Monthly Archives: July 2015

Another Storage Solution

I have been hauling around these two, old, rusty file boxes full of research material for years, in part because I could never find a new metal file cabinet the correct size. Then it dawned on me: building one would be simpler — and far less expensive.

To make the document boxes lighter and easier to handle, I decided to build four smaller boxes, taking my measurements from the rusty metal boxes, but using half-inch hardwood plywood that was easy to cut, glue and nail together.

Just a quick sanding opened up the pores and smoothed the edges in preparation for giving the bland wood some needed color and protection.

The open pores and corners attract sanding dust, but a soft bristle attachment on my vacuum solves that problem quickly and efficiently.

To make my job even easier, I opted for the combination stain-and-finish in the pre-moistened Minwax® Wood Finishing Cloths, choosing “Maple” as the color for these boxes. Since the stain and finish are water-based, they dry quickly. And cleanup was a snap, as I needed just one Wood Finishing Cloth and one paper towel to wipe off the unabsorbed liquid on each box.

I added some inexpensive pulls, plus hinges for the lift-up lids, and now my research documents can be stored in four wooden boxes that look nice enough to be displayed in my office.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!





Building a Milk & Cookie Dessert Table with Stacy Risenmay

Minwax® is excited to share a post by guest blogger, Stacy Risenmay of Not JUST A Housewife. Stacy shares creative and useful tips on how to create a milk and cookie dessert table for your next event. See how Stacy used Minwax ® Wood Finishing Cloths   to create this beautiful spread to celebrate her new book!

Have the milk and other beverages on a separate table.

I ran out of room so I needed to grab another table anyway, but I was also worried about it spilling. As luck would have it, one of the drink dispenser had a loose valve and milk spilled all over the table. Instead of having to redo the whole dessert bar, we only had to fix the small drink table.

milk drink dispenser for cookie bar

Also by having more than one dispenser I wasn’t in a bind when one needed fixing.

Make a cookie cake!

I wanted a naked cake under a glass dome, you know the ones without frosting other than what is in between the layers, ( it’s totally a thing, I swear) but my glass done was just smaller than a cake pan. My solution was to make giant sugar cookies and stack them like a cake. It added a centerpiece to the table while still sticking to the whole cookie theme.

This shows Shane putting the ice cubes in. We froze them ahead of time and put them in a gallon sized bag. It worked like a charm!

Make milk ice cubes

One of my concerns with having milk was that it would get warm. I wasn’t sure if the dessert bar would be inside or out on the patio at the gardens. Nothing is worse than warm milk in my opinion. Okay, there are a few things… Like floaties in your warm milk.

I remember my sister used to put ice cubes in her milk growing up. I considered that but didn’t want to water it down. Then it dawned on me that I could simply make ice cubes from milk.

Use varying heights

I could have simply laid out all the plates and platter of cookies but that would have been really boring. I chose to have varying heights to display the cookies. And since my book is all about decorating with nature, I of course used some stumps. Also, if you remember, I had a few crates left over from sending out my book. I wanted to tie that into this as well so I used them on the table. I just love crates!

I ran out of the stain I had doing the 30 other crates but luckily Minwax had also sent me some Wood Finishing Cloths. Have you ever used them before? They are awesome for smaller projects like this!

They even come with gloves which is perfect since I ALWAYS forget to grab some. This way I didn’t show up to the party with stain under my fingernails.

Label the Cookies

Yes, for some cookies it may be obvious what they are, but you should label all the cookies for continuity. It looks better if they all have tags instead of just the “gluten free” ones. Plus it adds another decorative touch. I bought these little chalkboards from Joanns Fabric. The 3 packs were less than a couple of bucks each. They were in their “all things chalkboard” isle. I think they were suppose to be ornaments but I ripped the string loop off of them.

You could also create tag with a fun font and print them out.

Add Flowers or Greenery

Maybe it was because we were at the beautiful conservation gardens, but the comparison of landscaping came to mind. You don’t want all hardscaping. You need some plants to soften it up and add color. The same goes with this. They add that final layer.

I also added some pine cones for good measure.

Don’t Try To Bake Them All Yourself!

I originally thought that if I started a few days ahead that I could totally bake all the cookies. But my sweet husband (who is very aware of my flaw of thinking I can do more than I actually can in a small amount of time) suggested we get help. I enlisted the help of anyone who was kind enough to offer. I also ordered some through the local university catering company. I am not sure if all universities have this service but BYU has amazing food and desserts for killer prices. As in $4.25 per dozen for the biggest, softest cookies ever. I ordered the most common types and baked the ones that were not listed as options like my Raspberry Kisses. I think we had in the neighborhood of 600 cookies total with 11 different types.

Stacy Risenmay  is a DIY enthusiast. In her blog, Not Just a Housewife, she shares her adventures of fixing up her 1938 cottage. She believes that whether it’s big or small, everyone should love their space. Learn more about Stacy and visit:

Check out Minwax® Wood Finishing Cloths for your next project.


A Fish Story: One That Didn’t Get Away

A few years ago Leigh Ann and I bought this fish bench from a roadside artist, not because we needed another bench, but because we loved the hand-painted rainbow trout. Last week, however, I noticed the finish and the paint beginning to flake off under the intense sun, so decided I need to take action to save it.

I started by laying out some cedar boards on my garage workbench to create a new, simple back that I assembled with some exterior glue and wood screws.

Since cedar has a great deal of natural oil, I selected Minwax® Helmsman® Teak Oil as a finish, knowing it would penetrate deep into the raw cedar, where it would dry, harden, and protect the wood.

I removed the four screws holding on the fish and used them to attach the new back. Right now the fresh cedar looks obviously new, but since cedar naturally darkens as it ages, in just a few weeks time it will match the older boards in the seat.

As for my 48″ long rainbow trout, he is now hanging on the wall of our boathouse, where he is well protected from both the rain and the sun.

Until next week,

Measure twice, saw once.



An Indoor Birdhouse

My wife Leigh Ann loves her birds: those at one of her outdoor feeders as well as the carved variety she displays around our house. So, what could be better to add to her collection than something I spotted at our local garden center the other day?

This cedar birdhouse was meant to be hung outdoors, but I had an idea.

I grabbed my lightweight palm sander and a piece of #150-grit sandpaper to smooth out the raw, rough cedar.

I then used a single pre-moistened Minwax® Wood Finishing Cloth, a water-based mixture of both stain and finish on a cloth, to easily apply color (“Natural Oak”) and protection in just a couple of minutes.

As I completed each side, I took a clean cloth and wiped off any excess stain and finish, wiping in the direction of the grain of the wood.

And now the birdhouse is on display inside our house, a perfect compliment to Leigh Ann’s collection of birds.


Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!