Tag: vintage

Thrifted Treasures

I haven’t had too much time to browse second-hand stores lately so this round-up actually covers about 4 months. I picked up these two first items at Pennywise, a thrift shop in Westminster a couple of minutes away from where I used to live. I actually bought these on two separate occasions. The first a porcelain butterfly:

It is marked with a made in Japan sticker and the base has a metal clip so you can display it. It looks so whimsical perched on my lampshade:

Porcelain Butterfly Clip-On 3

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Solvent Image Transfers

Not exactly ground breaking stuff, using a solvent of some type to transfer an image to another surface has been a popular DIY topic for years. I wanted to try it out on fabric, for both a new throw pillow cover and future mixed media projects. There is a huge number of other blogs who have done the same thing with a different solvent product. I have seen people recommend Citra Solv, paint thinner, lacquer thinner, acetone etc. I happened to have a bottle of full strength acetone already sitting in my cabinet, and a few copies of the images I wanted to transfer.

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Mixed Media Monday: Ancestor

Mixed Media Card 1

This video was really simple to film, I had a nice time doing it. The editing however was a particular kind of tech hell, as my video files wouldn’t write to the hard drive, a couple of clips were corrupted but only if you looked at them on a windows machine… etc. Just one thing after another, especially weird considering I haven’t switched phones, or cables or machines or software or… anything. Either way I finally got it altogether and uploaded so I hope you enjoy it!

I used a brown craft paper card, vintage dictionary paper, gesso, Inktense blocks, paint pens, and liner pens to create this woman. I’ve started calling her Ancestor because she looks out through the crumbling, obstructed old paper full of half forgotten words. The music is by Chris Zabriskie, check out more of his amazing work on Free Music Archive.

Happy (end of) Monday!

Mixed Media Card

Thrift Store Round Up

I haven’t bought much at thrift stores lately. Working full-time has left me with minimal time to browse and space constraints means that even if I find something cool I don’t have anywhere to put it anyway! However, in the last 4 months or so I have still managed to find some things:

Overgrown Quarry by William Thon (1906-2000) an abstract lithograph, check out his biography from The Caldwell Gallery.

Lithograph Thon

I would love to re-frame it eventually, I don’t think the brown mat is doing much for it. It’s hanging across from my headboard, so I see it very often. The abstract-ness of the cracked leaf-vein like patterns have worn off and now I see very defined trees and the walls of the quarry, and the cuts into the rock.

Lithograph Thon 1


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New Custom Mats for Old Photos

Vintage Black & White Photos

I’ve had a collection of black and white photos for years now, many of which I purchased at a swap meet in Arizona. I had 5 of them matted in these black and white eclectic frames in my house. I created the mats myself… well “mats” is really too nice a word for the cheap paper I used.

My Studio

When I moved, I hung them back up, but I wanted to re-do the mats and add a picture to the 5th frame. So they’ve hung like this for 3 months:

Black & White Frames 2

I finally got around to ordering custom mats 2 weeks ago, from matboardandmore.com. Their site is fantastic, tons of options and super easy and cheap to order weird sized openings.

Custom Matboard Online

I received the mats a couple of days ago, I went with a similar color to the paper I had previously used. Photo grey with black core:

Custom Matboard

I think the grey looks very nice with the old sepia/black and white colors of the photos:

Custom Matboard Vintage Photos

I was less than $30 to mat all 5 of the photos, and I’m glad to have this off my to-do list. Quick and easy projects are the best when you want to feel like your’e accomplishing something! The frames and photos don’t look nearly as good on the white walls of my basement room as they did in my studio room but I’ll move again soon enough. For now I’m glad my vintage photos are protected in the beautiful way. If you need new mats check out Matboard and More.

Black & White Frames 3

Telechron Electric Clock

Telechrom 327 f327

I found this lovely electric clock at the thrift store a month or so ago. The case is rather beat up, but I love the art deco dial. I looked the model up on telechron.net, if you have a Telechron or want more info about these clocks this is your website! The site has all Telechron models organized by year with model numbers and pictures. I found my little clock pretty quickly listed under the 1928-1932 era as a 327 “Salisbury”, however the dial didn’t match. The next era of clocks “1932-1938” has a clock listed as a f327 “Sudbury” with the correct case shape, and dial but with a closed wooden back. The site author writes “A few models from the Early Years were sold into 1935…” so I would guess this is an older case with the newer motor and dial but it could also have been some old owner’s repair job marrying the two pieces. Either way it seems this clock is from sometime in the 1930’s.

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Cleaning Real Fur at Home

Fur Clutch 1

I found this little clutch at a vintage clothing store in Denver. I have no idea how old it might be, possibly late 50’s to early 60’s… although it could be more recent. There are no labels of any sort in it. It is however real fur, I would say rabbit by the look and feel. It’s pretty easy to figure out if an item is faux or genuine fur if you can see the backing. Fake fur will be backed with fabric, genuine fur with of course be on hide/leather. If, like my clutch, it’s not possible to examine the back of the fur, the next thing to look at is the individual strands of fur:

Cleaning Real Fur


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New Thrift Store & Apollo Butterflies

Matt and I visited a thrift store I’ve never been to the other day (I know shocking!). If you’re in the Denver area, check out Demi’s Treasures & Thrift Store. We actually came to pick up this cabinet:

Mid-Century Stand Alone Cabinet


Matt had been in and seen it a few days before and thought I would probably want it. He was right! It’s a really interesting kinda stand alone cabinet with great mid-century legs.

I also found an unabridged 1950’s-ish dictionary. Which if you have seen any of my mixed media pages or the prints for sale in the store you know I use constantly.

Dictionary 6

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What does the Ladies’ Home Journal 1938 and Cookies Have in Common?

Ladies Home Journal 1938

I found this 1938 copy of the Ladies’ Home Journal at a thrift store about a year ago.

Ladies Home Journal 1938

77 year doesn’t seem all that far away but looking through this magazine it feels like an alien civilization. It’s especially evident in the ads, look at this super sexist ad for canned fruit:

Ladies Home Journal 1938Or this cigarette ad advising you to smoke at least 6 packs of Camels to see the difference it makes in your nerves:

Ladies Home Journal 1938

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How to Create Earring Hooks

I’ve found some cool jewelry at thrift stores in the last few weeks. This bangle was $4 and I love the distressed look of it:

Thrift Store Cuff

I also bought these chandelier/fish lure looking earrings, they make the prettiest chiming sound when they move:

Brass Dangle Earrings

Lastly the real subject of this post, I bought these vintage stone clip on earrings:

Clip on Earrings Redo

I have no idea how anyone could wear clip on earring for any amount of time, they hurt! Plenty of jewelry stores and craft stores sell earring hooks pre made and ready to use. However, if you already have the supplies it takes no time to make replacement wires.

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Recognizing and Cleaning Marble

In my last post I showed you my new little thrifted marble topped plant stand:

Vintage Marble Plant Stand

The wood legs and base are in decent shape, but the wood top in between the marble and legs has significant water damage. Cleaning Marble

The marble top was badly scratched, had several deep water mark and was generally yellowed. Since I don’t know yet what I will be doing to the wood base, I thought I would at least tackle getting the marble clean.

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A New Sofa and a Fortuitous Wall Art Find

A while back I saw a crazy barrel shaped couch and love seat set on Craigslist. After taking a while to decide finally, that the reaction I had to them was love and not hate, we bought them. However they really weren’t cutting it in the new sitting room:

Old Sofa Set fix

Way too big and bulky, although a unique set and quite comfy for watching TV. Soooo we bought a much more proportional sofa a few days ago. Again I was browsing Craigslist, and this little mid century gem had just about everything on my wishlist, wood frame, light colored upholstery, and minimalist lines.

New Couch fix

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Vintage Beaded Clutch Refurbishment

I made a resolution about a month ago, not to take on any more projects. I have far too many as it is. On the whole it has been great, I’m finishing plenty of old forgotten things. Unfortunately, a few days ago I saw a small, beat up, beaded clutch at an ARC thrift store. I tried to resist it. I swear to you, I tried. I looked it over, it need bead work, the lining was terribly stained, it was misshapen. I didn’t buy it, I walked out of ARC and spent the night thinking about. The next morning I went back, and bought the damn thing. Here it is:

It was missing quite a bit of beading along the top. It was also discolored. The lining was terribly stained.

However, I could see how beautiful and glamorous looking it would be if restored to its former glory. So I jumped enthusiastically into fixing this bedraggled clutch. Read more

A New Skirt and Bag, Lovely Fabric, and More Jars

I found this lovely fabric at a thrift store a week or so ago. It’s amazingly soft, luscious wool in a classic houndstooth pattern. It was only $2.99, and I really want to turn it into a scarf, a pencil skirt, a blazer, and a sweater dress… unfortunately I will only have enough for one of those things. It’s marked 100% Italian virgin wool. Virgin wool, is just wool that has never been used before. Most wool products nowadays are “virgin” but back during WWII much of the wool being produced was earmarked for the war effort. So manufactures turned to unraveling old wool products and turning them into something new. Now wool production is inexpensive, so it’s rare to see something marked “virgin wool” since it’s all virgin wool. (Source) It does sound impressive though.

Moving on, I also bought this skirt:

Yes, I know at first glance it’s pretty lame. I loved the pattern though, and I have some alterations in mind. I think shorter it will be lovely, and less middle-aged woman’s church skirt. I like the idea of a button up skirt, very cute… maybe I should switch out the buttons? It was only 2 bucks, so I could really tear it up to use as rags and still come out on top.

I didn’t buy these jars at a thrift store, a family member gave them to me.I, like the rest of internet (at least the women anyway) are pretty obsessed with these babies. I’ve written about them before, here.

The one on the right is made by the Hazel-Atlas Glass Company, which is the same company that produced the depression glass I have. Check out my post about depression glass here. I have done anything with these jars yet, I feel the same way about them as I do about a perfectly white sheet of drawing paper. I could create something with them, but on the other hand I could just sit and stare at their great potential. Here are some other people’s aqua canning jar projects (click the image to go to its origin site):


I would love to find some that still had the zinc lids. I don’t think that is likely at thrift stores, but I can’t spend $10 bucks a jar on Etsy or eBay.

Lastly in my recent thrifting, this little, kinda beat up purse:

I have big plans for this $3 mini messenger bag. I will undoubtably be posting all about it in a few days, until then check out these other leather bag redo’s (click on the image to go to its origin site):

Depression Glass

My grandparent’s have been cleaning out their home, and among the things they no longer wanted was a collection of green depression era glassware. Depression glass, so named for the era in which it was produced, are cheap, translucent pieces which were distributed free or cheaply. In fact Quaker Oat’s ran a promotion that gave away pieces of glassware in boxes of cereal. (Source)

Elegant glass which was produced during the same time period, is similar to depression glass, but of better quality. It was sold in jewelry and department stores, and often had hand worked elements. Depression glass was mass-produced and often shows mold marks, bubbles, and indentations made accidentally on cooling glass. (Source)

There were over 20 companies producing this cheap glassware during the depression, and it comes in many colors, the most common being green, blue, amber, pink, and crystal. There are many different patterns from each manufacturer and most were made in more than one color. (Source)

I’ve identified the majority of my pieces as being Florentine 1 (also called Poppy 1 or Old Florentine) produced by Hazel Atlas Glass Company from 1932-1935:

Florentine 1 differs from Florentine 2, in that the edges of the plates and other items had alternating ruffled and straight edges. Florentine 2 had straight edges only.

I also have several items I have identified as belong to the set Princess, produced by Hocking Glass Company from 1931-1935.

I also have a bowl, a cup and two ashtrays each with their own pattern, and glasses and two plates from another, as yet unidentified pattern:

Although cheaply made, and often flawed, depression glass is beautiful. I love the subtle green tint, it reminds me of the emerald city in the Wizard of Oz. I can’t wait to eat dinner off a piece of history almost 80 years old… after I clean the dust of the past 80 years off them of course.

Here are some helpful links for finding out more about depression era glass, and identifying specific patterns:

  • History of Depression Glass, from NDGA.
  • The Different Between Depression Glass and Elegant Glass, from NDGA.
  • Depression Glass Companies, from Suzie Max.
  • Pattern Identification Index (with pictures), from Suzie Max.
  • Another Pattern Id Index, from K&M Antiques.

A Preview of Posts to Come

Just about all my latest finds are in the process of becoming cool projects, hence the title of this post. So don’t forget to check back and see how they turn out!

I bought this geeky, chic dragon t-shirt at the Salvation Army:

The Salvation Army is one of my favorite place to buy second-hand clothes since they rarely mark up the name brands. Unfortunately, the neckline fits oddly. I am going to be taking a needle and thread to it, and seeing if I can fix it up.

I also recently bought several Chinese knock off Delftware to put recycled candles in.

Since I have tons of different colored candles, the uniform colors of the containers should add some unity to the display. I’m in the middle of finishing them up, it takes longer than you would think to melt, pour and harden candles. I’ll be posting a tutorial on how to recycle your own candles in the next week or so.

So I bought this tray for a $1.99,

about 2 weeks ago, with the intention of spray painting it white, and using it as a catch-all on the coffee table in the living room. I sanded it down a bit, primed it, and sprayed it white. Lightly re-sanded to ensure a smooth finish, and painted it white again. Then when it was all finished, I dropped. It didn’t break, but all the pieces came apart and some of the paint got chipped off. Sooooooooooo I’m going to fix it, and make it awesome-r than you ever thought possible… as soon as I can look at it without swearing.

Lastly, I found this beautiful collection of vintage ribbon all together for $2.99. I don’t really have anything to say about them or a project in mind, their just so pretty. My favorite is the one on the far left.

Old Attachment Tin with New Interior

As I showed you in this post, my Grandmother gave me a bunch of very cool sewing things awhile back. One of the items was an old Greist attachment tin.

Instead of keeping it as an attachment tin though, I decided to redo the inside and use it as portable storage for pins, fabric markers, seam ripper etc. Sometimes I like to prepare patterns, or mess with the fabric of projects in front of the TV or at the kitchen table.

How I changed up the inside is very simple, and could be used to “upholster” any tin or box. Using this method is also great for vintage or sentimental tins/boxes since the additions can be removed without hurting the original surface. The materials I used are on the right, fabric, plus batting and cardboard. I also used masking tape, disappearing ink, and scissors.

First I removed the old purple paper inside so it was an empty tin:

I traced around the bottom of the tin on the cardboard, and cut it out to create the correct shape to line the inside. It’s important to dry fit the cardboard so you can make adjustment to the size while it’s still easy to do. Next, I used the cardboard as a pattern to cut out the correct size of batting. The fabric I used was scraps of a silky print left over from another project. Use the cardboard again to rough cut the correct size of fabric. It doesn’t need to be precise, I used disappearing ink to trace a half-inch or so around the cardboard.









Place the batting on top of the cardboard and wrap the fabric around it, secure with masking tape:

Repeat to make another fabric covered form for the top of the tin.

I used double-sided tape to secure the forms to the tin, if you wanted a permanent hold you could use hot glue instead.

That’s it, a very simple way to spruce up a tin, here it is all filled up:

Letterpress Tray Jewelry Organizer: Update

One of my most popular posts ever has been my letterpress tray jewelry organizer. The concept wasn’t mine, do an image search and there are pages of examples. It’s a beautiful way to display jewelry, and since I’ve used it now for about 6 months, I wanted to do a little update to tell people how it has worked out. I always wonder if people actually use their do it yourself projects, or if it turns out it only looked good in the pictures.

I moved my entire jewelry collection to the tray, and it’s great to be able to see all the pieces at once. On the downside though, it gets very dusty every couple of months, and to throughly clean it the jewelry has to be removed.

I have used this time to go though my jewelry, and remove any that I no longer wear, and separate pieces that need repair or cleaning. I also found that if I don’t wear the scarves often enough, they need to be rotated so creases don’t form around the hooks.

Other than that I’ve loved the transition to my letterpress tray. I would advise anyone who wanted to make/buy a similar one, this concept works best with a jewelry collection that is fairly stable. If you are constantly adding new pieces, it would be hard to get each new piece to fit and be accessible on one tray. Another thing to consider, if you don’t wear jewelry much the pieces will get just as dusty as their holder over time.

So in conclusion, the letterpress tray jewelry organizer isn’t just a cool idea that everyone online has jumped on and tried. It’s practical, and it’s beautiful.


Here it is looking very eclectic on my very plain bedroom wall: