Monday, July 22, 2013

Vintage Metal Lawn Chairs

My husband and I are flea market junkies.  We love perusing rows and rows of forgotten, broken down, rusty, furniture, light fixtures, tools, you name it!  We find joy in dreaming about how it was once used and how we might repurpose it and make it beautiful and useful again.  
{{Reduce*Reuse*Recycle right?!}}

One of our favorite times of year is fall.  The weather cools down, from the blazing Nebraska humidity.  The Huskers are on the field in Lincoln once again.  Our anniversary rolls around on September 9th, reminding us why we fell in love all those years ago.... but our favorite fall activity is the Junk Jaunt!

The third weekend each September, Nebraska's Junk Jaunt is held.  It is 500 miles and three days of garage sales and vintage and antique gluttony from sun-up to sun-down.  
Towns along Nebraska state highways 2, 11 and 92 are represented with many towns in between.

Below is a map of the Junk Jaunt route.  Each town, highlighted along the red path, hosts sales as well as all the towns in the middle of the loop. 


From the Junk Jaunt website, Junk Jaunt is described in this way:

"Garage sale regulars call themselves “Junkers” and a “Jaunt” is a sprint or short run.  Thus, you could say it is ‘running for the junk’.  
Nebraska’s JUNK JAUNT® is nearly 500 miles of garage sales, collectibles, antiques, vintage, gastric delights and just plain fun.
It began in 2004 with about 75 vendors and 1,000 shoppers. In 2011 and 2012, license plate surveys and guest books told us that 20,000 people attended from 34 states (including Hawaii), several Canadians provinces and even a few foreign visitors.    
We find that people are inventive in their reasons for shopping. Some use the JUNK JAUNT® as a Mother & Daughter weekend, Father & Son, Sisters’ outings or fun excursions during a Family Reunion.  Some use it as a celebration for having ”maintained weight loss”, while other groups had a contest to see who could get the best buy of the day or who had made the ugliest purchase of the day. 
As it says in our MOTTO: “You are limited only by your imagination and the law”."

We hop in our red Ford truck early Friday morning, the first day of Junk Jaunt and head out.  We stop for coffee and with our Junk Jaunt shopper guide in hand we make our way to as many stops as we can until we run out of daylight.  Purchasing a Junk Jaunt Shopper Guide is a necessity!  It is a book that lists all the sales each town is having.  Individual vendors names, addresses and items up for grabs are listed.  It saves us so much time as we are on the hunt to check our desired items off our list.  We highlight the sales we definitely want to stop at so we make sure not to miss them and hit many others along the way! 

 Some years we have made it a three day event, staying in little motels along the 500 mile route.  Other years we have just gone out for a day or two, laying our heads on our pillows at home each evening to rest up for the next days' activities.  No matter how long we "jaunt" we always return with a truck full of treasures.

One of my very favorite JJ purchases ever was this set of vintage metal lawn chairs. 

As I mentioned, I usually make a list of things I'd like to find, before we head out and these chairs were on my list two years ago.  I didn't know what they were called but I had seen them various places painted really fun, vibrant colors and loved them!   After a little research I learned that they are referred to as "tulip" or "clamshell" chairs and they are from the 1950s.  (Don't they have a great name?!  No wonder I love them!)  These three beauties took me all weekend to find.  I picked them up individually, at different sales along the Junk Jaunt route.  I love that they are mismatched.  I've had them stored, since I bought them, trying to decide how to paint them.  I have narrowed it down to two choices but I think that blue ombre, in the aqua family is the way to go!  Ombre is a term basically meaning varying shades of the same color.

Here are a few of my inspiration photos from Google images:


Adorable, right?!

My second choice is to paint them all the same color, since they are all a slightly different shaped chair.  
If I go that route I think a really sparkly gold would be perfect.  So pretty! 


{{I am seriously in LOVE with that moose head from White Faux Taxidermy.  
I think it may need a home right over my desk!}}  

So, there you have it.  My dilemma.  Both would go great with our outdoor space so it is a hard decision!  
A friend even suggested one gold and two ombre.... hmmm... I kind of like that idea too!

I have a little time to think about it.  My grinder and I have plans to spend a couple days together, later this week, grinding 50+ years of gunk and old paint off of them and then it will be painting time!   
I can't wait to see how they turn out.

What do you think?  Which would you choose?  Have you ever painted outdoor furniture before?  Do you have any tips or tricks you'd like to share with me? 
I hope you come back to see the finished results.

Until then..... Have a lovely day!    



Thursday, July 18, 2013

Farmhouse Style Desk

Hi All!
A little over a month ago I decided to take a leap of faith and go back to school.  I've been out for a "while" now so it was a huge, nerve wracking decision for me to make.  With an awesome, supportive husband and family I jumped in with both feet.  I'm so glad I did!  I have enjoyed these summer classes so much.  They have been challenging but I feel great knowing that I am working towards a "greater good" for our family. 
The last month or so I have been so busy and up late nights studying, writing essays, memorizing bones and muscles and reading, reading, reading.  Since I have never had a desk of my own I started out at the kitchen table doing my schoolwork.  With two littles at home that constantly want to color and tear the pages out of my books and spill milk on my computer know if they can help me do homework, my time there was short lived.  I knew I needed to be able to get away, where I'd have a little peace and quiet.  

My next stop was my bedroom vanity.  That worked great for a few weeks.  It is an awesome, mint colored, vintage dry-sink that I scored a year or so ago at a local antique store.  I love it!  I was able to set up there, lock myself in the bedroom and get quite a lot accomplished.  But it is only about three and a half feet wide and my computer and small printer took up the entire surface.  I had books, papers and folders spread out all around me on the floor.  And I couldn't scoot my chair up to it like a desk because there was nowhere for my legs to go.  It got sort of uncomfortable sitting there after a while.  Not cool.   

As the weeks progressed and I had more homework to do, I got more and more frustrated at my lack of space and the disorganized mess that I had accumulated.  One night, as I was drooling over all the gorgeous DIY projects on +Shanty2Chic's website, I searched the word "desk" and LOVED what I saw.  Whitney, half of the creative genious behind Shanty-2-Chic, was in a similar situation as I was.  She lost her blogging area when her fifth child came along, so she needed a new blogging desk that would fit in her bedroom.  What she came up with was so beautiful, the perfect size for my space and just what I was looking for!  She worked with an amazing DIY momma from Alaska, +Ana White, to create the plans for her farmhouse style desk.  Ana and her husband built their home from scratch, all by themselves, and out of necessity, Ana starting building furniture for her home too.  Whitney asked her to come up with plans for a desk and the outcome was wonderful!  Ana's desk plans were really easy to understand.  I showed them to my husband and we decided to give it a shot.  We had never built anything like this from scratch before so we were excited and nervous to give it a shot.

With the desk plans and shopping list from Ana's blog in hand, we went to Menards and purchased everything we needed.
{{I must say that we had some pretty cute little helpers too!}}

DIY Diva In Training

"I'm here to look cute!"

Once we got all our lumber home, we took out the cut list from Ana's site and started cutting all the pieces according to her measurements.  As my husband finished cutting I sanded all the rough edges.
Here's the beginning of our cut lumber pile.  Notice my little Ryobi sander?  It is perfect for projects like this!   

I love that it is small and cordless so I don't have to worry about finding a place to plug it in when I am working in the backyard.  I also love that it doesn't vibrate my hand do death like some sanders do.  And the little sanding papers are attached with velcro so they are so easy to replace when they get worn down.  The pointed front edge of the sander is perfect to sand more detailed pieces too!  And like all my other Ryobi power tools the batteries are interchangeable so I didn't have to worry about having a battery for each one.  I only own two!  When one runs out I put it on the charger and use the other and just flip flop them.
Easy peasy!

When we had everything cut and sanded we started piecing together the legs, following Ana's instructions.  We put a small amount of Elmer's wood glue on each piece before we screwed them together.

There are lots of different kinds of wood glue out there but I figure that if Elmer's was good enough for me when I was five years old in kindergarten, when I got my first bottle of glue, it is good enough for my DIY projects now!  

Here are the screws we used to piece everything together.  They are a 2 1/2" finish screw.  We found these at Ace Hardware but they are available many places.

 Here are the legs up-side-down after we attached the feet.  Aren't these little darlin's so cute?!

Once we had the legs together I stained everything with my favorite wood stain from Varathane.  It is called "Early American".  It is the perfect shade of medium-brown with no red or orange undertones.   You can get it at Menards, near the paint section.

I love this stain because it is a gel, so it is not as messy to work with as liquid stain.  The directions say to squeeze some out and apply it with a lint free cloth but I have found if I squeeze a quarter size amount out and use an angled paintbrush to work it into the wood in the direction of the wood grain (especially into the nooks and crannies of these desk legs) and  follow it with the rag it works a lot better.  And you will use less stain that way because more is getting on the wood and not just soaking into your rag.

Once everything was stained, we let it dry overnight.
We came back the next day and put the top of the desk on the legs.  The top is made from two 2 x 12s.  We screwed them on with finish screws.  I didn't bother to fill the screw holes.  I love that they add a little to the rustic look, along with the natural knots in the lumber.  

Once we had the top of the desk attached, I sprayed the whole thing with clear, satin finish polyurethane.  I don't remember what kind I used.  I think any kind would be fine.  

  After a few accessories from Target, TJ Maxx and Hobby Lobby it was complete.
 And there you have it!!

Didn't it turn out great?!?!  I am so excited to have a space to study, do homework and blog!  I've never had a desk of my own so this is like a dream come true.  It fits perfectly in a little nook in our bedroom so it is like my own little oasis.  Notice the two corner windows?  They let in such beautiful sunlight and go out to our backyard so I can sit and work and watch my sweet kiddos swinging or playing with the dog.  I'm so proud of my husband and I.  I think we make a pretty great team!  

What do you think?  I'd love to hear from you.  Have you ever built anything from scratch?  Do you have any "go-to" products that you would suggest?  I love to try new things!
Until later... Have a lovely day!