Friday, March 30, 2012

Queen bed

I Swear... Free Stuff Finds ME!

This morning, we innocently got in the car to take me to work and look what was sitting on the curb in front of the housetwo doors down our street with a sign on it that said "Free -- Please Take!"

So Mark and I carried it up the street to our house. 

Geez!  It's not even a project!  Just perfect and gorgeous!

I'm thinking $200 on Craigslist.

Gotta love spring cleaning bounty!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Creative Storage

So, as you probably know, I dragged all the junk out of the shed and made it into a pretty room.  Now I'm wading around in all the junk that's lounging in the yard.  I have a deadline of Friday to get it sorted out because it's supposed to RAIN on Friday.  EEEK!  Rain is not a friend of me and my projects!

Just plain horrific!

I have a pile that's going to the flea market, a pile to donate, a pile of trash, a pile that's going to the garage, a pile that's going to the attic, and a pile of stuff that's just plain homeless. 

Yesterday, I was looking through my photos of the shed and I noticed something:  the inside of the big front doors were BLANK!  And ugly.  Just raw plywood and desperately in need of beautification.  Hmmm...

Blank Door

Later, I was contemplating the four large shutters that used to hange between my kitchen and living room.  (WHY did I never get around to painting them?  Ugh.)

Homeless Shutters

And then the doors came to mind.  And the sizes were compatible.  So I measured and did a little happy dance and then hung the shutters on the doors -- two on each side.


Then I kicked into resourceful mode and decided that maybe I could take the old peddler's cart approach to the shed and incorpate in as much homeless stuff as possible.  A pair of pale green iron hanging garden planters, that I adore but have never found the right place for, were unearthed from the garage and went up in front of the shutters.  The same phenomenon happened with an old green window frame with the chicken wire.  It, too, went up in front of the shutters.  It's mate will join it soon after I dislodge it from where Emily used it as part of the temporary chicken coop!  Then some stray books found a home in one of the planters.  Now I have managed to find homes for SIX things (plus books) just by hanging them on the doors.

Then my mother's little butcher's block kitchen island (freed of it's legs) slid neatly under the green storage bench.  The legs followed.

Next, I noticed the space above the doors (on the inside) -- perfect spot for a shelf!  And there was that board that I had thrown out into the yard...

Note the skinny board in front of the wider ones leaning against the house.

Guess what? It was within an inch of being the perfect size.  And there were shelf brackets in the garage.  So I built a shelf. 

Now, what to put on the shelf?  I remembered a box of bottles in the garage and lined them up on the shelf in honor of Mark's love of bottles (visible in photo of the doors above).

Then I found a spot for some smaller shutters:

They blend in well with the stairs and block the side view of the storage bins stored underneath the stairs.

I have three extra large plastic bins full of clothes that fit under the day bed.  They've been homeless and taking up most of my dressing area since the day bed left the master bedroom.  Now they will relocate to the shed and go back under the bed. 

I still have the inside of the storage bench, some space in the metal cabinet, and the two empty suitcases on top of the cabinet that can provide housing for more homeless junk.  There's also space under the little side table where I could stash stuff in attractive containers -- baskets or more suitcases, perhaps!  And there's the upstairs and also that corner over in front of the stairs that I haven't even mentioned or shown you yet -- plus all the other places I haven't thought of yet!  I love the possibilities!

I keep saying this but it really IS like a big puzzle.  I am so thrilled by the way the pieces fall into place in ways that I had never even imagined.  And I love ending up with a look that I wouldn't have dreamed up without Invention's mother, Necessity, to help me along in the process!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Sometimes I wish I could just wave a magic wand and make a space beautiful instantaneously.  But then, there is such beauty in the details and in the way things come about and the places things come from and find their way to, that I wouldn't want to miss out on the laborious part where all that happens.  There is God in the details!  I believe that more and more as I do more and more projects and I'd like to share some of that with you.

In this photo, you can see part of a very old door leaning against the stairs. 

My ex-husband is the sort of man who doesn't relate to photographs or objects, who keeps all his memories in his head, and who can move in or out of a place with four boxes or less.  Clearly, I was a shock and a challenge for him!  Because his family's heirlooms are my daughter's heirlooms, and because he is not the type, I have become the keeper of his family's things. 

This door came off of his grandmother's farmhouse in Wolf, Oklahoma.  Really, Wolf, Oklahoma is an abandoned box car in a field with "Wolf, Oklahoma" painted on it and a few scattered houses.  "Grandma Jude" (who's real name was Ida Burgess Harjo) lived out her years in one of the houses down the road from the box car.  The house was built in the 1910's.  She raised 9 children in a two bedroom house.  My ex-husband's father, A.B. Harjo, was born in the house in 1919.  He returned there during his retirement years and lived there until his death in 1999.  I salvaged the door from the shed behind Grandma Jude's house years ago.  Then, I am ashamed to admit, it sat in my side yard for several years until I began to fall apart.  So I shoved it into MY shed.  I've been trying to think of something to do with it for ages.  Blessedly, I was able to put it back together and, finally, I found a place for it:

It makes a great, rustic backdrop for the crisp, white bed.  And now I don't have to paint the walls like I'd planned!

Don't miss the wonderful chrystal door knob and the great rusty old latch! 

To the right of the door, are two mirrors. 

The top mirror was given to me by my dear friend, Sarah, who said it just "looked like me"  and because she couldn't find the right place for it in her house.  I didn't let that stop me from letting it linger in my garage for a couple of years when I couldn't find the right place for it in mine either!  Finally, the right place came!

The lower mirror is a part one of my very favorite freesourcefull projects.  I salvaged a vintage twin bed (headboard and footboard) from the curb in front of my friend Vickie's house.  It had been her daughter's bed but it was worn out and broken.  I cut the spindle sections out of each end, screwed some supports in between them, put an old enamel table top (also Grandma Jude's) on top, and made a coffee table out of it.  Alas, no photo at the moment. 

The scrap pieces that remained after this process were just too great to throw out.  I took one of the bottom pieces with the legs on it, turned it upside down, screwed it together with the ornamental top portion from the headboard, and it became a frame.  It used to have a print of a "yard long" painting of vintage roses in it.  I'm not sure where that went.  Hmmm...  Anyway, I found an old door mirror in the upstairs of the shed that was missing it's cheap plastic frame and cut it down to fit into my freesourcefull frame. 

I love getting to use BOTH of these mirrors and I love that they're even better TOGETHER!  As an added bonus, they reflect, and therefore extend, the rustic, chippy texture of the door to really tie that whole corner together.  That makes one more wall that doesn't need paint right away!


The little white wrough iron side table started out as a rusted patio side table.  I found it in a curb-side junk pile in Enid.  A quick coat of white spray paint brought it back to life.  I cut a piece of plywood for the top but had never decided what to do with it after that -- fabric? mosaic? a vintage tray?  So it waited.  Because I knew something would come along -- something ALWAYS comes along.  Eventually.  I put the table in the shed because it was just the right size for the spot between the bed and the chair.  But it needed a top.  For some reason, I wandered into the side yard on the other side of the house and came across the bottom of an old guinea pig cage.  It was green.  And it works perfectly -- until I find something else I like better!


There are lots of plastic bins stored in the shed -- under the stairs and on shelves behind the stairs. I have a bin for each departed (and some not departed) relative whose stuff I ended up with and want to keep. These bins are wonderful time capsules. Instead of mixing these items in with my stuff and then forgetting where they came from or the girls' never knowing where they came from, I can open a bin and VOILA! It's like a box full of the essence of that person. I recommend this method -- especially for the stuff that is SO that person but not SO you/me!  The bin-storage space, once curtained off, also became the perfect spot to stash the blue kitchen farm table (with legs removed).

It kinda drives me nuts that there are a couple of cardboard boxes mixed in there with the matching bins but, alas, I am too cheap to go buy more bins.  I am hoping that some will become available as I clear out other stuff elsewhere (because I have LOTS of these matching bins).  The photo of the under-the-stairs storage didn't take so you'll just have to imagine matching stacked bin bliss!

And here is a shot of how all the junk magically disappears behind the pretty white curtain:

And here is a shot of the stairs.  Because I LOVE the stairs!  And also because you can see the storage under them and the storage bench in front of them.

The bench used to be in my bathroom for towel storage for years and years until I found the white dresser that replaced it.  It's been an orphan ever since.  I think it likes this new home I've found for it.  My little tiny shed room can now seat six!  Gonna have to plan a tea party!


I have wrested in my mind extensively over the metal storage cabinet (and the other two of the trio that are in the garage) -- to get rid of them (because they're ugly and don't seem to function well for my purposes) or keep them (because they could be painted, because they're storage, and because I would have to be crazy to throw out three matching cabinets?). There were office storage cabinets that my mother and step-father ordered through his office supply business for the garage in our house in Enid when I was in high school.  So, they've been in the family for 30+ years.  There is literally 25 year old paint stored in them.  I know this because I didn't buy it so Mother must have.  She's been gone for 22 years -- thus dating the paint.  I will clean it out later.  It will become my out-of-use-housewares storage cabinet.  I was SO blessed that the clothing rack slipcover I have fit over the metal cabinet!  It fit almost TOO perfectly!  Sara-Grace, as she was helping me button it, said, "It's like buttoning a shirt on a fat man!"  She is SO RIGHT!  Ha!  Maybe I should cut a hole for the handle (which would help a little around the middle there)?

On top are three extra pillows (that I needed to store anyway) and two EMPTY vintage suitcases (this photo only shows one).  Now I'll have to find something to store in the suitcases.  I suspect that won't be a problem.

I love shelves.  Shelves mean you get to have more fun junk!  AND you get to SEE IT all well-displayed and beautiful!  One of my favorite display devices is to run a shelf up near the ceiling.  It adds storage AND visual interest.  Here are several photos of the shelf in the shed.

I love the old enamel pot lids, the white bathroom heater grill, and the old, black stove burner cover thingy!  All were free.  The bowls and planters were $2 or less.  I can never have enough white ceramics.  I use them EVERYWHERE and I never get tired of them!


I have always loved the old glass insulator caps from electrical lines of the past.  My mother had one that sat on the kitchen window sill for years because we just liked looking at it, I think.  But I never knew what to do with them (and I guess Mother didn't either!) until I saw the original of this candle-lier -- probably made by the Junk Market Style ladies.

So, of course, I copied!  I love it but have never figured out where to hang it -- until now.  You've heard a lot of that theme from me lately, haven't you?  My Runaway Room has become such a wonderful place for so many of my homeless treasures to put down roots!  It's like they were all waiting for me to figure it out.  LOVE THAT! 

Time for me to go paint some stuff and put away some of the junk that I threw out of the shed!  Bye!

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Runaway Room

Among the myriad of things I fret about in the middle of the night is the shed in my backyard.  It's silly, I know, but it drives me crazy that this wonderful space sits back there as a sacrifice to my hoarder tendencies and goes completely to waste.  It bothers me even more when I see and envy a beautiful garden cottage spread in a magazine.

I had this shed built the spring I was pregnant with Sara-Grace.  That would be 2001.  The upstairs (which I will show you later after it's been "prettified" too) has hosted a few sleep-overs and been the setting for several sisterly battles for possession.  The original plan for the downstairs was to use the back third for storage (from the flowered curtain back) and the front portion for play.  It wasn't long before junk got thrown in to protect if from rain and then the whole mess just snowballed from there.

When I took the daybed out of the master bedroom a couple of weeks ago, it landed in the upstairs hall.  Which wasn't fun because you had to crawl around it to get to the bedroom.  So I started racking my brain for a place to use it.  My mother bought it in an antique store in Tahlequah, Oklahoma in the late 1980's.  It was on the porch at the lake house for about a decade and then spent 16 years in my bedroom for wandering kids or pets to use when necessary.  Getting rid of it wasn't an option.  It's family.

Then a vision came to me (again) of the shed transformed into a thing of beauty instead of a rat's nest.  I probably should have been doing something else last weekend (like maybe take the kids on a day trip for Spring Break?) but I have learned to follow my muse -- that's the only way anything big ever gets done and, in the end, any mess cleaned up is better quality of life for the girls, right?  Blessedly, the girls' dad took them fishing (twice) so they didn't just sit around the house and rot for the WHOLE Spring Break.  Whew!

Here is the horrific up-close "before" shot of what the shed looked like at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning:


By 10 a.m., it looked like this:

That seemed easy enough!  We won't talk about what the YARD looks like now.  But it will get sorted out -- hopefully before the next rain!

This was my first stab at a decor:

I always have a leaning toward the 1940's era and have tons of vintage florals.  This would have been a great place to exercise that passion.  But it just didn't work.  Back to the drawing board!

My first priority was "pretty".  My second priority was to work in as many pieces of furniture that I needed to store as possible.  That meant: the day bed, the green velvet chair, the green storage bench, the kitchen farm table, the little garden side table, and the little bookcase. 

Keep in mind that this project was done exclusively with stuff I already have and totally FREE (except for the cost of a $1.39 2 liter of Cherry Dr. Pepper to keep my happy while I worked!).  So, I dug around in my belongings for inspiration and direction. 

The color scheme finally revealed itself:  white with touches of green.  It all spun off of the green floral pillow sham that I've had for YEARS but never used (I'm SO glad I didn't make myself get rid of it on the logic that I'd never used it!)  I LOVE the evolution of such projects.  Really, I have very little control. These things have a life of their own.  It's like a big puzzle and things have to find their rightful places.  In the end, it's never what I planned in the beginning but, usually, it's BETTER!

Of course, I haven't taken the "perfect" photo yet.  But here is a pretty representative photo of it mostly done:

Please mentally remove the vacuum cleaner in the lower left corner and the junk in the bookcase and replace it (in your mental image) with the below shot of the future magazine-storage use of the bookcase.  I'm thinking this bookcase will hold about 300 magazines in blissful, orderly beauty.

And here's a better but less-inclusive view:

So now my poor neglected shed, that was once a place to run away FROM, is now a place I want to run away TO!  I'm sure the kids and the cats will discover it soon and then I may have to fight for it again -- but at least I won't be fighting junk just to get in the door!

I have a more detailed tour planned for you but I think enough is enough for today.  Tune in tomorrow for more details!

Friday, March 23, 2012

My Haven

This is my bedroom.  This is where I go to collapse at the end of the day.  It is also my haven. It's kinda crowded and cluttered but I love it!  Would you like a guided tour?  I got a little carried away and had a lot of fun so this is pretty long.  Sorry!


* I found the old windows in the muddy crawl space under I rental house I once owned. 
* The frame in front of the windows had a beautiful bevelled mirror in it once (I don't even remember how or when it got broken).  I found it in the mud also -- in the enclosed front porch in front of an old junk shop I used to haunt in my early 20's.  It's not really painted white - I just washed it with crushed chalk mixed with water because I wanted it to be white but didn't want to paint over the patina.
* The candelabra is one of my favorite things!  I paid 27 cents for it and then sprayed it with free white paint. 
* The headboard underneath the slipcover was my mother's.  The slipcover provided the perfect way to store Mother's headboard while at the same time getting the look I wanted. 
* We bought the brown taffeta bedding with a gift certificate we got for our wedding.  (Thank you Becky!)  We still love it.
* The three old corbells holding up the shelf were an Ebay purchase from back when I did frivolous things like buy off of Ebay. I built the shelf out of scrap lumber that I had laying around.  The girls and I write messages on the underside of the shelf with a Sharpie!  My favorite is "I Like Pie!" -- Oh!  And "I Love You, Mom"!
* The white matlasse pillow sham (in front of the brown shams) was a TJMaxx find.  Every time I look at it I think it's just simply delicious (and I've been looking at it for YEARS!).


Somewhere around 1994, I fell in love with a bird's eye maple dresser in a rural Oklahoma antique store.  I never had the $400 to buy it even though it sat in the store for years.  Somewhere around 2004, I found this birds eye maple dresser at a yard sale.  I couldn't get out of the car fast enough!  I paid $75 for it.  Then I didn't have a place for it so it's been in the closet under the stairs storing our mittens and scarves since then. 

I FINALLY got to move it into my bedroom recently!  I love using it as my night stand.  I love getting to look at it every day.  I love the old-fashioned feel it gives my bedroom.  I love that every drawer has a little brass-lined keyhole -- like I really need to lock up my socks and undies! 

I'm still trying to remember if it came with a mirror.  If so, I have some digging in the garage do to!


This antique Italian cypress armoire is my very favorite piece of all the furniture I own.  It was in the old "maid's bedroom" up the back stairs from the kitchen in my dad's house in Tulsa when he bought the house in 1982.  I think it came with the house because no one wanted to carry it down the narrow, steep back stairs! 

That was the bedroom I stayed in when I visited my father during my high school years.  I used to have long, late-night phone conversations with Mark in that room as I looked at that armoire.  I have always loved it. 

A few years ago, my dad and step-mother remodelled and things got shuffled.  They asked me to go up into the attic and see if there was anything I wanted before they got rid of some things.  I happily climbed up into their wonderful attic with diagonal raw plank floors and the Amityville Horror windows and there was my armoire -- in the "outta here" pile!  We had to carry it down two flights of stairs to get it out of the house and up one flight of stairs to get it to my bedroom but it was totally worth it!   Now I get to look at it every day.


The very first time I set foot in this room (in August 1993), I thought that there should be a pair of chairs by the front window.  Alas, the onslaught of babies and pets in the house made it more practical to have my mother's antique day bed there for whatever wandering child, dog, cat, or space-craving husband might need it.  The youngest of my babies is now 10 and I like to keep Mark closer than across the room, so I finally took out the day bed (stay tuned because it's about the be the jumping-off point for a room in the shed in the back yard!) and put in the long-awaited chairs! 

Here's the play-by-play on this photo:
* MY chair is the green one on the right.  It's from the 40's.  It was in our lake cabin (circa 1953) when we bought it.  Like the dresser, I adore the old-fashioned feeling if it.
* Mark's chair is the one on the left.  It came from the Salvation Army.  He loves it... and so does Lily-dog!
* The little wicker table was a freebie.  Again, I love the old-fashioned feel of it.
*Above the window are the silver baby spoons and rattles from my babyhood -- tied into brown frames with pink satin ribbons.
* On the left side of the window are framed copies of my daughters' birth certificates -- embellished with the crowns of flowers they wore at our wedding. 
* The lamp in the far left corner was my grandmother's and then my mother's.  On it is the crown of flowers that Tessa made for me out of roses from our rose garden for Mother's Day last year. 
* On the right side of the window is a framed copy of our wedding invitation and a framed copy of our prom picture along with a framed heart ornament that was tied onto one of our wedding gifts. 
* Above the window is a wonderful wreath made from rolled magazine pages that Emily made for me for Christmas.  I love both magazines and wreaths so it was the perfect gift!
*  All the curtains in the room were $3 each from the Salvation Army.  All the frames were $2-3 or less from similar sources.
* At the foot of the bed is my beloved "barkcloth" duvet.  The fabric is a reproduction of the wonderful "barkcloth" that was popular in the 1940's.  Inside is a down comforter so it's extra warm!  I paid $15 for the duvet cover at a garage sale years ago and still feel like I got a total steal! 


The room had this weird little nook from where the front gable of the house stuck out more.  I built shelves into it and corralled all my family photos into one place.  I've been glad for many years that I did this.  It's much better than having them scattered all over the house.  This way, photos of everyone I love are gathered in one special place. 
* These shelves also contain baby books, year books, and favorite books, beloved magazines.
* The top shelf is a shrine to my mother.  It has her baby photo (with her mother), her engagment photos with my dad, her silver pitcher, and the candy dish (with the lid and the red accents) that she always put ribbon candy in at Christmas when I was little.  There's also a glass jar full of vintage lace on that shelf -- but my mother would HATE that because she was definitely NOT lacey!
* On the second shelf from the top are two teddy bears made by Emily.  The white one she made in 2001 at the age of 7 1/2 for her new baby sister, Sara-Grace.  I love that the stitching is on the outside, it lacks legs, and the face is drawn on with marker.  SO CUTE!  The one behind that Emily made for me in 2003 at about the age of 10.  It's fun to see how her sewing skills have evolved.  She made this bear out of things she found in my project room.  By chance, she used some very sentimental items: scrap peach and white stripe oxford fabric from the shower curtain I made for my first California apartment (1988), extra buttons (the eyes) from my favorite maternity outfit (1993), a black velvet button (the nose - circa 1940's) that was my very favorite of all the buttons in my grandmother's button jar that I had played with since childhood (1960's and 70's), and the tie (around the neck) from my mother's wedding dress from her second marriage (1978). 
* The lamp is made from an old porch post that came off of the house my children's great-grandmother lived in (built in the 1910's).  It was the house there grandfather was born in and lived in again during his retirement years until he died in 1999.  Emily and Tessa have memories of riding his donkey around the house with their "Grandpa Donk" leading them.


Recently, I've managed to put quite a few of my very favorite possessions on the wall opposite my bed.  Because I am VERY visual, what I see from bed is paramount because it's the view I see most. 
* In addition to me beloved armoire, this vista also contains the antique shoe salesman's rack ($125 -- but still worth it because I see them in magazines all the time and still love every one I see!) that I bought in Fayetteville in 1992 -- three years before I even moved here.
* My pink china plates and the wire rack that holds the pink china plates, featured in a previous post "$3.78 Worth of Cheap" have recently moved to this wall so I can look at them!
* I've had my grandmother's candleabra for 20 years.  I just recently became grown-up enough to feel like it suited my decor!
* Also here: a white quilt (TJMaxx $15), a vintage bird cage stand (free), a pink enamel veggie bin from an old pink refrigerator ($2), and a chalkboard with an ornate white frame ($4).


This is Mark's side of the bed.  It has lots of fun stuff too:
* A vintage table that I've been halfway through mosaicing for the last decade!
* A vintage stained glass window that came from my Tahlequah, Oklahoma days (where I lived from 1993-1995 and where our lake cabin is).  I think I love the "amethyst" glass because amethyst is my birthstone!
* A wonderful dark wicker bench which is actually weather-proof outdoor furniture courtesy of Kmart's Martha Stewart collection (and an end-of-season close-out sale!).
* A showcase box of momentos from our wedding (under the table).
* A silver tray with a photo of Mark's son, Noah, and a photo of me from age 4.
* Mark's $6 dressing stand that he loves to put his suits on.
* Our $6 vintage clock that was featured in a previous post.
* And lots of wedding photos!


And lastly, our memory wall.
* Our room is pink, white, and brown because those were our wedding colors and we still haven't gotten enough of them!
* This wall contains photos of Mark and I from 8th grade through the present.  There are photos from several high school dances and the prom mixed in with wedding photos and wedding gifts and momentos (the silver plate from my aunt and uncle and the photo album with the copper plaque on the front made by my Matron of Honor's talented sister). 
* If you look closely, you can see dried wedding bouquets and boutinieres, the boxes our wedding rings came in, and the sea shell Mark dove down and retrieved from the ocean floor on our honeymoon.
* A bunch of the white matte vases that I collect -- all for just a few dollars (or less) each.
* A couple of silver holders with candles from our wedding.
* A few pieces of pink ceramics because I love them!  Pink reminds me of Mark because he work pink Polo shirts and pink or pink and white striped oxfort shirts in high school!
I can build a shrine, can't I?  But I think that's what a haven should be -- I place where you can surround yourself with the things you love, with favorite memories, with photos and momentos of the people you love, and with lots of things that are about what's REALLY important.

I just remembered -- we are about to paint the walls in this room a dark, chocolate brown!  Maybe I should have waited to photograph it until after the paint job!  Oh well!  At least we now have "before" photos!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pinkie's Bike

I think I've introduced you in past posts to my trashy, eccentric alter-ego, "Pinkie", haven't I?  She's older and fatter than I am and loves pink and florals and old junk.  She gets me into LOTS of trouble (all of which is all HER fault, of course)!

Ever since they put the new bike trail in in Fayetteville (and, very thoughtfully, ran it just a block from my house!), Pinkie and I have had a fantasy about riding a bike to work and then swinging by the grocery store on the way home. 

Recently, via a friend of a friend, we were the lucky beneficiaries of two bicycles that were headed for the trash. 

This one is Sara-Grace's.  All it needed was to have the fender bent away from the chain.

And this one is mine... er, Pinkie's!

It looks pretty good in this photo but, in actuality, it had a LOT of rust on the blue paint and looked pretty crappy.  Thus, a new coat of paint was a must. The wheels and fenders have rust too but Mark says I can shine them up with paint thinner.  We'll see!

The chain was also a victim of rust and was more locked up than not.  Someone made off with my WD40 (Grrrrrrr...) and I wanted a little instant gratification so I soaked the chain in bacon grease that was loitering in the kitchen waiting for me to get around to washing that greasy pot.  

Alas, there was no instant gratification to be had, but, after several days of soaking via this "Arkansas engineering" method, along with a lot of work with two pair of pliers, the chain is now moving freely.

Then I got out the spray paint.  My original impulse was to paint it pink.  But then I chickened out.  I decided to go for a safe, classic black (the darned photo didn't take!).  Before it was even half painted, it was clear that black made it look sinister somehow.  This gave me the courage to go back to PINK!  AND I LOVE IT! Now, every time we come home, I tell Mark, "Look at my wonderful pink bike!" it's the first time I've said that instead of the 12th!

Kinda wishing I hadn't taken the photo with projects strung out in the background! 
It looks like the trashy hoarder house in this photo!

Pinkie is delighted about the pink turn of events!  She and I are currently looking for just the right fabric to cover the seat with and also for a wicker basket for the handlebars.  We went to the bicycle department at Walmart where we discovered that we could easily go nuts and spent a hundred dollars plus on accessories and gadgets for the bike: $20 for a seat, $20 for a basket, $20 for another basket, $10 for a light, $10 for another light, $20 for new pedals (which it doesn't need), $20 for a tire pump that rides around with you, $5 for a bell, etc, etc.  We decided to go home and "freesourcefull it".  Which is slower.  But more satisfying.  And definitely cheaper!

Stay tuned for the finished product. I just couldn't resist giving a sneak peak! 

I'm so excited to ride town around on my silly giant pink tricyle!  With lots of groceries in back!  I'll be "that crazy lady who rides around on the pink tricycle" and all the kids in town will think I'm really weird!  I can't wait!

The other thing about the pink is that it reduces by at least 50% (boys -- and probably by a higher percentage if you add to the boys all the girls who don't want to look silly!) the number of people who are going to want to borrow my tricycle!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

More Chalkboards

 I whipped up these three chalkboards last night.  The large red frame came from a dumpster a couple of weeks ago.  The other two frames were loitering around in the project room.

I should probably be ashamed to admit this but... I prowed around in my garage and found six more frames to make chalkboards out of. 

At least this way there's hope that the garage will get cleared out eventually!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My Best Seller: Chalkboards

When I started my flea market booths, I interrogated the owners of the flea markets about what sells best.  I was given several answers: "I sell books/videos/clothes every day", "unusual sells", "ugly sells" (UGLY? Really?), "painted furniture sells", "red sells". 

I've noticed that there often seem to be nice-looking, high-end home decor items being processed at the cash register.  These sorts of items have sold quickly out of my booths as well.

I've noticed that color sells.  And color is also fun to look at when I browse through the flea market.  So I've tried to focus on having lots of color in my booths. 

To that end, I started slapping colorful paint on large picture frames (that I usually find for free).  After a bit of experimenting, I figured out that the backside of sheets of old paneling (also usually free) make great surfaces for chalkboard paint (I learned recently that chalkboard paint can be applied right over the glass in a frame as well).  Sometimes I find the chalkboard paint for free too!

I painted up about a dozen frames in fun colors, added chalkboards, and threw them into the flea market.  They have FLOWN out the door.  To the point that I am completely out of them at the moment!  Time to find more frames! 

As you may have gathered from the last paragraph, these chalkboards are usually free to make and don't take very long to assemble.  They sell for between $12 and $28 each depending on the size and style.

Here are a couple of before photos:

This is the "before" of the  turquoise one below.

This one went red (sorry, no "after" photo).

And a bunch of after photos:

And here are a couple more in my booth (light green above and dark green below). 

Please bring me any large empty/ugly frames/framed pictures that you have laying around!  I think I'm in the chalkboard business for good!