow!   I bought 1 x 10 cedar boards  (which means 1” thick, by 10” wide) at my local home improvement store and began by laying them out where I wanted my planters to go, like this…….

how to build raised beds
(the rocks in this pic were from a rock wall planter that was already here…no doubt they dug the rocks out of the yard! lol....but we hauled them off.)
After I had all our boards laid out, I begin to assemble them. (you’ll determine your own size beds, that’s why I’m not giving you specific dimensions here)   First I screwed the two pieces of wood together from the side, then inserted a little piece of triangular shaped wood I cut out, and screwed into that too. It’s for extra stability. 

how to build raised flower beds

You can check to make sure the corners are square by putting a square (pictured below) on the outside corner and make sure there aren’t any gaps.  If there are, you just adjust until it’s nice and square.  Or you can also measure from one corner of your planter, to the  other corner diagonally, then do the same thing the other way, until the measurements are the same.   This will also help you make sure it’s nice and square and cheaper than buying this tool….


One stretch of my raised bed was going to be over 20 feet, so I had to splice two pieces together because the boards didn’t come in pieces that long.  I just took a scrap of wood  4” wide, and put it in the center where the two boards were going to go together and screwed them to one another like this…..

raised beds

That splice will later become a pretty little “column” detail on the finished piece.   I added another scrap to the back for extra stability like this……..

how to build raised beds

On the outside corners I took some more scrap cedar and built some more “column” details.  I wanted the columns to be 4” wide, so I cut one board (the one on the left) at 4”, but made the second one (on the right) 3” because I had to take the 1” thickness of the other board into account. So if you measure either way on the outside corner, it comes up to 4” wide columns.
raised planter beds

In this picture, you can see where I just cut little 6” square blocks of wood and capped off the little column detail….

raised flower beds

Here’s the center column where I spliced the two 10 foot boards together to get our 20 foot bed.  I also installed a little cap on this column too….. I did the caps on all the corners of the planters.

how to build raised beds
I then painted all the raised planter beds with primer and a good exterior semi gloss paint to help protect the cedar even more.  By the way, cedar has a smooth side and a rough side, I used the smooth side on the outside of the boxes.

how to build raised vegetable beds

To anchor the beds in place, I used some scrap pieces of  wood and cut a point on one end like an arrow, and pounded then into the ground  on the inside edge of the planter.  Then I screwed the planter sides to the anchors.  You can see the tops of the anchor pieces of wood in the picture below.   After I had them all anchored down, I put down a THICK layer of newspapers,  (or you could use landscaping fabric) to kill the grass and put in a mixture of topsoil and compost I got from my local nursery. 
Then you’re all ready to plant! This project wasn’t hard at all, just a little time consuming.  I think it took a couple of days to build three large planters….not too bad!

how to build raised beds

That’s it!  I hope you enjoyed the tutorial on how to make raised planter beds!
My Cottage Charm

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Window Seat …..the Beginning.

Hi everyone!  I thought you all might like see what I’ve done on my window seat so far.

Here’s where I started…..a very formal dining room.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay, but I’m kinda tired of it being so formal.  Can’t you just see a nice long window seat in front of the three windows there on the end? I can’t wait to snuggle up and look through my favorite magazines while curled up there! :0)  (or even better…reading books with my kiddo!)

dining room makeover

The first thing I did was to take down the curtains and move out the furniture on that end.  Then I put together the Billy bookcases I got from IKEA and set them in place.  Don’t you just LOVE the glass doors? I’m in love! (yes, I’m already trying to see how things will look all decorated…did you expect any less from me?!) :0)

how to build a window seat

I measured and marked the center of the window, then the center of the set of old drawers and lined up the marks so they would be centered under the window. I wanted to get an idea of where everything would sit when I put it all in. Here’s a first look where everything will end up sitting….(and yes, I know there are gaping holes on each side of the drawers..trust me, I’ll fix that, this is just for placement purposes) :0)

how to build a window seat

The drawers weren’t deep enough to set completely against the wall and make them the depth I wanted, I just pulled them out where I wanted them to sit, which was about about 8” from the wall.  It’ll be ok because the top will be screwed down to the fronts of the drawers and into the ledger I installed on the wall. 

Here’s how I built the ledger.……

how to install a ledger board

I took some 2 x 4’s and screwed them into the studs in the walls with some REALLY long screws….because of the lip of the window sill that happened to be the depth of the first 2 x 4 that I installed,  I ended up layering a 2 x 4 on top of the first one…screwing it into the first one.  I put the double 2 x 4’s the length of where the window seat would be.
This is where the wood, that I’ll be making the top of the window seat out of, will be screwed into.  

how to build a window seat

Here’s a piece of scrap wood that shows how the top of the  window seat will sit on the ledger board.  See how far out the drawers come away from the wall…you can see that you don’t have to have the exact depth of a window seat to make a piece work….just pull it out and put in a ledger board.  You could just as easily use the short kitchen cabinets that go over your fridge…but you’d probably have to throw some 2 x 4’s together to build a base for a little extra height.

window seat

Well, that’s all I have today!  I’ll try to get some more done on in it in the next week or so…I’ve had this crazy congestion and fever for a few days now and I’m hoping it’ll be gone soon so I can get something done around here!  It probably has something to do with 5” of snow about a week ago and now it’s almost 80…we have some really CRAZY weather here in KY!   This is NOT normal for March! (but I’d be enjoying it if I weren’t sitting in bed sick!)

Ya’ll have a great day!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Just wanted to let you all know where I’ve been.  My poor computer has been dead in the water the past few days…my power cord fried and I’ve been waiting on my new one to come in….as you probably guessed, it came in today. Yay! :0)

I’ve had so much I wanted to tell you, but I couldn’t because I couldn’t exactly write a post on my phone! lol

I’ll do a post tomorrow to show you where I am on my dining room window seat….it’s a little slow going because I’m sick.  I have a fever of 100.6, congestion and just lethargic.  Hopefully I’ll feel better by tomorrow and can get that post up for you all.  I’d appreciate your prayers…I don’t like being sick, I have to much to do!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Guest Post from Amy at Mod Podge Rocks..

Hey Everyone, I’m so excited that Amy, from Mod Podge Rocks, is guest posting here today! Amy has an awesome blog with so many craft and DIY projects it’ll make your head spin! (in a good way!)  Let’s see what she has for us today……here’s AMY!!

This is Amy from Mod Podge Rocks, so pleased to be here today!
I have been blogging for almost four years at MPR, and I am (as you can guess) addicted to crafts and DIY. I love creating, but I also love writing. I co-own Decor Hacks with Heather Mann, and I contribute to Babble.com's The New Home Ec .  Not to mention that I have a new book coming out this June called Mod Podge Rocks. You could say I keep busy.

I hope you enjoy my photo block. I made it with bright colors and papers because that's what I like, but you can customize it to fit your decor. Here's how I made it!

mod podge rocks

I love capturing memories through photographs, and I particularly like interesting ways of displaying them.  Regular frames are nice, but photo memory blocks add a wonderful touch to your home d├ęcor – and you can get very crafty with them!  Consider using a photo memory block to decorate your child’s room or you desk at work.  Here’s how I made mine.

Wood Memory Block – mine is a 6” square
FolkArt Acrylic Paint, coordinating colors – I used Lemon Custard, Hot Pink and Yellow Citron
Mod Podge Matte, 8 oz.
Scrapbook paper, 1 sheet per canvas – I used K & Company’s Berry Sweet papers
Embellishments – I used K & Company’s Berry Sweet collection, as well as a few buttons, paper flowers and rhinestones from my stash
Craft Glue
Flat Paint Brush
Craft Knife and Mat or Scissors

mod podge rocks

Start by trimming your paper to fit the sides of your wood block.  My craft mat has a ruler guide so I was able to quickly measure and cut a 5 1/2" square – I wanted to leave a 1/4" border around all side of the paper so that I could see the paint.  I cut six squares out of three sheets of paper, choosing coordinating papers so that they would look good together.

mod podge rocks

Paint your block with the acrylic paint and flat paint brush.  You don’t have to paint the entire side of the block since you’ll be applying paper over it; just paint the edges.  I applied three coats to each side.  Allow to dry.

mod podge rocks

Now that your wood block is dry, apply the Mod Podge.  Use a medium layer and coat well. Apply the paper to the center of the block and smooth it down thoroughly with your fingers or a brayer.  If Mod Podge comes out the sides, that is fine – simply wipe it away with your brush.  Apply the papers to all sides of the block and allow to dry for 15 – 20 minutes. 

TIP: I applied Mod Podge to the corners and edges of my paper before smoothing down – this helps since the edges are the first thing to dry!

mod podge rocks

Next add a coat of Mod Podge on top of the paper.  Allow to dry and add a second coat, covering the whole block.  The fun part is next!

mod podge rocks

mod podge rocks

Now add the images and embellishments with craft glue.  Get creative!  I planned my picture sizes first and printed them all out before I glued anything down.  You don’t have to fill the entire block with one photo; check this finished side out:

mod podge rocks

You can also do a few photos on one side and add embellishments around them.  I had so much fun!  Here’s another finished side:

mod podge

Add photos and embellishments to all sides, except for the bottom and the top (unless you want to).  Now I have something for my desk at work to remind me of my sweet dogs when they are at home and I’m in front of the computer.

Thank you Missy, for having me today! Please feel free to visit me at Mod Podge Rocks anytime, or follow me on Facebook  or

Have a great day!

THANKS Amy for sharing such a great craft with us, it was such a treat to have you on My Cottage Charm! Why don’t you guys go over and check out some of Amy’s other crafts on her fabulous blog, Mod Podge Rocks

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Houzz.com Featured My Kitchen…

I received a nice email yesterday from Houzz.com letting me know that they used my kitchen in one of their idea books.  Here’s the idea book…my kitchen is the 6th…the cottage kitchen with the tin backsplash.  :0)  How fun!

Enjoy your day!


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