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 mess of buttons

After showing you my organised cupboard last week, I find myself in a mess of buttons, threads and doilies. The table is covered with little hills of vintage purple, gold, blue, cream, white and red buttons. Fine velvet ribbons curl around each other and doilies lie piled up like pancakes. This is my favourite part of the creative process. I sort and swap, arrange and shift, pick up and put down. When finally I’m happy, I start to stitch.

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An upcycled doily, with velvet ribbon and vintage buttons,

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turns into,

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a lovely little necklace. Available in Winter Owls Shop.

A vintage Easter

I have been saving a few little vintage finds to show you for Easter. They were all found at different times in local thrift shops for a couple of dollars. Along with a child’s cup, bunny salt shaker and the sweetest little cup and saucer beaded jug cover, you can see a little edible nest. I made these nests with the lovely group of women with intellectual disabilities that I teach. The nests are not my original idea, I can’t remember where I first saw them. They are just like the chocolate spiders I’m sure you’ve seen before. Simply melt white chocolate and mix with a packet of dried fried noodles. Spoon into a patty pan and make an indentation in the middle with your finger. When hardened, pop in a couple of mini eggs or a little chicken and then enjoy. I wish for you all, a happy and safe Easter holiday, wherever you are.

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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.

handle

Lovely old handle and key.

canisters closeup

Vintage anodized canisters and ice bucket, perfect for storage.

owls

Dust free and safe from dog and boys…

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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BLUE MAGIC DRI-NOB

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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?