My favourite Tea Towel find

On Thursday after work, I popped into my local Animal Aid Op Shop as a reward for surviving my art class with my group of disengaged teenagers….Actually, it was quite a successful class. They drew sugar candy skulls using  Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) as their inspiration.The Mexican holiday gathers family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. I think it is a lovely tradition and one I would like to see one day. Dia de Muertos isn’t until October 31st but in desperation to find something that would interest them, I decided to do this activity early. It was lovely to see them all focused and absorbed.

Oh yes, the Op Shop, I hear you say. I found a beautiful pile of linen tea towels, vintage and unused. They are too nice to chop up and use in one of my creations. There were several Indigenous Art of Australia ones which I am going to put in my shop. The one I am keeping for myself though, is pictured below. It celebrates the Golden Jubilee of Country Women’s Association of Victoria 1928-1978. This non-party political, non-sectarian volunteer organisation  states that “Whilst the focus has often been on tea and scones, there is so much more on the menu of this dynamic Association which aims to improve conditions for women and children.”  I love the patchwork design of this tea towel. Even my nineteen year old son said, “Cool tea towel”. Can’t ask for much better than that!

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A gentleman’s wardrobe

Poking around in a local opportunity shop, I found a locked cupboard with a price tag of $35.00 dollars on it. The manager asked if I wanted to look inside and she opened up what she referred to as “a gentleman’s wardrobe” made in 1931. The wardrobe stands at around 4 foot high and has a hanging space on one side, perfect for pants and shirts but too short for dresses. Perhaps this was designed, so the lady of the house couldn’t take over? On the other side is a handy set of shelves and drawers, just perfect for stashing crafty bits and pieces I thought. The very elderly manager and her even more elderly assistant, would not let me help put this in the back of my car. I felt very embarrassed standing by watching. They were very efficient and obviously furniture removal experts. I suggested they could start up a removal company. Perhaps “Gran with a Van”?

So, now you know what my last post’s key was for. Pom poms make sure I don’t lose the key. I had lots of fun organising the wardrobe. Standing guard over it all, is my latest creation, Charlotte the koala. She’s made from a vintage wool blanket, a mohair cardigan and wears a little doily apron. As she’s smiling, I think she approves of my latest find.

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A pom pom clad key

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A gentleman’s wardrobe

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Handy storage for craft bits and pieces

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Embroidery threads find a home

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Charlotte the Koala surveys the room, she is available in the Winter Owls Shop.

Something to make you smile

I challenge you not to smile at my latest thrift shop find. I couldn’t believe my eyes, when I saw this flower faced doily, smiling up at me from a pile of linen. It’s very kitsch with its bright, happy 50’s colours. I like to imagine who made it, putting so much care into their work. This is one doily, I shall definitely not be chopping up, to use in other creations. In fact, I’m tempted to frame it.

happy doily 1

Smiling daisies

doily face 2

Go on, you know you want to smile…

One man’s trash….

I’ve been neglecting my blog a little lately(and yours too, sorry). It’s the time of year when I need to prepare for classes at the Neighbourhood House I teach at. Also, I’ve been decluttering at home which was long overdue….

As part of the decluttering process, I needed storage for all my art and craft supplies and things made waiting to be sold. I admit that it was taking over our whole dining area. Much to my husbands horror, I found this rather sad looking crystal cupboard, put out in the neighbourhood rubbish collection. I asked the man whose house it was in front of, if he’d mind if I took it. No, he said, I’d like it to go to a good home, and he very kindly helped me carry it to the car. No comments or eye rolling allowed until I have finished it, the family were told.

It was dirty and the veneer was cracked and missing in spots. However it had good bones and didn’t deserve to go to the tip. The mirror at the back was intact as was the original handle, lock and key. The bevelled glass shelves were all there too. What I really loved though, was the curved glass on either side of the door, which probably dates it to the 1920’s or 30’s.  I felt a bit daunted about replacing the veneer, so I peeled off the cracked veneer and gave the whole cabinet a light sand. Next I oiled it with Danish Oil and cleaned the glass and mirror.

It now houses my vintage owl collection and assorted containers hide my bits and pieces such as embroidery thread, pencils, paints etc. The dining area has been decluttered and the family approves of our lovely ‘new’ cupboard, much to some people’s surprise….

cabinet original

The grubby cabinet with peeling veneer.

cabinet restored

Da na! The transformation is now complete.


Lovely old handle and key.

canisters closeup

Vintage anodized canisters and ice bucket, perfect for storage.


Dust free and safe from dog and boys…

Perfect weather for cosy Koalas

Where is my hot Melbourne summer? I don’t want it to be boiling hot but some warmth would be good please. Instead we’ve had a couple of sporadic teasing warm days, followed by chilly southerly winds. Oh well, it has been good weather for making woolly things. I have been making upcycled creatures for a while now to sell at markets and my Etsy shop but decided to expand my range and include some Australian animals. I present to you Keiki and Kylie Koala. They are made with an upcycled vintage blanket, the fringe of a mohair rug, scraps of wool jumper and decorated with a scrap of doily and some Ric Rac. They took a long time to make as I had to puzzle over making a pattern for them, think a while about their ears and how to decorate them and finally, hand and machine sew them. I really like the end result, especially their ears which are particularly Koala like. The only problem is, I only have one small mohair knee rug to make ears from, so I shall be keeping my eyes peeled whilst thrifting…


Keiki the Koala enjoys the beach and lounging around.


Kylie the Koala enjoys sampling Lamingtons and Pavlova.

Thrifted Buttons

Any button lovers out there? I promised in my last post that I would show you some of the buttons I’ve found in Charity shops. I’m not going to say much, the buttons speak for themselves. I will let you know though, that when I spot them on one of my thrifting adventures, they do make my heart beat a little faster.

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Probably my favourite vintage button find so far…

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Neatly stitched on buttons

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Beautiful glass buttons which sadly, I’ve only found four of.

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An assortment of little novelty buttons.

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Button bundles

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Lovely creamy buttons and old thread.

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I like to store my buttons in a large glass jar, which surprisingly, isn’t quite large enough to fit them all….

Vintage biscuit tin with a twist

Visiting my grandparents, we would sit in the kitchen at their 50’s Laminex table. It had a marbled grey top and was matched by red chairs. I don’t remember anything ever changing in that room, that’s probably why I loved it and remember it so vividly. There was a red biscuit tin that had flowers on it made from dry biscuits and popcorn sitting in the corner. Recently, I found a black version of it in a charity shop. It was a bit beaten up compared to my grandmother’s but I bought it anyway and gave it a good scrub with hot soapy water. The funny thing is, I had noticed the interesting glass lid on my grandmother’s tin, but hadn’t realised what it was. Inside the tin, are instructions that refer to a BLUE MAGIC DRY-NOB. I’ll let you read the instructions below, but basically, it’s to keep your biscuits fresh and crispy. Who knew? I’m currently storing my doilies in there instead of biscuits because I don’t know what is in the BLUE MAGIC DRY-NOB. Still, I probably shouldn’t worry, my grandparents ate biscuits stored in their red version and they lived to be ninety and one hundred….

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The amazing Krispy Kan

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The base

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Instructions inside the lid

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I wonder who thought of making flowers from popcorn and dry biscuits?