Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Counting My Chickens

I used to go all out decorating for Easter, but, as I've gotten older and wiser, I've learned to say no to Pepto-Bismol pink plastic baskets and bears in rabbit ears.  

I haven't been able to kick the seasonal decorating habit altogether; but (I like to think) I'm a little more discriminating in what I set out.


I have a little flock of oddball sheep that, like a lot of the things that I collect, are not particularly old or valuable, but I absolutely love them.


They all came from thrift stores and garage sales. 


I think it's their quirkiness that appeals to me.


That and the fact that none of them is Pepto-Bismol pink.

I have few rabbits that I've rescued from thrift stores that I have a soft spot for, too, including these wooden ones ...


... and this metal hoop:


This moss-and-chickenwire-covered pair is a recent new addition...
moss rabbits

... and by "new" I mean "new," not just "new to me" (which is what I usually mean when I say something is "new.") My general rule is that I only buy holiday decorations secondhand, mostly because I prefer vintage, but also because I don't want to spend a lot of money on seasonal items that I'm only going to display for a few weeks a year. So when I break my secondhand rule, it's on something that I really love.

In addition to my sheep and rabbits, I have a few chickens I set out in the spring.

hen on nest

The green glass ones (above) go in a hutch in my dining room.

My Pot Rooster (below) goes on the stove.

Pot Rooster

I used to leave him out year round, but I'm kind of a messy cook, and after one too many pots boiled over, the back -- which was in perfect condition when I bought it -- started to look like this:

Pot Rooster


I just bought this little seasoning can at a thrift store recently:

poultry seasoning

It has a plastic top, so it can't be all that old, but I love the graphics on it.

I also have a few paper mache German eggs with lovely cartoon images on them:

paper mache egg

I bought them from the Pamida store I worked at when I was in college in the late 1980s.

 The insides are just as beautiful as the outsides.

paper mache egg

The type says "Made in German Democratic Republic" (which we knew as East Germany back in my college days). The Berlin Wall fell in November of 1989, and Germany was officially reunified the following year. So, even though the eggs were new when I bought them, they have a bit of history to them and would probably be considered "vintage" today.

Also vintage: these cookie cutters, which I framed in a shadowbox and hung on my wall:

chicken and rabbit cookie cutters

I would love to find a lamb and a duck that I could swap out one of the chickens and one of the rabbits with, so the pyramid doesn't have duplicates. But until I find them, these will do.


Happy Easter from the flock.

Linking up to:
Vintage Inspiration Party
Catch As Catch Can

Monday, March 30, 2015

I Have A Small Problem

I have a somewhat crazy fascination/borderline obsession with unusually small things: Model trains, doll houses, hotel soap bars, single-serving boxes of cereal that look EXACTLY like the full-size box (just smaller), puppies, pencil sharpeners shaped like Lilliputian typewriters or cameras, travel-size bottles of shampoo, those little paper umbrellas that bartenders put in your pina coladas. The list goes on...

spring decor

The full-size versions do nothing for me (except for grown-up puppies, of course).

But when something is shrunk down to a tiny percentage of its full-size self, I can't get enough of it. Case in point: miniature sprinkler cans.


I find them at thrift stores all the time, and I have to say, in my book, they are the best thing since miniature sliced bread.

I think my favorites are the galvanized cans..

spring decor

... but I like the painted ones, too.

This one was just a plain white can when I bought it:

sprinkler can collection

 I decoupaged the bee (crookedly) onto it.

sprinkler can collection

(Even with a crooked bee on it, it's still worth every penny I paid for it.)

The one below isn't really a sprinkler can, but it's close enough.

watering can collection

When I pulled my little collection out of storage this spring, I decided to display them with some vintage seed packets. Unfortunately, I didn't own any vintage seed packets...

... so I made some. I found an old box of invitation envelopes that were about the right height, and I figured if I cut them in half, they'd be about the right width too.

Once the envelopes were cut in half, I slid one side inside the other...

...and trimmed off the flaps on the back.

The Graphics Fairy provided some fabulous old-time vegetable images that I added my own verbiage to in Photoshop Elements.

I trimmed the images to fit and folded them in thirds around the envelopes.

Then I just had to run a few beads of glue along the seams and voila: five (almost) vintage seed packets:

Another small project done.

sprinkler can collection

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Chick Lit?

Mod Podge

I don't decorate much for Easter these days. Primarily because most of my Easter decorations look something like this:

I admit I have a huge soft spot for kitschy flocked holiday decorations (which is why I own these chicks in the first place). But I don't do pastels anymore. And most Easter decorations are some baby-soft shade of pink, purple or, like my little chicks, yellow.

Instead of leaving the chicks languishing in a box on a closet shelf again this spring, I decided I'd give them a makeover and then set them out on display. Step one in the makeover: Tear off the faux velvet covering...

... which left me with three naked, slightly scary looking plastic chicks. I grabbed a stack of old newspapers and a container of Mod Podge to proceed with the makeover when The Boss showed up.

I swear that cat has a sixth sense. He can be on the other side of the house -- or the other side of the planet -- but the minute I set a bowl of cereal or an open container of Mod Podge in front of me -- BOOM -- there he is. Blocking me from eating/decoupaging and shedding his fur all over my breakfast/project.

I  decoupaged the chicks in three parts: the wings and tails first, then the breast area and finally the head, using different parts of the newspaper as I went along. 

When I started, I thought this was going to be a quick little project. But, as usual, I'd drastically underestimated the amount of time and detail work involved...

... and I forgot to factor in the additional time involved in removing each of the individual cat hairs that kept appearing in my Mod Podge.

I debated whether the chicks should have eyes or not. But they looked a little freaky being eyeless. So I popped the original plastic eyes back in initially. 

After I was done with all of the decoupage, I scrounged around the house looking for other alternatives to use for eyes and found some old brads that were the right size. I thought the brads gave them a more vintage industrial look that matched their new personalities better than the plastic eyes.

Then I painted all of the beaks orange to match their feet.

Mod Podge

After a few touchups and a light coat of watered down white paint over everything, the chicks were done.

I dug out some dried moss and glass jars and started playing around with ways to display the chicks.

Mod Podge

Does anybody else see Dumb Donald from "Fat Albert" when they look at the chick above?

Mod Podge

Anyhoo, I liked how they looked under glass.

Mod Podge

And look who showed up again while I was taking pictures of the completed project:

I think he was disappointed to see there was no open container of Mod Podge anymore, so he quickly stalked off.

Mod Podge

Linking up to:

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Island of Misfit Cutting Boards

Old wooden cutting boards are the Rodney Dangerfields of the thrift store. They get no respect. 

They're generally sitting on the back of a bottom shelf somewhere with a pile of mismatched Corelle and frayed wicker plate holders on top of them. And if you go to the trouble of digging one out, it's probably priced at a quarter or 50 cents.

Most shoppers don't even bother to look at them. Because who wants a nasty old dried out, scarred up wooden cutting board?

Um. I do.

Personally, I think old cutting boards are beautiful, even if they are gouged up from years of use. In fact, especially if they are gouged up from years of use. The way I see it, scratches and scars add character.

I never set out to collect cutting boards. But I kept seeing them on the bottom shelves, under the stacks of Corelle. And something about the simple beauty of their clean lines and rounded edges spoke to me. So I bought one, and then another, and pretty soon I decided that whenever I found a sad case for a dollar or less, I'd give it a home. So that's what I do now.

I always wash my "new" cutting boards in hot, soapy water (with a little bit of bleach added) to clean and sanitize them. Then I rub them down with mineral oil.

Usually the mineral oil -- which is non-toxic/food-safe (and dirt cheap) -- soaks into the old, dried-out wood immediately.

Most of my cutting boards are a simple, no-nonsense style with a handle at the top. But a few have fancy inlaid wood designs. Probably somebody's high school shop class project, cast off to the thrift store when Mom decided she didn't want it any more.

And I have a couple of small pieces that are technically trivets, not cutting boards.

Just look at the intricate designs. 

I think they're absolutely gorgeous. 

The bulk of my rescued cutting boards resides on top of my refrigerator ...

... inside an old wire basket...

wood cutting boards

 ... which is another thing I didn't set out to collect but seem to have acquired quite a few of over the years.