Paver Snowmen/Gingerbread Men

A republish from last year. This was a fun project to do, and getting out last year’s project brings back good memories. 


The only place I was able to find the correct shaped pavers was Home Depot.  The pavers were only 67 cents each so they make for a cheap project.  I also bought a can of white and light brown spray paint.  We had all of the materials we used for decorating on hand.

First we put the paver on a box in the drive way and spray painted them white for snowmen and brown for gingerbread.  The pavers were already sort of brown, but were unevenly colored.  They needed to be painted for a better look.

The spray paint dried within minutes and we were able to decorate our pavers.  We used acrylic paint, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, cotton balls, and ribbons.  I was also able to fashion some hats out of scrap wood.  Each child was able to decorate in their own way.

Our 11-year-old’s snowmen and gingerbread man
Our 8 year old’s gingerbread men and snowman
Our 6 year old’s snowman, alien, and cyclops. I could see myself making something like this as a child.
Our 4 year old is really into black. Not a traditional snowman color.

These were easy and quick decorations that we will be using as decorations for family.  I also learned that the combination of gorilla glue and acrylic paint is VERY hard to clean off your hands.


Bathroom Remodel: Excavating the Past

The next phase of the bathroom remodel is to remove the tile and fix the floor underneath. I have been holding off on removing the tile because I knew there was rot in the subfloor around the toilet. 

To get to the subfloor I had to peel back the layers of time. So far as I could tell nothing had ever been taken off the floor before. Everyone in the past had just added another layer to the top. 

Many layers makes for a tall floor.

The first step was to smash the tile so I could remove it. Surprisingly, there was actually concrete backer board under the tile. I didn’t think that the tiling had been done correctly in the past. 

Under the tile and concrete board were 3 layers of linoleum. Removing linoleum isn’t difficult, but no one had ever felt the need before I guess. 

Wood look linoleum with yellow underneath

Beneath all that was the original layer. I am not exactly sure if it was linoleum or something different. It didn’t look quite like linoleum to me, but I don’t know much about the stuff.  This layer looked somewhat like parquet I think. 

Original floor covering

Lastly I had to remove a layer of 1/4th inch plywood that was attached directly to the subfloor. 

While it was a lot of work to remove all these layers it was interesting to see how people had decorated in the past. None of these floor coverings appeal to me, but somebody thought they were great at some time. 


Shower Removal 

On Saturday I am going to be tearing out our old shower. It is the last part of the bathroom that has the original tile, the tile is probably over 60 years old. While it is good to use old things, this tile needs to go. Some of the tiles on the floor of the shower are cracked, and it is impossible to keep all the grout clean. 

The bathroom has a shower stall and a separate bathtub. I have already turned the bathtub into a shower reusing the original metal tub. So now it is time to do something else with the shower space. 

I am going to be building shelves in the showers location. The spot is about 38 inches deep which is too big for shelves. So, I am going to build shelves about 19 inches deep in the bathroom. Behind the bathroom is a blank wall in the area we are using as an office. At some point I am going to put a hole in the office wall and build a built-in shelf backed up to the bathroom shelf. 

My only dilemma is how to build the shelves. Do I want to do any drywall or just attach plywood to the studs directly? Using only plywood means I will have more space on my shelves. I am trying to figure out if there is a downside to not using the drywall that I am not seeing. 


Glass Bottle Bird Feeder

One of our sons really wanted to have a bird feeder.  He tried a number of ways to make his own.  One of those was peanut butter and raisins.on a toilet paper tube, that one didn’t attract any birds.  He also convinced Lynn to buy a large bag of bird seed, which he put some of in a container on our picnic table.  That idea did attract some birds, but they pooped on our table.  Personally, I find that to be less then optimal.

Because we had the bag of seeds, and I wanted to help him out I decided to look up how to build a bird feeder.  I wanted to find one that I could make out of materials I had on hand so I wouldn’t have to spend any money if it didn’t attract birds.  After looking at many pictures online, I found this idea to make a bird feeder out of an old bottle.  It is a simple idea and is easily customized to the materials you have on hand.

I found an old San Pellegrino bottle in the recycling bag, all I had to do was remove the label.

I also had some scrap wood sitting around that I was able to cut to the right sizes.  The original place I got my idea just had two pieces of wood screwed together.  I always build stronger than that so I cut some angled pieces to go under the horizontal board for strength. After screwing the wood pieces together, I painted them with primer to help protect from moisture.

Then I drilled holes in the vertical board where the bottle would be hanging from.  I don’t have any specific measurements for where to put the holes.  It will depend on the size of the bottle and backboard that you use. The original plan called for wire to hang the bottle, but all I had was garden twine.  The twine works just fine (haha a rhyme), but will not last as long as the wire would.

Last I took an old 4×4 that was in the yard when I moved in and buried about a foot of it in the ground, then I attached the bird feeder boards I made to the 4×4.

The hardest part might have been filling the bottle with bird seeds.  I think the easiest way is to make a funnel out of a piece of paper and dump the seeds down that into the bottle.

The feeder does attract birds.  So far I have only seen doves drawn to the feeder, but it is fun watching the doves sit on the feeder and eat the seeds.  This is an easy project that I think just about anybody can do.  There isn’t a need for any specialized tools.  In fact, if your boards are already the correct size then all you need is a drill.