Trash to Treasure Halloween Project

Halloween is my very favorite holiday. I love doing projects this time of year and I had an idea the other day for a new one.

It involves using one of my favorite things: old photographs

Whenever I see old photos at estate sales I buy them if they are reasonably priced or free. I feel this strange need to rescue them.

A few years ago I picked up this 11×14 family photograph in a nice frame for $1.50 (yes, one dollar and 50 cents). Isn’t it sad that someone’s hard work of getting three young children dressed properly and looking nice is being sold for $1.50?

old photograph from an estate sale

old photograph from an estate sale

Anyway, it’s been sitting in my basement waiting for me to come up with an idea to use it. During one of my weekly brainstorming sessions while ironing, the perfect solution popped into my head: I needed to use it for a Halloween decoration.

Yesterday, I sat down and set to work painting it for a new Halloween decoration for my living room.

Painted old photograph for Halloween decoration

Painted old photograph for Halloween decoration

This was a really fun and easy project. I feel a teensy bit bad for painting over it but not bad enough that I wouldn’t think about doing it again if I should find another big portrait at an estate sale for $1.50!

For more related Halloween projects and costume ideas I have done in the past you can find them all under the Halloween link under Categories on the right hand side of my blog page!

Have a wonderful Halloween everyone!

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This Grand Adventure

When I became pregnant with my first child, my husband and I fully intended to submerse our children into our world and our lifestyle. Before I had children I loved to travel, hike, go to concerts, attend estate sales and create art.

I imagined a life of going to a Jack Johnson concert with a baby strapped to my chest as my husband and I sang along to Bubble Toes. I pictured us traveling around the world stopping in at cafes to give the babies biscuits and croissants. I knew there would be long hikes with a kid strapped to my husband’s back as we crossed streams and climbed over rocks. And there was no doubt in my mind that the kids and I would spend long Saturdays going from estate sale to estate sale buying used furniture that we could go home and sit together and refurbish.

Me hiking through the mesa in Albuquerque, NM

Me hiking through the mesa in Albuquerque, NM

Me hiking the Jemez Mountain...notice my shirt is wet in really great places...I had just got done swimming in hot springs

Me hiking the Jemez Mountains…notice my shirt is wet in really great places…I had just got done swimming in hot springs

Our dreams were quickly dashed when our new darling arrived and immediately hated car rides. Instead of being a soothing experience that put her into a calm trance she screamed like a banshee. As soon as you strapped her into that car seat she acted like a holy terror and there was nothing you could do to get her to stop. A drive across town with her felt like an eternity so our plans of going to a music festival 3 hours away were certainly not in the cards.

An Eric Clapton concert my husband and I went to before kids

An Eric Clapton concert my husband and I went to before kids

We had front row seats at a Keb' Mo concert

We had front row seats at a Keb’ Mo concert

My husband and I at a Dave Matthews concert

My husband and I at a Dave Matthews concert

I however did tote my new baby along to estate sales. She rested comfortably strapped to the front of my chest. In recent years she has become somewhat of a minor celebrity at these gigs because she has been coming with me for so long. However, these were never all day endeavors. We could only go to one and then be home for nap time. The people at these things don’t even know I have three kids because there is no way I would bring 2 rambunctious boys to a house filled with expensive breakables. They are too much of a liability.

I did take my kids hiking once by myself. My daughter was 4 years old and my middle son was 2 years old. There is a great wooded area with paths not too far from our house. I loaded them up and gave them each a plastic bag to collect treasures and told them we were going on a grand adventure. It seemed to be going very well and then about an hour into our hike with no other people in sight my son fell. No, he didn’t trip and skin his knee. He fell down an embankment. A four and a half foot drop covered by plant growth. My daughter and I couldn’t even see him but we sure could hear his screams. My daughter immediately began screaming at the top of her lungs, “My brother’s dead! My brother’s dead!” I jumped down to save my son and got him hoisted back up to safety. He was fine besides a few scratches. The true problem came in when I needed to get out. Since I am only 5 feet tall I couldn’t just lift myself out of this ditch. It was a straight shot down and there was nothing to hold onto or dig my feet into. I struggled and struggled to get out. Both kids were trying to pull me by my hands which of course were no help. I’m still not quite sure how I got out of there but somehow I manage to get my leg swung over and kind of launched myself out. Needless to say we immediately headed back to the car and have not been back there since.

The kids all ready to start their grand hiking adventure

The kids all ready to start their grand hiking adventure

The embankment my son fell down

The embankment my son fell down

In the past 7 ½ years of being a parent we have not traveled internationally, we have hiked once, the only concerts we have been to are the ones my children perform in at school, we do not go to estate sales as a family and most of the art we create includes paper and glitter.

I have been submersed into the life of my children. The life of playgrounds, naps, goldfish crackers, play-doh and crayons is really not that bad and it is incredibly safer.  The only embankments I have had to try to climb out of are the stacks of dirty laundry and dishes and clearly that that is just a metaphor. A metaphor never hurt anybody.  Plus this life with kids is a grand adventure!

Show and Tell

I have always had a love for antiques. I love the history that they contain and that there’s a story behind them. I actively began buying antiques when I was a teenager but even as a young child I had a fascination with them. By no means am I buying expensive antiques. In fact I prefer items that show that they were used and loved. Today I thought I would share with you some of my favorites and the stories behind them!

The Wardrobe

The Wardrobe

The Wardrobe

This is the first antique I bought when I was 16 years old.  I bought it from a resale shop for $50. It was plain wood at the time and in semi-rough shape. I brought it home and restained and varnished it. It is a big, cumbersome piece and traveled with me to all my apartments and houses. My Dad hated this thing. He would spit and swear under his breath every time he had to help me move. My first house had a steep stairway leading upstairs and a narrow landing. In order to get it up to my bedroom this had to be hoisted up over the landing at such an angle. It got dropped once. My Dad said he would never move this thing again! It now resides in my daughter’s room and my Mom painted it for me.

The Iron Bed

The Iron Bed

The Iron Bed

I love old iron beds but could never afford one. They can be quite pricey. I spotted this one on the back of a guys pickup truck one day when I was in my early 20’s and out with my Mom. He had a lot of junk in the back of his pickup and I came to the conclusion he was collecting things to bring to a scrap yard. I instantly hopped out of my car and asked him what he was going to do with the bed. He looked at me in a confused manner and managed to let me know he didn’t speak English. I somehow was able to explain to him that I wanted that bed. I took out my wallet and offered him money for it but he just waved it off and unloaded the bed and put it in my car for me. The only problem was I still needed the bed rails for it too. Trying to explain bed rails to someone that doesn’t speak English is nearly impossible so I just started digging through his truck until I found them. This clearly goes down as one of my ultimate finds because it was free and was quite the adventure trying to get it! This was my bed for many years and now serves as my daughter’s bed.

The Hoosier Cupboard

The Hoosier Cupboard

The Hoosier Cupboard

I found this piece through a newspaper ad when I was 20 years old. It was advertised for $250. I took my brother along to come look at it with me. I instantly fell in love with it and offered $200. The lady selling it accepted my offer as she said her husband was making her get rid of it because it was too big. I estimate this piece to be about 100 years old. It has the original etched glass in it which is very hard to come by. This has always been my baking cupboard. It stores all my cake pans, measuring cups, spices, baking ingredients etc. It is absolutely one of my favorite things I own!

The Stove

The Stove

The Stove

I found this Stewart stove at an estate sale with my Mom when I was in my early 20’s. It was in a basement hooked up and the owner said she still used it to do her canning on. I asked her if she wanted to sell it. She said yes but she would have to get $25 for it. In a blink of an eye I handed over the money. The thing about this stove though is that it weighs a ton! As I said it was in the basement so my Mom and I had to carry this thing up the stairs and then down the street to where I was parked. It was really insane when I think about it now. I have always had this sitting in my dining rooms as just a decoration basically. It serves no purpose. A few years ago I set it out to a rummage sale I was having and put $150 on it. A guy came and said he wanted it but he had to run to the bank quick and get the money. As soon as he left I got a sick feeling in my stomach and made a “sold sign” and put it on the stove. When the guy returned I told him someone else bought it and had given me the money and were just going to get their truck. Even though this stove is not an essential piece I just can’t part with it!

The Frames

The Frames

The Frames

Throughout the years my Mom and I have found several different frames at rummage or estate sales. They are usually in pretty bad shape but cost no more than $5. Some of them even contain the old bowed out glass which I don’t think is made anymore. My mom fixed all of these up and through the years I have added them one by one to my living room wall. We have our wedding picture, all of the kids baby pictures and our family picture. These are by far my most cherished pieces!

I hope you enjoyed my Show and Tell today!