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new uses for metal bread pans

when i was running a business based on turning castoffs into beautiful and functional objects,
it thrilled me to no end to find strange bits and pieces,
 and then use my imagination to reinvent them.

industrial metal bread pans were one of those finds...
i came upon a tilting stack of 75 of them at a barn sale, and bought the lot. 
and then i used them for all KINDS of things:
* holding plant pots in my garden house 
as shown in my 'Garden House Makeover Project' post

* as 'drawers' in a salvaged dresser that had none

* displaying giant letter tiles
[tile tutorial here]

* organizing craft supplies, papers and files in my studio/office

* holding canned goods and paper towels in my pantry

* organizing tools by the BBQ

 * and making a spur-of-the-moment moveable herb garden:
this particular creation happened by accident...

i was setting up at a show, moving things all over the booth,
trying to find a place to put one last industrial bread-baking pan.
there was a small metal wheelbarrow frame sitting on the ground, 
waiting for a wood crate to be placed into it.

but i had a better idea....
i placed the metal frame up ON the table 
[on a burlap feedsack so it wouldn't scratch the wood]
and then sat the metal bread pan in the wheelbarrow frame.

it didn't fit perfectly... but it was unique!
i added some potted herbs, handfulls of straw from the ground,
and the vintage jelly jars that i had planned to sit on a tray on the table.

the look was decidedly more interesting than my original plan
and it's a great idea for a move-able herb garden centerpiece:

* line a metal baking pan or oil pan with plastic or foil
(large industrial or small household size, either will work)

* place pots of herbs into each section (they hold a LOT)
you could also plant the herbs in the pan - just add rocks before soil, for drainage.

* sit the pan on something that it's not supposed to go with -
an upside-down round stool, for example. or the silver base of a fancy warming tray.
mix, match, whatever!

it makes for a great conversation piece
and an easy move from table to kitchen counter to backyard, 
for watering and sun exposure.

any way you slice it, that's a lot of different uses from just one item -
and that's what 'found' decor is all about!


Decor, All Bottled Up!

 when i say 'found' materials, people look at me funny.

 what i mean by that is stuff that you find in a field, or on a curb, 
or at a yard sale or thrift store, or in your own garage or barn.
stuff that most people don't even SEE.

i crawled under a table at a yard sale to reach for the tattered corner of a dirty cardboard box.
no one else had even given the box a glance.
i opened it to discover these cool old medicine bottles!

i didn't need to do much to them to use them as decor...
after a careful washing to preserve the original labels,
they were corralled on a round silver tray to show them off.
the two bottles that didn't have lids are serving a flower vases, holding happy daisies.

this is a collection of miscellaneous old bottles that i found in thrift shops.
some were very detailed, and some were rather plain.

i embellished them 
using my stash of vintage trims, jewelry, and papers.
the jewelry hung on them, but some of it could also be removed to wear.

 [some of these photos were featured in 
Romantic Homes Magazine, February, 2013
in the mention of homewardFOUND on page 12

i took the embellished bottles to a show, and some of them sold. some didn't.
which is fine, it just gave me the chance to do something ELSE with them:

so i painted them.
with white gloss enamel appliance spray paint.
and then i popped a few daisies & chamomile into them
and sat them on a silver tray.

i paid one dollar for that dirty box of brown medicine bottles.
and between one and three dollars for each of the clear bottles.
the silver trays cost me five bucks each.

i sold the first set for $35, and the second set for $45 
at the BarnHouse antique show. in the first hour.

here's the moral of this story:

these items were basically discards, with no inherent value to anyone.
all it took was an eye for using them in a new way
for them to have value and worth. 
THAT is what 'found' decor is all about. smile.
it doesn't take OLD stuff, either...
what about a six-pack of empty glass Coca Cola bottles for a patio table?
or maybe old glass baby bottles for a shower?
little glass yogurt containers for a brunch?
paint 'em. put 'em on a tray. fill 'em with posies.

you'll have some fresh spring decor all bottled up!


Don't Fence Me In!

i love using garden elements for decor.
watering cans, terra cotta pots, garden tools, birdbaths, fences...
especially fences.

over the years i've used old garden fencing in a multitude of ways...
i actually hauled a dozen vintage white wood fence sections around for ten years!

here are a few ideas to get YOU started!
* a section of fence as a backdrop in a vignette
it can be hung on the wall, or just leaned up there.

paired with a large garden urn, a large vase filled with lilac blooms,
and terra cotta pots that are stacked and tipped over, filled with various objects
[like balls of string and glass lamp globes and garden hand tools and seed packets]
keeps the whole 'garden' theme going...

another section of fencing was hung up higher and to the right, 
and another small section lies on its side below that...
the two pieces are visually connected  by adding some white wire garden fencing between them.
[this large arrangement was the focal point behind the cash register
during the spring vintage show on our farm in 2010.]

* fence pickets used as signs
i simply separate the pickets, and hand-paint them!
[that's also one of my headboard signs!]

* fencing as lumber supply: tables
 [the fence pickets have been separated from the fence structure before using as lumber]

another idea, shown below, is a little more complicated:
follow the white arrow in the photo, and you'll see
* fencing turned into a window awning

 some of the fencing i had hauled around for a decade was used in the making of it...
and that awning was used in four locations over five years!

* hung as shown above ^ in our antique store booth

*sitting on top of a metal tent frame in our show booth

* hung in my store on the farm (twice - two stores, two farms)

...and NOW it has been shrunk down in size,
and hangs over a bed in a young girl's bedroom!

fencing also works beautifully as:
*wainscot (lower wall treatment)
* headboards
* backs of benches
*shutters (hung vertically)
oh, yeah.... and in the garden!

have you ever used garden fencing as decor in your home?

*note: credit for the construction of the fence awning and tables shown above
goes to my late husband. he was very talented!*

shared online:

The Everyday Home Blog | Home{work} Wednesday
[thank you for the mention, Suzi at Worthing Court!]

cupcakes & crinoline | project inspire{d}


More Faux Food Fun!

 the sweet little cottage that i once lived in had a 'greenhouse' window over the kitchen sink.
it was deep and not easily accessible, and the exposure was all wrong for plants.
so i turned it into a decorating opportunity!

each month, i'd create some kind of scene up there in the window
[so that i wouldn't have to look across the yard at the ugly side of my neighbors' house... which you can still see in the photo below]

one particular scene was designed using my own 'FooFooFauxFood' creations.
i decided on an 'Ice Cream Social' theme...

all kinds of dishes and bowls and plates and cups were the starting point,
then i 'foofed them up' with fuzzy yarn and pom poms and beads to look like ice cream ;) 

NOTE: nothing is permanent here.  no glue was used. it's just assembled.

my sweet little shelf-sitter Miss Ami (named for a friend) is perched on a 'cupcake'  - 
which is a mound of fuzzy yarn 'whipped cream' on top of a tiny upside-down ceramic baking dish.

the 'pie' that  Miss Ami is using as a footrest
is the ceramic lid of a scented candle pot sitting in a glass bowl, 
with fuzzy 'caterpillar' yarn wound around the top knob and the edges to look like 'whipped cream'.

the 'espresso' and 'ice cream sundae' next to her are simply cups filled with tissue paper,
then topped with more yarn 'whipped cream'. 
a pompom and some bead 'sprinkles' are finishing touches.

the 'cupcake' is made from sweater pieces, wound into a shape and tied with a bow.
it sits in a cupcake paper inside a footed glass sugar bowl.
i was inspired to create that cupcake years ago by Miss Betz White,
the felted cupcake queen!
the 'milkshake' in the background
is a tall footed glass filled with nubby yarn in shades of green and a chenille stem 'straw'.
yarn swirled on top as whipped cream and a pompom are the finishing touches.

the 'ice cream cake/bombe' on the far right
is the ceramic scented candle pot (mentioned above) flipped upside down on a saucer.
more yarn serves as 'whipped cream' on top and around the edges.

the smaller 'bombe' above it is a scallop-edged bowl sitting on a scallop-edged plate.
more of those are on the other side of the window, nestled in glass bowls as shown below.

i also used some clear glass soda pop bottles to hold green & white flowers in the scene,
and filled a glass pedestal candy dish with green pompom 'mints' in the background.
this certainly isn't rocket science, just a fun way to create decor using everyday items!
we all love looking at things in a new way and discovering new ways to use them...
why not turn your kids loose with some dishes or tupperware and craft supplies, 
and see what they come up with!

 find more of my fun 'FooFooFauxFood' ideas 
in these past HOMEWARDfound posts:

tiered cakes made from stacked dishes

tiered cakes made from stacked tins


How to Make a FREE Moss Terrarium

i'm beginning to think that there truly is a huge universal creative consciousness.

there have been many times that i've prepared a project and post for HOMEWARDfound
and then have seen something in a similar theme pop up out there.

case in point:

i SWEAR to you that i had this project planned to complete this weekend, 
and post about on Monday.
then on Friday, i saw posts everywhere [blogs, fb, and hometalk] of projects using MOSS!
after the momentary frustration of thinking that i was going to be 'late to the party', i laughed.
it's just one BIG HAPPY CREATIVE PARTY, after all!

so, a day (or two) late (and decidedly NOT a dollar short)
here is my 'Fast, Cheap, & Easy' TM take on creating something with MOSS -
a very FREE floral supply in the spring!

let's make terrariums, shall we?

first, you're going to need a clear glass container with a wide opening.

i am REUSING this vase that my BFF sent filled with orchids on my birthday. <3
i also grabbed a small brandy snifter on hand, just because i thought the pairing was cute.
cost? ZERO.
you can always find clear glass vases at thrift stores, dollar stores, and garage sales,
or use a large pickle or olive jar - or a GLASS LAMP GLOBE!
[just make sure your hand can fit down inside the opening]

next you will need some moss and tiny plants.
of course you can BUY them at the garden center, but WHY?
head out into the yard, or to an empty field or lot -
unless you live in the southwest, there will be moss somewhere nearby.
i'm in Southern California and there is moss in the shady corner of the front yard!

my tips for harvesting moss:
* use a metal kitchen spatula to scoop the moss up off of the ground. keeps it from breaking.
* try to find several different textures of moss for interest. 
[i found fuzzy moss, flat moss, and some miniature clovers (dichondra) to use - 
all within one square foot of my yard]
* when you harvest 'fuzzy' moss, shake it out a bit to remove BUGS.
* also: check for worms!
[a seven-inch earthworm crawled out of the dirt under some moss on my tray, and onto my hand - nearly made me scream. EEW]

i use cookie sheets and metal trays to hold the moss clumps and the small plants as i harvest -
the plants are basically just offshoots and seedlings sprouting up where they shouldn't be in the yard.
[this way, i got some weeding done, too!]

you'll also need a handful of small rocks or gravel for the bottom of the vase - 
just grab those from the yard or driveway, too. i washed mine, but you don't have to.
carefully place those in the bottom of your clean vase.

then add enough potting soil (or really good soil from your garden if you have it) to the vase.
you'll want the soil to fill one third of the container.

after this step, i use a paper towel to brush loose soil off of the inside of the glass.

now it's time to add the plants and moss!
first, select clumps of the moss and use the spatula to place them inside the vase - 
they'll just slide right off and into place that way. no breaking.
if needed, use the spatula to cut the clumps so they will fit together in a circular pattern.

a wooden kitchen skewer helps to press the edges of the moss clumps down into the soil,
and also to create a small hole for the plants.
set the plants in place, and then use the skewer to push a little bit of soil in around them.
[it tends to crush the moss less than fingers do]

in the large vase, i added a few white rocks around the base of the largest plant to stabilize it.
in the small vase, there's one little white rock - just to coordinate the look.
you can also add a small statue or figure,
or make it a 'fairy garden' by creating a whole garden scene in miniature
[with details like tiny pebbles as a walkway, itsy bitsy flowering mosses, a dollhouse chair or bench...]

in these overhead shots, you can see the varied types of moss used, 
and how they help to create a miniature 'landscape' look.

in a side-view shot, you can see how the plant matter all remains below the top edge of the container...
not only does it look better, but it helps them retain more moisture. water with a mist or a few drops daily.

btw, i spied a little glass container on a shelf and grabbed the lid...
it fit the tiny brandy snifter PERFECTLY!
 a lidded container is a great way to keep the terrarium environment moist

i spent absolutely NOTHING to make these, and the project took just an hour - including the photos.
that, my friends, is my idea of 'Fast, Cheap, & EASY!'TM

and for more MOSS-Y inspiration, check out THESE posts on other blogs:

...and if you are in the southwest and can't find moss anywhere near you, 
here's a one-stop solution: