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September 30, 2014

Have you ever heard of tear bottles?

This beautiful little glass vial is called a Tear Bottle.
It was used to collect a mourner's tears.  When the tears had
evaporated the period of mourning was said to be over.

Although it is popularly believed that tear bottles were created during
the Victorian era, they have actually been traced back over 3,000 years.

These tear bottles were uncovered in ancient Roman ruins.

Over the centuries many religions have accepted the tradition of collecting grievers' tears.  Antique bottles are often adorned with silver and gold.

The Old Testament of the Bible (KJV) makes a reference to collecting tears.  In Psalm 56:8 David prays to God, "Thou tellest my wanderings, put thou my tears in Thy bottle; are they not in Thy Book?"  This predates Christ by 1,000 years.

You might be wondering why you've never heard of tear bottles.  (I asked myself that question.)  The reason is two fold - 1) the tradition died out (terrible pun) after the Victorian Era, and 2) most were wrongly labeled as miniature perfume bottles.

Delicate 19th century etched tear catcher,
approx. 2" tall

This tear bottle dates to the American Civil War.
Soldiers on both sides would leave bottles such
as this one with their wives and mothers.

Another Civil War era tear bottle etched with enamel flowers.

Although not as ornamental as most, this plain antique
tear catcher is still quite valuable.  The next time you're at a
flea market keep an eye open for these tiny treasures.
Now you know.

September 29, 2014

'ello, Repurposeful Monday.  (My pretend Cockney accent is back.)

It's 'ard to believe that 'alloween is only a month away, ducks.
Wot say we start the week with some 'oliday repurposin'.

Kids Kubby
These luminaries are great decorations to make with young children.

Construction paper eyes and mouths were taped to small glass
shades that were set on white string lights.  Adorable.

These glass shades were set over votives
and used as table decorations.

To make these:

All you need are these:

Home Talk
Don't ever pass up the opportunity to buy a used Scrabble game
at a yard sale, thrift store or flea market.  The tiles are so versatile.

This little pumpkin was created from crimped and
folded book pages.  What a novel idea.

Thrift shops are usually loaded with inexpensive doilies:
Clip out sections of the outer row, dip in glue, spread out on a sheet
of wax paper and sprinkle with silver glitter.  Voile - a fancy spider web!

This idea is one of my all time favorites:

Maybe this year you want a sweet pumpkin instead of a scary one:
 1) Wash, dry and paint the pumpkin in a diluted mixture of 2/3's white acrylic paint, 1/3 milk.  Let dry and paint again; 2) add one white ear; 3) at the Dollar Tree pick up a witch hat and large black marker; 4) color in eyes

Paint in a nose and add pipe cleaner whiskers.  'ello, Kitty!

After Halloween, simply remove the whiskers, hat and ear and
wash.  The pumpkin is ready to re-use for Thanksgiving.

Here's a cute use for pallet wood:

Large thrift store dolls were dressed up like little goblins.
Your tricker-treaters will definitely do a double take. 

Click here for the step-by-step tutorial on how
to make these candy corn luminaries.


A pair of thrift store boots were covered in paper mache,
painted black and embellished with a little orange trim.  Witchy!

This horse shoe pumpkin might be the heaviest in the patch!
Unfortunately, most of us don't have a welding torch. 

Organized Clutter
Old gears and sprockets can come in handy
at the most unexpected times.

Kimberly Barnes
Keep an eye out for single chairs for sale at thrift shops.
They're usually quite reasonable and so much fun to paint.

I 'ope you enjoyed today's repurposed ideas.  It's 'ard to believe that 'alloween is just a month away so we'd better get started on some of these projects.  (The Geico gecko called and wants his accent back.)

September 26, 2014

So many Fridays I feature DIY Before and After projects but
today we're going to look at restorations by professionals.

Have you ever been in the middle of a
project and realized you needed a pro?

The owners started stripping a painted ice box but halfway through the job they decided to turn it over to an experienced furniture restorer.  Wise decision. 

Is this dainty table beyond saving?


Restoring an antique piece of furniture is a challenge.  Restoring
and repairing an antique piece is additionally demanding:
Amazing job.

This elegant drop leaf dresser was in
sore need of some TLC: 
Jean-Jacques Bernard

Oh, dear, what a distressful before:
And what an amazing after.

A pitiful Victorian settee was literally all to pieces before
it was given a contemporary makeover:


A 100+ year old chair was lovingly
restored to pristine condition:

A stately antique chair from the U.S. Capitol
was patriotically restored to its original state.

Ever had a major oops?  Like in the thousand dollar range?

The Antique Restoration Place
It takes a talented hand to successfully reassemble broken treasures.  The Antique Restoration Place in West Palm Beach, Florida, is known for its talented staff.

An empire dresser had been painted for many
years but the owners were ready for a change:

Liberty Bell Furniture
Excellent work.

A vintage electric fan was found in an abandoned
building and saved from the landfill:
Mr. Fixit

The Antique Piano Shop is located in East Tennessee, near The Great Smokey Mountains National Park.  One of their specialties is resurrecting antique square grand pianos:

 Antique Piano Shop
They truly are masters of the art of piano restoration.

When sand blasting is involved in a restoration
it's definitely time to call a professional.

Safe Before:

Safe After:

We occasionally need a little reminder of how important professional
restorers are to the world of antiques.  Today's projects are proof of their talents.

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great weekend.