Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Vintage Halloween!

Rare vintage paper Halloween decorations. They didn't always make it through the season!
We see vintage Halloween decorations like these German papier-mache Jack-O-Lanterns quite a bit. But this black cat was new to us! We think it is a luminary from the 1940s with transparent paper in the eyes, nose, and mouth to give off a creepy glow. We just looked on eBay and saw one with a "Buy It Now" price of $150. Now that's scary!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Meet The Mummies!

Great trick-or-treaters with a kooky undead family that glows in the dark!

Make a mini mummy family for Halloween!
2 plastic bottles, 1-liter size
1 plastic bottle, short and fat, 16 oz. (like a powdered coffee creamer)
1 plastic food storage container, 14 oz. (like a Ziploc Smart Seal small bowl)
2 Styrofoam balls, 5" diameter
2 Styrofoam balls, 4" diameter
1 old white sheet or 2 yards of muslin
3 rolls gauze, 4" wide or 2 yards cheesecloth
1 scrap of cardboard, 6" x 6"
Martha Stewart Crafts Acrylic Craft Paint, Glow-In-Dark
1 craft foam sheet, purple
1 craft foam sheet, black
sand, beans, or pebbles (for weight)

2 large paper cups
5 paper plates
craft stick
foam paintbrush
white craft glue

Steps For Each Mummy
1. Remove the bottle cap. Add some sand, beans, or pebbles to the bottom of the bottle for weight. Poke the neck of the bottle into the Styrofoam ball. (Use the 5" Styrofoam balls for the large bottles and the 4" ball for the short bottle.) You may need to scrape out some Styrofoam with scissors to make neck of the bottle fit.

2. Tear the sheet into long strips about 1" to 2" wide. Make a watered-down glue mixture in the cup that is half glue and half water. Dip a strip in the glue-water, squeeze off excess, and wrap it onto the bottle and ball. Continue wrapping until the mummy is covered.

3. Cut the gauze into 2"-wide strips. Wrap the mummy completely in gauze.

4. Dilute the Glow-In-Dark paint with water in a cup, mixing half paint and half water. Dab the paint-water onto the mummy with a foam paintbrush. Stand the mummy on a paper plate to dry (as it will drip quite a bit).

5. Cut two 1" circles out of purple craft foam. Cut four straight strips about 1 1/2" long our of black craft foam. Crisscross two strips over each purple circle and glue in place. Glue onto the mummy's face about halfway down the head. Cut a semi-circle smile out of black craft foam and glue below the eyes.

Steps For Cat Mummy
1. Add some sand, beans, or pebbles to the plastic bowl for weight. Turn the bowl (lid on) upside down. Make a slit in the top edge of the bowl with scissors. Poke one end of a craft stick into the 4" ball. Poke the other end of the craft stick into the bowl.

2. Cut two triangle ears out of cardboard. Poke each ear into the top of the Styrofoam ball. Cut a tail shape out of cardboard. Cut a slit in the side of the bowl and slide the tail in.

3. Dip strips of sheet in glue-water, squeeze off the excess, and wrap onto the bowl, head, ears, and tail. Continue wrapping until the cat mummy is covered.

4. Cut gauze into 1" to 2"-wide strips. Wrap the cat mummy completely in gauze.

5. Dab the Glow-In-Dark paint-water onto the cat mummy with a foam paintbrush. Stand the cat mummy on a paper plate to dry.

6. Cut two 1" circles out of purple craft foam. Cut four straight strips about 1 1/2" long. Crisscross two strips over each purple circle and glue in place. Glue on the cat mummy's face about halfway down the head. Cut a small circle nose out of black craft foam and glue under the eyes.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Vintage Victorian Halloween Cloche

Love this Victorian inspired skeleton!

We love holiday vignettes under glass, but mostly think of them as Christmas decorations. We even made our own Winter Wonderland with a tiny deer in a snowy scene under a gardening cloche.  So we were thrilled to see this spooky spin on dome decorations at A Room With A Past. We especially love the crown and gilded wings on the skeleton and the silver and orange tinsel. They really give it that Victorian touch!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Aromatherapy Foot Soak With Beautiful Beaded Scoop

Give the gift of happy feet with an aromatic foot soak in exhilarating eucalyptus and rosemary.

This soothing footsoak is a thoughtful gift for Mom!

Materials & Embellishments
Wide-mouth glass jar with lid, 16-ounce size
Aluminum flashing tape, 2" wide
Stainless coffee scoop (2or  Tbsp spoon)
Copper wire, 20 gauge, 48" long
Glass beads, assorted
Garnet satin ribbon, 1" wide, 24" long

Foot Soak Ingredients
Epsom salts, 1 cup
Coarse sea salt, 3/4 cup
Baking soda, 1/4 cup
Dried rosemary, 2 tablespoons
Eucalyptus essential oil
Rosemary essential oil
Glycerin, 1 tablespoon

Tools & Supplies
Needle-nose pliers
Wire snips

1. To create the foot soak, pour the Epsom salts, sea salt, baking soda, and dried rosemary into a mixing bowl and stir. Add 20 drops of eucalyptus essential oil and 20 drops of rosemary essential oil, then drizzle in the glycerin and stir. Spoon the foot soak into the jar.

2. To label the foot soak, cut a 3" piece of the aluminum flashing tape (do not remove the backing yet!). Using the chopstick, handwrite "Rosemary Foot Soak" on the tape, pressing firmly to emboss the letters into the metal tape. Carefully peel the backing off without bending the aluminum tape and place the label onto the jar.

3. To bead the salt-scoop, wrap the wire around the handle adding a bead every other time around. Finish off the ends of the wire with a swirl.

4. Tie your beaded salt-scoop to the jar by wrapping a piece of garnet ribbon around the neck of the jar and tying a knot around the scoop. Now that foot soak is good for the sole!

Epsom salts have been used in bath soaks since the mid 1600s, when a farmer in Epsom, England discovered that the salt seemed to heal scratches. Chemically, it is Magnesium Sulfate, but you can find it in cartons at the drugstore simply labeled "Epsom Salts." 

Monday, October 15, 2012

You’ve Come A Long Way Baby!

After spending Saturday shopping the antique stores in San Jose, we decided we were due for a bargain and hit the flea market Sunday looking for real deals.
Vintage Washboards
Glad we don't have to wash our clothes with washboards!
We had seen a washboard craft where they hung it on a wall and added a shelf and hooks across the bottom. The hunt was on. We stopped at a booth that had an early washing machine with a green enamel washtub complete with agitator inside and clothes wringer on top. The dealer said it was supposed to have an electric motor, which sounded downright scary to us. Yours for only $750! The washboards leaning up against it suddenly looked like a better way to get your clothes clean! We each bought one for $14, $20 less than the antique store price. Jennifer also sprung for a $20 galvanized steel tub for beach towels by her back door. (In a pinch, she could use them both to do laundry!)

Ornate Old Sewing Machines
Kinda wish our own sewing machines had this beautiful look.
 Kitty found a box of wooden sock darners next to an array of treadle sewing machines. “My grandmother was always repairing socks. I just buy a new pair,” another shopper chimed in. We laughed at how easy we’ve got it. The sewing machines were beautiful, though—ornately decorated and more shapely than modern Singers. Kitty asked about a 1900s model in its original cabinet. Only $125? Something to think about. We shopped on and found another relic of the bad old days—a cast-iron iron. Jennifer grimaced at how heavy it was, at least 10 pounds. Kitty thought it would make a cheeky doorstop for her laundry room and bought it plus a bag of thimbles for $15.
Cast-iron Iron
Old fashioned irons weigh a ton!
If You Can’t Stand The Heat 
We’ve always been drawn to kitchenalia. We love how so many vintage kitchen tools can still do the job. In a stall overflowing with cooking utensils, Jennifer played with an $18 food mill with a green handle, saying she just saw one for $50 at Williams Sonoma. The vendor picked up a pair of giant ice tongs to show us. Can you imagine carrying around a block of ice for your icebox? That’s a tool we’re glad we’ve never needed! Jennifer went with an old school “Slap-Chop” for only $12, and Kitty scored a yellow Bakelite eggbeater for $9. Nothing better for fluffy scrambled eggs!
Old Timey Food Mill
These old food mills still come in handy in the kitchen!
Bellows and Ice Tongs
Rusty old ice tongs would look great hung on a wall in a kitchen.

Clean Sweep

We were stumped when we spotted a wall of large flat whisks with swirly designs that were way too big for mixing bowls. The seller told us they were rug beaters used until the advent of the sweeper and push vacuum in the mid-20th Century. He had two fancy rattan ones he found in an attic in Germany. Kitty remarked at how artsy they all look together. Time to start a new collection! Which one did she pick? A primitive beater with a wooden handle and a scrolling wire pattern for only $25. Beat that!
Antique Rattan and Wire Rug Beaters
Antique rug beaters are like primitive works of art.

Ivory Soap Box Collection
What a fun collection of vintage soap bars!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dreamy Kimono Eye Pillow

Say sayonara to sleepless nights with this pretty eye pillow made from Kimono fabric and tied with a simple obi sash. The tranquil scent of lavender makes this the eye pillow of your dreams.

Dreamy Kimono Eye Pillow
To soothe an achy head, place your eye pillow in the freezer
for 15 minutes before use. Then place over your eyes and chill out.
Materials & Embellishments
Kimono fabric, 8” x 8” square
Periwinkle satin, 4” x 10”
Peach satin ribbon, ¼” wide, 18” long
All-purpose light blue thread

Scented Herbs & Essences
Dried lavender flowers, ¾ cup
Whole flax seeds, ¾ cup
Lavender essential oil

Tools & Supplies
Straight pins
Sewing needle
Kitchen funnel

1. To make the pillow, lay the kimono fabric face-up and fold in half, with the wrong side out. Pin all three open edges together with the straight pins.

2. Hand stitch the pinned sides together with a backstitch. On the last side, leave a 2” gap to pour in the filling. Remove the pins and turn the pillow right side out.

3. To make the filling, blend the lavender flowers, flax seeds, and 30 drops of lavender essential oil in a bowl. Let air dry for one hour.

4. Use the funnel to pour the filling into the 2” opening in the pillow. The pillow should be floppy, not plump.

5. Stitch the opening closed with a slipstitch hidden inside the seam by folding the fabric edges in and tacking them together. Stitch inside each fold in a back-and-forth pattern.

6. To get the look of an obi sash, lay the periwinkle satin face down. Fold a 1” hem on the two long sides and iron. Then fold a 1” hem on one of the short sides and iron.

7. Lay the pillow crossways across the periwinkle fabric. Fold the periwinkle satin around the pillow, overlapping the hemmed end on top of the unironed end. Pin together.

8. Stitch the top end of the periwinkle satin to the bottom end of the satin with a slipstitch.

9. Wrap the peach ribbon around the periwinkle sash and finish with a petite bow. Naptime!

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Chic Little Halloween Decorating Idea

Little Halloween Pumpkin

We saw this little pumpkin sittin' on a little chair at an antiques fair. What an easy Halloween decorating idea! We think it would be fun to paint a little chair like this black and spritz the pumpkin with Orange Burst Glitter Blast. (This antique chair is tagged $35, but we see little chairs like this at thrift stores all the time for about a buck.) Glitter + Pumpkin = Halloween Chic!
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