Highchair Tray to Shabby Chic Sign

While scouting around taking photos of abused farmland a couple of months ago I found this plastic highchair tray next to a truck highway.

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Tire marks all over it… and normally I don’t like working with plastic, but I did love the shape and thought it had sign potential. I just had to figure out a way to disguise the plastic aspect.

So I applied two coats of thick homemade chalk paint, which gave it a nice plaster kind of feeling.

hazel-sign-2 Then I tore up a scrap  of wallpaper I rescued from behind a paint and wallpaper store. I applied it with a generous coat Modge Podge (although not so generous around the edges).

Several of the strips were bent over the edge of the surface with the aim of creating the effect that the entire piece had once been covered.

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The sign is going to be for a little girl’s bedroom. I used my home computer to choose the font and size I want and printed it off. Then used artist’s tracing paper (carbon paper or graphite paper) to trace the lettering onto the sign.

Because some parts of the lettering are very narrow and I have rapidly aging eyes, I used a fine point Sharpie to fill in the letters.

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Then it was time to sand to further the aged & distressed look. Mostly I used a sanding block, but on the edges of the sign I used the dull edge of a butter knife – and selectively.

The sanding block was old and kinda grubby – which gave the paper edges a more convincing aged look.  Notice in some places I left the edges of the paper curled – again, to look more convincingly aged.

The lettering didn’t sand effectively- an important different between ink and  paint, I guess. Note to self.

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Rustic Engagement Sign

This wonderfully bashed-up trumpet is not new to this blog. And the door from a 200 year old Quebec cupboard is not new by any measure.

But they are new together, like my 58/63 year old friends who just got engaged.

They wanted to keep it quiet – it’s not the first time for either of them.

But I convinced them to have a little soiree to share their happy news and made this for the occasion.

And it all comes apart very easily (no chalk paint here – just regular latex that will scrub off fairly easily within a few days), so the pieces can live on to trumpet other occasions.

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Mailbox to Shop Sign

Remember the mailbox I added to the garden in 2015?

When a lovely woman opened a new antique store near here I planned a gift of the mailbox planter.

Just removed as much of the numbers as possible and applied (roughly – so it would fit the rest of the box) some homemade housepaint.

Printed off some wording, copied it onto the mailbox, used marking pens to fill in the lettering and added a fence picket as a directional arrow. Voila!

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Follow Your Hearts

followyourheartaOnce upon a time it was a wicker headboard. By the time I rescued it from next to a dumpster it had no legs – but loads of promise.

I thought it would make a nice piece of wedding décor so I gave it a couple of coats of white spray paint. Then I got a long bristled paint brush and a dish of homemade chalk paint and tried to get into all the grooves the spray paint couldn’t reach.

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I tried it over my bed. It kinda fit with my rustic country furniture.

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But in the end I went back to the original plan. I attached a picket that came from a gate my neighbours were hauling to the dump (after scrubbing and painting it, of course).

Then I applied some lettering to make it more welcoming. I could see it being used for a wedding or engagement party or really any event or facility where the guests might need a little direction.

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Beached Porch

What do you do with a driftwood plank? Make a nautical sign, of course!

And of course that naturally leads to redecorating the porch. Of course!

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As those of you of shared creative temperament will understand, sometimes inspiration hits at 2:00 a.m. when craft and stationery stores aren’t open.

I had some stencil letters from a community project but the spacing of the individual cards didn’t fit the wood, so I used chalk to trace the letters onto some scrap (black) paper in the recycle bin, cut the letters out and spaced them on the wood and then traced the letters once again.

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Then I used a paintbrush and homemade chalk paint to fill in the letters. To make those stand out against the pale blue  background paint and old dripped white oil paint, I used a Sharpie to trace the outline of each letter.

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Then I sanded the letters to give them a distressed look similar to the wood.

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Then I gave it a couple of coats of fast drying polyurethane.

It looked fine, but really was in want of some kind of embellishment. Which had to be free – or darn close to it.

The real fun came in when I spied a dog chew toy I had purchased from a bargain bin ($1.50 CDN – so about $1.00 US). All of a sudden I realized that it was a perfect nautical knot.

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I used all kinds of white paint remains that I had on hand (from craft paint to spray paint) to alter the texture and colour a bit. Then glued it to the sign using both my hot glue gun and E6000 (more weather proof).

Then I bashed it about a little to make it look aged similar to the wood.

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Then I pulled together some nautical-type items and got to playing.

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Confession: that fabulous LLBean beach bag doesn’t belong to me. A friend was walking by with it just as I was about to lift my camera.  It just works, doesn’t it!

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Canuck Junk

Getting ready for July 1st.  Polishing up my Canuck Pride.

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This is the antique window my uncle rescued for me from his friend and client, Herda.Graniteware Garden

I needed a Canada Day (July 1st for my American pals) porch greeting – and quick. So I just printed off the words, taped the pages in place on the back side of the window and then used black and red Sharpies to trace the lettering onto the window.

The Maple Leaf I drew by hand (obviously – lol).

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This antique doll comes from the East Coast of Canada. The clothing (including the sou’wester hat) is traditional fisherman attire. The red hair – well, our maritimes are heavily populated with the descendants of Irish immigrants.

 

 

Graniteware Garden

A few months ago I got a phone call from my antique auctioneer uncle. A friend of his was moving from a house to an apartment and wanted to consign some items to his auction. When he arrived at her house to discuss the consignment he saw a large pile of items destined for the dump.

He asked her if she would be willing to give the items away instead of sending them to the dump, then called me as soon as he got her approval.  That represents a bit of a shift for him. While I learned my love of primitive antiques from him, I think he frequently despairs that my appetites have gone a bit far.

But this load goes straight to the heart of why I created Adventures in Junking: reducing landfill contributions through creative reuse or repurpose.

I suspect my fellow junkers will see it as a great score!

The graniteware canning pot is full of smaller graniteware items, and these were the inspiration for a Graniteware Garden.

People who follow Adventures in Junking may remember these wicker chairs were a roadside rescue from last summer, as were the graniteware bundt pan and it’s support (which was the base of a coatstand). But the lovely little graniteware pot stuffed with spring blossoms is part of the haul from Herda.

The lid for the canning pot gets in on the act, repurposed as a welcome with the help of a piece of chalk.

The choice to use the canning pot in the garden instead of the kitchen is made for me.

My lovely antique Red Rose tin had already been rusted through when I rescued it. I had no reservations about using it as a cover or sleeve for plant pots, but its condition limits its function (and value!)

 

 

Even though my pots and tins are rusty and rustic, I want them to last.

So I put plant pots inside the decorative tins or pots and pull the plant pots out for watering and put them back after they have stopped dripping.

A lovely rusted antique milk pitcher houses a hosta

 

Hard to believe someone was going to throw away this lovely old bread basket

The brass mid-century ashtray was another curbside rescue.  I immediately saw a good prospective repurpose, but was surprised to find it. There are many  collectors – hobbyists and professionals – who drive up and down streets looking for scrap metal .. And brass brings a good price.  Recently at one of his antique auctions a brass bed that wasn’t very attractive sold for $50 to a fellow who turned around and sold it to a metal recycler for $150.

From an environmental perspective, seeing antique or vintage brass go to a metal recycler is certainly preferable than seeing it end up in a landfill, the antique lover in me worries that the strong price of scrap metal will greatly diminish the amount of metal antiques we leave future generations.

I am also a container gardener, and as I said, I immediately saw a repurpose in the ashtray. The little ashtray comes off for emptying. I took out  a metal bundt pan that I hung from a tree as a bird feeder last year and popped it onto the ashtray stand, then replaced the ashtray to hold the bundt pan in place.

I filled it with seed and added a metal jar lid filled with water

A little friend shares my love of critters.

 

A little seed in antique graniteware bowl which will hopefully keep the squirrels away from the feeder intended for birds.

 

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Valentine’s Junk Arrows

 Just two weeks until Valentine’s Day and department stores and home décor are doing a roaring business in  all things of any reddish hue or shaped like hearts and arrows.

But decorating for the annual celebration of love needn’t be costly.  In fact, your garage and attic (and the waste bin) probably have the raw materials for a unique and charming Valentine’s decorations.

Above is a photo of a handful of junk that I gathered to make a number of junky cupid’s arrows.

fireplace brush and rusty cookie cutter

A vintage and very worn fireplace brush topped a with a rusty antique cookie cutter are a good start.

Added to a painted grapevine wreath made seasonal with some cuttings of Heather from the garden and I have a Valentine’s wreath that is unlike any other.

An antique garden  edger topped with a wicker heart=shaped basket

A very old paintbrush dressed up with vintage pearls and a vintage pie server.

An antique potato masher and pie server adorn a kitchen sign.

an arrow from vintage yardstick, two vintage schoolroom rulers and an antique coathanger.

In 2015 I made this arrow from scrap wood, a rusty cookie cutter and antique forks

 

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Peace of Junk

It may be the biggest shopping season of the year, but the junk material repurposed into these Christmas vignettes didn’t cost a cent.

 

The salvaged wood that the Peace sign is made from was the bannister of the outside of a commercial building that was demolished.

The star at the top of the sign is made from a collection of antique schoolroom rulers: a couple of which I’ve had since childhood.

The candle stand is a vintage lawn sprinkler that I rescued from the top of a garbage pile at a local residential demolition site.

Candle Holder from Vintage Lawn Sprinkler

The greenery and candle holder is an antique colander that I have had for years but stopped cooking with because it was getting chipped.

antique colander

The lantern was a garden lantern, but I rescued it from a neighbour’s curb.

A bundle of wire sitting in my storage area for ages (origin unknown) inspired this simple wreath.

Candle holder from repurposed rusty lamp base

I just wrapped a scrap of burlap around the light socket, strung some pine cones into a wreath with lightweight wire and dropped it over the burlap, then hot glued the bottom of a red candle to hold it in place.

The wreath is simply some greenery and dried rosehips from the garden tied to a coil of rusty wire.

Simple but Christmassy

 

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Thanksgiving Sign from Repurposed Antique Mirror

  I bought this antique mirror from a neighbour’s moving sale. The frame is quite badly damaged. That was great. I would have no regrets about painting it.

 I wanted to make a sign, so I painted the whole thing, not just the frame. I used white homemade chalk paint. The Plaster of Paris helps the paint adhere well even to the glass. Two coats did the job.

  I used this paper on a birdhouse I refinished and loved the result. And since I have so much of it, I hauled it again.

 I tore off strips of the paper and modge podged them onto the sign, both glass and frame.

  I distressed the sign (did I mention that I lettered onto the glass the words Give thanks). I distressed the paper heavily using coarse sand paper.  Frequently sanding right through the paper, giving the look age would produce.

Thanksgiving Sign

Thanksgiving Sign from Antique Mirror

Thanksgiving Sign from Antique Mirror

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