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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

31 Days of Decorating with Junk: A Simple, Vintage Halloween (plus free printables!)


This blog post might be too late to inspire you for this year, but there’s always next year, right?

halloween porch

We finally got around to carving a pumpkin last night

drawing a jackolantern

and then decorated our porch a little bit.

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We created a pretty spooky porch, don’t you think?

Pumpkins, a vintage suitcase painted for the holiday, and hubby’s vintage monster figurines all work together pretty well.

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I braved the wind and rain today to take a few more pictures for you…

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I made the Halloween banner and the skeleton is vintage, from hubby’s grandma.

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And now, your FREE HALLOWEEN PRINTABLE BANNER and THREE BONUS PRINTABLES (for tomorrow.  Or next year.)

These printables are a free gift for my email subscribers.  In order to download the files, you must sign up for my email list below.  After you sign up, you’ll get a confirmation email that has the link to download the printables. (Check your spam folder if you don’t see it right away.)  Any questions, just let me know in the comments!

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Happy Halloween!
This post is part of 31 Days of Decorating with Junk: Vintage, Antique and Unique for your Home and Garden.

decorating with junk

To follow along with 31 Days of Decorating with Junk, enter your email address (top right) or become a fan on Facebook.
See you tomorrow!

i'm doing it! 
31 Days of Decorating with Junk Posts:

31 Days of Decorating with Junk Introduction
Farmhouse Style Front Porch 
Modern Farmhouse Design 
Repurposed Upright Piano 
Our Exterior Makeover Reveal
Adjustable Game Table Makeover (In a Ballard Designs Whitewashed Style) 
The HomeShed's September Sale & Fall Decor Inspiration 
Proof that I'm a HardCore Junker
My Gallery Wall
HomeShed Sale Preview and Christmas Inspiration
Cute Green Dresser with Chalkboard Labels
My Favorite Paint for Antique Furniture
Kris's Cabin Tour
Essential Tools for Repurposing
Making a Custom Glaze
Fixing a Stripped Out Screw Hole
How to Make Your Home Your Own
Spray or Brush?
Five from the Archives
Owning a Junky Business Part 1
Owning a Junky Business Part 2
1840 House
Simple Vintage Halloween
Five (More) from the Archives
Crib Spring Repurpose
Owning a Junky Business Part 3
Quick Chair-Do
Pallet Wall Art
Not So Junky Basement
Owning a Junky Business Part 4
31 Days Wrap Up


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

31 Days of Decorating with Junk: An 1840 House and Junky Projects from Another Iowa Blogger!

Finally, someone came to my rescue!  I think I'm about 7 posts behind on this "31 Days" series, so when Kelli from The Sustainable Couple asked if she could guest post some of her junky house projects, I jumped at the chance!
And now, Kelli....


Hey there! We're pumped to introduce ourselves and tell y'all a little bit about our home and junky DIY projects, but before we get to the good stuff, I’m Kelli:


I’m the woman behind the curtain at The Sustainable Couple, a blog that documents our efforts to live a self-sufficient lifestyle with a third of an acre in the city. We {er...I...} also write about fun and funky DIY projects around our home, and you'll notice that most of them involve JUNK. Holla!

Before I forget, this stunning male specimen is John, and he’s my life saver when it comes to all of these home projects. I mean, the dude is a construction worker, after all:


And he {an electrician by trade} does almost 100 percent of the construction legwork:

With us in this simple life are Bruce and Manny:


We live in Eastern Iowa in the historic district of a larger city. We’ve lived in our home, which was built in 1840, for just about five years. Isn’t she a beaut?



It would be an understatement to say that we enjoy renovating and writing about our home, and undertaking frugal projects. We’ve done it all when it comes to home renovations. 

Seriously. 

Every room in this house has been touched by renovation - plaster walls that were days away from collapsing on our bed while we slept were no bueno, amigos. Safety was an issue when we moved in, as well as making it beautiful and cozy for us and our brood of pooches.

Most of our DIY projects are comprised of 100% upcycled - or repurposed - materials. For example, when we wanted to add some pizazz to our master bedroom, I used a few old doors that we had sitting around, and made a new headboard.



We gave our foyer a facelift by simply slapping on some paint and by upcycling decor from other areas in our home. Talk about easy and frugal!




Most recently, we renovated our bathroom on the cheap. We completely gutted this bad boy and rebuilt it for less than $2,500. Granted, we did 90% of the work, and our marriage is a bit stronger as a result *insert sarcasm*.





There are some elements of our historic home that didn't survive the many years of modernization. There was a big wood burning stove in the kitchen, and clearly that's not there anymore




We don’t have a fireplace in our home, but created faux fire place in the dining room using an el-cheapo fireplace front and, you guessed it, decor items repurposed from other areas of our home.


It gives the illusion of a fireplace, and when we have parties I write a special message to the guests on the chalkboard. I haven't decided if this is the permanent spot yet, so until then, this bad boy is just going to lean against the wall.


I feel like these photos don't do these DIY projects justice. Do you ever feel that way? You know, when you work so hard on a project and love, love, love how it turns out, but that quick photo to your sister doesn't capture the essence of your work. Me too. 

If I could invite each and every one of you over for a straw-ber-ita and show you my home, I totally would. And it wouldn't be weird at all.   

Since that isn't a feasible option, I think you should LIKE us on Facebook. Or follow us on Pinterest. Or just read our blog. Whatever blows your skirt up, sister. 

Thanks for reading! And a big, sincere THANK YOU to Katie, for allowing us to 'chat your ear off' {er, 'write your eyeballs out'...? I don't know what I'm doing}. My heart is just singing after this opportunity, Katie. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
This post is part of 31 Days of Decorating with Junk: Vintage, Antique and Unique for your Home and Garden.

decorating with junk

To follow along with 31 Days of Decorating with Junk, enter your email address (top right) or become a fan on Facebook.
See you tomorrow!

i'm doing it! 
31 Days of Decorating with Junk Posts:

31 Days of Decorating with Junk Introduction
Farmhouse Style Front Porch 
Modern Farmhouse Design 
Repurposed Upright Piano 
Our Exterior Makeover Reveal
Adjustable Game Table Makeover (In a Ballard Designs Whitewashed Style) 
The HomeShed's September Sale & Fall Decor Inspiration 
Proof that I'm a HardCore Junker
My Gallery Wall
HomeShed Sale Preview and Christmas Inspiration
Cute Green Dresser with Chalkboard Labels
My Favorite Paint for Antique Furniture
Kris's Cabin Tour
Essential Tools for Repurposing
Making a Custom Glaze
Fixing a Stripped Out Screw Hole
How to Make Your Home Your Own
Spray or Brush?
Five from the Archives
Owning a Junky Business Part 1
Owning a Junky Business Part 2
1840 House
Simple Vintage Halloween
Five (More) from the Archives
Crib Spring Repurpose
Owning a Junky Business Part 3
Quick Chair-Do
Pallet Wall Art
Not So Junky Basement
Owning a Junky Business Part 4
31 Days Wrap Up

Monday, October 28, 2013

31 Days of Decorating with Junk: Owning a Junky Business Part 2

Time for more questions and answers!
q&a

1.  Where do you find your items?
I get most of my stuff from garage sales, thrift shops, or picking at a house/farm. 
Garage sales: usually very cheap, but they take a lot of time and it’s hard to go with my little kids.  I have found some amazing things for VERY little money, though!
Thrift shops: hit and miss.  Our thrift shops have really raised their furniture prices, lately.  And I’d rather pay a quarter for a picture frame at a garage sale than $1.99 at my local goodwill.  That said, I still absolutely love thrifting.  I wouldn’t have said that fifteen years ago, but the truth is that thrifting is in my blood.  (It’s not uncommon for me to pull in the Goodwill only to find my mom, dad, or one of my aunts already shopping in there.)
Picking: Once people knew I had a business, they started inviting me over to look through their junk.  I love picking through people’s old stuff, and have picked through several farm buildings for things like toolboxes, chicken feeders, and license plates.  I’ve also been through several antique collectors’ estates once they’ve passed on, and that’s a great way to purchase “collections.”  Negotiating price in these situations can be tricky, though and sometimes makes me nervous.   But so far, it’s one of my favorite ways to get items for the shop.
Other shops:  There are a couple of shops in surrounding towns that are very junky (and not in the good way.)  I often get great deals there.
Auctions: I wish I could go to more auctions.  There are a lot of estate auctions around here, and I’m told that you can get things really reasonably.  But auctions take a lot of time, and are not kid friendly, so I rarely get to go.  Maybe in a few (15?) years.

2.  How do you price things?
Not very carefully!
Pricing is my absolute LEAST favorite thing to do.  But when I do get around to it, I ask myself, “What would this cost (new) at Target?”  And then I knock off a few dollars.  I want my prices low enough that people look at things and HAVE to have them!  Lately, I think my prices have been creeping up, accidently.  I will be thinking a lot about that before my spring sale.
I have heard that some antique dealers like to triple their money.  And some like to quintuple it.  I guess I’m not that good of a buyer.  I shoot for triple, but sometimes it’s more and sometimes less.  I figure it all evens out in the end.
If I paint a piece of furniture, I like to price it at least $100 above my cost, to make it worth my time.
My mom (who knows more about "real” antiques than I do) and I have had a lot of discussions about decorative value vs. antique value.  Something may have a high antique value because it’s rare or whatever, but it has low decorative value because it’s ugly it doesn’t fit in with modern décor styles.  I tend to price things on the “decorative value” end and she leans towards “antique value.”

3.  Do you buy and fix up what you think people want or what you like?
Both.  This is a very hard question for me to answer, and something I’ve struggled with for awhile.
I buy furniture that I like.  But I like a variety of styles, from mid-century modern to antique-antique, to vintage industrial.
I will buy almost any small item, for the right price.  Since I’m only open 4-6 times a year, I want there to be something for everyone.  And I’ve had some seriously ugly not-my-style accessories in the shed that have sold almost immediately!
I will not buy things that have antique value if I don’t know, personally, what they’re worth. For example, I don’t know what old tools are worth, so I don’t buy them.  I’ll take them if I get them for free (usually bundled with something else) but that’s it.

4.  How much time do you spend on your business weekly?
Some weeks, I “work” 2 hours.  Sale weeks, I work 40-60 hours.  But the great thing is that those weeks are spread out and I have time to recuperate in between.
I have no idea how many hours I really spend picking, organizing, pricing, fixing things, painting things, advertising, and rearranging.  But it all takes longer than I expect.  I’m terrible at estimating how long a project will take, and then I attempt too many things.  But I know that I would never be able to run my business if I were also working full time, mostly because of my kids. 

5.  How do you balance it all?
Not very well. :)
Because of The HomeShed’s sale schedule, it’s a cycle.  I’m not able to balance it well the week before a sale.  Dishes pile up, I don’t cook much, I get behind on laundry, and my house becomes a disaster.  But after the sale, I usually have a “catch-up” day to get things back to normal.
In June, I started working part time (10-15 hours a week) for the Iowa Turkey Federation.  Even though it cuts into time I could be working at the Shed, it’s worth it.  I love what I do there, and I now have a steady income to use to pay for daycare when I need it.  This fall, my kids have been at daycare regularly, but I’m hoping that things will slow down this winter and I can keep them at home with me more.  But I’ve realized, through trial and error, that working from home while they are here is not good for me or them.  I would much rather they be at the wonderful, preschool-like in-home daycare that I take them to, than feeling ignored at home by mom while I stress out about getting things done.  Our flexible schedule right now really is a great thing.


This post is part of 31 Days of Decorating with Junk: Vintage, Antique and Unique for your Home and Garden.

decorating with junk

To follow along with 31 Days of Decorating with Junk, enter your email address (top right) or become a fan on Facebook.
See you tomorrow!

i'm doing it! 
31 Days of Decorating with Junk Posts:

31 Days of Decorating with Junk Introduction
Farmhouse Style Front Porch 
Modern Farmhouse Design 
Repurposed Upright Piano 
Our Exterior Makeover Reveal
Adjustable Game Table Makeover (In a Ballard Designs Whitewashed Style) 
The HomeShed's September Sale & Fall Decor Inspiration 
Proof that I'm a HardCore Junker
My Gallery Wall
HomeShed Sale Preview and Christmas Inspiration
Cute Green Dresser with Chalkboard Labels
My Favorite Paint for Antique Furniture
Kris's Cabin Tour
Essential Tools for Repurposing
Making a Custom Glaze
Fixing a Stripped Out Screw Hole
How to Make Your Home Your Own
Spray or Brush?
Five from the Archives
Owning a Junky Business Part 1
Owning a Junky Business Part 2
1840 House
Simple Vintage Halloween
Five (More) from the Archives
Crib Spring Repurpose
Owning a Junky Business Part 3
Quick Chair-Do
Pallet Wall Art
Not So Junky Basement
Owning a Junky Business Part 4
31 Days Wrap Up


Sunday, October 27, 2013

31 Days of Decorating with Junk: Owning a Junky Business


I can’t count how many people came through The HomeShed  and mentioned that they dreamed of owning a business like mine.  And I know there are more of you out there, so I thought I’d give you a little behind-the-scenes info and answer some questions y’all submitted on my facebook page.
Background:  The HomeShed is just over 1 year old.  It is an occasional sale, in a permanent location, on a neighbor’s farm.  We have had 5 big sales and a few smaller events.  Before you go any further, read how The HomeShed got started.

q&a
Today’s questions focus on how The HomeShed started out.

1.  When you first got going, did you have a nest egg to get started?

Nope. But I did have a shed full of junk, so I had a lot of my inventory ready to go.  And my first sale included my junk and two of my friends’ junk, too.  Like a garage sale.
It’s important to note, however, that I have virtually NO overhead.  I do not pay rent on my space.  I do not pay utilities for my space (the only utility I use is electric.)  My costs (besides inventory and craft supplies) are advertising and office supplies like receipt books, sticker labels, cardstock for price tags, tape, and string.
It’s also important to note that I really made very little money from that first sale last year.  Our goal was to leave a good impression so people would come back in the spring.  But, after the first sale, I was not in the hole, and that was enough for me!

2.  When you got started how many items did you start with?

I had enough stuff to fill a 20x40 shed and a patio at least that size.  But as I said, I was selling much of it for my friends.  I did not charge commission or anything because they helped prepping for the sale and working during the sale.
I think I painted 3 or 4 pieces for the first sale, and I had several pieces of furniture from my own house.  I sold 2 pieces of furniture (armoire and buffet), 4 dining chairs, and 3 upholstered occasional chairs that weekend.
For our spring sale, I painted 2 desks, 2 dressers, two chairs, and five end tables.  After the whole summer, I still have 1 desk, 1 dresser, and 1 end table that haven’t sold.  (In my experience, painted furniture does NOT sell as quickly as we’d like to think!)
Most of my profit came from “smalls” – mostly accessories from my own house and my friends'.  Some was also from garage sales and thrift stores.

3.  Location (in a city, small town, country paved road or country gravel road) pros and cons

My “shed” is on a farm on a paved road in the middle of nowhere.  It is about 15 minutes from 5 towns, one of which is a LARGE town.  But it is a highly travelled paved road and we have signs outside to maximize the potential from drivers-by.  We have had so many people say, “I drive by all the time and saw you out here and…”
I have been to several barn sales on gravel roads and it works, but I don’t think it’s ideal.  I went to one sale that was 3 miles in on squishy, yucky, muddy gravel and it was terrible.  I felt so bad for the owner. 
I cannot give advice on whether a shop in a city or small town would be better.  I can only speak from my experience, which tells me that our location on a paved road is GREAT!

4.  What’s an “occasional sale?”  Would you recommend it over a regular shop?

An occasional sale is a shop that’s only open certain times.  Some in our area are open the last weekend of the month, May – October.  We were open 4 times this year.  April, June, September and October.
Occasional sales work well for us.  I cannot devote the time needed to run a shop with regular hours.  Although many shops in our area are only open Friday – Sunday, that’s 4 weekends a MONTH I’d be away from my family, instead of 4 weekends a year.
A break in between sales means that I can totally rearrange the Shed and work on some new pieces before customers come again.  And, because I’m not tied down to the shop all weekend, I can go garage sale-ing and get some great things at even better prices.
For our customers, I think occasional sales create a sense of urgency.  Getting to the sale because more of a priority because it’s their only chance until…?  And whatever they see might be gone before the next sale!

5.  How many projects did you try that didn’t work?

Only 12 (million.)
And it’s soooo frustrating.
I’ve tried to focus on quality of projects, not quantity.  So if I find something that works well, I’m going with it.  If I try something and it’s a flop, I try not to waste too much time on it.
One piece of advice that has really inspired me is this:
Nobody Tells This to Beginners (by Ira Glass)


Whew.  That was a lot of text without pictures.  To see pictures of The HomeShed, check it out on facebook.
I’ve got at least 10 more questions to answer, but I thought it would be best to give you information in smaller, more digestible chunks.  Watch for more posts about the business side of The HomeShed soon.
In the meantime, post your questions in the comments so that I can answer them in the future posts!

This post is part of 31 Days of Decorating with Junk: Vintage, Antique and Unique for your Home and Garden.

decorating with junk

To follow along with 31 Days of Decorating with Junk, enter your email address (top right) or become a fan on Facebook.
See you tomorrow!

i'm doing it! 
31 Days of Decorating with Junk Posts:

31 Days of Decorating with Junk Introduction
Farmhouse Style Front Porch 
Modern Farmhouse Design 
Repurposed Upright Piano 
Our Exterior Makeover Reveal
Adjustable Game Table Makeover (In a Ballard Designs Whitewashed Style) 
The HomeShed's September Sale & Fall Decor Inspiration 
Proof that I'm a HardCore Junker
My Gallery Wall
HomeShed Sale Preview and Christmas Inspiration
Cute Green Dresser with Chalkboard Labels
My Favorite Paint for Antique Furniture
Kris's Cabin Tour
Essential Tools for Repurposing
Making a Custom Glaze
Fixing a Stripped Out Screw Hole
How to Make Your Home Your Own
Spray or Brush?
Five from the Archives
Owning a Junky Business Part 1
Owning a Junky Business Part 2
1840 House
Simple Vintage Halloween
Five (More) from the Archives
Crib Spring Repurpose
Owning a Junky Business Part 3
Quick Chair-Do
Pallet Wall Art
Not So Junky Basement
Owning a Junky Business Part 4
31 Days Wrap Up