If you see something, say something


Pete always likes to say that, “if you see something, say something”. That would include the 45 steer that ran amok in our yard after they discovered the escape clause in their contract. However I didn’t get to see that. But I certainly would have said something if I had. But I did see a bunch of original barn windows stacked up in the barn. I always just assumed that Pete intended to reuse them for some purpose as he often makes good use of original parts to the buildings here. So I said nothing about them when I got it in my head one day that it might be fun to use chalkboard paint on the glass panes of an old window. Instead, I thought we could find an old window at a flea market some where. After we ducked into a few places and came up empty (no window was as wonderful as the windows that I saw in the barn) I finally asked Pete, “what about the windows you have stacked in the barn?” To which he replied,

“What windows?”

Sigh. If you see something, say something.

Because apparently he had forgotten about those windows and had no plans for them. So I scurried into the barn and looked over the pile to see if there were any that were in decent enough shape to turn into a chalkboard window. They were all in various stages of disrepair, and all were covered in dirt webs. You know what dirt webs are…the spider webs that have collected more dirt than flies that even the spiders flee the scene:

Original Barn Windows

And oh yeah, look at that wonderful orb in the upper right-hand corner…oooo-weeee-oooo. Barn spirit. Too soon for a Halloween post so let’s move on. After choosing the best of the lot, I hosed it down in the yard which ended up removing any traces of white paint that were still clinging on to the wood.

Barn Window Washed

I had honestly hoped to retain some of the whiteness, but once it was hosed down Pete and I made a collective decision to keep the wood as is and just hit it with some linseed oil. Ironically it then ended up matching the wood trim in the kitchen which is where I wanted to put the chalkboard window in the first place. Meanwhile, I got the brilliant idea that I would like the chalkboard to be magnetic to enhance its functionality. So Pete offered up some more of his leftover tin to cut to size and cover with the chalkboard paint which I would then affix to each pane of glass. Obviously this is no safe place for the Tin Man to hang out. So after cutting the tin to size for each pane of glass, I cleaned those up and set them outside to dry. And then realized, “uh oh, screw the chalkboard paint idea”. I rather liked how the scrap tin looked unto itself, especially against the wood trim of the window. Thus the chalkboard window idea became a magnet window idea:

barn window with tin

It’s a little rough around the edges but in this case it works. The extra tin that Pete provided had some barn red paint sprayed on it at some point, and it was for that reason, that mix of texture and color, that made me scrap the chalkboard in favor of the magnet-only idea. The warm tones just work so well in the kitchen and it perfectly fits the space on the wall that I had in mind:

barn window kitchen wall

magnet window close up

But not to worry, there are more windows and I still have the chalkboard paint. Even now I’ve started restoring another window which will have a distressed white frame with a checkerboard mix of chalkboard and tin panes. At least that’s the current thought. This is design-on-the-fly! If I can restore enough of the old windows and find more scrap tin (again, watch out Tin Man, I might need you for parts) I might have a little side business going on here!

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5 thoughts on “If you see something, say something

    • I really like the way you write. I feel like I’m sitting right there with you in the barn or the kitchen or the yard. BTW, I like the magnet window too!

  1. As the great, great granddaughter of the previous owners of this farm, and having grown up on this very farm myself, I cannot thank you enough for the joy I have found in your writing, your pictures, your beautiful artwork. You have brought me so much joy reading through your journey. And as the little girl who played outside of this very milkhouse, on the flat roof with her dolls, I would sit and dream of far away places, big cities. Now as a 46 year old mom and wife, living in another state, I fondly remember my life on the farm as a little girl…thanks to your wonderful blog.

    • You and your family’s visit was such a wonderful thing for me. It means so much for me to understand and know the past history of this home and farm. You guys brought it to life for me. I loved your stories. And that flat roof is no longer just a flat roof to me, what a wonderful place to hide out and play. I hope you’ll all be able to come visit again sometime. And don’t forget to send those pictures of the barn boards once they are up. I really enjoyed your visit and meeting your mom!

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