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Please excuse our dust while we transition to a new website design.  Thanks for following along on this adventure. is still the one place to go for all information from the Barn. -Love Mary Beth


Key Organizing with Laminate Samples

Another part of my life is nicely organized.  It took a mishap with various unknown house keys to do it, but the problem is solved.  And it didn’t cost me a dime.  Many of you know I attend Zero Landfill Akron each February.  I’ve written about the event here and here and here, too.  I’ve even been on TV talking about how to use the FREE materials you can get at the FREE event.

Key Chains

Laminate Chip Key Rings from a Barn Vendor

Above is a picture of key rings that a vendor made for this past Spring Barn Sale.  I took her adorable idea and used it as a practical label for the gobs of keys on our board.

Laminate Chip Key Labels

My “practical” label version of Laminate Chip Key Rings

I don’t think anyone will mistake the labeled keys now!



Craft Office Redo: Before Pictures

There are things that take a person a whole lifetime to find out about themselves. Then there are things that you know from the start. I am an organizer. I love it and I’m good at it. When I was a young girl I would want to clean and organize my room. Sometimes it was because we were painting or getting new furniture. Other times it was because I wanted to get it in shape. Yes. Really. No, I never had a single fight with my parents over keeping my room clean.

Thing is…I have a certain way I like to clean a room. I take everything out, sort and purge, and put it back. I’m lucky that my mom is cut from the same cloth and enabled supported my organizing by allowing me to do just that. I would take over the living room with milk crates and envelope boxes of my stuff. Baffling I know. But, it made me happy.

The craft office is coming along very nicely and I’m pleased to say that I got to do it my way. I had to. It wasn’t just about redoing the office. It was about switching rooms. What a relief that I didn’t have to struggle with myself. I could embrace my inner child and organize my favorite way.  Here’s a few “Somewhat-Before” shots of when the room was my two oldest children’s.


Portage Trail Barn: Craft Office Before

Portage Trail Barn: Craft Office Before

Portage Trail Barn: Craft Office Before

The World of Barn Sales

My family and I enjoy camping on the weekends.  It takes us to new places and resets our minds for the week to come.  For Father’s Day we ventured north to Punderson State Park.  Along the way we stumbled upon this sign.

Other Barn Sale Sign

Another Barn Sale?  What was it going to be like?  Was it tools and old junk?  Handcrafted and vintage goodness?  Either way I had to check it out.

Other Barn Sale

They have chickens, too!

Inside other Barn Sale

A little bit of everything.

It was a delightful mix of antique, vintage, and yard sale goods.  I didn’t get to talk with the owners, but I’m so glad I stopped.

Small Wood Car

I picked up this sweet little wood car for my kids.

And another thing I stumbled upon, this time in the cyber world is The Barn Sale Business.

Finding this site brought an overwhelming sense of camaraderie.  Here is a site and blog all about hosting, attending, and vending at Barn Sales!  Ha!  Just like mine!  WOW!  So cool.  Please check out their upcoming events and follow them to help support this cool resource.  And watch for little ol’ me to appear in the listing for the Fall Barn Sale!

So here’s to the strong community of Barn Sales!


Happy Father’s Day

After my trip to Ikea I had many pieces of furniture to assemble.  I put two dressers together on my own and I was kaput.  I had a blister on my hand from the screwdriver.  Seriously.  I had to call in some help.  My dad.

As we shuffled instruction manuals and sorted wood pins I thought of how many pieces of furniture we have assembled together.  In the garage on Shawnee Trail.  Dad and me.

Portage Trail Barn: Daddy's Hands

So thankful that he could help me with this project.  Happy Father’s Day Daddy.

Craft Office Move and Renovate!

Big changes in the Little Blue House here.  It’s time to move our three boys to the large upstairs room.  Which means hubby and I have to move to the room off the living room.  Which means my craft office has to move where the older two boys used to sleep.  Phew!  That makes me tired…and excited!  I get to organize and design my new craft office from the ground up.

Step One: Go to Ikea.

Portage Trail Barn: Ready for a shopping trip

Ready for a shopping trip!

Portage Trail Barn: Trip to Ikea


Portage Trail Barn: Roadtrip

Partners in crime- Tabitha and Mary Beth

Step Two: Put together 5,000 pieces of furniture.  And live in the Living Room for a time.

Portage Trail Barn: Living in the Living Room

Step Three: Move all five Filons into large upstairs room while I obsessively organize and walk back and forth between the old office and the new office.

Should be exciting!  Stay tuned for the progress.

And now with the Spring Cleaning…

Big Trash Pick Up…a chance to get out the old and simplify your life.  Here in Cuyahoga Falls it is the first two weeks of May.  This year they extended it to the third week (that’s this one ending now) because of the unfortunate flooding brought by the storms last week.  Many people suffered loss to home and property.

Bags upon bags of stuff cast off to the curb.  I try to give them the benefit of the doubt that it was all flood damaged and beyond repair…but some of it was so overwhelming for people that they tossed it all.  I feel so sorry for them.

This is, however, a chance to take an interesting look at our throw away culture.  Could it have been fixed or cleaned?  Could it have been given away to friends or family or donated?  Even garage sales (once again assuming it could be fixed or cleaned…or that anything was wrong with it in the first place).

I have also been thinking about not just what we throw out, but what we buy in the first place.  Particle board furniture.  If I had a dollar for every particle board laminate covered bookshelf on the curb I would be RICH!  Would all-wood furniture have held up better?  Would it be repairable after the flood?  Would it be so sturdy and important that they wouldn’t dream of tossing it?  Food.  For.  Thought.

I like to think I did my part this week.  I’m now very familiar with the trash pick up schedule of my town.  I spent maybe an hour each day driving around to find “the good junk” as my four year old says.  Chairs.  Lots of chairs.  Portage Trail Barn, where chairs go to die.  Just kidding.  It’s actually where they come to be reborn.    Portage Trail Barn: Trash Picking

I see the chippy blue one in the garden.  The light wood one will be a fall pumpkin chair at the next Barn Sale and the two darker wood ones…might be just used as chairs.  They’re in great condition.  I’ll ask around.

“Does anyone need two chairs? ”

Ok.  Let me know.  Also pictured a outdoor fireplace stand and two cute bookshelves and one cute dog.  Nothing wrong with them.  Might need some paint touch ups or some treats.  And below are the findings from a different day.  Check out those adorable kids chairs.  I love me some bushel baskets-that one you might not see until Winter Barn Sale as it is already half way there with the green and red stripes.

Portage Trail Barn: Chairs and Thrift Store Finds

The real beauty is that small table in the lower right.  Such detail!  Now the side you don’t see is all broken up.  Bummer.  But it is so unique and cool that it is worth the effort of restoring it a bit.  I’ll see how that project goes and let you know!

Now what am I going to do with all the other chairs, you ask?  So glad you did.  I snagged two for flower supports in my front garden bed.  I have three groups of peonies and I love them so much but they need a LOT of support.  So instead of metal rings or tomato cages I use chairs that are missing their seats.  The one on the left had a woven seat that came unravelled and the one on the right had a basket seat that had busted.  The back came off that one also and I put it in a different part of the garden…just for fun.  I would still like one more chair for the front bunch.  The chairs are just the right height to support the blooms.  Speaking of which I cannot WAIT to see these peonies flower!

Portage Trail Barn: Use Chairs as Garden Flower Supports

Fine Print: Should this happen to inspire you to look for “the good junk” out of the trash please, please, puh-lease use common sense.  Don’t pick up anything that could cut or hurt you.  Be cautious of fabrics as you don’t know what they’ve come into contact with.  It might be illegal.  It might make someone mad.  Don’t cause a traffic issue by stopping at the curb.  Be smart out there people.  So there, now you know.  And knowing is…  

Spring Wrap Up

My mind is usually racing so much that a list is all I can get down…so here goes.

Why I loved Portage Trail Barn’s Spring Barn Sale-

  1. my friends and family came to visit
  2. I met wonderful new people
  3. being surrounded by handmade crafts inspired me to create
  4. my friend, Marissa, from high school came to visit- amazing!
  5. seeing the vendors talk with customers and shop to support their fellow crafters
  6. that it’s only about 20 weeks until the next sale

I am bubbling over with ideas, creative energy, pride, gratitude, and a sense of community.  I love my job!  Thank you to everyone who came out to visit and shop.  The Spring Barn Sale was a huge success.