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Thursday, May 27

get the lead out!

we are busy prepping for reclaimed crafts' debut next week and also scrubbing up some windows! because the windows are original to a house built in 1966, we have to assume there is lead paint on them.   this afternoon, out in the fresh air, we scrubbed these windows and scraped-off any loose paint or grout.  they are now drip drying and awaiting their new owner's inspired mind and artful eye.
now i just have to clean the lead paint chips off the driveway. hmm....

Tuesday, May 25

ancient floor board + vintage clothespins = key hook

Our good friends have a barn full of floor boards from the 1700's, and last week we filled the trunk of John's station wagon in seconds flat.  I did wonder what the original occupants of the house would have thought to hear us chattering excitedly about reusing the boards for jewelry holders, mail slots and key hooks, but whatever...  It got a bit more embarrassing when I found myself giggling delightedly as I used a putty knife and sandpaper to reveal beautiful layers of mustard, sage and periwinkle paint (yeah, they'd laugh at my J. Crew color palate, too).

But back to this super cool project.  If you've been following along closely, you'll remember these vintage round-head clothespins from one of the first estate sales of the season.  Laurie created a mail holder and decoupaged the heck out of it (stay tuned for her posting), and I created this key hook/sunglass holder that could also make a fabulous jewelry holder.  And best part about it - I got to use a power tool (ok, it was just Hilary's electric drill, but still)!

Check out all of those paint layers - beautiful!

salvage window = photo frame

I finally completed my four over four pane salvage window project!  I'm really pleased with how it came out, and in the process, I learned what a glazier's point is, which seems like an important crafting milestone. 

This was a really fun project, made easier by other crafties who were kind enough to post their own projects and provide tutorials.  Check them out at Counter Space and The Pleated Poppy.

I especially love that the hardware is still attached:

Monday, May 24

saturday's northampton finds

it was a great saturday! sunny, fresh coffee and sweet finds.

in addition to the great clothing scores that are for me (2 boden shirts and a boden skirt - in my size- for $10...come on!), i also picked up:

- for $1, this adorable cherry red retro travel make-up case for supplies. who could resist?

- for $.50 a piece, i got these fabulous burlap coffee bags. i am in love with these! no surprise. as anyone who went to my wedding or has been to my house knows, i love burlap! i just do.

wouldn't these make amazing floor pillows?

i also picked up some sweet photography books that will be great to cut-up for decoupaging.

happy spring! happy tag sale season!

Sunday, May 23

flea marketing and tons of new stuff and ideas

We are pretty set and totally excited for our inaugural class next week, and now I cannot stop buying more cool stuff for future projects.  Really, these classes are fine, fine excuses to drive several hours on a sunny Sunday to Elephant's Trunk in Litchfield County. 

Today's best find was inspired by - of all people - my husband.  Really, if he can come up with crafty ideas, anyone can.  Check out this unbelievably cool, vintage croquet set. 

Even the guy who sold it to me was excited to hear that I was going to deconstruct it and turn it into 50 million projects.  Or perhaps he was just humoring me while I forked over my cash...

I had already brainstormed a towel rack with the mallet handles, taper candlesticks with the mallet heads and tealight candlesticks with the balls, but check out this amazing table using the mallets, these super simple photo holders made with the balls, awesome coat rack using part of the mallets and great mail holder using the wickets.  We could (and perhaps will) do an entire class series just with croquet sets!  I am feeling like one of those hip chefs who uses the entire carcass of the animal, or - to stay in the crafty theme - like Liz from Sticks and Bricks who just completely deconstructed this radio cabinet

Next up are these great old yardsticks mostly from Valley locales. 

I have in mind to do a side or coffee table and a coat holder with the yardsticks as the base and the small bobbins I scored from Brimfield as the knobs, but the guy who sold them to me (it's so cool how everyone has a great idea to share) suggested photo frames, which I also love.

Finally, my friend Kerry convinced me to buy Marriage and Sexual Harmony from 1938 for decoupaging (and some excellent advice)

and these cool label frames for I don't know what yet (nor do I know what a Shoe Dauber is...)

Friday, May 21

vintage fabric napkin rings

these were so much fun to make! some of our fabric samples, like the ones i used here, are the same print, but different colors.  i love the way all of them look together, especially with the unifying brown ribbon.  best part: Accomplice, a person who normally detests all things fussy, a.k.a. a ring to hold your napkin, with the sole purpose of looking "pretty," declared these napkin rings amazing and actually said he loved them!  you'd think he might have been pandering, but that's not his style. it was a true compliment!
these great napkin rings are just one of the great projects for our june and fall class! there are endless amazing fabrics, ribbons and vintage buttons to choose from...your napkins will look pretty too!

Tuesday, May 18

a day at brimfield!

it's frankly hard to say what was more exciting: realizing that we "had" to spend a sunny spring day at brimfield for reclaimed crafts' sake or actually strolling around the vendors' goods, mouths agape, creativity juices in overflow production.

it was a great day, filled with lots of "ooohs," "ahhs," and "oh mys."

on top of all that, photographing the goods was equally as fun.  here are some of my favorite shots:

we also picked up some very fun items.  jen had an eye for these gorgeous wooden thread spools, in different shapes and sizes:

 and laurie thought this test tube holder in a beautifully patinaed oak holder would make the coolest bud vase:

keep your eye on the spools though.  we suspect they will be showing up at one of the fall reclaimed crafts classes.....stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 11

chalkboard calendar from salvage window

I am on crafting fire.  I just finished the chalkboard calendar made from one of the salvaged four over four pane windows. 

It's a demo for class, so I did the stenciling in a variety of different ways.  I was concerned that stenciling directly on the pane wouldn't leave enough room to write on the pane, so first I abbreviated the day on the pane (see above), and then I stenciled on the frame below the pane:

If you look closely, you can see where the paint peeled away in the corners, a result of not removing the painter's tape in between coatings.  In order to make the window opaque, it took 5 layers of chalkboard paint, more than I expected. 

I was going to leave the frame unfinished wood, but then decided to lightly brush periwinkle blue paint over it, sanding after it dried to create an aged look. 

Finally, I affixed the Scrabble tile board to the lower left hand corner which provides a fun and convenient place to hold the chalk.  We also are thinking about using cute handmade burlap bags as well as short Ball jars to hold the chalk. 


another coaster - I'm addicted

I cannot seem to stop making coasters.  And I am even doing them "freehand," and without any alcohol to calm my non-artistic nerves.  Ok, well, maybe a glass of red wine.  I had to make a mate for the flower coaster.  Here they are together:

I also decided to add some sweet yellow ribbon around the edges of the first coaster.  I like the way it looks, but I have yet to perfect the process - the hot glue dries so quickly!

Sunday, May 9


Friday night we put on our hippest, coolest outfits, strapped Gus to my back and headed to the VIP reception at Twist to check out the incredibly talented crafters of the Valley and beyond.  We loved everything, got inspired by so many of the great ideas we saw, and made some amazing purchases. 

I (Jen) am apparently really into enamel jewelry these days, as I picked up a beautiful necklace from western Mass-based Donnabelle Designs that looks like this:

and hip earrings from DAMetals out of Providence that are similar to these rings:

I also started fantasizing about opening a center like Craftland, part-owned by Devienna from DAMetals and based in Providence, Rhode Island, in the Valley.  Craftland started as a craft show similar to Twist, and is now a center that hosts craft classes, a shop, and a gallery.  How cool would it be to have something like that in the Valley?  Add in studio space where anyone can come, spread out their stuff and craft with a bunch of other like-minded creative types (like Urban Craft Center) and it's crafting heaven.  Who's in?

Best of all, Twist totally inspired me to craft, as if I needed the inspiration!  Truly, being able to tell my husband that I need time to craft for my business is the funniest thing ever - crafting for work?  That's crazy cool.

My inspiration for today's new coaster comes from (who else) but Liz from Sticks and Bricks who did this design for a key hook.  It was so fun to use all those tiny colorful scraps that I have been collecting, and such an appropriate time of year, with all of the flowers just starting to show their faces!

Thursday, May 6

vintage clothing labels

After a lovely day at Look Park where we climbed the jungle gym stairs, slid down the slide, ate wood chips, repeat, repeat, repeat, Gus and I took a little nip into Goodwill.  Hidden in the sewing section was a goodie bag full of vintage clothing labels, all from New England.  The fonts and logos are so cool, I couldn't resist.  Now, what should I do with them?

Sunday, May 2

June class almost sold out!

We are almost sold out for our inaugural Reclaimed Crafts class!  The good news is that Justin took me on another tour of the workroom of Sticks and Bricks (where all the magic happens and you get to see all of the amazing "befores" before they become "afters") and convinced me that we can squeeze eight crafty people into the space, so we have a few slots still open.  Email me at if you are interested in the June class or if you'd like information about the fall class schedule.

Glorious Pride and Great Garage Sale-ing

Is there a better weekend in the Valley than the Pride Parade, roller derby and some excellent garage sale-ing?  I think not.  This weekend netted some more terrific vintage maps (are you sensing a theme here, or, perhaps, a slight obsession?):

some amazing hooks that are allegedly from the Crane Estate in Dalton:

that's Gus' hand...

a cool vintage-y yardstick to make one of these, some old-school 80's sunglasses (Pretty in Pink?  16 Candles?  Risky Business?), and the best yet:  a recent article in Reclaimed Crafts made me start thinking about using the old-style Scrabble tile racks to affix to the chalkboard windows to hold the chalk.  This morning I went to a tag sale, picked up a Scrabble game, and discovered that all it has in it are the tile racks.  Serendipity, or what? 

And here is a sneak peek of the 8 over 8 pane salvage window turned chalk board.  Now I need to paint, stencil, affix the tile rack, and it will be done!