Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Few of this Week's Projects

There haven't been many earthshattering events that have happened here in east Tennessee since my last post. Wait a minute, let me count...okay, there have been zero earthshattering events here in east Tennessee. Or, at least, in our little acre. I would like to show you some of the few things I've worked on this week. Let's start with this chest:

It has great "bones" - the legs and the metal wheels are in tact, no broken drawers, etc. Someone had painted it a greenish color and antiqued it. Except for some scratches inside the drawers, there really wasn't anything wrong with it; I just didn't like the way it looked. Here's the same dresser, just repainted a ginger-ish color that I had in stock. I think it now has a fresher look to it. (I waited 24 hours to put accessories on it - it's always safer to let the paint "cure", even when the instructions don't call for it). And here's another of my 3-for-$1.00 chairs. Talk about great bones! This had no wobbles, no missing rungs nor legs. Not only was it in great shape when we purchased it (about two months ago), it's been sitting outside in the weather ever since. (That's what happens when your workshop and all storage buildings are full of pregnant projects) Keep in mind that we purchase items to both resell and to keep. As much as I like this chair, we have no room for it. I don't know about your area of the country, but around here it's difficult to sell a single chair. Something has to be done with it (kind of reminds me of my little grandson when someone gave him a sweet little stuffed animal. His comment was, "but what does it do?") This chair was in too good condition to be cut apart for projects (as further below) so even turning it into a plant-holding garden chair was out of the question.

I knew if I just painted it a solid or 2-toned color that nobody would buy it. So I painted it black, printed the words "Simplify Life" on it and painted an old-timey scene with an outhouse and sheep (people who come into our shops seem to be drawn to outhouses and sheep) and here it is:

Yes, I did clumsily get the last letters in "simplify" too close together. I noticed that, too, after I did it. And I could redo it but for some reason, out-of-towners find errors like that "enchanting". And many are impressed that people in Tennessee can correctly spell simplify.

And, finally, I did finish part III of my old brokendown chair project: The final piece ended up as a patio sidetable. I attached sides of discarded and broken dresser drawers to the back of an old picture frame and attached that to the chair legs. I added some mosaic to the top to finish it off. If you missed parts I and II of this project, here's the picture link:

Until later...

Saturday, August 25, 2007


This weekend is a Nascar race weekend here in Bristol, TN. Our sleepy little community virtually turns into a campground overnight.
I grew up in Indianapolis where one of the major streets becomes one big party parking lot the night before the Indianapolis 500.
The race events are wonderful for businesses but the traffic from them are a pain for people who want only to leave their homes to go grocery shopping. So, here I am, tucked in tight at home with my hubby, four parrots and dog Frankie.
That said, yesterday before the heavy traffic hit was a good day for me to drop off a couple more furniture pieces, glassware and "fluff" items in Elizabethton (Tennessee, of course). While I was there I took pix of all the rooms. While there are several of us who have rooms at the one store (Shop Around the Corner), a very sweet gal named Linda is the actual business owner. Shop Around the Corner is located in a large old farmhouse with all the charm of the 1800's south.
My hubby and I rent two rooms from her; you'll probably recognize which ones they are because some of the furniture will look familiar to you. If you want to see all the rooms and the variety of personalities (we all like different things and decorate differently, which we think makes the business more interesting), click here.
We have items in another Elizabethton shop, Robin's Nest. I'll post a picture link to the Nest later. The proprietor of that shop is busy getting a new antiques mall ready for opening (date unknown). We'll also have space in that mall.
And, in case you're wondering what I'm doing while sequestered in my self-imposed home exile, here's some pictures of current projects:
OOPS! I forgot to take the "Before" picture of this little two drawer end table. I did take pix of one drawer and, before adding mosaics to the top, managed to get a closeup of the boo-boo that was probably left behind by a careless smoker.
The amoeba-shaped area is a blackened burn about the length of a cigarette. Don't let me get started about the perils of smoking.
This "before" pic of the top drawer will give you an idea of what this piece looked like before I raided our paint closet.
And this is my progress thus far:
It's finished with the exception of the drawer pulls. One of the original pulls was broken but I wouldn't want to re-install them, anyway, as they would no longer go with the look of the piece. I'm thinking about substituting them with a colored knob, possibly pink, green or blue to match the colors in the mosaic.
Here is another project-in-waiting (yes, another pregnant project):
Who in the world would do this to a Hoosier cabinet? Or any piece of furniture, actually. I mean, you really have to be pretty rough or careless to tear wood doors from furniture that has been put together with dowels or screws.
These two pieces came to us this way but it's pretty obvious from the larger sized top that the two weren't meant to be one set. It just so happens that I have another smaller top that was separated from its bottom in my sewing studio. It's sitting on a wood table and being used to store various art supplies. After giving this door-less top a good cleaning, I'll trade the two tops and have a nice looking, albeit mismatched, cabinet.
Thanks for stopping by; see you next time!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Trashy Finds and Wreaths

Yes, I'll confess it: I'm a trashy lady with trashy finds. But don't try to picture me in fishnet stockings, a tight leather mini-skirt and a boa to cover my bosoms. Wait. Go ahead. Even I have to admit that would be a really funny, entertaining vision.
No, I'm not trashy in that sense. You know that I enjoy a good dumpster dive with really good trash left behind! But looky here ~ this wasn't even in a dumpster! TWO of these old treasures were dumped behind a dumpster that was behind a freshly-abandoned Dollar Store.
My DH, who enjoys trash diving as much as I do, was actually the one who found them. He brought home one and a couple of days later I lucked out when I returned to the area and saw not only this one was there, but two others! The others, however, were in extremely bad shape. The screens were torn, full of holes, and shredded. The frames were busted beyond repair.
One of them had a small screen area in one of the panels that I identified as being useable. So I tore it out, loaded my van and left.
The first door that my hubby found is sitting (as is/was) in one of our rooms at the Shop Around the Corner (Elizabethton, TN). This one will soon join it.
The piece of screen that I salvaged is now being used as a strainer for my paper-making endeavors. If you haven't recycled paper into "new" handmade paper, you may want to consider giving it a try! Click HERE for directions.
There are many instruction sites available but this one gives you a "2-fer"; you are also given a project idea after the paper is made.
And you're probably wondering what wreaths have to do with my trash pickin', right?
Here are a few wreaths that I've made so far this year:

Have you guessed yet? Yep - some of the materiels used (and that is the proper spelling, by the way - look it up!) were found in one of our dumpster dives.
Before you say Y-U-C-KKK out loud: One of my stepsons lived in a small apartment complex a few miles from here. My DH (oh yeah, he's GOOD at this stuff!!!) spotted the manager cleaning out a vacated apartment and noted that BAGS of "stuff" were literally being thrown into trash bags before being hauled to the dumpster.
He, of course, had to investigate the contents of those trash bags. He found several silk flowers still in their wrappings, clean unused fabric, even unused wreaths. I've reclaimed other wreaths, ribbons and silk flowers at estate auctions. (Love those box lots!) The decorations on the wreaths may be outdated but most of the time they can be removed and the wreath can be reused.
I also use my own fabric scraps quite a bit. The scarecrows used in these wreaths are made solely from my scraps, as were the two crows. Found objects are among my favorite artist tools and art medium. The nose on the sitting scarecrow is a tiny pinecone from one of our trees and his nose is an old nail.
The nose on the lady scarecrow is a piece from a broken bracelet. I made her hat from a used dryer sheet that I stained; the decorations on it are items that Nature dropped about my yard, ie, seed pods, dried leaves, etc.
The little signs used in these wreaths are shavings or pieces of wood left from one of our projects. Oh, and the berries used in the wreaths were cut from old swags.
Opportunities to recycle and reuse are all around us; I'd appreciate knowing about some of your recycling attempts and ideas!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Some midweek ramblings

Woo-hoo! The weather forecast is showing a reprieve from this heat and I for one will be sooo happy to get rid of the upper 90's - low 100 temps and especially this awful humidity. I'm not holding my breath for it, tho, as I've on several occasion noted that Doplar Radar is not as accurate as my own body's forecast. (Darn these joints!)
The humidity is much lower in the mornings so I've taken advantage of those hours before 8:00 AM to catch up on some much-needed garden weeding. It's been awhile since I've posted pictures of the large garden (as indicated in one of my first posts, we have several gardens on the property) so please excuse me while I indulge myself.
The first photo is tall phlox; the second is of zinnias with a giant hibiscus behind them and the third is of the crepe myrtle that lives in our patio garden. The tiny rose-like flowers are on one of our moss rose plants. They're beautiful this year and are in so many different colors!
Next is a sunflower, of course. They look like such simple flowers until you look at the brown center, which in a few weeks will be black with sunflower seeds.
My tiger lillies are taller than me this year. The last time we measured my height was years ago and I was 5' 3 3/4.
I know I have "shrunk" but I don't think it's much.
Okay, now let's play "catch up" on one of my trash heap projects. Remember this one:
I completely stripped the fabric from it, repaired the wobbly legs and painted them. I had some jacquard upholstery fabric (in purple, one of my favorite colors!), added a LOT of stuffing and some white "pearl" buttons and now it looks like this.
It's still not done; I need to get a couple more buttons (yep, I came up short!) and to add fabric underneath to finish it off. I might add a tassel to each corner but am undecided. What do you think? Add tassel or not? Seriously, let me know!
By the way, I had to take a pic of it in our living room because it is too big to fit in any other room (you know, with furniture and all). As soon as I do the finish work, it's off to one of our shops.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Finally! It's been a productive week!

...first things first! I'm thrilled to have been given the Nice Matters Award from Margo of Robomargo's Blog aka Robolady. If you're not familiar with Margo, do yourself a favor and visit her blog at . She's the guru of all trash-to-treasurers as well as knowing that NICE MATTERS very well herself. And now with this award I have a mission: to pick seven bloggers and pass this same award onto them!

It is sooo hard to pick only seven bloggers, as it seems all my blogger friends are equally nice and each is special to me. However, these are the seven I finally chose:

Trash Collector

Thrift Shop Romantic

Green Bean Workshop

My Messy Thrilling Life

AJ's Trash to Treasure

Love the Prim Look

Thanks again, Margo, for including me in your seven!!!

This week (actually, the last couple of days) I decided that I really like the idea of incorporating parts of broken drawers into some of my redo aka trash to treasure projects. So, of course, I failed to include a drawer part in this project:

Remember that I removed the back from this chair? Last week I posted a picture of the shelf that I made from the back. After removing the seat from the legs ~ and staring at that seat that seemed to be glaring at me for several days ~ I came up with this:

The mirror came from a box of wall mirrors that had been removed from someone's (I honestly don't know whose) house. I won the mirrors in a box lot at an estate. Note the 70's gold scribbly things on the mirror. The middle hook was in another box that I've had tucked away forever and the two wooden knobs on the side were little pieces of the same chair. Look at the cool color that came out when I sanded the seat! Anyway, I attached the mirror and the hooks, put a wire hanger on the back and this is what I came up with. The shelf below was made out of another old chair (obviously). I attached one of those trashed drawer sides to it for a handy-dandy shelf and drilled some angled holes in the bottom to fit those little wooden dowel hooks.

The piece isn't as shiny as it looks in the picture.

By the way, if anyone happens to know what this little figurine is that's posed on the shelf, I'd appreciate you letting me know. I think it might be part of an old advertising display.

And, finally, I did tell you that I would take a picture of that old dresser with its dressed-up bench and the mirror it ended up with (after we broke the one that was supposed to be attached to it). This is how the set looks as it awaits a new owner in one of our shops.

The bench ended up with a cream or off white (actually, Heritage White) paint and a new cover of black upholstery fabric with colors in it that match the green and the cream colors that we painted the dresser.

I love the fantasy peahens in the fabric.

As for now, it's time to finish cleaning my sewing studio (at least an all day task). Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 3, 2007

An Update on my Pregnant Projects

The weather here in East Tennessee has been hot, hot, HOT! It's not just the fact that we've been in the 90's all week with more of the same predicted for next week. It's the fact that the humidity has also been in the high 90's. In fact, in recent days we've had 100% humidity ~ and it wasn't raining! So what does this mean for an antiques person/trash to treasure enthusiast/folk artist individual such as myself? It means stay inside, where it's air conditioned. It means get the stuff that you can do indoors done. It means work on your pregnant projects. Also, to a person who has a propensity to start new, fresh and perhaps more fun projects instead of finishing those already started, it means start new, fresh projects that will probably be more fun. And that's mostly what I've been doing these last few days. Here's something that I really enjoy making: A spindle candle holder. You'll need a chubby chair leg/spindle or a porch baluster for this one. You can use a skinny one, of course, but my preference is to use larger ones. You'll need something you can use for a base (I used a side from a wood ~ not laminate or flimsy plywood ~ drawer that I cut to size), something with sides to hold a candle (I used an old metal torte pan for this one), some screws, paint and whatever you might have handy to use for embellishment. Let me insert here that these candleholders was not my original idea. I really don't know who came up with idea for the first one. I only know I first saw the idea on the AB4B (Age Before Beauty) Ebay group board and thought it was just the cutest thing ever. The girl who posted the picture (Sorry, I can't even remember which member that was) used strips of homespun fabric and rusty metal stars to decorate hers. I decided I would use items such as pipberries, old jewelry, dried or silk florals, ribbons and the like on the one shown here. After attaching the spindle and the base with screws and covering them with a fossil green paint, I attached some pink diaphanous ribbons and allowed them to freely twist and flow to the base where I secured them. Moss, some jewelry pieces and florals was added before I attached the torte pan to the top. The area directly beneath the pan looked unattractive to me so I added a string of beads (per this closeup). I happened to have an old single earring with colors that matched the florals and tucked it into the moss, along with some other similar pieces of jewelry. Here's a closeup of the base:

...Remember that old chair my hubby found on one of his dumpster diving expeditions? As a reminder, here's the back of it again, along with a broken wood drawer that would become its shelves.

I fastened sturdy wood strips to the chair back and screwed the shelves to them. A coat of paint and a light sanding to distress the piece, and I had: Well, whaddya think? And that vanity I was working on the other day now has a new paint job. The mirror that was on it cracked so we ended up using another mirror for it that we had in storage; the "new" mirror isn't attached as the original. It will hang on the wall instead. It also has a matching stool that I completely forgot about. I'll paint and recover it some time this weekend. Meanwhile, here's what the vanity now looks like: I'll post another pic of the entire set later. We did manage to take several items to the shops yesterday. And what does that mean? We now have room in our basement for more projects!