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Archive for the ‘Reinventing/Recycling’ Category

Projects, Projects, Projects!

In Decorating with vintage and antiques, Furniture, Reinventing/Recycling on June 5, 2014 at 3:16 pm

As soon as the weather turns remotely warm here in Michigan I head for the outdoors.  I get so cooped up over our LONG winters. While hibernating, I dream of outdoor living with big fluffy pillows on wicker chairs and blooming flowers spilling out of their beds.
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This long overdue project sat in my garage all winter.  We sanded this old chair down (my son only lasted about ten minutes and left) and then I stained it white.  Love the white wash look.  I spray painted a normal plastic clay color pot and transformed a once boring color into vibrant purple.

I have worked on a good number of these type of outdoor projects already this season and can’t wait to share them with you.  I apologize for publishing and editing a ton of times.  I’ve never done it over my phone before!  Too many buttons to figure out!  I guess we better get our desktop computer fixed soon!

Happy warm months and good times ahead!

 

p.s.  As you hopefully know us by now – we would NEVER take a good piece of furniture and paint it or destroy it just for the sake of it.  This chair was found in a basement and had been sitting in water for many years.  We didn’t rip out fabulous caining or harm any heirlooms.  Unfortunately, the original owner disowned it long ago.  If you have any questions on what products I used feel free to write!

A Little Vintage Decor (ok, maybe alot)

In Collecting, Decorating with vintage and antiques, Radios, Reinventing/Recycling on March 21, 2014 at 11:15 am
A sneak peek on our family room wall

A sneak peek on our family room wall

I really should express my apologizes for being so absent this past year.  However, my life has been adventurous!  I feel bad for neglecting you all, but heck, I was having quite the fun with my family and my business.  I will my friends, make it up to you by posting some of my adventures and projects that kept us so busy for about a year. From sending my amazing son to Europe for three weeks (yes, I had to stay home), a train trip across the United States for a 90th family birthday party, running estate sales, and many, many restoration projects we were VERY busy! Phew, I’m tired already thinking of last year!  I’ll start with this little fun project.  Simply, because this was for our home, not a client. Yeah!

I acquired four crates from a client who no longer wanted them.  She had used them in the bottom of her closets for shoe storage.  I put them up for sale first in her estate sale. I had secretly hoped that I could acquire them if no one saw the potential in them as I did.  I’ll tell you what, I never dreamed that they would be on my wall 6 months later.  I stacked them on top of each other at the sale displaying lots of fun knick knacks.  I gave the imagination nowhere to wander other than to their own images of things they could use them for.  It was a no brainer for antique booth renters!  Alas, they were unpurchased and our client bestowed them upon us!  Woohoo!  I ironically used two at our antique booth and we anchored them onto the wall just like in this photo.  Shelves please! It wasn’t until like I said, 6 months later that I started having images of doing the same on our own wall at home.

We haven’t been in this home long.  Every single room including the basement has to be painted.  I like color, and for god sake, cream is not enough color for me.  Painting was another time-consuming event during 2013 and I’m still not done.  I got half of my vaulted angular family room ceiling painted as high as I could go.  In the photo it may look like that dreadful cream I was referring to, but believe me it’s NOT.  The designer from Sherman Williams did suggest that this room be lighter than the rest of the rooms and I love the choice of Windsor Greige.  My father had begun to take pity on us and came to save the day, finishing the painting with a VERY big ladder.  Alas!  My decorating ideas that I had been harboring could soar!  I first started with my father in-laws Air Force sketches of all the planes he rode in during his flight surgeon days.  Glorious!  They’ve been packed away for so many years and now we can enjoy them everyday and think of Dr. Jack.  Not to mention they match that propeller that I posted a way back that’s on the opposite wall.  I found a 1950’s classroom map of the Pacific Ocean at our Michigan State Surplus Center. That was a score at $30!  That left an empty space to the right.  I learned well from my mother.  One must fill it up! Hang something!  Her famous quote is “Shelves are the answer!” She says it with conviction.  Very Kramer like with her hands waving in the air.

Crates before amber shellac and after

Crates before amber shellac and after

A little history on these crates.  They are stamped Barden Bros.  Upon a little research I found that they were used to house apples from the Barden Brothers Orchards.  Girl scouts, church youth groups, etc. had the opportunity to sell crates of apples for fundraising dollars.  My client apparently had purchased many apples over the years and put those crates to good use! Of course when I went back to research the history again to link their webpage, I couldn’t find it anywhere.  I didn’t think I imagined this theory, but heck, that was over 6 months ago. Anyway, I decided to use amber shellac on the crates to give them some “umph”.  I am a big fan of Zinnser products by the way.  See the difference?  Wow factor in minutes.

My empty space to the right

My empty space to the right

My youngest son says that when he grows up he is going to still live with mom and Mike.  He plans to work in our shop downstairs and be a ‘builder’  like us.  God, I do love that child.  I put him to work learning from the best.  Mike had him drill the pilot holes then tap the anchors into the wall. (by the way – my husband is simply not allowed to hang anything in our home without me approving it. It is actually a rule.)

My precious little helper

My precious little helper

Taa Daa!

Taa Daa!

Every time something creative happens in my home I just feel like I’m floating amongst the clouds.  It truly pleases me so.  Mike promptly vacuumed up the dry wall dust (another lesson learned on his part).  Then he left.  There I stood.  Now what? We achieved the hard part but I was feeling the hard part was placing just the ‘right things’ on my new shelves.  You know I have hoards of stuff right?  I also allowed myself to have this pressure that I had to hurry and decorate it so I could take the completed picture so I could blog about it.  You bloggers out there know what I’m talking about?  Well guess what, that’s not my style.  Sometimes I know exactly what I want, sometimes I switch what I originally thought (that drives Mike crazy) sometimes I’m just waiting for the perfect antique to come my way.  In other words, I must be moved.  I realized that I was putting so much pressure on myself last year about blogging that I had to actually let it go for a while for me to want to do it again.  I love writing but I was making it have to happen instead of being moved.  Life was moving me in lots of directions last year.  I went with it.

I said to myself, “what if you wrote about what you have and let it go?”  I decided it was a grand idea.  I am going to show you what I have so far instead of my perfection.  I’m pretty content with my radios and the Zenith Rotor Wavemagnet.  I’ve wanted to display that antenna for a couple of years now.  What is going inside, not sure yet.  I was thinking a Super 8 movie projector but then we are getting risky with all the weight and size constraints.  We are also working on a shelf that my father made that will go above our sliding glass door, opposite this wall.  It will be very short because the height between the molding and the ceiling is only about 4-5 inches.  I plan on my vintage cameras there, add some old film canisters  So I didn’t want cameras in the crates and that’s where I go back and forth.  I will wait to see what calls to me.

Here is what I have so far. What do you think?CrateWall1

We love our vintage radios

We love our vintage radios

It’s in the trunk

In Collecting, Family Heirlooms, Inspirational, Reinventing/Recycling, Uncategorized on March 5, 2013 at 3:27 pm

trunks & cases

You always hope there is something inside a trunk when you open the lid.  Sometimes when lucky, there is a tray/insert inside and you get another chance at discovering something underneath.  One more moment of hope and anticipation.  Funny how our minds think that no one else had the same thoughts, like there was no one before us doing the very same thing.  However, that is exactly what we are looking for.  That someone before us that left something behind. I say ‘something’ because our minds are never too specific on what it has to be.  Of course the joke is always money, but truly we seek something that is more valuable.  Now, there’s the theory of GEO caching where all you truly do find is junk inside of a box.  That is different in a way because you are actively seeking the next station to find your treasure.  A trunk, now that’s a whole nother adventure on its own.  We stumble upon trunks. They feel mysterious, unpredictable. Tell us a story dear old smelly trunk.   Did it belong to the piano man?  “Sing us a song, your the piano man”  Did it make travels across the country by train or by ship?  “Ride Captain Ride, Upon Your Mystery Ship. On Your Way To A World That Others Might Have Missed”   Military – which war and where? Maybe it was a Lady’s trunk preserving precious moments from her childhood.  It doesn’t always have to be a treasure per say, just something that feels undiscovered or forgotten that you made alive again.  Alive once again.

Luck had it one day when we stumbled upon two estate sales.  Funny, I suppose you figured out we didn’t actually “stumble” upon them. Yes, we strategically planned our attack on getting from one to another in the correct amount of time AND on the last day which usually is half off the marked prices.  You see here, this is my mode of thinking.  Swoop in on the last day, don’t pay the high dollar, and clean up what others think to be worthless.  Yes mam, or sir, I DO make money doing that.  Admittedly, we do wonder what we missed at full price.  I always tell my husband to not think about the radios and clocks that had to of sold for “big money”.   Of course we could get a number, wait in line, elbow around all those dealers.  Nah, I prefer to take my time.  Feel the goods. Pick and choose.  Look for the story.  I haven’t been wrong yet, well maybe that wood children’s potty chair from World Mission Thrift Store.  (money went to a good cause!)   I am a calm and patient person.  (seriously)  I wait for what is meant to be, come to me.  “Come to Butthead” Mike is more like Beavus.  He’s not very patient, but kind.   Our luck gave us two amazing trunks and an adorable, CLEAN suitcase.  Even better, each had a treasure inside.  No kidding! So, my story continues.

Mrs.Lester Hill

Mrs. Lester Hill, also known as “Peggy Darling”, once owned this very trunk that now resides in my sunroom.

Trunk Display

Usually, a writer keeps you wanting more, waits till the end to give the best.  I’m starting with “Peggy Darling”  The initials on this trunk states, J M H in red paint. We know her name to be Peggy, based on a letter written to her by her husband that was found in the trunk. Hence, M for Margaret. H for Hill, obviously from the last name on the envelope and per her overseas husband’s letter.  J will remain a mystery.  Outside of this beloved trunk were several shipping labels via rail that stated destinations and declaring books as most of her content. Inside, oh you wait for it.  Recall that suspense of wondering what could be?  Let me back track.  For some strange reason, nor I, my husband, nor the estate sale employees ever opened the trunk.  They threw a price sticker on this trunk without caring what could be in it.  After all, it didn’t rattle when it was moved.  Nothing heavy of value, right?  Mike found it with other things and brought it up to me while I was already in line and said “what do you think, should we get it?”  (sometimes we do that when we think we’ve seen it all and make the commitment to be done. Then one of us looks around more, just in case) The price was right and we took it home.  Right on our front lawn as I decide to take pictures before cleaning them up, we investigate.  Curiosity takes the lead.  The story unfolds of Lester Hill and his wife, Margaret.  In 1945, Lester was stationed in Biarritz, France with the United States Army.  Mr. Hill worked at the Biarritz American University, Science Section, Mathematics Branch.  As stated in his letter to his wife he supposedly was “very, very lonesome”, he impressed the “beaucoup French women” with his “fluency in their language”.  He then goes on telling her that she needed to send the tobacco and chocolate bars that he had already asked for and that she wrote her letter S like the number 3 and that she better cut that out.  Let’s not forget about the tax bill of $8.10 that he reminded her twice to pay.  Men. Guess he better go to bed a little earlier than 3am after partying at the Officers Club with the French women.  (yes, he did tell her that).  Maybe she kept the letter for leverage later?  French Language guides, French newspaper clippings where men are frozen in time looking handsome in uniform, and military manuals filled the top tray of the trunk.  BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!  Upon lifting the tray, my husband discovered the rest of the story.  Mrs. Lester Hill’s wedding dress. All “wows” aside, there was the treasure.  Not just the dress, but the story.  Here were her beloveds.  We can tell the story not from the details, but from what was most cherished. Whether it was hardship or elation, here lies the beginning of her story.  From wedding (early part of the 1940’s), Lester’s job in New York as a professor, being shipped to France as a civilian to teach, and her letters that kept a relationship while apart.  The treasure.

Treasure in the trunk

Trunk Tresuare

The other two trunks are a bit of a let down compared to the first one, but none the less interesting.   It’s a good mystery here.  Just when I think I have it figured out, I find another clue.  My story really is a story based on SOME facts.  All I know is that once you get past the first trunk everything gets confusing and my story gets boring.  Honestly, somewhere between J. M. H, we go to J. H. M.  monogrammed on that lovely mustard suitcase.  Then there’s the military trunk  issued to Lieutenant Richard Marcus and then restamped upon promotion to Captain. The two trunks were at the same sale.  This apparently doesn’t HAVE to link them together as far as family relations.  There were return address labels that said Mrs. Richard Marcus. I guess saying that Peggy was a nickname based off her middle name could work.  J will remain a mystery.  Let’s call her Josephine.  For arguments sake, lets say that Peggy was called that by her father, Lester.  She then married Captain Richard. Fine, that works, but why in pray tell would a father talk to his daughter about French women and staying up till 3am with them, and “OH HOW I MISS YOU”.  Pay the darn tax bill daughter!  Hmm… We can create our own mystery story here.  Maybe “Peggy Darling” went and found herself a Captain instead of a civilian? The lovely mustard yellow suitcase in fantastic condition resides in my loft, suggesting travels yet taken. A simple note stuffed in the pocket written in pencil, “426 anniversary”.  Let’s let the stories create and travel to faraway lands.  Need a trunk?  I’ve got plenty

Marcus trunk

Living My ‘Country Living’ Magazine, Part 1

In Collecting, Reinventing/Recycling, Traveling & Antiques, Uncategorized on September 28, 2012 at 1:37 am

Sometimes a writer will say, “I should write about this”, head bobbing up and down and the ideas flow in that witty brain of theirs.  More often than not, I feel obliged to admit, the story never gets past that moment of inspiration.  Writers want to tell the world everything in the same amount of time that moments gets sucked up by families, day jobs and housework.  Good intentions we throw to the wolves as they eat our creative words.  This time, I really want to tell you the story of inspiration.  As many of you are aware, there is a fabulous magazine out there called Country Living.  Still going strong, if not stronger since its first publication in 1978 with Hearst Corporation.  Not only do they produce a publication chuck full of fun ideas and heart warming country stories, they host three fairs across the United States on a yearly basis.   My mother for the last few years has been nudging me to go with her to the Columbus, Ohio Country Living Fair held in September.  Finally, on its fifth year of fun, I jumped on the opportunity.  All the stars were aligned and our mini van drove down from Michigan to the south central part of Ohio as the leaves began to turn and my father grumbled about shopping. In fact, his line was “Tell me again, WHY, I am going to this thing?”  I assured him that it would knock his socks off.  He didn’t buy it and shook his head.  Well my friends, the Country Living Fair 2012 DID knock all of our socks off and here is my story that will not get lost in the file cabinets in my head.  My version from my eyes and my experience, just as promised.

Years ago I would have merely flipped through a ‘country’ type magazine.  I think I was afraid of cows and plastic ducks dressed in pinafores.  I’m also not a huge primitive fan.  I feel l do need to clarify that last part because I can feel some of my readers (including my mother saying, “Now wait a minute”).  Primitive meaning gingham cotton cut by pinking shears and tied in a bow around a rusty heart.  Sigh, even as I say this I am not completely being honest with myself.  My tastes have been changing you see.  Even as I go back and read what I just wrote I hear myself fighting to admit my tastes are turning ‘country’.  “I’m a lil’ bit country.  I’m a lil’ bit rock and roll.”   Yikes, I’m even singing crappy music!  I hit my forehead like Ricky Ricardo and say “EyeYiYiYiYi”  I don’t even know how to spell that, I’m so confused.  Deep breath Laurie Ann, deep breath.  Okay, I admit I like country decorating.  There I said it.  BUT, I like it MY WAY.  Here’s where Country Living Magazine comes into the picture.  Last year I casually flipped through one of their magazines waiting for my mother (we probably were going to go garage saleing or to a thrift store) and was blown away.  It was MY WAY on every page!  No ducks, no dark pages with loads of curtains covering bountiful light.  No crowding.  Light and airy pages filled with cool antiques and restoration stories that made you cheer for the owners, not envy them.  I declared, “I love this magazine!”   My mother says, “You can have it, I hate it.”  Double take, wha wha wha?  Here I thought mom and I would have this Thing. This magazine Thing that we loved together.  What can she mean she hated it?  We were going to have a “Thing”.  Nope, she hated it because it wasn’t primitive and dark.  I tried to explain that even Colonial Williamsburg has changed with the times.  But, she still was dying to go to that fair.

Our business took off on a daily basis and the love for antiques grew stronger everyday.  My desire to preserve history and tell it’s story turned into this blog.  I have always been surrounded by all of these traits, writing, history, respect of ancestry.  It’s as if my psyche gathered up all that I have learned from family, daily observations and years of studying and turned Forever Bound Art into the birthed child that I adore today.  The closer the Country Living Fair Columbus, Ohio came the more that I needed to go.  I had to see this magazine come to life.   Now, I am aware that a company does put on a large portion of this fair, but I knew deep down that the heart of the magazine would be there steering.  I just knew I had to see the love that is put into their magazines put into an event.  There was a need to be able to walk the pages.  I have to believe that another reason laid solely on needing to see that my business was real.  All that I have been working for was understood by others AND enjoyed by others.  I wanted that writers inspiration. Maybe even some validation?   I will jump forward for a moment and just say, I was granted far more than my needs could imagine.  Hence, me writing this blog entry and taking about 75 pictures.  (I want to publish them in a book sometime! Laurie’s Vintage eye on the world. omg, I think I just named a really cool book)   What I witnessed at this fair was more than crafts and antiques (and oh that glorious food!) but friendship, kinship, encouragement, support, understanding, passion, patience, drive, inspiration, creativity, talent and down right real emotion.  If I have ever needed validation in my life, it was in over abundance.  I have never met such beautiful people in one place in my entire life.  Therefore, never feeling so fulfilled and ready to run with any thought where my mind would take me.  I was happy to be me at the Country Living Fair.  I was proud of my career choice.  Seeing was believing, and I do believe that there are many people out there that want to preserve our history and trades from the past.  We CAN sew, we CAN cook, we CAN collect, we CAN sing, we CAN dance, we CAN honor, we CAN preserve, we CAN DREAM and be supported by like minded friends.  No foes here, not for what seemed to be millions of miles away.  It was better than Christmas.

Part two will follow telling the tale of all the lovely inspirational people that gathered at the Country Living Magazine Fair 2012.  As for this moment, I will leave you with this……

http://youtu.be/_AfXznngjGw?t=12s

p.s. I did look for a Ricky Ricardo sound bite and didn’t find one, and as I calmed down I realized it does have a spelling “AY YI YI YI YI” 🙂

Oil Funnel Reinvented

In Reinventing/Recycling on June 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm

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My proud picture of my oil funnel planter.  I found this funnel at a yard sale for 50 cents.  Mike thought it was gross and weird of me to want it.   He doesn’t question my artsy brain anymore!  From farm to the DeBruin’s house!  This Oil funnel could have originally been used in a diesel shop or on a farm for putting oil in engines.  I am leaning towards this one coming from a farm since I bought it in the country.  I love it and the flowers don’t seem to mind the old oil residue inside.

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