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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Repurposed Barnwood Table

Last week I revealed my barnwood-top hairpin leg table over at Buffalo-Roam. I promised more details so here we go!

I placed at bid on this table at a Brown Button estate sale a while ago. I have a love/hate relationship with Brown Button. I love their stuff, but unlike other sales they know the value of everything! 😉 I guess you could call it good business… But I placed a bid on this table for just under half price hoping no one else would see the potential. I’ve since gotten to know some of the Brown Button people better (like Michael who has a son not too much older than my own) and I’d say the relationship is more love now. Seriously check out their sales any time you can! Anyway, here’s the table before.

Do you see the gold-flecked awfulness? Oh you need a better look?

I’m pretty sure someone out there loves it. But it’s not me. Of course the top had to go. But then I couldn’t decide between tile and wood to replace the top. Because while I liked this, I also liked this and this. Ultimately I decided the barnwood was more en vogue, not to mention free to me. 🙂

I wish I would have taken a before picture of the barnwood slat. Just imagine me hauling (ok let’s be honest, Grandpa loves helping his eldest grandchild) my 81-year-old grandpa out to his shed to find the sole remaining piece of barnwood in his collection. I’m sure Grandpa shakes his head at what a young-in like me takes a liking to, and he said he’s never had a picker stop by. I told him one day I’d be more bold and rummage through his shed with the caving-in floor. The very same shed where he pulled out his table saw and sliced the barnwood in half for me so it would fit in the trunk of my brother’s car.

Christmas Eve Eve I persuaded my father-in-law to help me (do it for me) cut the pieces down even further. We debated whether or not to do three equal-sized slats vs. staggering the widths, only to find out there wasn’t enough wood to do three equal pieces. Luckily I was on board with the staggered idea. We assessed the location of nail holes, knot holes, paint patches, etc. and I got to bring home a great Christmas present: wood cut for free. 🙂

I sanded down the rough edges, power washed the boards and used a bristle brush to remove any dirt leftover. Then I used spray poly to seal the deal.

Somehow my red kicks always seem to photobomb my pictures. And nevermind the leftover pink paint from a Christmas present project, or the fact that this picture was taken in January and the grass is still green in Kansas. Weirdo weather. But isn’t this wood beautiful?

I laid the wood on the hairpin leg base and actually ended up securing the boards together on the bottom with a metal brace. But now she looks like this.

I love every little imperfection, hole, nail mark, paint splotch and discoloration. Isn’t that what rustic is all about? I’ve also got pieces left over and I plan on using every scrap of that precious barnwood. More projects to come! The table will be up on Craigslist shortly. We’ll see how much I can squeeze out of it.

Stay tuned, on Thursday I’ll go over how I turned $2 shutters into message boards for my nieces for Christmas. Been waiting to share that one for a while! Happy hunting!

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Guest Post: Glass Insulator Pendant Lights

So you’ve all heard me mentioning my friend Amy lately. I found the claw feet for her powder room vanity in the new house she’s building with her beautiful family. She grew up with The Rock Star and she is literally one of the most beautiful people I know, inside and out. She has a flare for repurposing rustic things and a fabulous eye for the possibilities that lay in old wood beams and discarded materials. So, we’re swapping blogs today! You can find me over at her blog Buffalo Roam today unveiling a whole new project I’ve been working on. More details on that coming your way next month! Without further ado…

Hi, Grandma Great’s Treasures lovers! My name is Amy, and I blog over at Buffalo Roam. I’m thrilled that Erin was willing to swap blogs with me today, because I am a huge fan of hers. She has amazing taste, a great eye, and a real talent for giving vintage pieces new life. She’s got an Etsy shop you can find a link to right here on her blog if you want proof! She is one of the few bloggers I know in real life, and feel so lucky to have that privilege. She is one of the most genuine and sweet people I have ever known, and if you ever need a few words of encouragement, I highly suggest you get them from Erin!

My husband and I are currently in the process of building a home. When we decided to build, we knew we wanted something different, something that was “us”. We hoped to use as many reclaimed and reused items as possible, not because we’re all noble and green (though we try!), but just because we love the character that comes only from pieces with a history. We also wanted to DIY a few things to add our own fingerprint, and to save some money if possible. My husband, D, has been working on some lighting I’d like to share with you today.

Our kitchen is wired for six pendant lights to hang down between our island and the cabinets, in a sort of “L” shape. Lucky for us, D was an electrician in a former life and suggested making our own pendant lights out of some old glass insulators we got for a steal off Craigslist. My grandpa worked for the Santa Fe railroad, so I have a bit of a soft spot for these.

His first step was figuring out how to drill a hole through them without them shattering. I’m proud to report that he figured it out on the first try and we had no casualties. The trick was to put them in a bowl of water, end to be drilled down, then fill the insulator itself with water and drill through the middle.

We found these mini pendant kits at Menard’s for $8.

We went with a bronze finish, thinking that would look nice with both the clear and turquoise glass. The kits come with instructions, and are very simple and easy to wire. I might have even been able to figure it out on my own!

Find yourself a teeny little lightbulb with a flat bottom so the bulb itself doesn’t hang lower than the insulator. We got a 40 watt and were shocked by how much light it produced through the glass.

You may have noticed that it is plugged in to the wall with bare wires from the cord. Don’t be like us. Don’t try that at home. D is a trained professional, remember? Either that, or I just really wanted a picture of it lit up for this post since they won’t be installed in the new house for a while yet.

Total, we spent about $10 a piece for the glass insulators and the mini pendant kits. So $60 to light our whole kitchen. I’m so pleased with them! Not only because they turned out so well, but because each time I turn them on, I will see D’s fingerprint on our home.

Many thanks to Erin for having me today! I’ve loved being here, and if she’s not already in your reader, go on ahead and add her now. You can thank me later.

More Weekend Treasures

Cheers to getting back in the swing of hunting and gathering! The past two weekends have been great times picking. I really missed the adventure over the holidays and my heart is full again. 🙂

There is a reason I love Ethel’s Estate Sales more than most: The pricing. While most companies do half price Saturdays, which is awesome, I can’t compete with store owners and buyers who have more capital than I to snatch things up to sell. Sometimes the things I want are gone by Saturday. But Ethel’s sales are the same price for three days and the prices can’t be beat, as you’ll see. So here’s the loot…

From the left: Yellow/brown checkered curtains, two panels $4; blue/green polka dot dishes $3 for the set; white daisy syrup decanter $1; yellow Mikasa sugar bowl $1; small turquoise bowl $.50; orange/green chip/nut set $1.50; Hull planter $2; blue gravy boat/plate $1.50; and green flower Pyrex dish/lid $2.50.

I was so happy to find some cute ceramic pieces and the chip/nut set is so fabulously 1960s. I’ve also been venturing into vintage clothes lately and this sale had a ton of it all for $2/piece. Here are some of the items I brought home that I hope to use in a photo shoot for the magazine that’s currently in my head.


I also snagged this sweet barrel lampshade for $2!

You can find new treasures on my Etsy soon. Follow the link on the right. I’ll be back this weekend with a project or two that have been waiting in the wings. Thursday I’ll be guest posting over at Buffalo Roam and Amy will be here! Very excited. Happy hunting!

Weekend Treasures

Remember the table-maker’s son and what a deal he gave me on the cast iron claw feet? I told you I also managed to get one more deal out of him, or rather his mom. She sold me this lovely mid-century bar set for a mere $3. Isn’t it lovely?

Look at the detail! 🙂

After the Grandview sale we moseyed on over to Lee’s Summit for an HSH sale. It was packed and The Rock Star felt a bit like vultures on a carcass. Sometimes sales are like that. I managed to get a few great things, at half price even!

Who doesn’t love rainbow pot holders? ($1)

Brown/orange/yellow table runner ($2)

Four patchwork placemats ($2)

Set of eight groovy coasters ($1)

This fabulous vintage NIB tea for one set ($4)

Hand decorated wall art by Pati…really she’s famous…it’s probably worth around $15-$18. ($1.50)

And last but not least these fancy mod plasticware pieces by Ingrid of Chicago from the 1970s.

So that’s about it! Stay tuned for more finds next week as well as a project I’ve been working on and a blog swap on Thursday! And these items should be up for sale this weekend in my Etsy store. Follow the link on the right!

Happy hunting!

My first assigned picking adventure

A couple of months ago my friend Amy at Buffalo Roam asked me to keep an eye out for some claw feet for this. She’s putting it in her powder room in her new home that she and her husband are building out of recycled materials and such. It’s going to be amazing, but I never thought I’d be able to find decent claw feet locally for a good price. Then I ended up in Grandview, MO, at a sale I found on Craigslist. We were on our way to Lee’s Summit, MO, anyway, so we thought we’d check this sale out, too. Boy I’m glad I did! The man’s father was a table maker and he had these amazing cast iron claw feet in a box that I wouldn’t have noticed except a lady was haggling with him for them. She gave up because she didn’t know what she’d do with them. Of course I knew exactly what to do with them. They were meant for Amy.

I love the detail.

And yes, Napoleon, it does have large talons.

I paid $10 each for them (there Amy, now you know how much profit I gained lol), which allowed me to offer a fair price to Amy…and she even bumped it up $5 for gas. I love that lady. So I guess it’s safe to say my first assigned picking adventure was a success. It helps that I knew my client fairly well and her style. Check out her house progress here. You’ll be in awe.

I’ll be back Thursday with my other finds from last weekend’s adventure. I managed to squeeze one more deal out of the table maker’s son. Details coming soon. 😉

P.S. Do you have something you just can’t find or don’t have the time to find? Tell me about it below and I’ll keep it on my lookout list! Also check out my Etsy page on the right for vintage treasures already for sale.

Rustic DIY Winter Wreath

Last fall with inspiration from friends, I tackled my first seasonal wreath. This time around I fell in love with this rustic winter wreath.

I’ll admit this project has taken me a tad longer than usual, but it’s Jan. 11 in Kansas and it’s still 50 degrees outside. It’s been around 60 degrees for a couple of weeks. It’s so warm I just couldn’t get myself in the winter mood, even with Christmas passing. But, the warm weather has been a blessing in the painting outside department, which helped a lot of projects move along.

So here she is, my lovely winter wreath!

My son says “SUN!” whenever he sees this wreath. Zooming out, I’m sure I need to lower it, but all be darned if I can find the motivation…

This wreath was a no-brainer as we had quite a few fall wind storms and a lot of fallen branches. I just snapped off small straight sticks of varying widths and snipped them at random lengths. Then I divided them evenly and sprayed them with white, aqua and turquoise spray paint. I then snagged a cheap foam circle from Hobby Lobby and hot glued the sticks around it.

After the first layer, it was obvious I needed a second to further conceal the foam ring. So out to the yard for more sticks, more paint, more glue. Thank goodness for the warm weather! This time I cut the sticks shorter. The hedge trimmer worked well for this purpose.

So there she is. Hope you like her. She adds some color to the dull winter I’m sure has to be coming around the corner, right? But she still has that rustic winter feel I was going for and will take us right in to spring without a hitch.

Post links to your winter decor projects, I’d love to see them!

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Holiday Break Finds

I love my Christmas break. I save up some vacation days so I can take at least a week off around Christmas. My mom visits from Phoenix and I always have a million crafty gift things to finish up and goodies to bake. So all my time lately has been spent playing games with family, sharing gifts and talking the days away. I love it. I love my family!

But I did manage to pick up a few things in the past few weeks. My friend Kari from Foreclosure 2 Fabulous was in town and squeezed in some time to see me! I haven’t seen this girl since high school and miraculously that’s about 11.5 years ago. We reconnected over our love of vintage things, but she lives on the East Coast so I’m amazed that we got to see each other at all. I love people who make time for others. It’s so special. She’s also a pediatric psychologist and I love that. In short, she’s amazing. We had a grand time touring a couple of antique stores (one of which was utterly confusing and entirely too 1980s) and a random vintage estate sale that was so awesome to experience together. I rarely have friends along when I get out to sales and it was so great to bounce ideas off one another and laugh together at the ridiculous things you find at estate sales. I think I said “That’s fancy” about a million times; it’s becoming my catch phrase.

Kari also stopped by to take home her precious gift that I detailed here.

From the minute I saw this piece at a garage sale, I knew it was meant for her. And she was ecstatic to haul it home on the plane when it was too darn expensive to mail to her. Kari loves the atomic age and I was so glad I found this piece for her!

Now, onto a few other finds. I came across a baking sheet covered with some sort of contact paper. I have no idea how old it is, but it’s very mid-century fabulous. ($2.50)

I also found this Hull flower pot. Love the colors. ($3.25)

I picked up some things I don’t usually go for at a Brown Button Estate Sale; perhaps I’m getting adventurous at 30. I’ve been doing this almost a year now. First, some vintage stencils, which I adore ($6).

Next, a couple of cool old keys ($2.75):

Three handmade pot holders ($.75):

A small silver jewelry box ($2):

And four vintage dress patterns. LOVE! ($8.50)

Finally, inspired by some highly creative crafty crafting by my friend Megan at Homemade Ginger, I’ve been on the lookout for some vintage sheets I can cut up. I can’t remember how much I paid for the full sheet, but the pillow cases I got for $.50. Excited to be crafty with them!

So that’s the update for now. I feel like I’ve gotten away from the treasures side of this blog, so I’m getting back in the swing. Coming up this month is a house tour (yes, you get to see all the treasures I find too precious to sell!), a tutorial on how to turn shutters into message boards, repurposing barn wood, and more! I’m very excited about this year!

Happy hunting!

P.S. You can find some of these treasures for sale on my Etsy…see the link on the right!