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Clothes Pins, The Beginning


The minute I found this enormous old bag of vintage clothespins at a yard sale I knew our adventure was officially underway. I didn’t know what we’d do with them, but I knew we needed them. They are the cool old-fashioned kind, wrapped in wire and with beautiful rounded heads. I imagined the woman who owned the house sewing the bag that still held the clothespins the day I purchased them ($1!).

Laurie took one look at them and knew immediately they should be flipped on their beautiful heads to serve as a mail holder. Here she is, wielding power tools, creating her vision.
And here it is, a naked mail holder, soon to be decoupaged and stamped to perfection!
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best score to date?

today my husband, who has declared that he is happy to be known as my accomplice (and therefore will be hereinafter so named), helped me with my best score to date: 44 paned windows! here’s how it went down:


we were running up chesterfield road in leeds on the first truly gorgeous day of this spring. at the same time we spotted one terrific looking 4 over 4 wood paned window. (it helps to have a spouse who has the same trash-pickin’ eye as you). we finished our run, jumped in the car, and went back to grab it. i decided to leave a note indicating that i would love more windows if more existed. later that day i got a call! i had a lovely conversation with a friendly gentleman asking me how many windows i needed. (that was an interesting question. to me the right question is: how many do i want? the answer is always the same: whatever you have.) he went on to tell me that he and his wife just replaced all the windows in their home and that i could come out to grab whatever he had on sunday, so long as i arrived before easter dinner. no problem. Accomplice and i made our way to leeds and here is what greeted us:

There are so many great ways to repurpose these windows, but one of my favorites is to use them as large photo frames.  I also love the idea of using chalkboard paint to turn a four over four pane window into a weekly calendar (with a bonus panel!) that would look great in a kitchen.

salvaged balusters? spindle sticks!

My friend Laurie and I have been holding Craft Days (or The Longest Day of the Year, as my husband calls it) for years. We’re always looking for new projects we can create and give as holiday presents. This year Laurie scored a ton of balusters (staircase spindles) for free at a garage sale.

We had no clue what to do with them. Thank goodness for Margo, whose website has an entire section on projects made from balusters. You gotta love that. We decided to try candlesticks, which were a huge hit at the Christmas dinner table. I was so proud of them, I nervously asked Liz at Sticks and Bricks if she would consider selling them in her shop, and amazingly, she said yes! Here they are in her shop:

I especially love that they are all different sizes and can work as pairs or groups. Nine would make a super-cool huge Menorah!




barn door + sewing machine bases = dining room table

Long before the word “upcycle” entered our lexicon, we’ve been repurposing (another fancy new word) recycled and salvaged materials to create projects that are both cool and completely practical. No toilet paper cozies for us. One of Jen’s favorite projects is the dining room table that sits in her 1860s farmhouse in downtown Northampton. Her travels to one of her favorite salvage yards, Vermont Salvage in White River Junction, netted her a beat up barn door that was so old, the curve of the door closure was permanently carved into the wood. She flipped the seats down in her Honda Civic hatchback (best car ever), tossed the door in, and brought it home. Many, many hours of sanding and coating later, she had a tabletop, but no legs. Luckily, sewing machine bases are both plentiful and cheap in local antique stores, so after paying someone who was not afraid of power tools to affix the top to the bases, she had the most beautiful table she had ever seen.