Monday, September 30, 2013

My Dining Room is Trending on!

Well, this is so fun! I had mentioned in a previous post that my home, the REX Project, was going to be featured on It has been and the feedback has been overwhelmingly great! Nearly 10,000 people have added photos just from my dining room chandelier from my Houzz page to their Idea Books. There have been tons of comments on the post and on's Facebook page!

 Since we built the house in 2008, I've changed the dining room three times. Here are a few shots to demonstrate what a big difference a shift in color can make in a room. Which look is your favorite and why?

You can see the original post for your self here on Please add to the conversation with your comments and thanks for all the excitement about it!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Salvage Sites- Go to SCRAP

There are tons of second hand and thrift stores all over the country. The concept of reusing and repurposing is really catching on and Portland's SCRAP has taken it to the next level. Founded by a group of teachers back in 1998, as a place for fellow educators to bring their leftover classroom materials, they have grown into a well known creative re-use center here in Portland and have since opened satellite locations in Denton,TX; Washington D.C.; Humboldt, CA; and Traverse City, MI.

SCRAP is an ideal resource for gathering DIY project materials but what really sets them apart?

  •  In the 2013 fiscal year, SCRAP diverted over 140 tons of usable material from the waste stream—an increase of 22,000 pounds over the previous year!
  • They offer classes and education field trips for people of all ages: preschoolers to grown-ups can learn the value, vocabulary and concepts of reducing and reusing.
  • SCRAP offers a program for businesses (often the largest creators of landfill) where they'll pick up goods for donation, effectively diverting them from landfills. Think land empties, instead.

Here's just a couple items from their site, both for under $5.00.

Like what you see? You can follow their blog for updates on events, workshops, project ideas and opportunities to get involved. I hope to run into you while dropping off my latest contribution to the land empty.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Dreamy Natural Accessories Right in Your Own Backyard

For me, the best part about using natural items to make decorative accessories for the home is they are accessible right outside the front door and don’t cost a thing.  Their detailed textures, coordinating colors, and abundant supply allows us to create art without following the rules of design.

I spent a couple of relaxing hours of molding, bending and twisting twigs to produce letters to make the word DREAM.   With wire and some of Mother Nature’s one of a kind shapes I was able to transform the pile of yard debris into future wall art and monogrammed custom gifts.  My dream of creating beauty from Earth’s simple treasures, easily became a reality.  


1.    A variety of twigs, dried lavender, wheat, feathers.  I gathered most of the items from my yard.  Dried Lavender and wheat can be found at a florist shop.
2.    24 gauge dark steel wire. 
3.    Needle nose pliers.

How To:

1.    Choose items that look similar to partial shapes of the letter you want to create.
2.    Place items on each other to form the letter.
3.    With the needle nose pliers, wrap and secure steel wire around each connecting point of the letter.
4.    Repeat same process for each letter.

Note:  these are very delicate and must be handled with care. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Scouting Salvage Design in Bend, Oregon

Last week I took a road trip to Central Oregon to scout homes in the beautiful city of Bend. I got to tour three different cottages. Each one was remodeled by one designer, who truly knows how to stretch the dollar without sacrificing style. Her creativity and "no-fear decorating rule" combined with her use of salvage, flea market finds and materials found on Craig's List, show that you don't have to spend a million bucks to have expensive taste.

I was blown away by how she used simple items and ideas to transform each cottage into someplace that felt larger than life.
No doubt about it, these sweet little homes need to be published, so  I am feverishly sorting through the 500+ photos and putting these submissions together to share with some of my favorite editors. I'm sure you'll be seeing them in print soon enough, but here's a sneak peek to hold you over.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Road TripTreasures from Habitat for Humanity Re-Store

On the way home from my scouting trip in Bend I wandered past the  Habitat for Humanity Re-Store in Madras; population 6,059. Now, I know it doesn't look like much from the outside, but man, I am glad I turned the car around!

My future DIY treasures:
  1. Blue wheelbarrow with blown out tire --> future planter box.
  2. Hard to see but that tall, skinny white and green thing is a folding card table --> facelift with a fresh coat of paint and new top.
  3. Rear tire bike rack --> toilet paper holder.
  4. One LONG piece of wood (6 x 6) --> tabletop decor.
  5. Industrial step stool --> no clue yet, but the wheels are turning...

Got any ideas before I dig in? Finished projects coming your way soon!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sneak Preview: Upcycled Blanket

I am so excited about a new adventure & collaboration I am snuggling up to. It's too soon to share the finished project but here's the back story:

Last spring I met the fabulous Akiko Oguchi, maker of upcycled handbags & accessories and owner of 5th Season Designs. Get two like minded DIYers together and not only did we become fast friends but we hatched this idea for a DIY project that's comfy and cozy and sure to be favorite as the weather becomes cooler. 

We've been fabric hunting at the Goodwill bins, having way too much fun! This is just the beginning of our amazing new blanket. Hint: think postal, but not in the bad way.

Akiko makes all of her products from reclaimed clothing and textiles she gathers here in Portland. The goal: to reduce consumption and waste by thinking creatively about how to find a new use for items once they've worn out. She does a pretty fantastic job! Check out her site and you'll see exactly what I mean. Yes, she is my salvage DIY sista.

We'll be ready to share our product collaboration in a few weeks. Anyone care to guess what it is we're putting together? And if you live in Portland, would you like to be part of our pre-launch focus group?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Back to School DIY Organization

Time to get the kiddies organized and back to school. Most of the time this is easier said than done, but here's a super easy way to create flexible wall storage and put some things in their (new) place.

Photo courtesy of Steve Cridland Photography

How easy is it? Well, you can pick up storage baskets like the ones you see here at the Dollar Store for, yup, you guessed it, $1.00! Organize them to fit the way you like on the wall, grab a few nails to tack them up in the corners and there you have it: storage! 

Photo courtesy of Steve Cridland Photography
If you don't like the look of the baskets you can also use vintage wood vegetable cartons, wire baskets, milk cartons or any kind of sturdy open box. Just be sure you adjust your fasteners to support the weight. You may need to look for studs and use screws if you choose something heavier. If you get creative with this idea, send me some photos to share. Good luck getting organized.

Monday, September 9, 2013

September Today's Vintage DIY: Mailbox Repurposed

It's amazing the treasures you can score just by keeping your eyes open. There was a house being torn down two blocks from mine. I was confident there would be some things worth salvaging inside, so I called the contractor to ask if I could poke around and do a little pillaging to save some of the architectural details before the place came down. Well, it was worth the call! I snagged a wooden screen door (now on my front door), lights, drawers, glass door knobs address numbers and the mailbox you see in my September Today's Vintage column!

Transforming this dirty old mailbox was a snap; just clean off the dirt, add spray paint, mount it on the wall and sha-zam! Meet your new decorative bathroom organizer. There are lots of uses for old mailboxes, what projects would you use them for? 

Pick up the September issue of Today's Vintage (for free) to get the skinny on how-to make this project and more fun antique & salvage tips and news.