Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Rainy Day Door

Yesterday my mother called to tell me that she saw a neat, vintage door sitting out for trash. Unfortunately it was almost dark out and was raining and had been raining steadily all day. I thought I'd wait until the next morning to check it out. If it's gone, oh well, my loss. Well, that mindset didn't last long. My curiosity got the best of me and I kept thinking "what if it was REALLY COOL and I missed out on it?"

So, I quickly got myself pulled together, headed out the door and was driving through a steady rain, hoping to find the door before dark. Sure enough, there is was. I was elated when I pulled up and saw it. It was perfect! Exactly what I have been seeking for the past few months at the local antique shop. Had this been there, I would have purchased it.

As much as I talk about others finding great items out for trash, it's nice that I got to partake of somebody's discard for a change. Well, thanks to my mom and her watchful eye actually.

Great Hardware

So I'm thinking of repurposing it as a console table. Vintage table legs or banister rungs may make up the legs, or even old galvanized or other type of tube pipe for an industrial look that relates to the old hardware on the door. However I was even considering attaching it to the wall via its hinges and suspending the opposite side with old, rusty chain in the manner of a drawbridge for a castle. A suspended table. Sounds like a neat project. We'll see how this ends up.

Perfect Rusty Patina

Right now it is drying nicely in my basement with the dehumidifier, furnace heat and a fan upon it.  Stay-tuned to see what becomes of my rainy day door.

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Blue Cricket Design

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Vintage Stools and Chairs Add Charm and Character

Do you have a thing for old chairs? What about old, wooden stools? These relatively inexpensive pieces could be just the thing you need to add a little interest to your room. Think of them as conversation pieces. My mother has a real knack for finding them and incorporating them into her home as seen below.

I love the size, style and rustic appeal.

The perfect, coordinating piece for this bedding set.

A pop of red, this little chair adds charm and becomes a display top.

If you enjoy using pieces such as this, visit my page on vintage stools & chairs.

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Funky Junk Interiors
Be Different...Act Normal

Friday, November 18, 2011

Grapevine Galore!

Heavy Grapevine Creates An Entry Arch (see below)

The freak, Winter storm that hit the Northeastern U.S. over Halloween weekend created quite a mess of downed trees and damaged shrubs.  One such tree was a Mulberry tree in my pasture.  Unbeknownst to me, it had a mass of grapevine throughout its upper limbs, making it top-heavy and too weak to hold the weight of the wet snow.  The tree will be greatly missed but the grapevine mess found within has been put to good use.

The bramble of branches and vine in the pasture is seen at lower left.

Some of these I have posted before but I think I'm done playing with vine for awhile.  You can see various ways I have incorporated it decoratively around the property.  Nothing like free, decorative, raw materials from nature.

A new arch for the wild Clematis to cling to next year

Branch and vine add a nice touch to this stone column entry

Quirky, organic, entry art until the holiday decor gets placed.

And my week ago project of creating an arch for a front door entry.  I created one years ago for a prior residence but from much smaller and more pliable grapevine.  This was thick and heavy-duty.  It was kind of neat to work with . . . twisting, weaving, intertwining and braiding it as best I could to form the shape.  It took me about an hour to complete.  A few pieces of jute twine are wound in certain sections to assist in holding its shape.

Miniature Christmas lights always look super strewn through grapevine
Hope your holiday decorating plans are well underway!

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Frugalicious Friday @ Finding Fabulous

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Recycle EVIL Bags

I find plastic shopping bags to be abhorrent creations.  Convenience always seems to "trump" responsibility in this world anymore.  I find nothing more depressing than seeing one of these bags caught on a bare tree branch in the Fall.  Last year, one blew WAY UP high (like 50-60 feet) and got caught in the upper branches of a tall Oak tree behind my property.  I got to listen to it flapping and creating horrible noise all Winter long when the wind blew.  In fact, the first time I heard it was at nighttime, in the pitch dark, while standing on my back deck.  It scared the "be-jesus" outta me.  I thought some alien creature was swooping down upon my head.

I was so happy to see a responsible vendor, Weis, a grocery store chain, promoting this clever phrase on their bag - "Unmistakably Recyclable".  Hopefully it helps bring awareness to a few people who have yet to start recycling these suckers.

Speaking of recycling, I was getting ready to empty the contents of my paper shredder and thought of how great these paper shreds would be for holiday packing and shipping material.  I even began clumping it together in my hand, forming balls.  I began thinking of snowballs.  Hmmm, a potential, creative, holiday project may ensue.

Future Holiday Ornament Material?

So in light of all the "green" awareness lately, please recycle your plastic bags.  There are drop-off locations at most major department and grocery stores . . . (aka the source of the problem)

Oh and I forgot to mention, I got this bag as a "recycled" one when I bought a few items at the local thrift store recently.  At least they are being recycled in that manner (reused).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Burlap Coffee Sacks

I've been on a hunt for some burlap coffee sacks locally for awhile and finally happened upon quite a few at the town antique shop.  One of the vendors had about eight sacks with different printing, logos and types of burlap.  I must admit, I "hemmed 'n hawed" for quite awhile with them placed upon the floor, trying to determine which one I liked most.  Some were a tighter woven burlap, some looked too new for my liking and some were a bit too ratty.  However, I did find one that had some character, a simple block-text print, a thicker burlap, and without any logos or excess colored print.  Each one was $5.00 which I thought was quite reasonable.  I'll be back for more.

Dark indigo/teal, block text provides nice contrast to the natural burlap

I've been wanting to incorporate one (or more) for quite some time into my home.  I thought of using one as rustic table runner, cutting them down to use as decorative pillow cases or framing them and hanging them in my kitchen as art.  As it so happens, I'm soon going to be working on a new project of creating some cabinet doors for some of my shelving.  I decided I'm going to use this burlap as a decorative front for the doors I create.  I'll be cutting it down to fit.  In the meantime, I have it folded and placed over a small accent chair and am kind of liking the look.  Guess I know where the 2nd one I purchase will be going.

I also purchased that neat, dried gourd at the shop and really like its muted color and character. Read about the simple, Autumn inspired pillow shown above.

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Amber Bottle Decor

I stopped by the Red Lion Antique Center yesterday and happened upon two, nice-sized,  vintage glass bottles. I love old bottles, especially those in amber so had to snag them at the very reasonable $2.00 a piece. I found something else cool which I will be sharing next week (hopefully) in a project I'm planning to do..

These bottles have very narrow openings but I often like adding old, wine corks to found bottles for a more finished look. I cut a cork in half and then cut a base section on each to fit the circumference of the bottle's opening.

Use small-tipped cutting pliers to carefully snip mini "pie-wedge" cuts around the corks edge.

Snip your cuts from the top

Snip your cuts from the side

Remove the wedges

Size the narrower base to fit into the bottle opening.

Custom Corks

Tied With Jute

The full coffee table display at present

Since I'm a "jute-junkie", I wound a long string of jute twine around the bottles to tie them together and add an additional, organic element to the mix. I'm enjoying my $4.00 display. (I had the jute, the cork and the smaller bottle which I found in the woods)

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Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special

Friday, November 11, 2011

More Vintage Tool Decor

Well, I just seem to be adding to my vintage tool decor collection lately. I'll admit it, I love Restoration Hardware, their styling and their accent pieces but their prices aren't so "likeable". I often look to them for inspiration but really enjoy recreating the look in my own way . . . the frugal way!

And the collection grows.  Weathered woods and rusty patinas galore!

I got into the steam-punk style while perusing my 2011 R.H. source book and found the old flywheel seen on the console table to introduce that style to this room. R.H. utilizes a lot of industrial elements such as weathered metals and woods, something I too enjoy incorporating in my rooms.

While out yesterday I stopped at the local thrift store (see my previous post) and found a VERY COOL vintage ax. This thing is very heavy. You should see the head of it in person. I felt a bit like a crazed-murderer lugging it around the thrift store and wondered what was going through the minds of other shoppers. I eventually asked to sit it behind the counter as I didn't want to frighten off any of the patrons . . . or was it because my arm was getting tired?

Well, you'll be a little dumbfounded at the price. This place is a bit inconsistent in it's pricing, but whatever. I know I've overpaid for some things before that I really wanted. Anyway, "my ax" was a whopping $1.00! Can you believe that?

I'm still digging my Pottery Barn inspired vise "book clamp".

So, I'm not sure where I'm putting it. I had it leaning with my other vintage pieces at the milk can as see in the first shot but then placed it on the console table and am really enjoying the overall look of this grouping. Should it stay on the console or go back in the corner?   I actually like it in both locations so I guess I'm on a mission for another vintage ax!

Visit my website to see more vintage decor I enjoy collecting.

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The Shabby Nest

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thrifty Thursday Finds!

I had to make a run to the local post office this morning and luckily for me, there is a thrift store across the street which I like to visit occasionally. Now, it's best that I DON'T visit too often because i always end up spending money on things I don't need but then again, who can turn down a great bargain?

I actually stopped in to look for some old doors of any type that I could possibly repurpose as "cabinet doors" for a tall IKEA shelf unit. (I will come up with something so stay tuned for that project!)

Anyways, I'm a glass 'n pottery nut so always check out the store's latest stash in an attempt to find some hidden goodies. I found one of each almost instantly.

A $5.00 heavy glass bowl. I can tell this is an older piece simply by its weight. I will have to do a little research to see if I can identify it. If you can recognize it, leave a comment.

I also found this unmarked piece, possibly a McCoy or Brush pottery. I can rarely resist any McCoy piece and add to that, the green color (my favorite) and I'm hooked. I also realized when I got home that it was an appropriate decor piece for the month; a cornucopia for Thanksgiving. I guess I'll give some "thanks" to the price I paid . . . $1.99.

Anyway, I found a quick home for the pottery piece and the bowl will be making an appearance during the upcoming Winter holiday season, so again . . . stay tuned.

Quick Tip: If you purchase any old glass or pottery pieces that have a film or haze (more noticeably on glass)that won't wash off with mild dish detergent, rub over the "dirty" areas with acetone on a cotton-ball and then re-wash with mild detergent if you so choose. This helps give the glass a more "crystal-clear" finish. It helps remove paint or ink marks too.

Hope you all are having a fantastic, "Thrifty Thursday".

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Gothic Styled Chair Finds A New Home

I purchased this unique chair for a mere $12.00 from the local antique dealer during a sidewalk sale. What can I say, it "spoke to me" (hmmm, isn't that a Pier 1 phrase?)

A Great, Frugal Find

I loved it's overall utilitarian styling, chunky stance, aged wood, old leather seat and back and of course the giant tack hardware. For a guy who's a little "gaga-for-gothic", this chair won me over upon first glance. And who could turn down a deal like that? I've spent more on Happy Meals. This indeed made me happier than any McDonald's meal could!

Lots of Character

Cool Details

I wanted to retain its weathered and tattered appearance so merely applied my new, favorite product, butcher block conditioner, as noted in my reclaimed folding chairs post.

After a little TLC with the conditioner

I elected to use the product on the leather as well since the natural waxes seemed more beneficial for the aged-leather than typical, petroleum-based conditioners.

The perfect companion for my vintage, cedar chest

Do you like this style? Are you "Gaga for Gothic" or "Crazy for Chairs" (like my sister)?

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Beyond The Picket Fence

The Shabby Creek Cottage - Transformation Thursday

Monday, November 7, 2011

Reclaimed, Wooden Folding Chairs . . . The Solution To My Dilemma

A few months ago I cleaned up and stained an old wooden table from my father's estate.  I had been holding on to it for a few years and finally decided to put it to use.  I had the table only; no chairs were included.  My dilemma was finding the perfect seating accompaniment for the table's style and wood color.  I kicked around the idea of benches and also saddle-seat stools.  The table has been sitting in my kitchen without chairs for a few months.  I liked the openness without chairs and knew I wanted seating that could tuck underneath without being too obtrusive in the space.

Many years back, my mother purchased some old wooden folding chairs (circa 1940s?) at a yard sale for $1.00 each.  They ended up going to my sister which she has used as accent chairs around her home in various rooms or as extra seating during holidays.  Most recently she had been using them on her front porch as decorative accents.  They have gotten a little weathered but were still in relatively good condition.  I asked her if I could have them for my table (hey, it doesn't hurt to ask!)  She said, "yes".  Yippee!  Could these be the missing pieces to my puzzle?  

The chair in the foreground has not been conditioned yet.  Note the Before and After finish.

I cleaned them up with a damp rag first, let them dry and then applied butcher block conditioner to them.  This stuff is amazing - made up of mineral oil and natural waxes, it's a safe wood conditioner with no harmful odor or toxins.  I have used it on many wooden implements and vintage wooden bowls too.  Great for those of us who like to repurpose old items!

A great product to try for conditioning old wood

The conditioner gave the chairs a deeper, more rich finish that closely resembled the wood tones of the table.

Not bad, eh?

Another angle

Unexpected, similar design elements help establish cohesion

Another great similarity between the table and the chairs is the "X" feature of the chair legs to that of the support bars at the table's base.  Talk about a cohesive element - as though the chairs and table were intended to unite as one!  Every time I walk through this area I have to marvel at the completed ensemble.  I'm quite pleased with the new seating additions and the overall look.  Hard to believe the set was essentially free (to me).  Must be Frugal Design!

Have you found some old, unique chairs that you have paired with a table.  Perhaps some mismatched ones that you have unified with spray paint?  Share your thoughts!  Craigslist can be a great source for free, "throw-aways" you can breathe new life into.

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's Official, The HOLIDAY SEASON has Arrived!

A few other bloggers have recently mentioned seeing holiday displays at major retailers. Yes, I noticed that myself a week or so back. I guess it didn't sink in until yesterday when my mail arrived containing a holiday catalog from Pier 1. Oh, that and a dreadful, Walmart commercial which I saw last night that will most likely have me cursing at the television once December DOES actually arrive.  (We did just talk about pumpkin carving recently, no?)

I guess the retailers want to get us thinking far enough in advance. I believe it is aimed at procrastinators such as myself, as though to say "Well, we gave you fair warning John. It's not our fault you are running around at 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 23rd among throngs of petrified and pushy shoppers."

So, due to my lackadaisical approach at getting a jump-start on the holiday "gift-getting", I instead tend to peruse the pretty pictures in the catalogs and say to myself "Oh, that's cool, and OOooo, look at that!"

Happy PRE-Holiday Shopping ALL!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Free Front Porch Art

The October snow storm created a mess around the property, but sometimes beauty can be made from wreckage. While cleaning up one of my fallen Mulberry trees, I saved numerous branches that were entwined with grapevine. This tree was just embedded with the vine; more than met the eye until the poor thing fell and had to be removed. Besides keeping some unique branches, many sections of large grapevine were saved and have already been meshed or braided to create an ornate entry arch (stay tuned for pics!)

I was trying to determine where to place my unique branches and also HOW to display them. It hit me all of a sudden to REUSE the REPURPOSED chimney toppers (pots) that I had used this Summer as decorative planters on my back deck. I put all of the outdoor stuff away a week or so back and had the chimney pots tucked away for Winter. I pulled one back out and used it as the base for the branches. I placed unique rocks and stones within the pot to support the branches. Viola! Instant FREE Art. It looks a bit like a modern art installation, yet keeping with the organic vibe I prefer. Various leaves, already gathered in the corner and strewn upon the porch were simply picked up and placed around the base for an Autumn touch.

Hmmmm, I'm liking this look so much I'm wondering if I'll replace it in a month with the lit evergreen trees typically displayed for the upcoming Holiday season.  It may have to become an indoor installation!

Update: The evergreens trees typically placed here, did not make an appearance during the 2011 holiday season. I liked the chimney pot so much I added a little holiday cheer to the ensemble.

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Funky Junk Interiors - Saturday Nite Special

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