Tag Archives: repurpose

From Houzz: Antiques Today?

16 Aug



Barrel back chairs

Barrel back chairs

This alcove was originally configured for cabinets/buffet in the dining area.  The cabinets were long ago used in a modification of the kitchen floor plan.  Today the alcove (with pot/can lighting) has just enough space to “show case” these barrel back chairs in their new life for reading and conversation.

Lean closet movement and second chances

19 Jul

Goodwill promotes that vicious cycle “Shop, Donate, Shop, Donate”.  TLC’s “What Not to Wear” had Stacy and Clinton demonstrating weekly how to make over nominee’s wardrobe/closet.  Cuyana promotes lean closets as a business plan by including a mailer for clothing donation with each clothing purchase.


For the past fifteen years, I have travelled often, primarily to three destinations.  For me the “twist” on lean closets is to have three functional closets in three different states with the goal to reduce luggage plus packing and unpacking.  (Easy laundry access at each place makes this workable.)       1) Home base  2)Farm  3) Warm weather.   As time goes by, transfers between closets wring a little more use out of my clothing.

I have an example for extending the life/value of clothing.

I still love the colors and pattern of culottes I purchased 25 years ago.  The waist was always a little snug.  I had it altered professionally to raise the hem and expand the waist.  The alteration was very well done.  However, the change was awkward because the culotte style tended to bunch up.  My remedy removed the excess material and sewed it back as a true skirt.

From culotte to skirt

From culotte to skirt

For a much more involved projects, check out “Go Green” Sew News Feb/Mar 2013.  One article illustrates “Giving an old scarf new life as trim on a fitted sweatshirt jacket” or “Mix and match worn sweaters of a funky up-cycled shoulder bag” …..ahhh the possibilities…

Shower Caddie Encore

12 Apr

Back by popular demand…shower caddies as functional gift bags for the women at Wheeler Mission for Women and Children.  Our adhoc group of benefactors delivered 72 overstuffed caddies for Christmas last year.

We have a “green light” and a jump start for 2016.  A friend of a friend saved LLBean outdoor seat cushion covers from the REJECT bin.  The Plan:  Recycle as shower caddies.  Enough fabric for 13 of the 72.

Outdoor seat cushion covers undergoing "ripping" or deconstruction.

Outdoor seat cushion covers undergoing “ripping” or deconstruction.

I asked our group leader (who also has Master Black Belt Six Sigma certification), if there was VOC (voice of customer) feedback to incorporate this year.  Her suggestion…”leave off the button holes”.  Yes, I put button holes in the caddies last year to drain water that might accumulate in the bottom.

Six equally spaced button holes on a radius is a little time consuming.

Six equally spaced button holes on a radius is a little time consuming.

I did that without DRBTR!  (Design Review Based upon Test Results).  Do shower caddies without slots hold water?  YES.  Is that a problem?  Maybe.  Search for a suitable mesh fabric bottom was unsuccessful.

Mock up for test

Mock up for test:  Fill with one cup of water.

  1. No slots:            Drains      3.42-3.70 minutes          Over twenty times as slow
  2. One slot:            Drains        .60-.70 minutes            Four times as slow
  3. Two slots:          Drains        .28-.38 minutes            Twice as slow
  4. Three slots:   Drains      .15-.18 minutes         Baseline

The winner is a three slot design for the few occasions when water may accumulate it is a reasonable feature to have.  I will use parallel slots to save the time preparing the radial layout.

Here we go AGAIN!



Channeling grandmothers

29 Dec

What happens when three TV remotes (and only one fully functional) are combined with three rocking chairs, dining table and chairs, two ottomans plus one TV? …CHAOS!

First things first.  All the remotes are restored and fully functional.



The next part channels grandmothers talents to make “holsters” to hold the remotes between uses.

We found three worn finger tip towels.  I cut them down the middle to get proportions to match and hemmed cut edges.  The short sides are sewn together.  Fold over half to make pocket and sew sides.  Sew two sets of antique snaps (if I had been home I would have used Velcro) to be able to secure “holster” over arm of chair.

Ladies and gentlemen, this project was much easier than explaining TV remote controls to my grandmothers.  May they rest in peace, not knowing.






Salvage pick…my first

13 Jun

To fans of “Flea Market Flip”, “West End Salvage” and “Salvage Dawgs” intrigued with the creativity to repurpose, reinvent and reuse “picks” demonstrated on every episode.  I have been.

I seek  inspiration from my first “pick”.





Overhead rack for kitchen utensils?

Overhead rack for garden tools?

Wind chime with bicycle sprockets clanging?

See thru lamp “shade” with key rings linked together hanging from the rim?

Linked key rings

Linked key rings

I worked in this direction until I checked the weight.  A lamp would need a very sturdy base.

Suggestions?  Comments?

Found at Baggage Claim

13 Feb

Indianapolis International Airport has a sense of humor!

Have a seat 1

Waiting on your luggage?  Have a seat 1

Waiting on your luggage? Have a seat 2.
Waiting on your luggage? Have a seat 2.


Waiting on your luggage?  Have a seat  3.

Waiting on your luggage? Have a seat 3.


The hard side Samsonite back of the “chair” looks like our Goodwill donation of several years ago.  Great idea for re-purposing antique luggage.  Notice that none of the components have rollers or telescoping handles.

I believe this is a lovely welcome area to Baggage Claim and the mystery of what happens to unclaimed bags is solved.



Small space: Office annex

20 Dec

This desk is still my go to spot for surfing and email.

Almost new desk

One of my favorite things, is being able to have my Macbook Pro and iPad charging on the keyboard tray while only my old laptop takes desktop space.

The new requirement at home was a space for career/professional matters.  The solution is…

Office Annex

Office Annex

The carts(cabinets) circa early 1990s stow binders out of site and have open shelves for books, boxes and tray.  The lamp was spared from donation thanks to a small clamp.  Black and white photos were a gift from a co-worker.  The pair of narrow black shelves were unused from a set of four and the perfect proportions for this wall space.  My next task is to make this a higher density storage solution by scanning additional reference material.

Even potting benches need cleaning

8 Sep
Potting bench 1

Potting bench 1

Potting Bench 2
Potting Bench 2

Potting benches get dirty and cluttered!

We found this mottled brown laminate countertop in the sale bin.  It has been perfect for this space, my purpose and an outstanding value for $5.  It is installed at the right ergonomic height just below my elbow, which creates a space to tuck away several trash containers storing potting soil and pots.  Dividing perennials is the number one project.

This is also our central bird and squirrel feeding preparation area.  Our fly-in diner serves suet cakes, corn on the cob, thistle, hummingbird nectar, various mixes for wild birds and when the price is right….peanuts.

Cleaned and ready for another season.