Wednesday, September 14, 2011

QUIRKY: Upcycled Milk Crate Project

Browsing a recent estate sale, I stumbled on three vintage milk crates. Not the old, industrial, perfect for home decor awesome kind like this one from hilltopcottage.

No, these crates were straight up ugly... and I had to have them! Two dollars for all three? Sold to the sucker in the corner! But I had BIG plans for these uggos. The first thing I had to do was wash them off. Years of dirt, grime and spiders from the garage had taken a toll on these crates. So I gathered up my 19 month old partner and told him to get to work spraying (his favorite activity) those crates!

After removing the dirt and spider eggs, yes spider eggs... eew

I then spent about another hour with a bottle of 409 and some Q-Tips cleaning out the crevices wondering what the heck I had been thinking? If you want to get into some kind of similar project, you can just get the little cheapo crates from Wal-Mart or where ever. However, personally I like to upcycle and whenever possible I like to avoid giving my money to Wal-Mart. Besides, you can't get the crates that will allow you to chalkboard the middle unless you use the real, vintage deal. 

After all my scrubbing and cleaning, I then taped around the middle box on all the crates, where the company logo was. This is the section of the box you will use the chalk board spray paint. Chalk board spray paint is the coolest. I want to chalk board everything with it! BUT Since I don't want to be referred to as "Crazy Chalk Board Lady" I try to refrain and use chalk board spray paint sparingly. 

After two coats of chalk spray paint and a passing inspection from my beagle Bam, I then waited 24 hours to let the chalk board paint dry (after all you don't want the fresh coats to chip) then taped up that part and went to work painting the rest of the crates. I went with three different colors. All Krylon satin colors: Periwinkle, Jade, and Pistachio. Each crate took an entire can of the selected color and if I had really wanted to be a perfectionist about it, I could have used more than an entire can. I just skipped painting the underside of each crate. After letting the new paint day, they were ready for stacking. 

Baby boy is so proud

A quirky stack

The best part is the erasable chalk board paint in the middle, great for labeling. I have a simple 1, 2, 3. I'll probably end up with them in the kids playroom marked something like "legos' "markers" and such. 

Overall, I'm pretty happy with this project. They look great and it's something me and my little guy did together!

How about you? Any other upcyclers out there?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

My FIRST Etsy Front Page Experience

It's the Holy Grail of Etsy sellers.. or for me at least. I daydream about one of my items making it to Etsy's front page constantly... and it FINALLY happened today!

Unless you are an Etsy seller, it's difficult to appreciate all the hard work that goes into your shop. For us vintage sellers, it's hours upon hours of hunting, searching, scavenging, getting the deal, getting the stuff people want. Then you have to go home, clean and inspect your new treasure, take photos (not eBay style either, Etsy likes pretty and artsy photos). After that, you get to edit your photos. Finally you get to the dreaded listing process. I hate this part: add photos, make your items sound fabulous, rack your brain for the best tag words, try to optimize your listing for SEO. Ugh, it can seriously get exhausting. Then you pray for views and "hearts" (people that add your listing to their favorites). After all, it's nice to know that after all your hard work, someone appreciates it.

Being on the front page means, above all, EXPOSURE. When someone types into their search bar the front page is what pops up. Someone that will probably never see your shop might see your item and think "Hey, that's pretty cool. I need to check it out!" For my shop, I usually average about 60 - 120 unique visitors to my shop per day according to My unique views today were over 450! That's by far a personal record for my little vintage shop. What fun it was to refresh my shop stats and see the views climb and climb.

Here is the treasury my item was featured in: My item is the beer stein, third row, far right.

I sold my stein to boot. If I never make the front page again, I think I can be happy with this one time. What a fun experience! A special thanks to mktengineer for featuring me in this lovely treasury! So, does anyone else have a front page experience... or do you think it's overrated?