Making Outdoor Dining Easier…

I have been contemplating lately my consumption.  And by consumption I do not mean food…even though I should probably be contemplating that as well.  What I mean is my consumption of “things” My first tendency is to throw out the old and in with the new.  Now mind you I am a very frugal shopper…I just tend to lean towards running to Home Goods, TJ Maxx and Hobby Lobby when I need to satisfy my shopping compulsion a new decorative item or housewares.  But, recently I have found myself at odds… well with myself.  Because, I have found that my conscience has started to prick me when I pick something new up to purchase.  “Do you REALLY need that?”  “Could you make do with what you have?”  “Could you adapt something and make it work?”  “Could you re-purpose something that someone else ‘threw’ away?”

So I find myself more and more reevaluating what I already own and making more frequent trips to the Goodwill and local thrift stores.  Sometimes I strike out..but sometimes I find the neatest things and finding those little treasures gets my creative juices flowing…like this little beauty for instance:


It was only $3.00 and I saw so many different uses for it!  But it just didn’t quite inspire me in it’s current state.  It whispered to me as I carried it up to the register, “Paint me white!”  So I did.


Then it said to me…”Remember that adorable idea that Kristin had for making knock-off antique crates?”  “You know the one where she stenciled on her wedding year?”  “Yep..” it said, “I think I would look lovely with one of those painted on me.” And, since it asked so sweetly I had to comply.


First I measured for the middle and then lightly traced the letters and numbers onto the caddy.  Then, I filled in the letters with brown acrylic paint I had on hand.  I wasn’t worried about it being neat and precise, because once it dried I did this:

I sanded it all down, roughing up the edges to antique the stenciling and the edges of the caddy.  I added a quick coat of poly-acrylic to protect it in case it gets left outside…that seems to  happen a lot around here.

Then, my little caddy did a most amazing thing. It finally told me what it needed to be.


It wanted to make my life easier and hold all of our outdoor dining supplies.


Wasn’t that so kind of it? :)

I just love my new outdoor dining caddy.  I have it all set up for the 4th of July but I can change the colors with the seasons.  When we use and wash the items we just throw them back in the caddy and it sits on the buffet waiting to be carried out for another dinner on the patio! It is frugal, it is pretty and it makes me happy!  A perfect combination!

Total Cost for outdoor caddy and accessories: $14.00
Paint Supplies: Already had
Caddy: Goodwill: $3.00
Napkins: Jo-Ann’s: $1.50
Cups: Dollar General: $3.00
4 Cloth placemats: The Dollar Tree: $4.00
Mini Salt and Pepper Mill: HomeGoods: $2.50 on clearance
Silverware: Already had
I hope this inspires you to keep an eye out for great items you can re-purpose and re-use!
Thanks for meeting me at the fence!




  1. says

    Oh this is awesome!! I found a similar bare wood tool box at the thrift store that I’m painting right NOW..I can in to search ideas to paint on the box…

    I didnt even have to search…I’m gonna put est. 2008..I think that’s we when got married..LOL

    Thanks ladies!

  2. says

    Heather- That is absolutely darling! I have quit buying like I used to also. I have SOOO much I figure it is time to leave it for someone else! Hugs-Diana

  3. says

    That is absolutely awesome. What a great find and I love what you did with it. I’m going to have to keep my eyes open for something like that. It’s perfect for outdoor entertaining. Thanks for stopping by and joining the party.

  4. says

    This was a fantastic find! I have been on the hunt for the perfect caddy at a bargain. You found it! I love that is was unfinished too and you were able to customize it just for you. Great job! It’s looks fantastic!

  5. says

    LOVE it, and I soooo want to copy this!! Thanks for sharing!!! TOO CUTE! I’m headed to Dollar Tree this weekend to find some bargains!

  6. says

    i am particularly attached to anything fourth-of-july-ish. :)
    you made wonderful use of “what you had”. i need to do better. the home front overflows with crafting items but i never USE them, opting instead to run out and be compulsive(should likely not go into a hobby lobby ever again, or at least for a year or two).
    thanks for the inspiration!

  7. says

    Heather, this is genious !! I love how you transformed it into a super ca-ute utensil, etc. caddy !! And, to think that I just spent $9.99 on a white metal one at Target … wish I’d seen your inspirational post first … I would’ve scoured GW first!

  8. says

    This is just so versatile and cute, Heather! Love how you purposed it for the table. It could be used on your desk, as well. I need to go find me a carry-all. *grin*
    ~ Sue

  9. says

    That is perfect, Heather! It looks like it holds everything you need! I know what you mean about making new purchases. I question myself quite a bit now and usually it’s a “where will you put it?” question. If I have no answer, I don’t get it.

  10. says

    that turned out so cute! I love trying to find things and see what I can do with them but I also love to just buy things and I know that that shouldn’t happen too often. I do try to reason with myself more it seems and I am getting better. :)

  11. says

    This is just so cute. And what a great thrift store find. We finally had one open here yesterday so guess where I’m headed tomorrow….Yes, thrift store after garage sales.
    Marianne :)

  12. says

    Sweet and such perfect timing! I just got a caddy at a garage sale and you have inspired me to try this! Coming over from Common Ground and your newest follower!


  13. Christie says

    This looks amazing! I adore eating outside, although now it is already 1000 degrees outside! I will have to try the stencils…my freehand is crummy and this turned out so stinkin’ cute! I added the Blog Block Party button to my blog! How fun! Can’t wait!! Christie

  14. Courtney ~ French Country Cottage says

    Super cute idea and love it all pretty and painted in white! The stencil is perfect ~ thanks for linking this up this week :)

  15. says

    love this…i actually scored a white shabby handmade tool box at a tag sale over the weekend and now i know what i can use it for! thanks for sharing at fridays unfolded!

  16. says

    Ok, I did a search for “dinner” in Google reader because I’m going grocery shopping in a few minutes here(ugh!), and this came up…how did I miss this!??!?! So stinkin’ cute, and PERFECT for our summer outdoor dining nights! WOW! Thanks so much for sharing!

  17. Betty819 says

    Heather and Vanessa,
    Just discovered your blog this morning and have been trying to post you a message and I click on post comment and it gives me a message..”You may have disabled javascript. Please enable Javascript before leaving a comment on this site.. The cache may have been out of date. Use this link to view a fresh version Making Outdoor dining easier.”

    I’m computer challenge..what are they talking about? Have no idea what javascript or cache means. Can somebody email me at BESHENOUR@COMCAST.NET AND walk me through whatever they are talking about.


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