Saturday, April 20, 2013

Card Catalog comes to our house

Yesterday I went to an estate sale not too far from home.  It wasn't being run by either of the 2 local estate sale women, so I wasn't sure if it was actually an estate sale or a tag sale, but thought I'd check it out.  When I got to the house the early bird pros had already been in & taken what they wanted.  The house belonged to a retired physician & his wife (I'm going to guess that she was a nurse since I saw a nurse's cap at the sale along with the physician's dress military uniform.  I knew that there were stories waiting to be told, but didn't think there was anyone there to tell them.  As I gathered up my treasures (a wooden ironing board, an old drafting table, a footstool that needed to be recovered & a few linens) I started talking to the man running the sale.  He had actually worked for the woman of the house doing her gardening after her husband died (about 10 years ago).  His last "job" for her was to sell the items from the house that there 2 sons didn't want.  I was so surprised to see her wedding gown boxed up (but I didn't open it because I knew it would come home with me).  When I went into the furthest room from the garage (all of the sale was held in the basement) I found a room that had been set up for a ham radio operator.  Apparently - one of the doctor's hobbies.  Built into the formica counter was (what appeard to be) an intact 15 drawer card catalog.  I almost yelped out loud, but tried to stay calm.  I asked the seller if it could be sold as a unit or if he was selling the drawers separately.  He gave me a high price (at least I thought so) & told me I'd have to remove it from the counter.  I talked to David about it (& even though he thought I was nuts), he agreed to go back with me today & (if the price was better & it wasn't sold & if we could get it out) it could come to our house with the plan to resell.
We did it & David was able to negotiate a better price, but the piece needs a top to complete it.  It must have been removed to build it in under the counter.  Now I need to figure out what the best thing is to do.  Being the granddaughter of a librarian I suppose it was inevitable, but I don't need 15 drawers.  I'm going to meander around Pinterest & the web & decide what to do with this new treasure. Any ideas?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Recycled Suitcase using Vintage Tablecloth

My kids are both hunkering in their respective neighborhoods in Boston.  Our son is about a mile away from the Cambridge home of the terrorist suspect.  Our daughter is in her dorm & both are behind locked doors.  I don't normally go to the office on Fridays & wanted to keep myself busy while I watch the progress on TV.  I purchased this grey suitcase a couple of weeks ago & didn't open it before I bought it.  When I did I was really discouraged, but wanted to save this case if I could find a way.  I left the Greyhound bus tag of the lady that had previously owned it.  It feels like a connection with her...
What do you think of the before & after photos?

The cloth lining the "after" photo is a vintage tablecloth.  It had several large holes & yellow stains.  I wanted to see if I could use this fabric to create a picnic hamper.  I have a red Thermos that I think would be perfect.  I've got a piece of the tablecloth soaking to see if I can make a small picnic cloth to take with us.  Somehow I don't think that paper plates will be quite right for this set-up, but I can imagine some old plastic dishes that I could possibly find.  This was a lot of fun to work on & only took a few hours from start to finish.  I did use the old lining as a template & to figure out the order for reassembly.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Vintage Tablecloths, Embroidered Runner, Old Buttons, Dried Lavender - all together

I had purchased some tablecloths recently & they have quite the provenance.  These tablecloths were purchased at an estate sale in Springfield, Mass.  I had arrived bright & early before our daughter's Math competition (yup - she won - but I need to stay on the subject ---> tablecloths).  When I arrived at this new house I knew that I was in an area of Springfield that had been hit hard by the tornado of June 1, 2011.  The pros mulling around were talking trash to each other saying things like, "new house - nothing good - guess we'll have time for coffee".  I was pretty sure that I wouldn't find any old furniture (not that I'm usually looking for any), but it seemed like there just might be some old linens that could come home with me.  When we went in I found a few tea towels, some napkins, but I wasn't seeing any tablecloths.  Where could they be?  There were plenty of other items that screamed "older homeowner".  I turned a corrner & there (hanging on hangers inside of dry cleaning bags) were some tablecloths.  It all became clear - these tablecloths had lived through a tornado.  The bags still had their July 2011 tags safety-pinned on the hems of the cloths.
I love embroidered pieces.  It doesn't matter if they're cloths, runners or handkerchiefs.  I love the handwork of embroidery.  I purchased a runner & when I got it home I found a hole & a large stain that didn't come out.  I wanted to find a way to use the cloth.  Here's my solution (hanging from a couple of the tornado cloths & another from my stash)
These hearts are stuffed with filler, a little dried lavender & have vintage buttons for some added visual interest.  I have the tablecloths hanging from pant-hangers that I found at an estate sale.  I think that they're a great way to store/display tablecloths.  Each of these tablecloths (along with the hearts) will be looking for new homes at a local flea market sometime in the next month or so.  The pant-hangers will not be for sale.
What have you upcycled lately?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Estate Sale Treasures

After our daughter's soccer game yesterday we made a stop at one estate sale & one multi-vendor flea market shop.  Here are some of the treasures I brought home.
There are 8 new tablecloths here.  They're tucked into a big tote soaking & then they'll be hung out on the line.  The 3rd cloth from the bottom is a sweet, sweet pink & magenta cloth with a lily of the valley pattern.  At least some of these will find their way to Ebay.  Did you notice that I found a new scale.  The dishes in the front have a delicate magenta flower pattern.  They are probably from the 50s but there's no name on the back for me to id them.  I'm sure that they'll make an appearance on my table at some point since there are 6 of them. 
I came home with 2 suitcases.  One is a brown leather suitcase with the initials JWB in gold.  It's a pretty good size & immaculate on the inside.  I might have to make some repairs, but it won't go to waste.  The other is a grey suitcase & I didn't open it before buying it (shame on me).  The inside fabric is stained & I think it will have to be replaced.  I'm not sure about that project, but we'll see what happens.  I might post a before & after if I come up with something fun.
I think of things that I buy as part of a bigger picture.  I don't look at them necessarily as "good price that I can resell".  I see the pieces as coordinating with other things I have or even as just elements that I'm drawn to.  My husband says that you can't be emotionally attached to things that you're reselling, but I think I have to buy what I like.  Since I don't need 2 scales - 1 is going to leave.  It's only a question of which one.
What did you do with this lovely Spring weekend.  It's time to get ready for another soccer game.  This one's an hour away.