One Company, Three Great Shops

Poverty Barn is the parent company of two other businesses: Roo's Remnants and 4 Left Turns. Between the three, we've got you covered when it comes to home decor, baby and kid items and anything related to racing. Visit the links on the left to find out more about what we have to offer.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year!

As this year winds down, Jess and I would like to take the time to wish each of you a very Happy New Year.  We hope your Christmas was wonderful and we hope 2014 brings you nothing but blessings!

T-shirt for my son, the railroader.
We made the decision this fall to close our Etsy shop from December 1 to January 2 so that we could finish up all of the orders that had already been placed, and get them shipped out. We also wanted to have time with our families after the craziness of Craft Season. It was the perfect decision for us, and I feel confident that we will continue that practice next year.

Because of this break I (Valerie) must admit that I had the most relaxing Christmas season I've had in years!  Without the stress of having to worry about orders, I was able to get my own shopping done, wrap the gifts, clean the house and even bake cookies!  Honestly, since we started this business, I don't think I'd done that at all.

Special request sign for a customer.
While we feel bad for anyone who wanted to place an order after December 1 but couldn't, we made sure to make the announcement regarding the closure early in November to give everyone plenty of warning.  Since we will do this next Christmas, and we could do it again if we ever take vacations, we encourage you to follow us on Facebook so you don't miss out on any important announcements.  That's one of the places where we post new products, discounts and other information, so following along will help you stay current on all of the latest and greatest Poverty Barn goodness.

Speaking of new products, Jess and I are both brainstorming about some really fun new projects, which we will roll out in the coming year. For my racing friends, I will be attending my first Chili Bowl in mid-January, and several of our racing signs will be in various auctions there throughout the week. A new one will make its debut there as well.  Be sure to check with the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and the Kick-It Cup Charity Auction events if you plan to be in Tulsa.

Special request sign for
a customer.
Here are a few photos of items I made as Christmas gifts and some that were ordered by customers.  Visit our Facebook page, where I will be adding even more.

Thank you again to everyone who has supported us over the past few years.  We look forward to working with you again in 2014.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Jesse's New Office

I (Jess) have been very busy lately. Not making goodies like I should be, but MOVING! We finally found and bought a house and are now moved in (for the most part).

Our awesome new house has the most perfect space above the garage for me to run wild with Poverty Barn creations. It needed a little work before it was a functional space, but luckily I have some awesome and handy men in my life that helped me out a ton with getting that taken care of.

It's not quite done yet and probably won't be until sometime early next year as the busy season is now upon us. However, I can't wait that long to show it off so here are some sneak peeks of the progress so far:

Here is what it looked like before the floor was put in:

Our little Poverty Barn girl checking out our new space. 

There are 3 dormer windows on one side.
Looking from the stairs.
Dormer Windows
Another view from the stairs

 After the floor was put in and starting to move things in:

Look at all that work space!

Pretty new flooring!

Attempting to get my desk organized again!

The wall where my cabinets will go

Looking towards the stairs

This is a panoramic picture of the space from the corner by the stair rail. 

Here is Popsicle with the awesome gate he built to keep our Muchie safe. 

This is the cleanest my desk has ever been (and will ever be).

More to come...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Day in the Life of Frisco

Today we welcome a very special guest blogger, our dog, Frisco.  He is witness to everything that goes on in this home and in this business, so we thought you might like to hear from him. Enjoy!
Hi!  My name is Frisco. Welcome to my first attempt at blogging. Mom is typing for me because I didn't listen to her and refused to take keyboarding in school.  Can't say as I've ever missed it. Until now.


A little about me. I'm a mixed breed Labrador and Field Spaniel.  I was abandoned at about the age of 7 months, incarcerated in puppy prison and freed when my adopted parents posted bail.  That was 7-and-a-half years ago.  I have to say that my current home is much cushier than "the joint." Shudder.  Fortunately, I was young and the passage of time has helped the memories to fade.

My parents say that the reason they adopted me is because I chose them.  Apparently, I was the quiet one in the room, sitting humbly in my cell, using my Puss-in-Boots eyes to lure them in.  Dad was hooked and the kids followed suit.  Mom was a harder sell, but she eventually caved as well.

Fast-forward to the present. I am now eight years old (that's 56 to you humans) and the senior member of the family.  With age have come a few health issues, but I don't let them slow me down.

Like a lot of older folks, I have a daily regime of medications.  It started with hip dysplaysia, for which I take a nasty fishy-smelling pill.  Mom disguises it with mini marshmallows, which helps, but she's not fooling anyone.

Early last year, I was diagnosed with diabetes. Now I take insulin injections twice a day.  They don't hurt much, and I get my favorite chocolate-chip cookies as a reward for sitting still, so it's not so bad.  I know I look ridiculous when I have to balance those cookies on my nose, toss them up and catch them, but they are worth it. Yum!

Late last year, I noticed that things started to get fuzzy. I began bumping into furniture and walls. Finally, one day, I could no longer catch treats because I couldn't see them.  Dad and Mom took me to a doctor, who gave me some really good drugs.  When I woke up, I could see again. It was a miracle!  Mom cried the first time she looked into my eyes and knew I could see her again.  She's such a sentimental wimp.

So now, on top of the pill and the insulin, I have to get drops in my eyes three times a day.  They don't hurt, and I know that if I sit still it's all over with in a blink, so I sit, turn my head, get the drop and wait for my mini marshmallow. Gulp!

You would think that all of these routines would really cramp my style, but they don't.  I still love to get Dad up at night (hey, my bladder ain't what it used to be!) and I enjoy chasing those pesky rabbits that trespass in our yard. I also like to go after skinks but they are hard to catch.  And they don't taste all that great when I do catch them.  It's more of a game than anything.

I love a good rawhide chew, and playing with my toys and chasing after a ball.  Of course, the best part is when I get one of the family to do tricks.  They seem to think I'm the one who "learned" something when I roll over, crawl across the floor, speak or sit, but honestly, they are the ones with the treat in their hands so who's really winning here?

For a brief time, I became a YouTube sensation when I got the mail from our mail man.  Not sure what the big deal is there, but everybody who sees it thinks it's cool.  You can see the video here: Frisco Gets the Mail

My family is awesome. It's just the four of us here now, since my sister got married and moved out.  She comes around quite a bit and brings my niece, who kind of freaks me out. I'm trying to get to know her, but I'm just not used to tiny people and I don't want her pulling my ears or biting my nose. Her language confuses me too, but once she learns to speak English instead of Minion, I think it will get better. We'll work things out eventually.

I get to sleep whenever and where ever I want to, and at night Mom or Dad help me up on the bed since it's too tall for me.  My family members give me hugs, pat me, play with me, pray for me and most of all, they love me.  And I love them right back.  It's a pretty sweet gig.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

On the Air

Yesterday was just another one of those typical, summer, work-at-home days. I get up, go through the morning routine, make a list of everything I want to accomplish for the day and get to work.

SIDE NOTE:  Do any of you other compulsive list-makers add a few extra, simple things to your list, just so you can cross them off quickly in order to feel like you've accomplished something?  No?  Hmmm, must be just me...

Anyway, I turned on my favorite local talk radio station (yes, I'm at that age) and sat down to peruse my Etsy stats, Facebook count, Twitter feed and Pinterest updates. (I'm a go-getter, can't you tell?)

Before long, it was time to head out to the kitchen to put our dog, Frisco, through his morning routine.  He's got hip dysplasia, diabetes and is post cataract surgery so we do three different eye drops, glucosamine pills and insulin shots every morning and night.  At this stage in life, I expected to possibly help one of my parents out with this kind of stuff, but I never expected to be nursemaid to my dog.

And God laughed.

Anyway, as soon as we finish up, get our his treats and head back to the office, my phone starts lighting up with text messages:  "Just heard Jamie talking about you and Poverty Barn on the radio!"  and "Hey, a friend just told me they heard about you on 97.1FM."

The first one was easy to brush off.  I figured someone was just confused.  But then they kept coming, on my phone, Facebook, etc.  What the heck?

So I posted that I couldn't believe I missed it, and after the commercial break, he start talking about me and the business again!  I'm cracking up, and grinning ear-to-ear because as anyone with a business knows, there is no such thing as bad free publicity!

How did we end up on the air?  Well, it turns out that the host, Jamie, and I have met a few times, and we're Facebook friends, and he had seen the picture of this sign I made:

He even quoted it on the show while describing our business!

Pretty cool stuff, to be sure.

Later on, I sent him a message to thank him for talking us up, and I also emailed the station for the podcast because it wasn't posted on their site.  They were so nice!  They actually sent me a clip file of the segments that were just focused on Poverty Barn, and gave me permission to use them!

Unfortunately, I've frustrated myself beyond belief trying to get the file to work on this page and I've given up.  There is no way to put an audio file on Facebook either, so I guess y'all will just have to take my word for it that it was pretty cool!  :)

 So, what started out as quite the ordinary morning, turned out to be pretty fantastic!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Summer in St. Louis

July in St. Louis usually means heat and humidity.  It's a weather phenom that we call "air you can wear."  In fact, last year, we were breaking records all over the place with triple digit temps and a heat index that was off the charts.

Not so, this summer.

In fact, it's been incredibly pleasant.  So pleasant, in fact, that our lovely pool is feeling neglected because it's been too cool to swim, for the most part.

If every summer was like this, we couldn't afford to live here because everybody would be scrambling to relocate.  But we'd make a killing on the house.

Despite the deceptively fair weather, I haven't been able to resist making some purely summertime signs. I know that the temperatures will soar again, and we'll get a few weeks use out of the pool before it's all said in done.  With that in mind, here are a couple of new signs from the workshop this week.

This one was made using 12x12 inch pieces of 3/4" plywood.  My brother and sister-in-law are re-habbing their house and one of the projects has been a new basement ceiling.  In one section of the basement, they hung plywood with 12-inch squares cut out and inserted beautiful tiles into the openings. It looks fantastic finished, and they have passed the squares on to me. Score!

This is the first project using one of the squares.  I painted it using outdoor paints and the sealed it with a clear, matte finish.  The rope is hot glued on the edges and we'll be using the nail gun to make sure it is really secure.

I can't wait to hang it and the others I've been designing out by the pool!

And now onto another new pallet sign in a fresh color!

This piece was made for a friend of ours, Katie at Sweet Pea's who posted the lyrics to Scotty McCreary's "Water Tower Town" on her Facebook page one day last week. Katie is a Texan at heart, living in Las Vegas with her Air Force husband, and I know she gets a little homesick sometimes.  The lyrics inspired me to create this piece and when I talked to her about it, she immediately told me that if I'd make it, she'd order it.  The sign now hangs in her home and I'm so happy that she likes it!

And here are a couple more with a summer time theme:

There are more pieces in the works for this summer because we still have several weeks to go.  I'll be sure and share them here, so check back soon!

Today I am linking up to:

Friday, June 28, 2013

Signs of the Times

Sometimes I wonder, what will the next "in" thing be?  For right now, our pallet wood signs have been moving really well, which is awesome, but as someone who is always trying to plan ahead, I can't help but think about what happens when this decorating phase dies down.

Or will it?

All Most good things come to an end, right?  So doesn't it stand to reason that eventually the things that we're making and selling now will become as outdated as an avocado green stove or a harvest gold refrigerator?

This makes me sad.

But seriously, think about the things that were popular years ago, or decades ago and how that runs in cycles.

When something first catches on, pieces are hard to find, and when you find one you are oh-so-cool.  Does anyone else remember when mushrooms were hip?  They were in everyone's kitchen - salt and pepper shakers, hot pads and towels and then those amazing ruffled-edged curtains. You were really a decorating diva if you had the curtains.  Combined with your fake wood paneling, silk plants in macrame hangers and shag carpet in the bathroom, you were freaking hip.

Center page spread in Better Homes and Gardens hip.

So we go through these phases, be they mushrooms, frogs, owls (yes, they've been around before), mustaches (which I JUST DON'T GET), chevron patterns, burnt orange, cows, peace signs or what have you and we love them for the moment, and then time passes and we look back and say, "Really?  What the heck was I thinking?"

Then we move on to whatever Pinterest, magazines, blogs or Facebook says is the NEXT big thing and we frantically try to dump our now "junk" before everyone else figures out that it's passe.

Without the endless decorating cycle, we would have no need for garage sales.


So for now, enjoy your walls covered with vinyl phrases, everything vintage, and of course, pallet wood signs.

Because who knows what kind of craze will come around next.  And really, who says we have to roll with the changes anyway?  Some of us might actually LIKE shag carpeting.

Or not.

The Weekly Creative

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tool Bag Must-Haves

My love for all things artsy-craftsy has lead to my having an office/studio that is crammed floor-to-ceiling with everything I could possibly need, and then some.  While that leads to a lot of fun, it also makes my 10x11-foot space feel like a closet on steroids.  Add our dog, Frisco, who likes to lay exactly in the spot where I need to stand, and the word crowded takes on a whole new meaning.

Of course, I wouldn't trade him for the world.

I inherited this room when Jess moved out and got married.  To say that I schemed, planned and drew diagrams for the 16 months leading up to her wedding would be an understatement.  The dream of having my very own space took root immediately upon her engagement, and while I didn't want her to feel like I was pushing her out of the nest, the tape measure I often wielded over her head and behind her back while she was making wedding plans may have given me away.

Soon after Jess departed with her new hubby for their honeymoon, I was cleaning out the remaining remnants of her childhood and setting up my new space.  It was such a relief after the stress of wedding planning and I enjoyed every minute of putting it together.

In the nearly three years that I've been in here now, the space has been re-arranged many times.  New pieces of furniture have come in, old ones have gone out and shelves have been organized and changed to fit my needs.

One thing that has not changed is the need to have the right tools for the job of creating new projects for my home or products for our business.  Through trial and error, I have come to rely on an army of gadgets to satisfy my need to create. Here's a glimpse at some of my favorites.

1.  HP TouchSmart computer with 23" monitor
I love this computer not so much for the touch screen, which I rarely use, but for the size of the screen.  When it comes to creating new designs, there is nothing like having a monitor that is nearly as big as the large cutting mat on my Cameo.

2.  Silhouette Cameo and Silhouette Studio software
We do a lot of work with vinyl and card stock.  None of what we do would be possible without these two items.  With its clean cutting, easy to use software and its independence from annoying and expensive cartridges, the Cameo is the best cutting machine I have ever used.

3.  Martha Stewart Scoring Board
When you want to make neat, crisp fold lines, this is the tool for the job!  With easy-to-read markings and storage for the included bone scorer, it is one handy dandy piece of equipment.

4. Fiskars Paper Cutter
This is the kind that chops, not the rotary kind.  I can't use the rotary style anymore because of a shoulder problem, and I miss it, but this "chop-style" cutter is perfect for cutting strips, trimming off edges or any other job where you need an accurate cut.

5. Google Drive
Jess and I use Google Drive for our business every day.  It allows us to share and edit files without having to email them back and forth and save them to our own hard drives.  We love it for listing product inventory, price lists and even keeping track of how much paint we have on hand.  It is really helpful when you are on the go and need to access something because you can sync it with your phone. For example, if I happen to be at Michaels and notice they have Folk Art paint on sale, I can look at my phone and see which colors I need to buy to replenish my stock!

We ship a lot of stuff.  A LOT OF STUFF.  The ability to pay for and print out postage on line makes this so much easier!  An added bonus that saves a ton of gas and time is scheduling a pick up.  Yes, your mail man will pick up packages right at your front door so you don't have to drive to the Post Office! I don't know how I would get along without this amazing tool! Or without my unbelievably patient mail man, Jeff.

7.  Phone Apps
We all use our phones for calls, texting, checking emails, etc. but did you know that there are some very helpful apps that you can use for your business?
Dropbox - A great program for sharing files, photos and reports among numerous users.
Etsy - Because who doesn't love that "cha-ching" sound when you make a sale?
WhichStates - This app was created for people to keep track of states they have visited.  We use it to track where we have sent our products.  We have seven states to go before we can say we have shipped to all fifty states in the U.S!

8.  Tweezers
My fine point tweezers, made by Lake City Craft Company in Nixa, Missouri are the absolute best ever for weeding vinyl. I have several pairs because I tend to set them down somewhere and forget about them.  Just one word of warning, wear shoes when you are using these because if you drop them, they always land point-side down and they are sharp!  I can't tell you how many times I've yanked them out of the carpet right next to my foot.

These are just a few of our favorite tools but there are many more that we use every single day.  What tools, tips, apps have you found that you couldn't live without?  Please comment below and share with the rest of us!

Oh, and just for fun, here's a video of Frisco getting the mail.  It's how he earns his keep!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

My Other Passion

Four-wide cars line up for the first Gold Crown Midget Nationals.
Shot from the back of the push truck, this was an amazing night of thrills!
It's April and for a lot of people, that means planting gardens, making the lawn beautiful, preparing for outdoor family gatherings and the like.  Our family is no different.

Best seat in the house.
Our yard is ready to go, flowers are potted and looking gorgeous, and we're ready to dive right into those outdoor gatherings, but our get-togethers may be a little different than some.  While many think bar-b-ques, Frisbee and a nice cold beverage in a lawn chair, we're thinking concession stand pork tenderloin sandwiches, spinning tires and a Coke with a lid to keep out the dirt.  That's because for my family, spring means just one thing: It's racing season.

Come a little closer, baby!
When people first find out I like racing, they usually assume I am a NASCAR fan.  That could not be farther from the truth. While NASCAR is ok, I much prefer the thrill of racing on dirt, meaning Midgets and Sprint Cars.  You can see pictures of Midgets here, and Sprint Cars look very similar, but they are a little bigger, and sometimes run with a big metal wing on top.

That's me in the seat of one of my
Dad's race cars when I was little.
My Dad is the one who got my life-long appreciation for speed started.  He raced when I was little, and my Mom took me to the track while I was still just a baby.  We traveled locally, racing Friday and Saturday nights, and sometimes on Sunday, at little tracks all over Missouri and Illinois. I wish I could say I have great memories of those days, but mostly I remember just wanting to go home because it was so noisy, hot and dirty.  I do, however, remember a few things, like the night my Dad got hurt when a rock flew up and hit him in the eye, the night he blew an engine and I thought he was going to burn up in the car.

My Dad and I at the track in 2012.
There are good memories too, of walking in the pits after a race, getting autographs from the same drivers week after week. Of always been warned not to touch the hot cars.  And I remember the first time I ever drove one of my Dad's trucks, around the track at a very low rate of speed. I would have sworn I was flying.
2011 Gold Crown Midget Nationals.
Since then, things have changed a little.  For one, I really enjoy just hanging out with all of the great folks that enjoy the same sport we do. The people who work with, race and travel for racing are some of the nicest in the world.  They are like an extended family, or a band of gypsies, crossing the midwest in search of the thrill of victory. I also enjoy photographing the races when I get the chance. It's challenging and fun and getting that perfect action shot is almost as exciting as the racing itself.
My first race sign.
We stay pretty close to home for races these days, mostly because we have a dog who is diabetic and post-cataract surgery.  He needs insulin and eye drops twice a day so we try to make sure we're around to take care of him.  Every now and then we recruit a family member to do it, but we try not to be a burden.  Even though we may not go as often as we used to, it's still just as exciting when the opportunity arises. The thrill of standing inside of a dirt oval as the cars roar past for the first time each season just never gets old!
My newest race sign.
With the advent of our small business, I wanted to find a way to incorporate my craftiness with my passion for racing. With that came the creation of two of my newest pallet wood signs.  They've been a pretty big hit on Etsy and through a local Midget organization, and I've now sent three shipments to the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa, to be sold in their gift shop.  It makes me feel good to know that something my husband and I made is being used to help raise money for such a great place.  Their mission of preserving Sprint Car racing's history is an admirable one. That's one of the reasons I created a special tag for these signs, it reads:  Made by race fans for race fans!
New tags, just for racing signs!
Being able to combine two of my greatest passions is a lot of fun, and I hope that in the future I'll be able to come up with even more fun signs and other projects that I can share with my racing family.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spring Front Porch Make-Over

After a long, cold, snowy winter, it seems
as if spring has finally arrived in our part of the least for today.  This is Missouri, after all, and we've had snow in April before!

One of my favorite things to do to embrace the change of seasons is to spruce up our front porch.  No, it's not the rambling farmhouse-style space of my dreams, but it's a cozy spot that can be very welcoming when done up right.

It seems as if the porch becomes a gathering place for lots of odd things over the course of the cold months. Before I could even begin to re-arrange and decorate, I had to clear away some overshoes, a pile of plastic totes that were used to make bricks for an igloo out of our last big snow, and the few remaining logs.  Once those were disposed of, I swept off the remaining twigs and leaves and starting putting things back in place.

If you're like me, simply re-arranging a space is ok, but throw in a few fun projects, and you've got the makings of a pretty enjoyable day, or two.

The first thing I did was find a spot for this old wash tub.  It's one of the few larger items from the shop that we chose not to sell when we closed.  I at first envisioned it as a pretty sweet cooler for next to the pool, but then my husband reminded me that we already have a big cooler so I had to go to plan b.  That consisted of bringing up some clay pots from the basement that were just taking up space, buying a bunch of flowers in a variety of bright colors and creating a fun vinyl piece for the front. It brightens things up a bit, while still keeping with our vintage theme.

That was a great start, but then I looked around at all the blank walls, dug through some of the other items from the shop that I really wanted to re-purpose, and inspiration struck again.  I made the "No Soliciting" sign after looking at a few different ones that I found for sale online, taking my favorite parts and combining them to make one just for us.  Using the old window that was originally the sign for our shop, I applied the vinyl lettering.  Once we get some hooks installed, this will hang right next to the front door.

For my final project, I walked around the porch with these three shutters in my hands, trying to decide what to do with them.  Should I separate them and hang a couple of them horizontally over the step up to the porch?  Hang a couple of them vertically in the openings over the railings?  After getting my husband's feedback, I ended up leaving them together, painting them barn red and we decided we would hang them on the wall above the chairs and white enamel-topped table.

They were too boring on their own, so I added the two jelly jars using radiator clamps, and made the wooden cross out of leftover pallet wood scraps.  I painted it with warm white, a layer of crackle finish, and topped it with brown.  I love the way it turned out!  The white knob at the top came from Hobby Lobby, and I figure I can change things out on a whim, maybe putting up a wreath or a flag, or whatever.

To top things off, I hung up this pallet wood flag that my husband made.  It was the last one that we hadn't sold at the shop, and after it injured me at our recent show, I figured it needed to find permanent residence.  I really like it here and think it finishes off the space really well.

This chair usually resides in our kitchen, but I thought it would really fit in well on the front porch.  The enamel ware bucket was one of several in a stack that are destined for a resale shop near me. It may end up holding some flowers at a later date.

So that's our front porch make-over.  I'll probably add a few extra touches over time, possibly another plant or two, but the major things are in place and I love how it turned out!

I hope that spring is inspiring you to be creative too!


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