Summer DIY with Gary: Barrel Table & File Cabinet Raised Plant Bed

by Gary Foy, Goodwill DIY Guy
August 22, 2017

One of the best parts of creating an outdoor gardening space is crafting an area that reflects your own personality and uniqueness.

Seattle Goodwill is DIY (Do It Yourself) headquarters. There’s no creative limits to what can be made using Goodwill materials, and there’s nowhere else you can find such an eclectic assortment of goods all in one spot.

As part of our Summer DIY series, I, with the help of Goodwill teammate Nicole, recently made a beautiful barrel table that provides a great statement to any outdoor setting.

Here’s the supplies we used:

  • Used barrel
  • Sander
  • Can of KYRLON Satin Finish Crystal Clear Spray Coating
  • Corks
  • Bottle of LOCTITE SI 595 Adhesive/Sealant Clear Paste
  • Glass table top

The first step is purchasing an old, used barrel. Don’t worry too much about the condition. As long as the barrel is in one piece and doesn’t have too many ugly markings, it’s fine. Blemishes here and there can be removed. Use a sander to smooth out the wood, and remove unflattering marks on the barrel.

Next apply two coats of KRYLON Satin Finish Crystal Clear Spray Coating to the barrel. This will give it a nice look and also bring back a little color you sanded out.

This next step is a bit tedious and takes some patience, but apply a layer of LOCTITE SI Adhesive/Sealant to the top of the barrel and begin laying down the corks you either purchased or collected in a circular pattern.

Finally, head to your closest Goodwill and purchase a gently-used table for the glass top. Remove the glass, and fashion it to the top of your corks.

Mobile File Cabinet Raised Plant Bed

Sometimes you need a before and after picture to do a DIY project justice. That’s certainly the case with the unattractive metal file cabinet we thrifted at Goodwill and turned into a fun, colorful gardening bed.

Here’s the supplies we used:

  • Old metal filing cabinet
  • Four standard caster swivel wheels
  • Hammer & large nail
  • Power drill
  • Paint & primer
  • Stencil & spray paint
  • Large cloth (for paint spills)

First remove all the file cabinet’s contents so all you have left is a shell. Turn the cabinet upside down, grab your hammer and a large nail to create starter holes for the wheels to fasten in to. Then take your power drill and drill holes before attaching wheels. Drill a few additional holes along the bottom for drainage, and screw down your wheels.

Lay down your large cloth, flip your cabinet upright so the wheels are against the ground and begin applying a fun “paint and primer” combo color that will give your gardening bed a nice pop. Once dry, use your stencil and spray paint to design the front of your bed. Apply dirt and plants as desirable.

Not only do we enjoy making DIY projects, we love seeing everyone else’s creations. Please tag us in your social posts (@SeattleGoodwill on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and share how you’ve used your Goodwill finds.

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Summer DIY with Gary: Beachcomber & Adult Beverage Table

by Gary Foy, Goodwill DIY Guy
August 17, 2017

Summer time in the Northwest means long walks along Alki Beach, memorable camping trips and outdoor entertaining on your patio. But maybe you don’t have the budget to deck out your outside living space exactly how you’d like. A great way to apply your own signature touch and create a fun, unique space is by doing it yourself.

Seattle Goodwill is DIY (Do It Yourself) headquarters. There’s no creative limits to what can be made using Goodwill materials, and there’s nowhere else you can find such an eclectic assortment of goods all in one spot.

Our 24 store locations contain a wide away of dining room tables. I recently took a basic wood table we found and, with several quick and easy steps, transformed it into an elegant beachcomber table suited for an ocean view.

Here’s the supplies we used:

  • Large wooden table
  • Sander
  • Chalked Rust-Oleum paint
  • Chalked Rust-Oleum Ultra Matte protective top coat paint
  • Several clothes (for paint spills and wiping down table after sanding and before and after painting)
  • Open, well-ventilated area

Find an open space and lay down a protective cloth before you place your table down in an effort to avoid paint stains or sanding debris. Use your sander to smooth any ridges on your table. Create a smooth surface in order to apply paint. Make sure to get as much off the old topcoat/sealant of the table as possible to ensure the paint dose does not flake or peel off.

Paint the surface using a color of your choosing. The key is making sure you apply enough coats of paint. The Chalked Paint series is intended to give you a vintage or patina look. Once you finish painting, relax and wait until it’s dry.

Once the table has dried, use the edges of your sander to create that nice, worn and weathered look. Don't worry about going to deep. Wipe away any debris and go to your local Goodwill to furnish the table with some colorful kitchenware.

Adult Beverage Table

Perhaps a beachcomber table isn’t the right match for you. We got creative and made a fun, adult beverage table that was quick and easy to make.

Here’s the supplies we used:

  • Small circular table
  • Matching chairs
  • Sander (if needed)
  • Rust-Oleum Chalkboard paint
  • Rust-Oleum Flat Protective Enamel
  • Large cloth for paint spills
  • Open, well-ventilated area
  • Chalk

I recently found a circular glass table and two matching black chairs for the foundation of our DIY project. Lay down a cloth to protect from paint stains, and use your sander to sand down the table’s surface if needed. After that, use a can of Rust-Oleum Chalkboard paint and begin applying coats. We used five coats, but you can use less if you applied primer. The key is heavy paint coverage, so the table can be used for years.

Next I taped off the chairs in areas we didn’t want covered and applied Rust-Oleum Flat Protective Enamel to the surface to protect from corrosion and rust. Once your table and chairs are dry, grab a pail, fill it with chalk and now you have a fun, interactive adult beverage table.

Not only do we enjoy making DIY projects, we love seeing everyone else’s creations. Please tag us in your social posts (@SeattleGoodwill on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and share how you’ve used your Goodwill finds.

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Goodwill Faces: Freddy, Vasilika, NeeCee, Zophie

by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
August 4, 2017

Catch up on Goodwill Faces with the four stories below. Tune into our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to follow our weekly #GoodwillFaces series!

Freddy fled his home country of the Democratic Republic of Congo and came to the United States seeking asylum in September 2015 with no knowledge of the culture, English language or any idea how he’d start a new life. Freddy gave up his training in the Catholic seminary in 2011 when he developed a deep desire to help his fellow countrymen. Freddy left behind his family, and 34 days after arriving in the U.S. he discovered Seattle Goodwill’s Job Training and Education Center. Freddy enrolled in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses, improving his English-speaking skills through each level. He took Goodwill’s Cashiering and Customer Service course, Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint, began volunteering in computer classes and now acts as a Goodwill Ambassador, informing the community about Goodwill’s mission. Freddy also gained access to a Goodwill case manager, who connected him to Goodwill’s many support services. Freddy, who has a master’s degree in philosophy from the Democratic Republic of Congo, recently received his employment authorization and is well on his way toward achieving his goal of a career in computer science.

“I decided to move to the U.S. to save my life. When I first came, life was very hard for me. When I started my first class at Seattle Goodwill, everything changed in my life. This program helped me a lot with my situation as an immigrant. They were sensible with my problems. My case manager and I met every week and helped me build confidence. This is the right place that can help everyone who needs, because I can testify that Seattle Goodwill changes people’s lives. I am proud to be a student at Goodwill.”


In the spring of 1998 Vasilika arrived in the United States at age 28 from her home country of Albania after winning a green card lottery in which only two of 5,000 people in her town were selected. She was seeking a life for herself that didn’t seem possible due to the economic climate and the Albanian Civil War of 1997. Vasilika was in college and working as a teacher while studying to get her teaching degree in Albania, but decided to put her dream on hold. Vasilika worked several customer service jobs and worked her way up to an assistant manager position, but left after 10 years when the economy took a downturn. Six years ago she was hired at Goodwill’s Bremerton location as a production supervisor. The store manager worked with Vasilika’s schedule so she could work full time and go to school. She earned her two-year degree in business management, and while working at Goodwill she got to know the Job Training and Education (JTE) staff. When a department opening came up, the JTE staff encouraged Vasilika to apply. Now Vasilika works as a computer instructor in Bremerton’s JTE Department, achieving the dream she set out to accomplish before she came to the U.S. nearly 20 years ago.

 “When I was in production I got to see we were supporting the mission of Goodwill, but it was in a way of helping people find product, the right item, the right price. When I came to this position I saw the other side of it. I was like, ‘Wow, this is what it really means.’ When all these people come through my class and they have the barriers like I had in my life and they succeed, it makes me very happy. Dreams come true. I would say dreams can sleep for a while and they wait for the right moment to flourish. Coming over with $100 and being able to survive and support my family while I was here—I had to send them money very often. Now I have my own life, my own family. I think I have achieved quite a bit.”


NeeCee set a goal for herself five years ago when she first began working as an associate at Seattle Goodwill’s Southcenter location. Her intention was to one day work in the Job Training and Education Department (JTE). She’s always enjoyed helping others and, as a foster child, she frequently assists her family in finding resources that have allowed them to overcome their own barriers. At Goodwill, NeeCee quickly became a supervisor in retail and connected with human resources to learn how she could land her dream job in JTE. She her displayed initiative by partaking in Goodwill’s Mentorship Program, networked, practiced mock interviews with JTE members and after years of persistence was hired as an employee specialist.

“It is still hard to believe, although I feel like I belong here. I want to give back. I know from experience just in my life that nobody has to do anything for you, and anything given to you is always a blessing. I try to give back whenever possible, and that’s how I live my life. I would say never give up, never stop reaching and go to those who have been there and can help show you the right path to take. That is really what helped me.”


There are days when Zophie, even after over a year of volunteering, still can’t believe she gets complete access to Seattle Goodwill’s Vintage Fashion Collection (VFC). For a fashion lover such as Zophie, it’s paradise. Once a week she travels from Everett to Seattle to research, date and inventory hats. She also mends hats in preparation for Goodwill fashion shows and displays. Zophie has been trained by some of the best milliners in Seattle and plays an important role in Goodwill’s VFC, which is an expansive time capsule of clothing and accessories dating back to the mid-1800s. Goodwill’s Job Training and Education Programs are a large piece of the mission, but our VFC also works to educate by allowing our community access to historical pieces. Zophie has spent countless hours working in the collection, but she admitted she never feels like it’s true work. That’s partly because she’s entrenched in what she loves and also because she’s never been treated better as a volunteer.

“The Goodwill mission statement really speaks to me. Education is so important, across all aspects of our society. We learn critical thinking skills, we gain understanding of others’ experiences and with that comes empathy. One of the strengths of Goodwill is how privileged you feel as a volunteer here. This has just been a breath of fresh air for me. It’s amazing being around a collection like this and to have access to it. I feel blessed every day. I also feel really blessed to be introduced to the people who are involved with Goodwill. Every time I came in (the VFC) I would say, ‘This is amazing.’ We have a bonnet from the Oregon Trail. It still has dirt on it from the Oregon Trail.”



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Seattle Goodwill expands Youth Aerospace Program to Renton

by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
July 18, 2017

Seattle Goodwill knows a job is the keystone piece to securing better economic opportunity, and with the expansion of our Youth Aerospace Program (YAP) to Renton, Goodwill created another conduit for students to achieve their goals of a career in the aerospace sector.

Our Renton YAP partners—Boeing, JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Renton Technical College—joined us for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, July 14, as we officially welcomed the program’s expansion from Marysville to the south side of Seattle.

The YAP is a two-year program which provides  students a smooth transition through their senior year toward a career in aerospace. The program helps build strong soft skills and connects students with future career opportunities in the aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries.

“The program has already been very successful in Marysville with 61 enrollments since 2014,” said Barbara “b.g” Nabors-Glass, Vice President of Job Training and Education. “We hope to have 20 students enrolled in this new program at Renton.”

Some of those new Renton YAP students were present for the ceremony. After the ribbon cutting, Seattle Goodwill President & CEO Daryl Campbell spoke, followed by new Renton YAP Supervisor Monique Edwards, Program Assistant Brycen Smith and representatives from Boeing, JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Renton Tech.

“Partnerships such as this are crucial in providing access and supporting the success of our youth,” Renton Technical College President Kevin McCarthy said. “Education is complex, and RTC’s collaboration with Goodwill helps ensure that students will complete their education and move into rewarding careers.”

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Where to watch fireworks this Fourth of July

by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
June 30, 2017

The Fourth of July is less than a week away. Whether you’re warming up the barbecue, soaking up sun by a lake, throwing a party or just enjoying time with family, there are so many fun ways to celebrate the holiday.

At Goodwill we are celebrating our with a special Fourth of July sale. All clothing and furniture with blue, green, pink, red and black tags will be 50 percent off. Store hours are 9 am-5 pm, and the sale excludes our Seattle and Everett outlets.

After your Goodwill trip, you’ll have plenty of time to find one of the many fireworks displays across the Puget Sound. Below is a list of where to find them throughout our region.

King County

Seattle: Seattle’s major fireworks display can be seen from several places throughout the city. Seafair Summer 4th at Gas Works Park is an all day celebration lasting from noon-11 pm with the fireworks show starting at 10:20 pm There will be food vendors, exhibits, beer and beverage gardens, entertainment and All-American games and contests for all ages.

Eastside: The Bellevue Family 4th is the largest Independence Day celebration on the Eastside. It takes place 2-10:30 pm at the newly-renovated Bellevue Downtown Park. Entertainment includes a family fun zone, live music, food court, fireworks and a performance by the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra. 

The Kirkland 4th of July Celebration begins at 11:30 am with a children’s walking parade that is followed by a “With Liberty and Justice for All” parade at noon. There will be food and vendors from 1-10:30 pm at Marina Park. Music starts at 5 p.m., and the day concludes with a fireworks show at 10:15 pm. 

South: Renton’s Fabulous Fourth of July is an all-day event at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park. From noon-8 pm a free KidZone will be open that includes inflatables and face painting. On-stage entertainment is from 12:30-9:30 pm, a sand volleyball tournament is from 9am-5pm and the fireworks show begins at 10 pm. 

Kent’s Fourth of July Splash is noon-10:30 pm at Lake Meridian Park. There will be a festive lineup of music and entertainment including bouncy houses, food booths, juggling and pie-eating contests. The fireworks finale starts at 10 pm. 

Des Moines is hosting a Fireworks Over Des Moines celebration from noon-10:20 pm at the Des Moines Marina. There will be a kid’s carnival, food vendors, beer and wine garden, live music and a fireworks show starting at 10:20 pm. 

Kitsap County

The Grand Old Fourth Celebration on Bainbridge is celebrating its 50th year and begins at 7 am with a pancake breakfast at the Town & County parking lot. Starting at 9 am events include a street fair with kid’s games, crafts, food vendors, and live music, there’s a family fun run, a classic car show, beer and wine garden, parade at 1 pm and a fireworks show over Eagle Harbor at dusk. 

Snohomish County

An Edmonds Kind of Fourth kicks off with a 5K and 1K running event at 10 am, which is followed by a children’s parade at 11:30 am and a main parade at noon. There will be food vendors and evening entertainment starting at 6 pm at Civic Stadium, a beard and mustache contest and a fireworks display at 10 pm. 

The Everett Colors of Freedom Festival beings with the Colors of Freedom Parade at 11 am. The Colors of Freedom Festival is from 1-11pm at Legion Park where there will be kid’s activities, a food fair, beer garden, live music and fireworks. The Thunder of the Bay Fireworks show starts at 10:20 pm at Port Gardner Bay, but there is viewing at Legion Park. There is no parking at the festival, but a free shuttle will be transporting people throughout day back-and-forth from the park and Everett Community College. 

Skagit County

Mount Vernon’s Fabulous 4th of July starts at 7 pm at Edgewater Park. There will be food and live music complete with a fireworks show at night fall. 

Anacortes is hosting a Fourth of July celebration from 10 am-11 pm. There is a parade at 11 am, a patriotic program at Causland Park and a fireworks show over Fidalgo Bay at dusk. 

Whatcom County

Bellingham’s Haggen Family 4th of July Celebration is from 9 am to 10:30 pm at Zuanich Point Park. The celebration includes a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, children’s games, live music, a beer garden and vendor booths. A fireworks display is scheduled for 10:30 pm. 

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