Sunday, July 21, 2013

Orphaned Salt Shaker Has New Life as a Tassel

My craft room is overrun with odds and ends that I pick up at estate and garage sales and thrift stores. If I like and odd little something and the price is right, I usually grab it. Even if I don't have any clue what I'm going to do with it.

That was the case when I picked up this orphaned salt shaker. Poor thing. No pepper to keep it company.

It sat on a shelf so long, I don't even recall how long ago I bought it. It still had the 50 cent price tag on it when I recently picked it up to examine it closer. As I looked at the bottom, which was missing the cork stopper, it came to me.

This lovely piece would make a stunning tassel top. I had plenty of other supplies to choose from in my craft room stash to complete a tassel. I pulled out some buttons, beads and ribbon.

After doubling over a very narrow scrap of satin ribbon, I created about a 3-inch loop by tying a knot. Next, I strung the bead and buttons onto the narrow satin ribbon.

The hanging loop was now ready to thread through two holes on the top of the salt shaker.

That was easy. After experimenting with burgundy satin ribbon for the body of the tassel, I decided I didn't like the look. I have a drawer full of miscellaneous yarns that I have collected from estate sales and instead chose a fun and funky specialty yarn in an ivory color.

Making the body of the tassel is simple. But, I forgot to photograph that step. I looped the yarn back and forth in the length I wanted until I had a stack of loops that looked thick enough for the body. I gathered loops in the middle by hand and eyeballed the length. I aimed to make the length (the loops folded in half from the middle) about a third to a half longer than the depth of the porcelain top.

When I was satisfied the length was good, I tied the ribbon hanging down through the porcelain top around the middle of the loops. I fluffed the body up to create fullness. You could leave the loops uncut. For this tassel, I cut them into strands.

Decorative tassels are so versatile. You can use them the traditional way by hanging them from a door or drawer knob or from a sconce or chandelier. Or, pile a few on a cake stand or fill a pretty bowl with them. Dangle one over the edge of a shelf. Or, simply add one or two to an existing vignette for a little added interest.

In my opinion, one can never have too many tassels!

Make it a great day!
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Monday, July 15, 2013

Awash in Memories--A Barn Sale

My mom always told me you can take the girl from the farm but you can't take the farm from the girl. That was definitely true of my mom, who became a "town girl" when she married and moved off the farm to a nearby small town. She remained a country girl at heart.

Even though I wasn't raised on a farm, my spirit always has been a rural one. It's been decades since my grandfather died and my grandmother sold the farm. Yet, I still miss that country life. Sundays and summers at my grandparents' farm helped shape the woman I am today.

"Helping" in the cornfields, milking cows, "slopping" hogs, feeding chickens and gathering eggs, churning butter and baking bread. Hard, dirty work masqueraded as fun for me. Working side-by-side with my grandparents made for the most wonderful memories! And, some amusing photos. That snapshot must have been Grandma's take on American Gothic.

This past weekend, I was delighted to discover there was a barn sale about 35 miles from where we live. Hubby and I made a day of it. Luckily, we had a respite from the heat and humidity. Cloud cover and a nice breeze were welcome friends for the day.

The host farm was quaint and charming, with a historic little, red schoolhouse on the property.

Rusty, crusty milk separators, pitchforks, rotary disks, wash tubs, windmill blades and milk cans. Right out of my childhood.

Inside the barn, feedsacks, metal dishes, country cabinets and appliances, cowgirl clothes and country kitch galore.

So happy to have had a brief country fix. Ahh!

Make it a great day!
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Monday, July 8, 2013

A Trip to France--Without Leaving Town

Do you have a favorite neighborhood for estate sales in your community? A location that generally means you'll score something great? I do. In our city, a handful of neighborhoods hold special excitement for me. They always seem to harbor some of the vintage tresures I love.

Recently, I noticed a sale advertised in one of my least favorite neighborhoods. Uber large, high-end (and often very weird) homes built in the late 1960s and 1970s. Having lived through that period, I just can't get too excited about most of what is offered at sales that feature an abundance of items from that era. I almost didn't attend this particular sale. But, at the last minute, my trusty Subaru steered me in that direction.

I felt certain my suspicions would be confirmed and that I would be disappointed. From the outside, the home looked to be the typical weird '60s monstrosity that is so prevalent in this neighborhood. Walking in the front door, I took a quick visual survey. Yep. The standard period pieces that generally leave me unimpressed and uninspired. I came close to walking out the door until I heard someone talking about an awesome wine cellar in the basement.

Curiosity got the best of me. I checked it out and I'm glad I did.

The wine cellar inventory was pretty picked over, but in the corner was a stack of disassembled wine crates that had held wines from the early 1960s to the late 1970s. Coincidental to the age of the home, perhaps? Yes. Pure coincidence, I'm sure.

I picked through the pile of wood and selected 13 of the best looking panels.

When I got home, I added one to the shelf in the foyer. It coordinates nicely with the Eiffel Tower wall hanging. At least temporarily.

The wood panels are various sizes. Some have shipping stamps on them, others have shippers' writing. I think that just adds to the charm. These will be great for a repurpose or upcycle project. Some will likely end up in my Etsy store for someone else to play with.

When I was in the wine cellar at the estate sale, I noticed a man with an armful of nice vintage books. Most of them were in English, but a couple were written in French. So, I went in search of the books. I hadn't seen any on the main floor or in the basement.

The upstairs had a nice little nook with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and a big beautiful window with a window seat. I've never seen so many French books in one estate sale here.

I found some nice ones that I'll use for display, as well as some that were in rough condition. I'll take those apart and add bits and pieces to my ephemera journals.

On my way to check out, I came across a box of maps of France. All regions and towns. Jackpot! Snapped those up for my journals, too.

Now I'm reconsidering my attitude toward estate sales in this neighborhood. Never know if the next one will take me on a trip to Italy or Russia.

Make it a great day!