Things We Run A “Cross”

One of the first purchases we made when we decided to start working with reclaimed wood was three pieces of curly pine roofing underlayment from a barn in Michigan.  At the time, I knew less than nothing about wood, but I fell in love with these three pieces. The wood is, for the most part, a very dark brown, but every so often, there are patches of almost blond. Randy is quick to tell everyone that the lighter coloration is where the roof trusses were located. Whenever we work with this wood, we never stain or paint it. Instead, we lightly sand it to knock off some of the splinters and then cover it in a protective coat of polyurethane. It took well over 150 years for nature to create this color. We aren’t about to mess with it.

While we have made some wine racks and one shelf out of this material, the most popular item we make from the curly pine are decorative cross displays. At every single arts and crafts festival we have attended, we have sold at least one of these pieces.

While they are similar, each one is truly unique because no cut of this incredible wood is like any other. While I personally like the nail crosses the best, ceramic crosses are also very pretty on this wood as well. The picture below really highlights the natural beauty of this wood!  We are now adding the ability to purchase one of the three cross decorative pieces directly from this website. Please click Products

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Feeling Jolly

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Last weekend, we found two drawers from an old sewing machine cabinet. As I may have mentioned before, I have a fascination with old sewing machines. It may even border on obsession. In the past, I have made caddies out of the other drawers that I have found by putting three glass jars inside the drawer.

My sister uses one for her tea (see above), while another client stated that she was going to use hers in the bathroom to house cotton balls, q-tips and band aids.  We even designed and created extra storage in our downstairs bathroom by attaching three drawers to the top of an old treadle sewing machine that we found in a barn.24129878_10214818045751505_4226536066384086806_n

Usually, I don’t do a great deal of work to the drawers. Honestly, they are the best looking part of most cabinets that we find. However, I really wanted to create something special for the holidays and decided to stain and paint my latest finds. I think the end result is really cute!

I especially like the ribbon scarf that I attached to each of the snowmen, although the trees are festive as well.

 

 

We Were Framed!

 

One of our family’s favorite places to visit is Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Randy and I first went there together on our honeymoon, and we now try to return with the boys at least one to two times a year. Although we stay in different locations and always have new adventures, we also always return to specific places. One such place is a cute store called Santa’s Claus-et. We discovered it a few years ago thanks to our youngest son’s obsession with the holidays–especially Christmas. While he loves to look at the lights, decorations, snowmen, and everything Christmas, Randy and I always make a beeline to the second floor to look at the rustic canvas prints of Billy  Jacobs.

There is something so peaceful and welcoming about these prints. I could gaze at them for hours. Obviously, I have a fascination with all things old, but other people have the same reaction to these prints as well. Last Christmas, we decided to frame a smaller print as a Christmas gift for one of Randy’s family members (see Christmas at ILYM Design) . At the family Christmas party, after the presents were all unwrapped, several other relatives asked for similar prints, so Randy ended up framing three more prints for his sister, sister-in-law, and niece. Therefore, when we returned to Pigeon Forge for spring break and then again later in the summer, we also returned to Santa’s Claus-et and purchased several more prints that we framed in reclaimed wood.

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Randy was immediately drawn to the above collection. They are the same homestead, just at different times of the year. He decided to frame fall and winter together in an old frame found in a barn in Michigan. He then cut an even older barn gate that was in disrepair and attached the frame to it. For the spring and summer prints, he decided that he wanted a fresher, newer look for the frame and, therefore, made a frame from newer (although still old)  barn wood siding and then placed the frame on black walnut wainscoting taken from a recent local home remodeling job. The end result is truly stunning.

We have had great success with our framing and have expanded on our subject matter. We have framed a couple of pictures that Randy and I have taken while on vacation and while out driving around closer to home. We have also framed some beautiful stained glass for an extremely creative and talented local artist.

Although at first, we were hesitant about using purchased canvas prints in our shop since our goal is to provide our clients with truly unique and special pieces, I am so glad that we decided to take several of Billy Jacobs prints and add to their beauty. The end results are just so incredible, and it has encouraged us to try our hand at photography!

One Day We Got “Board”

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Several weeks ago, Randy was asked to make two custom bread boards. While we had made a couple serving pieces out of live edge slabs (see above), we had not made any out of reclaimed wood. The client was very specific about what look and material she wanted–and the end product was gorgeous. We were so in love that Randy made a couple more, but this time, he was able to play a little more with the finishes.

 

The first several boards, including the custom ones (first picture), were made from hay loft rafters out of a barn in Michigan. The somewhat circular board in the middle picture above is the only one left that we have made from this material. Randy then made several from heart pine barn siding (which are actually my very favorite). The two rectangular boards pictured above are made from this siding. As the picture shows, the patina can be so very different, but always eye catching–and each board is one of a kind.

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The original client wanted cross members in her boards. Randy carefully routed out channels for the placement of edge strips cut from the hay loft rafters. These cross members can be seen on the above board to the left. However, Randy has also made a few boards without the cross members. These boards, like the one on the right, really allow the natural beauty of the siding to fully shine.

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We also have started making single serve cheese/serving trays. We happened upon a full pallet of black walnut paneling that had been taken from an older home during a recent remodel. Black walnut just happens to be my absolute favorite wood, so Randy bought the entire lot. While we have a larger project in mind for some of the paneling (stay tuned for that one!), I suggested making a few smaller boards out of some of the larger pieces of the wainscoting. Randy also used some of the heart pine siding to make a couple similar smaller boards, as seen above.

All of our bread/cheese/serving pieces are protected with four coats of a food grade sealer which allows them to be practical as well as beautiful. While we are having a great time experimenting with different wood and finishes, we also love custom orders. As Randy always says, “If you can dream it, we can build it.”

 

 

 

A Little History

PELT STRETCHER LIGHT FIXTURES

Up until the early 1900’s if you were a trapper, trader, hunter, farmer or anyone who needed to dry and tan a animal pelt, you had to make your own pelt stretcher out of whatever scrap wood you had available. The stretcher was shaped like a small ski, and they varied greatly in size, depending on the size of the animal.

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In the early 1900’s stretchers began being mass produced as an adjustable wire frame. They were cheap and one frame could handle several pelt sizes. Because of this, homemade stretchers became rarer and rarer. When you find one today, hold on to it. They are a rare find indeed.

Each of our pelt stretcher light sconces is a unique, one of a kind piece. They were taken from a barn in Michigan and are from the late 1800’s. Each has its own character and its own story to tell. We rescued a total of eight stretchers, the rest were unfortunately burned for heat before we found them. Old barns are treasure troves of beautiful wood, but are also full of a rich history that we should never forget.