"What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what is behind a windowpane."

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Finding Surprises Imbedded Within

You know it's time to say goodbye to a piece of furniture when you've got duct tape holding it together!   So, with heavy-heart, (well maybe not too heavy), I tore apart Ted's grandfather's 1950s leather rocking chair.

Some interesting things were found buried deep inside.

The kids stored away lost change into their piggy banks.

I can't imagine why an old Clam Chowder ad would have spent half a century within the chair's armrest.

I almost got my hopes up!

Always the recycler, I cut out large strips of the leather to make books.   And lookie what was under the leather!

What a waste to have such gorgeous upholstery hiding beneath it all!

And what's this?  Is it asian?  Or maybe Turkish cloth?  This wrapped around the armrests.  It was all a nice surprise!

I have no idea what I'd ever do with it, maybe add it to some fabric journals?  But after being protected under the leather for over 60 years, there was no way I was tossing it into the landfill! 

As for Ted, who felt bad about having to get rid of his late-grandfather's rocking chair, he still gets to keep a piece of it after all.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Curing the "I'm Bored" Blues

As much as I want to help keep my kids busy during the summer (for my sanity as well as theirs!) I prefer to encourage them to use their own imaginations and come up with creative solutions to cure the summer doldrums.  Baking Chocolate Banana Bread was one of their ideas.

I found a "Busy Book" at our local thrift, packed with projects for kids to do on those boring or rainy days.  Mary dived head-first into it.  She's the one who found the recipe and after recruiting Nic, decided to do some baking.   

Mary was in charge. I was just there to guide them (and take pictures!)

If they only realized how much math and calculating was involved!  It's fascinating to watch their lit-tle brains read directions, grasp concepts, and apply them.  And YOU thought they were just baking bread!

The kitchen's a nightmare.  Nic's exhausted.  But the bread looks like a success! 
But...looks can be deceiving.  How's it taste Mary?  That smile says it all!
Moist and tasty.  We added mini chocolate chips for extra decadence.    

Seeing and tasting the finished results makes a mommy's heart go pitter-patter.  Sure, I could have a list of "to-dos" for the summer, but after a year of schedules and structure, this is the time for them to unwind and decompress.  What better way to do this than by baking Chocolate Banana Bread?!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Christmas in July

So I'm in my art room, minding my own business, and decide to pare down my book stash. I had no idea how many Christmas collectible books I had!   Want to take a peek?

What are your favorite kinds of Christmas decorations?  Paper mache?  Spun cotton?  Old glass or printed images? 

I'd like to try making some of these triangle gift boxes.  Scrumpsh.

Not much compares to old world German Santas.

 I'd be afraid to light my trees with these!

 Years ago, I considered plastic ornaments to be so tacky.  Now I loooooove them.  Do you think they're tacky?  It's ok.  I was there once too. You'll come around. 

 People were just silly back then with their handmade ornaments!  But how homey are these?

The Victorians had an eye for beauty, didn't they?

LOVE these old goodie boxes.  Why did the innocence have to leave?
And then ya got'cher regulation bottle brush wreaths and trees. 

Paper mache candy holders!  Another project on my To-Do list.  Actually, it's more like a Bucket List, but that's not important right now.

Kitschy-kitschy ya-ya-ya-ya!

And how about those Putz houses?  And the little animals to go with them?  Deelish.

Dad and Mom bought us a Mickey Mouse Christmas record back in the 70s.  We listened to it all the time.  Wish we still had it.

This ornament reminds me of something Magpie Ethel would make.  She's always creating with chenille stems.   If you love estate sales, and anything vintage, stop by her blog and live vicariously through her!  I do.

I just want to touch these.

Although I'm not a fan of clowns, I really like the costumes they wore long ago.  The cream outfit with black polka-dots is so simple and cute.

Soooooo delicate.  Didn't people have children or cats to worry about back then?

I just want to take my stubby little fingers and crush the lampshades between my fingers, just for being so friggin cute!

Hmmmm........an idea for the hubby.  Then again, I'd hate to see the disappointment on his face when he opened a cigar box filled with gumdrops!

Why would anyone want to hang these on a Christmas tree?

And some ornaments are just plain weird.  This is a sailor's head coming out of a plant.  I think I'm going to have nightmares tonight.

This past winter, I scored a vintage aluminum tree!!  I told my Mom how fun it'll be to put it up this year and fill it with vintage ornaments.  Her response?  "Ew."    Nah.....I still gotta do it!

And let's not forget our Jewish brothers and sisters.

If you liked what you saw in this post, you may be happy to know that some of these books will be listed in my Etsy shop.  I'd like to say our house is getting too small, but honestly, my collections are just getting too big!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Old Doll Wardrobe Restoration

Still in restoration mode, it was time I did something with this old doll wardrobe that's been sitting here and staring at me.

This is what I came up with.

The first order of business was cleaning off at least 60 years' worth of dirt and grime, which included scraping off old stickers.  Little did I know, there were more stickers underneath.

This caused me to pause and rethink my steps.  Are these original lithos?  If so, I'd rather not cover them.  But, I noticed they were lop-sided, leaving me to believe they weren't originals, but just stickers a little girl once used to decorate this piece of furniture.

Now that the wood was clean and grime-free, I painted it a pretty spring green.  Originally, my idea was to paint it pink, but this shade of green was too scrumptious to pass up.  Because it was missing a knob, I bought new wooden ones for a complete set.

I noticed the wardrobe was missing a hanger for the doll clothes.  Not a problem. I just painted a wood dowel white and cut it down to size - it fits like a glove! 

The absolute hardest part was deciding how to decorate it.  I knew I wanted to keep this very simple and figured since it was a wardrobe for doll clothing, why not decorate with paper dolls? 

The wooden knobs were painted white and attached with a very strong cement glue.  Just for a splash more color, I painted the hardware white as well and added a lamb at the bottom.

Have you ever heard of Vivian Trillow Smith?  She was an amazing artist (during the 1940s I think), who created Hallmark cards featuring young girls and paper dolls.  I chose her dolls for their mixture of innocence and beauty.

I also chose dolls that would best accentuate the green paint.  What little girl doesn't love to paint and play with kittens?

As I've said all along, I love an aged look, but draw the line at dirty!   I'll even go so far as to clean a vintage piece, only to turn around and make it "look" weathered by antiquing it.  It can look dirty, but if it comes from me, it's got to be clean!

Why not give it a try?  Take the beauty of something old and freshen it up with something new? The combination of old and new never fails.