Tag Archives: home decorating

Sledding Without Snow

My hubby is wary when I bring something unusual home from the thrift store or a garage sale.

Rightfully so.  Either he has to look at the thing for the rest of his life, fix it or make it into something. Remember all the gray fence boards he  helped me bring home last summer?  “Really?  You WANT all his old fence?"

Yep, really, I wanted it and used it.  Now he loves the area I created and named The Redneck Grill.  He just had his initial moments of doubt.

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He had those same doubts when I walked through the door with this.

In our neighborhood, it snows very little.  We can drive up the mountain and be around tons of snow, if we wanted to.  We rarely want to.  Scott and I were stormed in and shoveling out most of our lives while living in the upper Midwest.

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But this was a beauty I couldn’t pass up at Value Village. Don’t those wings just convince you this sled could make you fly?

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That’s why they named it the Flexible Flyer.  This model is the Airline Patrol for kids who dream of being a Pilot when they grow up.

“So, what are you going to do with it?” he asked with the caution of a man whose Honey-Do list that is always longer than the list of what a kid wants for Christmas.

I assured him I was going to use it to display food on the buffet line for the Christmas party we were hosting.  He was relieved.

An hour later I had a burst of genius. “Scott, there was a longer sled there, too, but I passed it up because I didn’t know what to do with it.  Now, I know what I want to do with it.  It would make a perfect coffee table!” 

A few hours later, we drove back to Value Village.

It.

was.

gone.

I was so disappointed.  Why can’t I be genius when I’m standing in front of an item, not after it’s sold to somebody whose light bulb went off in the store?

The gorgeous Flexible Flyer had to become a coffee table, and my old sled that usually decorates the front porch would go on the buffet table.

Various crates were tried underneath, they were too big. I wandered around the house, in the garage and the sheds looking for inspiration.  I crawled up in the attic, but only succeeded in hitting my head.

I had to break the news to hubby. I needed help.  He was The Help. After all, it was Saturday and he had the whole day off to be at my disposal.  At least that’s the way I looked at the situation.

We debated back and forth on how to make the vision come true. The frame couldn’t take away from the beauty of the sled.  It had to be easy to build.  It had to be cheap. It had to be sturdy enough to put coffee cups on without spilling. I hate wasting good coffee.

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This is what we came up with.  Together.  Because neither of us is right all the time, but mostly I am.

Just kidding!

He’s just learned that when I have a project vision, I’m not asking him to change the vision, but help it come true. I’ve learned that my ideas aren’t always practical or possible, so we have to talk until we can breathe life into the vision.

I loved his little details of covering the screws with those little brown half-circle thingies and the stabilizing bar across the middle. I would have been satisfied with less, but he went the extra mile.

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The moment of celebration!

As we sat and admired the coffee table,  I realized it was good for me to make  ask him to do this.  He  loves working with wood and it’s a great stress reliever.  He has a lot of stress in his life.  I always worry about his heart health, but you know men and doctors.  The only men that go to check-ups willingly are the docs themselves.

Anyhoo –

He relaxed.

He laughed.

He enjoyed.

He’s pleased with the work of his hands and the ability to make my vision come true.

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The sled coffee table is a success in so many ways.

I think the more Honey-Do Projects I come up with, the longer my Honey will be around to do them.

During an IM exchange a few days later, he said,

“i really love building and creating:  sort of my art work
and…my dad was a great carpenter

can’t wait for the next project… bring it on”

Guess I’ll be taking more trips to the thrift store looking for unusual items.

 

Making Something Outta’ Nothing

Today I am thrilled to have a guest blogger,
who’s not only my my sister-in-law, she’s one of my closest friends.
I’ve  spent hours at her country kitchen dining room table,
drinking in coffee and pouring out my heart.
She knows all my secrets and keeps them. 
There isn’t anything I haven’t told her or can’t tell her. 
She inspires, encourages and loves me.
She has a talent of taking everything in her life,
from her home to her trials,
and making it beautiful.

When we were “junking” this summer,
my mom’s word for going to thrift shops,
we found this weird item.

We laughed and I dared her to buy it,
confidant she would create something amazing.

This is what I’ve been waiting for.
Introducing Susan from McVille, North Dakota

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It all started when my sister-in-law posted a picture of a Christmas tree stuffed into an old step ladder.

No, wait, it all started when my family moved back to the house on the farm I grew up in and my sister-in-law and her family would come to visit.

Oops, I have to go back even further. It all started when we were newly married women starting our families and living on budgets that squeaked so much the mice covered their ears.

Nope, that’s not right either.….I have to go all the way back to the beginning, and that was the day my husband’s brother, Scott, knocked on our door and introduced us to the lovely young woman he was going to marry – the beautiful blonde woman you know as MommaMindy.

I have the pleasure of being related to someone who I would have chosen for a friend a hundred times over. We are similar in ways that those who grew up in the same house can’t even boast. Over the past 26 years, we have laughed, cried, and prayed each other through everything from learning to be good wives to our very good husbands, to having babies (lots of babies!) and trying to raise them to be children of God, to homeschooling, to moving multiple times, to becoming mothers-in-law and grandmothers — it has all been shared during our “prayerallel” lives.

One of the topics we love to discuss while drinking multiple cups of coffee at the kitchen table is decorating. Even back in the days when we lived in apartments with horrible green shag carpeting, we would share ways to make a house into a home. Of course, those squeaky budgets always got in the way, so we had to learn to be frugal while trying to achieve the look and feel that we desired.

Mindy was always better at this than I. No matter where she lived, she would go to rummage sales and thrift stores and find things that she loved. I marveled at how she would collect beloved items and arrange them so cleverly in her home. And I don’t mean the big items; I’m talking about the little accessories – mostly vintage and red – sprinkled around her home that gave a glimpse into her soul immediately upon entry.

I, on the other hand, don’t possess Mindy’s vision. I limped through the years knowing I needed to make my home pretty and inviting, but struggling with my mix-matched, hand-me-down furniture and accessories. Every time Mindy would visit, she would have wonderful ideas that I would implement and subsequently love, but I just couldn’t take the idea and keep running with it.

And then it happened — Mindy posted the photo that changed my life.

 

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I’m sure you know the kind of moment – the one when angels start to sing.
(Cue big organ chord – AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH)

I double-clicked on that glorious photo which took me to a blog by Donna at Funky Junk Interiors and life as I knew it would never be the same.
I was plunged into the world of junky décor. As I clicked on photo after photo,
I was introduced to using repurposed items in new and imaginative ways — items I already possessed, or could make, or could find.

 

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Items that were rusty and previously discarded around our farmstead suddenly had the potential to become works of art.
Items that I saved for years just because I thought they were neat or had belonged to my ancestors. And did I mention the burlap?

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Finally, a look that I could wrap my brain around – a look that made me happy and could just possibly give a glimpse into my soul.

Which bring me to the point of my first attempt at blogging……….

Earlier this summer when Mindy came for a visit, we decided to have a “girlie” afternoon in a neighboring small town.

 

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We enjoyed a cup of coffee at the little coffee/antique store and then made our way down the street to the thrift shop.
It was here that I discovered the secret to Mindy’s treasures – she goes through every little basket in the craft area.
You know – those baskets and boxes that no one else ever takes the time to go through.
As she was looking for buried treasure, my eyes caught sight of a strange looking item waaaaaay on the top shelf.
It was this weird wire contraption.

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(Please ignore the date stamp – I forgot to reset the camera)

Neither of us could figure out what it was, but my junky radar kicked in and we both decided
it just needed to come home with me even though I had no idea what I could use it for.
It was marked at $.50, but when I got to the till to pay for it with the rest of my items,
the cashier took one look at it and threw it in for free!
(When I was discussing it with another friend later,
she confirmed my suspicions that it had been a wire wreath form in a previous life.)

My new junky acquisition sat around for a couple weeks waiting for my brain cells to fire up.
One day, I was in the kitchen looking at the antique light fixture which had become a terrible eyesore.

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You see, we had decided to fill the fixture with fluorescent light bulbs many years ago
because it is the main light in our eat-in kitchen and is turned on for most of the day.
Unfortunately, the old globes don’t fit over the wider bases of the ugly fluorescent bulbs.
I really didn’t want to change out the chandelier because it was original to the house and has a lovely patina on the metal.
I was again thinking of how to solve the problem when it occurred to me ……

The circumference of the wire form might be the same size as the chandelier!

I ran to get the form, held it up over the top of the bulbs, and realized it was perfect!
I measured, cut, and hemmed the burlap (which I had on hand for just such an occasion).
I figured I could hook the
wire half-circles right through the weave of the burlap to attach.

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I sewed covers for the pliable wire that would hook into the already existing chain to suspend the shade over the bulbs.

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And Ta-Da !

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I had created a custom-made junky chandelier shade for about $1.50!

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So, now when anyone admires my new shade, I simply tell them, “It all started with my sister-in-law.”