#MyOSHProject: Upcycled House Numbers Sign

It’s a Saturday. And as is often the case, you’re wondering what you can do to make your home a little more uniquely you. Something that will let you express yourself artistically in a single afternoon. Well, we’ve got just the project for you an upcycled house numbers sign. All it takes is some wood and screws to make a set of house/apartment numbers (or anything you like) for your home.

While you can absolutely head to your nearest hardware store and pick up everything you need for this project, this is also a great way to make use of material from past projects. Using scrap wood you may have around the home or anything you might be able to pick up in your neighborhood or at a local construction site or store (sometimes small businesses will be all too happy to get rid of pallets, for example) is a great way to make this project your own. Using different kinds of screws and nails you may have around the house can help achieve the same goal, giving your sign a unique and eclectic look. Of course, if you want to achieve a more uniform and cleaner appearance, using new material is the perfect way to do that. Either way, the steps are the same, so let’s get started.

What you’ll need for the Upcycled House Numbers Sign:

Step 1

Prepare the wood. Cut it to the desired size, if necessary. If you picked up some stain or paint, now’s the time to apply it. There are many different kinds of stain, and each will work differently on different sorts of woods. Pine stains very differently from cherry, for example. If you have extra scrap wood of the same kind you’ll be using for the project, it’s a good idea to test it out on that first. If your chosen stain is a little too light or you just want to play around with different effects, you can apply multiple coats to give your wood a darker finish.

Step 2

Once the stain is dry, take your stencils and arrange them however you’d like your finished sign to look, then trace them with pencil so you can use the outlines as a guide. With the shapes outlined, take a ruler and make regular grid-like marks for where your screws will go. This will ensure a neat and attractive final product.

Step 3

If you’re using a small piece of wood or you’re planning to have your numbers close to the edges of the wood, it’s a good idea to pre-drill the holes for the screws you’ll be using. Using thin or dry wood, or drilling screws too close to the edges can cause the wood to split. If this happens, you can use wood glue along the split and hold it together with clamps to repair it. You can prevent the wood from splitting by drilling through the board with a bit that’s a little smaller than the screws you’ll be using. Providing a pre-drilled path for the screws makes it easier for them to enter the board, and by using a drill bit with a smaller diameter, you’ll ensure that there’s still plenty of wood for the threads of the screws to bite into. TIP: Use a Drive Guide to help steady the screwdriver!

Step 4

Begin screwing in your screws. If they require a special bit, make sure to use that to prevent any issues. By following the guide lines you drew back in step 2 and sinking them all to the same depth, you’ll ensure a uniform look.


With a little bit of careful planning and a leisurely weekend afternoon, you can create an unique set of address numbers for your home. Of course, you can make any kind of sign you like, or even use different colored screws and stain to recreate some of your favorite pieces of art.

Whatever you decide to do, we hope you feel inspired, and of course, share the results of your creativity on social media using #MyOSHProject so we can applaud you!

Dremel Hatch: A Wood Project Kit that comes with everything you need

Ever buy a project kit that told you it had “everything you need” or to “just add imagination?” Ever become get really, really upset when you opened that kit and it did not, in fact, come with everything you need? Yeah. Us too.

So when Dremel® said they had a wood crafting project kit that included everything you need, our interests were piqued. Incoming the Dremel Hatch Project!

We told them we were curious, and they sent us one to check out—a pallet wood wall art project called Skyline. We immediately went to work inspecting every single tiny little thing about it.

Our conclusion? It’s the best thing that’s happened to craft night since the embroidery hoop.

Overstatements aside, it lives up to everything we were told, and you’ll know it as soon as you pick one up.

The first thing you’re going to notice is the box. It’s not just another cardboard box, it’s actually part of the project. It’s the workspace. Really!

The inside of the package is gridded like graph paper, so you can line things up and measure them without using a ruler. One half of the box folds flat and the other turns into a stand you can use to hold your directions and there’s even a cut-out holder for your phone.

The phone holder is one of our favorite parts. It’s a huge plus for those who like to share our projects online. It will hold your cell phone right over the top of your project, so you can stream your progress, record for editing later, or take time-lapse shots. All without taking your hands off of your project.

What’s inside?

  • A wood pallet
  • wood practice pieces
  • paint
  • paint brushes
  • markers
  • a pencil
  • chalk
  • an eraser
  • a picture hanging kit
  • sandpaper
  • transfer paper
  • templates of the city skylines of Chicago and New York City
  • plus, you get an online code to get templates for 80 more major cities.

The only thing you need to supply is a stable surface to hold your box. So you can do this practically anywhere you want. If you got one kit for each of your guests, you could host a crafting party at the park or the beach just as easily as hosting one at your house.

The last thing you get with the kit (one thing that isn’t on that materials list) is inspiration.

Dremel® knows you want to really personalize this. So they’ve included suggestions on how to make it your own using other crafting and woodworking techniques like burning, sanding, and routing.

Something else you don’t see on that materials list? A Dremel® tool. And that’s because you don’t need one. Sure, you can use one if you’d like, but you don’t have to have one to get this project done.

And this is just the first kit they’ve released. The next box is projected to be out around the holiday season of 2017. That gives us plenty of time to practice taking our skyline projects to the next level.

We think we’re going to try the string-art version of Los Angeles next. Buy your very own Dremel Hatch Project Kit Online now or available in stores on March 10, 2017.

Empty trellis? Lonely arbor? Fill ’em with these easy-grow vines

Jasminum polyanthum (Pink Jasmine)

Team Osh Guest Blogger Paul Lee Cannon:

“Vines lend vertical visual excitement to an outdoor living space. Vine-covered structures such as trellises or arbors are key to vertical gardening, a trend that has fully taken root over the past few years and shows no signs of slowing down because of its solution in providing more room to grow (up!), particularly in smaller urban spaces.

The window of my home office from which I’m writing this post overlooks the backyard. Since spring has sprung, I notice that the vine activity is in full force. Bright pale-pink clusters of Jasminum polyanthum (pink jasmine) spill over fences. A Roger’s California grape (Vitis ‘Roger’s Red’) clings to the perimeter of the deck, shiny new lime-green foliage glistening in the sun, and countless tendrils looking to latch onto anything in their path. Climbing roses I’m growing in large pots are covered in buds on the verge of blossoming. I envision by summer they’ll be clinging to the deck railing to mingle with the grape, ultimately resulting in a harmonious tangle of fruit, flowers and foliage.

Whether your outdoor living space has ample room for a grape to run wild or is limited to gardening in containers, one of these three climbers can help make it beautiful. Ready to grow up? Let’s grow!

Jasminum polyanthum (Pink Jasmine)
Jasminum polyanthum (Pink Jasmine)

Jasminum polyanthum (Pink Jasmine),

USDA hardiness zones 8-10 – There’s a reason – actually several reasons – why jasmine is so popular. This evergreen garden classic boasts showy, incredibly fragrant, pinkish-white flowers spring through summer; thrives in sun or part shade; and grows fast – up to 25 feet long. Plant in rich, well-draining soil although it can tolerate less-favorable soils. When planting in the ground, water regularly until the vine’s established, which will become evident by emergence of new growth. From that point on it requires only occasional irrigation. If growing jasmine in a pot (preferably large enough to establish a substantial root system), apply a top layer of mulch to retain moisture and feed regularly with a granular fertilizer. Train up a trellis or arbor or even use as a groundcover. If it rambles a little too much for you, just give jasmine a good snip. She won’t mind.

Vitis vinifera (Common Grape)
Vitis vinifera (Common Grape)

Vitis vinifera (Common Grape),

USDA hardiness zones 7-10 – Growing a grape vine is easy-peasy if you have a reliably sunny spot, a sturdy structure for it to latch onto, and the space for it to quickly wander (Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, for instance, can grow 10-20 feet in a year). Water regularly, especially during heat spells, and it’ll grow vigorously. The fruit emerges in summer, ripening in fall, followed by a stunning show of blazing red foliage into the colder months.

I haven’t ventured into winemaking (at least not yet) with harvests from the wild grape I’ve been growing the past several years, but I have made some delicious juice. Last summer, I reduced watering quite a bit, and what fruit emerged I let the birds and squirrels have at it. When the leaves fall off come autumn (grape is deciduous) collect and press them between the pages of a book, or do as I do and place a leaf at the bottom of a pot before planting. It’s a perfectly sustainable, economical way of preventing soil from escaping.

Rosa sp. (Rose varieties)
Rosa sp. (Rose varieties)

Rosa sp. (Rose varieties),

USDA hardiness zones vary widely – I used to write off roses as being too thorny (ouch!) and fussy, but after an inspiring, senses-blowing visit to the 15-acre Rose Story Farm in Carpinteria, CA last spring, I pulled on a pair of thicker gloves and decided to give them a second chance. Since I lack the space for them in my front garden, which receives the most sunlight, I am experimenting with several rose varieties (including a few climbers) in large pots on the deck, which gets zapped a few hours at a time by afternoon sun.

After the generous rain we’ve received in the Bay Area the past few months, my roses are all robust with foliage and, as of this writing, on the verge of bursting into bloom. An English friend who can grow roses with her eyes closed advised regular feedings of alfalfa pellets. I took heed of her tip and as a result, my container rose garden is responding quite beautifully and healthfully. But enough about my roses, let’s talk about one for your garden. Rosa banksiae (Lady Banks Rose – USDA zones 6-9; evergreen in mild climates) is a classic, easy-care, thornless variety – I repeat, thornless. Give full sun plus regular watering and fertilizer, and you’ll be rewarded with a showstopping spray of miniature, fluffy, butter-yellow blooms and lush, deep-green foliage in spring and summer. Take note that Lady Banks can grow 15-20 feet long – so be sure and give her her space.”

Forget mulch: Fill gaps in the garden with these great groundcovers

Cerastium tomentosum ground

Team Osh Guest Blogger Paul Lee Cannon:

“Who doesn’t love a freshly mulched garden? Besides giving a landscape a beautiful finishing touch, a top layer of mulch (typically wood chips) conserves moisture, keeps weeds at bay, and even improves soil health. But I have to admit I’ve been slowly weaning off mulch the past couple of years because I’ve found a more gratifying alternative, one that doesn’t require lugging heavy bags. It’s called “overplanting.” Basically this means covering as much soil in the garden as you can within reason. The result is fuller, variety-filled planting beds and loads-less stress on your back. I curated this list of easy-to-grow plants that in my experience make fantastic groundcovers and that can, quite literally, fill in for mulch. Plus, the more plants, the merrier, right? Happy growing!

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)
Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Stachys byzantina
(Lamb’s Ear),

USDA hardiness zones 4-9 – The fuzzy gray-green leaves are fun to touch (kids LOVE them) and it spreads out along the ground creating a 4-foot-wide or more wonderful, wooly carpet. Pinkish-purply flower spikes rise above the foliage in summer and attract bees like nobody’s business. Grow in a well-drained spot that receives full or part sun. It requires very little water once established. I started growing lamb’s ear from seed many years ago, and it continues to reliably thrive in my garden in numerous ways. You can use it to soften the borders of the front walk, add textural interest to container plantings, and brighten dark spots. I also plant it between shrubs with dark foliage to create a wavy, ethereal effect which is just gorgeous. This plant is so prolific as a groundcover that this past fall I divided several clumps for sharing and poked some into the parking strip in front of our home, where they are now quickly taking over in a good way.

Salvia leucantha (Mexican Bush Sage)
Salvia leucantha (Mexican Bush Sage)

Salvia leucantha
(Mexican Bush Sage),

USDA hardiness zones 8-11 – Meet my go-to for adding a pop of long-lasting color, filling in bare patches, and planting in tough spots like my multiply mentioned parking strip. I love, love, LOVE this easy-to-grow, drought-tolerant evergreen shrub and for many, many, MANY reasons. It puts out pretty purple and white blooms all year long, attracts hummingbirds, responds favorably to pruning, and covers a lot of ground fast (3-5 feet tall and wide). The narrow, gray-green leaves are handsome as are the upright stems which are covered with white wooly hairs. Plant in full sun for more robust flowering and foliage, then kick back and wait for the hummingbird show.

Cerastium tomentosum flower
Cerastium tomentosum flower

Cerastium tomentosum
(Snow-in-Summer),

USDA hardiness zones 3-7 – If you’ve got a really sunny spot in your garden that needs filling in, pick up a flat of this sweet lil’ evergreen groundcover and dig in. It quickly forms a silvery gray mat of foliage, followed by clustered masses of tiny white flowers come late spring into early summer. It grows 6-8 inches high and wide and spreads faster with regular watering, but is drought tolerant once established. Plant each plug (and lots of them for best, snowiest effect) about a foot apart in well-draining soil. Grow in partial shade if your climate is a particularly hot one. It’s a real rock star in a rock garden, on a dry hillside, and in the company of other plants with similarly hued foliage for a dreamy, monochromatic effect. Now on with the snow!

Eriogonum grande var. rubescens (Red Buckwheat)
Eriogonum grande var. rubescens (Red Buckwheat)

Eriogonum grande var. rubescens
(Red Buckwheat),

USDA hardiness zones 8-10 – This California native perennial plant astounds me. I grow it in dry, heavy clay soil in my front yard, NEVER water it, and it rewards me for my neglect with a dense mound (1 foot long by 3 feet wide) of ruffled, rich-green, oval leaves (white and wooly underneath) and swarms of hot-pink, pom-pom-like flowers from summer to fall. The butterflies love the blooms just as much, if not more, than I do. I harvested last year’s blooms and discovered they make a beautiful, rust-colored dry flower arrangement. Plant this buckwheat in full to part sun, preferably in fall before the rain, then leave it alone. It’s really that easy.

Eriogonum arborescens (Santa Cruz Island Buckwheat)
Eriogonum arborescens (Santa Cruz Island Buckwheat)

Eriogonum arborescens
(Santa Cruz Island Buckwheat),

USDA hardiness zones 7-10 – Here’s another tried-and-true California buckwheat I adore. It’s a fast-growing evergreen shrub with a compact, mounding habit reaching 3 feet tall by 5 feet wide. I grow it in clay soil, full sun, and very rarely water it, but it still responds generously with lots of pale-green foliage and heads of rusty-pink flowers that bloom summer through California winter. You can even give it a go in less light, which will result in darker foliage. I’ve seen it grown in the shade as an underplanting for a tree and it’s still attractive. The casual, meadowy look really appeals to me, plus I appreciate that it responds kindly to the snip-snip of my pruning shears. Care for it as you would red buckwheat. This plant thrives on neglect, too!

Abelia grandiflora (Glossy Abelia)
Abelia grandiflora (Glossy Abelia)

Abelia grandiflora
(Glossy Abelia),

USDA hardiness zones 6-9 – For most of the 13 years I’ve lived in my home, an abelia has beautifully flanked the front steps. This unfussy evergreen has a lovely cascading habit, shiny leaves, and tiny bell-like white flowers. It thrives in full to part sun and there’s no need to water it that much (if at all) once it’s taken root in your garden (an exception to this is if you reside in a hot climate). Abelia grows at a moderate pace, ultimately reaching 4-6 feet tall by 5 feet wide, but is easy to keep clipped back to a manageable size. I love just letting it ramble and cover the ground. Because it does a pretty fabulous job of it.”

Create a Front Porch that Wows

What’s often looked at yet often overlooked? If you answered the front porch, you’re spot on. If you think about it, the front porch is really is one of the most important parts of your home. It’s where you greet guests. Neighbors look at it every day as they drive or stroll by. It’s how you identify your place to people coming over (Hey, we’re the third house on the left with the brown door). So, with all this attention, is there any reason to settle for a porch without personality? To crank up the curb appeal all you need is about a weekend’s worth of work, a little know-how, and maybe a dash of daring.

Front Door

Benjamin Moore Aura Grand Entrance
Benjamin Moore® Grand Entrance™
1-qt Interior/Exterior Door and Trim Enamel

The best place to start is the door. It’s the focal point of the entry, and let’s be honest, it will take the most time. For paint, we love Aura® Grand Entrance from Benjamin Moore®. It applies smoothly, and has excellent hide. Available in 2 formulas – High Gloss and Satin – that dry to a lustrous finish. (Tip: If you have an older door, the Satin formula will help conceal dings and flaws). Best of all, Grand Entrance comes in 3,500 colors. That’s a lot of ways to express yourself. So, if you dig a door in lime green, go for it. The great thing about paint, is that it can be painted over.

Lock Sets

If you’re going to go to the trouble of painting your front door, you might want to consider changing out your handles and hardware. There are so many styles and finishes available, plus next gen electronic versions. You can update and really update using just a screwdriver.

Ring™ Video Doorbell
Ring™ Video Doorbell.
Click to view at osh.com.

Doorbell

And if you want to be really smart, think about a high-tech doorbell like the Ring™ Video Doorbell. It literally turns your mobile into a portable peephole, so you can see who’s at your door from practically anywhere. `

Lighting

Next up in terms of time involvement is lighting. Besides safety and security, front porch lighting helps define the space and set the mood for an inviting entry. When choosing, it’s important to consider the scale of the fixtures. You don’t want them to overwhelm, or underwhelm your space. Equally important is style. You might love the look of those stainless industrial lights, but they will look really out of place facing your Tudor-style cottage. Because updating lighting involves electricity, we suggest getting a pro to help, unless you happen to be a pro yourself.

Now that the big jobs are out of the way, you can start on the smaller projects that have equally important impact.

House Numbers

House numbers
House Numbers
Click to view at osh.com

House numbers are an easy way to refresh your entry look. Like lighting and door hardware, they should match the style of your house. Your Mid-Century masterpiece will be very unhappy if you make it wear Olde English house numbers.

Patio Ready Planters

For a lot of look with low involvement on your part, nothing beats a patio-ready container of flowers. Pre-potted with colorful, complementary flowers. Just place and pop! Pizazz in an instant.

Doormats

No great first impression is complete without a welcome mat. A popular choice is coir mats made of bristly coconut fibers. These durable, decorative dirt magnets come in a variety of sizes, colors and designs. A relatively inexpensive way to decorate your doorway to match your mood or the season.

Ready to take your front entry from humdrum to high style?