How to Turn Your Woodworking Skills Into a Hot Tub [EP 10]

Do you enjoy sitting on garden furniture you have built? Do others marvel at your arbors, trellises, and other garden structures you’ve made?

If you’re handy with a saw, hammer, nails, and other tools, you could turn your skills into enough cash to add a hot tub or pool to your own space.

With so much time being spent at home and in our own backyards, it’s nice to have some comfortable seating, protection from the sun, and a place to grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers. 

I’m going to start with garden furniture, then move on to structures and decor.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

Garden Furniture

The first step to being able to enjoy a backyard space or deck is having comfortable furniture. There are many types available in department stores, but it never seems to last as long as quality homemade furniture. 

Wooden furniture is, after all, made from trees that have withstood wind, rain, snow, and frigid temperatures. Or in the case of cedar, it has withstood humidity and has natural insect-repelling properties which will keep the bugs from claiming your furniture as their new home.

Other woods can be used as well, but will need protection from the elements. You can apply paint, stain, or even linseed oil to protect them, depending on intended use.

If you have the tools and access to scrap iron and steel, you can make furniture from them as well. There’s nothing saying your furniture has to be made from wood alone.

One thing to keep in mind if you enjoy building and creating outdoor furniture (or furniture of any sort for that matter), is you should have a space designated to it. Perhaps a bay in your garage, or a separate workshop. A room in your basement is good too, just don’t build anything bigger than you can safely take out via the stairway. If you have a walkout basement you’ll have a few more options.

Plus, it will be dusty, dirty work. And if you’re making anything that requires using spray paint, proper ventilation is a must. Having a space away from your main living area will help keep the dust and dirt out of your supper and sofa. 

Some types of furniture you can make are:

  • Adirondack Chairs
  • Bench Swing
  • Picnic tables – hexagonal, round, square, or rectangular
  • Snack Bar with stools
  • Porch swing
  • Chaise Lounge
  • Hammock stand

They can be made in both adult and child-size, which will thrill the littles if they have their very own outdoor furniture.

Garden Structures and Decor

Garden structures and decor lend themselves to be made from a variety of materials; not just wood. Scrap iron, copper, aluminum, PVC pipe, wire, and even wire cattle panels can be constructed into practical and decorative garden decor. I added a 16 foot by 4 foot cattle panel to the south side of my deck, and it will act as the trellis for my Virginia Creeper, plus other annual vining plants.

I have plans to add an arbor for climbing roses, and a few bench planters so I can enjoy different parts of my garden at different times of day. I’m not a professional woodworker by any means, but I think I learned a thing or two when I built my deck. 

Recycled materials are also great additions to gardens, such as wood pallets, old bed frames, crib springs, bathtubs, barbeques, tin cans, tires, metal tubing, picture frames, tea cups, and more. Chances are, if it can be recycled, you’ll find a use for it in your garden furniture and decor side hustle.

And if you’re doing some hard pruning of trees and shrubs, you can turn the logs and branches into planters, baskets, or stools for around a fire pit. I’m excited about the snow melting because I had some large trees taken down in November, and I’d love to see what I can make from the trunks. I foresee a bench for sure, but it may have to stay where I make it. I just don’t have the equipment to move anything too heavy.

The list of structures and decor is quite a bit longer than the furniture, and I know my list is only a portion of what is out there. You can choose from my list below, or create your very own. At the end of the day, it is really based on personal preference. When you’re creating a custom project for someone else, give them parameters. Within your scope of abilities and preferred materials.

Granted some projects are much bigger than others, and this is just an overview of the possibilities. 

Now for the list, in no particular order:

  • Decks
  • Arbors
  • Gazebos
  • Planter boxes
  • Raised garden beds
  • Pergolas
  • Trellises
  • Fences
  • Potting benches
  • Garden sheds
  • Greenhouses
  • Playhouses
  • Birdhouses
  • Bird feeders
  • Butterfly feeders
  • Bat boxes
  • Windchimes
  • Bird baths
  • Bench planters
  • Sandboxes
  • Garden Tool Caddies
  • Windmills
  • Stepping stones
  • Lanterns
  • Candle holders
  • Fire pits
  • Fountains
  • Fruit and vegetable markers
  • Games
  • …and so much more.

Now, just to give you a few ideas of what you can make with different materials let’s start with trellises. As I perused Pinterest I saw so many ideas I wanted to go outside and start creating. My issue, however, is there is still a lot of snow in my way. Plus it’s only about 5 degrees celsius today, so it’s a little too cool to be building anything outside. Well, in my opinion anyway.

Trellises can be made from wood, metal, old steel wagon wheels, wooden wagon wheels, cattle panels (as mentioned earlier), old wooden screen doors, branches and twine, bicycle rims, round bale feeders, old chandeliers (lights and glass removed of course), lattice, and more. Add chicken wire to an old screen door frame and you have the perfect trellis for vines, roses, and vining vegetables. Use your imagination and you’ll have friends and neighbours wanting to buy them from you.

Bird feeders are a great small item to make, and teacups and saucers are the perfect medium. And who doesn’t have a box or three of them handed down from generation to generation. If you don’t have your own teacup collection to use, check out thrift stores and garage sales. A little bit of glue, wire, and a bag of birdseed and you’ll have customers from near and far.

Raised garden beds are another way to turn your love of woodworking into a side hustle. With the increased interest in gardening over the past two years, raised beds have become very popular. They are ideal for anyone with a small backyard, or a balcony. Some are designed to sit on the ground and be filled with soil, while others are basically a box on legs, which is perfect for those with only a small patio or balcony. Upcycled materials such as washtubs, buckets, and even rocks can also be used to build a raised garden bed. Keep in mind the labour involved in building with rocks, and be sure to charge accordingly. 

Wind chimes can be made from branches, beads, wire, shells, metal, copper pipe, and even wood pieces. Light nylon rope or fish line can be used to tie the pieces together. Glass beads can be hot glued to a fish line and attached to either a branch or set inside a larger picture frame. You could easily make a few of these in a weekend and sell them on Etsy or advertise in local Facebook groups.

Garden markers can be crafted from oversized popsicle sticks (available in the craft aisle of your local Dollar Store) and either painted or coloured with permanent markers. To keep the paint and ink from washing off, use a clear coat to protect them. Painted rocks make perfect markers because the wind won’t blow them away, and your canine friends won’t steal them and chew them to bits.

TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects


The lists and ideas above just go to show you what can be done with a few materials and an imagination. If you’re anything like me, the ideas will just keep coming and you’ll be chomping at the bit wanting to get started. Creating decor for a garden space can be fun and lucrative. The possibilities are endless, and I’m sure I’ve only touched on a small number in this episode.

If you have any questions about gardening, feel free to visit and contact me via the contact page.

Join me next week when I talk about services as a side hustle. Most services are provided in person, but there are a few that can be done remotely as well. Tune in next week to learn more.

If you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee

Want more side hustle content delivered to your inbox once a month?

How to Turn Your Green Thumb Into a Side Hustle [EP 9]

Welcome to Episode 9: How to Turn Your Green Thumb into a Side Hustle

Thoughts of spring are creeping in as the daylight hours get longer. I know I’m ready for spring but I feel as if Old Man Winter isn’t finished with us yet. I’m sure we’re in for at least 6 more weeks of winter, no matter what the groundhog says.

In this episode I’m going to talk about how you can take your love of gardening and turn it into more than just green leaves.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

Bedding Plants and Flower Baskets

Anyone that has shopped for bedding plants since Spring 2020 knows how hard it is to get what you want. I know the greenhouses in my area were sold out of almost everything within a couple weeks of being open. It’s as if every single person decided that was the year to start gardening. It’s amazing what fear will do to people.

But, I’m not here to talk about the pandemic because I’m sure everyone is tired of hearing about it, even though it’s a part of our everyday life now. 

If you have the space and a window that gets direct sunlight most of the day, you can start your own bedding plants. And if you plant seeds like I do, you’ll have more than enough and can sell the extras. An ideal location would be a greenhouse, but if you live in a climate like mine, the cost to heat one this time of year would eat up your profits and then some.

It takes several weeks for seedlings to grow into sellable plants. Depending on your temperate zone, you’ll want to get your seeds planted before the end of February. Some can be planted later but keep in mind peak planting time. In my area nothing is generally planted in the ground until after Victoria Day, which is the third Monday in May.

I have planted potatoes on May Long, and some seeds that don’t mind the ground being a little cooler. But when it comes to putting out tender young plants, it’s best to wait another week or two. I’d rather wait than have everything freeze and have to start over.

Now, back to the seeding.

You’ll need a lightweight soil, some cell packs, plant trays with clear lids, a spray bottle, and your seeds. It’s also good practice to have labels and a permanent marker handy. You don’t want to be playing any guessing games when it comes to telling potential customers what the plants are. And until they mature a little, it’s often difficult to tell them apart. This is especially true when it comes to flower seedlings.

Also, make sure you record everything in a notebook. Don’t rely on memory alone, because no matter how good your memory is, when it comes to a dozen or more varieties of plants, it will fail you. And yes, that is experience talking.

Next determine what stages you want to sell your plants at. Will they be a couple inches high, or will they be ready to flower? Or do you want them in all their beauty so they attract more than the bees? These are all things to consider before you start planting your seeds. 

Another very important thing to keep in mind is once your seeds germinate and get their first true leaves, it’ll be time to transplant them into bigger containers or cell packs. Do you have enough room for them, and enough natural light? 

If you don’t have the right light you can invest in some grow lights. They are relatively inexpensive, and I bought a few on Amazon. They are currently providing light for a couple of experimental plants I have, as well as some of the smaller houseplants.

You can improvise to a degree and invest in some grow light bulbs that can be put in a lamp. I have used a floor lamp and directed the fixtures toward the plants I was growing. It does help to have a light bar instead, as more space and light can be utilized.

As the seedlings grow your house may begin to look like a jungle. Ideally you’ll have a shelving unit of some sort set up in front of a direct sun window, or with the grow light bars. 

If you have the right amount of light, your plants should be growing but not becoming stretched out and leggy. And as the weeks go on, you should start to see buds appearing. As the weather warms you can move your seedlings to a greenhouse or under plastic in raised beds. If the nights are still below freezing be sure you have a reliable heat source to protect your tender young plants from freezing.

In my area the greenhouses are open to the public generally on Mother’s Day weekend. If you’re going to have your plants ready at the same time, be sure to advertise your location a week or two ahead of time. Or, you could sell them at any time by posting on social media.

If you are only going to have a few trays to sell you may be tempted to price much lower than the bigger centers but I advise against that. You’ll be cutting into your profits plus bringing down the overall price, which hurts everyone in the industry in the end. Find out ahead of time what greenhouses are charging and stay competitive. 

If you enjoy creating planters and baskets, you could add a little more to your bottom line. Your additional investment will be containers and more soil, but your earning potential is higher. 

If selling the seedlings or baskets doesn’t appeal to you, another option is to have a market garden. This is ideal if you have a large garden plot, as you can plant a lot of vegetables. If you don’t have a lot of area for a traditional garden plot, you can still have a market garden.

Raised beds are wonderful in that you can plant sooner, and attach trellises so your otherwise sprawling vegetables can grow vertically. This is ideal for cucumbers, pumpkins, watermelon, and other vining crops. One word of caution here though: make sure your trellises are firmly attached to your beds or to poles sunk into the ground. As your crops grow the produce gets heavy, and will cause bending or breaking if not properly anchored.

Some types of produce that is popular are potatoes, carrots, beans, peas, lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, herbs, onions, and garlic. If you can grow these basics, plus some others to add a little variety, such as tomatillos and cucamelon, you will do well.

No matter what you grow, remember it takes time and maintenance. Weed between the rows, water regularly, and protect them from the hot sun and moths by using row covers. And you don’t have to start with acres and acres. It’s okay to start small, and if you like what you’re doing, expand a little more each year. 

The nice thing about a summer side hustle is being able to potentially fund a winter vacation. And for those of you who live in a climate like mine, a vacation to warmer temperatures is welcome.

House Plants

Do you have house plants that are multiplying? 

Not everyone wants or has the space for bedding plants, so offering houseplants can be a nice little side hustle as well. Some can be started from seed, but you’ll get much faster results by taking cuttings from your existing plants. 

Some are easier to propagate than others, but with patience it can be done. Spider plants are the easiest to propagate, plus they are air purifiers. And I think they’re the coolest plant when they’re sending out the babies. I love my spider plants, but they do not like where they are because neither one is giving me any babies.

Succulents, Christmas Cactus, Snake Plant, and ivies are the easiest to propagate. I have had good luck with fig trees and umbrella trees, and even African Violets. My only issue with the latter is they do not do well in my presence. I can get a leaf cutting from someone, start it easily enough…then it dies. I do not have the magic touch with them that my maternal grandmother had. I swear they’re a species that has a hatred for me, no matter how hard I try.

Potted houseplants do take up space, but depending on the species, you can get in upwards of $6 for a 4” potted plant. I have a prayer plant that I paid $12 for at a local shop last spring, and it came in a 4” pot if I recall correctly.

Another type of houseplant you can grow and sell is the air plant. I personally do not have any, but my daughter has several varieties and multiple sizes. She has had a few of them reproduce, which is pretty neat. She has sold several in clear bowls or terrariums, complete with coloured sand, rocks, and shells. They’re fairly easy to care for, and there’s no soil to mess around with.


Planting, growing, and harvesting is a great way to make some extra money during the summer months. The best part is being able to enjoy the fresh produce, because when you grow it yourself you can’t get it any fresher. Supplying it to others in your community ensures they also get quality fruits and vegetables, plus they can be rest assured no chemicals were used to keep them from perishing.

If you would like to learn more about gardening, visit my just-for-fun site where I have articles about growing your own sprouts, making self-watering planters, and other gardening tips. It’s a work in progress as I didn’t touch it for over a year due to life, but it is being added to once again.

If you have any questions about gardening, feel free to visit and contact me via the contact page.

Join me next week when I talk about another gardening side hustle: making furniture and decor. 

Thanks for listening to this episode and I hope you’ve been able to take away a little something from it. If you want to learn more about me, visit my website If you like what you heard, you can support my podcast and blog at 

If you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.

Want more side hustle content delivered to your inbox once a month?

Creating and Selling Greeting Cards as a Side Hustle [Ep. 7]

Greeting cards are bought every day of the year, with some occasions selling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cards over a matter of a day or two. Now wouldn’t you like to have a piece of that pie?

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

Creating and Selling Greeting Cards as a Side Hustle

Beginning of full transcript. It has been edited for clarity.

You’re listening to Take On Life After 50, the podcast for people over 50 who want to supplement their retirement by doing what they love. I’m your host Diane Ziomek, and this is where you’ll find practical how-tos and inspiration to create the life you deserve. Whether you want to replace your current income or supplement it, I’m here to share my experiences, ideas, and even some of life’s lessons when it comes to side hustles.

Welcome to Episode 7: Creating and Selling Greeting Cards as a Side Hustle.

I hope you’ve had a good week. We had some reprieve from the frigid temperatures for a few days, but the last couple have been bitterly cold again. Winter isn’t ready to loosen its grip on us quite yet. It really isn’t all that bad though, because it gives us creative people a good excuse to stay inside and make things.

In this episode I’m going to talk about card making as a side hustle. You can either make ready to ship cards or design cards using graphics software and delivered to your customers via a platform such as Etsy, or via your own website or offer both. Not everyone has access to a printer and may want a handmade card for that special someone. Stay tuned to the end where I’ll give you another side hustle you can start as well.

I remember when I started scrapbooking. I went to Creative Memories class with my sisters and I had such a hard time cutting my pictures. Once I got it through my head that it was okay to cut them I was able to create some fun pages. One of my favorite layouts is of a trip to a petting zoo over 20 years ago. I took my kids, my niece, and my mom and we had a blast. I got some amazing pictures and created the scrapbook pages while the outing was still fresh in my mind.

Now, what does scrapbooking have to do with card making you may be wondering.

First of all, if you’re a scrapbooker you already have a lot of the supplies needed for making cards. You’ll have cutters, adhesive, stickers, cardstock in a variety of colors, paper punches, washi tape, and more.

If you’re not a scrapbooker that’s okay too. You can get started with your card making adventure for less than $50. All you’re really going to need is some cardstock in a variety colors, some good paper cutting scissors, (which you most likely already have), a ruler, markers and some stencils. (Once again, something you probably already have.) If you have a steady hand you can even forego the stencils and write the message freehand.

You can finally put the boxes of pencil crayons and geometry sets to use that are left over from kids school days. I’m sure I’m not the only one whose kids had to have new sets every year. Even though the one from the previous year was just fine. I swear I have at least a half dozen geometry sets in my house. I recently dumped a bunch of pencil boxes into large freezer bag so I am also set for crayons for the rest of my life I’m sure.

If you find you’re enjoying the card making process you can invest in some additional materials such as a good paper cutter, an envelope maker, pop dot adhesives, embossing tools, glitter glue, calligraphy pens, and the list goes on. There are thousands of items you can use for making cards. A quick search on Amazon will show you just how big a variety there is, or even walk through the papercrafts selection of your local Michaels or your craft store. Most dollar stores also have a fairly decent selection of paper, paper glue, embellishments, and so forth.

Now that I’ve covered some supplies, it’s time to decide on what types of cards you’ll make. You have several options here depending on how much time you have or want to spend on making cards.

First of all, there’s the holidays and celebrations. You might decide you want to only be busy a few times a year so you concentrate on Christmas, Easter Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, Canada Day (for us Canadians), Fourth of July (for our southern neighbors), Halloween, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

You can pick and choose whichever holiday or celebration you want to make cards for. If you personally don’t celebrate Christmas, then it really doesn’t make sense to do something you don’t have an interest in.

Second are the special occasions. Birthdays, graduations, weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, baptisms. The list goes on and on. You can pick and choose here too, because there are so many options.

Third, there’s the everyday cards. The sympathy cards, get well soon, thinking of you, welcome to the neighborhood…you get the picture. If you’re not sure of all the reasons people buy cards, just go to your local pharmacy or department store and peruse the card selection, make notes, get ideas, and then go home and start with one type. It can be whatever you like because as a card maker, you have the flexibility and the creativity to do as you wish.

Did I mention greeting cards are a multimillion dollar industry?

Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are probably the two most profitable occasions for card makers. If you make cards, then there’s a pretty good chance you’ll sell some of these two dates come around. Add in a few other occasions, and you can keep busy all year round if you so choose.

But what if I don’t want to spend hours making cards that no one may buy you ask. In that case, you can do one of two things.

A, you can make the card after your customer orders it or, B, you can create printable cards. With printable cards you design the card on your computer using clipart, fonts, and even photos (which you must have the rights to). You then export it as a PDF which a customer can print at home or take to a local print shop. This method works well if you don’t want to create ready to ship cards or even as a sideline to handmade cards. You pick the occasion, design the card, then list and upload the digital file to a platform such as Etsy, Shopify or even to your own website.

When it comes to cards, I’m for Etsy all the way. I like it for ideas and inspiration plus the customer base is already there. That doesn’t mean you can’t list your cards elsewhere. But if you’re just starting out, it’s an ideal platform. When designing digital cards, be sure to make the file in the finished size for ease of printing. Use a 300 dpi (or dots per inch) setting for the best quality and include instructions on how to print the cards in a separate download for your customer. You may choose to indicate cut and fold lines which I highly recommend. You should also indicate whether the card is best suited for cardstock or photo paper.

I have printable word search Valentine cards in my take on life after 50 printables Etsy shop, which I have included files for in three sizes. That way my customer can choose whichever size works best and print accordingly. And because the words are everyday vocabulary, the smaller sizes also work great for class parties.

The benefit to digital downloads is your customer can purchase, download and print the card all within a few minutes. I have found this to be a necessity at times simply because I live in a rural area and I don’t have access to the card aisle at the pharmacy 24/7. When I shop on Etsy, I do have access 24/7. I can print my purchase at 3am if I so choose, and I have done that.

Granted, the cards aren’t three dimensional, sparkly or handmade, but it’s the next best thing when you need a card right away. Plus, you can add your own embellishments if you so choose.

You’re also going to have to come up with pricing your cards. When mailing physical cards I suggest no more than $10 each, which should include shipping. Browse Etsy to see what others are charging and what they charge for shipping. Remember to look at listings shipped from your country, as all pricing and shipping is not created equal. With digital files the price can be less but don’t sell yourself short. It takes time to create digital products too and your pricing should reflect that your time is worth something.

Now for a little bonus.

If you decided making cards is something that you are interested in you can use the same skills and materials to create customizable invitations. I personally wouldn’t suggest committing to creating 100 handmade wedding invitations, but it’s a service you could provide on a smaller scale for perhaps a baby shower, or birthday party. This is where the digital files would come in handy because your your customer could take them to a local print shop and have them done much quicker than if they ordered from a specialty shop.

If taking the invitation route, you’ll collect the information required from your customer, edit your invitation template, and deliver the file via email. Be sure to specify in your listing that they will not receive the file as soon as payment is processed as it takes time to key in their information. Encourage them to review the file when they receive it to be sure there aren’t any errors before they have it printed. Even the most careful typist can end up with a typo, which is often, in this day and age, related to autocorrect.

I recently designed and printed baby shower invitations which will be going out in the mail within the next couple of days. I will be listing them in my Etsy shop but not until mid to late February as the ones printed are for my daughter’s baby shower. And I really can’t have family and friends seeing them on Etsy before they arrive in their mailbox now can I?

As I wrap this up, I want to say this. It doesn’t matter what your skill level, whether you do physical or digital cards and/or invitations, or which platform you use. The point is to have fun with it. You’ll get better and faster as you go along, and the ideas will naturally start coming to you. Use those cards you see online for inspiration, but don’t copy someone else’s work exactly.

When it comes to pricing stay competitive no matter how fast you get. Undercutting other creators hurts everyone. In the end, you’re a creator, and your time is worth something. If you want to make a profit, you can’t be selling your cards for $1 apiece.

Next week, I’m going to switch gears a bit and talk about writing ebooks and publishing on KDP (or Kindle Direct Publishing). Publishing an ebook can become a great side hustle which provides passive income. Join me next week to learn more. I’ll see you then.

Thanks for listening to this episode, and I hope you’ve been able to take away a little something from it. If you want to learn more about me, visit my website take on life after and get your copy of three side hustles to fill your piggy bank. Also, if you have questions that you’d like me to answer in either personal email or podcast, you can email me at info at take on life after 50 dot com

Transcribed by


After I finished recording and uploading the episode to Buzzsprout I had a couple of thoughts I should have included.

  1. You can use photos in your cards and invitations, as long as you have permission (in the case of customized items). If you took the photos, then you have the right to distribute as you see fit. Something like this would be ideal for birth announcements or family Christmas cards.
  2. If you’re serious about card making and want to invest in some specialized equipment, a Cricut would soon pay for itself. If you already have one, you know the possibilities are endless with it. I’ve been wanting one since I worked at the library and used it there. It’s now on my Amazon Wish List, along with some other accessories. I do have an older style but its design and cutting capabilities aren’t near what the new ones are. (Cartridges and a 6″ mat.)
  3. Have a storage system for your supplies. Clear plastic totes with lids are great for stacking items such as washi tape, scissors, punches, adhesives, and more. I suggest the hinged lid 12″ X 12″ for your 12″ sheets of cardstock.

Let me know your thoughts on card making. Do you foresee it as something you might try?

Want more side hustle content delivered to your inbox once a month?

%d bloggers like this: