Furniture re-do: from bookcase to bar cart

We’ve had a few successes with repurposing projects – cast-off items we purchased and then transformed into something different and useful. (Remember our Beachy Federalist coat rack?) By far our mutual favorite is what we simply call our bar cart, which started life as one section of a barrister bookcase.

Bar cart before | Hazel and Verdie's

We found the section at Goodwill – normally it would sit horizontally and be stacked on top of other identical sections – and quickly re-envisioned it as a bar cart. So we got to work designing, and came up with the general idea that it would sit vertically, with a hinged shelf that would pop up, and shelving inside for bar supplies, glassware, and liquor bottles. Engineering these elements was interesting… Greg handled the problem-solving in this phase, based on my design.

Bar cart design | Hazel and Verdie's

Bar cart design | Hazel and Verdie's

Bar cart design | Hazel and Verdie's

We also opted for caster wheels on the bottom, and envisioned a sort of industrial color scheme with a light green painted base and a faux copper spray-painted top.

Bar cart finished | Hazel and Verdie's

Bar cart finished | Hazel and Verdie's

We put the finished cabinet in our booth at The Picker Knows, and to our delight it sold within a week. After this project, we’re pretty well convinced that most any cabinet could be repurposed into a home bar!

Update: I’m sharing this project at Donna’s DIY Salvaged Junk Projects link party! Click through for great inspiration!

More soon,







2016 blog year in review

I didn’t have the busiest blog in 2016, but it’s been fun to look back and be reminded of all that I did share throughout the year. Here’s a quick summary of 2016!

Booth news – After launching our antique booth adventure in October of the previous year, 2016 became the year of hauling stuff around among three antique malls. By Fall, however, we had consolidated down to one booth, and refocused our efforts on selling vintage furniture, had a very strong Fourth Quarter, and had our best single sales month to date in December. We are now located in Booth #211 at The Picker Knows, 1208 Grand Avenue in West Des Moines.

Booth 211 at The Picker KnowsWe also had a number of memorable weekends visiting outdoor flea markets in What Cheer, Rutledge/Colony, and Sparks. (Why I did not post about Sparks, I have no idea – we had a great trip there!)

Hazel & Verdie | Rutledge Flea Market
Projects – Here’s where my blogging efforts really fell short this year. I completed a large number of craft and DIY projects in 2016, but I didn’t post about most of them. I’ll blame it on the technical issues I had with the blog beginning around August. My two favorite projects that I did post about were my sweet red vintage side table, and the outdoor fence decor I just posted. I promise I’ll share many of the others, and I already have some new projects waiting in the blog wings to show you!

Hazel and Verdie's | Furniture makeover: small red cottage table

Junk Fence Project | Hazel and Verdie's
Just for Fun – Every once in awhile, I’m struck by an odd observation or taking note of something happening in my neighborhood or home city/state. I hope you don’t mind that I like to post about these things… they aren’t technically “on topic” (if the topics are “dishes, decorating, and DIY”) but I do occasionally love to offer up a little commentary. A couple examples of this are my unbridled glee at seeing the black squirrels return to the neighborhood, and wondering aloud how it could be that smoke calms bees.

Hazel & Verdie's | Black squirrel

Bee Smoker | Hazel & Verdie's

Thanks for reading in 2016 – I’ve got big plans for the coming year so I hope you’ll stick around!

More soon,


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,