Vintage DIY Magnets

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Today I wanted to share a quick DIY project I did with some of my Vintage Market finds.  Remember these fun antique letter blocks I got from Alaska Picker?  They were the perfect size to work as magnets on our chalkboard portion of the new command center.

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The backs were solid blocks of wood so there was a perfect surface to attach magnets.

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I picked up a pack of strong magnets at Michaels.  Other shoppers probably thought I was a nut-job as I tested several packs on various metal items around the store before deciding which option had the best grip.  But I a gal’s gotta do what a gal’s gotta do to make sure her project has staying power. 🙂

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I was pretty sure the magnets were strong enough that I could use one per block, but since the pack came with 8 I decided to double them up on each just for good measure.  A little hot glue and we were in business.  It seriously took longer to wait for the glue gun to heat up than it did to glue the magnets down.

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One of the blocks apparently had some paper backing still attached where I added the magnet so it came off, but I cleaned both up and reapplied it without issue.

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And here they are on the chalkboard.  They do blend in a bit with the colors but that’s ok because they are the perfect size for the space.  Once they were up I noticed that having magnets on each corner kept the blocks level rather than having one in the center where the block might get bumped and loose grip, so I’m glad I decided to go that route.

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So what do you think of my new/old magnets? I’d love to see how others have used vintage letter blocks in their décor, so leave me a comment with a photo if you have!

A DIY Command Center

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Containing paper clutter is a constant battle in our home, just as I’m sure many can relate.  Because we enter the house from the garage through the laundry room most of the stuff that comes home ends up dumped on the dining room table or kitchen counters so I figured that was a good place to start.  I decided to create a command center in this little corner where we could write notes, stash important papers and organize the hub’s stuff.

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I started with a small wooden organizer where the hubs can stash his wallet, receipts and notes.  I also found him a small jar with a lid for loose change.  That worked fairly well, but he often had full size papers that he needed handy so I decided to add a wire rack we picked up during one of our trips to Portland.  It had been in the laundry room for a while but never got used there and came down when I did my DIY Ballard Knockoff Décor for that space, so I’m glad it’s found a useful home here.  I used two clear hooks with removable adhesive tape to hang it just under the countertop.  It fits the small nook of space perfectly.

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Originally I wanted to paint the side of the top cabinet to create a chalkboard but the hubs nixed that idea noting that if I changed my mind later removing the paint would damage the cabinet.  What?!  I never change my mind! Well ok.  He might have a point there. 🙂  So I came up with a better idea.  I’d paint a piece of sheet metal and install that on the side of the cabinet so it was both chalkboard and a magnet board!  Of course they didn’t sell a piece that was just the right size so the hubs cut one down for me.

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A couple thin coats of chalkboard paint and it was looking pretty good.  The hardest part was waiting for it to dry in between coats.

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Next I seasoned the chalkboard by rubbing a piece of chalk over the entire surface and then wiping it down.  This helps prevent things from “staying” on the surface after you wipe them down.

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Since the hubs wanted the piece to be removable I attached it with the same removable adhesive strips I’d used on the hooks for the wire rack.  IF I every change my mind I can start at the bottom and work my way up pulling the tabs to release the adhesive.

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I stuck it up on the side of the cabinet against the trim on the front and top of the cabinet so the edges weren’t exposed.  And as you can see, it works great as a magnetic board too holding our early bird tickets for Junk Bonanza outside Portland in October!

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Things were looking pretty good at this point but I wanted to address the uneven edge of the metal along the wall.  The hubs did a great job cutting the sheet metal, but the tool he used had to take a 1/4″ off at a time so he wasn’t able to match the size exactly.  He was pretty frustrated that it wasn’t perfect, so I wanted to find a way to make it work.

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I tried a few pieces of trim we had on hand but most were too big or bulky.  I picked up a square dowel at Lowes but that was too narrow and too thick, so I returned that.  A few days later I was at Michaels and figured I’d look at what they had.  I’m glad I did because I found a piece of balsa wood that was the right thickness and width for what we needed. At less than $2 plus a coupon it was the perfect solution. I gave it a couple coats of stain to match the cabinet color.  It fit so well that it actually stayed up without any adhesive but I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t get bumped off so I added a little hot glue on the backside before putting it up.  The glue should be easy to peel off if I ever need to.

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Now I needed somewhere to store my chalk.  I originally planned to use colored chalk pens like the yellow you saw above, but they have to be primed and I didn’t want to deal with delays when I needed to work up a grocery list, so I opted for old-school white chalk instead.  I used more hot glue to attach this pull handle upside down to create a cup where the chalk sits.  I did have to reposition the cup due to installing it unevenly, which caused the chalk paint to peel up a bit which caused the bare spot under the holder, but I touched that up with a thin coat of chalkboard paint and it looks fine now.  I still need to touch up the wall paint, but I’ll get to that at some point.

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Since the papers in the rack still looked messy I found these simple poly vinyl folders to clean it up a bit.  I wanted something a little cuter, but apparently mid-March is not prime season for two pocket folders.  Who knew right?!  I’ll keep an eye out when the back to school supplies come out in the fall, but for now these seem like they will hold up pretty well and could be easy enough to add simple decoration to with paint or vinyl designs.  That might just be a future post if I do!

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Total cost for the all the materials came in around $50. Because the extra metal and chalkboard paint can be used for other projects that lessens the total a bit too.  I love it and I’m sure it will be super handy once we start fostering and have kiddo’s school papers to manage.   I’m going to keep an eye out for another wire rack that matches this one when we are in Portland this fall in case we need to expand since there’s still room on the bottom cabinet to accommodate another.

I’d love to hear what you think of our new DIY command center or how you created one of your own, so leave me a comment below.

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TDC Before and After

Alaska Chick’s Vintage Market

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Last weekend I visited a fun Vintage Home Market, which I had been eagerly anticipating for months.  I attended the event last year when it was held at a smaller venue which became very crowded, so I was glad they were able to move to this larger space.  I had a wedding booked that afternoon so I went first thing in the morning, despite the late spring snow storm that had rolled into the area.  Tickets went on sale at 8 am and doors opened at 9, so I arrived a little after 8 to pay and get in line.  The picture above is the view as you enter the building.  On the other side of the entry was this beautiful set up.

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I browsed the front booths from the line, including this double space booth done by the market coordinator, Alaska Chicks.  There were so many great items packed into the space that you had to look several times to see them all.

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They also had this fun photo booth at the front of the line where you could take selfies with the vintage car and model.  It was a great idea to utilize the wait time, which several folks did.

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The line grew as the opening time got closer and eventually filled the whole staging area, with several groups flowing out the door.  I took this shot just 10 minutes before they opened the market with a vintage air raid siren from Alaska Picker, who we bought our windmill art from!

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I was so busy shopping that I didn’t take any pictures once the market opened, but you can see lots of the vendor’s booths and wares on the event page here.  My favorite set up was this rustic truss with moss.

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And of course I found a few treasures to bring home.  The first thing I got was a custom order for a grain sack sham for our bed from this amazing vendor.  I made a beeline for her booth as soon as they opened because that was my one MUST get item for the show.  Across from her space was a vendor with repurposed wine barrel furniture and décor where I found these cool barrel band hearts!  I’d seen some on craigslist back in February and messaged the seller but never got a response so I was giddy to find them here.  Plus they were the same price, just $10 each!  They will be going up on the side of the house when we expand the chicken run later this spring.

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I also found several “little” treasures, including a handmade whale and fun Alaska art print for the foster room, a large ampersand that will be added to the gallery wall soon and vintage letter blocks that I plan to make into magnets for the project I’ll be sharing next!

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This show has me so motivated to start making things for the Junktion Market in July where I’ll be sharing a booth with the gal who does our furniture refinishing, where I plan to do a little browsing as well.  I’ll also be shopping the Alaska Picker Day in June, then hit the Junk Bonanza outside of Portland when we visit in October!  I’m sure I’ll find more rusty, vintage goodness to bring home at each and will certainly share my finds with you all right here on the blog. 🙂

Goodwill Grand Opening

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Last week Goodwill opened a new thrift store just a few blocks from where I work!  Although there are several Salvation Army thrift stores around town this is the first Goodwill.  I’ve had great experiences at their stores in the lower 48, so I was pretty excited to see what it was like here.  I’m happy to say that they met my expectations and exceeded a few too!

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The first thing they did right is choosing a good location.  Not only is it near my work (extra points for that!) the building is massive and has great parking.  It was previously a sports equipment store so the interior is newer and wide open.  They even have enough space to use half of the store as the donation center, which includes a cover you can drive under so you don’t have to deal with Alaskan weather just to drop off items.

I came on opening day, but waiting until lunch time figuring the 8 am grand opening would draw the biggest crowds.  Unfortunately I forgot to factor in that it was spring break that week so everyone was looking for things to do and this was apparently one that many chose because the place was super busy!  Several times I skipped aisles because they were too congested to get a good look at the items on the shelves, but I’m sure that was just because of this was opening day.  I skipped the clothes, shoes and books this visit and instead made a beeline for housewares where I searched for project materials and décor items.

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It was well stocked and the staff were constantly bringing out more items to keep the shelves full.  They also did a great job with creating their employee team because every staff person I encountered as friendly and had wonderful attitudes even as they tried to squeeze around shoppers to do their job.  One gal was cleaning up some broken glass from a dropped item and could barely find room to sweep but it never phased her.  In fact she made it an opportunity to spread cheer and noted that shopper safety was her priority.

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Another thing they did right were the prices.  That’s a big thing here in Alaska, where several of the thrift stores seem to think they can charge a few pennies less than retail on items.  It also didn’t hurt that I had a 20% off coupon thanks to donating before the store opened! 🙂  I ended up finding so many treasures that I had to switch from a small roll behind basket to an actual shopping cart which was mounded over by the time I made it to the cashier line.

Check out was another spot they exceeded my expectations.  They had someone monitoring the line to make sure no one snuck past and went straight to the cashiers, plus they had tech support standing by for any little glitches the new computer systems might have.  And all of the staff on the cashier line were smiling and helping each other out when there were questions.

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With my coupon I ended up spending just over $60 for this haul, which included puzzles, games and stuffed animals for the foster room plus Easter décor, yard art, dog toys, a treat holder for the chickens and several pieces that will become sale projects.  Hopefully this location will continue to impress with good selection, affordable prices and great staff.  If they do, I plan to be a regular!

What great treasures have you found at thrift stores recently?  Leave me a comment to share!

Crafting Organization with Baskets

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I recently added some new organization to my crafting area that I’m pretty excited about.  Although I have tons of storage for tools and small materials in my craft cabinet, I often found that I had larger items saved for projects stashed away in other parts of the house and being out of sight, I often forgot about them.  So when I spotted a simple ladder shelf on the buy/sell page for $25 I jumped on it.

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I knew right away that the wire baskets from the Better Homes & Gardens line I’d been lusting after would work perfectly on the shelves. Unfortunately my local stores didn’t carry the baskets so I had to order them online and wait for them to arrive.

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Once they did, I placed two on each shelf and organized my various project materials in them, leaving the narrower top shelf for my paints and stains.  I also had room to slide a large item behind the lower shelves and rest several flat pieces on the bottom of the shelf frame.

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The baskets are the perfect size to hold all those oddly shaped pieces and the canvas liners keep little parts contained.  They even have chalkboard panels on the front, so I can add labels to them and easily change them as inventory changes.

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This space is still a work in progress, but it feels more inspiring now that it’s well organized with everything ready and available.  And soon that box of barn door hardware tucked next to the cabinet will be installed for a project I’ve been dreaming of since we started construction!  I’ll share the details once it’s complete so watch for that. 🙂

A Simple Revamp with Paint & a Knob

1TopToday I’m sharing a quick revamp I did on a side table with a bit of midcentury mod style.  Here’s how it looked when I spotted it on the buy/sell page.

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It was a good price for a solid wood piece and I knew I could give it a facelift with a quick coat of paint.  I had grey paint on hand from a previous project so I used that. I was pretty happy with how modern the new color made the piece look, even part way through painting!

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Once everything was dry I switched out the futuristic drawer pull for a simpler knob.  I originally wanted to do a farmhouse style pull like we have on the drawers in the office, but since that would require drilling new holes I decided to stick with the single attachment option.  I also added a basket for more storage space.  It’s the perfect size for magazines or a throw blanket which makes the piece very functional in a multitude of spaces.

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I originally planned to use this piece as part of a desk in the foster room but changed my mind as the room came together, so for now it’s acting as a nightstand in the guest room.

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I paid $30 for the table and around $20 for the basket, so the total cost came in just under $50.  Not bad for a quick little project.  I’m currently on the hunt for a small dresser for the guest room so when I find one this piece may find a new home elsewhere in the house.  I could see it working well as a side table in the family room as well.  But if not it should be an easy piece to sell.

I’d love to hear what you think of the transformation!  Leave me a comment below about how you’d use it in your home if you had the chance.

Board & Batten in the Laundry Room

bWhile we were putting up the shiplap wall in the dining room, we also installed a board and batten treatment in the laundry room.  The last time you guys saw the laundry room it was looking like this.  We put up this small coat rack shortly after moving in so our coats didn’t end up draped across the dining room table chairs and island bar stools.  It was functional, but the short width of the rack meant things bulked up in the middle and started to intrude on the walkway.

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Here’s what it looks like now.  With spaced out hooks it’s easier to organize the coats we use daily and they lay flatter against the wall making the space less crowded.

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The process to get this look was minimal and fairly low cost.  We already had the paint on hand, the hooks were purchased with a coupon and the boards were cut down from a single sheet of plywood.  We started by nailing up a header board at the same height as the old coat rack.

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Next we added the vertical boards to create the panels.  We had to piece together a few of the verticals, but since those spots end up behind the door I wasn’t too concerned about it.  We also removed the handle pad on the wall since one of the vertical boards now runs over part of where it was.

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We spackled the nail holes and joints between boards so we’d have a smooth surface to paint.

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It took several coats of paint to get everything covered, and I eventually painted the one trim section of the door casing on either side of the room so it tied in with the new wall treatment.

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The final step was adding the hooks.  I found these on Amazon after seeing them used in a bathroom revamp on one of my favorite blogs.  They didn’t come with screws so the hubs picked up some at the hardware store that were close to the same finish.

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I could have staged the space to make it look even more amazing, but I decided to keep it real for you.  The fact that the coats are hung and out of the way is enough to make me happy!

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I plan to add some sort of artwork or décor on the wall above the top board, but I’ll hold out until I find, or DIY, the perfect pieces. Who knows, maybe I’ll find that this weekend at the local Vintage Market!  But even if I don’t it will be fun to look!  🙂

TDC Before and After