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ReStore ReClaimed & RePurposed

Procurement of Style: Maybe you noticed the mysterious little blue tags on items that read “Procurement” while shopping at Ourtowns Re...

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

How to dismantel an antique iron sewing machine base for utilization of parts for other projects in only 10.5 hours

As a wife, mother, business owner, and daughter, simple projects can quickly become overwhelming and drag on for days with the help of my four legged fury assistants. Feelings of defeat and frustration can be added to by Pinterest posts, blogs, and tv spots that show how "quick and easy" the process is for anyone to tackle without fail. This is real life account of a mundane project that should have only taken 2 hrs that spiralled into an all day an exhausting event to show how even seasoned "Do It Yourselfer's" and "Work from Homer's" struggle to maintain balance between work and home...

•Drag sewing machine base by yourself into house after dropping kid off at school
•Look for drill
•Look for flat head bit
•Trip over the dog that laid down behind you to take nap in those 2 minutes
•Realize drill battery is dead and put battery on charger- wait 45 min find charger was unplugged by cat playing with cord
•Drink cup of coffee
•Move the dog and the cat napping on couch so you can fold laundry and wait for battery to charge
•Spontaneously yell at cat every 5 -7 min to stay away from charger
•Once drill is ready- begin removing screws
•Break flat head drill bit on 2nd screw
•Trip over the dog
•Go look for more flat head bits- tear through entire house, tool boxes and cars give up hope and get dressed to go to hardware store
•Put folded laundry in son's room before leaving- find flat head and several paddle bits in hands of Lego people carefully arranged in some sort of epic battle
•Drink a cup of coffee
•Remove cat sitting on sewing table base
•Remove 10 more screws while ensuring that bit will slip out of screw head and stab into other hand or leg
•Go look for bandaids- find only Disney themed bandaids
•Remove cat from sewing machine base
•Remove 5 more screws and break one more bit
•Remove cat from inside of tool bag
•Look for pliers and crescent wrench to remove 5 bolts
•Discover bolts are fused in place by rust
•Get frustrated go to look for hammer- trip over the dog that has laid down behind you
•Call husband and ask where hammer is knowing he has no recollect of the whereabouts of anything that has ever been inside house and couldn't tell you where the gallon of milk was in the fridge much less a hammer.
•Find hammer on porch next to project that husband did the day before
•Remove cat from sewing machine base
•Strategically move sewing machine base so wrench is balanced on bolt and hit with hammer
•Inhale dust cloud coming off sewing base and cough uncontrollably
•Drop wrench on cat head while trying to place back on bolt
•Stand proudly before the five bolts that have been removed see only 4 - cat just knocked one under fridge
•Carefully attempt to separate pieces of base by whacking the crap out of it with hammer while cussing, swearing, and coughing
•Let dog back in house from porch

•Stop all work go to school and sit in line for 45 min to pick kid up (perfect time to check emails and make important phone calls)
•Answer call from husband who suddenly remembered location of hammer

3 pm
•Make a snack for son
•Make a drink for son
•Drink cup of coffee
•Give the dog a treat
•Clean up snack mess
•Argue with son about the length of time he can play with ipad
•Sit on couch and almost fall asleep before being jolted alert by yelling that iPad is not connecting to WiFi
•Argue with 7 year old turned communications and data networking expert about the difference WiFi connectivity and having too many apps open while trying to stream a video causing ipad to freeze.
•Remove cat from sewing machine base
•Continue whacking base with hammer until feeling of hopelessness then sit and stare at base while coughing
•Remove cat from tool bag
•Answer call from mom while coughing, tell mom you did not inhale a deadly mold spore as she has suggested as the reason for cough
•Drink cup of coffee
•Remove screw you missed
•Get ice for finger that was smashed during the collapse of all the pieces after removal of last screw
•Look at 10 messages mom just sent with links to sites about signs and symptoms and horrid deaths caused by inhaling deadly mold spores
•Question yourself about why you thought this project was a good idea
•Explain and apologize for why you "destroyed the Lego creation and stole all their weapons"
•Help son back up after he trips over the dog
•Listen to son narrorate the dimise of lego men that inhaled deadly mold spores in his room
•Message mom back to say that you did not inhale a deadly mold spore
5:30 pm
•Feel slightly accomplished about getting sewing machine base apart
•Move cat off couch
•Sit on couch and cough and nurse wounds - wonder if maybe you did inhale a deadly mold spore for 15 minutes until husband arrives and asks about the mess of piled sewing machine base parts and is that all I did today
•Laugh when husband trips over the dog

•Clean up pile of metal parts and put in garage...

In just few simple steps, your sewing machine table base will be separated into pieces for several future projects...

 I did not get the dishes done, laundry finished, the carpet vacuumed and we had take out for dinner. I didn't even produce a final product that could be sold. 
The dictionary defines productivity as: the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services. So even though I sit there bruised, beaten, sore and exhausted after a very long day, it can be  perceived as I was unproductive because it resulted with out a final product output dispite by my efforts that could be observed by others. So for 2017 my resolution will be to not restrict my measurement of success by daily increments of output, but feel successful for the work input.

Wishing you all the best and a
Happy New Year!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A day of Awesomeness and "Build-phoria"

My husband and I both have a long work history in the home building industry before we launched our own electrical contracting company. Staying on top of new building products, services, and tools is not just crucial to continuing the growth our business by ensuring our customers have the right products to meet their needs and satisfaction, it's also just REALLY interesting to us. So we regularly attend the annual 21st Century Building Expo and Conferance to see all the vendor exhibits and catch a seminar or continuing education course. This year Chad was tied up on site with big projects so I was flying solo. Which is actually fine by me since are topics of interest can vary sometimes and compromises leaves me not spending as much time at one place or another as I desire.
The theme this year is "build-phoria" and let me just say that is a perfect description of what this year has to offer. My motherly duties of getting Noah ready and dropped off at school in the morning and picked back up in the afternoon, does put some time restraints on my daily outings, especially when traveling to Charlotte and back. Imagine my excitement when I found this event on the schedule:

Join HGTV’s Chip Wade (Elbow Room, Curb Appeal, Ellen’s Design Challenge) for a Design House luncheon presentation on creating inspirational spaces, simply by asking the right questions. Chip will discuss how you can guarantee fantastic results through clear budgeting, a thoughtful planning process, and finding your own unique inspiration.

Admittedly, and surprising to most, I am actually not very familiar with any of the popular DIY shows or personalities as I am not a big TV viewer and I always out numbered by the men vote when we do have a little family TV time. My excitement was more about the subject matter than the host. All I can say is that not only was the sit down three course luncheon served at our tables spectacular, the speaker proved to be even more amazing. I may not have been a fan or follower of Chip Wade when I walked in but over the course of an hour long presentation of mind blowing awesomeness in rethinking space and design, I most definitely walked out as his number one superfan recharged with inspiration and information. 

I had a bit of time 
after the luncheon to hit the expo floor to find some "new to me" products before I had to face the tumultuous ride on 77n back to Mooresville. Here is one of many of today's top product discoveries:

DecTec- (description from DecTec website) DecTec provides all weather, slip resistant PVC membranes for decks, balconies, pool surrounds and garage floors. This low maintenance decking option is anti-slip, waterproof, fire resistant and all weather ready. DecTec is the best choice in waterproof, walkable deck membrane solutions.
(from brochure and website)
•Low Maintenance
•Durable in all Weather Conditions
•Eliminate Rotting Wood
•No more Splinters
•No More Painting
•No more Water Damage
•Meets or Exceeds Building Code Roofing Requirements
•CRRC Listed 20 Year Limited Warranty 80 mil total thickness 
•10 year limited warranty on 60 mil & 20 year limited warranty on 80 mil
 •Stabilized Anti Microbial
•Excellent vinyl to vinyl “weldability”


Decks, Roofs, Garage Floors, Pool Surround, Recreational, Balconies, Commercial,
Multi‐family, Roof top decks, Commercial Walkways, RV roofs, Boat floors.

Why I am intrigued and crushing on DecTec- (beyond the box thinking):
Yes, on it's own, it appears to be a very innovating and promising deck/ roofing waterproof membrane system as intended to be. While neither of these nor waterproofing of these surfaces are my areas of expertise,  I can tell you that it does seems to be a fairly simple installation and an economical/low cost option in comparison to other waterproofing systems and applications. But using stuff for what they are made for just isn't my style so staying true to form, here's why my interest has been peaked.  It's basically in ways, it is like a roll linoleum flooring but with a visually athestically pleasing finish similar to an epoxy coat flooring cover offered in an array of neutral tones and pigment flecks. It is available in a variety of thicknesses, but all still very malleable, flexible and easy to cut, easy to glue to itself or to other surfaces. Covering my very rough cold concrete steps front the house into my garage was my immediate first project that came to mind and many many more possible applications have been running through my mind all afternoon. I ordered some samples and I will be sure to post results and final thoughts on it.

*The rep strongly recommended that  due to the nature and intended use of this material, this strictly be used only in well ventilated and outdoor areas. I also recommend this as well, unless you really like the overwhelming smell of a roll of freshly coated pvc mat.*

Be sure to check out my other finds from the 21st Builders Expo and Conferance, as I plan on returning daily for the duration of the event.

Until Next Time~

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Seems legit...

I am beginning to think that under my shed is a Feral cat labor and delivery room... And after 2 days of strategic cat trapping I have (yet again) rescued a litter of kittens. (I am also continuing the trapping in efforts to capture the mom so that she can be fixed and released back to the wild)

But here's the kicker... without naming names, a very well known "no kill" animal shelter can not accept the kittens because they consider them to be feral and they do not take in feral felines. So I (yet again) are fostering kittens that need new homes. They only issue is that I currently have three 8 month old fully grown cats from the last batch of 7 (yes seven) I rescued and could not adopt because no one likes calico color.
Squirrel & Moo sitting in the cat perch

Long story short- my husband has decided to help in the homing efforts and I arrived home to find this sign on his van. Now for those that do not know my husband, let's just say opposites do attract and he is a very quiet, grounded, serious man that tries to avoid large social gatherings as much as possible. So after resisting the initial gut reaction and urge to quickly scribble another sign to hang on the opposite side that read "free candy", I explained to my husband that I don't believe he is going to achieve the desired results as it's a little creepy to be offering kittens out of a van. He promptly removed the sign.
Staying true to the path of never having a dull moment in our house... I thought I would share the humor of this one.

Until Next Time~

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A visit to the Southern Ideal Home Show Charlotte

Fun and educational day during my  visit to the Southern Ideal Home Show in Charlotte. This is an annual 3 day show at the The Park Expo and Conference Center with FREE parking. (yes, you read it right... an event in Charlotte with free parking!)
Friday: 10am-7pm
Saturday: 10am-7pm
Sunday: 11am-5pm
At the Door: $10:00 (Under 15 free with a paying adult)
Advance Online: $9.00 and there are several different discounts offered as well. For more information head to their website:

Food trucks are always a bonus! And great way to start the venture!

 Always nice to see a friendly face (or in this case, place) when I'm! The Charlotte Habitat ReStores were set up with a great selection of items for sale from their stores and on hand with information about all their services.

I was introduced to Herb's Honey at the Southern Women's Show 2 weeks ago and I am hooked. These guys know honey. Offering North Carolina Raw Honey,  "produced in the Carolina's, bottled bottles in Charlotte", my mind is slightly blown away by the fact that honey collected in different seasons, regions and tree/flower population can produce a completely different flavor. If you have a chance, I definitely recommend stopping by and sampling the different selections and starting your very own honey bear army like mine.
(Herb's Honey Mountain Orchard HerbsHoneyPot.com 704-763-1646)

Buck's Tiny Houses brought out three tiny house models and I realized that all of them offered bigger bathrooms than I currently have on my own house. Which makes me believe that I could live in a tiny house after all.

Super nice people and very educated on the entire Tiny House AND home construction guidelines and regulations. 
(Buck's Tiny Houses www.bucktinyhouses.com)

My new obsession and top of my wish list is a Tower Garden. Cathy Melesh is a Charlotte Sales Rep and her passion and excitement over this nifty self contained, self watering, indoor or outdoor vertical garden that is used on in space shuttles will have you envisioning the garden fresh meals that you will lovingly prepare for your family from your tassel hassle free garden growing in your kitchen... or it in my case, what my meals my husband would lovingly prepare since he's been the dinner chef lately. 
(Cathy Melesh 704-560-0994

I also found a new pest control service, a whole bunch of new succulent plants, new collapsible food storage bins, took a selfie with a guy dressed as a bathtub to "outdo" the selfie pic text from a friend sitting on the beach, and made an appointment to have my driveway pressure washed and sealed...
Bath Fitter Charlotte 
All in all I say that it was a pretty productive few hours and a great one stop shop for any all home related needs. There were also cooking demonstrations and the guy from the show Tanked was there taking pictures and signing autographs, and more. 

Special thanks to the Southern Ideal Home Show for giving me an excuse to bail on laundry duty today and to all the vendors I met

Until next time

*In full disclosure: My admission as a blogger was at no cost to attend the Southern Ideal Home Show. However, I did not receive any form of monetary compensation or goods in exchange for positive comments made about the SIHS, the venue, or the merchants/vendors. The post above reflects my honest and unbiased experience had during my visit. 

**Not saying that I'm opposed to receiving compensation for positive blog posts... I got bills to pay too... just making a point to note in this case.**

*** I am also just going to throw out there that if you are a business or company that has decided to add "influencers" to your marketing campaign... my email is andreahartleyme.com 😉 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Tale of Ugly Cabinet Thing

During one of my weekly (sometimes daily) strolls through Mooresville ReStore, I stumbled upon this beauty for only $35!! To be perfectly honest, I really didn't have a clue what it was but I knew what I wanted it to be!

(that was only $35, so I bought it, because it's not like i could really make it look any worse)

Its like Tetris...

... but with furniture parts.
My mother called me the other day a with a cute puzzle to see if you have an "artistic mind." The equation is:
2+2= fish 
3+3= eight 
7+7= triangle 
I got it right away.
If the answer isn't as clear for you, I will share at the end of this next Restyle story.

The answer to the test above reminded me about the sideboard buffet table I had made for the 2013 Restore Restyle Event. This one did require the OCD or perfectionism that only my husband can add to any project. So where I may have been the brain power behind the concept and design behind the materials to be used by moving around the parts like Tetris in my mind until it all fit. 

After 3 days and some pretty impressive hand drawn blue prints to thoroughly show him exactly how a bed canopy, a wood door, 2 cabinet doors, 8 hardwood floor strips, and some granite tiles were going to come together, his craftsmanship is what made it come to life.

I wasn't exactly sure what they were until I got home later that day, all I knew was that I loved the detail of it and there was plenty of it to use in a project. They turned out to be the rails to turn a poster bed into a canopy bed!
My next challenge was to find a wood door that would match the rails and looked exactly like what I had pictured in my mind. (turns out it wasn't that big of a challenge, it was on the first aisle among the vast selection of varieties of doors and was $40)

Canopy Rails
I picked up the cabinet doors for $4 each and found granite tile that was $2 a piece.

The Repurposed Cabinet Drawer: Part 2

Anchor Wall Hook found at Mooresville ReStore $5
So now your finished making a Storage Ottoman (or 2) of your very own, you maybe asking yourself "what can I do with these super fabulous drawer fronts that are left over?" So I am sharing with you an extremely quick, easy and inexpensive project to turn those scraps and accentuate simple hooks and hangers to make your own swanky wall decor found in high end stores for only a few dollars... 

Carousel $8 Hobby Lobby 
What you will need:
    Drawer Front
    Screw driver or drill
    Wall mount hardware
    Paint and wood filler (optional)
    Decor item(s)/hook

~Be creative; give new life to old cabinet/door knobs, tools, keys/locks, mirrors, dishes, ugly towel bars repainted, etc. as your "decor item" or mix and match several objects for functional art.

Picture Perfect Table

During a visit the other day with a neighbor, I sat down at her kitchen table and realized that it had been the table that I had made for the Our Towns ReStore 2013 Restore Restyle Designer Challenge that she had bought the night of the event. Seeing it again and talking about how it came to be, I thought I should share that process.

Couch Cushions: AKA "The Mystery Hole"

We recently bought a new couch, and upon removal of the old one, made the discovery of a life time. When the old couch was flipped up on it's side it made a very interesting noise. The distinct noise of random items falling through couch springs to the side that now laid on the ground. With a quick slit with a razor knife to the fabric on the bottom of the couch I found where all the missing pocket change, small toys, scissors, batteries,  jewelry, crochet hooks, 6 pairs of tweezers (no lie)  and many more tiny objects that had been lost over the past 5 years. 
How did they get there exactly? I inspected the couch seat itself and discovered that where the back of the couch met the seat was a very small crack that let these small items pass through to the "Mystery Hole" where they would be forever lost. 
Determined not to loose any more small treasures and necessities to this obscure menace that was also a feature found on the new couch in addition to the "crack of doom" that apparently is equipped in all sectionals , I set out on a mission to resolve this as easily and cheaply as possible.  And once again, thanks to Restore, the problem has been solved!
I found these 1 inch in diameter 6 ft long foam pipe insulator sleeves at Restore for $.75 each. I simply took my cushions off the couch and wedged the insulators into the tiny trench of terror and crack of doom and loss, then put the cushions back on the couch. After extensive testing over the past 60 days, we have had zero lego or pocket change casualties to the couch monster. 
Problem solved for less than $2!!

Until next time!

Friday, September 9, 2016

ReStore ReClaimed & RePurposed

Procurement of Style:

Maybe you noticed the mysterious little blue tags on items that read “Procurement” while shopping at Ourtowns ReStore? Or perhaps, you are looking for some repurposing DIY ideas for these wonder items filled with untapped design potential? You are in luck because the mystery of the blue tag is to be revealed in this DIY before and after “Procured Products”.

Meet Don Oaks, Procurement Specialist for Ourtowns ReStores that is the on hand, in the field liaison for local brick and mortar businesses and institutions that would like to make donations of goods and/or commodities to the Ourtowns ReStore locations. Whether moving office locations, upgrading/updating, or have excess inventory, Don will meet on location with business owners and office managers to identify, catalogue and coordinate with the ReStores for donations to be picked up. Procurement is a quick, efficient and economical process of eliminating nonessential/surplus office equipment and furnishings while simultaneously providing support to the Habitat for Humanity ReStores’ mission to bring people together to build homes, communities and hope.
In other words, in addition to gently used/new items, Don is the guy that gets a lot of the fabulous, funky, eclectic, retro and vintage desks, filing cabinets, bookshelves and more that you may find at ReStore.
These are some of our very favorite things to revitalize, modernize, repurpose and share:
Metal Blueprint filing Cabinet:
They're big, bulky, full of drawers and come in a variety of dull metal office equipment shades of color and unless you have an abundance of blueprints to file, you might think they are pretty useless at first glance. But this is an item you definitely don’t want to bypass because hidden beneath it's professional exterior is a fun and one of a kind industrial coffee table perfect for stashing away all sorts of things inside.
With a fresh coat if paint, addition of casters, creative utilization of metal HVAC duct, and in less than a days time, this project was complete and ready for it's new life in someone's home. 
Here are some more examples of other repurposed blueprint cabinet coffee tables created in a variety of styles and finishes perfect for any interior design.

Don’t stop there, check out more of our procurement B&A’s:

Are you a business or office manager interested in speaking with Don Oaks to learn more about our Procurement process?
Learn more about Ourtowns Habitat ReStores at:

*DIY Before and Afters courtesy of Andrea Hartley vendor #35 Rumor Mill Market Davidson,NC