A Repurposed, Upcycled, Salvaged Me

repurposed art, signs and furniture


Is it just me or does everyone turn projects into a reflection of themselves?  Or is that just the nature of creating?  As I sat down to write this blog post and I began to think of the title it occurred to me that I, in fact, feel the words: repurposed, upcycled and salvaged describe me.   I am a bit worn and weathered, have been thru some major transitions, maybe have left out to dry at times but feel like I am on the upside of things.  Plus, I certainly feel repurposed with 2 grandbabies!

We have had a piece of land beside us with stacks and piles of various wood buildings, wood boards, clay drainage tiles, metal barn siding and other odds and ends.  Thank goodness for trees that kept it all fairly hidden and not an eye sore.  The old man that owned it passed away several years ago and it has changed hands.  Recently the stacks are being removed and buildings were torn down.  It has left me with a wealth of salvaged materials.

My adult son has taken an interest in using these materials to make some 'live edge' and repurposed wood furniture, shelves, clocks and whatever else we can come up imagine.  I have been tinkering for a while with salvaged materials such as barn roof slate, old tin, old horseshoes, wire etc. so we are going to go on an adventure together!  I will continue dabbling in making signs, painting slates, twisting wire and coming up with ideas (always the best part!!).  Ryan is going to help with the bigger pieces and the mechanical stuff (power tools!) I don't like handling.

I thought I'd share with you some of our progress and experiments.

First is the gathering stage.  I get some help with this from my dogs.
Play fetch first??  

Yippee!  We get to go on a walk!!  



My 'live edge' wood source, Amish neighbor. 

 Railroad ties, clay tiles

More clay drainage tiles.
 Exploring dog. 


 Some sort of cultivator or cart.  I may try to dig this up.  


Lots of wood... forgot to take photos of the buildings.  Some or just reduced to scrap wood piles now. 


Bringing my 'live edge' wood home.  
Next time I will use the tractor or wheelbarrow.  I also brought carpenter ants home.  Not welcome!! 


 Picking out some smaller 'live edge' wood pieces to experiment with. 
I used the sander and may try some more wood burning on the smaller pieces. 
 My first try at wood burning.  Of course, it is a horse. 

Some small pieces I liked.  So did my puppy.  She chewed the top piece.  When, oh when does the chewing stage end??  Yes, she has a zillion appropriate things to chew.  She is a lightening fast and sneaky 'retriever' of anything chewy. 


This piece immediately caught my eye because of the insect tunnels.  I did use the air compressor to blow out any undesirables.  We used some resin to experiment with filling in the tunnels.  The top surface would be sanded and stained after this step but I really, really like the look.  It may not look like much in the photo but believe me- it has potential.  We used a touch of food coloring for a transparent blue tint.  Loved it!! 


This is an old, weathered barn wood piece with barn roof slate pieces.  I believe I will write 'R-I-D-E' on this one, varnish, add some eye screws and wire for hanging.  

welcome sign, repurposed, vintage, home decor, shabby chic, rustic

 This is a bit further along so you can see the lettering and slate.  This is a 'live edge' welcome sign- still needs sanded and stained and wire for hanging.  
weathered barn boards sign
 More weathered barn wood siding for a sign of some kind.  

repurposed barbed wire, slate, barn wood
 I found a coil of rusted barbed wire.  So excited!!  One, I found it before my horses' feet did.  I sometimes ride in the less cluttered areas of this land.  Two, it will be fun using it for something.  It looks perfect for a wreath with just a couple more odds and ends but we will see. 
weathered barn siding, barn roof slate, rustic, repurposed

 Here's one of my 'workspaces'.  
I like photographing the finished creations against the peeling paint of my picnic table.  
Who would of thought peeling paint could look good? 


repurposed barn siding wood, barbed wire wreath
 See how good this photo looks?  
Why?  I am not sure.  Texture, color, and the whole repurposed, rustic, shabby chic theme I guess. 

repurposed barn slate
Finished slate, wire and horseshoe pieces.  The wire here is not repurposed.  

repurposed barn siding wood

Another wire piece display-- the wood is nice to use in photos.  

We are thinking of a name for our joint venture but for now I have some smaller pieces at my Etsy shop where I sell my art.   It is very likely anything I do will always have a barn, farm, animal, horse, cowgirl :) theme.  My son's interests don't go in that direction - he likes the furniture and construction aspect which is great.  I believe we can dovetail things nicely.   It will be fun working with him on this project.  He is in school for mechanical engineering.  How did I have a child (two actually- my other son is graduating in a couple weeks with a degree in Biochemistry) who are good at math?  A mystery to me but maybe credit for that goes to my husband.  I did my best to speak of the importance of math as I tried to hide my math phobia to my kids.  :) 

Happy Trails, as always!  Thank you for following along.  

Sue Steiner of Free Rein Art Studio 

Equine and Animal Artist, Pet Portraits


November 1, 2016:  Update

I have been busy using the materials gathered during this treasure hunt!  Here is a sampling: 

 My etsy shop 


Saddle Up Barn Wood Sign 


In the Moment Vintage Sign 



Ride More Worry Less Horse Sign 







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