Personalize Your Wedding With Homemade Buntings!

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It’s been a long summer for me here at Vintagepoetic. A new home in a new state, and a new husband to boot! It was crazy trying to budget for both a wedding and a move, but I was able to use my upcycling skills and make some cute things for our Transatlantic themed wedding.

One of my favorite projects was to make buntings using pennants I made out of old road maps. While I did have to purchase some from Etsy and local antique stores, the majority I was able to get from Freecycle. Maps are great for this sort of thing, because almost everyone has a few stuck in a drawer somewhere that they never use, and are willing to pass on to someone else. They’re colorful and very decorative; I have a number of maps framed around the house as well!

The first thing I needed to do was decide how big I wanted my pennants and make a cardboard guide to use to trace them on the maps. Refolded, I was able to get between three to five flags per map, three and a half inches across at the top. I wanted them to be big enough to paint letters on.

It’s important to keep the maps folded, start at the seam when tracing them out. That way you can slide your cord between the two sides and then glue the two sides together when stringing your flags.

Then it’s time to paint. I found it best to use stencils and a stencil brush for a more uniform look, and that poster paint worked best. I also found that letters had more of a pop when using a glossier map, such as the kind that would come in old National Geographic magazines, but a lot depends upon the color of your paint. I chose a blue and yellow to match my wedding colors, and there were a few pennants where these colors didn’t show that well, (thinks deserts and oceans), so you might want to buy a small sample bottle of paint to begin with and make some test flags first.

As for what you paint on your flags, that’s your choice! For the church, I painted on the attributes of love from 1 Corinthians 13. As both my husband and I are writers, I chose to paint lines from poems we’d written to one another on the buntings for the reception. It’s really up to you and the space that you have. Just be careful and remember, the shorter the line, the better. I had to make over seventy flags for just one bunting.

This project would work just as easily with any other decorative paper, an old encyclopedia, eye charts, posters, newspapers or magazines. The important thing is to find something that matches you and your personality and aesthetic.

Have fun and enjoy!

The cord I used came from Etsy seller Twine and Tape. They’re fast shippers and reasonably priced, please check them out!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/TwineAndTape

Some of the maps I used for the wedding, as well as some of the great vintage maps I have in my home, came from Etsy seller The Candy Shoppe. Again, fast shippers, reasonably priced, a big help!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/theCandyShoppe

Love the look butnot the DIY type? Check out Ann Kay’s Etsy shop!

http://www.etsy.com/listing/108407004/map-cake-topper-bunting-atlas-paper

 

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Spotlight on Vintage Wood Heels

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One thing I can never have too many of in my closet are shoes. I love vintage looks, especially the more folksy styles of the seventies. My favorite seventies trend in shoes are wooden heels.

Wood heels can be painted and carved in elegant and imaginative ways.

 

Wood heels were seen on every style of shoes in the seventies, from boots to sandals to pumps. They could be dressed up or down, worn to work, parties, or the beach.

Boots, my favorite way to rock the wood heel!

 

The thing I like best about wood heels, and all vintage clothes, is that they’re not only on trend, they’re environmentally responsible, and easy on the wallet too! Buying vintage clothes means buying something that isn’t using up valuable natural resources to produce. It’s also a means to put sweat shops out of business all over the world.

 

Classy wood heels, perfect for date night!

When you buy inexpensive clothes from the big box stores, it creates a demand for more inexpensive clothes. Companies work harder to cut costs to meet that demand, taking their factories overseas, paying their workers less and less, and building unsafe factories.

 

Menswear inspired wood heels are perfect for the office, but also go great with skinny jeans and a cute t shirt.

Buying vintage clothes keeps your cost down, without cutting down more trees, without putting more money in corporate pockets. Most vintage clothing sellers are small independent businesses, or non profits such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill.

 

So, not only are vintage wood heels stylish, they’re good for your peace of mind!

 

Interested in any of the shoes featured in this article? You can find them here on Etsy:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/88589249/cute-leather-heels-lace-up-seventies

 

http://www.etsy.com/listing/79255438/1970s-etienne-aigner-wood-heel-shoes?ref=usr_faveitems&atr_uid=17321807

 

http://www.etsy.com/listing/103712017/1970s-tall-black-wood-stacked-heel-boots?ref=sr_gallery_14&ga_search_query=wood+heel+shoes&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=ZZ&ga_min=0&ga_max=0&ga_page=4&ga_search_type=all

 

http://www.etsy.com/listing/98336189/vtg-carved-wood-shoes-slides-heelshawaii?ref=usr_faveitems&atr_uid=17321807

 

For great vintage clothing stores in Connecticut, check out these sites:

 

http://www.tovasvintage.com/

 

http://www.vintagevirtuosa.com/

 

http://www.thriftstorelistings.com/Connecticut/

 

http://www.uptownconsignment.com/

 

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Helens

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It’s midsummer, and yard/rummage/estate sale season is in full swing here in New England. One of my favorite annual sales is at the St. Mary’s School in Baltic, CT. A four day event, it’s always packed with amazing goodies, and this year was no different.

 

Outside the church there are oodles of furniture and outdoor goods. In the gym, there are tables piled high with clothes, jewelry, and miscellaneous items. There are classrooms full of toys, housewares, and craft supplies. The stage is covered in books. A vintage lovers dream.

Pretty pretty!

 

I went into the housewares room first, where all the vintage dishes, glasses, and kitchen goods can be found. I found a great ivy teapot, Anchor Hocking Lido glasses for my mother, a set of Harker Pottery snack plates and cups, and some coffee cups for my sister, who just moved into an old farmhouse. I paid for them and they were wrapped up and put in an old Staples copier box for me, complete with lid. I then left them behind the main table in the gym to pick up later. They wrote my name on the side of the box and promised they’d take good care of it.

 

She even has eyelashes! So cute!

I wandered around the rest of the sale, picking up a fantastic knit turtle in the toy room, and then headed back to get my box of goodies. I gave the volunteers behind the table my name, and they put a box in front of me.

 

A plain brown cardboard box, with no lid. It had my name on it. But it wasn’t my box.

 

 

Apparently, a sweet little old lady named Helen had come to pick up her box while I was turtle shopping. One of the boys, naturally, decided to carry the box out for her. The problem was, it wasn’t her box. And she didn’t realize it til she got home.

 

So, they got Father Joe, who took my number, told me to fill another box, just in case they couldn’t get my box back. And put my first AND last name on it. So, I picked up a donkey and cart planter I was going to sit on until the next weekend, a chalkware ballerina for my daughter’s room, another turtle, and some other cups for my sister. But my heart wasn’t really in it.

vintage donkey planter

Here, donkey donkey donkey….

 

It took less than 24 hours for Father Joe to call me back, but a whole week for Helen 2.0 to return the box. So I ended up going the very last day, and not only got my first box back, but they gave me the second one, and I was able to fill a third for only a dollar more.

cow, turtle, and chicken

Some of my goodies from box 3!!!!!!

 

Woohoo! Sometimes delayed gratification is worth the wait!

Collection of vintage dishes

Some of the best of the best from my adventures in rummaging!

 

But you don’t have to wait a week to share in my goodies, I’ve already posted this cute little donkey on Etsy, and more is soon to come:

 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/106127404/donkey-and-cart-planter

 

Hankscraft, American Ingenuity in the Nursery!

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Hankscraft was a company started by Marshall W. Hanks in ReedsburgWisconsinin the 1940’s. He would apply for the patents on the products he perfected, and then  would contract out to other companies to make his products. Most notable was Redwing, who added an underline to the Hankscraft mark on every product they made. Other manufacturers were used, but only Red Wing had the distinct mark.

Mark on bottom of pottery dish

The distinctive underline mark that shows your piece of Hankscraft was made by Redwing.

 

The majority of their products were made for babies. Their dishes had a hole you could fill with warm water to keep the food inside the bowl heated. Many of their items featured favorite cartoon characters, like Donald Duck, or nursery rhyme characters, like Humpty Dumpty. In addition to ceramics for baby, they also sold vaporizers and other appliances for the home. They were eventually bought out by Gerber in the 1970’s.

 

humidifier

Vintage Hankscraft by Gerber humidifier from the seventies. Gone are the gorgeous ceramic pieces first produced under the Hankscraft name.

The great thing about Hankscraft is the ingenuity that went into making these products. Having the hole to pour hot water in was pure genius in a time when there wasn’t a microwave to pop a dish in and reheat, and was probably better for both baby and the environment.

Hankscraft divided warming dish for baby, now available on Etsy!

 

Want a great dish for your baby girl that won’t melt or get warped in the microwave or dishwasher? Something that lasts longer than plastic, and is better for the environment too? Then you’re in luck, I have a Hankscraft divided warming dish in my store on Etsy right now.

 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/96234804/vintage-pink-divided-baby-warming-dish

 

We’ve Got the Whole World

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We’ve got the Whole World in Our Hands!

Vintage globe, just ready for crafting!

Vintage globe, ready for crafting!

 

When planning our transatlantic wedding, it only made sense to my fiancé and I to have an around the world theme.

 

One of the most fun details I’ve created to follow that theme is our guest book. I decided to use a globe for our friends and family to sign instead. It turned out really nice, and was surprisingly easy to do.

 

The supplies you’ll need are:

 

One globe

One bottle of chalkboard paint, I used Martha Stewart’s in Surf blue

One paintbrush, I prefer the sponge kind to the bristle

One exacto knife

One glue stick

Four to five 8×10 sheets of  duct tape, also available at Michael’s

Four to five sheets of card stock

 

The first step was to create a stencil. I went onto Microsoft Word and chose a font I liked, and enlarged it to the size I’d need to fit my globe. I had to manually change the font size, you may need to do this as well depending upon the size of your globe. I then printed the stencil pattern onto the card stock.

Card stock glued to duct tape

Card stock, glued to duct tape and ready for cutting!

 

 

Next I glued the cardstock on to the duct tape. After allowing it to dry, I was able to cut out the stencil from the duct tape, using the exacto knife. Depending upon the font you use, you may be able to use scissors, but because I chose a font with a lot of curves for a more romantic feel, the exacto knife became a necessity.

The completed stencils, made of duct tape!

The completed stencils, made of duct tape!

 

 

Then it was time to put the duct tape stencil on the globe. Make sure you know exactly how you want the letters to go before you peel the back off, it will be sticky! Make sure the tape is flat against the globe; you don’t want any wrinkles where paint may be able to seep in.

 

Next we get to paint! Make sure to shake the bottle up before applying it to the globe. You will need two to three coats, and will need to wait at least an hour in between applications. Allow to dry over night.

 

Duct tape letters applied to vintage globe.

Duct tape applied to globe, it’s almost pretty enough as it is!

The next morning, it’s time for the big reveal! Try not to wait too long to peel the tape off, or it may become too difficult to remove. The condition of your globe will also play a factor in this, some globes are made by simply gluing paper, and these especially might adhere too tightly to the tape and tear.

Vintage globe painted with blue chalkboard paint

Globe and letters covered with the chalkboard paint, ready for the big reveal!

 

And that’s it! You’ll have a beautiful statement piece you’ll be proud to show off in your home, long after the honeymoon is over.

Globe painted to be used as a wedding guestbook

Tada! The finished product, just itching for signatures!

 

If you love this style but aren’t all that crafty, there’s a wonderful artist on Etsy, Imaginenations, who creates amazing things with upcycled globes:

 

http://www.etsy.com/shop/wendygold?ref=seller_info

 

 

Thai Vegetarian Cooking by Vatcharin Bhumichitr

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For most of my adult life, until I was laid off last year, I’ve been working in libraries. Not only has it been a rewarding experience in assisting people to find the books they’ll love, it also had the fringe benefit that when books were discarded, I could get the first pick. In this way I was able to build my cookbook library with gems I would have never been exposed to in any other job.

 

The collection has grown beyond my capacity to keep, and so I’ve been doing some weeding of my own and passing on some of the more vintage books to my Etsy customers. One such book is Thai Vegetarian Cooking, by Vatcharian Bhumichitr.

 

Mr. Bhumichitr, known to his fans as Vatch, was born inBangkokand studied in the 1970’s inLondonbefore opening his Thai shop and restaurant in 1980. His first book, A Taste of Thailand, was published in 1983, and others, including Thai Vegetarian Cooking, soon followed.

 

Vatch still writes and publishes today and his newest book, Stylish Thai in Minutes, hit the shelves this year. Sadly, 1991’s Thai Vegetarian Cooking is no longer in print.

A delicious variation of cucumber salad adding crab as a protein.

 

One of my favorite recipes in the book is for the cucumber salad. Cucumbers are one of the few vegetables all of my kids can agree on, and the recipe is fairly simple to prepare, using only eight ingredients that are probably already in your kitchen.

 

To learn more about the author, you can visit his website here:

 

http://www.vatchthailand.com/

 

To purchase my copy of Thai Vegetarian Cooking, please click here:

 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/93707221/thai-vegetarian-cooking-by-vatcharin

 

Fun With Mason Jars

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In addition to picking up goodies to share with you in my store, I’m also out there looking for items to use in my upcoming wedding. The use of mason jars has become very popular with green brides looking for ways to recycle with their décor, as well as rustic themed weddings. While you can find mason jars in every hue and size for sale on places like Etsy, it’s also easy to create them on your own.

Mason jars, freshly painted and drying.

Our colors are teal blue and yellow, and so I went to my local Michael’s and picked up some Vitrea glass paint in those colors, as well as some paint thinner. If you use the Vitera thinner, the best ratio is 2 parts paint to 8 parts thinner. Michael’s sells another brand of glass paint thinner, if you use this instead, you’ll need significantly less.

Vitrea glass paint in our wedding colors

I’ve tried all sorts of ways to apply the paint onto the mason jars. Between rags, sponges, and brushes, I’ve found for this project, where you want an even coating throughout, it’s best to use a sponge. A brush will cause streaking, and a rag will absorb too much of the paint. Be sure to apply a coat to the inside of the jar first, and then the outside.

Glass paint in a container with sponge

Make sure you use a large enough container to mix your paints, glass paint can be difficult to get off of your hands and furniture!

Allow the jars to dry for 24 hours. I’ve tried drying them right side up and upside down, and it seems like drying them right side up causes less pooling, especially in larger jars. The final step is to bake the jars at 325 degrees for 45 minutes to seal in the color.

A subtle, light coat is all you need to create understated beauty in a mason jar.

Some people add metal hangers or other embellishments, but I plan on keeping mine as simple as possible. We’ll probably add candles to them, using them both in the church and at the reception to decorate the tables.

The great thing is all the wonderful ideas there are for use after the wedding. I’m thinking of attaching a few to posts to use in the garden. Not only will they sparkle in the sun light, they’ll do double duty as rain gauges!

If you love the idea of using mason jars but just don’t have the time to collect and paint them yourself, check out these listings by reputable sellers on Etsy:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/91824027/hand-painted-mason-jar-moroccan-lantern

http://www.etsy.com/listing/95955789/bride-groom-mason-jar-mug-set

http://www.etsy.com/listing/93617492/2-wire-ball-blue-ideal-jars-with-glass

Anchor Hocking, Ruling Supreme with the Fire King

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Everyone growing up in America in the past fifty years probably ate a batch or two of cookies mixed up in a bowl from Anchor Hocking’s Fire King line. Beginning production in the 1940’s, pieces were often given away as promotional items or sold in grocery stores. This was a great strategy for companies to promote their foodstuffs, putting a piece of glassware in the box that was both lovely and functional, oven safe and durable.

a glass coffee cup by Anchor Hocking

The vivid shine of Fire King is apparent in this Peach Lustre coffee mug.

 

Fire King came in a number of colors, including white, peach lustre, and the most popular, jadeite, which was a light green, almost a milk glass with a jade tint applied. Mixing bowls, ramekins, casserole dishes were all made in the Fire King line, as well as tableware such as sugar bowls, creamers, bowls and plates. Oftentimes a decaled pattern would be applied to tie in to a set of dinnerware made by another company. You could also mail in to receive a special Fire King cookbook, full of casserole and baking recipes you could prepare and bake in the same dish.

 

a mixing bowl in white and pink

A Fire King mixing bowl in ivory hand painted to match the Franciscan company’s Desert Rose line.

My grandmother had a number of pieces, including ramekins, in the Peach Lustre glaze. For this reason, it’s always been the color I’ve been most drawn to. Although the Jadeite is lovely, it’s the most sought after, and for that reason is difficult to come across, and can be priced far above what it’s worth. Collectors beware; because of its popularity a lot of reproductions of the jadeite are flooding the markets. Therefore, for new collectors, I’d recommend starting with something with less demand, such as the ivory. Not only will this decrease frustration, you’ll also learn to tell the new from the old without having to spend an arm and a leg.

green g;ass pitcher

An example of Fire King’s jadeite, from the Fire King wikipedia page.

 

 

For more information about Anchor Hocking, you can visit the Anchor Hocking Museum’s website:

 

http://www.anchorhockingmuseum.com/index.html

 

Looking for some great examples of Peach Lustre? I have a few listings currently in my Etsy shop:

 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/91899906/pair-of-anchor-hocking-fire-king

 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/97223836/peach-luster-cereal-bowl-mid-century

Finger Licking Picking

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This past weekend we in Connecticut got one of those rare weekends where there’s not a cloud in the sky. As my inventory has been getting rather low, and since I’m on the hunt for items for my upcoming wedding, I decided to take advantage of the dry weather to make a picking trip.

 

My picking grounds of choice was the Victorian House in Franklin CT, and it did not disappoint. They were having a sale out on the yard and in the barn. There were some great books in the barn, and I snatched up a handful, including two Bobbsey Twin mysteries, some atlases to upcycle into paper flowers for my wedding, and some books of Valentines from the 1950s.

An assortment of vintage books for sale in Franklin, CT

Can you spot the Bobbsey Twins?

 

I was also able to pick up on the yard a Hall teapot with a design I’d never seen before. It looked like it had been a custom order for a doctor, as it had medical insignia in gold leaf on the sides. My rule of thumb when picking is, if it’s something you’ve never seen before, and the price is right, snatch it up.

A thrift store in Connecticut

The house and the barn, what a beautiful day!

 

Inside the house, they were setting up for their upcoming auction, an event that occurs every Tuesday morning, and is a favorite for those of us locals in the resale business. But there were some great items remaining for sale in the front of the house, including some vintage scales and a Wolverine action figure. I snatched up one of the scales, as industrial vintage is quite popular these days, but I left Wolverine behind. He was missing some of his knives, and I felt the price was a little too high to have any meat left on the bone for me.

 

action figure of X Men Wolverine

Help! I’m trapped in some sort of box!

It was a healthy haul for the day, and I came back home satisfied that I had gotten great deals to pass along to my Etsy customers, as well as some treats for me.

Three vintage postal scales

Some of the scales in the shop. I took home the one in the middle.

 

I’m holding off until the season is right on the Valentines, but you can buy my Bobbsey Twins finds on Etsy right now:

 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/99813692/bobbsey-twins-books-pair-of-two-1950s

Franciscan El Patio: A Plate for All Seasons

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Franciscan Pottery has always been a favorite of mine. I’ve collected a number of different patterns made by this California company over the years, from the 1950’s atomic-inspired Stardust to the cool 1970’s Moondance. But my absolute favorite, the one that I still continue to collect, is one of the first: El Patio.

Elegant art deco pretzel shaped handles make the El Patio teacups really stand out.

El Patio was one of the first designs Franciscan, then called Gladding Mcbean, made in the 1930s. It continued production until around 1954.  It came in a diverse range of colors, in both a matte and glossy finish. There was a strong southwestern feel to the pattern, in both the color palette and design. The salt and pepper shakers, for example, were inspired by the shapes of sombreros.

The Redwood color, as well as the sombrero shape, ring true to El Patio’s southwestern influence.

The beauty, for me, in El Patio lies in the diversity of colors. You can easily mix and match to suit the season or occasion. For example, Golden Glow and Redwood are perfect for Thanksgiving, while the Glacial Blue, Apple Green, and Pale Yellow are best suited for an Easter brunch.

The rich gold color of Golden Glow, speckled with flecks of coppers and chocolate browns, are perfect for the autumn.

I have collected a little of each color over the years, but now my focus for my own use are the yellows and the Glacial Blue, as these more closely match the current décor of my home, and fill a void that other dishware collections do not fill. The majority of the other colors that I still have are now available in my Etsy shop, Vintagepoetic. Including a number of pieces in Golden Glow, and quite a few sets of the salt and pepper shakers. You can follow the links below to check some of them out:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/91891204/apple-green-anatomically-correct

https://www.etsy.com/listing/92209563/sunny-yellow-gold-pair-of-franciscan-el

https://www.etsy.com/listing/93698153/franciscan-gladding-mcbean-el-patio-ball