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.

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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