Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tattered & Frayed - Serving Under the Banner of Freedom

A couple of years ago, when my son was still in the Marine Corps, I flew a flag at my house that was kept up during the duration of the time his unit was in Afghanistan. He had not deployed that go round due to an injury, but I was in constant contact with other parents of those who were serving with his battalion.

As Old Glory flew over my house all those months while the men were deployed, it became tattered, faded and worn. Although I know we are not supposed to fly a flag in that condition, it was an especially symbolic and sentimental flag to me and it was my constant reminder to pray for these men each day. I wanted that flag to fly until they returned. Every time I went out my front door or came back in and had to flip the flag back around the pole as it got twisted in the breeze, I would pray for the Marines of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines.

When the fourth of July rolled around, I felt compelled to send out a 4th of July message to my family and close friends, as well as many of the families of the 2/2 Marines with whom I kept in touch. The message was a reminder of the sacrifices made on our behalf by these men, and the freedoms that we as a nation, and as individuals, are blessed with because of their service. 

Each card was a variation of the same thought, using patriotic song verses and strips of the tattered flag that had flown during the deployment. A crystal was placed at the top of the flame on the Statue of Liberty image to symbolize freedom's holy light.

Here's what I said in some form or another on each card. (Please forgive the horrible handwriting. I made 25 or so of these cards, which were time-intensive to create. On some, the note was personalized and even longer, so I really didn't even bother trying too hard on my handwriting.)

I'm still not exactly sure that my disposal of the flag would literally be considered proper or dignified, but all who received it in the spirit in which it was presented to them seemed grateful for and accepting of my method, and appreciative of the significance that accompanied it.

Below are a few variations of the fronts and insides:

I have since made other America themed cards and tags. Below are a few.

The 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines Flag card was probably among my favorite card projects I've done because of the history and significance behind the design. Many of those within the Corps to whom it was sent planned to keep it with their other Marine Corps mementos. It was also among the most time consuming cards I've done. Of course, that does seem to be the way I roll.

More to come about FREEDOM leading up to and on Independence Day.

God Bless America...

I'll be sharing this with:

Creative Things Thursday @ The Vintage Farmhouse
Delightfully Inspiring Thursday @ Delightful Order

Wednesdays Adorned From Above @ Adorned From Above

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Junk Stalker

That's me... I admit it. I am a stalker of old junk, discards and rejects. Sometimes it's warranted, even before the stuff makes its way to a trash pile. 

This was one of those occasions.

Exhibit A - What... you wouldn't have stalked this?

Ain't it a beaut? I saw it amongst a bunch of junk up against the side of a house I pass each day going in and out of my neighborhood. I thought to myself [with a certain little light igniting inside], why is that stuff outside and sitting up against the wall? [excitement building] Are they moving? [wonder in my eyes] or could it be... [gleefully rubbing my hands together...] "did they just clean out the garage or the house?" [heart beating quickly] Because you know what that means, right? That stuff was likely going to the road! Yes! 

My eyes went wide at the thought of it. It wasn't yet bulk trash day and I figured just maybe they'd done some work but couldn't put the stuff out for a couple of days. I noticed the junk because of "Exhibit A" there in the pile, silently trying to get my attention and begging me to look beyond the grime, that embarrassing topper and the surrounding company - and I saw the potential there beneath it.

Aside from the fact that it looks like a little cart with some sort of awkward plank attached to the top, I thought that if for nothing else, I might salvage that little ladder part. One could always use a little ladder, right? So I tucked the sight of this into my storehouse of salvage memories (which is thankfully far more secure than a lot of my other memories - except the childhood ones, of course - but that's a story for another day) and I drove on and waited for trash day, craning my neck each time I drove by to make sure the pile was still intact, breathing a little sigh of relief each time it was. I had this fear that another junk stalker might snag it first. 

Now you know I'm delusional, right?

On trash day's eve I got my son, who was home for a visit, to go on a junk adventure with me to see if the people had put the pile of junk to the road. He surprised me and gladly obliged. He had been interested in the stories of my finds and I think he was curious about actually going out and really getting something from someone's trash. 

Sure enough, I called it! This little beauty was lying there half buried among the rest of the unwanted items, which included a bunch of huge mirrors that I ended up having to leave behind due to space considerations. However, I got a bonus I hadn't seen when everything was waiting in the side yard pre-trash day pile.

The base was broken, but so what...

...look at that color and those cool rusty hooks!

And so this turquoise gem came home with me as well. The best part of our junk adventure was having Cael help me with the somewhat embarrassing (the homeowner came out while we were dissecting her trash.) and dirty work of scouring the pile and getting the stuff in the car! 

It's always more fun and less embarrassing to excavate with a junk buddy.
Once I got it home, the plywood was removed (it had been screwed into the handles, leaving holes -which I never filled - typical). I got to cleaning the cart, and wow, was it filthy.

It makes me feel good to see the half-clean side against the still dirty side and to document the work that went into my finds. Unfortunately, cleaning wasn't enough for this. It needed to be refinished or painted. At the time, my go-to paint was a very dark brown. 

So it got a few coats of that and looked pretty spiffy, all in all, like a dark wood. Like a proper little cart.
My vision was to have casters on the legs and make it a rolling cart. The holes are already there at the bottom of the legs, but I was never able to find the kind of wheels I wanted with a small enough prong to fit. So, until I come across some, my little "cart" remains immobile.

Here's how it looked during the first stage of it's new life at my house.  But with all the aqua painting going on, the brown got a little dejected. It had begun to feel like an outcast again, even here in its new home.

Yes, life and aqua paint got in the way,
 and this tray table once again took on a new life and a new colorful outlook.

As is often the case when painting things like this with legs (which includes chairs), I had to paint it a few times to find the color that looked right. On this one, I ended up finally using the last of the aqua mix I created for the tables on the frame and legs and one of my other aqua colors on the tray area, just for a little interest. 

I considered painting a lighter aqua design over the paint on the tray section, but these decisions take time. Much time. I'm no artist, so I would have to come across just the right design and work up the nerve to mess with it. I'm in no hurry, and I kinda like it like it as is too.

Turns out the aqua room is even more aqua-filled than pictures previously let on.

And do you notice anything else? 

I removed the ladder-shelf-thingamajig. Don't the legs looks long and graceful now? I thought the ladder-shelf looked odd attached, so it has been removed and painted its first obligatory wrong color of paint. It will eventually be repainted (probably a bunch of times before I get it right) and who knows what kind of a life it will be living in the near future. 

And, no, I didn't fill in the holes where the ladder thingy had been attached either. I know. I need to work on that.

There you have it. The result of junk-stalking the neighbors trash. 

It is a nice addition that looks meant for my house, don't you think? Just wait 'til it gets a set of wheels!

So tell me...have you ever stalked the junk before it got to the trash pile?
I'll be at:
Knick of Time Tuesday @ Knick of Time
Be Inspired @ Elizabeth & Co.
Craft & Tell @ Cherished Bliss
Show Me What You've Got @ Our Delightful Home
Metamorphosis Monday @ BNOTP
Motivate Me Monday @ Keeping It Simple
Craft-O-Maniac Monday @ Craft-O-Maniac
The More The Merrier @ DIYHSH
Manic Monday @ Serendipity And Spice
Open House Sunday @ Mod Vintage Life
Mop it Up Monday @ ISBMTF
Nifty Thrifty Sunday @ Nifty Thrifty Things
Sunday Show Off @ Twigg Studios
Say G' Day @ Natasha in Oz
Saturday Nite Special @ Funky Junk Interiors
Frugalicious Friday @ Finding Fabulous
Get Schooled Saturday @ Too Much Time
Show & Tell Saturday @ Be Different Act Normal
Simple & Sweet Fridays @ Rooted in Thyme
Furniture Feature Friday @ Miss Mustard Seed
What Have You Redone @ Redoux

Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage
Inspiration Friday @ At The Picket Fence
Fridays Unfolded @ Stuff & Nonsense
Vintage Inspiration @ Common Ground
Treasure Hunt Thursday @ FMFPTY
Live Laugh @ Live Laugh Rowe
Share Your Cup Thursday @ Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson
Creative Things Thursday @ The Vintage Farmhouse
Time Travel Thursday @ The Brambleberry Cottage
Open House Party @ No Minimalist Here
Wednesdays Adorned From Above @ Adorned From Above
What's It Wednesday @ Ivy & Elephants
Terrific Tuesdays @ Adventures of a DIY Mom
All Star Block Party @ New House New Home New Life
Primp Your Stuff Wednesday @ Primp
Your Whims Wednesday @ My Girlish Whims
Share The Love @ Very Merry Vintage Style
Share It @ The Winthrop Chronicles
Wow Us Wednesday @ Savvy Southern Style

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Water-Colored World

After hauling out the white wicker desk and chair from Casey's room yesterday, she decided it was time to clean up (Hallelujah! Will wonders never cease?) and rearrange her room.

We ended up bringing the piano bench in from my room, and we placed it under her window, using her blue blanket as a seat cushion, which created a sweet little window seat for her.

Her window has one of my favorite views in the house. So we decided to highlight it. Maybe it will get her to open the curtains more often. Ever since we had a break-in (a day when the curtains happened to get left open while I was gone to the store), she has left them closed continually. 

Last night, after we reworked Casey's room, and while she was at work, the rains came. They didn't let up for so long that I began to feel like it had been raining forever and was going to continue on into eternity. All well and good if you haven't been planning a garage sale in the morning. I began to let rainy thoughts hang over my head as I contemplated all the trouble the rain would hold for our morning plans.

After an hour and a half or so, (going on 40 days and 40 nights in my mind) I decided to get up and go have a look at it. After all, I couldn't change it, so why not go enjoy it? There was a wonder playing out, out there beyond the windows where I've been known to stand and admire the sweet joys of my backyard view. Why miss such wonder when it's right there in full view through the windowpane?
Through rain-spattered glass, falling streams of water and ensuing darkness, the backyard and patio took on a dreamy quality.

Gradually, I shifted camera focus...

...and as my eye and the camera lens honed in on the window rather than the world outside... the scene transformed into a watercolor world.
With the raindrops highlighted... (along with an errant blob of paint I never noticed until now)...

...the patio and yard took on an artistic ambiance.

The ladder was stoically accepting a rainwash, which left it with a glossy, drippy finish. Beads of water reflected in the patio lights created opaque droplets that reminded me of a mobile made of capiz shells. The world was awash in the blur of quickly falling rain, and the flowers across the way were undaunted by the darkness or the storm.
There was an equally intriguing sight to behold at the kitchen window. Yellow orchid blooms were on display under the lights, playing it up for all it was worth, wearing well the sparkling gems of glittering evening raindrops.

As one drop gave way to the next, the liquid beads of light kept my eyes dancing.

Today, an overcast sky accented the harvest of color which all that rain has etched into my garden goodies.

I can't get over these dahlias! Their vibrant color and beautiful blooms are a big 'wow!' that's accenting the back patio with Summer color galore.

Thankfully, our garage sale ended up rain-free (despite my worries and the weather man's overzealous forecast) and went off without a hitch. I didn't get rich (thanks for the well wishes though, Karen) but we had fun (and donuts!). Despite the fact that the big stuff didn't sell, I made close to 60 bucks and cleared out a lot of little junk. Woo hoo! That's $60 I didn't have yesterday. I'll take it.

So let it rain...because the garage sale is over, and rain now means green grass and pretty blooms later... and maybe a few more gazing moments whereby God wow's me with the ever-amazing world he created. A world that sometimes comes framed by an everyday watery window.

I'll be visiting these parties:

Friday, June 22, 2012

High Fives & Double Fist Pumps

I was giving myself internal high fives even as passers-by raised eyebrows and scrunched up their noses while waiting for me to cross the road with old aqua cabinet parts, mirrors and other sundry treasure.
Once home and safely behind closed doors, double fist pumps would have been noted by any who were awake and interested in my morning's adventures. None were. My silent exclamation over my stellar junk haul went undetected. I had loaded up these cabinet doors and drawers for the knobs, if nothing else. I loved the cabinet color and saw some other potential uses that might come of them.
Sweet Salvage!

Ottoman on wheels!

No, I wasn't out garage sale hunting or thrift store shopping. It was bulk trash day. We are having a garage sale on Saturday at my friend's house and I thought I'd run out and see if I could nab some things from the neighborhood trash to turn right around and sell. It was worth a try. Each week in my neighborhood, treasures are sitting curbside for those willing to stop and pick them up.

Trouble is, when I go looking, my eyes hone in on things that I would consider as having potential in my world. So then what do you suppose happens when I get home? Do I leave them in the car to take to the garage sale?
Of course not. I pull it all out and spread it out in the front yard, clean it up and foof around with it a bit to see if it would possibly fit in around here somewhere. If not now, I might need it sometime in the "future".

So while I was out early yesterday morning, I saw plenty. I sadly had to pass on a number of larger things because of lack of room in the back seat of my car. I thought of Distressed Donna's wise insistence that I get a truck. I really could have hauled so much home if I'd had one, but thank goodness I didn't. It took half the day to clean up and dismantle the few things I gathered and gleaned "for the garage sale", just in case and "on the off-chance" I decided to keep them. It also took plenty of time to haul it all from room to room to see if I could work any of it in to my decor, even eventually after some tweaking.

This color is called 7199 Briggs Seagreen. (So it says on the backs of the pieces with bare wood.) Do I need more aqua in my life? Well...

Certainly I would think of something to do with them. Right? I should probably keep them, shouldn't I? There are three cabinet doors, 2 drawers and a dummy front with no knobs, plus some random pieces that were attached. The cabinet doors weigh about 5  lbs (or slightly more) each. You think I'm exaggerating. Don't doubt me. In an attempt at verification of that weight, I did go and hold a 5 lb bag of sugar and then the cabinet door. The door felt heavier. Does this really matter, you ask?

Well, if I'm going to hang them on the walls in some fashion with other items hanging off of them, were I to go that route, the weight just might matter.

 Now, this thing weighs a ton. It's mounted on wood. It's 3'x 2 1/2'. I liked that it was slightly curved at the top and had distressed edges.
I hauled home two mirrors like this, one had a chrome knob still attached in one corner.

 Then there was this beauty. Sturdy, and quality-built.
It must have been well-loved and used over the years. The leather was torn and taped.

If nothing else, I thought I could salvage the legs and the casters. You know how I feel about casters!
Did I stop and call it a day? Why, no. No I didn't. I removed all the hinges from the doors and tore apart the ottoman to get to the heart of it, just to see if it cried out to be kept and remade. I measured the leather pieces that I took off in case I decide to recover it and wrote the measurements on the sides of the ottoman.
It was topped with some great old batting which I've decided to save because it's looks likely that it will be restored as an ottoman with a new/old look, since it's such a well-built piece.
Thanks, Lynn!

Meanwhile, my sweet and wonderful friend Lynn was over today, and she was kind enough to help us haul some of our garage sale stuff in her truck, Big Blue, sacrificing her back in the process, no doubt.

Tomorrow morning we garage sale (or float away in the flood waters - there's a tropical storm threatening and lots of rain expected.) 

I'll be the one sloshing around in the raspberry red rain boots begging people to "take my junk, PLEASE!" It'll be a miracle if I make any money. I'm not known for my salesmanship. Last garage sale I was begging this couple to take a shelf for free even though they offered to pay for it. I know... go figure.

I am happy to say that the large frame and all three mirrors, even the big curved one, are on their way to be placed into the garage sale.

Wish me luck and tell me if you have any ideas for my Briggs Seagreen cabinet doors and drawers. 

I was thinking these doors and drawer fronts might be cool on the wall going in different directions with things hung from the knobs (perhaps attaching other knobs, hooks etc. to them, as well.) Another idea was to use chalkboard paint on the middle of them. A piece of chalk could be tied to a ribbon or piece of twine and hung from the knob so its always handy. That's about all I've got at the moment.

There's copper color showing through on the chippy knobs!

Any ideas, you all? I'd really like to do more than just keep the knobs. I'd hate to have to get rid of the aqua goodness if there's a great idea out there to make the most of the doors and drawers as well.

Put your thinking caps on and please let me know what you think!  

PS: Today I found a cool basket "for the garage sale" in someone's trash pile, but I got home and it looks great with my fire wood in it. I think I'm keeping it. 

I know... someone help me, please!

I'll be sharing this at: