Thursday, June 30, 2011

Shelltastic Beach Tote

Glam up a canvas tote with shell stamps and rhinestones and hit the sand in style!

Loew-Cornell "Totally You" small canvas tote, 11"x9".
Plaid "Simply" large foam stamp, Clamshell.
Plaid "Simply" double-sided foam mini stamp set, Sea Adventure: clamshell, starfish, seahorse.
Plaid "Simply" double-sided foam stamps, Fancy Alphabet.
Rubberstamp, scroll, 3½".
Jacquard Textile Color fabric paint, Turquoise.
Jacquard Lumiere fabric paint, Pearl Turquoise.
Swarovski Flat Back rhinestones, Crystal, 5mm, 5.
G-S Hypo cement.
Light aqua 2" satin ribbon, 12" length.
Sponge paintbrush.

1. Slide a piece of cardboard inside the canvas bag so you have a nice flat surface to stamp on. Using the sponge paintbrush, dab the Turquoise fabric paint onto the clamshell stamp. Stamp the shell in the center of the canvas bag.

2. Using the same technique and color, stamp a scroll on either side of the clamshell. Then stamp a seahorse and a starfish on the right side of the clamshell. Repeat for the left side, turning the seahorse upside-down.

3. Use the Pearl Turquoise fabric paint to re-stamp the clamshell creating a pearly sheen. To make the design washable, let the paint dry, turn the tote inside out, and iron on the cotton setting for 30 seconds.

4. Attach the Crystal rhinestones along the bottom edge of the clamshell using the G-S Hypo cement.

5. Using the Turquoise paint, stamp the first initial of the kit recipient onto the end of the aqua ribbon. Let dry.

6. Tie the ribbon onto one of the handles with the monogram facing out.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Flea Bitten Birdhouse

Turn a plain birdhouse into a steampunk treasure with skeleton keys, a bicycle gear, a rusty keyhole, and more!

Step One
Water down acrylic paint by mixing 1 part paint to 10 parts water. Paint a wooden birdhouse with the watered-down acrylic paint and a foam paintbrush.

Step Two
Bend a license plate in half and slide it onto the roof of the birdhouse to get the right shape. Glue it into place with flexible permanent glue like Beacon Adhesive's Quick Grip.

Step Three
Remove the perching post with pliers and replace it with the eraser end of a pencil, glued into place.

Step Four
Using the glue, embellish the front of the birdhouse with flea market finds and hardware such as ball chain, watch faces, vintage keys, bike gears, and a keyhole.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Steampunk Stepping Stone

Take your garden one step beyond with mosaic stepping stones the whole family can make.

Mosaic stepping stones are a perfect summer craft, so why not round up the whole gang for an afternoon of creative fun? Quikcrete from the hardware store makes the project a cinch, and found objects like keys and coins give each stone a little funky flair. Get enough materials for each member of your clan, and you’ll have a garden path as unique as your family.
Step One
Spread out the tarp and put on your gloves. Measure 12 cups of Quikcrete into the bucket. Pour in 2 cups of water and mix with the paint stirrer. Add more water a little at a time until the mixture is the consistency of brownie mix.
Step Two
Pour the mixture into the stepping stone mold and smooth it with the paint stirrer until the surface is level.
Step Three
Create an artsy composition with keys, coins, and washers. Press each item into the mixture, wiggling it down into the concrete about 1/8th inch deep. Sprinkle the surface with sand for a decorative finish. Let cure for 48 hours before moving the stone, and wait at least a week or two before use.
On The Beaten Path: If your stepping stones will see a lot of foot traffic, you might want to reinforce them. Fill the mold half way, lay in a piece of wire mesh slightly smaller than the mold, then cover with concrete.

Glove Love: Remember to always wear gloves when working with concrete. Direct contact with the skin can cause irritation and who needs that!?

Mosaic Madness: You can decorate your stepping stones with all kinds of found objects as long as they are flat and weatherproof. Try sea glass, flat marbles, broken china, river rocks, vintage buttons, and even old typewriter keys!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Timeless Travel Treasures

Treat your decor to a fabulous vacation with vintage souvenirs.

Ah, Florida! The Sunshine State! We recently took a trip to see our folks in Tampa and couldn't resist popping over to Renninger's Antique Center and Flea Market in the quaint central Florida town of Mount Dora (about 30 miles north of Orlando). On the third weekend of every month, Renninger's fills its sandy parking lot with antiques vendors, attracting shoppers from far and wide in search of one-of-a-kind finds at bargain prices.

What did we find at Florida's largest antiques flea market? Floridiana, of course! We found a vintage Gatorland pennant, a Miami Beach license plate topper, and a Weeki Wachee vase promoting the famous mermaid city. But when we spotted nostalgic, souvenir linens, we fell in love. Vintage travel linens have made a big comeback, and we found tablecloths printed with maps of the Sunshine State and graphics of dolphins and mermaids from $20 to $50. This look is so popular we've seen new pillows embroidered with old state maps at boutiques for over $100. Jennifer preferred the $12 price of the "real thing" and took home two tea towels to turn into throw pillows.

Although there are travel collectibles at every flea market, when in Florida shop for Florida souvenirs! They will be the most abundant, and you might even find something rare. For example, on this trip one vendor had pink flamingo lawn ornaments, but not the bright pink, brand new ones sold on the Internet. These were authentic vintage lawn flamingos with a weatherworn pink patina. Kitty had to have those beautiful birds and plans to perch them on a guestroom chair. Kitschy chic!

Local Color
Whether you visit a flea market in Maine or Mississippi, you are sure to find keepsakes from all over the country. To add just a little souvenir style to your home, keep an eye out for one colorful piece to accent your decor. A large porcelain flamingo would bring a splash of fuchsia to a mantle. And a classic flower bouquet made from shells painted yellow would make a whimsical home accent.

If you are more of a collector at heart, focus on several versions of one type of souvenir and display them together in one room. A group of spoon rests with sea horses, pelicans, and palm trees would make a playful arrangement on a kitchen wall. A dozen decorative trivets can be hung in a row around a doorway. No matter what your obsession--Floridiana, Hawaiiana, or Indianaiana--grouping your collection will add visual impact and transform old souvenirs into great conversation pieces.

Prints Charming
Vintage travel posters make for gorgeous works of art with their idyllic scenes meant to entice mid-century travelers to take an exotic vacation. On our trip, we saw large prints featuring Florida attractions like Coral Gables, Bok Tower Gardens, and Key West. These posters can cost as much as $500, so when we discovered one for less than $50, we knew we had the find of the day!

Photo Op: When visiting far-away flea markets, don't forget to bring your camera. While a life-size, aluminum alligator may be the ultimate tropical souvenir, a snapshot is much easier to pack!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Serve With Style Mosaic Tray

A handcrafted tile tray looks like a million bucks (and it's easier than you think)!

A colorful tray is just the thing for serving those Lime Sparklers at your next summer soiree. To make your own, start with a circle of wood (available at home improvement stores) and a funky flower pattern. Mosaic with glass tiles in poppy red, tangerine, and lime. Then resin the surface for a glossy finish. Tray chic!

particleboard disc (11 3/4" diameter, 5/8" thick)
wood veneer edging tape (13/16" wide, 39" long)
12 finishing nails (1 1/2" long)
2 screen door pulls with hardware (4 7/8" long)
1 can apple red spray paint
Elmer’s Craft Bond Tacky Glue
vitreous glass mini mosaic tiles (3/8" size):
100 poppy red tiles
200 tangerine tiles
300 lime tiles
Envirotex Lite Pour-On Finish (8 oz. kit)

Step 1
Prepare the particleboard disc by taping the wood veneer tape around the edge of the disc. Secure with finishing nails. (Make sure the wood veneer tape is flush with bottom of the disc to create a 1/8-inch lip on top.) Spray paint the wood-edged disc red on all sides.

Step 2
Attach the handles to the sides of the disc.

Step 3
Copy the pattern onto the tray with chalk. Glue each tile to the tray surface following the pattern. Let the glue dry thoroughly. (Clean any remaining chalk lines with a damp cotton swab.)
Step 4
Mix the Pour-On Finish according to the directions on the box and pour the resin over the tiled surface. Tip the tray slightly to evenly distribute the resin to the edge of the wood veneer tape. Let dry for at least 48 hours.

Bubble Buster
Don’t be afraid of stirring bubbles into the resin. Five minutes after you pour it, the bubbles will rise to the surface. To release them, gently exhale over the surface and those bubbles will pop!

Transfer Tip
To transfer the pattern onto the tray, follow these steps.
1. Enlarge the pattern so the diameter is 11 3/4 inches across. Cut out the enlarged pattern into a circle.
2. Trace the outline with a piece of colored chalk.
3. Flip the pattern over and set inside the tray. Rub the back of the pattern to transfer the chalk onto the wooden disc.

Objects Of Our Affection
Now that you are a mosaic master, why not try these tile alternatives?
broken china
stained glass
river rocks
sea glass

Friday, June 24, 2011

Beautiful Beaded Bud Vase

Turn a little glass vase into a glitzy hanging garden perfect for springtime blooms.

Glass vase with lip, 5" tall.
Copper wire, 16-gauge, one 24" length and one 28" length (available at home improvement stores).
Copper wire, 26-gauge, one 10" length and two 6" lengths.
Turquoise E beads, 56.
Lime green, round 6mm glass beads, 35.
Turquoise, top-drilled 8mm glass beads, 13.
White shirt button.

Tools & Supplies
Wire snips.
Round-nose pliers.
Clear Liquid Nails Adhesive.

1. Start at one end of the 24" length of 16-gauge copper wire and wrap the wire once around the neck of the vase. Then twist a loop in the wire. Continue wrapping to the other side of the vase and twist another loop. Then finish wrapping the wire around the neck. Twist the ends of the wire together tightly to secure. Trim the ends with the wire snips.

2. To make the hanger, gently curve the 28" length of 16-gauge copper wire into a U-shape. Feed the ends of the wire down through the two loops on the neck of the vase. Curve the ends into spirals using the round-nose pliers.

3. Using the 10" length of 26-gauge wire, string 1 turquoise top-drilled bead followed by 3 lime beads, repeating the pattern to create a necklace that fits around the neck of the vase. Wrap the necklace around the neck of the vase beneath the copper wire. Twist the ends together to secure and trim with the wire snips.

4. Hold the two 6" lengths of 26-gauge wire together and bend into a hairpin U-shape. Feed the ends all the way through two buttonholes of the shirt button.

5. To create a beaded tassel, string 14 turquoise E beads onto one wire coming out of the button and finish by feeding the end of the wire through 2 lime beads and a turquoise, top-drilled bead. Twist the end of the wire around the top of the turquoise bead. Repeat to create 4 dangles. Glue the flat side of the wired button to the bottom of the vase with the Liquid Nails Adhesive.

Crafty Shopping Tip
Craft stores carry small vases in all shapes and styles, often for as little as a dollar. It doesn't matter what shape vase you choose as long as it has a lip to keep the wire from slipping off the neck. (Your wire measurements and bead counts may vary due to the size and shape of your vase.)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Garden Party

Plant the seeds for a beautiful summer with flea market finds for the garden.

What's better than a flea market? A flea market with a view! We are lucky enough to have one of the largest--and most picturesque--swap meets in the country right here in our neck of the woods. The Alameda Point Antiques and Collectibles Faire is situated on San Francisco Bay, with panoramic views of the city's spectacular skyline. This scenic (and huge!) market is held the first Sunday of every month, and you can be sure you'll see us there with our sun-hats on and our handy cart in tow.

On our latest Alameda adventure, we were looking for unique items to give the backyard some springtime flair. We saw literally tons of statuary (it's usually made of concrete!), from a classic garden gnome to a pair of cement deer. Kitty collected a trio of rusty watering cans that would make playful planters. And Jennifer found a wrought-iron chair that would mix in well with her vintage chaise lounges--at only $15, it was worth hauling around the rest of the day. But we knew we hit pay dirt when we discovered dozens of berry boxes painted blue, green, red, and yellow. The vendor was asking $13 apiece, but since we picked out one of each, we talked him down to $10. We can't wait to get them home and plant some color in our garden!

Tools Paradise
If you've ever wanted to take up gardening, the flea market is an inspiring place to get outfitted. One-of-a-kind handicrafts, like a primitive wooden tool caddy with a branch for a handle, will add a level of artistry to your weeding. An old-fashioned find like a glass jar pump sprayer could lend a spritz of nostalgia to your bug killin'. Don't forget hand tools like claw tillers and trowels. Skip ones with split wood handles and loose heads and go for lightly worn tools. Their charm and history just may bring victory to your garden.

Cultivate Your Garden
Put your decorating skills to work outside by thinking of your yard as an open-air living room! To create a cozy niche, start by hanging a weathered windowpane from a shady tree. Give a wirework settee a fresh coat of paint and a comfy cushion for a pretty little perch. If you find an old dresser, turn it into a potting bench by removing the drawers and using the shelves to store terra cotta pots, herb markers, and twine. Finally, add a focal point with an Amish Barn Star recycled from a tin roof. Mother Nature will love what you've done with the place!

Expect To Pay
Hand Tools $1 to $8
Pump Sprayers $8 to $20
Wooden Tool Caddies $10 to $25
Watering Cans $10 to $30
Old Dressers $10 to $50
Weathered Windowpanes $10 and up
Whirligigs $20 and up
Concrete Garden Gnomes $25
Amish Barn Stars $35 to $80
Stained Glass Windowpanes $50 and up

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Vacation Junking Journey

It's always been our fantasy to roadtrip across the country and hit the best flea markets and antique fairs from sea to shining sea! 

Seattle Area, Washington 
Phinney Avenue and N. 34th Street 
Fremont, WA 
(206) 781-6776 
Every Sunday, Rain or Shine, Closed June 21 

San Francisco Bay area, California 
Main Street at Navy Way
Alameda, CA 
(510) 522-7500 
First Sunday of each month 

Los Angeles area, California 
Rose Bowl Stadium 
1001 Rose Bowl Drive
Pasadena, CA 
(323) 560-7469 
Second Sunday of each month 

Denver area, Colorado 
7301 S. Santa Fe Drive 
Littleton, CO 
(303) 974-0904 
First Saturday of each month 

An hour outside of Dallas, Texas 
800 Flea Market Road 
Canton, TX 
(903) 567-6556 
The weekend (Thurs-Sun) before the first Monday of each month 

Between Tupelo, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee 
10590 Highway 15 South
Ripley, MS 
(662) 837-4051 
The weekend (Thurs-Sun) before the first Monday of each month 

An hour outside of Chicago, Illinois 
Kane County Fairgrounds 
525 S. Randall Road St. 
St. Charles, IL 
(630) 377-2252 
The first Sunday and the Saturday right before it each month 

Cincinnati, Ohio area 
Boone County Fairgrounds 
5819 Idlewild Rd. (KY Route 338) 
Burlington, Kentucky 
(513) 922-6847 
Third Sunday of each month, April through October 

Near Cleveland, Ohio (45 minutes west of Cleveland) 
¼-mile west of Route 58 on Route 113 
Amherst, OH 
(440) 986-4402 
Every Wednesday and Saturday from 8AM to 4PM 

Half an hour from Allentown, Pennsylvania 
740 Noble Street
Kutztown, PA 
Mon -Thurs (570) 385-0104 
Fri- Sat (610) 683-6848 
Every Saturday 8AM to 4PM 

Near Danbury, Connecticut (5 miles) 
490 Federal Road 
New Milford, CT 
(508) 265-9911 
Every Sunday between April 4th and November 28th 

About an hour west of Boston, Massachusetts 
Brimfield, MA 
(413) 245-9471 
May 11-16, 2010, July 13-18, 2010, Sept 7-12, 2010 

Orlando area, Florida 
U.S. 441, just north of route 46 
Mt. Dora, FL 
(352) 383-8393 
Third weekend of each month

Dates and times may change.
Please call your flea market of choice to verify
before you load all the kids and Grandma into the RV and drive 400 miles!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Glitzy Lovebird Purse

Give a simple box a birdacious makeover with fancy stamps, copper leaf, and a whole lotta bling.

Unfinished wood box with hinged lid and clasp, 7½"x4¼"x4".
Brass handle clamps, 1¼", 2.
Brass D-rings, 5/8", 2.
Prickley Pear Flourished bird stamp (
Simply Stamps Garden Leaf foam stamp, 4"x4" (Plaid).
Simply Stamps double-sided foam alphabet stamps, Classic Alphabet (Plaid).
Folk Art acrylic paint, 2 fl. oz. each: Yellow Ochre, Apple Orchard, Cayman Blue.
Gold leaf liquid adhesive, 2 oz.
Copper leaf, 5½"x5½", 1 sheet.
Wooden doll head knobs, ¾", 4.
Oval rhinestones, turquoise and green mixed, 7.
Round rhinestones, copper, 38.
Round rhinestone, pink, 1.
Scrapbook paper, 8½"x11", magenta, 1.
Scrapbook paper, 8½"x11", purple, 1.
Mod Podge Gloss-Lustre, 4 oz.
Lime satin ribbon, 1¼" wide, 20" length.

Tools & Supplies
Foam paintbrush.
Small craft paintbrush.
Paper plate.
GOOP adhesive.
Fine sandpaper.
Mini screwdriver.

1. Sand the edges and surfaces of the unfinished wooden box until smooth to the touch. Wipe clean. Squeeze a nickel-sized dollop of Yellow Ochre acrylic paint onto the paper plate. Thin the paint with about 2 tablespoons of water to create a wash. Apply the Yellow Ochre wash to all the outside surfaces of the wooden purse with the foam paintbrush. Let dry.

2. Dab the Apple Orchard green paint onto the leaf stamp using the foam paintbrush. Stamp the leaf image onto the purple paper and let dry. Cut out the leaf image leaving a 1/8" border of purple paper showing around the green leaves.

3. Dab the Cayman Blue paint onto the bird stamp using the foam paintbrush. Be careful not to get paint into the grooves. Stamp the bird image onto the magenta paper and let dry. Cut out the bird image leaving a 1/8" border of magenta paper showing around the bird.

4. To create the copper leafed letters that spell out L-O-V-E, dab the gold leaf adhesive onto each letter stamp, then stamp onto the magenta paper. Let dry for 15 minutes. Apply the sheet of copper leaf onto the stamped letters, then brush away the excess leaf with a dry craft paintbrush. Cut out each letter leaving no border.

5. To copper leaf the feet for the purse, set each doll head knob flat side down and use the foam paintbrush to paint the rounded surface with the gold leaf adhesive. Let dry for 15 minutes. Apply the copper leaf to the knobs, then brush away the excess leaf with a dry craft paintbrush.

6. Before you decorate the front of the purse, be sure to orient the box so the clasp will wind up on top and the hinges on the bottom. Paint the front of the box with a layer of Mod Podge. While the Mod Podge is still wet, press the leaf cutout onto the box. Add a layer of Mod Podge onto the top of the cutout and smooth down with your finger. Use the same technique to apply the L-O-V-E letters onto the front of the box. Then apply the cutout bird image and let dry.

7. Using the Goop adhesive, glue the four copper-leafed knob feet to the bottom four corners of the box. Let dry.

8. Open the box and coat the entire outside surface including the knob feet with a layer of Mod Podge. Be sure to leave the box open until it dries completely so it doesn't stick together. When dry, give it a second coat.

9. Glue the oval rhinestones onto the center of each leaf using the Goop adhesive. Glue the copper rhinestones onto the L-O-V-E letters. Then glue the pink rhinestone onto the bird's face to give him a sparkly eye.

1o. To create a handle for the box, slide the D-rings onto the handle clamps, then screw the clamps onto the top of the purse. Be sure to center the clamps front to back. Tie the ends of the lime satin ribbon to the D-rings and trim the ends.

Get Personal: Make this a personalized gift by stamping the recipient's name instead of the word LOVE.

Finishing School: For a fancy finishing touch, line the inside of the purse with adhesive felt. Simply cut pieces to fit, peel off the backing, and press into place.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Get A Breezy Island-Inspired Bath

Create your own little paradise with decorator touches inspired by the islands.

The island bath gets its inspiration from the white sand beaches and clear blue waters of the sunny tropics. To get this breezy look, combine natural basics with blue and green accents. Add seashells from your strolls on the sand and your favorite beach photo in a weathered wood frame, and your bathroom will take you back to the islands the moment you walk in the door.

Dabble In Water Colors
The island palette is a combination of tropical colors and sun-bleached neutrals. Start with a light colored room for that sun kissed, beachy look. Then add color with towels in ocean hues like turquoise and teal. An azure shower curtain and World Market's Green Bamboo Rug go well together without competing for attention. Once you establish an overall palette of blues and greens, bring in a designer touch with a punch of complementary color. A piece of red coral, a tangerine glass tray, or a sunny yellow perfume decanter will add a splash of style.

Show Off Your Seashells
Adding personal flair to your island bath is as simple as taking a sunset stroll down the beach. Decorating with seashells, sea glass, and snapshots from your trip not only enhances the d├ęcor, but also reminds you of those relaxing walks by the seashore. For a delicate jewelry display, arrange your rings and things in a scallop shell filled with sea glass. Tie a piece of twine around glass canisters and hang a seashell from each end of the knot. And place a gorgeous conch shell on the floor next to the tub as if it just washed up on the sand. You can almost hear the ocean.

Weave In Baskets
Go for wicker furnishings and hand woven baskets for storage in your island bath. Stick with a light straw color—painted white says Nantucket and dark rattan says Out of Africa. A woven flatware caddy sets just the right tone and makes a handy carryall for shampoo, shower gel, and a scrubby. And the next time you visit the Bahamas, head straight for the Straw Market and stock up on baskets. They are perfect for housing all kinds of bathroom sundries. Mini baskets make terrific catch-alls and a large bowl-shaped basket turns towel storage into a playful display. For larger items, a woven dresser is a tasteful hide-away.

Discover Underwater Treasures
Beachy accessories are so abundant, you could outfit a bathroom with seashells on everything from the soap dish to the Kleenex box cover. But the trick to creating a stylish retreat is to go easy on the matching accessories. To create a room that reminds you more of a relaxing visit to the Caymans than a display at a department store, seek out one-of-a-kind items that are more art than kitsch. One amazing shell art piece, such as a pearlescent shell-encrusted mirror designed by Heather Kendall of Elegant Shells, makes a bold and beautiful statement. A Capiz Shell Curtain from GAIAM draped over a turquoise shower sheer is another elegant seaside detail. Plus, it’s jewelry for your shower curtain!

Bask In Candlelight
Candles are wonderful by the tub and with today’s larger scale spaces you can bring in larger scale accents like Z Gallerie's Seahorse Candle Holders. The seahorses lend a little whimsy, and the weathered finish is modern and subdued. Bring in some color with aquamarine Island Flowers Pillar Candles from Illuminations, scented with mandarin, orchid, and coconut milk. The aroma alone will send you to the tropics.

Savor Citrus Scents
The scents of the islands are a blend of refreshing citrus, luscious fruits, and alluring botanicals. While vanilla, coconut, and coffee are common exports of the Caribbean, it is fragrances like orange blossom and gardenia that truly transport you to paradise. For your own island oasis, infuse the bath with tangerine-lime salts. Or treat yourself to kiwi-mango bubble bath and pink grapefruit body splash. Then celebrate your new tropical retreat with magnolia bath confetti.

Splash In The Falls
There's nothing quite as invigorating as a dip in a tropical stream. You can create that same unforgettable feeling by turning that ordinary shower into a cascading waterfall. Try the Cascadia showerhead by Waterpik, featuring an over-sized head and one hundred spray channels. Place Organize-It’s clear plastic Pebble Bath Tub Mat under your feet, and you’ll feel like you’re bathing under the falls of a secluded rainforest.

Elegant Shells,
World Market,
Z Gallerie,

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Deck Out Your Deck In Seaside Style

Create your own "coastal" retreat with beachy flea market finds.

Seaside style is all the rage. And whether you live minutes from the shore or hours by plane, you can breathe the sea air by creating your own patio paradise. Coastal accents like glass floats, fishing nets, and even conch shells can be found at flea markets from Maine to Texas to Idaho. So get out your straw hat, pass the tanning butter, and get ready to turn your deck into a seaside oasis with these seven essentials for beach living.

1. Make A Cooler Table

You can't go to the beach without a cooler, so keep this flea market find by your side as a "seaside" table. Skip the modern plastic models and go for a vintage metal one in blue or silver (you can find one for between $5 and $25). Fill it with ice and this cool table earns its keep!

2. Go Blonde/Whitewash Furniture

Bleached wood and white wash paint a coastal scene. To get the look, simply paint flea market furniture white and use it outside. Look for bargains like dressers that have lost their drawers. The "shelves" are perfect for beach towels and flip-flops--even if you live in Kansas!

3. Catch A Net

Every seaside shanty has a net or two. This swap-meet regular makes a terrific outdoor curtain. Hang it from a long branch to create a virtual wall. Or make a chic, seaside swag by draping it from a tree. You can dress it up with shiny shell buttons for a little natural pizzazz.

4. Send A Message In A Bottle

Long for your own desert isle? Set the stage by adding a kooky message in a bottle to your island retreat. Just look for an old Coke bottle and a cork at the flea market and roll up a note inside: "Help! My umbrella has drifted to the other side of the glass!"

5. Make A Crate Great

Aged shipping crates abound at flea markets, and for some reason they are irresistible. So give up the fight and get a few favorites in different shapes and sizes. Turn each crate on its side and tack it up to your fence or wall for an instant outdoor shadowbox to showcase your shells. Now that sand dollar looks like a million bucks!


6. Get Out Your Beach Booty

Have piles of seashore finds from romantic walks on the beach, but no place to put them? Take your beachcombing skills to the flea market and search for half a dozen wire-clasp jars. Fill them with precious shells and sea glass for a splashy display of your tiny treasures. Just keep an eye out for pirates!

7. Hang A Sign And Hang Out!

No beach bungalow would be complete without a weatherworn sign, and the flea market is the perfect place to find one. If you see a sign that's peachy but not beachy, just paint it white and make your own. "Beach Access" is a classic, but "We're Happy As Clams" says it all.

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