Rustic DIY Projects: How to ‘Spruce Up’ Your Home

After my last post about using home décor that features reclaimed wood, I have to admit I’ve only become more and more interested in rustic home décor ideas, and so I thought this would be a great opportunity to highlight some simple DIY projects that celebrate some of the more pastoral design elements.


I know that not everyone has access to reclaimed wood or a working relationship with a quality tree maintenance crew like I used to have with the folks over at, who were always happy to answer my questions about working with reclaimed wood and helping me figure out ways to safely work with damaged—i.e. diseased, or EAB-infested—wood. So, I thought today I could introduce you to a few of my favorite rustic DIY projects that incorporate slightly more accessible materials—many of which can be purchased relatively cheap at most hobby stores.


Instructions? Head over to:

Instructions? Head over to:


1. Twine-Wrapped Cabinet Handles – This is a really fun way to spice up any regular old cabinet handles (and an especially nice option for those not wanting to fork it up for expensive handles). All you’ve got to do is pick up some twine and carefully wind it around your current handles for a quick, rustic update!

tree trunk wall clock

2. Crosscut Wooden Clock – This is a simple way to add a rustic yet functional design element to just about any room. Clock kits can be purchased from just about any hobby store, and if you’re able to get your hands on a nice crosscut tree trunk slab, you’ll have everything you need to make a charming clock featuring a sophisticated wooden face. Minimalist, but visually stunning.

Feeling inspired? Check out:

Feeling inspired? Check out:

3. Twig Candle Holders – This is actually a really fun way to make use of all those little twigs and branches you’ll find dotting your yard after a particularly windy storm. Gather 20-30 twigs, then glue them to the outside of any cheap, clear glass candle holder. Cut or snap the twigs to the correct height (they should be perpendicular to the candle holder base). Then all that’s left is to light your candle and enjoy the idyllic ambience.

pallet wine display

4. Pallet. . . Anything! – From coffee tables, to benches, to bed-frames, to wine racks—there are hundreds of amazing DIY projects that take boring old pallets and transform them into stunning conversation pieces. A quick Google search for “DIY Pallet Projects” will show you exactly what I mean. . . so take your pick!


Stay tuned for more DIY home décor projects to come in the future (and we’ll see how long it takes for this “rustic” bug to work its way out of my system. . .) and if you end up trying any of these projects out on your own, I’d love to see how they turn out; don’t hesitate to send me a message (send pics of your completed projects!), and let me know how the project worked out for you!

I’ll be back with plenty more home décor ideas, but in the meantime I hope you all are having a wonderful spring! Happy decorating!

What A Cool Idea!

So, I was just messing around online, killing time if you will and I stumbled upon a pretty cool website.  First, a little background…

If you may not already know, we are currently in the middle of a devastating crisis for the ash tree.  The emerald ash borer is destroying these fine specimens at an alarming rate.  Now, we can treat our ash trees to bring them back to health if the problem is caught soon enough.  Notice the issue too late, and say goodbye to your decades old citizen.  You see, the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is a green beetle that is native to both Asia and Eastern Russia.  It was likely brought to the United States as a hitchhiker on solid wood packing material carried by cargo ships or as a stowaway on an airplane originating from Asia.

First discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002, the emerald ash borer (EAB) has been devastating ash trees ever since.  The EAB primarily infests and causes significant damage to 4 major types of ash trees.  Green ash, white ash, black ash, and blue ash are the main victims in North America.

Damage to infested trees occurs due to larval feeding as the serpentine feeding of the larvae creates channels that disrupt the flow of nutrients and water with the tree.  This leads to girdling of the tree and if bad enough, the tree cannot bridge the wound created by the EAB larvae and the tree above the affected areas dies as a result.

After initial infestation, all trees within the area are expected to die within 10 years without measures in place to control the spread of the EAB.  All North American ash trees are susceptible to the emerald ash borer and without the specialized predators and parasitoids that suppress its populations in Asia, the EAB has free range and it treats the North American ash trees like an all-you-can-eat buffet.  Populations can spread up to 13 miles per year on their own, but the spread of the EAB is also helped by the transport of firewood and other wood products that contain ash bark.  In this manner, the spread of the emerald ash borer can cover hundreds of miles per year and creates satellite populations outside the main infestation zone.

So, why all the background?  I found a website that specializes in using the damaged wood from affected ash trees.  Repurposing it into picture frames and furniture, this Michigan-based company creates beautiful works of art of out something that is otherwise discarded as waste.  Why turn your beautiful ash tree into a pile of wood chips when you can turn it into this:

Beautiful Repurposed Ash Buffet

The other cool thing.  Urban Ashes ( also sells their work to galleries for resale through their partnership program.  Which, is right up my alley.  Ash trees are all around where I live.  I’m not sure if they accept ash trees from outside the state, but it may be something that I need to look into.

On second thought, maybe that is a bad idea and could possibly contribute to the spread of the invasive emerald ash borer.  Maybe I should just find some local artisan that works with reclaimed or repurposed wood?  All I know is that our natural resources are precious, and I’m all for finding a way to breathe new life into something before simply discarding it.

First things first, get your ash trees inspected by professionals.  Not all tree service companies are created equal.  Do a simple Google search and see what’s served up for reputable companies in your area.  Make sure that they use an injection gun to treat the ash tree.  In all my research, the ArborJet direct-injection system seems to be the best at managing this invasive species.  Plus, it is much safer than simply spraying or doing soil injections.  Why risk the health of yourself, others, and your pets when you don’t have to?

If it’s too late, the same tree service company can help remove the diseased tree.  Ask if they know of any local craftsmen who utilize repurposed wood to make beautiful pieces of art and you’ll always have something to remind you of the beautiful ash that once stood tall.  You can even pass it down from generation to generation.  In the midst of this crisis, become an advocate.  Inform yourself and arm yourself with knowledge.  Make a difference in your community and see who you can get on board.