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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Grate Luminaries

This is my sister's idea, I must confess, but I love it so much that I picked up a couple of vintage graters on an antiquing day to make my own luminaries. I used electric candles, but you could use real candles or battery operated candles, if you prefer.

My sister's grater luminaries:

My grater luminaries:

Have you used any unusual vintage items in your holiday decor? Please share your ideas.

Sincerely, Lynn

Thursday, December 16, 2010

On the "Fourth" Day of Vintage Christmas Decorating...

...I brought out the toys!

I apologize for the large gap between posts. I was a little under the weather and now that I am feeling better I have to play catch up with everything for the holidays. I will try to get some more posts finished, but I am not sure I will be able to make it to 12.

My favorite toy for the holidays is my train that I received as a child, now a vintage collectible. I nailed the tracks onto a piece of plywood that was painted green years ago and I use it as the base for my Christmas tree instead of using a tree skirt. The train has a wind-up engine and four cars. I found a fifth car at an antique mall a few years ago, from a similar set. Doesn't it look great?

I also love to put out this electric animated doll, complete with candle. I gave this to my Mom years ago and received it back years later.

Finally, I put out my stuffed reindeer collection. These are new, not vintage, but I love the look at Christmas. Since I got my dog two years ago, I have to put them up higher. She thinks they look like dog toys!

Do you put out vintage toys as holiday decorations? Please share your traditions.

Sincerely, Lynn

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On the Third Day of Vintage Christmas Decorating...

...I put out greens with my antiques, just as Mom always did when she was able to do so. My sister calls this "the greening of the house."

Just as there are many containers that may be used as vases, so too may they be used for Christmas greens, pinecones, ornaments, etc. If I had a mantle, I would definitely put greens and small antiques there for the holidays! I do havc an antique oak china closet, so I decorate the top of it as if it were a mantle. Here I have used my family heirloom antique ironstone pitcher to hold greens. Yesterday, just as I was walking the dog and wondering what greens to use, a large branch from the neighbor's pine tree dropped into my yard. The answer was evidently provided by God.

I also set out a vintage vignette on my coffee table. Here I have used antique yellow ware bowls to hold pincones and gold balls. I added a Ball jar of red balls, an old spool and my own vintage panda bear that I have had nearly all my life (and I am now 50 something). Minus his eyes and with a squashed in nose, I have kept him all these years. I also used a vintage reindeer votive holder that I found at a flea market.

How about stuffing a few greens behind a vintage mirror or picture frame? I love this look, just like Mom.

More ideas for "the greening of the house" will appear in a later post about incorporating vintage Christmas decor in every room of the house.

How do you use your vintage items in decorating the house? Post a comment to share your ideas!

Sincerely, Lynn

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On the Second Day of Vintage Christmas Decorating...

...I decorated the front porch!

Besides the wreath on the front door and front windows that I put up yesterday, I also brought one of the iron benches from the backyard onto the porch. This will work great as a place to put down packages I bring home from holiday shopping while I unlock the front door.

Then I set out my fave snowman. It is made of spare lumber by my brother-in-law and painted by my sister. It has been through many winter storms now and may even qualify as vintage. I have repaired his coal buttons and put his hat back on several times after the wind sent him flying. The wind really whips across the front of my house during the winter and especially during a NorEaster. Now I have him weighted down with a brick on each side of the base.

I also put out the one remaining sled I purchased and decorated for ME! I love how it looks on the front porch! This is the one true vintage piece I used to decorate the porch. I don't want to put other vintage items outside since my porch does not have a roof over it.

Next, I decided to add bows to the two window wreaths. Why didn't I think to do that yesterday? (Probably age activated ADD.)

LIGHTS! I need lights too! I started with plans to replace the bulb in the lamp on the front porch. Duh. Should have gotten to that sooner, but I don't have the right size bulb, so that will have to wait. Now that winter is here, there is not enough daylight to fill up the batteries on the solar path lights, so I really need the porch light. I did replace the bulb in the pole light by the driveway. Then I wrapped the pole in a garland and a string of multi-colored lights. It looks great. I also put a string of lights on the two wreaths on the front window, but am having trouble getting the string to light. Will work on that again tomorrow.

I found two terrific angel figures on stakes this year. They are painted tin, with jingle bells and I put them in the front yard in front of the porch.

What did you do to decorate your front porch this year? Please comment to share your ideas.

Sincerely, Lynn

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Sled War


The vintage sleds I have in my antique shop have been very popular this Christmas season. I bought 2 sleds to start with that looked something like this one.

I decorated them for the holidays with artificial greens, ribbons and other decor items, similar to this one. I think they make great porch decorations!

When the first 2 sleds sold right away the weekend after Thanksgiving I looked for more sleds that I could decorate to sell. I got several more of the sleds shown above and this one antique sled below. I raised the prices a little bit for the vintage sleds. Of course, the antique sled has a much higher price. It is still for sale at the shop as of this week.

I also found these 2 painted sleds in pink and green and decorated them in the shabby chic style. I was surprised that the pink one sold right away, to a woman who has a pink tree for her daughter! As of this week, the green sled is still for sale at the shop.

When I spoke to the antique mall manager recently, she asked me for more of the unpainted vintage sleds, since she had seen 2 customers "fighting" over the last one I had left in my booth. Who would have thought these decorated sleds would be that popular?

I took in one more unpainted vintage sled and kept the last one for myself!

I will definitely keep my eyes open for more unpainted vintage sleds throughout the year for Christmas next year! I will also re-evaluate the price point for these sleds. It is really hard to know what price to charge until you see how different items sell.



Saturday, December 4, 2010

12 Days of Vintage Christmas Decorating - First Day

On the First Day of Vintage Christmas Decorating, I hung my wreaths!

I love decorating for Christmas, more than any other holiday, but I am not one to decorate far in advance. This year I had to start decorating my booth at the antique mall earlier than I usually decorate for Christmas and I decorated the shop the weekend after Thanksgiving. At home, I tend to decorate in the two weeks before Christmas. This is the first of the Twelve Days of Vintage Christmas Decorating.
I always start decorating my home with the wreath on my front door. Nearly every Christian puts a wreath on their door at Christmastime, but do you know the history of the Christmas wreath? I did not know the full history myself.

A Brief History of Christmas Wreaths
The word wreath is derived from the old English word, writhen, meaning to writhe or twist. For centuries, holiday wreaths have been made by twisting greens into circular shapes. The ancient cultures of the Persian Empire used small wreaths, or diadems, to symbolize importance and success. They wore these small wreaths as headbands. The holiday wreath is believed to be based on these earlier wreaths and those worn on the head by Olympic athletes and victorious soldiers approximately 800 years before Christ. It is believed that athletes and soldiers brought home their head adornments and hung them on doors and walls as trophies of their victory, thus creating a tradition of using wreaths in this way.

Christians believe that circular Christmas wreaths, with no beginning and no end, are a symbol of God's eternity. Wreaths made of evergreen branches symbolize God's love, hope and new life. In addition, the evergreens show hope and life through the tough winter.

The most traditional Christmas wreath is the Advent wreath. Made of evergreens and lying flat on a table, it has four candles around the wreath and one in the center of the wreath. A candle on the perimiter of the wreath is lit each week of the Advent season and the final center candle, the Christ candle, is lit on Christmas eve.

Vintage Wreaths

Since wreaths have been made of live materials for centuries, I do not believe there are really any "antique" wreaths. Please comment to correct me if I am mistaken. However, there may be vintage wreaths of artificial materials from the early to mid-1900s available at some flea markets and antique malls. Most of the wreaths I have seen for sale in these venues, however, are hand crafted or decorated new wreaths. If anyone can share more knowledge about vintage wreaths, I would love to read about your perspective.

The Wreath on My Front Door

With my allergy to evergreens, especially Blue Spruce, as well as the mold spores often buried in greens, I have had to celebrate with artificial wreaths and trees to survive the holidays. I do love the smell and look of real evergreens, though! For many years I have used a very simple, but fake, evergreen wreath with a bright red bow. I love this simple look.

In recent years I have been more and more attracted to bright and shiny decorations, perhaps due to declining eyesight with age? I found this new wreath at Pier One Imports and I had to have it. I love the shiny coppery bronze balls and painted pine cones! Not to worry, the old wreath will not end up in a landfill yet. I will sell it in my antique booth.

This year I also got two wreaths for the front windows for a change of pace from the usual window candles I have used for many years. Sixty % off at Michaels, too!

Here are some other Christmas wreaths I use around the house on doors to various rooms or hung on the wall.

Is it possible to put a photo in a comment? If so, send me a picture of your wreath!



Antique and Vintage Christmas Ornaments


My favorite decorating season is Christmas! I love remembering all the ornaments I have as I decorate the tree. I have accumulated many ornaments over the years from various places and each one has a special memory. Some are new ornaments, some are antiques or vintage glass or china ornaments, some are repurposed antique items. This is my absolute favorite antique ornament in cobalt blue glass. Since I found this many years ago, I have never seen another one like it!

When my sisters and I were growing up, our mother had a full set of white china bells, complete with clappers, that have a glorious ring to them. Now my sisters and I each have a few of these beautiful bells! Unfortunately, a few of them were broken in years past, so there is no longer a complete set.

Like many other families, we also had lots of Shiny Brite glass ornaments. Shiny Brite was one of the brands of beautiful thin glass ornaments. My favorites are the indents, with indented sides to the ornaments.

My newer ornaments are each unique and evoke memories of places I have visited over the years and Christmases when my sisters gave me ornaments they made or purchased just for me.

Please comment on this post and share your favorite antique or vintage ornament stories.



Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gift Ideas from the Antique World

Do you have any antique lovers on your gift list this holiday season? I know I do. There are many antiques and collectibles available from your local antique mall and shops that may fit your gift giving budget.
Depending on what your family members and friends collect, you might get another item for their collection. You also might get them another type of collectible you think they will like.

For family and friends who do not collect antiques, there are also gifts from the antique world that will fit with their modern lifestyle.

Gift Ideas $30 or Less
  • Depression glass vases in ruby, green, cobalt or clear colors.

  • Glass or brass candlesticks - singles or pairs. I love grouping several individual candlesticks in the same color instead of using pairs. Bonus: they are easier to find and less expensive.

  • Ball jars - great for kitchen storage or workbench storage, as well as for display.

  • Vintage postcards, stamps, coins.
  • Costume jewelry.
  • Vintage Barbie dolls and clothing without the original packaging.
  • Other vintage dolls and toys.

  • Hand mirrors for the dresser.
  • Lanterns.

Gift Ideas $30 to $100

  • A rocking chair - still amazingly comfortable after all these years!
  • A wall or mantle clock.
  • A wall mirror.
  • Vintage clothing for the fashionista.
  • Vintage jewelry, handbags.
  • A yellow ware bowl.
  • Ironstone platters and bowls.
  • Vintage Barbie dolls in the original packaging.
  • A child's rocking chair or school desk.

  • A great occasional table or end table.
  • A lamp.

You can find many more unique and unusual gift ideas just by browsing through your local antiques mall. Go this weekend while the sales are on.

Still unsure what to buy? Many antique malls also offer gift cards!

Please comment to share other ideas you have for unique and antique gifts.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Hope You Had a Very Happy Thanksgiving

I spent Thanksgiving at my sister's home in the mountains. My other sister and her family also came, as did my niece's boyfriend's family. We had a larger gathering than usual. My sister borrowed a second table and set up the longest dining table I have ever seen!

We had a terrific turkey dinner, with all the trimmings. Great job sis!

It was wonderful to have everyone together on the same day, especially since it just doesn't happen very often any more. I am thankful that I have such wonderful sisters and that they share their families with me!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving too!



Sunday, November 21, 2010

Simple Holiday Craft with a Vintage Dish


I am sorry I have not written a posting for the past week or so.  I was away, but now I am back to work again!

I have accumulated several clear vintage cut glass dishes and decided to use them to make holiday candle decorations.  I am using the vintage dish as the plate for a pillar candle.  You can easily find many types of small plates that will work for this craft at a flea market or garage sale.

Buying pillar candles in a multi-pack saves a little money over buying one pillar candle if you want to make more than one decoration.  I found a multi-pack of red pillars at Michaels.  Select any color that you like for your decoration!

Also at Michaels, I found a holiday garland to use in making a candle wreath.  Both Michaels and A.C. Moore have a selection of garlands to choose from.

I measured around the circumference or edge of the dish to see how long the garland should be.  Then I used a pair of wire cutters to cut the garland to the desired length plus about 2 inches of overlap.  Then I overlapped the ends of the cut piece of garland and tied them together with green floral wire, which I also found at Michaels.  To finish it off, I cut a length of wired ribbon to make a bow for the candle ring.

The finished holiday candle decoration looks like this:

I hope you enjoyed reading this post about a simple holiday craft.  Please comment on this post and let me know what topics are of interest for future posts.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Making Christmas Ornaments from Vintage Items


A little ribbon and a couple of hooks and these lamp prisms from the flea market make fantastic Christmas tree ornaments. They really reflect the tree lights too! I found quite a few prisms in ruby, amber, cobalt blue, and clear colors, also in a variety of shapes.

Vintage cookie cutters in holiday shapes such as trees, stars, bells, reindeer, and gingerbread men and women also make great ornaments, with a little ribbon to hang them on a tree.

I also found some vintage keys at a flea market that make simple ornaments too.

Just the other day, I thought of hanging colored glass swizzle sticks on the Christmas tree too! I love colored glass, especially when it reflects the light. I used a little floral wire to wrap around the top of the swizzle stick and then form a loop above it where the hook can be attached.

I am sure there are quite a number of other vintage items that would also make fantastic Christmas tree ornaments. Please comment to let me know how you have used vintage items in your holiday decorating!


Veterans Day

What a beautiful, sunny, crisp, cool morning it is today!  There is a strong breeze blowing, just perfect for flying your United States flag in honor of our veterans who served our country!

Thank you to my Dad, my grandfathers, uncles and cousins who served our country!  Thank you to ALL of this great country's veterans!

My Dad gave me this flag many years ago and I have flown it every year since then, not only on Veterans Day, but on other holidays as well.

A neighbor's high flying flag.

Have a great day!