guest post by Kim Adlerman, children's book author/illustrator
Have you heard of the term “productive procrastination”? Basically you get a lot accomplished—just not what really needs doing. There’s another word for it, too but I can’t recall what it is. Anyhow, I’ve been growing veggies for several years and have wanted to make some raised beds and garden containers so I can grow more. What perfect projects to productively procrastinate!
To avoid going to the store, I decided to upcycle what I could find in my garage and cellar. It’s amazing what I came across. My first project was this stepped planter. As a project in HS woodshop a few years ago, my son decided to make dog stairs that you put next to the bed so your dog can climb up. I’m not sure what inspired this, because our dog, Zoey was 4 at the time and did not need or want dog stairs. I left it by our bed for about three days so I wouldn’t hurt my son’s feelings, but then off to the garage the stairs went! This was the perfect thing to start with. I had to cut pieces off of the stairs and add more on to make it work as a planter, but it’s perfect! Okay, it’s pretty ugly really—but it’s functional.
Second project—an elevated raised garden bed! Luckily, it was a beautiful weekend. My other son happens to be stuck here with us so that made the project go much more quickly, and it was really fun working on it with him. I found four shelves I made for a TV cabinet I NEVER made. Note to self: Make the cabinet first next time. Anyway, stumbling upon them in the garage, it dawned on me we no longer have a TV that would even FIT in the cabinet I had planned on making. We have flat screen TVs. This left me with four lovely and usable shelves...or whatever they were destined to be... Two of those shelves were a no-brainer for the ends of the raised bed. The long ends and legs were trickier. I found three long pieces that could be made to the same length, two of the same width! Two of the legs came from part of our old swing set, which I was going to throw out a couple of weeks ago but luckily our town temporarily cancelled bulk pick-ups!
Mind you, I don’t have a shop in my house. I have a jigsaw, a sander, and a couple of drills. These projects were fun and satisfying, not to mention creative and challenging. I not only had to figure out what I could make, but how to make it with the limited amount of tools and supplies I had available. I’m pretty much out of wood now, so hopefully will be inspired to work on the first and most important thing on my to-do list.
Thanks Kim! It just goes to show that necessity truly is the mother of invention!