Tomorrow is my birthday . . . and I have a little gift for you!
As a thank you to all of my loyal readers, friends and patrons, I am offering a discount on each and every item in my Esty shop. Simply type in the coupon code BIRTHDAYGIRL at check out to receive 20% off. This one day birthday sale is valid on May 28 only.
I hope you have a terrific holiday weekend,
Elsie, one of The T-Cozy's loyal readers, was kind enough to send me photos of her collection of upcycled items on her back porch. Elsie has a good eye and is able to see the creative possibilities in everyday objects. For example, the head of a rusty hoe is attached to the wall as a plant shelf.
Bed springs hold small terra cotta pots and cloth napkins. They make great candle holders, too. And I love that old bread box!
With the addition of some wooden clothes pins, the antique iron bed frame once used by Elsie's youngest daughter now holds seed packets neatly in a row. On the wall, the head of an old rake holds child-size gardening tools.
Elsie uses both stories of this vintage metal dollhouse to hold garden tools, bell jars and small flower pots.
You may remember another post I wrote about Elsie. She is a lifelong collector who can't seem to kick the junk bug. Perhaps it runs in the family as her Dad was a junker, too.
Thank you, Elsie, for sharing your inspiring repurposed "junk"!
As you know, I am a fan of repurposing. A favorite pastime of mine is searching out vintage items and then coming up with fresh, clever uses for my discoveries. Always on the lookout for inspiration, I often turn to Etsy to view some of the most creative recycled items around. Here are a few fellow Etsians who not only embrace this design aesthetic, they take it to a new level.
From tables to pet beds, Sherri's shop, Love Nostalgic Whimsy, is a testament to what you can do with old luggage. So fun! Where other people may see worthless junk, Sherri sees everything as something.
Jessica, of DIY Studio, constructs whimsical assemblages she calls Artbots. Made with found junk and 100% upcycled, these conversation pieces are loaded with personality.
Jessica puts this "disclaimer" on her Artbot listings: Operate only under the influence of imagination! (Love that!)
Douglas, of Dark Water Engine Works, is an eco-conscious artist. When possible, he has made it his personal policy to remove trash from nature areas. Douglas then uses these finds in his unique creations, like his Kicked Can Clock below, made from a repurposed steel can he found along a bike path.
Douglas's brilliant arrangement, called Power Flower, consists of repurposed electrical plugs, cords, electrical tape leaves and wire resting in a salvaged glass vase.
Heather's shop, called ReaDo, has the subhead Repurposing Inspired by Literature. She transforms vintage books and buttons into unique, one-of-a-kind purses.
So clever. And just look how pretty the inside is, too!
Jeff and Mark, of BootsNGus, have a shop where "handmade and vintage come together." Look at these recycled Bundt cake pans! With the addition of Snap-in Socket cords and standard night light bulbs, they have created this sweet pair of Wall Flowers.
Perfect for the kitchen, Jeff and Mark have transformed a matching set of three vintage Pyrex mixing bowls into reclaimed pendant lights. I love their warm glow.
These Etsy sellers are masters of working old objects into new contexts. I hope you have enjoyed this peek at their inventive creations.
Do you know what this vintage item might be?
It's an industrial paper packing tape dispenser from 1947! I came across it in my travels and bought it for a whopping 99-cents. Although it is missing a piece at the front that holds water to moisten the tape, it still has its original label.
I will admit, this is one of the more unusual items I've purchased. And once I brought it home, I wasn't too sure of what to do with it. But there's something about its Art Deco decal and curvy shape that appeals to me.
So for now, this relic is residing on the shelf in my studio's sewing corner.
I've filled it with a stash of rick-rack I found at an estate sale.
Do you have any other ideas of what I could use this for? When I was thinking about what to do with it, I did a little sleuthing online. I found this brilliant upcycled version on Etsy!
The seller, named everyeskimo, added a roll of receipt paper and turned it into a message center. There is even space for a few pens and papers at the back. Love it! You can see more views of it here.
Have you brought home any unusual items that, like me, you didn't quite know what to do with? If so, please tell me about them!
This past weekend, a very special collective series of exhibits opened around my town called the Norwalk Quilt Trail.
Spread across seven of the city's museums, this is the first major collaboration of this sort. The exhibit invites us to discover a form of Americana that combines elements of art, history and culture. And one of the venues is right down the street from my house at the Rowayton Historical Society (RHS), the same location where I hosted a Valentine Tea last February.
The Norwalk Quilt Trail, celebrating the craftsmanship and beauty of quilts made and collected in our city, was the brainchild of my dear friend Lesley Korzennik, the Curatorial Director of the RHS. (Remember my post about a Swiss Chalet dollhouse? How about the Caribbean dollhouse? Both of those belong to Lesley!)
The RHS exhibit is called A Common Thread: Family History Told through Quilting. Above, Lesley stands in front of a quilt made by her mother as a loving tribute to Lesley's late husband, Henry. It consists of pieces cut from all of his favorite plaid shirts.
Below is my contribution to the show, a mariner's compass quilt from the late 1800s and a nod to Rowayton's seafaring past.
Here are more beautiful quilts from the RHS exhibit . . .
I was particularly intrigued with the circa 1915 quilt, above, made from straight lengths of ribbon that were manufactured in the textile and hat factories of Norwalk.
I love how Lesley staged this old Singer sewing machine as though someone is right in the midst of piecing together a LeMoyne star pattern quilt.
This display case is dedicated to the art of the yo-yo quilt, a style of quilt I like because it is so whimsical and resourceful.
My favorite part of the RHS exhibit was this little vignette. Love those tiny quilts and the set of Victorian doll furniture sitting on that small, hand painted floor cloth!
Over the next several months, I'm looking forward to exploring the other venues participating in this exhibit — an historic mansion, a lighthouse, a train switch tower museum, a children's museum and more — with these themes: The Craze of Crazy Quilts; Norwalk Blocks from the AIDS Memorial Quilt; Collected and Cherished: Quilts Made and Collected in Norwalk; Beauty, Invention and Practicality: Exploring Norwalk Quilts; Against the Elements: Keeping Warm at the Lighthouse; Trains, Planes and Automobiles; and Quilts Made by Norwalk Children from the 1970s to Today.
Along with the exhibits, there are a number of special events planned: a gallery talk, a color workshop, and lectures about crazy quilts, Civil War quilts, and Connecticut quilts from 1759–1950.
This impressive exhibit runs from May 14 through November 16. For more information, visit the Norwalk Quilt Trail website here.
Aren't these flowers beautiful? They were a gift from an artist friend of mine, Diane Weeks.
Last fall, I had the pleasure of visiting a group of inspiring artists who call themselves the Wilson Avenue Loft Artists. As the name implies, these talented folks share an old loft warehouse building in Norwalk, CT. Twice a year, they open their studios to the public, and that's when I came across one that was comfortable and homey. I got to talking to Diane, its owner, who thought I looked familiar and soon realized that she had visited my former tea room on several occasions. I then realized that her light-filled studio was magazine-worthy, just perfect for Studios magazine.
Diane creates lovely, detailed rapidograph and color wash drawings of people and places. Her studio is so inviting, like walking into a cozy living room. I just knew she belonged in the magazine. Plus, who could resist that Pug!
I recommended her to the Studios editor and, lo and behold, she is one of the featured studios is the new summer issue! Once the magazine arrived on her doorstep, Diane stopped by and presented me with those gorgeous flowers as a symbol of her gratitude. So sweet! Thank you, Diane!
Now that estate sale season is in full swing, you'll find me out and about most Friday mornings searching for wonderful and whimsical items to sell. And I am so excited about these recent finds! They all are over-the-top chock full of vintage goodness.
Have a look at these latest discoveries which are slowly making their way into my Etsy shop.
It doesn't get much better than this vintage doll dresser. Isn't it charming? I really love it.
Love these, too — bright and cheerful things that make me smile.
This cute and kitschy plate sold quickly after it was listed.
Lots more classic oldies but goodies!
This Japan vase has the prettiest flowers. Below are more fun finds.
You may recognize this tray from last week's tablescapes post.
Here are items in soothing, neutral colors.
Lastly, this shabby tin canister is perfect for a tea lover like me.
Great stuff! I had so much fun finding everything, too. However, it has been tons of work photographing all of them. But finally they are ready to list. I hope you'll wander on over to my Etsy shop sometime for a closer look.
Last week, I treated myself to a little something . . . a fabric covered retractable tape measure. Isn't it the sweetest? I found it on Etsy in a darling little shop called tomoandtimo. I use a tape measure just about every day, especially when I'm working on listings for my Etsy shop and have to take down accurate measurements of each and every item. So I figured, why not have a pretty one to keep on my desk? My new tape measure is beautiful and useful at the same time — the perfect combination!
Now here is something for you . . . Heather, my blogging friend, is having a giveaway on her blog called Polka Dot Bandit. It's a Time for Tea Giveaway and the prize she is offering one of my Bee House teapots and a tin of T-Party's Orange Cranberry loose leaf herbal tea. To enter, simply visit her site and leave a comment on the giveaway post. How lovely and generous of Heather!
These days, I have been focusing my retail efforts in my Etsy shop, so I no longer stock these Bee House teapots. However, if you long for one and aren't the lucky winner of Heather's gievaway, I have a few left that can be found on Kitsch Encounter here. And 4-ounce tins of loose leaf tea that I have on hand are listed on Etsy here.
Time to share my tablescape from last week's show with you!
The Garden Center of New Canaan chose the theme of "Spring Fever" for this year's fundraiser. For my space, I combined the spring idea and mixed in vintage garden and tea items. And I used one of my favorite color combinations — aqua and red.
As I mentioned last week, my assigned area wasn't the usual table. Instead, I had a shelf unit along a wall of the blue room at Waveny House. I think the vertical space lent itself to displaying my items even better than a tabletop would have. Don't you?
For the dishes, I brought along my Steubenville Pottery Woodfield tea set. I like the way the salmon color works with the red and aqua.
There was quite a lot of space to fill, but I think I found the right balance. I decided to line the glass-fronted cabinets on either side with aqua paper. That way, it brought in more color and I didn't have to leave those areas empty or have to fill them.
My arrangement wouldn't have been complete without my garden muse, Vivian, in the frame below. I even baked some scones, too.
I had so much fun pulling together my tablescape. And the nicest part was the favorable feedback I received from those who attended the show. Everyone enjoyed my playful mix of nostalgic items. It was whimsical, cheerful, colorful, and definitely didn't take itself to seriously. Just the way I like it!
Happy Monday! And isn't there so much to be happy about this morning with the news of Bid Laden's demise?
For your viewing pleasure, here are a few samples of the wonderful contributions to last week's tablescapes show. Enjoy!
Wow! These local decorators, shop owners and florists certainly know how to put together some lavish flower arrangements and creative place settings. Stay tuned for my next post, where I'll share details of my vintage-inspired contribution to this inspiring show.