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.


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


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!


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.


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.


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


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.


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.

Beach sign 3

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

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Beach sign 4

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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Altered Card Canada’s Parliament Building


I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to use this gold maple leaf lapel pin that I got at an estate sale.

An old friend I lost touch with – crazily because it is someone who was precious to me – just got a major career promotion within the Canadian government.

As AiJ readers may know, I love making altered cards. But I’m nervous about sending this one. Not everyone shares the same artistic taste.

My favorite feature is the piece of rust I used as a harvest moon behind the corrugated cardboard hand torn silhouette of the center block of Canada’s Parliament Buildings.

Would you feel really special if someone sent you a hunk of rust and fabric fragments?

Fingers crossed!


For the first time I also altered the envelope. The base of the card was fabric from a pillow sham that came with a Movie blanket (one I bought specifically for the sofa) and never had use for the pillow sham. I cut a piece of the edging and attached it to the envelope with a vintage button.

It can’t go in the mail like this: Canada Post sorting machines rip embellished envelopes. But I will be sending this expedited mail, so Canada Post will put it into one of their expedited mail cardboard envelopes.

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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Winter Wrap Tea Cosy

Since trashing my 12 year old tea cosy two years ago I have been improvising ways to keep my tea hot. If I have no company I’ll just wrap a tea towel around the pot.

While cleaning my closet recently I found an extra Winter Olympics toque and scarf. Just as I was thinking the date ruled out future gift giving the tea kettle whistled and an idea formed.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The scarf became a patriotic table runner.

 A couple of tidy snips on the toque seams and voila – from toque to tea cosy.

Can’t wait to have friends over to watch international winter sports competitions (or just an après ski high tea) and admire these fun, patriotic décor accessories.




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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Repurposed Lightbulb Christmas Ornaments

Just before last Christmas I read that 2 billion incandescent light bulbs are sold each year. While they are being phased out in some places in favour of compact fluorescent bulbs, it will take time and will still leave the world several billion new or used bulbs that could be repurposed rather than sent to already overflowing landfills.

  I had seen on Pinterest several postings of lightbulbs that had been emptied and repurposed as tiny terrariums. I didn’t fancy dealing with the potential sharp metal edges or easily broke glass, and Christmas was right around the corner. I inverted a cardboard egg carton and used it to hold inverted lightbulbs. I applied a minimum of two coats of gesso to each bulb, followed by a soft mint or creamy white paint.

 I snooped around on the internet and found several vintage Christmas images and printed them several to a sheet of paper, in a size that would fit onto a standard light bulb, which I applied using the gesso transfer method.

 I gathered scraps of fabric and bits and bobs of junk jewellery and vintage buttons, as well as lightweight wire that was perfect for winding around the screw part of the lightbulb and creating a loop for hanging. I used a hot glue gun to secure many of the embellishments. Incandescent lightbulbs are so light they don’t require a very strong glue.

 My friend Denise insisted I share this story. I was in that project stage where you get a little intoxicated with creativity and having run out of lightbulbs I was beginning to eye my neighbours’ lanterns and porch lights. Lo and behold, on my way to work on Wednesday (garbage day) one of my neighbours had filled their glass recycling (we are very into separating our recyclables in this region) all kinds of champagne and wine glasses – and lightbulbs. I was on my way to work and didn’t have time to run home for a bag. So I took the lightbulbs. “…in the eye of the beholder”, right?! I have giggled many times about what they must have thought if they had gone out to add to their garbage and seen someone had taken their burnt out lightbulbs but left the stemware.

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Cottage Garden Ivy Chair

I rescued this child’s wicker chair from the curb in front of a neighbour’s house. There was a hole in the wicker seat. That suited me just fine. The garden was calling. But it was dull and uninspiring as it was.

I’ve been playing with a distressed decoupage treatment recently. I’ve done a birdhouse and a Thanksgiving sign. I thought I would try it on the child’s chair.

Rather than widening the hole in the seat to accommodate a plant pot, I wanted to add a vintage spring form baking pan to echo the green in the paper.

I painted the chair with my homemade white chalkpaint, and then used modge podge to randomly apply torn strips of paper. Then I let it sit for at least ly.24 hours to let the modge podge dry completely. Then I used a scraper and coarse sandpaper to distress it heavily.

I picked a couple of patches of moss to further echo the green in the paper and the springform pan.

The finish project is destined for one of my guerilla gardening sites, and I want to make it as vandalism resistant as possible. To secure the bake pan t the chair seat, I inserted a chopstick into the bottom of the spring form pan, attached a doubled length of gardener’s wire, which was fed through one of the holes In the chair seat and secured by wrapping the remaining wire around a second chopstick.

I sprayed the entire chair and outside of the baking pan with exterior poly (3 coats). Then I filled the bake pan with good soil and added several lengths of ivy and a couple of white winter pansies.

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