Traverse City, MI, US

When I was a kid I acquired my Great Grandmas button tin. Buttons weren't the only treasures it contained. I loved sorting through the interesting notions and catagorizing them. Id make separate piles of buckles, beads, pins, hooks... and even the salvaged components of garter belts and bras! They were from a different era and seemed to have a story to tell. I liked to imagine what kind of garment they once belonged to and the occasions it was worn.

That early interest in salvaged items was a little more containable than what I have now. My treasures have grown beyond a mere button tin, but each one still has a story to tell. They aren't always stories I imagine. More often it's a fond memory of a day spent on the hunt with my mom or a friend, a new place discovered, or the mortified look of my daughter's face as I brake for junk.

Im happy to have discovered this site and hope to be further inspired. It's just packed with wonderful ideas and talent. I can't wait to get started on even more projects.

~ Carrie

Member Since: 12/20/2008

Subscribe to my RSS Feed


New Use for Old Decking

After replacing an old weathered deck, my husband and I used the old lumber to build a garden workbench/storage unit in the garage.

Baseboard Flip

Flipped upside down, a salvaged piece of baseboard turns into a coat rack with the addition of decorative hooks. The narrow ledge of moulding provides a great spot to display knick knacks.

Button Flowers

Button Flowers are just one of the great ideas I've gotten from this site. I thought I would share my results.

Vanity in the Great Outdoors

This curbside acquisition was not in the best of shape. One of the three mirrors was broken and the vanity itself was missing crucial components to support the mirrors. I needed a serving area on...

China Cabinet Re-Done

This had been a dark, boxy china cabinet from the 70's.  The dark wood and pattern of the grain really gave it a dated look.  The dark back panel didn't do anything to...

Old Trim Hang Ups

I found these two similarly sized trim pieces at a recycled building supply center.  The paint colors were really awful and didn't coordinate with each other at all.  I stripped them...

Cinderella Story

I found this little shoe which had lost its mate.  The shoe and photo seemed to make a good "pair". I have it displayed on my dresser and enjoy the picture...

No Place Like Home

A friend recently introduced me to the art of collage.  I think it's a great way to finally utilize some of the little rusty trinkets and vintage photos I've collected over the yearsnbsp...

Sewing Room Wall Peg

My sewing/project room is very small.  I'm always looking for creative ways to stay organized.  At first I thought of attaching hooks to the walls, but the idea struck me to use some of the...

Sewing Cabinet Shelf

I found this pressed wood piece at a flea market.  It was once part of an old sewing machine cabinet.  I really liked the oak leaf and acorn design.  I made a shelf by...

Recent comments

Re: Colorful, Junky Backsplash

Very colorful. Should definitely make cooking more fun.

Re: recycled candle holder by mhc designs

Thank you for sharing this idea. I have a multitude of insulators. I'm always looking for different ways to use them.

Re: Repurposed Vintage Water Ski Custom Fish on a Stringer

Not a bad problem to have when your projects are as cool as these fish. Great summer by the lake look.

Re: Rustic Crate Makeover

Great way to classy up a crate. I also appreciate you showing how it's done.

Re: Spindle Ladder

I think this idea is genius!

Re: Ceiling fan blade dragonfly

Sorry now that I recently gave away an old ceiling fan. Great idea.

Re: Overhauled Long Drawer Dresser with Vintage Yardsticks and Original 1930s Coca-Cola Factory Blueprints

Very sorry about the loss of your Grandmother. I'm sure she would have been very impressed with the transformation of this piece. The metal trim and hardware add to the industrial vibe. Beautiful work.

Re: Summer on the Porch

Very inviting. All the homey details makes me want to pull up a seat and set a spell. Love the coral trim on windows.

Re: Door Dining Table

Beautiful! I like the distressed paint of the door against the warmth of the reclaimed wood. Great idea for the door I found curbside. Thank you for the inspiration.

Re: Old Wooden Shoe Forms and Stretchers

I like the wood and rusty metal used together for the frame. The crisscrossed metal adds a subtle contrast with the vertical impact of the stretchers. I really love this. It's a beautiful piece of art.

Re: Rust and Wood and Junk -OH MY

I absolutely love this. I just so happen to have the perfect "awkward spot" for this idea.

Re: Mirrored Window Rustic Hanging Vanity

Very inspiring. I like the black finish.

Re: Entry table

Great paint color and technique.

Re: Sewing Table Desk

This is great! The white paint with the inlayed yard sticks makes the old cabinet look current. I have one of those boxy cabinets from the 30's that isn't as stylish. The same idea would work to create and accent/end table. Legs can always be trimmed.

Re: Shutter Shelves

Great use of shutters. I like the white and that you repurposed the ladder crossbar.

Re: Reclaim, Restore, Rejoice!

I like it! I have a large wooden needlework hoop that I could use.

Re: I've been waiting for some of these legs!

Love it!

Re: Junk in the Trunk Tree

I love all the components. They work together to invoke the charm of a down home Christmas. Very creative.

Re: Experimental

This is great! I have a box of old chemistry equipment from my husband's mad scientist adolescence. I just need a socket, cord, and a doohickie to finish the look. Thank you for the inspiration.

Re: Tailgate Headboard

This is the most awesome headboard I've ever seen! I love it!

Re: Summer Tablescape

I'd love to be a guest at this garden party. Everything about your display speaks to me.

Re: Industrial - Dorm Room Table

A plain wood top would have been nice, but the hand painted graphic really adds to the piece. Glad you posted a picture of the beam compass too. Cool Tool.

Re: Button Flowers

Cartrey, Use a gauge of craft wire that will easily feed though button holes and beads. Use a larger button as a base and stack one or two smaller buttons on top. Feed a length of wire up through one side of the button holes and then add some beads for flower centers. Then feed it back through the other side. Make sure the wire is long enough to allow for twisting and making the stem. You can also add some creative twists and curls with the wire. There are no set rules.

Re: Series of 8: Repurposed / Upcycled Vintage Wooden Water Ski Beer & Soda Bottle Opening Stations

I see a definite summer theme here. :)

Re: Our New Hallway Mantle - from an Old Door

I love this!! You incorporated a creative way of displaying photographs with functionality. It's a wonderful greeting for anyone entering your home.

Re: Never had more fun with a Teeter-Totter!

We have an old swing set that was left on our property when we bought it. It has a teeter-totter! I didn't realize what a gold mine I was sitting on. Lots of rusty chain, the slide ladder, etc. Thank you so much for the inspiration.

Re: Wheelbarrow Fairy Garden

This is so sweet and whimsical. Being able to easily move it around is an added bonus.

Re: Mannequin Makeover

A simple shirt form becomes a work of art. I love it!

Re: Vintage Water Ski Beer & Soda Opener Station

Fun! I live in Northern Michigan. I can picture every cottage up here having one.

Re: Hand-Painted Children's Chair

Great talent! I love black and white checks. It really offsets the colors and adorable characters.

Re: Vintage Tin Planter

Cottage cheese used to be sold in tins? Wow... the things you can learn from this site!


Very cute!

Re: Angel Wing Cubby Transformation

I understand why it was snatched up so quickly. Great detail using the wood burner.

Re: Filmstrip Door

Very creative way to display photos. Loving this idea!

Re: Louisiana Map & Vintage Yardstick Writing Desk

Great transformation. I love the red paint!

Re: From garden chandelier!

Love, love, love it! Thanks for inspiring me to create my own chandelier.


I've been thinking of makling my own patio fixture. Your idea has been helpful. Thanks for posting!

Re: Finally...Summer has Arrived!

I just bought some succulents and now I'm inspired. Thanks!!

Re: My "Out of the box" wreath

I really like this. Understated, but says so much. Great old photo too.

Re: Red Birds and Holidays

Don't be surprise if some real birds decide to nest in it. I know I would if I was a bird. Very nice set of bins.


Cloche-aholics unite! It's almost like a grouping of snow globes. Each one draws you in to the treasures they hold.

Re: Industrial Can Lamp

I haven't been on the site for a couple weeks and boy do I have some catching up to do. So far this is my favorite!

Georgia, reading the narrative of your creative process is always entertaining. You mention your trials & errors and still end up with gorgeous creations. It gives us mere mortals hope and inspiration. Okay - I'll stop gushing now. I think I'm suffering from a case of hero worship. :)

Re: Bookends from vintage molding

Excellent Idea! I have some scrap trim pieces and plan to try your idea. Thank you for sharing.

Re: Ready To WORK

Looks like you're all set for the next project! The spiral columns look rather classy against the Italian tile. The potting table should make a nice work surface. You made great use of the space. Be sure to send some "after" pictures too!

Re: It's 'Sew' Easy To Pretty Your Home

I have a soft spot for sewing themes and just love this idea. On first glance I thought the pitcher was tied with a ribbon. I was tickled to see that you used a zipper. Very sweet and probably well received by your friend.

Re: Pocket Full of Posies

Very sweet. I'm sure you'll get a lot of positive comments by visitors to your home. ~ Carrie

Re: I feel like felting...

Your bags are wonderful and the wreaths are a very creative use for scraps. I like the colors.
~ Carrie

Re: Repurposed Old Kitchen Cabinet

What I meant to say... jeez, (my computer was being a bit flakey). I don't know what happened with the two previous posts. Maybe I was just overwhelmed with jealousy that your husband brought home such a great find.

Anyway, I love it! Makes a perfect display case for your collection. Your husband has a good eye.
~ Carrie

Re: Repurposed Old Kitchen Cabinet


Re: Repurposed Old Kitchen Cabinet


Re: Old Rusty Plumbing Knob Shelf!

Very cool use of the faucet handles. Great tip for quickly rusting things. I have to say that you look so nicely dressed in your workshop... unlike me who has been known to work in my PJ's. :)

Re: Large table made from 2 x 10 lumber

Very nice - yes I could definitely use a table that size. It be a great surface to do projects on. I can also picture friends and family gathered around for a summer meal. Good work and thanks for sharing.
~ Carrie

Re: Easy project for a fun planter

Thanks Junkermidge! When I saw your wiffle thingy idea I had an Ah-hah moment. A pair of those rackets have been bouncing around my garage forever. Thanks for the inspiring idea!

Re: Butter Mold Shadow Box

So sweet. I love everything about it.

Re: Hanging Planter made from an old Thermos

Do you have it mounted on the old wood? I like the whole arrangement. Love dreaming of gardening things in March.

Re: Junk to Pretty - $7.00 table

I have a 1980-ish table with an inlaid design which had been regulated to the garage. You have inspired me with your brilliant idea. Thank you so much for sharing.

Re: Putting a Little Light on the Subject

You gave that old headlamp a new lease on life. Very cool!

Re: Do you see what I see?????

What a great pile of stuff! I think I see a couple red tractor seats which I'd sweet talk a welder into making a couple bar stools from. **I have stuck shovel heads into garden corners to use as hose guards. **There's a restaurant near my house which has lamp shades made from old minnow buckets. They're used as hanging lights over the tables.
~ Carrie

Re: Beachy Bath Bucket Storage

I love the beachy theme. What's really neat is that this idea can be applied to so many areas. Great photography too. Thanks for sharing.
~ Carrie

Re: How-To Make a High Voltage Electrical Glove Lamp

The glove lamp is such a fun idea. I also noticed the dominos bordering the glass on the end table. Very cool.
~ Carrie

Re: Farm Rescue

What a great piece. Everthing about is so cool. Extra bonus that it still has the original lettering. The two pieces look like they were meant to be together. Great display too. I have the same bird picture, and I like how you've used it with the plaque and actual bird nest.
~ Carrie

Re: door knobs, old tin, & doors

Oh,I love those colors! The original green paint on the trim piece has just the right amount of "chippy-ness". Looks great with the white door knob. ~ Carrie

Re: Idustrial/ Architectural Room Divider

I like the idea of using paper in some of the panes. The birch paper sure is groovy! The curtains will stay pretty secure with the flanges. Probably a really wise choice for a doorway.

Re: Door Casing Picture Frame

Great idea! It's a very classy look. Love the black.

Re: Basket Art Work

Great idea Linda! I can't wait to see the other one.

Re: Rockin Pot Holders

Very cool idea! The curve of the wood adds more visual interest. I really like it. You and your husband make a great team.
~ Carrie

Re: Umbrella Trellis

What a great idea! I can picture how beautiful your trellis will look when its dripping with jasmine blossoms. From your photos, the rest of your garden looks very interesting too. Thanks for sharing.
~ Carrie

Re: Potting Bench

I'm a Zone 4 dweller as well and already dreaming of gardening. Thanks for sharing your potting bench idea. I like the innovative use of a ladder as legs. Great way to add bottom shelves by using the lower rungs. Now I'll be on the look out for old ladders. Great job and thanks for sharing.
~ Carrie

Re: pincushion

Your pin cushion cupcakes are so cute. Lately it's been too cold to do anything with sweaters but wear them, but this would be a great winter project because the colors used are so spring-like. Great project and very inspiring! Thanks for sharing.
~ Carrie

Re: China Cabinet Re-Done

DanaRies - I think I used a Satin. ?? Like I said, I just went "gonzo" one day... so I used a black Rustoleum I had on hand in the garage. Probably should have put more thought into what kind of paint to use, but when the mood strikes - sometimes you've got to go for it! The paint seems to have worked out just fine.
~ Carrie

Re: window table

What a wonderful idea. With the glass panes, you wouldn't have to worry about leaving water marks underneath the plants. It could be easily wiped up.
The display case within the table is an extra bonus. Very nice.

Re: From SCHOOL to "COOL"

I love the color and that wallpaper is so elegant. You sure made it look classy.

Re: My First Attempt

One thing you have in your favor to make you a good junker... a HUSBAND WITH A PICK-UP TRUCK!
Good job with the salvaged window. Candy's phrase is perfect... it definitely "chunks up" your artwork. Otherwise your frames may get lost on the wall. Framing them within the windows really adds to the whole arrangement. I like it!
~ Carrie

Re: Piano Turned Puppet Theater

Your piano puppet theater is very creative. How fun for your children! This idea could create a really neat decorating theme for a child's room or playroom. Great idea!


Very cool project. It's great how different junking discoveries can come together like that. I love how you remember all the places where your materials were found. I can't remember where I put my car keys half the time, but I sure can remember where I found just about every junky treasure in my possession.

Re: Have a Great Valentine's Day!

I love that thermos and the wagon is so adorable. Great Valentine's display!

Re: Candle/Centerpiece with Sea Glass Accents

Wow - you've created a very unique piece. Your photograph is very pretty too.

Re: Meat Slicer Book Rack

Very neat idea and beautiful old books too. This would be a great way to display cookbooks on a kitchen counter.

Re: "Distant Memories" Shadow Box

Gretchen - It's so beautiful! I love how you stuck with the music theme and added the 45, as well as the piano illustrations. You also included the actual roll and the box it was sent in!
The detail of the open change purse is a nice touch. It has inspired me to create a shadow box for one belonging to my great grandma. A lot of cool ideas contained in one box! Nice work.

Re: school house chalk board map to blind

Is this a current picture? I sure hope you still have it! I love gifts like that. I think my mother realized she had created a little junker, because she gave me an old steamer trunk on my 15th birthday. Thirty-five years later, and it still has a prominant place in my home.

Re: Recycled Sweater and Coats Now live as Brooches!

Those are so cool. If there are any knitters out there, this type of pin would look great as an embelishment on a boiled wool bag. You made some really beautiful pins PennyHeaven!


I love the wallpaper. The color is fantastic.

Re: Just great grates!

I love all the items you've made from grates - but I think my favorite is the one simply leaning on the shelf with the lit candles. It's a piece of art.

Re: A fashionable button bouquet

As much as I like flowers, I would absolutely LOVE to receive a bouquet of buttons. Hope everyone stocked up for their special someones and you sold out. They are really neat!

Re: Junk Vacation - Part III (final chapter, I promise) finds!!

You sure found a lot of neat stuff. The whachamacallit almost looks like a hanger thingamajiggy created from a toilet tank float. My thought is the horn-like thing could have been a siren. Remember fall-out shelters in "the days of old"? Hope I'm not showing my age!

Re: Old Doors

What a great room - so romantic too. You really got more than your monies worth from the door purchase. Beautiful job!

Re: Upcycled Boxes

What a fun Obsession! Very inspirational too. They are all really sweet, but I have to say, the tree is my favorite.

Re: Keeping Time With the "Rhythm" of Life

This is so beautiful! All the elements come together so nicely. You really created a lovely piece of art.

Re: Vintage Glass Insulators Make Great Candles Holders!

Insulators and something rusty...right up my alley!

Re: Machine Shop Posey

Very cute. I think there's one of those lights out in my garage!

Re: Very Inexpensive Bathroom Makeover

Great job on the bathroom re-do. The salvaged window is definitely the star of the room, but all the other elements play a part as well. I love the dark color of the walls, along with the white. The shower curtain fabric really ties it together. So very pretty and cozy.

Re: Vintage Fireplace Grate Shelf

This is so pretty and I love your display. I like the rusty vs. clean white of the two metals.

Re: "Give" for Kelsey

Don't you ever wonder how the original designers of old register grates would react - seeing the beautiful artwork they inspire?

Re: Obsessed with Penny Rugs!

Those are beautiful and so colorful! I also like that you used buttons in the centers. Very nice. Keep filling those frames! The rest of the family will have to tolerate it. :)

Re: Yee Ditty Haw Frame Up

I really like this. The only time I ever rode a horse, I was absolutely petrified. I guess I didn't notice how neat the stir-ups were! Do most stir-ups have the flat portions on the bottom? It's great how it stands up on it's own. You could display all kinds of cool stuff in the center of one of those!

Re: An "ugly duckling" project!

Wow - I probably would have paid 1.99 to use as fire wood and would have totally missed the potential you found. Now that's a talent! So cute and girly. My favortie touch are the little pink dingle-balls. Nice job!

Re: Sewing Table Deconstructed

I really like projects that are unique and functional... espcially when it comes to storage. This fits the bill. Can't wait to see what becomes of the leftover tin frame.

Re: Candle Sconce

I'm really drawn to that great color of red. The whole project is so cool and ties in nicely with the signage over the bed. Most excellent!!

Re: Mailbox turned table...

What a wonderful way to repurpose an interesting piece. The written script under glass is a great touch.

Re: "Record" setting transformation...

Very cool. I like both ways you put it to use, but the plates and the rusty color do go very well together.

Re: Piano Roll - Paper Roses!

I love everything! Especially the luminary with the little heart embelishment. It reminds me of birch bark. Everything is so delicate and feminine looking. I would feel a little better about winter with "whites" like these.

Re: "JUMP THROUGH THIS!!??!!" (project #1)

This project is so cool! I wonder if those companies still make the painting frames? I've never seen them before.

Re: Sewing Room Wall Peg

Jim - I'm looking forward to seeing how your pegboard turns out.

Re: Sewing Room Wall Peg

The tape measure in the picture is actually a working tape measurer. :) Hanging a picture from one would be a really cute idea.

Thanks for all the encouraging comments. This is a very supportive site. ~ Carrie

Re: File Drawer Hanger

This is great. I really like the color technique. It goes well with the metal of the file card holder.

Re: Table Top Made With Old Printing Press Type

Another appreciative printer here.
This piece is just lovely. Great composition and beautiful colors. You've also sold me on the Briwax.

Re: Berry Basket Frame

I'm always looking for new ways to display photographs. This will defintely be an easy one to try out. A photo of my daughter with a berry stained smile comes to mind.

Re: Water feature from a discarded salad bar

Your garden looks so fun! What a great way to utilize something that would have been discarded. Your frogs are sure lucky. :)

Re: Colorful glass insulator hose guard

I agree, the colors of insulators look great in a garden, especially with purple flowers. Love your idea... and your garden!

On the topic of insulators, I'd like to figure out how to use them as yard lights and around garden paths. Is there some type of solar lighting kit on the market? I suppose I should inquire at my local hardware store, but wondered if anyone had a suggestion.

Re: addicted to old windows

Excellent idea! If you didn't have an old map, color copies of atlas pages would work too.

Re: Satellite Dish Gazebo

Wow!! That's a gazebo my husband would even love to relax under - although he may feel compelled to hold onto the remote control. Very clever idea and what a beautiful setting for it.

Re: How to Make A Paris Lamp

I can only hope to find as ugly a lamp as you have and become equally inspired. What a transformation!