Outdoors: inexpensive fence decor

We live in a small rental home (“the dollhouse,” our landlord calls it), so there’s not much we are allowed to do in terms of permanent design or landscaping changes.

That doesn’t mean we can’t make changes, it just means they can’t be permanent. :)

For example, in the kitchen I wanted more of a farmhouse feel, so I removed the cabinet doors under the sink and replaced them with a fabric sink skirt.

Kitchen sink skirt | Hazel and Verdie's

The doors are safely stashed and will be reinstalled when we get ready to move.

Outside, carving out a cottage garden is not allowed but I did enlarge the one existing garden strip and will do a little more with that in the Spring . I’m able to indulge my “garden junk” fetish with a few simple things like this winter display along the garage.

Garage in winter | Hazel and Verdie's


And, this past summer I conceived and installed this whimsical junk-made fence display, which I absolutely love!

Junk Fence Project | Hazel and Verdie's

It’s made up of various automobile wheel covers rescued from roadsides, free-on-curb green garden hose, and small pieces of the corrugated tin we were offering in the booth.

Junk Fence Project | Hazel and Verdie's

Junk Fence Project | Hazel and Verdie's

Junk Fence Project | Hazel and Verdie's

Junk Fence Project | Hazel and Verdie's

Wheel covers and leaves were spray painted in bright colors, the hose was cut to length with utility scissors, and the whole thing was laid out and attached to the fence with easily removable screws.

Junk Fence Project | Hazel and Verdie's

Best part of this project? It looks bright and cheerful even on a gray Winter day!

Junk Fence Project | Hazel and Verdie's

Junk Fence Project | Hazel and Verdie's

Update 1: I’m linking my fun fence project to Donna’s DIY Salvaged Junk Projects link party! Click through for more fun junky projects!

Update 2: We had a minor ice storm here in Iowa today so I’m linking my fun summer project to Marty’s fun Inspire Me Tuesday party over at A Stroll Thru Life, just as a reminder that Spring is coming and the grass will be green again one day soon!

More soon,






Furniture Flip Round-Up

One of the best decisions we’ve made so far in our antiques and vintage business is that we have evolved our inventory to focus on furniture. Painting furniture with all manner of chalk, milk, mud, and mineral paint is “a thing” right now, and there are so many wonderful pieces out there getting a second chance because of the talented folks taking up the paintbrushes. We have had very good luck identifying and acquiring the kinds of pieces they seem to want to paint.

We also have seen a trend in folks who are looking for affordably priced “mid-century” furniture – primarily from the 50’s and 60’s (you know, like that set my parents had in their bedroom that I sent to the Goodwill long before I got into this business). These folks don’t necessarily intend to paint their pieces; they just love the aesthetic and don’t want to spend a fortune.

We’ve sold so many pieces there’s no way you’d want to sit through a slide show of them all. But, here is just a sampling of some of the pieces that have run through our hands in the past few months. Most we simply repaired as needed and then passed along to the next person for restoration, refinishing, or painting. A few, we completed a simple refinish before passing it on.


Duncan Phyfe-style drum table with drawer

drumtable | Hazel and Verdie's

Jacobean Revival dining table

Jacobean table | Hazel and Verdie's

Duncan Phyfe-style drop leaf table with brass claw feet

Phyfe-style table | Hazel and Verdie's

Desks and Vanities

Ornate desk/vanity with missing leg

Ornate desk | Hazel and Verdie's

Craft desk with leaf and slide-out

Craft desk with extension | Hazel and Verdie's

Vanity with round mirror

1940's vanity | Hazel and Verdie's

Spiegel Secretary desk

Spiegel Secretary Desk | Hazel and Verdie's


Mid-century lowboy dresser

Mid-century lowboy dresser | Hazel and Verdie's

Ornate chest of drawers

Ornate chest of drawers | Hazel and Verdie's

Maple clawfoot dresser

Maple clawfoot dresser | Hazel and Verdie's
Just thought you’d like to see the kinds of pieces we are finding – the adventure continues, as we just had our best month ever in the booth at The Picker Knows focusing on pieces like the ones above.

More soon,






3 top tips for getting organized in 2017, plus one bonus tip!

It’s that sad, cold week between Christmas and New Year’s, and you know what means:

  • The women’s magazines at the grocery store have ceased featuring “65 Fabulous Cookie Recipes” and switched over to “Lose 65 Ugly Holiday Pounds Fast!”
  • Every child between the ages of 2 and 23 has had at least one post-Christmas behavioral meltdown.
  • You are being encouraged to “get organized,” or more optimistically, to “conquer clutter.”

So given all the post- holiday hubbub, I thought you would appreciate a few more tips on getting organized for the new year. Let’s take a look around my house right now to see how my top 3 organizing tips are working out!

Tip 1: Maximize Available Flat Surfaces 

Here we have the largest “available flat surfaces” in our tiny 2nd bedroom. We use this room for the litter box station, Greg’s computer room, my dressing room, and craft supply storage. Organizational experts will claim that this room has too many functions but hey, it’s only like 7×7 feet so it’s honestly too small to be an actual bedroom. You can see that I have stacked items (albeit somewhat precariously) on every inch of surface so as to make the most of this prime storage real estate. These surfaces are my “I’ll put it here so I don’t forget where I put it” spaces.

Get Organized! | Hazel and Verdie

Get Organized! | Hazel and Verdie


Tip 2: Keep ‘Like Items’ Together

This is the “closet” in our larger bedroom (which is 12×9 – hey room for a bed!). This is the top shelf, which I obviously cannot reach because I’m only 5’2″ – but these are all bedding items so it illustrates the principle perfectly.

Get Organized! | Hazel and Verdie

Same for the floor of the same closet – see? All bedding! Except for the um… amplifier… which gets used on Karaoke Fridays out in the living room. There are also some shoes, an air freshener and a zippered travel tote bag here… not technically bedding, but I’ll sleep with them if that will make you feel better about this tip.

Get Organized! | Hazel and Verdie


Tip 3: Don’t Be Afraid to Store Stuff in Unexpected Places

I’ve actually heard of people who store extra spoons in their night stand, because they have sooo much tableware and very little night standy stuff. I mean, a drawer is a drawer, right?  In my house, this principle manifests itself as a major furniture painting project stashed in the living room. In my defense, it is cold here in Iowa at this time of year so doing the project outside is just not an option. Dishes on the ottoman? Don’t judge. They are going into the antique cabinet as soon as I move the furniture painting project out of the way. That blue box is actually a storage tote/tub. It’s going to be for Christmas decorations, but I am not ready to take those down yet. But I do have their storage tub standing by for when the day finally comes. It does triple-duty here as a decorative accent, flat surface, and tripping hazard.

Get Organized! | Hazel and Verdie


And finally, a bonus Tip 4: Do NOT Listen to Me

I can spend all day playing Keep Toss or Donate with my stuff, but it does no good. I can GET organized, but I can’t STAY that way. I have been known to actually throw away really important things in the spirit of “getting organized.” I mean it. The car title. My now-ex-husband’s wallet. The IRS Refund Check.

Come to think of it, you shouldn’t be taking advice from me on this topic at all… ever. The sad part is, I’m much better at getting organized than I am at losing 65 ugly pounds, so this was really my best bet as far as contributing to your annual Fresh Start. You. Are. Welcome!

More soon,




Booth news – we’re now exclusively at The Picker Knows

Whew! Went through a rather long spell there of some malfunctioning on the blog, which made it very difficult to post… pretty much missed the entire Christmas season of posting, but I will be sharing a few of my decorations and such albeit after the lin. Anyway, things are getting back to almost-normal now, so thought I would begin to get caught up on posting!

First up, here’s the latest news from the world of antique booths. In the past few months, we closed two of the three booths that we had – Memory Lane, and Brass Armadillo. Although I loved both of these stores on a personal level, from a business standpoint we just were not getting “the vibe” and so were not making much money. We have been at this now for just over a year and I feel we have learned a lot… but not enough to keep spending money on rent that we couldn’t earn back. Perhaps we’ll grow back into multiple booths one day, but by simplifying and condensing our efforts down to one booth at The Picker Knows, we are able to really focus on figuring out what works as far as a mix of inventory – and the store is close to home so it’s easy to run over there and do some fluffing or restocking whenever it’s needed.

Booth 211 at The Picker Knows

Speaking of inventory, we also made a decision recently to refocus a bit and stock more furniture. This has proven to be quite successful, as we take advantage of several resources for acquiring pieces inexpensively and then flipping them  – either making some minor repairs, or just giving each piece a quick clean-up before putting it in the booth. We try to have a mix of “real antiques” at higher (for us) price points vs. more inexpensive pieces that are suitable for the furniture painters who are out there seeking their next project. You might notice from the photos that yes, we have indeed moved into a larger booth at PK – and we have been “in the black” every month at this store, so we’re quite happy there for now.

Booth furniture | Hazel & Verdie

Booth furniture | Hazel & VerdieBooth furniture | Hazel & Verdie

Booth furniture | Hazel & Verdie

1940's vanity | Hazel and Verdie

We still have a few interesting “smalls” in the booth, and of course for the past month or so we’ve had quite a few vintage Christmas items. We’re on track to have our best month ever at The Picker Knows in December, and we’ll be using our funds to make sure we’re well-stocked as Tax Refund Season gets underway at the end of January.

Vintage Cookie Jar | Hazel and VerdieVintage Cookie Jar | Hazel and Verdie

Christmas Ribbon dinnerware | Hazel and Verdie

If you are local, or visiting in the Des Moines area, please come see us! We are booth #211 at The Picker Knows, 1208 Grand Ave. in West Des Moines. We’ll be having a “green dot” sale with some very good markdowns, from December 26-31.

More soon,


Vintage Treasure Tuesday #3

Today’s featured oddity on Vintage Treasure Tuesday is a bee smoker. Now personally I have never tried smoking, bee or otherwise, but even at Expert Level Zero I can tell you that smoking bees sounds like a very bad idea. I mean, how would you even light one?

(rim shot)

Bee Smoker | Hazel & Verdie's
But seriously folks, beekeepers have apparently been smoking bees for thousands of years so that the bees don’t attack when the beekeeper disturbs the hive. The reason smoke calms the bees is (insert authoritative-sounding sciencey stuff here).

Bee Smoker | Hazel & Verdie's


While bee smokers in various forms have therefore been used for a few millennia (can you imagine the trial and error involved in figuring out what calms a hive of stinging insects?), the design of the one Greg purchased at the Sparks, KS flea market has been used – and largely unchanged – since its development in the late 1800’s by Moses Quinby. As the first commercial beekeeper in the U.S., Quinby (affectionately known to family and friends as “The Other Moses”) operated more than 1,500 hives in New York and designed the modern bee smoker with a bellows to force the smoke out of the container.

Bee Smoker | Hazel & Verdie's

Bee Smoker | Hazel & Verdie's


Fuels used in the bee smoker would be natural materials such as pine needles or rotten wood. (Remember: modern chemicals do not calm bees – they poison them. And a poisoned bee, is a pissed off bee. Do not use charcoal briquettes in your bee smoker unless you want Moses Quinby to rise from the dead and release pissed off bees in your bedroom!)

I do love finding these old vintage tools, and this was one of several great “picks” we found down in Sparks.

More soon,