Quick Mason Bee Houses

Hey friends!  Things have been slowing down just a little bit from the frenzy.  I've been wanting to revisit making some mason bee houses since we have all the flowers on the property coming out in phases - especially the blackberry bushes now in bloom.  I built a mason bee tray house a while back (HERE).

My workshop isn't set up yet with all the projects going on so I decided to use only what I had onhand as far as scrap material and supplies.  So I went for it!  I definitely wanted to use routed out trays so that I can harvest the cocoons and place them in the fridge until next Spring.  But to also keep the mason bee houses clean each season to avoid pests and diseases.

So here's what I came up with for three houses that I put in different places around the property.  I'll keep you posted on whether or not I have visitors.  It is a little late in the season.

I mostly freehanded the routing with some help from a straight edge at times.  I wasn't too worried about getting perfect lines since nature isn't perfect.

I used a 3/8" round nose router bit at a depth of 5/16".  This is recommended quite often and hopefully it will prove successful.

When I was initially finished making the trays I realized I had enough to make two tray houses if I wanted to.  I used a cut from the fence board planks to cap the tray groups.  Zip ties were used to keep the tray bundles together and tight until harvest.

House #1 was completed with some remnant wood and pieces of cedar fence planks I had on hand.  And capped with some metal flashing I had laying around.  ...Some bee push pins to dress it up a bit.  Vintage door hinges were perfect for hanging and attaching on top and on the bottom.

House #2 is a mixture of routed trays and some cardboard tubes.  I made paper liners for the tubes with parchment paper.  I cut the parchment paper to about 7" x 2.5" rectangles and rolled them up around a pencil to push into cardboard tubes.  Scissors were used to trim off any extra from the front.  You'll want to leave about 1/8" to 1/4" of paper liner tube sticking out in front so that you have something to grab to pull out the tubes at harvest time and also to clean out.  I folded/pinched the back ends of each inserted parchment paper liner.

I used some new/old stock door trim/plinth pieces for the body of House #3.  Some cardboard tubes finished it out with some board on top to keep them pressed down and in place. 

I hope some of you will or already have built some mason bee houses or purchased some for your yard.  They are amazing polinators that get more pollination done than most bees.  Be sure to not use old wood that holes have been drilled into if possible.  Over time, they are prone to contain and harbor diseases and pests which works against your success with mason bees and other similar bees like leaf cutter bees.  Please use paper lined cardboard tubes (so they can be cleaned out) or trays that have been routed out.  There are also many suppliers out there that can sell you these items to get you jump started on Etsy, Amazon or their own websites.  Happy Pollinating!


Now Home in Washington State!

Hello friends!  Did you think I fell off the face of the Earth?!?  Well, I've been super busy.  We pulled up roots in Louisiana over many months of leaving businesses and jobs and having a living estate sale and finally packing up our lives into PODS.  In July, we left and toured westward throughout many national parks and hot spots you just can't pass up.  We then landed in Western Washington and lived in our Airstream for around 7 months during the process of selling our Louisiana home and finding our new home.  

Both PODS have been emptied and everything is here and there inside but we are getting there.  So, GadgetSponge is alive but still not in production mode.  We now have 2.5 acres of beautiful woods and streams.  The land will keep me pretty busy now and during the summer but repurposed creations have never stopped establishing themselves in my brain for the future.  

This blog will probably become a mix of repurposed creations, nature, and enjoying the outdoors since that's been the passions for me and will continue to be.  So I hope you enjoy what's to come and have just a little more patience until my art gains a steady pace.  

The fun news is that the actual production of GadgetSponge has a new home and it's fantastic.  Repurposed work on the bottom floor and stained glass and technical work on the second floor!  So hang on to your boots and drop in from time to time if you care to see what I'm up to.  Thanks a million for all your support and following.  I hope you enjoy what's to come.


Repurposed Vintage S & H Green Stamps Stamp Dispenser Lamp

Hey friends.  You know I love making lamps so I had a blast with this one.  It carries a lot of childhood memories for me.  My mother and grandmother would go by the green stamp store after collecting the stamps in the grocery store and would trade them toward household goods.  I told myself if I ever ran across one of the stamp dispensers, I was going to make a lamp out of it.  Well -- it happened!  

I even freed up the gears inside so the black rings could spin that once determined how many stamps were issued.  

See it at Timeline Antiques in Shreveport, LA or in my GadgetSponge Etsy Shop!

Measurements:  Height 30"; Width 9" (16" with shade); Depth 8" (16" with shade).




Customized Antique Victrola Cabinet > Video Game Console Cabinet

Straight out of GadgetSponge Garage I bring you a totally customized antique Victrola record cabinet.  One of my repeat customers (Micah @ Red Handed Tattoo - Shreveport, LA) needed a cabinet to organize their video game consoles and accessories.  It just so happened that I picked up this Victrola cabinet from my buddy Justin not too long ago and it turned out to be the best solution I could have hoped for.  

The cabinet was far from working so I gutted it to start to give it a new life.  From there, I totally rebuilt the interior walls, and added custom shelving using black and metallic paint on all the new wood construction.  Up top, I used some antique ceiling tin by repainting it and clearcoating it.  It's surrounded by vintage furniture trim along the edges.  I placed the interior Victrola badge on the outside after going to town on all the custom paint, distressing, and waxing.  I hope you enjoy the transformation!...



Repurposed Industrial Gizmo Custom Lamps

Hey friends.  Below are some lamps I recently did under the Shreveport Salvage umbrella of custom work.  You can see/purchase them in person at Timeline Antiques & Collectibles Mall in Shreveport, LA or you can purchase them in the Shreveport Salvage Etsy Shop!  More photos are viewable in the Etsy shop.