...because home doesn't happen overnight.

I saw this vintage apothecary matchstick bottle in the most recent issue of House Beautiful and thought, “I should try DIYing that!”  It was simply a small glass bottle filled with matchsticks and etched on the bottom for lighting the matches.  I already had a perfect little glass vase that I had found at Goodwill for $1 but had trouble scoring long {think 4″-6″} matchsticks to fit inside.  I finally found these 4″ matchsticks on Amazon.

They come in a set of three.  They were expensive for matches, but I planned on making two more of these matchstick bottles {for Mom and MIL for Mother’s Day} if the first one turned out okay so I figured ‘what the heck?’ and ordered ’em.  One matchstick bottle for myself and two Mother’s Day gifts for less than $20 total is actually a steal, right?  I tried etching the bottom of the glass vase like my House Beautiful inspiration had on it, but the etching turned out not to be coarse enough for lighting the matches.  Scratch Plan A and onto Plan B which consisted of me cutting out the lighting strip from the matchbox, cutting it down to size, and adhering it to the exterior bottom of the vase with scrapbooking mounting squares.

I didn’t like the way the lighting strip showed through the glass when the vase was upright.

I cut out a circle of scrap fabric {from some leftover kitchen curtain material} and placed a folded piece of painter’s tape to hold it in place into the bottom of the vase.  {I wanted to be able to remove the fabric easily if I ever need to clean out the vase.}

I filled the vase with matchsticks and tied a small tag {another scrapbooking product that I already hand on hand} around the lip of the vase with twine.

Yes, that’s computer text added to the tag.  I didn’t want to write something on it just yet since I plan on gifting two matchstick holders to my mom and MIL for Mother’s Day.  I don’t have the other two vases {which I plan on buying at Goodwill} yet and want to make ’em personal after I decide which one stays with me, which goes to my mom, and which goes to MIL.  I might even switch up the phrasing to something else but I like this one for my own home.

The lighting strip really works, too!  You just grab a match, hold the open mouth of the vase with one hand, and swipe the match across the bottom with your other hand.  Oh, and it doesn’t budge at all with those super sticky mounting squares holding it in place.  Just remember to keep it out of reach of little ones!

With the vase full of matches, you can’t see the fabric-covered bottom.  But as the match supply begins to dwindle, it will be revealed…instead of the lighting strip’s ugly backside.

I’ll have to keep you posted on how I tweak this DIY project into a Mother’s Day gift when that time approaches.  Wouldn’t it be nice to gift it along with a yummy-smelling candle? And to think that I’ll get 3 matchstick holders for the same price {$20!!} as the one in House Beautiful is pretty sweet. Nothing like taking inspiration from high-end products and dumbing it down into something affordable!

images:  all Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Handy Hubby, the kiddos, and myself all headed down to Cincinnati on Saturday to check out an outlet that Handy Hubby discovered last year and has been wanting me see in person ever since. After his first visit to Building Value, Handy Hubby went on and on about the unique housing materials he’d found {but didn’t purchase}.  He thought I’d have fun imagining ways to repurpose all the salvaged inventory.  He knows me so well!  I had a blast.

Building Value’s inventory comes from manufacturer donations, local deconstruction projects, and generous remodelers.  They specialize in salvaging reusable materials for sale to the public in an effort to help the environment, reduce the cost of disposal, and give architectural gems a second life.  100% of the proceeds go to the Easter Seals Work Resource Center benefiting people with disabilities.  It’s a win-win situation.  I found several items that could possibly make an appearance in our next, downsized, home.  {Most of the homes we’ve looked at so far are foreclosures, short sales, or estate sales in need of some TLC.}  Wanna see the stuff that caught my design-lovin’ eye?

First up and right inside the front door was this rain barrel.  I’ve been wanting to collect rain water for some time now.  If we weren’t in the middle of purging in anticipation of a move, I’d have grabbed this bad boy and tried to talk ’em down in price.  If I’m lucky, maybe he’ll still be there after we settle into our next home.

There was a huge selection of  interior and exterior doors…mostly old, some new.  And, like the sign says, they were unique.  A few had to have once lived in mansions because they were at least 12 feet tall – and gorgeous!

I found this glass panel door that I wouldn’t mind having as a front door some day.  It was marked at $50.

I absolutely fell in love with this chunky, square pedestal sink.  I even liked the fixtures.  And then I found its perfect bathroom soul mate…

…this vintage clawfoot tub.  I’d paint the outside a contrasting color {like black or charcoal} then hang a simple curtain around it from an industrial, oval shower rod.  To. Die. For.  I’m secretly hoping our next home needs a total bathroom overhaul.

One section of the outlet was devoted entirely to salvaged architectural elements:  columns, molding, trim, banisters, railings, spindles, corbels…you name it.  I was particularly smitten with these primitive fireplace mantels.  One of these installed on a long, blank wall would instantly scream “FOCAL POINT!”  I’d add a mirror where the firebox normally goes and call it a day. Okay, now secretly hoping that our next home has a blank canvas of a wall in desperate need of a faux fireplace.

And wouldn’t this arched window make a grand first impression installed above a front door? Although, I’m pretty sure it’d be too grand for whatever home we downsize to.  I’d love to have seen this window in its original home.  Maybe it wasn’t even over a door at all.  Maybe it was a third story attic window.  Wherever it used to live, this window has a great shape and could be a one-of-a-kind detail.

I’ve already professed my love for school on H*T before, so it should come as no surprise that I adored the selection of pull down/roll up school maps.  There were even retractable mounting kits available.  I thought the Ohio state map would look great in one of my kids’ future bedroom.

The outlet’s stock overflowed outside where more doors, tubs, lumber, windows, and various other building materials were stashed.  I was drawn to the pallets of bricks and pavers.  DIY patio, anyone?

I knew browsing through ‘house stuff’ {as my boys call it} wasn’t exactly my kids’ idea of a good time, but I was pleasantly surprised when Layne started picking out items he thought were pretty cool.  Like the orange dentist’s chair.  We spent a good 10 minutes at that chair letting the boys take turns ahhhing.  Funny how our dentist has a room devoted strictly to children with painted jungle wall murals, stuffed animals, and a flat screen TV to make the kids feel more comfortable.  I think my kids would be perfectly fine as long as this old orange chair was in the room!

My boys also had fun playing with Building Value’s mascot, Betty.  She was hard at work on her computer when the boys distracted her with a piece of twine.  It was a good ‘black cat crossing your path’ experience.

After all that, we ended up with 2 for sale signs that cost us $6…after a little friendly haggling.  Hey, we gotta sell this house before we can even begin to buy for the next.  I put them out at two busy intersections close to our home to draw in more traffic hopefully.  {So far, we’ve had tons of interest, decent traffic, and even one offer which, unfortunately, fell through.}

So, that’s a very small snippet of what Building Value has to offer.  Of course, this is just an edited selection of my finds.  They also sell tile, lighting, toilets, vanities, kitchen sinks, some antique furniture and probably a lot more that I missed.  Oh, and if you agree to put a Building Value bumper sticker on your bumper, you get 10% off your purchase.  We declined this time…just so we can accept that offer some day when we come back to purchase bigger ticket items.  Because we do plan on going back.  If you’re in the Cincy area and like to reuse or upcycle stuff for your house, you should definitely check this place out.  It’s not in the nicest of neighborhoods {although we found the people we encountered there to be very friendly}, so it’s a true diamond in the rough.  And just to keep things balanced, we hit up IKEA on the way home which we left empty-handed.  Nothing like mixing old with new – even if it’s just window shopping!

This family outing got Handy Hubby and I really inspired to bring more upcycled pieces into our next house.  This outing is pretty indicative of our design philosophy, too.  We like budget-friendly materials and decor found from all sorts of places.  Old and new is a mix that never goes out of style.

What about you?  Do you have a local diamond in the rough store to share?  Know of any other housing material outlets near Cincy/Dayton that would get my wheels turning?

images:  all Dana Miller for House*Tweaking