We are renovating an old farmhouse. There is a lot of very cool stuff ending up in the dumpster. So, yeah. I’m the crazy lady dumpster diving in her own dumpster to salvage cool things. I also needed a way to display a new yarn I’m designing with AND I was home alone with the workshop all to myself. So I made a Primitive Trencher. This is the first of several that ended up happening…
There is nothing about this Prim Whale Pull Toy that I don’t love. All the little bits and pieces that have become its creation DNA have their own story. I discovered the wool at a local fiber studio located in a one room school house that made me green with envy. The button that became the most perfect all seeing eye has been in my stash for years. I was always certain that one fine day this one lonely button would find its purpose, and it certainly finally did. The wheels are made from antique spools. I especially always love a project that Dave and I work on together and we had great fun putting our heads together to figure mechanics, design, and materials. We rummaged through our growing debris pile as we made repairs to our old farmhouse to salvage the perfect rustic wood to give form and function.
The Vintage Bazaar is in a mere two weeks, we’ve had family graduations up the wazoo, special orders, commissions, etc., etc. We’ve been delightfully busy. Today I’ve hooked, picked up a Craigslist find, shopped for fabric, and am now tea staying the almost perfect fabric I found to upholster the magnificent bench that Dave’s been building from an antique bed frame. And the day is still young…
As I was saying—-For the record, my husband is crazy. But it is the best kind of crazy you could ever hope for. At the moment, he is intent on saving us from being washed away in some very heavy rains. Noah doesn’t need to be called in for a consult by any means, but it is charming to see his sweet intensity to divert rain and gutter run-off as if Satan himself had come calling. It is late, dark and (obviously) raining. I will prep warm clothing, get dinner to the brink of serving, and ready a hardy hug. Tomorrow will hopefully be drier and his attentions will once again be directed to the true craft at which he excels: turning old salvaged discards into useful and beautiful treasures.
Or it could be a kitchen island, too. Frankly, we brought it up to my studio for the photo shoot, and I want to put it to work as a storage master. It is tempting me with its handiness.
We salvaged this antique oak bureau from the basement of a candy making workshop. Dave thought I was daft, but I think he figured we’d at least get some kindling out of it. Good guy that he is, he humored me as my vision for the piece evolved. He even did all the work. Stripping off the finish, we found the warm patinaed hues of solid oak. Pieces of drawers that were too far gone to be saved were used to create open shelves instead. Wine, baskets of kitchen tools, fabric could all be stored beautifully. In my intitail vision of this piece as a mobile bar cart, the top functional drawer would be used for the barware, but you could put a rolling pin it, too, if you wanted. Meauring 39″ w x 19″ deep x 36.5″ tall, it is sure to find the perfect spot in someone’s home. $475.
The great thing about having a barn is that you have a place to store your stash of salvaged and flea market goods. The bad part about having a barn is that you have a place to store your stash of salvaged and flea market goods. And even with a small barn like ours, things accumulate. A lot.
When our barn is brimming, or just when we feel like visiting old finds, we take a stroll through our collection to see what’s what. When things go well, we leave with arms and heads full of fodder and ideas. On a less successful venture, we leave with bowed shaking heads asking what are we going to do with all this hoarded stuff. We are turning into our parents…
Salvation comes in many forms, and for us on this one day of touring, we left with armloads of balusters with beautiful faded and chippy paint. There are a couple of things in the works with these, but the first to emerge from my husband’s workshop was a nifty little footstool. I knew the compact proportions were going to make it the perfect foot prop for a guitar player or quilter looking to balance her frame.
My turn to add my touch to a piece we are working on together is always a bit daunting. I never want to screw up anything my guy has already done, so I agonize over fabric choices. But I’m very happy with this one: a worn but sturdy little remnant of an antique oriental rug. So, our work here is done.
As you know, I’ve been having a great time with all the critters I’ve been making. While I frequently know what I want to make and seek out the appropriate materials, sometimes the materials talk to me instead. In fact, they can get rather bossy, really. That is exactly what happened in the case of the Big Pig.
I suppose I should be polite and tactfully refer to this guy as the Aran Cabled Pig, but he is big, so I’m gonna go with it. He is a large, cuddly, wonderful guy that shows off some neat knitterly stitching beautifully. When I found the sweater that I made Big Pig out of I knew it was meant for greatness, just based on the scale of the cables. This one was going to be larger than my usual Sweet Critter’s life. I went Super Size.
At the end of the day I always love breathing new life into discarded garments, architectural salvage, the Free listings on Craiglsist, but it is always more rewarding when you end up with a blushing jovial friend in the end to show for it.
A few years back my husband found these amazing vintage wallpaper rulers. Of course, he snapped them up even though we had absolutely no idea what we would do with them. They languished a bit. We’d dust them off from time to time. They’d go back in the corner. And then I was decorating my new office. I knew they would look perfect. And as it turns out they are, in more ways than one. That nifty little metal cutting edge turns these beautiful salvaged pieces into an utterly fabulous and tremendously useful magnet board.
Go forth. Salvage and Prosper.