My 99 Cent Shelf.

Friday, June 26, 2015

What?  Ninety nine cents for a shelf?  You gotta be kiddin' me.

Well.  No.  No, I'm not.

I paid ninety nine cents for the keyhole brackets.  The rest was free to me.  Well, ok, maybe minus some gasoline and ancillary supplies I had on hand.

Ok, I realize this is a one in a million trillion shelf but ya never know.  My point in sharing this with you is to encourage you to keep your eyes open.  Keep your mind open, think creatively, because you never know what you're gonna see while out and about.

Truth be told, I probably should not have picked this up.

For several years now the Emerald Ash Borer has been wrecking havoc around town.  Killing so many trees around the city, this dumb bug is.  Its latest target is beautiful Humboldt Park, the neighborhood and the park proper.  According to The Chicagoist, 650 trees in the area are slated to be cut down.  :(  Ugh, heartbreaking.

At least the city is going to plant 350 trees.  Or so they say anyway.  Mmm hm.  Ahem.

The tree chopper people have been buzzing away in the park for the last week or two or so, felling these huge huge trees.  Such a shame.

I'm walking Finn one day and I see this wedge shaped tree piece all alone, drowning in a puddle.  I look all around, see no one, look at the wedge.  Think to myself:  that'd be a Ridiculously stunning shelf.

I should keep walking.  Continuing on, I glance back over my shoulder, hear a blurp blurp, gurgle, save me!

No, keep walking, I shouldn't touch it.  I bet that was Rational Brain again.  Mmm hm.

The next day Finny and I pass it again.  On purpose?  Iiiiii dunno.  Lemme, for the sake of argument, juuuust take a closer look.

Aw, that is soooo cool (yet unfortunate for the tree) how the bugs burrowed and made that snake-y pattern!  Look at the funky ripple effect there, the top is flat? wow, and there's still bark on it too!  Omg, too good to be true.  Pinch pinch.

No, keep walking.  I shouldn't touch it.

I hear the wedge whisper, you will be so sorry if you pass me up.  So sorry.

I just kinda hear Mike in my head too, "Whaddya crazy?!  What're thinkin'?!"

But I'm also thinking maybe he'll find it insanely cool too.  One day I'll figure out his taste.  Maybe in another ten years.

(Mike does like the DIY library rug, by the way, yay!  "Perfect!" he says.  And when I showed him the newly recovered pillow on his and Finn's side of the couch, he shot me a wide-eyed, omg-are-you-super-serious-this-is-awesomeness look while petting it and hugging it and cuddling with it.  You should see Finn's face when he's resting his head on it too, heh.  "You're going back for more of this fabric, right?" said my enraptured husband.  +1 win for Brain on Fabric!)

Ok so day three I decide all right, look, if it's still there, I'm gonna grab it.  Walk by's still there.  I glance around like a prowler.  Ok Finny boy, c'mon, let's hurry back to the car!

A quick zip over, pop the trunk, do a thieving 360º look-see, surreptitiously in broad daylight fish the wedge out of the puddle, toss it in the car, shut the trunk, and off like bandits we were.

I let it sit in the garage for a few days to dry out.  Then I brought it indoors.  Where I was finally able to admire it in all it's grandeur.

wedge of wood

another view of wood wedge

Wow.  Damn cool.

smooth top of wood wedge

top of wood wedge

Sanding the top a bit and then several coats of semi-gloss polyurethane (oil based) later (yes even though I know the wood is still "green"), I venture out for some keyhole brackets.*

package of keyhole brackets

I ended up with not the kind I wanted but it's what Menards had.  And, really, can't beat ninety nine cents.  AmmI right or ammI right?

Right.  I measure 2" down from the top edge, some arbitrary measurement I randomly decided upon, and that was center of the catch.

measuring for keyhole bracket installation

 Attach brackets.  Important:  pre-drill your screw holes.  And don't overly tighten the brackets on.

attached keyhole brackets to wood wedge
And I arbitrarily picked the distance apart from each other too.
So now I have to decide where in the house I'm hanging it.  The hard part.  My immediate, and initial, desire is by the front door.  Hm.  But Finn jumps like a hysterical lunatic at passerby.  Passerby dogs and Mr. Mailman especially.  Would he knock into and destroy it?

What about next to the bed in the hall bedroom?  I haul it up there.  It looks outstanding.  I look around the room and think, wellllll, maybe this is a tad much.  Or, I can hunt like a vulture on every park walk for another one.  I have indeed located one but it's trapped under a jumbo slain tree trunk, so um, not readily available.  Or, we'll see.  *cough.*

But of course it's not too much for the room, I was feeling selfish.

Mike, after I stupidly mentioned the yarn art still being up, made me move it under threat of it dying a horrifying death.  Sigh.  It's in the hall bedroom now.  I thought, huh, maybe on that wall in the master bedroom.  But.  That's over Finn's main sleeping spot, probably not the best idea.

Ok.  Front door.  Keep fingers crossed.

I use that painters tape trick you see all over the Pinterests and interwebs.  Stretch the tape over, jab through two holes...

using painters tape to mark bracket placement on wall
Oh yeah, Finn's totally holding it for me, multi-talented pooch that he is.
...mark a level line on the wall, stick tape, drill away.

tape on wall for bracket holes
Hey, tape!
Once hanging I discover that the flat side against the wall and the top being level eh, nope.  Ah well. Case in point that geometry was the math subject I was worst at.  Oddly.  Whatever.  So I cut a little block from my ginormous pile of mis-cut 2x2's.

wood wedge hanging on wall
Doh, not level.
And bingo, nearly level top.  Big gap I wasn't anticipating but, hey, whatev's.

side view of wood wedge on wall

Finn sniffing new 99 cent wood wedge wall shelf
Finn looks a little crazy-eyed here.  Hopefully he's not planning a shelf attack.
new 99 cent shelf made of wood wedge

 Wow, right?!  What a find.  Am I sorry I grabbed it?  Nope.  Nope, not in the least.

99 cent shelf

wood wedge 99 cent shelf decorated

Mike came home from work yesterday and said, "ooooh!!"  He turned and smiled, "I knew you were going to do something like this," all proud that he had me figured out ahead of time.

another view of decorated 99 cent wood wedge shelf

close up of 99 cent shelf top

"I like it, very cool!"  Pause pause, admire, smile, checks it out.  "I figured you would put this..."

"Yeah, I thought about it and it looked great up there but in the end, I wanted to see it every day."

another view of 99 cent wood wedge shelf
"Mommy, you're seriously leaving that stuff on there?!"
ripples of wood
Check out those wild ripples!
finished 99 cent shelf with wood wedge and keyhole brackets
And no, I'm not so out of touch with reality that I'm leaving that stuff on the shelf.  Wait and see.
Whaddya think?  Damn awesome, yeah?

Now keep those eyes and minds open, ya hear?

*The keyhole brackets link is an Amazon affiliate link.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab above for more info.


  1. Ooooh yaaaaah, I like it too!

    That's too bad about those stupid bugs but at least one good thing came out of it... your shelf :o)


    1. Thank you Tania! Yeah, these bugs, ravaging the city and it's terrible. But you're right, one good thing came out of it! Thanks!

    2. Completely and totally awesome!

  2. I like it! Cool idea, glad you saved a part of a tree.

  3. I think it is awwwwwwwsome!!!!!!!!!

  4. Very nice. OK, that idea I may need to, ahem, "borrow".


  5. I want the yellow deer to go on my shelf, too. Was it a DIY or did you buy it?

    1. That was a gift from my parents many years ago from their travels. Unfortunately I'm not sure where though, I'm sorry!

  6. I just discovered you and glad I did. I needed a cool shelf for my little fairies!!!

  7. Awesome! I am decorating my basement in Western style and a shelf like that would be perfect. We cut wood on our property for the wood stove and I'm sure my hubby can cut me a chunk to use like that.

    1. Oh nice! I hope he can chop you up a cool piece! Sounds great -- I'm thrilled you are inspired! Thanks so much!

  8. This would be just what I need for a blank spot in my western themed den/living area. Thanks for the inspiration. Now I walk around with my head down looking for that perfect piece of wood...��.

    1. Oh that's so great! Thanks for letting me know and I'm sure you'll find the perfect piece! Thank you!

  9. Loving this! Turned out great. Loving your hunting technic in puddles!

  10. Thank you very much! Haha, gotta do whatcha gotta do! Thanks!


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