So Craigslist freebies can definitely be hit or miss. You drive to your freebie destination and there is your treasure, or so you presumed. It is rather, a clear sign as to why the owner listed it as Free, aka Trash. Other times, you come across a gold mine. My latest experience was one of the latter.
A woman listed old window frames and ‘yes, there are still available’. Yay! My Mom and I take a lovely drive up to the country, pull up to this cute house surrounded by a mishmash of gardens – and there lay in a rusty wheelbarrow, a stack of old window frames. Some of which were painted a lovely hue of cornflower blue. I had no idea what I wanted to do with them, so my Mom and I grabbed four; (I should say: We gingerly picked them up trying desperately to avoid the spider eggs nestled in the corners – and yes, my skin is crawling right now). We enjoyed our rural drive home, discussing the house, the overweight and very friendly cat guarding the gardens and what we planned on doing with our old windows.
My two windows sat ignored. First on the side of our house, getting rained, snowed and then sunned on for about nine months. Then they were rudely transferred to our basement in a sad little corner, tucked behind our ladder and other useless junk we were loathe to part with.
Until two weeks ago. I lost my job; (Lost? No, I was terminated). I took a week to pout, drink, pout, write. Then something happened. My creativity, long ago boxed up by responsibility and a boring-ass career in accounting, busted out like there was no tomorrow. It was glorious; it IS glorious. My hands and Home Depot trips can’t keep up with my creative flow!
So I suddenly recall my two sad and severely neglected blue window frames. I asked my main man to dig them out of the basement; not entirely out of laziness but more of a nonsensical phobia of spiders and their little white balls of kin. I fretted about those spider eggs and how to carefully remove the glass for a few days. Then a few days ago, my creativity took control of my silly fears and I created something quite lovely, out of nothing. (Not to mention the flowers I purchased for my project were started to look a smidge limpy).
This is what I started with: (can you see the spider eggs? ewww!)
First order of b’ness was to remove the glass. There’s no easy, safe-proof way to do this. So PLEASE be careful. Around the exterior of the glass was old cruddy putty. That was easy to remove with a small taping knife (similar to a spatula). Once that was off, I had to bend back these tiny metal glaziers. These look like sharp little metal teeth that hold the glass in place with the wood frame. I gently bent them up in order to completely free the glass. In a perfect world, the glass pane should have been easily lifted out, but…this ain’t a perfect world. I’ll spare the details, but please use caution in extracting the glass. I shifted, pulled, shimmied and eventually broke the glass to get it all out.
Next came the wood surface. The layers of existing paint looked so authentic that all I had to do was take a wire brush and scrape away the dirt, loose paint chips and any remaining creepy crawlies. And voila! You can spray or brush-paint a layer of weather-proof clear polyurethane if you want; but I figured if it withstood decades of weather, it would survive more outdoor torture as-is.
And then we needed a shelf to hold the pots. If you notice, the bottom ledge is angled; not ideal to tap a few nails into a shelf. So my genius husband suggested mounting the shelf onto L-brackets. Smart! I screwed in one side of the two L-brackets, each about four inches in from the sides. This leaves my ‘shelf’ sticking out over the frame-bottom, to hold the real shelf. I chose a scrap piece of beaded panel board and cut the width the exact inside width of the window frame, and the depth about 5″. This depth was just enough to hold three small terra cotta pots. I should have painted it first but I was dingaling and forgot to. So, paint it first. I suggest painting your shelf a contrasting color because chances are, you won’t be able to replicate the exact finish of the wood frame. I chose a burgundy red, which was the same color peeking out from underneath the cornflower blue. The contrast was perfect! Once dry, I sanded the edges a bit to give it a worn look. Then popped the painted shelf onto the top of the L-brackets and screwed it in place.
I hung the frame onto my fence into the horizontal wood slats for stability, using large carpenter nails. We’ll see if it holds up. If not, I’ll have some very broken little pots. To add to the aged look, I painted three pots white, then swiped over some cornflower blue paint. I did some stellar potting with my now very happy flowers, (can you tell I have no clue what variety of flowers I purchased?), and here’s the end result:
See what beauty can come from being fired?