May I have the attention of the class?

While attending a recent law school reunion in Williamsburg I happened to visit my favorite bar in the area, the Greenleafe. Lo and behold, my wandering eye found this:


It's an old chalkboard with what looks to be every MBL team logo sketched out in colored chalk. As was the case with the cars in my last entry, I simply don't know what the story is here. I do know, however, that I really like the layout and how it fits in with the rest of the bar decor (you can't tell from the picture, but just trust me on this one!)

I'd sure like to know who the artist was and how long it took him or her to complete this. Check out Detroit's logo in the bottom right--that's some seriously nice work!

That got me thinking (of course). Wouldn't it be a blast to find one or two of these, hang them on a wall, and let your kids go to town with some big, chunky pieces of sidewalk chalk? Sure, they make the chalkboard paint, but I think you'd miss the smoothness of a real board. The adult in me says it would be fun to keep a big honkin' calendar on one, but that adult is fighting with the kid in me who wants to lay down on it and let somebody trace me. To be a kid again!


Have Tape, Will Travel

I have often found inspiration in the most unusual places, especially when it comes to design and decoration. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will agree that, many times, I will do my darndest to figure out how to use something way, way outside its intended use! This is one of the reasons why I love, love, love antique stores and flea markets!

That being said, I am conflicted as to what I think about these choices:


Yes, that is blue duct tape covering the fronts of both these cars. What's more, there were three others exactly like them! The explanations are endless. Could one of them have gotten into an accident, repaired his car with tape, and, in a show of solidarity, his friends all did the same? Were they going to a convention of duct tape-covered cars? Was this some sort of street racing club? It's difficult to say.

I do know that I desperately wish I had been able to get a picture of all 5 cars without being too obvious! I also know that the "Unorthodox Use Queen" in me applauds the drivers for figuring out a different way to add a splash of color to their vehicles. You might say it was as if my eyes were stuck to them (sorry! had to!)

While I can't say I endorse this sort of use for duct tape, I definitely give these guys an A for effort. If anybody out there knows where these gentlemen were headed, drop me line. I'd love to know!


Unique Uses-More Round Top

There's no end to the unique uses people found for things at Round Top. Alas, these things did not come back eastward with me. I do hope they found good homes. {Sidebar: Rancho Buck came a'callin' last week with all of my purchases (click here to see them). All arrived safely and I didn't even regret anything.}


A yellow drum topped with glass and set on feet makes a dainty round cocktail table.


While we're on the subject of round things...I loved this huge yellow rose-y of Texas star yard art piece, which used to be a wheel of some kind. And top right, tire frames were outfitted with mirrors. Random hoops were scattered on the wall to make an artsy statement, bottom right.


Garden items could be found in multitudes. A few of my favorites were: an iron headboard turned garden bench, old windows formed into a miniature greenhouse, golf clubs with random metal pieces added to make kooky-face garden stakes, water meter covers used for stepping stones, windows on top of a makeshift porch roof and a little ferris wheel that held potted plants on the "seats" (it actually rotated!).


This vintage window could be hung on a back porch with plants placed on various open window "shelves."


One trip to Round Top and you'll be convinced that anything can be made into a lamp. If you know how to weld, you might want to set up shop down there because these things were selling for hundreds of dollars each (yes, many had "Sold" tags on them). In the center, some type of cutting blade was welded onto a lamp form. Top left is an old rectangular iron piece used as a lamp base and bottom left, an old beekeeper's mask was converted into a light. Top right, some old clamps form "C"-shaped lamps and bottom right, an old orange wheel served as the base for a lamp.


Of course not everything was meant for the serious shopper. Consider this bovine-painted door or the banjo-playing man made of nuts, bolts and license tags. The tin man thought he had it bad...

Unique Uses-Round Top

There's no better place to find things that are used in a unique way than a flea market or antiques market. Round Top takes the cake! Here are some fun items I purchased while at Round Top. My husband thinks you have to look pretty hard to find the good qualities in this stuff, but I think the beauty is pretty evident, don't you?


This is a vintage golf ball bucket, the kind we used to find on driving ranges. It has been turned upside-down and wired to be a pendant light. I just saw one of these (new, of course) in a catalog! I plan to hang it over the sink in our laundry room. Being from a family of golfers, how could I pass this up?


Another pendant light, which I plan to hang in my "potting shed" (which is actually just a glorified storage room off our garage). It was made from an old copper creamer pot.


There was a big basket of these glass pieces, for $1 each. It used to be an enormous dangle from an equally enormous chandelier. I think I'll use it as a butter dish (after a good soaking, that is).


Another big basket held these little glass jars, which formerly held cream on tables in diners and restaurants, back in the days before plastic took the beauty out of everyday objects. They will be cute as bud vases, along with these little test tubes I picked up for a mere 10 cents apiece.


I found some brightly colored items at a cute booth called Vintage Girl, including these two candle holders and a couple of old door knobs, which I'm going to put in my daughter's closet to hang scarves or belts from.


Vintage flower frogs were everywhere! Aside from the obvious use (arranging flowers, for those of you who, like me, aren't particularly tuned in to floral convenience items), I might use one for a pen holder. The test tubes will fit in the bigger frog for an unusual flower display.


Vintage wire baskets, racks and trays were also in abundance. I'm going to hang this one in my closet to display necklaces or scarves.


Also from Vintage Girl, this vintage register was hanging with several others, all of which had been painted fun colors like turquoise and bright orange. Even though it weighs a ton and is coated with what I'm sure is lead paint, I still think it's sort of cool. Necklaces could dangle from this quite well.


Don't ask me why this caught my eye. It really is pretty funny though. It's one of those large red vintage Christmas light bulbs turned into a mosquito! I'm hoping it will ward off the real thing when hung by fishing wire on my back porch.


Last but certainly not least are these vintage duckies, straight from a stint at a carnival near you (I love carnivals...we could walk to one when I was little). I purchased them from a vendor who had bought out a carnival that was going out of business.

One for each of my little duckies. And just like my duckies, they don't all want to stay in a row.

Unique Uses 2

I spotted a few other unique uses for items last week. First are these old windows grouped together in an interesting art form at Roanoke C0-Op. I love old windows and this innovative use of them suspended from the ceiling makes quite a statement. The windows could also be hinged together to form an outdoor screen for a patio or greenhouse.


You might just walk right by this next piece of "art" (like I did) if you didn't know its new purpose. I found it at Black Dog Salvage in Roanoke. It's an old gas tank for a torch welder.


The tank has been suspended from a rusty iron ring. The fun part is that there is a wooden stick perched on an attached stand and when the tank is hit a wonderful bell sound emerges.

My grandfather owned a mining machinery business and I remember seeing what seemed like hundreds of these gas tanks everywhere in bright colors (mostly orange). My uncle still has them in the old shop building.

So of course this find held a bit of nostalgia for me and I couldn't resist it when I heard the bell ring. I decided it would be perfect for us to put in our backyard and call all the kiddies to dinner.

We will be living on a golf course though, so I'm not too sure how thrilled the golfers will be with the gong. I think I'll wait until someone hits a particularly bad shot to ring it just for fun.

Unique Uses 1

I'm always spotting unusual ways that people are using vintage items so I decided I would start a new series called "Unique Uses." There are lots of ways to repurpose an item. Here are a few ideas...


This drum is being used to hold magazines and other brochures at JJ's restaurant in Bristol, TN. The front was opened up and a shelf installed in the middle, with a chain to hold the front "door" open. The restaurant has a music theme, so this is a perfect little accessory for the front table.


The next two items are hanging at Rockfish in Roanoke, VA. Above, they took an old stair railing and simply added some hooks. It's hanging near the front door for patrons to store coats and hats while they're dining.


This one is an old door turned on its side. One of the panels was removed and a mirror was put in its place. A small ledge was added to the top for lights or other decorative trinkets. 

Think twice before you throw something out! You'll save money and it's the green thing to do.