Friday, April 27, 2012

Fun with a 2X4, a saw and a drill.

Fun with a 2 by 4 and a saw! This was once a piece of 2 X 4 wood - nothing fancy. Well, nothing fancy, that is,  until last night when  my 13 year old son and I decided to see what we could make from it using our new saw.

We cut (we just figured out how to use the angle on our saw and had to try different cutting angles), drilled like crazy, (this wood is so easy to drill though, unlike our log candles, so again, we went a little crazy - hence, all the holes), sanded and then put on a clear water-resistant topcoat and whaa-laa! We have this these wood pen holders!

These are fun pieces and will make for some good conversation. :)  

Next time we make these, I think I will stain them. I am not a big fan of staining as it is messy and smells, but I sure do love how wood looks when it is stained. With that said, it will be worth the hassle.

Oh, tomorrow is our first craft fair - wish us luck.  It is

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Our "Shop" and why our skilsaw stays on the ground.

Hi all,
Apparently there has been a little trouble brewing over at Etsy, the website that hosts my online shop. Apparently one of the shops they featured claimed to be run by a lady who handmade all her items by herself, but after some looking into, turns out she did not make her items and they were not handmade. With that said, I thought I would show some pictures of my son and I making some of our items.  I know there was never any doubt, but I thought it would be fun to show you a little bit about how our log candles and wood items are made and the people who make them. 

Our set-up is pretty primitive, but works pretty well. We have the skilsaw on the ground. My son and I prefer it this way and there is no chance it will fall off of a work bench and since neither of us want to catch it, I am all for it.  We do the major woodcutting on the driveway as it puts out a lot of sawdust that I don't want in the garage.

Inside the garage, we have four kitchen chairs and a piece of plywood as our workbench. We have clamps at both ends holding the plywood down. We also have another clamp that holds the wood for drilling and sanding.

We recently acquired a new skilsaw and it is awesome - cuts through logs like butter!  On a side note, the man at the saw store said, "It will cut off your fingers before you even know they have been cut off." So, my son and I both remind each other of this before each cut and I do a visual of where all fingers and even toes are before we cut.

We have a radio that I always set to the country station, but somehow it gets moved to the newer pop station when the kids are out there. Funny how that happens.

I love being out there and seeing what we can make. Sometimes my daughter will have an idea and she will "request" that we make whatever she is thinking of. I like when that happens as it is fun to make her visions come to life.

We have been out there in the hot sun, the cold rain, wind, you name it, we have worked through it. Sometimes it gets so hot that the goggles fog up. Sometimes it is so cold, we have to put on several layers of clothes. But, it is all good.

I really love that I have found something that I enjoy doing and that my kids enjoy. I never imagined we would have a business - especially one where I am using power tools! I am even getting to the point where I can tell the difference between Oak, Olive, Walnut, Eucalyptus, etc.

At the beginning of January, I don't think I had ever used a power tool in my life. Ever. Now we have the new skilsaw, the drill, a sander and a jigsaw. There are so many new saws and drills and things that I am finding - I want them all! But, that will come in time, I suppose.
Well, take care and I hope you always enjoy whatever it is that you are doing. I know I am!
Cindy Breninger

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Spring Market this Saturday. It will be our first craft show.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Spring Market - Our First Craft Fair

Nine days until my first craft fair and I am pretty excited! The craft fair is The Spring Market in Curtis Park on April 28. Look for Deerwood Creek Gifts.  Would love for you to stop by and say hello. You can find more information at:

RIP Jeff the Tortoise, our family pet.

Kind of a sad day at our house today. Our pet Russian Tortoise, Jeff, died this afternoon. Jeff was a really cool tortoise. We used to take her for walks, well, those walks consisted of us standing around while she pretty much stood in the grass and ate whatever was in front of her, but they were always a good time. On a good day, one when she was feeling fast, we might have to move a few feet every 10 minutes or so to catch up with her, but I loved taking Jeff for a walk.

When my son was little, he would play Battleship with Jeff.  I still haven't figured out who won, but it was cute and he had fun.

Something I should mention about the name Jeff. Jeff was a female. When we first got her many years ago, we were told that she was a he, so my son named her Jeff. Well, we found out the he was she, but since we liked the name, it sort of stuck. So, our female Russian Tortoise went through life with the name of Jeff.

Years ago, we read that Russian Tortoises can live around 50 years or more. The kids and I used to joke that Jeff would outlive all of us and someday the kids would have to put her in their Wills as to who would get her.

Jeff was just cool. For a tortoise, she was kind of feisty and just kind of did what she wanted. But she was cool.

About two weeks ago, she seemed to sleep a lot. She wasn't eating very much and just didn't have her usual spunk. I thought she was sick so we tried to take care of her the best we knew how. Over the weekend, I was pretty worried about her as she wanted to sleep all the time and wouldn't touch her food. I stayed up with her and checked on her throughout the night. The next day she seemed to perk up a little bit. She ate a few bites and even opened her eyes. She wandered around her cage and the kids and I seemed to not worry as much.

Just this morning I put up a new post in a Russian Tortoise online group saying she was getting better and we were thinking she was getting back to her normal self. I was pretty happy.

Later in the day, I called my kids and asked how Jeff was doing. My son said he gave her a bath and she seemed really tired. But, we were thinking she was getting better so he let her sleep. When I got home, and after stopping by the store to get her some new lettuce that I thought she would like, I opened her cage and went to feed her....She was dead. I started to cry and then I told the kids. It was pretty hard as we really thought she was getting better. We just all stared at her cage in disbelief for a while and were sad. My son got a shovel and we buried her next to the side of the house.

I sometimes forget how important pets are and what a big impact they have on a family until they are gone.  I have to say that never in my life did I ever imagine that I would cry over a tortoise, but she became part of our family. Friends would often ask about her, the neighbor's cat would hang out with her and they would walk around the yard together, or the cat would try to steal her lettuce. I miss the Jeffers. She was just cool.
RIP Jeff. 4-18-2012

For anything you need to know about Russian Tortoises, and a great group of people who are very helpful, please go to

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Trying Something New

With working full-time and raising two kids, life can get pretty busy. With that said, some days I am not sure where I find the time or energy to head out to the garage to make some new items.

I wasn't feeling very well this weekend, but I had a few things in mind that I wanted to make. I kept telling myself that I would hang out on the couch, relax and get better; however, I kept having this little nagging voice telling me it wouldn't go away until I made what I was thinking about.

I slowly got up off of the couch and lugged myself to the garage. I ended up making 16 new things this weekend! Even though I wasn't feeling well, I would have felt worse sitting on the couch with all those new ideas floating around in my head. Hours went by when I was sure it was more like 20 minutes. The time flew!

I came up with some new items for my shop. On a whim I bought some chalkboard paint. I had never used that before, but I love it!

There are so many different things you can make and they are fun and easy and practical. I can't believe I had never heard of this before, I was missing out. I ended up using a glass square vase, painted it with the chalkboard paint, and now I have this cute four sided chalkboard table number centerpiece. I also painted different wood shaps and made those into tags that can be used for a wishing tree, table numbers - the possiblities are endless!

My son and I also made a bunch of log drink coasters. Usually we put a waterproof clear coat on them, but I am going to see if people would rather have them completely natural. We have both so it will be fun to see which they prefer.

I also made a personalized log wedding guest book pen holder which can or, if you want, it can also be used as a custom rustic toothbrush holder as we burn your initials or a word you like right on it. I am trying to branch out and find new things to make. I think I want to try log napkin rings and personalized log slice cake toppers. Something new for me so that should be fun.

I hope you try something new today. Please feel free to share what you are making. I would love to hear about it!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Three month anniversary. I still can't believe it. :)

If someone had told me in early January that I would be making centerpieces for weddings and people's homes, I would have thought they were crazy.

If that person said I would be making personalized log tealight candle holders for a friend to give her friends as a gift, I would not have believed them.

If the same person said I would be making slate and rock tealight candle holders, business card holders and jewelry, again, I would have laughed.

Fast forward to three months (opened January 11, 2012) since I opened my online shop and I have made centerpieces for a wedding across the country, made personalized log tealight candle holders for a good friend to give to her friends as a gift and made tealight candle holders and business card holders from slate and rock. I have also learned how to make jewelry and how to make a centerpiece for almost any occasion.

I bring this up because I am sometimes in shock at my etsy shop. What went from a fleece blanket and a log, turned into a new passion for me. I love to create things and especially love when other people love what I make.

I hope to keep going as I am having such a great time. I hope people enjoy what I make as that is really important to me. I hope you find something that you want to do and you go for it!
Cindy month anniversary. I still can't believe it. :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Deerwood Creek Gifts and where it got its name.

I was reading how different show owners have come up with their shops names. Some of the stories are pretty funny, some very interesting, and some are unusual - but they were all fun to read about.

I came up with Deerwood Creek Gifts as thinking back to when I was a kid, I lived on a street called Deerwood Street. Behind our house was a ditch that my sister and I used to find lizards and bugs and we would play along the ditch. As a kid, I thought it was a creek.

When I was thinking of a name, I thought of that house and the "creek" behind it and the name just popped in my head. Since we sell gifts, that part was a given. If you have a name of a shop, I would love to read how you came up with it!

Take care all.

The link to the four candles in the picture is:
Deerwood Creek Gifts and where it got its nameDeerwood Creek Gifts and where it got its name.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The kids and I have started an online business!

In January, I bought my son a saw and a drill. We went to a firewood place and got some wood. When we got home, he went to the garage and started cutting away. I asked him to make me a log tealight candle holder. After several tries, he made one! I loved it and he made a few more.

Later that night, my daughter and I made two fleece tie blankets. A co-worker saw them and suggested we put them on to sell. I had never heard of Etsy, but once I looked into it, I knew it was where I wanted to sell my things.

On Etsy, you open a "shop" and sell your items. It is .20 to list a new item, so it is pretty inexpensive. We listed the fleece blankets and then the log tealight candle.

A few days later I opened my e-mail and there was an e-mail from a lady in MA who wanted us to make 60 log tealight candle holders for her wedding. My son and I were speechless. At first I thought maybe it was a spam e-mail - 60 candle holders? We had only made five EVER! I couldn't believe that someone wanted to use something that we created and wanted to use them in their wedding. It was a great feeling.

To be honest, I never imagined anyone buying more than three of our candles, so 60 was huge! My son and I went to the firewood place and bought a lot of logs. After cutting about 20 of them (on the neighbor's borrowed table saw) we realized that there were worms in the wood. No way was I going to send a bride for her wedding wood with worms!

We ended up giving all the wood to the neighbor to burn for fires and back to the firewood place we went. We came home and started cutting, drilling, sanding, cutting, drilling, is exhausting, but a lot of fun! Also, very messy. I often came into the house with wood shavings in my hair, in my shoes - that stuff gets everywhere.

The only mishap we have had was my son walked into the house holding his pants leg from the inside and the drill bit sticking out of this leg! Apparently the drill had a malfunction and it caused the drill bit to slip loose and it went into my son's leg. I took him to the ER where he ended up getting seven stitches.

The next day I found him in the garage where he was plugging in the drill. I asked him what he was doing and he said he wanted to get the candles done for the bride and he was going to work on them. I asked him about his leg and he said it hurt, but we promised to make the candles and that was exactly what he was going to do. Finish the job.

We have now had a few more orders and I love selling what we make. It is a great feeling to know that something I made makes others happy. I have a regular full-time job, but once I get home, I love to create things. I love the time spent in the garage with my son sawing, drilling and sanding. I love being the house with my daughter and making up new wedding centerpieces. She is very creative and has great taste, so it is a lot of fun. They are great kids and this is something we are doing together.

If you would like to see our shop, please stop by.