Monday, April 29, 2013

Auction finds

It's been busy around here the past week, & this week looks to be busier yet. I spent last Monday & Tuesday in the woods. Me & the Weedeater vs. Multiflora Rose. I won, but with a bit of a battle scar. Poison Ivy. So far just a spot or two. Hopefully it won't spread.

It was a busy week in the shop, and I was excited to get some old porch posts from a customer:

Another new item in the shop is the 4 old oak chairs that used to be Jessica's:
Two have already sold, which means of course that as of right now, there are still 2 left.
Continuing in the chair department, I also put these out last week:
One of these has already sold, and I may get more of these in this week.
I also put lots of smalls out on the floor from an auction we went to a couple weeks ago. Last Saturday, we decided to close the store and go south to Reno, OH. An auction was being held there to sell off the estate of a blacksmith/farrier/collector. I felt like crying when I was talking to one of the auctioneers. The auction was held on the farm, and the auctioneer told me that the man was over in the house, completely unaware of what was happening outside. He has Alzheimer's, and would be devastated if he knew his belongings were being sold.
You might ask, didn't his family want any of it? Believe me when I say, if he has kids, (I don't know), they could have each taken enough to fill their houses, and there still would have been enough to sell. A huge collection. The man had been following the auction circuit for 30+ years, and must have bought at every one he attended. Antiques hoarding.
Old insulators. They said there were 5000 of them! They sold them by the box, and most sold for $10 a box. A real bargain. But that was the only bargain of the day - prices were high!
George had hoped to buy several blacksmith tools. There were lots to bid on. The man had as many blacksmith tools as he did insulators, and then some. But they sold sky high.
It was a 2 ring auction: George and Kevin stayed with the blacksmith ring, while Katie and I stayed with the miscellaneous ring:
There was a little bit of everything. All old. All dirty. A day for old clothes and leather gloves. And patience! (If some of those people who wanted the same things I did would just give up and go home, it would make my job much easier! HA!)
Look, more insulators!
Every junkin' trip we have made lately is proving the same point: Prices are up. We are going to have to raise prices in our shop, or give up on antiques. We're not ready to give up, so...... prices are going to have to go up. We'll try to keep them as low as we can, but between us having to pay more, and high gas prices, we have no choice.
We blame the higher prices on TV shows like American Picker. Also Pinterest. More ideas readily available to everyone means higher demand. We see people at auctions paying more there for something than they would on the same thing in my shop. Example. There were lots of wood boxes. A box that I would sell for $25 was getting bids of $30 to $40! It's not just auction fever. We see the higher prices everywhere we go.
In the end, we managed to fill the trailer. But when the cashier told me the total, I about fell over. We try to keep track as we go, but there were times when the auction was moving too fast to keep it all written down.
It rained yesterday, so I just left everything on the trailer. But today, it all comes off and gets a good cleaning. Then it will all be loaded back up, taken to the store, put in inventory, priced, and then displayed.
Lots of work!!! But for those of us with a junking soul, it's worth it!


Monday, April 22, 2013

Country Life = The town mouse and the country mouse

George & I went to VA over the weekend to visit our daughter Jessica. On Friday evening, we had dinner reservations at Zaytinya, a Mediterranean restaurant in DC. The food is served mezze style, which means it's served on small plates that are meant to be shared. We couldn't pronounce anything on the menu, but we sure had fun sampling all the (expensive!) food!

As we rode the Metro, and walked the streets of DC, I was reminded once again of the very different lives our children lead. While we were dining on lamb in a fine restaurant with Jessica, her brother Kevin was back home on the farm, feeding goats. And chickens. And cattle.

Full disclosure: this photo of Kevin is a month or so old, before spring (and leaves!) came.
But obviously, I couldn't take a photo of Kevin feeding the livestock at the same time I was in DC with Jessica.
I have a zoom lens, but it doesn't zoom that far!
On Saturday, we drove out to Luckett VA, where we hit the antique shops. Jessica found these 3 chairs at a fun shop called On A Whim.
It wasn't too difficult to get them in the back of our Kia Sorrento, but it did get a little trickier when we added a couple more things at Luckett's Store, another great antique shop right down the road.
Meanwhile, back home, Kevin and his wife Katie were making their own purchases......

Three little pigs!
And their buddy!
When we were done shopping, Jessica took us to the quaint little village of Waterford, VA, which is a National Historic Landmark.

We spent some time at the old Waterford Mill. It was a gorgeous day. Sunny. Comfortable.

And rather breezy, as you can tell by my wind-blown hair.

Meanwhile, back home, Kevin and Katie were not having as lovely of a day. Their new pigs were not feeling the love. Nor the cooperative spirit. Katie dove headfirst after an escapee pig. Kevin dove into the ground when he tried to jump over the trailer hitch after an escapee goat.

I have no idea why they didn't take pictures of the chaos they found themselves in the middle of - I'm sure they would have been quite entertaining. heehee. Katie has a blog post planned on their adventure - watch for that on her blog about their farm life.

Saturday evening, Jessica showed us her office at Marymount University in Arlington, then we went to Dancing With the MU Stars, a fun dance competition featuring students and staff at Marymount.

Katie sent George a text about the baby pigs that said, "Kevin says that behind cuteness lies the devil's soul".

On Sunday, while we leisurely attended church in VA, Kevin & Katie tried to attend church back home. But the experiences of the day before had left them so tired and sore, that they didn't quite make it.

George and I started the long drive home. Jessica arranged her new chairs in her condo while she waited for her husband Brian to get back home after his weekend away.

Kevin & Katie - who are bound and determined - added 2 more animals to their growing farm:

Two very friendly dairy goats named Calypso and Willow. What beauties!

From the time Jessica visited New York City as a young teen, she was intrigued with the city life. She and Brian have lived in the city for a few years now. It's been quite an experience for her, and we're glad they had that opportunity. They don't plan to live their whole lives there though, and will probably find a spot in Suburbia one day, with a yard to garden and tinker in.

Kevin has known since he was a little boy that he wanted to be a farmer, and he has absolutely no interest in the rat race his sister lives in. He looks forward to the day when she leaves that life behind, so he can visit her without having to face the traffic nightmare that accompanies city life.

The Town Mouse and The Country Mouse.

Brother and Sister. The Best of Friends.

We're blessed.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

More trash to treasure before and afters

Ready for more before and after projects?

This bookcase is nice and sturdy. Well made. Rather heavy. A nice solid piece of furniture. It just left a little lot to be desired in the looks department.

I don't prime furniture when I'm repurposing it if I don't have to. More time. More expense. And, I usually want the old surface to show through after sanding for the primitive look. Primer defeats that purpose.

But, because of all those stains on the bottom, I decided I better forget the primitive look on this one, and prime. Who knows what those stains are. This was probably in someone's garage. I sanded them down well, then primed.

I decided on neutral tan with an off-white for the inside. But, the white looked a little too stark.
So, I dry brushed some of the tan on the white. I think that softened it up a bit. Hard to tell it's the same piece of furniture!
How about one more? 
I had already taken the drawers out of this dresser before I thought to get the camera. I could have put the drawers back in for the picture. I could have. I should have. But I didn't.
This was a case where I definitely wanted the old surface to show through. This is a perfectly primitive piece! So, no primer. Just the same tan paint that I used on the bookcase.

I love, love, love how it turned out! If I had room in my house for it, I would have been very tempted to keep it.

But, I don't. So.... it's now in the shop, waiting for a new home.

Oh, what a little paint will do!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Before and after mantle

I bought this mantle at an auction without getting a good look at it....

Looks great from a bit of a distance, which is how I saw it at the auction. But a closer inspection showed it's flaws character. Some kid had scratched the front panel up with something sharp. And wrote on it in crayon. I'm assuming it was a kid. Hmmm. It also needed tightening up here and there.

As a side note: I'll pay you $100 if you don't look at the mess in our garage. Well, not really. But I would appreciate it if you wouldn't look at it.

You can also ignore Billy, who picked that moment to be anti-social.

You can however look at the old mower to the left of the mantle. We took it to the store to sell.

Ok, back to the mantle........

Paint and sandpaper to the rescue!

I wouldn't normally paint over an oak piece of furniture. But in this case, because of the number of flaws character traits, I think it was the best choice. I love how it turned out!

And, as if to prove my point, it sold on the first day it was in the shop, which was today. Yay!

I have a couple more before and after furniture projects to show you, but I'm getting very sleepy. So..... I'll post those in the next couple of days. Stay tuned!

Good Night! (Though I'm not actually going to hit "publish" til morning since I already posted today. So maybe I should say Good Morning!) I don't know. I'm too tired to figure it out.

So, Good Night!

Or something like that.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Table brought back to life

Do I regret not having a "before" photo!

Kevin & Katie went to an auction, and brought back a little table. A very sorry looking little table.

The top was a piece of pressed something or other. Filthy. And loose. I could run a scraper under it around the entire table.

The legs were dog-chewed. Some puppy out there has developed very strong teeth on that table!

But these were the minor problems. Instead of a picture, I should have taken a video.

It had no bracing, so the table was a bit fluid. You could push it lightly with one finger, and the whole table would sway away from you.

But 4 small pieces of wood for bracing, some black paint on the legs, and tan on the top, and then some sandpaper brought this sorry little table back to life!

If you want perfect, high quality furniture in your house, then this table is not for you. But if you like furniture with a personality, with a story, with character, then this table might be a perfect match for you!

The shelf and the top are plywood. That loose pressed something or other was not loose in the middle. Oh no, it was stuck extremely well there, and the table now has some minor gouge marks from my efforts to remove the remaining glue. (oops)

The dog chewed legs are still dog chewed, but not as noticeable now that the legs are black and distressed.

Katie was apologetic about buying the table, but now, if she had the room, she said she'd like to keep it. But she doesn't have the room, so it's available in my shop.

Most folks probably would have thrown the table on a burn pile. But now, it's ready for many years of service. Will those years of service be in your home?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Praying for Boston

Our hearts are heavy. We will never understand why anyone would want to hurt and kill others. Innocent people running in a marathon, or cheering on their loved ones.

George and I enjoyed a trip to Boston many years ago. We drove in for a business meeting. As soon as we started driving in, we wished we had parked on the outskirts and taken public transportation in! Boston traffic is a tad bit busier than we are used to out on the ridge!

But once we were settled in a gorgeous hotel, we had a great time. You can't go to Boston without seeing the Tea Party ship. There's a picture around here somewhere of me throwing a bag of tea off the ship. Tourists do what tourists do. heehee.

Our favorite tour though was the USS Constitution. Simply fascinating.

And just walking around the streets. Such history in Boston. We would like to go back again, and take the time to explore that history.

We pray for Boston. For the victims. For their families and friends.

As I went to sleep last night, I thought about the first responders. The ones who are paid, the ones who volunteer, the ones who are ordinary citizens who as luck would have it, find themselves in horrific situations, and rise to the occasion.

There's a few evil people that desire to hurt others. But there's many more people who desire to help others. May God help us overcome evil with good.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Barnwood signs

I've been digging around in my barn wood stash, and painting signs:

After a long winter, I'm ready for some brighter colors! Primitives are great. but must they always be so dark? I love black for an accent color, but sometimes it seems every prim piece is black. Enough already!

I didn't have a spot handy to hang these and get a picture, so I just laid them on the carpet. Makes for an odd background, but you get the idea. I hope.

I added flowers cut out from wood to these signs for an extra pop of color.
I brought in another stack last evening. It's funny, I never really have a plan for a sign when I sit down. But I reach in the stack, pull out a piece of wood, and it "speaks" to me.
Does that make me sound crazy? I hope not, but if it does.......... oh well!
 I is what I is!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Removing glass from old windows

Ever wonder how to get the glass out of old windows? Here's how we do it:

Lay the window on a concrete floor: garage, porch, basement.


Hit the corners of the glass with a hammer.

If it's a really old window with loose glass, the glass may pop out in one piece. If the glass is tight, it can take a lot more effort.

After several hits, it will crack, or shatter. Once that happens, lighter taps will knock it on out.

We've never had glass fly up in the air, it has always fell through to the floor. But we ALWAYS wear safety glasses, just in case.

You may need a pair of needle nose pliers to remove any small pieces that stay stuck in the frame. And also to remove the little metal tabs that may have been holding the glass.

We put the glass in a cardboard box or heavy dog food bag to discard of. It will slice right through a plastic garbage bag, and you don't want you or your garbage man getting cut.

We just send it with the garbage because we don't know of anywhere to recycle the glass. If you know of a place that takes window pane glass, please let us know. We hate to add to the landfills.

Billy likes to supervise, but when we remove the glass,
we put him in the house so he doesn't get cut.

Make sure there are no children or pets around when you're removing glass, and clean up the mess right away. We have removed the glass from dozens upon dozens of windows, and have never had a cut. But that's because we use extreme caution. LEATHER GLOVES ARE A NECESSITY!!! And JEANS! Don't try this with shorts on, just in case the glass does fly up.

Lastly, please don't ask us to remove glass for you on a window you buy in our store. We don't really like doing it either, and I have no where at the store to do it anyway. Our policy when we buy windows to resell is this: If the windows are extremely loose, or one pane is broken, we remove all the panes. But if they are relatively tight, we leave them in.

After you've removed the glass from one, you'll probably agree that we should charge more for the glass removal, but we don't. We charge by the size, not by the glass. If we were smart, we would rethink that! lol

Lots of customers want the windows without the glass, but lots of you also want the ones with the glass intact. Probably the most popular reason to keep the glass in is when the window is going to be used as a picture frame.

For other ideas, check out the doors and windows board on my pinterest page.

The ideas for using old windows seems to be endless!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Country Life = a Grapevine battle

We've been patiently impatiently waiting for the weather to break, because we have a big project planned. My husband George has accumulated a substantial amount of junk treasures through the years. Add to that our son Kevin starting up a farm on our property, which requires lots more junk farm equipment. Our little acreage is being consumed by their stuff! Men like to think we ladies are the collectors of stuff. Let me tell you, the men in my life are hard to beat!

Well, except son-in-law Brian, who has a disdain for "stuff". Maybe he needs to sit his father-in-law and brother-in-law down and have a little talk with them.

Or.......... maybe not. He might need to have that same little talk with me. So, never mind.

Anyway, we are breaking ground to build a shed to hold The Hoard.

In the woods.

As much as we love our home in West Virginia, it does have a serious drawback. Those West Virginia hills. The only place flat enough for the shed is in the woods.

Where we find this:

I absolutely love the woods. Woods are beautiful.
But not this particular section of the woods.
What created such a mess?
 Wild grapevine. Cursed wild grapevine.

Oh sure, it looks really cool. Artsy even.

But from that huge tangled mess at ground level, it starts to spread:

Right to the very tip-top of the trees:

Once it gets that far, the battle is pretty much lost.

I'm sure God placed wild grapevine here for a reason. Though I have no idea what that reason could be.

It doesn't even provide grapes.

So, to clear a spot for a shed, the battle tools came out:

First step: chainsaw.

Second step: Dozer.

The chainsaw is relatively new. The dozer? Not so much. It's been in lots of battles through lots of years. It has many battle scars. But it was up for another one.

It was at this point that I put down the camera and shouted, "Where's your hard hat?"
He pretended he couldn't hear me.
And when all was said and done, George and the worn out oh so mighty bulldozer had won.

If the weather cooperates, we will soon have a shed in that open spot. And The Hoard will have a new home.
Sadly, most of the trees in our woods are elms. And we're losing them. Dutch Elm Disease is spreading in our area, and taking it's toll. We are going to cut quite a few of them out before they die and fall, and replace them with some better trees. Trees that will provide the fall color I long for each year.
And, in the spot above this, where almost all the trees are either dying elm or grapevine infested, we are going to remove them, and replace them with an orchard.
Which will bring on a new battle. This one with the deer and raccoons.
Life in the country is filled with peace.
When it's not a constant battle!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

New crafts and Help! I need Help!

We have lots of handmade crafts in our shop. A rough guesstimate would be that our shop is 1/3 handmade crafts, 1/3 imported crafts, and 1/3 antique & vintage items. Not a bad combo in my opinion!

The photos below focus mainly on some of the imported crafts we have this spring:

Stackable boxes can be used just for decorative use, or for storage. And, they work great in a spot where you need a little height.

The balls are fun! Though I don't recommend them if you have small children in the house who might think they are a game! "No throwing balls in the house!"
Word signs are very popular these days! I posted this photo on my facebook page the other day. Guess which word got the most response? GIGGLE! In fact, a few days later, a group of ladies came in the store, and one of them said that this photo, and the GIGGLE sign was what brought her in! 
Ok. I need help here. You may notice this photo is on it's side. If you didn't notice it, you may want to get another cup of coffee.

Does anyone know how to rotate it upright? I have it rotated in my software. But for whatever reason, when I post a photo that I took with the camera turned, it posts on it's side. Sometimes it happens when I post them to facebook, but when that happens, I can rotate it after it's posted.

But on my blog, I can't find a way to rotate it. Maybe it's a software problem. Maybe it's that I'm just not seeing an obvious button that says ROTATE ME!

Maybe  I just need another cup of coffee.

I hope that's not it. I'm severely allergic to coffee and can't drink that wonderfully aromatic eye-opener.

I love this blog. I love all of you who read it.

But not enough to kill myself with a cup of coffee!

So, if you know the answer to my problem, please let me know! I've taken lots of pictures with the camera turned that I would like to post here, but I can only ask you to turn your head on it's side so many times.

Switching Gears to an Occasional Shop

For a loooooooooong time, I have wanted to switch our shop to an occasional shop. Until yesterday, we were open 5 ...