Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Ladder of Branches • DIY

I have a tall, dark corner in my portico. It is a space calling for a decorative touch and I have shared with you a variety for different seasons. But spring is here and it is time for a new idea so I went to work. My requirements were that it be tall and skinny, and not require sunlight (north side of the house). I also wanted it to be natural and not cutesy. I am surprised at how long it took me to think of a ladder as the perfect solution, (especially since I have a board dedicated to ladder ideas over in Pinterest) but once I thought of it, the design fell into place.  I finished it up yesterday. We had family over today, and it received a seal of approval from the clan.


I built the ladder from natural saplings (gray birch I think) and from each rung I hung a bright yellow begonia planted in an IKEA pail. The begonias are covered with buds so hopefully as they open up and bloom they will create a bright display cascading in the corner.



How I Made it:
This was very easy to make, required no power tools or extra hands and all combined took only about 3 hours. It started with a walk along the woodland path we call the Eastside Highway.  I knew there were lots of little saplings (tall, straight and with a small crown) growing over there.


David and I hike this path everyday as part of our 3-4 mile woodland loop. 


I brought with me a buck saw and a pair of branch clippers, plus my camera. Using the buck saw I cut down the sapling. It was very easy to do but I was sawing so no photos.


I cut down three saplings about 2 1/2" in diameter at the base. I was impressed by the beauty of the leaves and stopped for a minute to do some artsy photography.


I then trimmed off all the branches using the clippers and lugged the branches home. They were each about 10 feet long and it must have been funny watching me meander through the woods with the three trees, the saw and clippers and my camera bag. I kept getting hung up on other trees.

Once at the house I cut the trees to length using the buck saw.


I started building the ladder in place for optimal measurement but putting it together temporarily with masking tape so I could adjust proportions as I went along. I wanted 5 ladder rungs spaced appropriately for the location.


I built the entire ladder this way. It was definitely rickety but it worked.

I kept the rungs a little crooked and a little funky for interest. Once I was satisfied with the placement I put the ladder down and screwed sheetrock screws in from the backside. I placed the ladder on a discarded paperback so as to not accidentally drill into the floor.



Once together I put the ladder back in place.


Next was the plan for what was to hang from the rungs. I have a collection of IKEA tin pails in a variety of sizes. Although I had considered covering them in bark I decided not to because they add more brightness to a dark corner. I took the buckets and punched two holes near the rim using a 10 penny common nail and a hammer.


Using a dental floss threader I threaded regular twine through the holes....


And created a rustic handle for the pails.


I then transplanted the bright yellow begonia flowers into the pails. I put some rocks at the bottom, added some potting soil and the plants. I debated on how to hang the planters from each rung but decide to simply add another screw on the backside of each rung, leaving it protruding about 1/4".


From each of the rungs I hung a pail with the begonia.....


To create a tower of brightness in the corner.........

Of the main entrance to our house......


I'll take more photos once the flowers fill in!

What did you do this weekend?

Update February, 2013
I have used this ladder all year. I have redecorated it numerous times. Check out some of the variations!


Valentines Ladder

Christmas Ladder

Christmas Ladder with Lights:





A Spring Project that will last all year!


This project inspired me to continue exploring ladders in décor. I collected them ll into a theme page with links to many, many different ways to use ladders in decor


©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy


I am sharing this post at the following link parties. Check them out for other interesting ideas!

44 comments:

  1. Weather didn't allow puttering around the garden as I'd planned.

    Marji,

    How is the ladder fixed? To the wall or to the floor?

    Anyway, the result is striking. Lovely, indeed. Congratulations!

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    1. Hey Teresa,
      The ladder isn't fixed at all. It just leans into the corner and rests against the wall. It is angled back into a corner so it is very stable. I am very pleased with the result but also excited about how I can alter it for different seasons.

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  2. It's lovely! The yellow begonias in their shiny pails just pull you in. Definitely welcoming, but not cutesy!

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    1. Thanks Bettsi. I am having a baby shower here this weekend for my youngest daughter (she's 30 and having her first). I wanted the front entry to look good and it was time to remove the white branches and pine boughs from January! Now I need to start planning food!

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  3. This is TOO freakin' Adorable!! I love this.. May have to try.. Thanks for sharing!!

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    1. Send me a link when you finish yours. I love inspiring others because I get so much of my inspiration from others as well.

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  4. That is so imaginative. It lends a really distinctive touch to your entry.

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    1. Yes, it brightens it up. Thanks for commenting Michele.

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  5. I love this ladder so much! What a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting. I continue to come up with ideas on ways to incorporate branches.

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  6. I love this! What a fun project. Thank you for the great instructions.

    Tresa

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    1. I think you can tell I have teacher genes! Thanks for visiting and commenting Tresa.

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  7. so cute! i hope you link up to the garden party going on over at Fishtail Cottage!?! i'll bet the gardeners that come by would love to see what you've created! xoox, tracie

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    1. Tracie, Great idea. Thanks for directing me. Garden link parties would be a great place for several of my projects.

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  8. Fabulous idea! Love how this looks.

    Have a happy weekend!

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    1. Anne, Thanks for visiting an commenting. I am planning a great weekend. Lots of family here for our grandson's 3rd birthday and our second daughter's baby shower.

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  9. Such a creative idea! I really like how natural it looks and the bright yellow begonias...just lovely. :-)

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  10. This is adorable! Very cleaver :)

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  11. Love this! What a great idea!!
    Stopping by via Addicts Anonymous :-)

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  12. I love this ladder! It looks great and is really creative.

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  13. This is awesome!!!! I love it!!! I am featuring this at somedaycrafts.blogspot.com today. Grab my "featured" button.

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  14. I love this idea!!! I have lots of sticks we pulled out of a dam that beavers made at our lake. They will be perfect sticks for this project. I have used them before to make a trellis. Pinned it!!!

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    1. Send photos- It would look great with beaver gnawed ends!

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  15. This idea is so amazing! You are so talented and we are so blessed that you share your talent with us every week!

    Take care,

    Trish

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    1. Well, not every week but I try. No project this week. Just catching up.

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  16. Really beautiful. I'd love to try it. I really like inspirational ideas for ways to creatively display flowers around the house.

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    1. This one excites me because of how I will be able to change it with each season of flowers.

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  17. Very nice - I may give it a try!!

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  18. i just saw this featured at someday crafts, and i HAD to come and tell you how awesome this is. what a totally unique idea!

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment. Look around my site. You should find other treasures as well!

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  19. Cute idea but you really shouldn't be cutting down trees.

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  20. What a beautiful idea! And I love the color of your house. Would you mind sharing the name of the color? We've been searching for a new color for ours and this is lovely!

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    1. Lori, Thanks for taking the time to comment. We love the color of our house as well. It was natural white cedar siding for nearly 30 years and looked very weathered. Last year I finally decided that was enough and we had it painted. It took me months to decide on a color. We decided on Benjamin Moore Amazon Green 2136-30. The trim is brilliant white and the doors are BM Regent Green 2136-20. The house was done in Arbor coat latex solid stain. I think the name is misleading because it is more of a blue green. But it is beautiful and different for New England. Send pictures when you do yours!

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  21. Your tall dark corner is now tall dark and handsome. Though, not quite so dark anymore.

    Love this and pinned it!

    Oh, and I'm drooling over your entry. So I pinned the long shot too ...

    :)

    Linda

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    1. The entry was part of a new addition 3 years ago along with the sunroom. It used to be the back entry to the garage! It is an addition that greatly improved our house appearance.

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  22. Stopped by from TT&J--this is a great idea--thanks for sharing!

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    1. Visit regularly. I am working on more branch ideas now to be shared soon.

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  23. İt is looking very easy .And good idea.Thanks for sharing.And ı have to say ,yours house is beatifull.

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    1. Thanks Anne, Our house has been the biggest project of all. We built it ourselves back when we were young and thought we could do anything. And we have been fixing mistakes ever sense :-). We love it. It is definitely unique in many ways.

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  24. I agree that you shouldn't be randomly cutting down trees, especially young healthy ones! They may be part of a woodland management plan and even if they weren't there is a correct way to cut green wood - it shouldn't just be cut horizontally like that. That said I think it is a fantastic idea and one which I will be adding to my list of things to do. I will however only use responsibly sourced materials from a project i voulnteer on to help preserve ancient woodland for future generations. Thanks so much for the inspiration. I hope people do source materials for this project responsibly.

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    1. I think maybe you have never visited New England where in areas saplings like this grow like weeds. Thinning helps, doesn't hinder. But please do tell. What is the proper way to cut a sapling?

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  25. This is sooooo pretty! Love the way you dressed it up for all seasons! It looks great plain too :)

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