DIY Soda Crate Ottoman Project

There have been lots of changes around Chez Savvy Seeker since the addition of our little baby, Sunny Grace. Trees have been removed, a dishwasher has been added, rooms and hallways have been painted and furniture has been re-arranged and then re-arranged again. Nothing like an addition to the family to jump start that honey-do list!

savvy_seeker_living_room

Believe it or not, this is the THIRD version of our living room. Under our huge picture window, we once had an antique Victorian sofa and then an Arts & Crafts settee. This version is not only more function, but more comfortable! What you don’t see is the toy chest hiding behind the funky patterned arm chair.

We recently swapped our den and formal living room around, when I was home on maternity leave. New furniture was purchased and older furniture was let go. Once the dust settled, we realized we were missing something…an ottoman. Everyone needs a place to kick up your feet and sit back…just hopefully not on your lovely antique coffee table!

diy_soda_crate_ottoman

We looked around the house to see if we had anything that we could re-purpose into an ottoman…and when the Mr. and I stared at the old wooden crate we use in our home office area to place our printer on, we got an idea. A crate ottoman!

I immediately started scouring our local Craigslist for antique crates, hoping to spot a good deal (unlike the full retail price most antique shops ask for). I was in luck! I found a gentlemen who was selling a Canada Dry soda crate from 1951. His sister once owned a small convenience store in the Virginia Beach area. He was visiting her and used the crate to bring back some goods on the car ride home. He placed it in his garage…and there is sat, untouched for 63 years!!! Amazing! And he sold it to me for $20…which was worth the story alone.

diy_soda_crate_ottoman_bun_feet

Lowes sells Valspar paint samples for under $3…which make the perfect amount for small craft/hobby/decorative projects! You can also use a clear coat wax after your paint is dry to seal in the color.

What You’ll Need

Here’s the list of supplies we used for our ottoman:

Total Cost of the project = around $60.00* (price does not include antique grain sack fabric)

How to Make a Soda Crate Ottoman

Step 1: Find a really cool old wooden crate.

diy_soda_crate_ottoman_measuring

Measuring is key to make sure your furniture feet line up properly.

Step 2: Paint your wooden furniture feet. When they dry, attach them to the bottom of the crate.

diy_soda_crate_ottoman_supplies

We used 1/2″ plywood for our lid.

diy_soda_crate_ottoman_top

Step 3: Measure and cut the plywood for the lid of the crate.

diy_soda_crate_ottoman_foam_cushion

Step 4: Measure and cut your 2″ foam to fit the lid of the crate (hint: use the piece of plywood you just cut as your template). Once your foam is cut, carefully place super glue on the plywood and then affix your foam to the plywood. Let it dry for 15 minutes.

diy_soda_crate_ottoman_batting

I wanted a little more “cush” to my cushion, so I wrapped the foam in polyester batting.

OPTIONAL: I wanted my ottoman to be extra soft and cushy…so I wrapped the 2″ foam with some polyester batting (mostly used for blankets and quilts). Then I stapled the batting in place to the plywood board.

diy_soda_crate_ottoman_grain_sack

I chose to use an antique grain sack to cover the top of the ottoman…a nice heavy weight, durable fabric, that also matches almost anything!

Step 5: Measure and cut your fabric so that you have a few inches of extra fabric that wrap over the foam lid and go underneath the plywood board. Once your fabric is in place, staple the fabric on the underside of the plywood board (hint: To begin, place a single staple in the middle of each side. That will keep your fabric taut and straight while you staple the rest).

diy_soda_crate_ottoman_hinges

Ain’t she pretty?

Step 6: Measure and drill holes for your hinges (on both the underside of your ottoman top/lid AND the outside of your crate). The bottom part of your hinges should be visible on one side of your crate from the outside. The other part of the hinges should be hidden on the underside of your lid. Once you screw the hinges in place…TA-DA! You’re done.

Step 7: Sit back and relax! Not only do you have a fun, vintage style ottoman…You also have a cute storage spot for things like magazines and remote controls!

diy_soda_crate_ottoman_project

You’re done! I think the entire project took about an hour or so. And it’s super cute and matches our quirky vintage style. I love being able to look around our house and say…”Aw, we made that! Isn’t that cool?” If you’ve made a soda crate ottoman or any other kind of DIY project from an old crate, drop me a note and tell me about it!

Copyright 2014. The Savvy Seeker blog by Erin Hurley-Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Everything Vintage Co. in Toano, Virginia

Have you ever been to town of Toana, Virginia? Me neither. That’s probably because you could drive through it with a blink of an eye. But if you are into one-of-a-kind, hard to locate, antique advertising/industrial/funky/prim items to add to your specialized collection…than do I have a very unique place for you to stop and visit. Enter Everything Vintage Co. in Toano, Virginia, just a few minutes west of Williamsburg, VA…right up Richmond Road.

Looks pretty plain Jane from the outside...until you step inside that is...

Looks pretty plain Jane from the outside…until you step inside that is…

As the Mr. and I were leaving our fun, but short weekend adventure in Colonial Williamsburg, we headed west on Richmond Road and stopped in one of our favorite antique stores on the East Coast. We found this eclectic shop on a Sunday drive a couple of years ago…where we stopped and purchased this piece of antique advertising (scroll to the bottom of the story) that was chillin’ on the hot sidewalk, outside of the shop…just like these two lovely examples below.

antique_gulf_sign

Man caves across the country are screaming for these two signs to join their bare walls…

When the Mr. and I first went to this shop, there was a real mix of high and low end antiques…primitive, industrial, signage, smalls, etc….and really seemed to offer a little bit of everything for all kinds of collectors.

antique_pedal_carUnfortunately, this time around, the Mr. and I were really surprised to see the dramatic increase in the asking prices of most of the items in the shop. I understand that the pieces they offer are very unique and some are quite hard to find…so they demand a higher asking price. But no deals here…expect to pay full retail.

antique_printers_cabinetThis is definitely a shop for the serious collector who is looking for that one, special item to add to their collection. And if they don’t have it in the store, I bet they could find it for you!

antique_gas_pumpTheir offering of antique advertising was very impressive. I fell in love with this Anniston Bus Depot sign below. The clock was not working, but image if it was re-wired to light up and keep time! Amazing…

antique_bus_depot_sign

Signs, signs, everywhere signs…

antique_stepback_cupboard

Spice up tea time with this beautiful Lipton’s Tea sign…probably made from enamel.

I’m guessing that some of these items come from auctions…such as this beautiful oak grain bin that once belonged in an old general store.

antique_grain_bin

With the mix of bicycles and advertising, it made me think of American Pickers…

As an illustrator, I’m always looking for inspiration from vintage ads…like this Esslinger’s beer character. I love the simplicity in his uniform and the use of the bold red on white.

antique_beer_sign

I love the graphics on this Esslinger’s beer sign…something about the design of the little man reminds me of two other brands…Campbell’s Soup and Phillip Morris Cigarettes.

As much as I loved this old industrial cubby shelf…it screamed tetanus shot!!! I know the rusty thing is a hot look/trend right now…but if this baby came home with me, I’d have to pay to have the metal grate cubbies powder coated in some bright, fun colors.

antique_industrial_cabinet

For some reason this made me think of Laverne and Shirley. Didn’t they work in a factory?

antique_baughs_fertilizer_signIn the back I found this sweet apothecary cabinet painted in cottage green and cream. I loved the handles…even though I was unsure if they were original or not to the piece. But at $495…it seemed a little steep. I’d think this piece would look precious in an entry way with a large deco mirror paired with it and an old oak coat rack or umbrella stand beside it. Too cute!

antique_apothecary_cabinet

Cottage chic and cute to boot! One could store lots of little treasures in this adorable apothecary chest.

Copyright 2014. The Savvy Seeker blog by Erin Hurley-Brown. All Rights Reserved.

The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in Colonial Williamsburg

With the Labor Day weekend now behind us and kids off to school, Summer is now officially getting ready to come to a close. If you are like me, right now you are saying to yourself, “Summer? What summer?” I feel like this past summer was a total blur as I continue my quest to find a happy balance between a full-time career in public relations and a full house with an growing eight month old baby, a fourteen year old starting high school, a husband with a busy schedule and three elderly dogs. By the time August rolled around, I was ready to pull my hair out of my head and start screaming like that woman in the commercial… “Calgon!! Take me away!!!”

stay-at-home-mom_0

Luckily, the Mr. planned a secret getaway weekend for just us in Colonial Williamsburg before I went totally insane. We stayed at The Cedars B&B, which is conveniently located in the heart of everything and is right across the street from the historic William and Mary College campus. Dr. Henderson built the brick colonial in 1933 out of historic bricks from a demolished building on the college campus. It became a bed and breakfast just two years later in 1935.

the_cedars_bb_williamsburg

The next morning, as we finished our breakfast, the B&B owner asked us if we wanted to do an impromptu photoshoot in the back garden (which apparently he does with all his guests). Now, if you stay at The Cedars, you may want to have more coffee than we had prior to our “shoot”, but here were some outtakes from our modeling gig. And don’t worry…you get to take the photos with you before you pack up and go.

the_cedars_bb_williamsburg_photos

I’ve lived in Richmond, VA for a very long time now and Colonial Williamsburg is just about forty-five minutes southeast from me. In all of that time, I really can’t believe that I’ve never visited the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum until now. What a treat! If you have never been and you’re a fan of early American folk art, then you too are missing out! Here are just some of the highlights…

Abby_Aldrich_Rockefeller_folk_art_museum

Admission to the museum is just $12.95 per person…which gets you access to both museums, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Prior to being an art museum, this building was actually the first hospital for the insane in America. Hmmm….maybe the Mr. had an ulterior motive with our trip after all? Maybe he was trying to tell me something…

Abby_Aldrich_Rockefeller_folk_art_museum_portrait3

This portrait had me thinking about my own little dogs…I think a portrait of my 3.5 pound chihuahua, Sassy, and I would look fabulous hanging over our mantel!

The collection of early American Folk portraits is quite impressive. I would say it takes up a good portion of the gallery’s collection. The collection focus on the period of 1700-1850. Here are just a few of my favorites. The handmade frames alone where drool worthy…

Abby_Aldrich_Rockefeller_folk_art_museum_portrait2

I loved the way the artist captured the light on this little girl’s dress. I also loved her little red shoes.

Abby_Aldrich_Rockefeller_folk_art_museum_portrait

Besides portraits, the gallery offers a unique collection of wood carvings that include whirly gigs, carousel carvings, weathervanes and early advertising displays.

folk_art_wooden_sculpture

I stood in front of this little fellow for a while. He was so animated, he seemed like he would just get up and start playing his instrument. Too bad he lost his bow sometime down the road…

folk_art_shoe_sign

Who wouldn’t want this early American advertising piece hanging in their home? How playful is this! I love the fact that it has real fabric for shoe laces!

Abby_Aldrich_Rockefeller_folk_art_museum_advertising

I don’t remember what this guy’s original purpose was…but isn’t he handsome?

Now through November 30, 2014, there is a small display of Tramp Art in the David and Mary Peebles Gallery. I’m a HUGE fan of tramp art…and I have to be honest, I was a little disappointed at how thin this collection was. So if you go to the museum expecting to see a large variety of tramp art pieces, you might wonder, “Where’s the rest?” What they did have was this amazing 6 foot tall tramp art mirror…it was mammoth in size. Imagine how long it took someone to carve all those tiny pieces!!

Abby_Aldrich_Rockefeller_folk_art_museum_trampart

A massive tramp art mirror on display until November 30th.

In the portrait gallery was this amazing wooden carved portrait of a little girl. The folds in her dress seemed so real, so life-like, it was as if she would start moving. The Mr. was a little creeped out by her, but I thought she was adorable!

Abby_Aldrich_Rockefeller_folk_art_museum_sculpture_portrait

Besides art on the walls, this room featured actual walls removed from an early American home and reconstructed in the museum. The detail and original faux finishing on the mantel was jaw dropping.

Abby_Aldrich_Rockefeller_folk_art_museum_room

 

Down on the Farm is an exhibit just for the kiddies that explores folk art and animal life. Children can even create their own drawings and hang them on a designated area of the gallery wall.

Abby_Aldrich_Rockefeller_folk_art_childrens

Old McDonald had some folk art!

How precious is this little wooden dog? Prince is a small wooden folk art sculpture created by a father for his two boys after their beloved doggie past away. I think Prince is quite the attraction at the museum…because you can purchase your own little stuffed version of this doggie in the downstairs gift shop.

Abby_Aldrich_Rockefeller_folk_art_museum_prince

How cute is this guy? I think after the dad carved him, he left him on the porch to scare away unwanted visitors.

And last but not least…look…at…this…crock!! This piece of folk art earthenware was created in Charles City, VA and stood at about 2.5 feet tall!! I have no idea how someone would actually fill this thing with water and use it…but how cool is that face? This is one of the many pieces within the collection that I stood and admired for a while.

Abby_Aldrich_Rockefeller_folk_art_museum_crock

 

Stay tuned next week to find out where we ended up next on our quick Williamsburg, VA adventure! To learn more about the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum or to purchase tickets, visit them online at www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/do/art-museums/rockefeller-museum/.

EVENT UPDATE! Antiques Roadshow appraiser, Ken Farmer, in Richmond, VA!

Don’t miss Ken Farmer, this Saturday, September 6th, at the Virginia Historical Society! Information about this event is here: www.vahistorical.org/attend-event/programs-and-activities/social-events/collector’s-eye-value-southern-treasures

10575353_10152614829672351_223503555920222259_o

Copyright 2014. The Savvy Seeker blog by Erin Hurley-Brown. All Rights Reserved.

 

54th Shenandoah Antique Expo, Part II

Hey ya’ll! I’m back and I’m bringin’ some eye candy with me! There was sooooo much to see at the 54th Shenandoah Antique Expo, in Fishersville, VA, that I thought I’d post a part deux to my original story. I was taking so many photographs throughout the long, hot afternoon…that I probably should have used my two-day pass to return and do a complete second walk through. I’m sure I missed some amazing items…it was really tough to see it all in a 4 hour spread. One guy said, “If you buy it, then you don’t need a photo of it!” And my response was, “Well, I’m takin’ the photo because I can’t afford to buy it!” Ha!

antique_painted_dry_sink

I REALLY wanted this dry sink…not that I have any more room for something like this…but look at that worn paint! Look at the awesome galvanized metal sink! Luckily, for me, this had a “sold” ticket on it by the time I took this photo.

I never know if a dealer is annoyed that I’m taking photographs or if they welcome the fact that I have such a deep passion for these artful objects. My friends (who are not antique collectors) always ask me, “don’t you get tired of looking at all that old junk?” My response…HELL NO!

antique_pie_safe

Be still my heart…look at those tins!!

paper_mache_jackolanterns

Remember my post on antique Jack-o-lanterns? Some of the more rare shapes can bring BIG bucks at the auction block.

antique_crocks

Crocks. crocks. And more crocks. Never seen so many crocks in all my life. A gentleman once told me at an estate auction, that you can never go wrong buying early American crocks because they always hold their value. And according to the prices I saw, he was right.

For me, this is how I find inspiration. I work long hours as a senior designer for a large public relations firm. I LOVE the work I do there and I’m blessed to also LOVE the folks I work with…but anyone can get burnt out. A person can only work so many hours in Photoshop or InDesign before they start to feel cross-eyed! Plus, I work on some pretty large/national brands, so I’m constantly expected to bring new ideas to clients and stay on top of the latest trends. For me, I find inspiration from the colors, patterns, textures and craftsmanship I see in antiques.

antique_north_caroline_farm_table

A beautiful North Carolina farm table, circa early 1800’s (pre-civil war era). Look at the legs on that beauty!

 

walberts_timberlake_stove_sign

LOVE. THIS. SIGN.

antique_oak_filing_cabinets

I have always loved these old oak filing cabinets. They have so much character. Plus, they are practical…you can use them to store just about anything.

I love the history and I find a rich connection between objects and the places where they were made. I like to imagine stories about the people who made these unique items with their hands…sometimes skilled, sometimes self-taught. One of the first questions that I ask a dealer about an item is “Can you tell me where this came from?” or “How did you find/acquire it?” I have heard some really amazing stories by simply asking those two questions.

antique_fire_bucket

Everyone at the show was flippin’ out over this antique fire bucket, circa 1827. It was definitely one of the earlier pieces at the show that day.

antique_farm_table

Just a pretty farm table. My mom wasn’t wild about the rounded corners…but I thought it was really sweet, with it’s green skirt and worn top.

The other thing that I love about seeking antiques is the journey that keeps me on. By traveling and going to flea markets and antique shows, I get to meet some REALLY interesting people! That’s a big reason I decided to start doing interviews on my blog…people LOVE to talk about the things they collect…all you have to do is come up with the right questions!

antique_carnival_wheel

Who doesn’t love antique toys? They can evoke a sense of whimsy to any room. We were surprised to see so many carnival wheels….we must have seen about 8 of them. This one had the brightest colors and therefore, was my favorite.

 

antique_slag_glass_lamp

I love these old lamps. This crappy photo doesn’t do it justice…the amber glow of the colored glass really is romantic.

antique_white_jelly_cupboard

And another chippy, white cabinet. I was admiring the painted firkin on top, otherwise known as a sugar bucket.

One particular time, I asked an older gentleman what he was going to be selling at a particular antique show. His response…”a bunch of sh**.” I laughed out loud. When I asked him what he meant by that he elaborated on the fact that he actually collects Stickley, Roycroft and other fine arts and crafts pieces. He saves those items and sells them in Atlanta. There’s a greater market in Atlanta for that type of furniture because there are more Arts and Crafts style historic homes that young couples are buying and refurbishing. And those couples want the authentic furniture for their bungalows to complete the look. As for the other “sh**”, he saves that for a different city because he knows the crowd is looking for smaller items, at a lower price point. Funny, but makes sense.

So, I hope you’ve enjoyed my random rant on “old junk.” It was a little long-winded. If you know of any upcoming vintage pop-up markets, fleas or antique shows, drop me a line and I’ll post the dates here on my blog!

antique_penny_rug

Penny rug!! This one was a show stopper! I’ve never seen an old one with such light colors…usually they incorporate black into the design. This was a large one, which could be displayed on a table or a wall.

Copyright 2014. The Savvy Seeker blog by Erin Hurley-Brown. All Rights Reserved.

 

54th Shenandoah Antique Expo, Part I

Hope you got to do something extra fun this past Mother’s Day weekend! This past Mother’s Day was extra special for me…not only was I celebrating my first Mother’s Day with little Sunny baby (well sort of…I’ve been a step-mom for 8 years now, so I feel that counts for something too!), but I was able to sneak away from work and hit the road to the 54th Shenandoah Antique Expo in Fishersville, VA! For those of you that might need a little reminder as to why I love this particular event so much, read my first entry about Fishersville.

The view early in the morning...cars lined as far as you could see...

The view early in the morning…cars lined as far as you could see…

I’ve been to this event several times before, but have never gone on the first day, as the gates were opening! Whoa! My folks and I parked and headed over to the parking lot area where hundreds of dealers were lined up, ready to wheel and deal with their treasures. It was a pickers paradise! One thing about going that early though…I felt as though I was in an episode of Nickelodeon’s Super Toy Run!! Remember that? Kids were given 5 minutes, a shopping cart and the opportunity to run rapid through Toys R Us, grabbing whatever toys they could. Seriously…people were definitely in a hurry to be the first to grab whatever collectible that was hot on their list.

The morning rush begins!

Grab your coffee! The morning rush begins!

It took my parents and I, 3.5 hours to make our way through the parking lot, two barns and expo center, to view everything that there was to see! That came out to 2.5 miles of walking!! What a great way to burn off that leftover baby weight! There was sooooo much to see…that you almost couldn’t see it all in one day (now I understand why they allow the early bird shoppers to have a 2-day pass!). I took so many photos, that I thought I’d break this post into two parts…here is just a taste of some of the things we saw…

antique_english_ironstone

Do you love English ironstone? These fine examples did not come cheap, but were in pristine condition.

antique_jelly_cupboard

Look at all of the layers of paint on this old cabinet. I loved the round feet and the layers and layers of paint almost seemed to tell a story. This was one of my favorite pieces from the show.

antique_hanging_cupboard

How about a sweet primitive chippy white hanging cabinet? This would be cute in a laundry room!

antique_pie_safe

I saw more pie safes at this show than any show that I’ve attended in the past 10 years. Making a comeback? Did they ever go away?

folk_art_boxes

How fun are these tramp art boxes? The dealer said these were from his personal collection.

vintage_bicycle

Need some wheels? How about this cutie?

vintage_pedal_cars

Or some retro pedal cars? I liked them in a group…

architectural_salvage

Is architectural salvage more of your thing? At first, I was admiring this Coca Cola button, but then I noticed these awesome antique shutters.

mission_table

I’m a sucker for Mission furniture…and this solid oak mission lamp table was a STEAL at only $150.

primitive_cupboard

Crocks, crocks and more crocks. If you collect crocks, then you need to come to this show. This beautiful cabinet had it’s original paint on it and sported a “sold” sign.

primitives

This dealer drove in from West Virginia and had some of the prettiest primitives I’ve seen a long time.

west_virginia_antiques

I love the original blue paint on this cupboard. Too bad that the top half is gone…I’m sure this piece was a base to something.

white_pie_safe

This beautiful white pie safe looks almost identical to the one I have in my kitchen. I love the delicate work on the metal tin screens.

So at the end of the day, what did I walk away with? I was on the hunt for some antique advertising to hang in my family room…and boy was there a lot to choose from. Advertising is soooo hot right now and almost every dealer had at least one or two pieces in their booths. Prices ranged from $150 up to $500 for most. I fell in love with the patina on this early 1900’s sign from a mill worker, located in Richmond, VA. I was able to negotiate with the dealer and walked away with a price I could live with (and not have buyers remorse!). My amazing father carried this giant sign for most of the time that we were walking around. I bet he was glad when we finally reached the car!!!

antique_advertising

It’s a family affair…picking antique treasures that is!

Stay tuned next week for more eye candy from this awesome event!

Copyright 2014. The Savvy Seeker blog by Erin Hurley-Brown. All Rights Reserved.

 

3rd Annual Vintage Home Market

Howdy ya’ll!! Hope everyone had an awesome weekend, doing something fun! This past weekend, the Mr. and I, along with my parents, packed up Sunny baby and headed out to a very special event in Richmond, VA. We got up early Saturday morning and attended the 3rd Annual Vintage Home Market, at the Richmond Raceway (not that I wanted to wake up extra early after working a long week, but my mom insisted we go to the show early).

vintage_home_market

I’m glad we did go early…I was so surprised to see all the “sold” tickets on items once we arrived! This show has a strong following and the good stuff goes QUICK! So if you decide to go next year, go early!! You’re probably asking what makes this show so unique? What I liked about this show is that it combines flea market finds, handmade, up-cycled items, high quality antiques and barn found objects – all in one place! So if you read magazines like Flea Market Style or follow blogs like Chez Fifi, this is the show for you. Here is just a smattering of some of the fun and funky things we saw there…

chippy_childs_chair

I love this sweet little chippy white child’s chair…and I’m always a sucker for anything lavender!

antique_desk

I fell in love with this desk. The photo doesn’t do it justice…the craftsmanship on this piece was stellar and who wouldn’t love to fill up all of those little drawers! So much storage!

antique_kitchen_cupboard

Ya’ll know my passion for antique kitchen cupboards…too bad my kitchen can’t fit in any more! This booth had several and a few had already sold.

Check  out the chippy paint on this old jelly cupboard! I could see this as a buffet or in someone's entry way with a cool mirror placed on top!

Check out the chippy paint on this old jelly cupboard! I could see this as a buffet or in someone’s entry way with a cool mirror placed on top!

vintage_costume_jewelry

There was also some amazing jewelry to select from…made out of vintage buttons, brooches and typewriter keys.

vintage_garden_decor

Do you like garden inspired or shabby chic decor? If so, there was a lot to see and choose from…

vintage_toy_globe

The Mr. had to talk me out of purchasing this adorable vintage toy globe for Sunny baby’s room…how cute is that??!!

vintage_tweed_suitcases

The Mr. was also eyeing these vintage suitcases until someone else purchased them just as he was pulling out his wallet…oh well…you snooze you lose at this show!

vintage_wardrobe

I thought this adorable wardrobe was a nice versatile piece for any room…especially for a little girl’s room.

By the end of the morning, we needed a break, so we grabbed some free cookies and southern sweet tea…and also had our family portrait taken in the photo booth area! I think Sunny baby liked the feather boa…what do you think?

thesavvyseeker_family

Never too early to get the kids interested in home decorating! Ha!

 

Q&A: Becky Helms of The Pink Samurai

Q: Tell us briefly a little about yourself. What are your interests or your hobbies?

A: I’m a cat lady, a crafter and total nerd.  I live in Austin, TX with Andy, my husband, and our two cats Turks and Sprinkles.  I love drawing, crochet, embroidery and collection super cute stuff.TV-Star

Q: Describe your style in three words or less.

A: Bright, colorful, happy

Kokeshi-Collection-1

 

Austin-Antique-Mall-Austin-Texas-mcm

Q: On your blog, The Pink Samurai, you feature a different vintage shop for thrifty treasures from the Austin area. What was the inspiration behind this?

A: I grew up thrifting and antiquing with my mom. When I was living on the East Coast I made this giant google doc spreadsheet of all the shops I’d visited and wanted to visit. I started sharing it out with friends and thought more folks besides us might like to see the shops, too. So I started putting them on the blog!

austin-thrift-vintage-shops

Thrifty-Thursday-Leighelana-Austin-Texas-vintage

A cowgirl's paradise!!!! Look at all of these boots!!!

A cowgirl’s paradise!!!! Look at all of these boots!!!

Q: Do you have a favorite place to find your unique antique treasures in the Austin, TX area? What’s the furthest you’ve ever traveled for vintage finds?

A: Rave On Vintage is definitely my favorite spot in Austin because they specialize in mid-century goodness. They’ve always got the best stuff!  And I think the furthest I’ve ever traveled was around 3 hours. Andy and I went to The Factory Antique Mall in Verona, VA. I’d heard about it from Jenny Mitchell, one of my favorite vintage bloggers and just had to go! It was a gorgeous trip through the mountains of Virginia and turned into a really fun day-trip.

Rave-On-Vintage-27

Rave-On-Vintage-19

Q: Your handmade scarves are gorgeous! What was the inspiration behind your Etsy shop, The Pink Samurai?

A: Thank you! The Pink Samurai has worn many hats since opening. I used to sew purses, and design buttons, but after teaching myself to crochet, I decided to take the leap and started selling them. Through all my different offerings, The Pink Samurai has always been a place for bright colors and silliness. I try to bring those elements in with my color palettes and branding.

March-Recap-3

Impossible-Scarf-Three-1

Q: You’ve had your Etsy shop since 2006…how have you seen the Etsy community evolve since then? What are some of the trends you see on Etsy?

A: Etsy has changed quite a bit since I first started. But, so has the internet as a whole. I’ve seen the forum switch from being a promotional tool to more of a team setting and there’s a lot more knock-off shops on Etsy then there were in 2006, that’s for sure. With the evolution of twitter, instagram and pinterest, I don’t really spend as much time networking through Etsy anymore. As for trends, I’m seeing a lot of geometric prints and simplified color-blocking in handmade right now. There’s also a lot of really cool laser cut wood designs that are popping up now.

Renegade-SXSW-2014-betawife

Renegade-SXSW-2014-betawife Renegade-SXSW-2014-fartsy-arts

Q: What are the advantages of shopping on Etsy vs. Ebay for vintage finds?

A: That’s a great question! I think you’ll probably pay a little bit more on Etsy for some vintage finds, but it’s a much better experience. You’re working with a seller who specializes in vintage and curates their shop very carefully. Ebay can be hit-or-miss. If you’re looking for something specific, I would check both. But if you’re just browsing for a hidden treasure, Etsy is the way to go.

il_570xN.384012106_dxt3

il_570xN.384012220_rna4

Q: Besides crocheting beautiful scarves, you also create the loveliest illustrations. I read on your blog that you hosted a “crafternoon” at your house…could you share with my readers what that is?

A:  Crafternoon was a really fun event that I hosted to get some crafty locals together to make stuff and swap supplies. I had special embroidery patterns we all worked on and we traded supplies and had a great time visiting and talking about making stuff. It  was so fun and I’m hoping to do another in the summer!

April12.Grilled-Cheese-Day

Crafternoon-Event-Photos-making

 

Austin-Crafternoon-embroidery-group

Special thanks to Becky Helms for taking the time to do this interview! Be sure to check out her blog, The Pink Samurai.

Copyright 2014. The Savvy Seeker blog by Erin Hurley-Brown. All Rights Reserved.