Thursday, July 29, 2010

Maker Inspires People, Inspires Maker

In an email, reader Daniel Thomas told us he hoped his story would encourage ReadyMade to continue to share our ideas so readers could enjoy some of the luxuries they put off when money's tight. Well, we're more than encouraged—inspired, even—and we'd like to share the Thomas story with you.

It all started with a tear-jerker of an email from Daniel's wife Tia. Raising a family with three children, Tia dreamed of summer dinners on her back porch in Tennessee. But money always seemed better spent on necessities than on patio furniture. Enter our recycled wood dining table. From Tia:

I received my first issue of ReadyMade magazine (June/July issue) a couple of weeks before our 12th anniversary. I found so many projects that I loved, but I was especially drawn to the pallet table on the cover. I showed it to my husband who seemed about as interested in it as he would be a root canal (he's not really the constructing type). But, a week or so later, he called me from work and told me he had found some chairs he thought I would like. I asked what in the world we needed chairs for and he replied, "that table you wanted me to build." He then procured pallets and the other materials and used his only day off to build the table as an anniversary gift for me! I love my husband and I love my table! It is the best gift I've ever gotten for our anniversary. I have attached pictures of my beautiful table (and the awesome chairs he found at Lowe's for less than $12 each!)

Build it he did (see photo below). "Simply put, she inspired me to make the table due to her love and care for our family along with the sacrifices she makes each day to do so," Daniel said.

Not bad for someone who's "not much of a craftsman."

"Probably eight or nine years ago, Tia gave me a circular saw, jig saw and a drill for Christmas, and this project was the most I have used those tools in all 9 years combined," Daniel said.

But Daniel wasn't the only one who worked on the table—his 7-year-old son helped with the sanding. In the end, the table cost 'em 20 bucks. Again, not bad.

Daniel said Tia's reaction may prompt him to tackle some more projects in the future. "The important thing is that Tia was super excited about it and was thrilled she now had a table to go on our back deck that has been empty since we moved in. The kids love eating out there and we really enjoy the time together we spend out there. The most important thing about the table is, she's happy."

Another reader dug our outdoor chair made from 2×4s.

Mother of nine, Rooksie David needed affordable chairs that would withstand wear and tear, and our 2×4 deck chair seemed to be the perfect solution. Having never built anything before, Rooksie borrowed a chop saw and constructed two chairs in two days (one of which is pictured above). Though it might not support all nine kids at once, this baby looks pretty sturdy to me.

"The only thing I had to buy were the screws! In two days I had two stylish chairs sitting outside the front door. The entire family was proud of Mom and now they each want a chair of their own," Rooksie said.

To Rooksie, good luck.

Also inspired by the June/July issue, reader Allie Thomas found an even easier way to create the brick succulent planters.

Instead of drilling into solid brick—frightening—Allie suggested finding bricks with pre-drilled holes (see Allie's centerpiece above). It's super easy, and the extra hole means an extra candle.

"I'm on the board of a local social club in town, and we just hosted a party for 150. The brick centerpieces went perfect with the Garden Party theme and ended up being the perfect size for the high cocktail tables," Allie said.

Have you tried your hand at any of the ReadyMade projects? Post a comment or send us an email, because there's really nothing better than hearing your stories.

[Images: Makers' own]

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