Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vintage Lace and Button Flowers ~ tutorial

This mirror lends itself well to a changing theme.  For a lower maintainance look, I decided to make some vintage lace flowers to embellish it.  Here is how I made my flowers:
Because I'm using hand crocheted lace, I used white glue to keep the cut edges from unraveling.  I want simple five petal flowers, so I used a nicely scalloped lace and applied glue every five scallops.  Wax paper under the lace keeps your glue from sticking to the table.
Once the glue is dried, I cut through the center of it.  This strip of lace was long enough for five pieces.
Stitch the glued edges together, then gather the bottom edge of the lace with a running stitch to gather.
Gather it tightly enough to leave a hole, just large enough for your button to squeeze through.
I stitched my vintage buttons to small circles of felt, so I can easily switch them out if I want to.
Use the hole in the center just like a button hole!
I used copper wire for stems, making a spiral on one end.  Now the flower can be gently "screwed" onto the stem, and is just as easily removed. 

There you have it!  Lovely little vintage lace flowers with dainty button centers.  With the wide variety of lace and buttons available, the possibilities are endless!
Here is another style flower I made last night.  I was going for fuller shape, more like a Mum or a Zinnia.  I used a longer piece, and spiraled the gathered lace around to make two layers.  I like it! 
Warning!  Making vintage lace flowers can be addictive!!
I found some really sweet amber colored buttons in an antique shop the other day.  They remind me of butterscotch candies.  Of course I came right home, and created yet another style, simlar to the first ones I made, but with the petals doubled up.  The lace is a bit different too. 

Revamped Wicker framed Mirror

This was my project for yesterday afternoon.  Remember this mirror?  The wicker was painted black when I bought it.  I didn't have the color paint I wanted, so I improvised.  This is a mixture of a medium blue and asparagus green that I had on hand.  I'm quite pleased with the resulting hue.  I used copper foil tape (that I swiped from my hubby's guitar repair supplies) to attach the little antique bottle vase.  I plan on creating some vintage lace flowers for a more permanent bouquet that I won't have to water!

Monday, August 30, 2010

August Vintage Finds

Here are some of my favorite vintage finds for the Month of August, 2010!  I plan on using the coffee table for a special project I'll share with you eventually... 
I just love everything about this blue birdcage, the shape, the roof, the color, the curled edges and the ball detailing.  It doesn't have a bottom, but that's okay because it's decorative potential is awesome!  Who could resist an old teal colored bowling ball? 
I found these two old cheese graters at the same yard sale for a quarter each.  I plan to keep them outside for awhile, to increase their rusty patina before I use them in a project.
I almost bought this mirror one Saturday, but put it back because of a chip on one corner.  Of course it haunted me until I went back and grabbed it.  Thank goodness it was still there, just waiting for me to come to my senses.
Do you remember "Dyeables"?  You used to be able to get these wonderful satin shoes dyed to perfectly match your prom, or bridesmaid dress.  They were actually made in the U.S.A.!
Last but not least, this wonderful vintage sled I found on a 90 degree day!  It's in excellent working condition for it's age, and I just love the memories it evokes.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


In case you are wondering, hypertufa is a mixture of portland cement and other ingredients used to make a lighter weight vesion of cement items.  I use peat moss and perlite in my pots.  The peat moss breaks down over time, leaving interesting pits and grooves in the matrix. The rough surface of the hypertufa serves to make the pots look rustic, and to allow moss to grow on them more easily.
 Hypertufa is very forgiving.  In fact some of my favorite pieces are my mistakes!  I used an old paint can inside a bucket to make this pot.  Because a paint can has rims on the top and bottom, it would not slide out.  So the paint can remains within the pot, but you'd never know it once the flowers fill out!  If you look really closely, you can see the top rim of the paint can peeking out.

This is another of my favorite mistakes.  I made this pot by turning a plastic pot upside down, and covering it with a thick layer of hypertufa mix.  The "mud" is very heavy, and naturally slumps, creating a cone shape that is thicker at the bottom (which becomes the top when the pot is finished).  I forgot to cover it with plastic while it was curing, and the bottom dried out too quickly.  It crumbled away when I removed the mold, leaving me with a thick, cone shaped, donut of hypertufa!  Luckily my Lavender plant appreciates the excellent drainage provided by the bottomless pot.  It's roots did eventually grow into the dirt under the pot, so it is now permanently living in one spot!
My Garden Grotesques, or Grots are my favorite hypertufa projects.  I used a gallon sized pot to form the opening in the top of his head, and an inverted small pot to form his mouth opening.  Two polished stones become his eyes. From there it was all free hand.  Have you every made mud pies?  It is very messy, but great fun, patting and moulding this pile of oozy, sticky hypertufa mix into a Grot.  His open mouth serves as a toad cave and decorative grass makes great hair!  Every garden needs at least one Grotesque! 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

~Miss Lucy~

This is Lucy, one of my two Isa Brown hens. She is a very sweet Gal, and one of my best egg layers. In this shot, she's a bit ruffled because she is in the middle of a dust bath. Chickens are so funny when they dust bathe.

They go into a bit of a trance when they are really into it, wallowing and kicking in the dirt. Sometimes when they finish, they'll walk around in almost a squatting position, trying to hold the dirt under their feathers as long as possible. When they finally decide to let it go, they'll fluff up their feathers and shake it out in a cloud of dust. This manuver always reminds me of the Charlie Brown character, Pigpen.

Lucy is an intrepid explorer and a brave little hen. She likes to sneak over to the neighbors yard. Supposedly, the bugs are better over there. Usually she comes home when I call her name, but she will not answer to "Lucy", the name of her sister who looks very much like her. I often mistake them, but Alice knows her name.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Vintage Kitchen

This is just a few of the many vintage kitchen items I have collected over the years.  I love everything about them!  The homely shapes, well worn wooden handles, and bold colors...

Doesn't this potato masher just make you want to whip up a big bowlful of fluffy, REAL mashed potatoes?  I've had the fiesta salt and pepper shakers forever.  I started collecting fiesta right out of high school, because of a single green plate that my Mom had in the cupboard.  When I got married, I didn't register a china pattern like most girls.  I asked for fiestaware!

Who can resist bold orange, turquoise and yellow in the kitchen?  Not me!!  This old, battered pie plate makes me crave a blueberry pie, or a rhubarb cobbler.  I must admit that I prefer to use my electric mixer, but those old egg beaters were ingenius...

Old aluminum colanders come in such a wide variety of patterns.  I've seen stars and spots, bars and spirals, and they still do a fine job of draining your pasta.  When you hold these old wooden handles in your hand, you can almost feel the spirit of their former owners, lovingly preparing meals for their hungry families.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

~More Rusty Stuff~

I simply cannot resist cool old rusty items!  I pretty sure this attraction comes from the fond memories I have of the old homestead where I grew up.  We had a huge old barn and several smaller out buildings that housed all kinds of intriguing bits and pieces from the past.


We kids had great fun dragging grubby junk out of dusty corners to create what we called "forts".  One outbuilding had once been a blacksmiths shop, and yielded many fascinating items like old shoe lasts and grinding stones.

To this day a piece of rusty iron, or weathered fencing brings back fond memories of my carefree childhood.  We didn't have video games or cell phones back then.  Sunshine and fresh air were out daily tonic, unless of course, we were rummaging around in the basement of the barn...

Then it was dim and dusty, old hay and rusty tools.  Heaven!  To this day, I love old barns, the more neglected, the better.

When I see a "barn sale" sign while driving out in the country, I cross my fingers and hope I'll find an old barn housing the sale.  If I do, you can bet my attention isn't focused on the carefully assembled items for sale, but instead on the dim, dusty corners where bits and pieces of a former life can often be found.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Eggs are in the news right now, and it's scary.  The huge salmonella related egg recall has made me very grateful that I ventured into hen raising last Spring!   I am so pleased to know that the lovely brown eggs that my Girl's provide are not only safe to eat, but also as fresh as they come, and healthier than most factory farmed eggs.


Allowing my hens to graze in the yard lets them eat grass and bugs that they wouldn't get if they were "battery hens".  Then there is the fresh air, sunshine and excercise they get.  Not only are their eggs better for me, but they are living longer, happier and healthier lives than they would have on a factory farm.

Even if they didn't "pay rent" with eggs, I think I would keep a few chickens.  They are fascinating, quirky and beautiful creatures.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

~Salute to Sedum!

This Red Sedum is planted in an old wash tub in my yard.  It survived a long, hot summer easily, thriving in dry conditions, to burst into bloom when most everthing else is going to seed.

This is a shot of my old wash tub, earlier in the Summer.  The Sedum is sharing space with other succulents: Moss Rose, Donkey tail, and Hens and chicks.

~Close ups in the Veggie garden~

This squash blossom entices bumble bees and other flying insects to sip of it's nectar, and pollinate it's fruit bearing female flowers.
My grape tomatoes are slowly coming on, tantalizing us with their sweet/savory flavor, one at a time!
Bluish green kale leaves with their purple veins and frilly edges are decorative as well as tasty!
A promise of Autumn bounty.  This pumpkin is already showing orange coloration.  It started much earlier than the rest of my baby pumpkins that are no larger than eggs!

Monday, August 23, 2010

I simply adore old, hand crafted lace.  The time and care, not to mention skill, that went into these yards and yards of delicate trim awes me.  This lovely lace wasn't churned out by unfeeling machines. It was lovingly created by warm, living hands that had many tasks to complete. 
I'm really not a "shabby chic" kind of person, but I cannot deny the beauty in shades of white and cream, layers of handmade lace and delicate linens, and touches of soft pastels. 
Old depression glass always speaks to me of a time when money was scarce and beauty was treasured. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Great Lake

Unending surge and pull of her waters,

Sometimes crashing with carefree violence,

Her treacherous currents have deadly strength.

At other times lapping gently with healing

Constancy and power.

Always soothing and centering my soul.

Her breast is mounded golden sand,

Gleaming with crystalline magic.

Scattered treasures of polished stone

and weathered driftwood

Outshine the less savory relics of nature

that adorn her like a necklace.

Her shoulders loom protectively,

Cloaked with shadowed greenery

laced with malevolent ivy

and fragrant with cedar and earth.

Whispering wind through grass and leaf

harmonize with natures song.

The watchers glide above, graceful

and silent, shining impossibly white

and clean against the blue heavens.

Shedding all illusions as they return

with clamouring calls to scrabble

and rest upon her sands.
This poem was written by me, to honor Lake Michigan.  A major part of my childhood was spent on the beaches of this wonderful lake and I return to her shores as often as I can.  She renews my soul with every visit.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

~Sweet Vintage Vase~

I found this sweet vintage vase at the flea market in Trufant, MI, this Summer.  I just love the color and the little boy's stance.  He reminds me of my great nephew who is just 2 years old, and very fond of his pockets!