Repurpose Doors And Windows In The Garden (Photo Gallery …

Repurposing old windows and doors in the garden is a brilliant idea! Why throw something away when it can be given a second chance at life? Empress of Dirt has collected some terrific ideas and pictures on how the garden.

Source: www.dasheqi.com

add your insight…

Beasts Of Burden: Recycling Plastic Toys Into Planters

I found this idea for novelty planters at The Daily Telecraft: Brainstorm: What to do with plastic animals! [Large & small]. Just Dremel out a section on the beast’s back, spray paint them, fill them with dirt and add a small plant or cactus.

It’s a great way to recycle those plastic animal toys the kids have left behind as well as to fill-out a windowsill or other spot with groupings of vintage animal planters.

If you have a green thumb but are all butter-fingers with a Dremel, here are some planters ready to purchase!

The Value In Collecting & Reading Antique & Vintage Publications

It’s funny how your perspective changes…

I first wrote/posted about this November 1953 issue of Silhouette Magazine in July of 2008 — but when preparing to list it for sale on eBay, I found myself thumbing through the vintage publication with completely different eyes. For you see, when I first posted those images and silly thoughts, it would be another four months before Things Your Grandmother Knew would be born. Now I’m spotting tips on cleaning corduroy in a very different light!

Funny how perspective changes… Not just the out-of-sight-out-of-mind of putting the vintage booklet away, but the way we look at things, what we take from them, what our intentions are in terms of use — and the blinders we put on ourselves even when our intentions are “good” and purposeful. Yes, adding another blog opened my eyes to see old information in a new light. But what else might I see with another blog (oh, no, I have enough!) or in another few years, as life shifts my purpose, my interests, my needs? How does the old stuff maintain the same yet live on with new purpose?

In theory, and practice, this is the heart of recycling. But had I recycled this vintage booklet (either in the practical paper way or in an artistic one, using it for an altered art product or something), the content itself likely would have been lost.

As a collector and a reader, I’m often amazed at the power old periodicals and books have. Good fiction remains good fiction. And the non-fiction still teaches us things. Sure, some of it’s frightfully funny — or just plain frightful. Old medical and science texts, obviously spring to mind. So do the works which expose the woefully ignorant in terms of cultural issues, such as gender, race, etc.

But even when the information is hopelessly outdated or just plain hopeless, reading old works gives us great insights into how things really were at that time. And let me tell you, not a whole lot has changed. Humans still desire the same things, buy and sell with the same motivation, and whatever styles have faded to black have zoomed back into fashion too. More or less. The cultural or political pendulum swings back and forth. What’s gone around, comes around. Especially history we are doomed to repeat for having overlooked the earlier lessons.

Antique and vintage publications are too often overlooked themselves. Even by collectors. At appraisal fairs and on the television shows, experts continue to tell us “Old books, newspapers, and magazines have no value,” except in very rare cases. Perhaps that’s true in terms of the market price evaluation — but that’s merely a reflection of a lack of buyer interest. And the few who are buying old magazines and books often do so not for the written content, but for the cover art, the illustrations inside. (I personally feel they should just buy poster reprints and stop cutting up my precious bound babies!) Even those who buy firsts and other rare works seem to value the objects, but not the contents themselves.

It seems rather messed-up to me. You should buy an old book, magazine or newspaper for the same reasons you’d buy a new one: because of the story it tells, the information it provides — because you want to read it. And maybe even reread a few of them because your opinion may change over time.

If you really don’t want it, pass it along to one who does. We’re out there, really we are!

Cute Vintage Little Girls Gloves Inspires Idea

An adorable pair of 1960s little girls gloves with cross-stitched floral details:

When I saw them, I immediately thought this would be a great thing to do to jazz up a pair of cheap gloves (or mittens). And then I thought, “Wouldn’t that be one way to salvage those lonely single mittens and gloves left in the closet…” You could take one black glove, add some needlework in red and white thread; then use black and white to stitch the same designs on a solo red glove — and you’d have a quirky pair!

Image credits: Photo of blue child’s gloves from ValeriesVisions.

Making A Tidbit Or Serving Tray Right Round Again

Two things that are always plentiful at thrift shoppes…

Partial tidbit trays or plate holders / servers…

And unwanted vinyl records. (And by “unwanted” I mean they are either badly scratched or recordings so common, they are only destined for recycling or worse.)

So why not put them together and make a retro-styled display piece?

I wouldn’t use them for serving food. And unless you firmly attach the records to the frame, there’s the danger of the records, and whatever light objects are placed upon them, sliding off. As I just played at the thrift store (yes, they looked at me oddly) I haven’t experimented with how to attach the pieces… But a glue gun would likely do the trick!

At the very least, this piece can one again hold stacked plates and other items at the buffet table — allowing your guests to talk about how clever and resourceful you are.

DIY China Jewelry Display

I have very mixed feelings about modifying or changing antique and vintage things, but when I saw this project converting plates (and a candlestick) into a jewelry holder I thought it would be a wonderful way to salvage china pieces, bring them out of the boxes and shadows and back to life.

I’ve seen this done before, but all the tiers were plates, and it became a nice tidbit tray for serving cookies, etc. Having the tea cup saucer on top makes for an excellent lip for hanging wire earrings!

Wouldn’t this be a fabulous way to share an antique, but incomplete, family heirloom china set? It would make it easier to share the family china with each one of your children!

End (Table) Of The Road For Industrial Americana

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.

Vintage China Nightlights

At a local antique mall, the Moorhead Antique Mall, I spotted another idea for salvaging vintage china pieces: turning tea cup saucers into nightlights.

I’ve also seen old cups (with and without saucers) turned into night lights (or night lamps), like this one by micah7:

But I think that since the vertical saucers are flatter and nearer to the wall, they are less likely to be damaged by an inattentive person vacuuming. (But maybe that’s just a problem at my house?)

I’ve never tried making night lights from china pieces, but if you want to give it a try, here are a few helpful “how to” links:

Cutting ceramics with a wet saw

How To Cut Plates Using Two Wheeled Cutters

How to cut a plate using Leponitt Cutters

Wielding your wheeled cutters

Also, your local hardware store may offer cutting services for a fee.

Introducing Pickin & Grinin, The Collecting Couple

Antiquips Pickin & Grinin

Pick: This is going to be our first article for Inherited Values so let’s show off some of our unusual collectibles.

Grin: How about your hand mirrors? You are always bragging to anyone that will listen, just how great you think they are and how well you display them.

Pick: Oh, I’d like to but I’d have to polish them all before we let a whole group of people in to see the collection.

Grin: Well, what’s your idea then? Or are you just Picking on me because it was my idea?

Pick: Why don’t we start with the smallest room in the house and show readers what can be packed into a tiny area with a little imagination.

Grin: Are you referring to your jewelry box? You sure know how to pack that thing full.

Pick: Boy we’re real smart today. No I’m talking about the powder room at the back entrance, the one that started out with a bare bulb hanging from the ceiling with a pull chain for decoration. Let’s show off our antique finds in that room first. I think we managed to accent the room nicely with some unusual pieces in a space of seven foot by four feet. Plus we did our “green piece” by recycling some items.

Grin: Five feet, it’s no longer than five feet.

Pick: Well, whatever, the important thing is we get to display the oddities within. But just to keep my reputation intact, how about a quick measure to see who is right. I say it’s about seven feet by 3-1/2” feet. What is your best guess?

Grin: I think five feet, maybe by 4-1/2 feet.

Pick: What was the measurement?? Oh, guess you were closest. Now, let’s change the subject. How about we start with the egret, the old screen door decoration. You know, the one I dragged home from an auction and had to listen to your questions like “Now, WHERE can we put that old thing?”

Grin: In this instance, you were right. It fits in flush, right over the toilet, a pun intended!

Pick: Well, if you’re giving me credit, I must say, your cold air return register was a perfect fit. It’s a radio speaker grill from a Pontiac Straight 8, probably from the early 1950s. And it squeezed right into the space.

Grin: I also recall where we got the old tin sheets that we needed when I dropped the ceiling to update the electricity to enable a wall switch. We had to purchase the full lot of sheets, but only needed a few and sold off the rest at a flea market. Then you found that marvelous iridescent chandelier at a local antique store. You discovered it just in time, too, because we had not decided on the color to paint the room and the green shade enlightened us.

Pick: Dear, you are funny today – you should be “pun-ished.” And you kept your promise to let me have some stained glasswindows in the house. That was something you committed to when we left our other house that had so many! And you did a super job finding the black and white tiles that are so “1930s”, it really completed the look we wanted.

Grin: Well, let’s continue in another area in our next blog. There’s hardly room for two of us in this room!

Salvaging Mismatched Or Damaged China Pieces

I like to use my vintage things, where appropriate (and sometimes I make up uses for things). I feel it really continues the life of old things. I also don’t like to let anything go to waste, even if it’s broken or damaged; but I’m especially reluctant if it was a part of my collection.

Broken china, for example, can break your heart; but sometimes you can salvage or recycle it. Even if you can’t make jewelry from it.

I suppose most people have discovered that the odd, mismatched china saucers, custard cups, and whatever all those little shallow bowls are, can readily be put back into use at the table simply by placing candles in them — or by setting candles in clear glass and/or candles in clear tea lights upon the old china pieces.

It’s an especially lovely way to have them still sit at the table, lighting the more perfect pieces while you dine.

But what about those antique china cups with the handles broken off?

I’m sure you probably have a set of those metal candle stands sitting around somewhere…

Usually they have glass candle holders in them. Well, when my glass candle dish broke, I realized I could set one of my (many) handless china cups in them.

This works with most of these candle stands; even if they vary somewhat in diameter, you’ll find that the sloping sides of china cups eventually meet a secure resting place.

You can also stagger the candle heights by surrounding the cups recycled into metal candle stands with cups without stands, small dishes with candles, and plates with tea lights.

Not only does this salvage your old china pieces (and, I daresay, add another layer of interest and elegance to your table setting or home), but you’ll finally use all those candles you bought at your sister’s candle party. (Don’t get hubby started talking about how I own “too many” candles in my candle cupboard!)

If you don’t have a cabinet full of candles — or you don’t have any that are just the right size, Katy Teson aka “Pie Bird — Who Vents While Cooking” (Isn’t that a hoot of name?!) shows you how to make tea cup candles!

So go ahead, recycle those old mismatched china pieces and damaged china cups.

Disclaimers: I’ve never had any problems, but I will caution you that some candles may burn too hot to hold candles safely, meaning the china may crack. (And china that is already cracked probably won’t contain melted wax — though you can put a saucer beneath it all too). If you’re concerned at all, you can set clear glass votive holders inside the cups to hold the actual candles. Or you can, as many candle owners do, simply place the candles in or on the vintage china pieces just for show.

Recycle Vintage & Used Hosiery

Often at estate sales you’ll find bags of vintage hosiery; women, especially those who learned lessons of thrift from The Great Depression and wartime conservation, didn’t throw anything away. When one stocking was laddered (had runs) but its mate was perfectly fine, a lady typically kept the mate for the day when a similar situation occurred with another pair; this was very possible as stockings were usually sold with multiple pairs per package. (And it’s practical thrift advice you can still use today!)

While stockings and hose either unworn or still in their vintage boxes can be pricey, the large bags of worn stockings can be quite cheap — and they can be of great use in recycling for the creative.

stockings-go-to-warI know this can seem rather “Eeeiiiww!” to some, but the re-purposing of stockings and hosiery has a long history. During WWII nylon stockings were recycled for the war effort.

And the resurgence of the re-use of hosiery was also a huge arts & crafts recycling fad in the 70’s.

So why not grab a bag full of vintage stockings and hose and put it to good use?

First I recommend going through the bag, hand washing the stockings. As you so so, evaluate them for possible pairings, stockings in your size, stockings completely unwearable, etc.

Of those which are too damaged to wear, assess them for possible craft projects and re-purposing ideas, like nylon corsages, hanging plant holders, and even rugs.

pantyhose-craft-bookIf the stockings are in very poor shape, use them as stuffing material for sewing projects. Why buy foam pads or bags of poly-filler when you can re-use old hose?

Sometimes worn vintage stockings are just tossed away by the people running estate sales — but if you are interested in recycling vintage hosiery, let your local dealers, estate sale organizers — even local thrift shop managers — know of your interest. They may just save them for you, often letting you name your price because they would toss them otherwise.

PS If you ever get to the historic Hingham Shipyard, check out my contribution to the wartime homefront exhibit!