Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fishing around for Christmas Inspiration...

With only days left until Christmas, you may be in desperate need of a last minute gift or even a little bit of holiday decor in your own home. This happy little snowman is sure to leave a big impression on your guests and not your wallet.

I came across this peculiar thing at Restore a few months ago for $2.00. It laid down completely flat and took this form when you picked up the handle and has 2 spring doors on either side of the bottom part. Long story short, it was interesting and $2.00 so I brought it home. (I did find out later that it is some kind of fishing trap.) 

So what exactly can you do with an old fish trap thingy? Well, if you combine it with some boxes of ornaments I also got at Restore ranging in price from $1-$4 and a little Christmas magic (that would be 30 minutes of free time in my house) .... 

You can have this super cute guy for Christmas.....

First, fill the fish thingy up with ornaments. When I got to the top section I used floral wire and made an "X" over the top of the ornaments to each side of the top bar to hold them in and to make it keep it's form.

Next I used this ornament as a nose by simply removing the top and then reattaching it through the cage and securing with glue.

I then glued some black buttons for eyes and buttons and glued this hat I picked up at another retail store's dollar section. I added this festive bow and some stick arms from the yard.

And because I absolutely LOVE Christmas lights and have lit up every square inch of my house and yard as well as neighbors' house and yard, I felt that adding a small strand of white LED string lights was the next logical choice to finish him off and pulled them through the body and head. 

The final cost for this one of a kind decoration, $12.

I wish you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and a Happy New Year! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Add some Holiday Cheer to that old clear glass....

So if you're like me, then you probably have an entire cabinet full of clear glassware that despite it's great shapes and lines, it still fits in the "BLAH" category. Well cheer up, because I have a quick and very inexpensive way to transform your plain glass ware from this:

To This:

What you will need:

Clear glass
Mod Podge
Food Coloring
Wax paper
Cookie baking sheet

First, cover your cookie baking sheet with a piece of wax paper and set to the side for later. In a bowl or cup that you will not be coloring, mix Mod Podge and Water and food coloring to desired. I have found that a 2:1 ratio seems to work best (e.i. 2 tablespoons of Mod Podge and 1 tablespoon of water.) I have also found that preparing this in an old tupperware bowl with a lid allows me to keep any left over mix to use later. Remember when adding your food coloring the simple principles we learned back in grade school.... that mixing white with a color will make it lighter. So when adding Duke blue food coloring to the white Mod Podge it will appear to be more like a Carolina blue or even a Panthers teal, but will finish like the jars in behind the green glass shown in the picture above. 

Once you have your mixture prepared, pour it into the glassware and slowly roll it around ensuring that you have covered the entire area. Now pour the excess mixture out and back into your mixing bowl. Flip your glassware upside down and place on the wax papered cookie sheet and let it continue to drain for at least an hour or two. This will help spread the mixture more evenly and help with bubbles. (Bubbles in the bottom of the finished are pretty much inevitable but you can control the size by time spent draining)

Heat your oven to 170 degrees (or the lowest setting your oven offers. Mine only goes to 200.) Once your glassware is done draining, place the cookie sheet in the oven for 15-25 min. (until a more dry appearance is  present, not completely dry but not wet either) and then flip it right side up on the sheet and bake for another 30 min or until completely dry.

Let the piece cool and you are finished.

The best thing about this is that if you are not happy with the color you can recoat to make it deeper or soak it in water over night and the water soluble Mod Podge will dissolve and wash right out. Which brings me to another point, this is not a good choice for glassware you are planning to use for fresh flowers.  

Monday, October 14, 2013

Cup it!

I have been diligently working to turn my garage into a studio for my projects for months. As a mother of a very active 4 year old boy, co-owner of an electrical company, part time duck rescuer, Habitat Restore Blogger, it's clear to see that having things quickly accessible for use is a must. Spray paint cans have been my biggest storage with "grab and go capability" that I have been struggling with. If you haven't already gathered, I am a avid spray painter with an inventory and color selection that may rival a small hardware store. Lining them up on a bookshelf wasn't really working (mostly due to the fact that I always end up losing the cap that tells me what the color is), putting them in cardboard 6 pack beer holders took way too much room and still didn't provide me with the ease I was looking for, and the price of a PVC pipe large enough for the can to fit inside is a little absurd, not to mention the fact that it would then have to be cut and mounted which just sounds way too time consuming. I have tried just about every affordable way I could think of or find on Pinterest to no avail, which brings me to my latest midnight brainchild....

I had picked up a sleeve of 20 of these large plastic cups for $.50 back in February from my local Habitat Restore thinking that I may have use for them in the wedding decorations that I was working on for my brother-in-laws upcoming wedding. (needless to say that I did not end up using them for that but) While trying to select a color off the shelf I have caused yet another landslide of spray paint sending cans all over the place and one ended up landing inside of one of these cups. It was at that time I discovered that the bottom of the cup perfectly held the spray paint can and I could lay it on it's side and even stack the cups!

I simply lined the cups up on a scrap piece of plywood and screwed them down using a small wood screw and a washer. These are pretty durable cups that don't crack when you squish them but I figured the washer would help disperse the weight more evenly across the bottom. I then mounted the board to the wall and filled the cups with spray paint cans and found that I could even fit a can in the dead space between each cup. Now I have I can quickly see my color choices and make a selection without the fear of breaking a toe! 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Get Crafty: Halloween Decorations From ReStore Finds

Hard to believe October 1st is in one week, which means it’s almost time to bring out the Halloween decorations. Want to get into the spooky spirit without spending a fortune? Visit the Our Towns Habitat ReStore for everyday household items that can be easily transformed into seasonal décor.

Paint It Black

Painting almost anything black gives it a scary vibe. Look for old Christmas villages, chandeliers and vases to transform with a coat of black spray paint.

Make Signs from Repurposed Items

Make an ornate cemetery sign from an old headboard or use old cabinet doors to make Halloween signs. A piece of fencing can be painted and propped up for that haunted house feeling.

Use Glassware for Spooky Displays

Look through the glassware aisle for apothecary jars, cake or cheese domes, and goblets which can be turned into Halloween displays.

 Books and Book Pages

The ReStore has tons of books that can be transformed into a book of spells or potions. Use book pages to make vintage looking signs or pumpkins.

 Mirror, Mirror

Repurpose old mirrors or picture frames with chalkboard paint or flying bats. Scrape off part of the mirror backing and insert an old photo for a spooky looking frame.

Have I got your wheels turning? What Halloween décor would you shop for at the ReStore?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Treasure Hunting

This has to be one of my most favorite concoctions I have ever thrown together! Mostly because it is comprised of some very random items and they were all FREE!!!

My youngest sister and I both received metal detectors last Christmas and decided to for treasure hunting in the woods behind our parent's home in Welcome, NC. I am not sure exactly what sort of treasure we were thinking we were going to discover, but being as the town's history is composed of poor tobacco farmers, the odds of gold and riches were not high. But as the saying goes "Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder," and perception makes all the difference. So when we discovered the old car that had been left in the woods to waste away under trees, dirt, and leaves, Kaitlyn felt that it was a treasure. It was pretty impressive that most of the chrome of this car was in impeccable condition (especially since the chrome on our 2000 Chevy Silverado is rusting and flaking)and wasn't extremely hard to pull off the brittle rusted body parts of the car. The down side is that it was incredibly heavy and I had to do most of the heavy lifting all the way back to the house. I am not going to lie to you when I say that at that time, I did not really see much more than more stuff to go to the recycling center and the only reason I was hauling this back home was to humor a 14 year old and let her believe she really did find something special. My mother wasn't extremely excited with the pile of car parts on her front porch, but smiled and said "wow, you really did find something there." I volunteered to take the parts back home being that we were planning to go to the scrap yard soon.  Long story short, the parts didn't get scrapped and I couldn't be happier because I got to take this:

And turn it into this!

I used the chrome from the car as the body, 2 light fixture mounts, some plumbing handles, and washers for the eyes and a conduit strap for the nose. And I can't wait to figure out what I will do with the rest of it!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The best day of the year...

Today is the most exciting day of the year at Our Towns Habitat ReStores!!! For me, this is the one day out of the year that I live for. Seriously... It's better than the day I got hired (sorry boss), better than the time I saw the first shipment of new product being donated (though that is always an awesome feeling), and even better than those super crazy days at the Cornelius ReStore before 2pm when the Silent Auction is ending.

So... why? you may ask? What's so fantastical about today that makes any other day at the ReStore seem... normal? 

Because today is the day that the autumn and Halloween decorations get put out!
And I'm totally not kidding, either. Nor am I alone in my feelings of excitement!

The day that all the fall and Halloween decorations get put out onto the floor it's like a feeding frenzy. You would think that our loyal customers had never seen an ounce of orange or black in their entire lives, that they hadn't really been living until today. The evidence is in this photo:

Note the pink tape that acts as a rope around this particular section of Halloween and fall goodies. That is because the Halloween goblins that were working so hard to stock the shelves couldn't keep up with the swarms of people buying up decorations as soon as they hit the shelves! And in some cases items were actually being pulled from the hands of these fabulous goblins before the items even touched  the shelves!

It is truly a magical day, one that gets you in the spirit for the leaves changing, the weather turning crisper, and the ghosts and ghouls that will soon make their appearances! While the weather here in the Lake Norman area hasn't been cooperating enough for me to pull out my favorite sweaters and boots,  my obsession will autumn has not subsided, especially not after today!

In fact, with the invention of Pinterest, there isn't much hope for this obsession leaving me anytime soon. If you are anything like me you've probably already pinned loads of fall crafts, recipes, decorations, Halloween costume ideas, etc. onto your "All Things Fall" Pinterest Board. I have been itching to make a Fall craft, so my board is full of them! Especially since I found this gem at the Cornelius ReStore last year:

That's right.. it's an entire bolt of burlap. I think I paid a whopping $8 for it, which was absolutely amazing. I've been guarding it closely and have finally decided that I can't hide it any longer... it must be set free and have something wonderful done with it! Right now my heart is set on creating a Fabulous Autumn wreath similar to this one:

(source here)

So that's probably what will happen with part of this beauty, combined with whatever other Fabulous Finds I come across now that the autumn decor is out!

Check out the ReStore's Pinterest page to see what other fun craft ideas you can come up with using ReStore materials. And don't forget to check out the seasonal items at both the Cornelius and Mooresville ReStores.

PS- I also found this baby at the Mooresville ReStore today:
A brand new book of scrapbooking paper: the Autumn and Halloween combo stack... It will be perfect for some of my upcoming crafts! Stay tuned and don't forget to share your sweet crafts/fall decor by commenting below!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Explore EVERYTHING Restore has to Offer

Guest Blogger: Andrea Hartley

Hey Guys!!

Today I am SUPER excited because I just received the first blog post from another guest blogger. It is my pleasure to introduce you to .... (drum roll please......) Andrea Hartley!

Andrea Hartley is a local ReStore shopper, always looking to find a good deal and to tinker with something! Pictured above, she was a contestant in this year's ReStore ReStyle Design Challenge which took place in May of 2013. She designed a wedding reception room with a rustic, shabby chic feel to it. She even wore part of her room for the event (her dress was a prop she picked up at the Mooresville ReStore)!

Here is her bio:
I am a 30 yr old stay at home mother with a employment background in project management for custom home building and a third generation "treasure hunter." I have been sorting and sifting and digging through dusty shelves, bins, and boxes to find that little forgotten and discarded treasure for as long as I can remember. I have held my mothers legs so she wouldn't fall into the public dumpster as she pulled out a Gilded solid wood picture frame from the late 1800's at the age of 8 and learned how to reupholster at 9. Habitat Restore is my #1 most favorite place to shop for items I can not only use in my home and crafts but to buy supplies for my husband's electrical company. My three year old son is quite at home at our local Restore and often can be found napping in the back of the shopping cart. I can gain inspiration from just about anything, when I have a project in mind I go immediately to Restore to see what items I can use to complete the task at hand. There isn't really a place I haven't been to hunt. I know that even if I had and endless supply of money that I would never shop retail, I love the thrill of the hunt, recycling and satisfaction that I get when I spend $10 on something that turns out to look like its worth a million dollars.

As I mentioned, I just received her first blog post and am so stoked for her to share it with you... it's beautiful! Check back to see it post!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Habitat ReStore Chairs: What Would You Do, Part 2

Remember these fabulous rattan chairs I picked up from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Cornelius?

I reached out to some of my favorite design bloggers for ideas on what to do with them. The other week I shared ideas from Cassie, Rhoda, Diane, and Cheryl. This week I’ll be sharing four more ideas from some of my favorite experts.

First up, I asked Carmel from Our Fifth House.  Be sure to check out her home’s entry foyer (one of my favorites). Here’s what Carmel had to say:


Those chairs are amazing!  I'd leave them as is but would definitely have the cushions recovered or replaced.  Maybe a solid white or cream cotton canvas on the cushions.  I'd also maybe only use the seat cushion and leave the back open - looks like the back of the chair has a really pretty design.  

Maybe something like this image I found on Pottery Barn’s website…

Next, I asked designer, Rene Zieg from Cottage and Vine. Rene is an interior decorator in Greensboro, NC. Check out her great design tutorials for stylish DIY projects.

Oh how fun!  I could see them painted glossy white with a colorful geometric such as a Caitlin Wilson fabric.  On the other hand I could see them as is with a suzani or ikat fabric for that more rustic eclectic look.  
I love a bold geometric pillow. Maybe something like this…

Meredith, of  Meredith and Gwyneth, The New Yorkie is a master of making over discarded items. While living in NYC, she made over several pieces with amazing results that she found while dumpster diving.

Meredith says:

I'd definitely spray paint them! Maybe a bright green, yellow or hot pink in a semigloss! Do you sew? Taupe or white cushions with bright piping would be gorgeous!

I agree – hot pink and bright piping are a fun choice!

I also asked  Amy Whited. Amy lives in Durham, NC and runs Yellow Hammer Design Shop where she sells beautiful furniture and accessories she's found and refurbished. Check out her dining room that was featured in This Old House magazine.  

Source: Yellow Hammer
So I would paint them in Valspar's Hint of Mint which could be mixed in a glossy porch and floor paint so they are outside durable. And then I would suggest just ditching the cushions for a pair of square throw pillows (depending on the condition of the seats underneath. I love this Richloom fabric and it's a steal for $8.98 a yard, which will make you 2 pillows. Done and done.

Ikat prints are my current favorite and I love Amy’s tip of using a porch or floor paint to make them outside durable.

Oh decisions, decisions! What’s your' favorite look for these ReStore chairs?



Saturday, August 10, 2013

EXCLUSIVE: Contemporary Art to Functional Coffee Table

One of the amazing things about Our Towns Habitat ReStores is the phenomenal things that get donated. You're never sure what you'll find when you walk into a ReStore, which is why one of our slogans is miss a day, miss a deal. The other amazing thing about our ReStores is our location: we are smack dab in the middle of some of the most creative minds I personally have ever met.

There, now that I've said two very important things about the ReStores, I'll get to the point of today's blog post: these fabulous, hand crafted pieces of contemporary art that are actually functional coffee tables! They were donated by a local artist named Paul Minsker and are currently set up for auction at the Mooresville ReStore.


I'm not exactly sure what this one is but it reminds me of dinosaur eggs and Jurassic Park- a classic movie from my time so I mean this as a great comparison!
The hands in this coffee table each seem to hold the world. What a cool commentary for contemporary art: "I've got the whole world, in my hands!"

These "Owl Eyes" are so detailed! Whoooooo wants this table?

And this table features two dragonflies facing one another. 

There are a number of other tables donated by Paul Minsker at the Mooresville ReStore. Each table is made from layers and layers of wood which Paul cut, sanded, and painted himself. They are intricate in detail, beautiful in color and design.

The tables are all up for an auction until Saturday, August 17th promptly at 2pm. Place your bids at the Mooresville ReStore, and be sure that your phone number is registered in the Silent Auction phone book. You can see more pictures when you visit and "Like" the Our Towns Habitat ReStore Facebook Page!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Habitat ReStore Chairs: What Would You Do?

Hi - I'm Crystal and I write the blog The Weekend Homemaker where I share creative ideas for those with little time and a small budget. I'm excited to be guest posting for the Our Towns Habitat ReStores and wanted to share my latest find. 

I picked up these two fab chairs from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Cornelius and have been in a quandary over what to do with them. I knew I loved the casual feel and the details of the chairs and I did NOT like the cushions. Beyond that I was a bit stumped.

So what do you do when you are stumped? You ask the experts! I reached out to a few designers and bloggers to get their advice. I loved each of their different takes on how to bring new life to these classic beauties.

First up, I asked the vivacious and colorful Cassie, from Hi Sugarplum! Cassie’s known to go bold in her own home and I love how her projects are affordable AND fashionable. Cassie’s advice is: 

 If you like the finish, then I wouldn't paint it. If that shade of honey isn't your cup of tea, then I'd definitely paint...and paint a fun, bright color (surprise, surprise, right?!). Those chairs are unique, so you want them to stand out. Depending on how comfy they are with no cushions, I'd consider just a lumbar in a fun print...or just the bottom cushion. I want to be able to see the detail of the back!
Hmm, maybe something like this, Cassie?…

Next, I asked veteran blogger, Rhoda from Southern Hospitality. Rhoda has spent the past year or so fixing up her 1979 split level, doing most of the work herself, along with her 86 year old father! So what advice did Rhoda share?

Oh how fun!  I love thrifting and redoing for sure and yes, I would paint those chairs. I think that would really freshen them up. I'd either do a glossy creamy white or a fun punchy color.  If you can recover those cushions in a fun and graphic fabric that would totally bring them up to date. 
Hmmm…glossy white, that sounds beachy and fresh.

Diane Henkler, of In My Own Style is a master of painting and provides great project tutorials on her blog. One of these days I plan to follow her instructions on how to build a banquette.


Diane says:

I would do one of two things:
1. Clean them up and leave the rattan as is. It looks like it is in good shape. I would get a new cushions or cover the old ones in a fabulous colorful fabric. 
2.  Paint the chairs in a high gloss vivid color ( I would choose between chartreuse, teal, orange, emerald, orange, or yellow)  and new cushions of course. 
If you are on a budget. I would clean the cushions and let them soak in the sun until they are dry and then cover them with fabric.  If you sew, then I would make pillow style covers for them. The no-sew way would be to wrap each cushion with fabric like you were wrapping a gift. Use large safety pins to secure the fabric on the underside of the cushion.  
 The rattan is in great shape, perhaps all they need are fresh new cushions.

I also asked  designer Cheryl Luckett what she would do with these beauties. Cheryl is a designer, blogs at Dwell by Cheryl and is also a guest blogger for Metrolina ReStores Blog. I know she has experience making over Restore finds!


Cheryl shared her own inspiration pictures and says:
If they were mine, I'd paint them a fun color and use a modern print fabric.  The chairs themselves are such a throwback in style and type that, I'd go modern with the color and fabric choice.  White could also be a nice choice. I'd also take the tufting out of the pillow.
Source Unkown


Thanks Ladies! I’m not sure if I’m more or less confused by all your great ideas. Stay tuned, I asked 4 more design bloggers what they would do. I'll be back later to share their ideas and then reveal my final decision.