Early in May, we sold a bunch (but not all) of our old dairy cream separator funnels or cones in our Etsy shop to a lady in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. The lady was Kat, called “Kat in the Hat” …
As I’ve said before, I like useful collectibles — and, because I don’t like anything to go to waste, I like to find new ways to make use of old things. Just because something is “old and just laying around,” doesn’t mean it can’t be salvaged or re-purposed. Like the vintage refrigerator crisper drawers, I knew these old wooden desk drawers I’d found could do something new and fabulous… Worn, paint-chippy wood is so charming!
Immediately, I thought of the holidays and the need for low centerpieces which wouldn’t get in the way of seeing family and friends.
I lined the drawer with this seasons’ hottest decorating fabric is burlap (probably because it is both rustic and natural looking for Fall), but you can use any fabric that goes best with your table settings. Inside, I placed some nested vintage brown glazed stoneware bowls, a vintage brown milk bottle, some little glass bottles with colorful rocks and shells, and then, for some extra seasonal flair, I tucked in some pheasant feathers. Pretty enough for a Thanksgiving table, don’t you think?
You can certainly fill the bowls with pine cones or something else decorative, or use the bowls to help with serving at the holiday table. And you sure can go crazy with red and green for Christmas; or change the colors and decorative combinations to match your china, your every day decor, whatever you’d like!
I may just keep this vintage wood drawer on the table top all the time. It can be awfully practical, serving to store the family’s usual table needs, such as napkins, salt and pepper shakers, the morning’s cereal bowls — whatever you find you need to leave on the table. And since it’s all in one drawer, you can pick it up as easily as any tray (maybe even more so, as the deeper sides mean less things will topple out and over!) to wipe the table clean, change the tablecloth, etc.
(See also Sit Down to Handmade Table Settings.)
I love using old refrigerator drawers and crispers for things. The old metal drawers make great planters. If you’re thinking you’ll be missing fresh herbs from the garden, get yourself one of these old metal fridge drawers and voila! Indoor herb garden!
I have a pair of blue enamel fridge drawers — with the white plastic “tops” they would slid into inside the appliance — that I use as stack-able organizers on my desk. So much nicer looking that those open in-and-out boxes!
Frankly, I had no idea metalware came in DIY crafting sets…
So I searched, finding a vintage promotional Tole Craft “Paint-It-Yourself” Art Metalware piece at Pine Street Art Works:
And I found an ad from 1958, listing all eight of Tole Craft’s metalware craft kits: Hanging Picture Tray, Waste Basket, Desk Basket, Chippendale Hanging Tray, Snack Trays, Magazine Rack, Planter Plate, and Tissue Box. I need all of those! Especially the magazine rack.
Now that I do know about these vintage paint by number metalware kits, I’ve saved eBay searches for vintage “tole craft”, and vintage metal paint by number — and I purchased/bid on a couple of kits. *wink*
But I did find and leave a few of these kits for you too. Like these six metal paint by number trays. It’s not a set of six, but three different pairs of trays; a pair of equestrian or horse trays, a pair of floral pattern trays, and two Scandinavian themed trays.
Along with kits by Tole Craft, look for kits and finished pieces by the Morilla Company, and even Family Circle. You’ll find wall sconces, book ends, and maybe more — if you patiently keep looking!
PS I just got this completed paint by number bookend with a heron as a gift for my bird-loving, antique addicted parents! (Shhhh! Don’t tell them!)
The photo of Jan Norris (of NBC’s It’s A Man’s World television show) was featured above an article promoting patterns for making this folding sewing cabinet and other sewing boxes. Unfortunately, the microfilm copy isn’t very clear; but you can still get the idea.
Vintage dairy cream separator funnels have a great industrial look — and a great primitive look when rusty.
They make great candle stick holders!
If you plan on lighting the candles, you should place them on an appropriate heat resistant/fire-safe container — antique saucers and plates work well for this and you can even mix and match leftover saucers or find a use for those in not-so-great condition. You might even want to weave some lace or ribbon in the holes to play up the textures against the old metal. …And if you are using ribbons and things, why not add some vintage buttons too? There are lots of possibilities.
Walking about Tom’s farm is phenomenal. There’s almost too much to take in!
Along with the incredible vintage and antique pieces, mostly organized by theme (sometimes obvious, sometimes personal — enough to inspire by itself!), there are many repurposed and recycled pieces and project ideas to be seen.
My favorite building was the church. The photo doesn’t do the scene justice… The church sits down in a little valley, like it opens up before you, yet somehow in the distance… Inside there was a mix of religious items and a few oddball works of art which showed a sense of humor.
Then again, Hippie Tom’s joie de vivre and humor are exposed everywhere!
Hippie Tom is clearly a fan of collecting shows; this vintage stroller had a paper label with “as seen on American Restoration” on it!
Among the items I purchased at Hippie Tom’s was this antique pelican weather vane. (Something I sniffled about selling last weekend!)
Hippie Tom’s place is called Serendipity Farm — and I also bought one of the old Serendipity Farm signs which Hippie Tom happily signed for me!
That autographed sign is not ever going to be up for sale! But if you want something from Hippie Tom and can’t get to his place or a sale he’s at, check out the merchandise at his website.
Yesterday, I wrote about collecting vintage matchbooks at Collectors Quest, but I couldn’t find these photos; so here I am, adding a Post Script, of sorts. While matchbooks, with their small size, seem like a manageable collection, let me assure you they can literally pile up. Placing matchbooks in jars seems kind of lazy and a possibly unsafe way to display your matchbook collection. Organizing matchbooks in binders might work if you have the time and discipline — but it still relegates your collection to sitting unseen on shelves. But this idea, spotted at a flea market, seems rather ingenious!
Here matchbooks are slid inside the hollow plastic parts of a plastic poster frame. (These are the cheap frames you can find at Wal-Mart; the kind you just slide apart. Since you only want the plastic frame parts, just get the frames with the cardboard backs.) Since the matchbooks are about as thin as the poster with the cardboard backing, the plastic holds them in place and on display.
I would suggest that the plastic “rods” be set or hung inside a curio cabinet — that way, the antique and vintage matchbooks can be protected behind glass. The plastic frame parts are very easily cut.
Strips of wood from an old weathered lattice, twine, and clothespins are used to make this picture frame to display photographs.
Of course, this could be used to display a collection of postcards or other ephemera too. I would heartily advocate placing the photos or ephemera in protective plastic sleeves first.
Most collectors are aware that they are curating their collections — or at least they should be! But now, there’s online curation, or more specifically, online content curation.
Unlike blogging or writing on the web (called “content creation”), content curation is the process of sorting through the created content on the web and presenting it to others. In the most simple terms, it’s rather like being the editor of your own magazine, picking the stories, images, and information you’d like to keep and/or share with others (unless you want to keep it private). Almost all curation sites include standard social networking features (being able to follow members and/or subscribe to curated collections) as well as allow you to connect and even sign-up easily via Facebook and Twitter.
While a lot of attention has been made of using digital curation for businesses and bloggers, collectors of antiques and vintage items will enjoy this as well. It’s a great way to organize information on what you collect, save links to resources, show off what you and your collecting friends have posted of your collections online, do some window shopping… Maybe drop a few hints… *wink*
Here are my favorite three sites for content curation for collectors of antiques & vintage collectibles:
The most well-known content curation site is Pinterest. While Pinterest is not the first of these content curation sites (far from it!), it has managed to capture a lot of media attention and an incredibly high number of users.
Pinterest is primarily image based, which works well for showing off pretty things, such as collectibles and DIY project ideas, but it isn’t necessarily suited well for articles and “how to”s. In fact, many Pinterest members go out of their way not to properly credit what’s shared, like Tumblr folks. This can be quite annoying for both those who have created content as well as those who want the information behind the photograph. Also, such little text also makes searching a bit more difficult.
However, Pinterest is rather easy to use, and allows for a rather unlimited number of collections or “pin boards” and probably has people you know there, making interacting easy. The site currently has you join a wait list rather than begin immediately. Typically, you only wait a day or two, even less if a friend invites you; but it does put a damper on one’s enthusiasm.
If your intent is to drive traffic to your own website, Pinterest leaves a bit to be desired as most people there for the pretty pictures — and once they’ve seen them on Pinterest, they aren’t as inclined to find out more. Pinterest does not show you any statistics on how many people have seen your pins or pinboards.
(This is me at Pinterest.)
Scoop.It has a great name which invokes what you are doing: You “scoop” content off the Internet and create pages which resemble little newspapers or magazines.
Since Scoop.It is focused on articles, you get to include far more text with your “scoop,” yet not give away the whole article, which just makes for better Internet friends. You also can add an image to your “scoop”, which is a nice visual when the article you are using doesn’t have one. And Scoop.It also has a suggestion option which allows you to suggest a link for another member to scoop onto their own topic. If your suggestion is used, you get a little link crediting you. This is a nice community feature that allows you to connect with other members and participate in topics past your own.
At the free level, you may have up to five collections, called “Topics.” Because you only have five free collections, you should think ahead of time and decide just what collections you want to focus on curating. If you collect a lot things, or do a lot of research, you probably want to go make each topic a bit broader, rather than being too specific on each one. Or you can pay to upgrade your service, which includes not only a larger number of topics but the option to use your own domain name. Unlike many other content curation sites, Scoop.It does not have a main page on which you can just watch the action of what other members are doing, so you’ll have to rely on the site’s search function to see what other topics you’ll want to subscribe to. And Scoop.It does not allow for you to have private topics.
Scoop.It is designed to push folks out to the original content sources, so even though finding topics and scoops is a bit more difficult, there is some traffic to be found here. Scoop.It‘s stats take some getting used to; paid members apparently get more information on stats and analytics than free users.
(This is me at Scoop.It.)
Now we get to my favorite content curation site: Snip.It. Like it sounds, you curate by “snipping” content from the web, making your own digital scrapbooks out of the articles and images others have produced — while giving the creators proper credit and encouraging folks to go visit the content creators website, blog, gallery, etc.
Why is Snip.It my favorite? Because it primarily focuses on article curation in ways that suit me best. Along with being able to have a rather unlimited number of collections (including private ones for research I don’t want to share yet), Snip.It highlights or features great collections on the site, making it easier to find collections to subscribe to and collectors to follow.
On the main page, the most recent “snips” from featured collections are shown, with the most recent at the top. And there are also specific categories (such as “Arts & Culture” and “History”) which contain featured collections, also with the most recent “snips” at the top. Since featured collections are selected by the folks working for Snip.It, real people are differentiating good curation from spammers who join and just want to promote junk. Because of this way of showcasing good snipped content and good snippers, I’ve been able to find a number of great resources for reading, researching — and maybe even collecting, who knows? *wink*
This is the site I’ve also had the most conversations with other members, via comments. I like that.
Snip.It is created with readers and snippers in mind, and drives people to the curated content. Even though I’ve been participating in Snip.It the least amount of time, I’ve seen the most about of traffic to my sites from it. Snip.It does offer stats on how often your collections are viewed; additional, more in depth, stats will be available soon.
(This is me at Snip.It.)
Whichever online curation site you choose, I’m sure you’ll quickly find yourself enjoying it — just don’t spend so much time online that you forget to go to garage sales, flea markets and auctions! *wink*
Have you found any good content curation sites? Please do share in the comments!
This garland celebrates the beauty of vintage cameras with a Wardette, Starflash, Brownie Hawkeye, a handful of retro lightfilter boxes, and two photos documenting what fun can be had with a camera in tow!
All components of this garland were hand-cut by me. The vintage cameras and lightfilters depicted in this garland are from my personal collection, and were photographed and edited by me.
Garland measures approx. 48″ long.
I love how everything looks like prints drying on the wires in a darkroom.
Flappergirl offers other paper garlands, in varying themes, in her Etsy shop — and I find them very inspiring:
These garland designs are the result of my endless fascination with, research into, and love of their subjects. Countless hours are spent collecting and assembling the perfect elements for each piece.
Each garland design is uniquely considered, elegant, and beautiful. Everything is hand-cut, hand-folded, and hand-glued. My passion and dedication is evident in their small, unexpected details and craftsmanship, making them unique and delicate treasures.
Along with a national event to be held March 10-11 at the Mall of America, many troops are planning celebrations. For example, Girl Scouts from across southeast Louisiana will be celebrating with an Extravaganza on Saturday, March 17 in Gonzales. Part of this event will include a historic exhibit showcasing Girl Scouting over its 100 years — and volunteers are seeking memorabilia to include in this display. “Vintage Girl Scout uniforms, photos, books, newspaper articles, or any other Girl Scout-related items are welcome,” said Kevin Shipp, event coordinator.
If you’re a collector of Girl Scout items, or a former Girl Scout with goodies saved, contact your local Girl Scout troop or council to see how you can add to the celebration near you. You may also want to participate in their Oral History Project.
In the latest issue of Jet Magazine (February 6, 2012), Iman Jefferson gets six tips from Ronda Racha Penrice, author of African American History For Dummies, on ways to educate and entertain children with history. These tips are specific to Black History Month — that doesn’t mean you have to be an African-American to learn more about Black history. Nor should this be limited to Black History Month, or even Black history; there’s a lot of history to learn!
The first tip was to record family members about their experiences during a pivotal time in history. We’ve been making general (not historical event oriented) audio recordings of our own family members — and both my husband and I have been flabbergasted to find out how much we really didn’t know about even our own parents’ lives! (If you need help starting, check out StoryCorps.)
The second was to “play the original song versions used in samples of your kids’ favorite hits” and discuss what melodies have been borrowed from yesteryear. Our kids tease us about the music we listen to (admittedly we are eclectic listeners!) and we tease them right back with information about how that music isn’t “new.” These discussions, however intended, have given our children a wider knowledge of music, culture and history than most of their peers.
Tip number three:
Identify longstanding Black-owned restaurants, retail shops or other companies, then call them up and arrange a visit. Many will have older equipment, as well as photos, so it will encourage interactive learning.
I’m so ready for a field trip!
The next tip was to challenge kids to find items in the home or community which were invented or created by African-American icons featured on postage stamps. This is a great idea, like a historical philately-based scavenger hunt!
Tip number five was to have your child research a person prior to watching a biopic and then have them compare what they read to what they saw. I can tell you that I’ve personally done this dozens of times, including performing online searches during the commercial breaks when watching biographies and biopics on TV. (In fact, I just did this last week watching a biopic about Jessica Savitch!)
The last tip was actually quite a mind-blower…
Often we drive by local honorary street signs in predominantly African American neighborhoods but may not know the history of each honoree. Visit the local library and have your children research the real person behind the road marker.
Honest to gawd, hubby and I had just had a similar, though not person-related, discussion when he “discovered” the location of a “missing city.” He’s a prolific reader of old newspapers and read about one no longer on maps: Golden Gate City, in South Dakata. There’s a Golden Gate Street in Central City, South Daktoa, but sans town we bet there are people living there who don’t even know why the street has it’s name. How many streets do we all drive on of which we are ignorant to the street’s name’s origins?
When I stumbled into this auction for original Katzenjammer Kids art, I was excited to read the story behind the piece:
Grapefruitmoon Gallery just acquired an important collection of pen & ink original illustration art comic drawings from many of the leading Golden Age of Illustration comic strip illustrators that were received by a persistent young girl named Emma Pratt Hall who lived in Mansfield Mass. She wrote many fan letters requesting doodles from her favorite comic artists of the era, nearly one hundred artists honored her requests. These are all from the years of 1939 – 1940 and many have letters that accompany the drawings. It really is amazing the response she received this collection is outstanding. I would guess she was a persuasive letter writer and by the personalized content of many of the letters she was likely a young girl. Her comic art collection gained her some recognition as she received a press newspaper mention from a Sheffield England newspaper that is not included in this auction – but we included a scan of it the bottom of the listing as reference and provenance.
The date of the newspaper clipping is unknown to me, and I’ve no idea what percentage of Emma’s total collection this is, but there’s a wide variety of pieces, subjects, artists, and styles.
Beyond the incredible provenance, and even that this was a child collecting back then, what’s really fascinating about the Emma Pratt Hall collection is the sad fact that it could not be done today.
Unlike those autograph collections we hear about, folks — including children — cannot just write in and request a signature, a doodle, or anything like that today. Nowadays, fans are lucky if they even receive a stamped-signed photo when they mail their favorite celebrities. But to take the time to respond to an individual’s request for a “doodle” from an artist or illustrator?! No way. The more established or famous the person, the more they are likely to charge for an autograph or reply with a price list of available works. Yet here we have a collection which proves that not only could young Emma make a request of a popular illustrator (for all these illustrators were paid and popular at the time) and have her wish granted, but she’d receive lovely little letters showing how happy the illustrator, comic strip creator, political cartoonist, commercial artist, etc. was to have such a request!
All images via Grapefruit Moon Gallery.
Last Tuesday, August 2, 2011, Picker Sisters aired on the Lifetime Television. (If you were confused by the ads showing American Pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz promoting the show on the History Channel, that’s because both Lifetime and History are part of A&E Television Networks — but that really didn’t help those who went to The History Channel on Tuesday night and, confused, wondered why the TV promos weren’t as clear as they could have been.)
The show’s premise is that best friends and interior designers, Tracy Hutson and Tanya McQueen (of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition — Picker Sisters has the same producer, RelativityREAL) are on the hunt for what Wolfe and Fritz would call “farm fresh rusty gold” to turn into “stunning pieces for their Los Angeles home decor pop-up shop.”
[I don’t want to start any rumors, but I can’t find a single reference to this shop… Or where it ever pops up. Establishing shots in show episodes feature the store front with a sign that indicates the shop is named I-10. But not only did searches find nothing, neither are there details or links at Hutson’s offical site, the official Facebook page, Tanya McQueen’s Twitter, the official Hutson-McQueen blog, etc.]
To assist the designers in the creative process, there’s a third cast member, contractor, Alan Luxmore, himself with connections to Extreme Makeover and previous host of A&E’s Fix This Yard.
Despite early complaints or fears (primarily based on the American Pickers‘ promos) that Picker Sisters was going to emphasize pretty women (including the use of short-shorts and other feminine charms in order to get deals), I was looking forward to the show. Like Cash & Cari, I was hoping this series would emphasize decorating both in terms of objects and projects; much like Cash & Cari, I was to be disappointed. As with Cash & Cari, I was hoping we’d not only have the Picker Sisters show us what they transformed, but how it was done. But it misses that mark.
Since the success of these collecting shows is partially dependent on the personality of the cast, it bears mentioning that Hutson and McQueen come across as Valley Girls meet former professional NFL cheerleaders; perhaps a bit to bubbly and hair-twirly for most of us. (And those 80’s headbands only emphasis it.)
I don’t want to bash these beauties for how they look; that would be as wrong as saying someone isn’t good-looking enough to be on TV. But there are practical matters here…
Those of us willing to pick on farms, through old industrial items, etc., we don’t only have work gloves, we wear jeans or long pants to protect our legs — no matter how fab our legs look in short shorts. I get that they are on camera, but aren’t they annoyed enough by their own Farrah Fawcett locks, blowing into their eyes, sticking to the sweat on their necks, to put it up in a ponytail or something? I’m less worried about two grown women — complete with camera crew — getting hurt heading off with strange men than I am about cuts, infections and diseases from stumbling about improperly dressed in places where tetanus and hantaviruses make excellent bedfellows.
As I mentioned, I feel that Luxmore‘s work is slighted… But perhaps that’s because he’s an actor playing a character role. In the few scenes Luxmore is in, he plays the frustrated “daddy” to the two little girls on the road, ominous about projects, money spent, design ideas. Worse, he’s shown working while appearing straight out of some Gap ad or GQ photo-shoot, his black sleeveless muscle shirt taunt across his chest, tightly and neatly tucked into crisp belted green khakis. If he’s a master of the 100 hour build, why is he playing a stock masculine character, one part beefcake one part paternal male disapproving of his errant shopping sex kittens?
Like his female cast members, Luxmore ought to dress for the work at hand. We’ll notice he’s handsome, anyway, I promise.
Overall, the show feels far more Hollywood glossy than “unscripted” (the new word for reality shows). While this may appeal to a certain part of the television audience, I feel it’s a disservice to the cast — showing them more as pretty and, due to the lack of “reality,” more bumbling than the educated and experienced people they are. Coupled with the absence of any shop or announcements of where it will appear, the pretty posing makes me feel the shop is simply a premise. Television does blur with tinsel town, you know, so it all feels too glossy, too fake…
Perhaps we’re supposed to enjoy the fashionista-fish out of water thing… But McQueen, Hutson and Luxmore are build and design heavyweights, so maybe they should have left them a little more raw and saved all the polishing for the finished project pieces.
That said, there are good things in the show…
There’s less of a monetary focus on the show; though that could simply be due to the too-small price / sold graphics.
And it is fun to see the before and afters — even if it is at sacrificing how it’s done. I consider myself a creative person, a visual person with an eye for seeing the potential in “junk” and I’m not bored with what I’ve seen so far — far from it, I’m inspired by all the repurposing of industrial items!
I won’t be glued to episodes, but I will watch more of Picker Sisters. Even if I am hoping the show format itself will undergo a transformation of it’s own.
PS Because Lifetime quickly signed on for a seven-part, one-hour series (originally entitled To Live and Buy), I’m not sure we’ll see any changes in Picker Sisters; the slick format’s likely set.
PPS Check out the comments below for more & updates!
If you’re like me and enjoy collecting and have a creative streak, you’ve probably faced the issue of balancing your delight in making things with your collector’s desire to keep the integrity of your antiques and vintage items. While this clash of interests often presents a quandary for all artsy folk who collect, my primary problem persists in the area of vintage graphics.
I love to make collages, make special scrapbook pages, and in general practice the paper altered arts — but I’m extremely uncomfortable destroying antique books, vintage magazines and other old piece of ephemera. If a book or magazine is so damaged that it’s of no real value; fine, I can render the rest of it useful and beautiful once again with a paper project. But if the work is sound, no matter how filled with lovely images it is, I just can’t do harm. …Yet another part of my soul aches to use what’s right there, in reach. However, this digital age now puts an end to the majority of our concerns via the gift of the scanner.
In most cases, even the most delicate antique books and papers can be safely scanned. Not only does this offer collectors a virtual copy of the works, but, when scanned at a proper size (300 dpi or larger), this gives you a printable file. In just a few minutes you’ve preserved a copy of the image and created one you can now print (as many copies as you’d like) for use in collages, altered art paper projects, scrapbooking, and other projects.
What other projects, you ask? Well, now, thanks to all sorts of printers, gadgets, programs, and papers, you can transform your digital image files into patterns for cross stitch, needlepoint, and other needlework patterns; iron-on transfer papers to images to use on t-shirts, quilt squares, pillows and other fabric projects; LCD projector or DLP projector, opaque projector, and even slide projectors (though the lights often burn out before your project is done, resulting in problems lining up the image again) allow the image to be projected onto walls, canvas, etc. for painting murals and other larger decorating or art pieces — really, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination!
Once you get started, it’s hard to stop! And that’s why you can even buy files with vintage and antique images to download online; Etsy is a great place to look (I’ve just started selling some of my own there). And right now, you can enter Marty’s contest to win 150 pages of antique images from a 1914 New York Department Store catalog too. (Contest ends July 15, 2011.)
If you’re unsure where to start, there’s an online course you can take. While it focuses on paper art collage principals, it will help you get used to a lot of the basics. And there are places like Zazzle which do all the work, placing your images onto everything from posters, apparel and mugs, to greeting cards, iPod cases, and skateboards. You can make stuff just for you and your friends and family (at discounted prices) as well as sell stuff with your images to others. (I do it! This is my Zazzle shops with friends.)
The only note of caution I have is that if you decide to sell anything, you should know your intellectual property or copyright laws; items created for personal use fine.
So start flipping through your antique books, your vintage magazines, your postcards and other paper collectibles, with a creative eye… Who knows what images you can now safely use? It’s like having your cake and eating it too!
Image Credits: My own altered art piece made from antique and vintage images, used in my art collaborative project, Kindness Of Strangers, at Etsy & Zazzle.
I spotted this clever display at an antique mall and I thought it would be great for use in the home too: a simple vintage wall shelf, with the vintage postcards in the little spaces for knick knacks — the vases and glassware keep the postcards upright.
Wouldn’t it be great to pair travel postcards with little travel souvenirs? It would be like a 3D scrapbook that everyone could see!
Of course, you don’t have to be limited to postcards or travel items; any ephemera of a similar size would work. Antique trade and advertising cards paired with related smalls; vintage paper and fabric bookmarks with metal bookmarks; baseball cards with signed baseballs in cases — nearly endless ideas!
(I would advocate placing the postcards and other ephemera inside those firm plastic sleeves first, to keep them protected.)
I spotted this clever display idea at a local antique mall: the dealer has put a selection of collectible pinbacks in a birdbath.
At home, of course, this might present a dusting problem (always the bane of collectors!), but if you used a sturdy cement birdbath, you could place a large round piece of glass or Plexiglass over the top. Like the kind used to make those round boudoir tables.
The clear covers would keep dust, pet hair and other contaminants out (and, if UV protective, damaging sunlight too) while still allowing the collection of vintage lithos, celluloid, and metal pinbacks to be on display. This would work well for housing and displaying vintage and antique buttons and other small bits and bobs too.
Imagine it as an end table, next to your sofa or chair, with a little vintage lamp on top, lighting the contents, inviting guests to look inside. A very charming conversation piece!
Andrea Porter, an honors graduate from Fashion Institute of Technology, spent over 14 years working in the textile business until one day she found herself in need of a new coffee table. Unhappy with the current options available in today’s commercial design world, she decided to look into the past and created a coffee table out of an old rusted gear she’d previously found at a flea market. When the newly repurposed piece came home from the local welder and friends began to express interest in having their own, gears began to turn in Porter’s mind… Now, with the help of her sister, Ameri Spurgin, Porter cranks out repurposed items from the past into new functional pieces of home decor via Arms and Barnes.
The company’s name honors the sisters’ childhood nicknames while the company itself honors the American past in (re)purpose and motto, “Finding the beauty and potential in things forgotten.”
Old industrial, factory and farming items (such as iron fence pieces, old gears, thrasher wheels), architectural pieces (like scrolled window grates, register vents, fire place covers) and even more domesticated pieces (cast iron cookware and the wooden harness of weaving looms, for example) now find themselves converted into practical, conversational, chic tables for your home.
Joel Hester does something similar with scrapyard metal.
When I first heard about HGTV’s Cash and Cari, I got a little excited thinking this show might focus more on decorative collectibles, plus offer a splash of do-it-yourself (DIY) home decor creativity. While the show has all that potential, I really was disappointed.
Cash and Cari (Cari is not pronounced like “carry,” but like “car” with an “e” on the end, so it’s not quite the pun your eyes expect) follows the work of “estate sale guru” Cari Cucksey of Michigan’s RePurpose Estate Services.
If you like watching how to set up an estate or rummage sale, then maybe you’ll like this. However, for me, the show lost points when it dropped a standard part of the collectible shows format: the visit with the expert or in depth look at a few items. I realize this part of the show’s time was given to the DIY component — and that was something I was looking forward to; but in this particular episode this segment infuriated me.
In this debut episode, Cari purchases an older used bench for $40 and has a staff member give it “an impressive makeover.” The makeover consisted of repainting the bench, removing the older upholstered seat, and replacing it with new fabric — sewing a decorative throw pillow to match. However, the new “upholstery” job was terrible.
The fabric was staple-gunned in place and the staples hidden from view by hot-glue-gunning some sort of open-weave rick-rack lace over it. Use of a glue gun on the seat of a bench in place is anything but quality. (The dried glue will be lumpy, visible, and likely to peel away if the object has any use whatsoever ; it’s not appropriate for furniture or seating or anything besides the purely decorative.) Anything but quality and certainly not worth, in my opinion, the $300 they proposed to sell it for. Normally I don’t like to argue the price someone gets for something; different location alone can create marked price differentials. But this bench was really a shoddy DIY job and not fit for an audience of antiques and vintage collectibles fans.
Collectors of antiques are looking for quality.
Plus, the item was to be sold at “the shop,” and it kind of makes you wonder how the bench will be presented there… As an antique or vintage piece, or as a quickly made home decor piece? It’s the sort of thing an experienced collector wouldn’t be fooled by, but it’s also the sort of thing, like reproductions offered for sale, that most collectors want to know are properly represented so that no one feels tricked. No mention of this — after such a cheap makeover, weakens Cari’s credibility.
Yes, I watch a lott of the collectibles shows, and I did consider how potential “burn out” might be coloring my thoughts about Cash and Cari; but I don’t think that’s it (see my post about Oddities).
Where Cash and Cari suffers is a lack of focus on what makes the other shows great (personalities and drama of “cast,” information segments, &/or presentation of values of items) and a complete fumbling of the potentially fabulous DIY segment.
In trying to be kind, I wished HGTV had, as many of the other networks have, given us more than one episode to watch so that I could see if another episode could make me a fan… But then I realized HGTV thought this episode was strong enough to be the series lean-in and if that was their best foot forward, I don’t think I’ll watch another episode.
I just put an empty shoebox in my son’s room. Why? Because every kid should have empy shoeboxes to fill.
I remember as a kid all the services shoeboxes had.
Some held saved greeting cards, playing cards and jokers, and other bits of ephemera grown-ups needed not to see when they came to supervise room cleaning.
Other boxes held Barbie’s clothes — especially those I made out of hankies and safety pins and whatnot and so could not easily be stored on the hangers in her houses.
My little plastic horses didn’t have fancy play or storage sets, so shoeboxes took care of those needs.
And once I found the coolest blue metallic beetle-bug outside and I kept it in the shoebox under my bed, sorry mom & dad. (Don’t worry; he didn’t get out in the house. He died in there and that made me so sad that from then on I only played with such things on the screened-in sun porch… I bet you remember my inchworm “habitats” — and that each and every inchworm went back outside after I played with them. Lesson of the shoebox bug learned.)
My point is that each shoebox was like a treasure chest, full of a child’s idea of booty. Inside each cardboard container, secrets were kept, preserved, and most important of all — the prizes remained protected from the prying eyes of parents and siblings alike (any of which had their own motives for plundering).
Shoeboxes contained, preserved, and, because they were so innocuously portable, even displayed the tangible relics of our soles souls. Filling your father’s empty shoeboxes was like the antidote for “filling your father’s shoes.” Each box was all about you.
I’ll confess that I’ve saved one such shoebox collection of my own…
It’s not the actual same shoebox I used as a child. But as I down-sized the boxes through the years, these are the bits and bobs I saved… My old playing card jokers; two of my most beloved plastic toy horses , Sugar and Flame; Sugar’s saddle and hitching post; a small horse head I made in art class; and a few other assorted pieces of ephemera. And when I found myself with such a little bit to save, I grabbed the nearest shoebox and I knew my childhood pieces had found their home. (I swear Flame and Sugar whinnied in appreciation!)
My adult self knows that cardboard boxes aren’t the best long term storage solution options for most things aged and fragile, especially paper. But the amazing thing about shoeboxes is their ability to hold, preserve and maintain the memories and all the joyful magic of childhood inside them — no matter how many years pass.
I strongly encourage you to save your shoeboxes. Give them to the children in your lives. And, if you have not already done so, be sure to save a few for yourself.
Make a time capsule of your childhood, start a new secret collection, recapture the joy of collecting in a shoebox.