Thursday, June 17, 2010

A bird cage in the hand is better than being in the trash

The conversation always starts out the same with me asking a friend, a neighbor, or a stranger .. "You're not throwing that out, are you?" and ends with my husband asking "you brought home more junk?" Actually, his question is more of a statement than inquiry. He already knows the answer. Simply put, I just can't resist bringing home treasures that others might possibly-because-they-just-don't see-my-vision-yet, view as trash. I have always been this way. The term Packrat was what my parents endearingly labeled me as, but I preferred to think of myself as the majestic and noble bird, the Magpie, a creative scavenger. Architectural items, rusted pieces of metal, gnarled pieces of trees, sea glass, weather beaten boards and unusual rocks, were and still are my materials of choice. I also have a weakness for wooden chairs, broken or otherwise.

Let's think for a moment about a chair, perhaps missing a rung and the seat split down the middle. That chair can be turned into a planter, a table, and even a shelf. The possibilities are indeed endless with the right imagination.

It is that vision of creative possibilities that led me to asking my friend Darcy if I could have her old birdcage. We were in her barn on a different mission when I spotted the black wire of the cage. It had belonged to her Grandmother and had been sitting for years up in the loft. That was my inspiration. Next I gathered a metal spray of ivy leaves that I had taken from the box marked "free Stuff" from last fall's church rummage sale. As you can see in the picture, it is that not quite brass and not quite copper look of the 60's/70's.

They both got painted Ivory, after all the plastic components had been stripped from the cage. I then purchased one of those birds everyone is talking about from The Dollar Store. I didn't like the way it was painted so I gave it a quick fix with some of the same Ivory paint.

The cage needed a base. Rummaging around in the garage, I found a basket plate, a lawnsale find from year's ago that was a perfect fit. Once painted the same Ivory, I had my base ready and now needed something to cover the whole at the top of the cage where the ugly plastic hanger had been. I used a carved rose wooden pin that I recently found at Goodwill for $.99 cents.

Here is a close up of the pin.

Since the ivy leaves were metal, they were easy to install up alongside the outside of the cage, intertwined with the framework of the cage.

I first covered the bottom of cage with grass, my dollar store bird and a few eggs. It was cute but not enough.

I placed a nest with eggs, a Christmas Tree Shop after Easter clearance special for $.49 cents, in an old ironstone bowl. The bowl is solid, no chips or cracks, just a slight discoloration on the inside, enough to have landed it a "free" pile of a sale. By placing the nest in the bowl, it gives the nest more of a presence. I wasn't sure if I wanted the bird inside or outside.

I was pleased with my little creation of free bits and pieces, but it was still missing something. Using some sheet music found at a recent lawnsale (3 large bags for FREE - A giddy lawnsale moment), I decoupaged the basket. That is what finally made the piece all come together.

Ta-Da. Here is the finished project of my Trash to Treasure. $1.50 (bird and nest) plus the paint for $2.50. My friend Darcy hasn't seen the birdcage since it's transformation. Her home is decorated in the Shabby Chic style. I have a feeling she is going to want her birdcage back. Oh well, she does have a birthday coming up.

I am joining three new parties today, Jane's Frugalicious Friday at Finding Fabulous, Wendy's Frugal Friday at Shabby Nest, and Gina's Transformation Thursday at the Shabby Chic Cottage. I am a little nervous to display my creation along with all the other amazing projects shown at these parties, but here goes.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Got it at Goodwill


Kathy said...

You amaze me constantly with the ideas you come up with and the vision you have. I too, still collect rocks, sea glass, love old weathered barn boards and anything else actually in nature, esp feathers. Great job, Sis! You might consider doing a blog soon about the progress of your upcoming store! I'm sure all your readers would like to know including me!
Love you,
Big Sis Kathy

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Wow that looks great. You have a wonderful imagination and ability to put it all together! I love that flower on the top....great addition.

Designs on 47th Street said...

Very, very precious and creative. I give you five stars! :)

You know my favorite part (I think)...the old sheet music on the bottom. Really adds interest and charm.

Lindsay said...

THanks for stopping by my blog. Do try the chalk board paint. It is SO much fun :)

Terrell said...

Hello Sherrie! I just wanted to say thank you for following my blog and I'm going to do the same for yours! You have some adorable stuff, lady! So glad to stop by and check things's so fun!
Take care ~Terrell @ FrouFrouDecor~

Life in Rehab said...

I had to see this project when I spotted the thumbnail. You do indeed have vision, and you kept tweaking until you reached perfection. This is just brilliant.

Mimi said...

Sherrie, that is are so creative.

Candy said...

The 'Save It From The Trash' award goes to you today. Enjoy your new piece.
Weekend Blessings ;-)

Angela said...

You knew just what it needed!!

Hattie said...


To answer the question you posted on my blog. The letter came with a small carved out hole in the back for it to hang easily on a nail. If it hadn't come that way, I would have probably used strong glue to attach a sawtooth hanger to the back.

Good luck with your project!


Terry said...

What a great birdhouse you have! I'm thinking your friend is going to take it back now!

Anonymous said...

Hello my friend,
You did an amazing job on your birdcage, it looks gorgoeus!!
I hope things are going well for you and the shop opening. I've been thinking of you and wishing you great success!!
Have a great weekend.

Ann said...

How wonderful, Sherrie and what a great find on the birdcage and the sheet music. :)
Hope you and your shop are doing great.
The Tattered Tassel

Anonymous said...


Denise Marie said...

great job. love the music sheet on the floor of the cage. :0)

Sweet Bee Cottage said...

Wow - what a vision! Isn't that a great buzzy feeling when you just know you have what you need and all it takes is the imagination to put it all together?

Love this! And I love your shelfski post - I'll be borrowing that term.

prashant said...

I'm thinking your friend is going to take it back now!
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Megan said...

Wow! I'm at my computer ooohing and ahhhing over all of your great finds and THEN you're fabulous recycling of them! You do some marvelous work!