Thursday, December 30, 2010

it started with the doors

This is the favorite bench.  I really wish I had a better photo of it though. Made with 2x6 scrap legs, half of an old solid door and lovely corbels. I finished it off with a carved embellishment on top.  It was majestic!  A throne.  Made by the Queen....ha,ha. I got started creating as "laura's salvage design" because of doors and corbels.  I was flabergasted (sp?)when beautiful doors were removed from old house when being remodeled and replaced with new ones.....Like new doors were better?  How could they possibly be made with a higher level of craftsmanship or better ingredients?  Old growth wood and actual steel & cast iron hardware isn't good enough?  It's laughable.  I had salvaged all these doors to "do" something I started there.  I just wish I documented it better.  I am learning that i need to consistently take photos....The issue lays with quantity.

The church steeple bird house (on the majestic bench above)is still in my collection.  It was made to be on a column stand. I couldn't part with it.  Here are more that I created for a friends mom....some ask if I am doing my research for correct hole diameter for birds.  Bird experts frown when I tell them I wasn't concerned about it.... In my head I'm saying......"oh geez!...birds don't care.....they'll make their nest in a crack of a tree.  They don't measure and ponder their other rental options." But I refrain....  I don't mention that most often it's the yellow jackets that move in first.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

bargain shopping

Since the forecast was for more rain today, I took off this early and headed North Portland.  Killingsworth and N. Mississippi St. to be precise.  Kinda surprised by big white flakes, but it couldn't keep me from treading one of my favorite places to find goodies....The Rebuilding Center.   I didn't plan ahead very well, as the building isn't heated -it was a bit cold.  Maybe that was a good thing?  I picked out some cedar fence boards (pre-picketed), found a few 2x4's in a lovely shade of sea-foam and a interesting mix of trim pieces. Another great find were these table legs. Can't believe I found all four of them in a barrel of crappy wood.  I always head for the short pieces of random trim and anything painted a cool color.  Love the seafoam!  Thank goodness i was freezing as I was on a time schedule....meeting "big city" girl friends for lunch.  Wouldn't miss that for anything! 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

vintage is best

I love this photo.  I acquired it in Northern Indiana at an Amish Auction house about 7 years ago.  I bought a suitcase of old photos and then sold most of them on ebay when I got home to pay for the rest of the stuff we bought that day.  Kinda kicking myself now that these type of photos are so sought after.  Should of scanned them and sold the copies.  Oh well.  This photo speaks to me though.  I do sometimes wonder who it is.  The history of that day is lost forever.  It's sad to me to think of that loss.  That sadness is similar to the feeling I have when I see a old home being torn down.  Seeing that big pile of wood ready to be burned.....Or when a home is neglected and it's rotting away.  Giving wood that has been salvaged a second life is inspiring.  Creating new heirlooms with that wood gives it a new history.  People love to know the history of the wood I create with.  I salvaged from a big red barn down the road one year.  Relaying the history of the barn and that it was still being used as a barn was like candy to the customers that bought the items.  It also gives them a connection to a life they've never appreciated or experienced.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

not much progress

wine country
It's so gloomy outside. The complete opposite than this sunset photo of our riverbottom..... One minute it's black stormy and blowing and 10 minutes later the sun comes out for a few.  Very confusing.  Our farm is not pretty in the winter.  I just wish we could breath the fresh air of the summer with the windows in the house wide open.  We live in Yamhill County.  It formally was hicksville to Portlanders....Now it's "wine country".  Our family farm has increased in appraised value with the discovery of our fertile soil for grapes, but now we just have to pay more taxes on the same run down property. Unfortunately one day our inheritance taxes will be more because of this "wine country" title of distinction.  Another little perk about being discovered is now we get the cyclists....they've discovered our road is a short cut from one another.  Every Thursday and Sunday, with my summer breeze, I also hear them whiz by.  I don't get smiles or waves when I'm out in the yard.  It's funny.  They just turn and observe.  Little do they know I once lived in Portland and Seattle.  I opted for the farm life.  I chose quiet over chaos.  I chose piles of scrap and land to roam over shoulder to shoulder bus rides and transients sleeping in the doorways.  I now wake up to coyotes barking rather than passer by-ers barfing in the street.  What a deal.  I can walk barefoot in my yard without worries of finding a hyperdermic (sp?)needle with my toes.  Only thing I worry about is the thistles.  So even though today as I'm looking outside at the farm and it's lack of beauty in this stormy weather.....I still know that our little farm is far more beautiful now than the black reflective streets of the big city.  I'm content to observe the glow of the big city from afar.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

paving my way...

The chimney that I spoke of earlier now paves my way daily.  I love bricks.  Especially when they're old... I'd pave the whole yard if I had enough.  They are getting harder and harder to find.  It's almost cheaper to buy new ones at the Blue and White store. They are smaller than normal bricks.....Just like the boards we buy new.  It really bugs me.  The plans I am using call for boards that are .75" thick and the ones I purchased are .699".    THAT TOTALLY SCREWED ME UP!  It comes out to be about 1/16 but it adds up.  What-ever!  I made lots of progress today on our new cubby / wall shelving system despite the strange thickness.  I worked until I couldn't see anymore.  I also found out the site on my new skill saw is off.  I figured it out about 6 cuts into the job but I thought I better just leave it for now.  The sun was out today and that was wonderful, but the east wind was bitter cold.  I've been inside 3 hours and I'm still cold.  Brrr!.... just got another shiver!  Well I better make this quick.  I'm watching "It's a wonderful Life" with my 92 yr. old Father-in-law.  He's never watched it before.......What?  I thought everyone had seen least 100 me!  Happy Holidays!  I'll post photos of my project tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

missing summertime

sunflowers planted along the silage corn.
volunteer sunflowers on our river bottom
  Summertime is a time of great productiveness for "laura's salvage design".  I miss the sun. I miss being energized and the drive I have in the warm months.   I can only imagine how people in Alaska (or similar areas) crave sunshine.  Maybe this is why I really love sunflowers....They just motivate me.   That's what I need today...MOTIVATION!  It's nasty and windy outside so I'm being productive inside.  I'm in the process of painting our bedroom.  I got 2 gallons a of an interesting grass/avocado paint.  Hubby hated it.....that's fair. (see photo below) Too much yellow. Reverting to my color theory lesson for my high schooler's....and knowing it was the yellow that was offensive and in need of balance out the problematic color you add the opposite color (please consult the good ol' color wheel for reference). Opposite of yellow is purple.... I've done this before when the regular priced paint I had mixed in "terracotta" reminded me of bad foundation I balanced out the pink by mixing in green.....worked like a charm.  Very nice mocha color.  Lovely bathroom color.  (I'll try showing you my bathroom another day)....I knew I had picked up yet another "Oops Paint" a couple weeks ago in a medium blue and blue is as close to purple that I I started concocting.  I ended up using the whole gallon of medium blue and got an interesting dark grey/blue green.  I know - duh. I took a photo....with the white trim it'll be fabulous!

Monday, December 20, 2010

deconstruction memories

1x12's galore....
I've mentioned Aunt Alice's house and all the resources I acquired from the deconstruction, so I thought I'd show you some photos. It was stinky from mice and I found some walls were filled 5 ft up with filbert shells.  It had to come down and it wasn't going down easy.  It was quite sturdy and did an impressive job standing up to the 100 yr. old white fir that came crashing down on it in Dec. 2006.  The in-laws were out east visiting relatives and could of been squished if they had been in their bed that night.  It took almost a year, but we salvaged wood weekly and tried to get a local company to deconstruct it but it was obvious it was up to us.  One afternoon I was getting a little impatient with my hubby and decided to get a big ol' chain.......I hooked it up to the front porch posts and to the back of my Ford F150 and pulled them out (see porch photo).  It just happened that when I was pulling away at them the neighbor with the track-hoe needed for the process stopped by.  I'm assuming he was worried that I was going to hurt myself....He brought it over within the hour.  I think the neighbors got a kick out of watching the slow demise of the house and my struggles.  It was kinda embarrassing having such a mess right next to the road.  In the mean time the in laws moved into the main farm house with my father in law and we planted a manufactured home about 20 ft. away from the mess.  I was happy to have a warm home with no spiders and central heating.  We had been living in another 100 yr. old home.  We needed to be on the family farm and warm.  So it's been fun.  I have brick walkways....and thousands of square nails and some really nice wood for my salvage design creations.....
Chimney going down...lots of bricks!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

finally on track

The vacation from the real job of Art Instructor has finally started. I got rid of the kid and I'm embarking on the latest LSD project (not the drug but laura's salvage design).....the bedroom.  I've finished the laundry room, the kitchen (for now), the bathroom and retiled the hall....I'm working north.  Nothing was ever done to this room except a quick coat of paint.  It's actually the den.....We decided to convert the MASTER bedroom into a den / guest room.  It's also where the hubby has his ugly recliner, his record collection, his record player and stereo set up (old school big stuff), his 16mm film collection, his book collection and his old toy collection....oh and his guns and his chest full of ammo.....I better stop as he is one of my biggest fans.  Ha, ha......Anyway we sleep in the tiny den and it's ugly and there's a big crack in the corner and the carpet needs cleaning (because of the dog).  So I am going for it.  I found 2 gallons of OOPS paint in a mellow medium green at Lowes and at $5 a gallon it sounded good. Ana White would be so proud.  Maybe this would be a good time to vent about the "deposit" on paint that our state has put in order. "Oh it's so exciting....blah, blah, to be a state that's leading the way in environmental issues....blah, blah"'s the article about it..... Just for the record we painted our house (interior and exterior) with recycled I know how it works.  Marion County gives it away by the pallet.  It's basically all khaki with tints of green or pink.  If a county has their act together it's great and when they don't the have to charge people who buy new paint.  When I first was charged the "deposit" I asked if I took a gallon into be recycled if I could get my money back.....the clerk had didn't think so.....but if it's a "deposit" and you don't get it back at some point it's just another TAX.  wouldn't  you agree?

little tiny houses

Add caption
rough cut lumber boxes with hand made metal handles
My Bird house windows are my favorite.  I always sell out at the summer shows.  Each one is different and well thought out.  Switching the hardware and arrangement until it's "just so"....I can't calculate an hourly total to figure the cost. They are labor intensive, but the joy i get in creating them is well worth it.  This summer when I return as "laura's salvage design" and as a vendor to the Cracked Pots  Community hopefully I will be remembered.  I suppose it was foolish of me to walk away.  I had customers looking for me in my "regular" spot....oh well, there will be others.  Also pictured here are my rough cut boxes.  The hubby creates the handles in the shop and I pull the square nails out of the gorgeous 1x12's.  We salvaged the boards from the deconstruction of Aunt Alice's house.  They were a vertical as part of the exterior wall.  I saved as many as I could.  Even the cracked and broken ones.  I cut slats for the bottoms (usually out of cedar scraps) and coat them with clear acrylic.  They are gorgeous for plants and garden tools outside or mail, towels or firewood indoors.  The rough cut marks are sanded a bit but still beautiful.  Lot of history and very multipurpose.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

gotta be fast

tacky kitchen island
I spotted a free pallet yesterday....unfortunately i was in my "luxury sedan" and I've promised myself not to haul wood or dogs in it.  I will take the rig today.  Maybe do a loop through the industrial area at lunch.....sounds like I'm looking for drugs.  I do need a good supplier - of scrap. Ha. Of lately, my brother in law has been my only supplier.... cedar and sometimes even some of the good brazilian hardwood floors scraps.  I try and hook up through Craig's List in the free section or materials but it's always a race.  I have had great success giving things away on C.L., but never getting free stuff.  I ripped out a "island" in my kitchen and posted it.  It was gone within an hour or so.  The folks who came to get it were really I would be if I got lucky.  I guess the name of the game is you have to be fast.
My kitchen & dining room has reaped the most changes lately.....besides ripping out the island, we have put in simulated flooring and wainscotting.  Is that the correct term or spelling?  Never quite sure how to say it.  I created the wainscotting with the tongue n groove boards from the house I mentioned in my last post. It was Aunt Alice and Aunt Pearl's home.  My husband has many old time stories about the pair.  I went and actually bought simulated wood 1x2's for the top ledge. So that project is done and now on to the bedroom.  My husband doesn't believe in using the dresser to store his clothing so I am going to build himm a cubbie system.  Ana White has a plan for something that will work.  Pottery Barn did it first..... But I will eliminate the center section. That's my plan.  But first we need to make Christmas cookies.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

my humble tiny shop

building my lil' shop
My real job is getting in the way my creative side. I want to focus, but I have two more days left of directing my lil' chicks in the classroom. I guess I could go out to the shop now and start on my list of vacation "to do's"....been up for hours.  It's 3:45 in the morning and it will probably be a bit chilly.  Maybe tonite.....Usually by the time I get home and dinner cruzing, it's dark.  I suppose I'm being a whiner, but I like daylight.   Another cold weather project is my  A bit rough right now, but it won't be long.  Yet another item on my list of to-do is getting my table saw fixed.  It's an awesome Craftsman Cast Iron monster of a saw.  If I just had a bigger shop it would be fully used, but for now it's under the porch of my workshop.  
I built my little shop summer of 2009 with the help of my dad.  He's a carpenter....a good one.   He'll be turning 87 in January.  Notice the white siding.  It was the siding off a 100 year old home we deconstructed here on the farm.  (that's a story for another day) The door shown is from the home too.  I quite surprised when I trimmed it to fit that it was cedar.  Don't think you find many of those around anymore.....but then again this one is 100 years old and still around.....Much of the wood I used was salvaged.  Note the red stained 2x6's in the rafters of porch.  Those were donated by my friends that replaced a cedar deck.  They had so many.  I should of gone back for a third load.....
My little shop is chocked full of goodies.  Especially in the winter as I bring in everything.  In the summer months I store outside the building....but for now it's cramped.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

3 days left

As a teacher, I cherish every moment of any and all days off from teaching.  I wonder if that means I'm not the best fit for an educator?  Since I've persevered through 10 years in a classroom, I suppose it's fine.  I haven't strangled any teenagers yet!  That takes me to my count down.  3 more school days until Christmas Break!  That's exciting, but that doesn't mean rest.  This is the time to salvage good wood, start a new project and make a very long list.  My current list of to-do's starts the minute I get up on Saturday.  I need to organize my shop.  It's so small (just small enough to not need a permit to build) that if it's a bit out of whack I'm too distracted to work.  My shop work habits as are well organized as my teaching and house cleaning patterns.....similar to a pin ball machine.....back and forth here and there and back again.  bing, bing!  It doesn't mean I am useless.....if anything I'm super powered- as long as when I get somewhere I jump back into what I was doing.  For some with this "condition" it's a curse, but for me it is multi-tasking at it's finest.  So the race begins.....because it's the off season good wood isn't free, but the pickin's are prime.  My favorite place to pick (and unfortunely have to pay) is The Rebuilding Center in NE Portland.  It's such an amazing place.  Everything you could want to fix up an old home or create with.  I go for drawers, old screens, painted trim, shutters and "Art" Doors ($5) .  I've scored many wonderful things to improve my own home at super prices. Hopefully this time I'll score some carpet tiles for my living room too. So Saturday I'm off and running up to the Rebuilding Center....but not until I sit through the last 2 - 4th grade basketball games of the season. woo hoo!  Thank goodness there are 3 days before "take off " because it might just take me that long to get a list written up. Now if I could just find my favorite pad of paper.....hmm.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Great Dane pushed us too far....

Yamhill County barn being salvaged
I grew up with cats.  As a kid, I only recall one friend that had a dog.  The concept of "farm dog" was a new when I married a farm boy.  We've been partial to German Shepherds, but they wear out and are kinda expensive.  We have acquired a few really nice hand-me-down shepherds over the years. When our last one was on his way out I gave into the temptation of a cute little puppy one day in the parking lot of Safeway. My cute little puppy is a great dane / aussie shepherd mix and he is devoted to me and loves being a free range dog.  Anyway, he and the brotherlaw's dog got too close to a nutria last week and about lost a toe.  Oh, this really is nothing compared to the porcupine they rounded up last summer.  The vet ordered Stanley to be indoors for a while.....until last night.  I was pretty torked when he weaseled his way into the house and downed 4 of the best pork chops I had ever made.  I was stunned when he once again tippy toed into the house and found a bowl of scraps I left out, but last night was the last straw. When I stumbled through the kitchen this morning, i found the butter upside down on the floor....the pieces started to come together.  I had gone to bed and i faintly remember hearing .."OUT!"  Stanley is officially an outside dog again....all alone in his dog house in the rain....that reminds me I'm suppose to build him a new house.....but I need to score some lumber.  Not alot of folks building in this weather so scrounging is slow.  I need more the one I had for this barn(see photo above).  It was a major score.  No, I didn't do this job but I did get to go......and I left with a truck full of little windows.  It was an amazing sight.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Surviving on PBS

Planter from 2008 show
 The best thing that I can say about OPB (PBS) is that I am starting to understand world politics and it's  getting very depressing.  I have to admit I like the public broadcasting channels, but I wish really wish my husband wasn't such a tightwad and would cough up for satellite.  A person like me needs HGTV and DIY.  It's actually becoming a joke that when I visit one of my sisters homes they automatically suggest we watch HGTV.  Couldn't I actually write off cable on my taxes as it's a business necessity?....just say I was an actual business and paid taxes.  I've been creating and selling on the side (of a real job) for years.  I narrowed my selection of "craft shows" to one grand event a year.  That event is called Cracked's a community of Artists that create with 75% or more of recycled ingredients.  It's so inspiring to see these genius creative types come up with new ideas each year.  Who knew you could weave old fire hoses for a seat of a bench? The last two summers I've refrained from being a vendor....I made this decision when I overheard my 6 year old telling someone "Mommy is in her shop again..."  I felt it was time to devote time to her.  But now I'm back.  I'd like to thank Ana White for that.  I've been wallowing a bit and she got my blood going again.  She's amazing.  She walked away from her fancy computer career in Southern Cal to marry her Alaskan stud muffin.....and wanting Pottery Barn goodies and not being able to afford them (sound familar?) prompted her to build her own.  Check out her site and get free building plans.  She has inspired thousands of women to pick up a nail gun and build!  You can also find her on Facebook.  So I've finished some of my household creations and now I can create to sell.  I just need to salvage.  I've used my stock pile of rough cut 2x4's.  You know the boards that  actually measure 2 inches by 4 inches.  Unlike the 2x4's from the big orange and white that are 1 5/8's by 3.5" -who are they foolin?