Saturday, January 21, 2012

Message in a bottle

What's better to count down the days until Valentine's Day than a message in a bottle each day for your sweetheart?

All you need is a small bottle with a cork and a small piece of paper.  Write a special message on the paper and stick in the bottle.  Then place in a spot your loved one will see it.

You can also embellish the bottle or write your message in a neat font, but I like the simpler, handwritten version myself.

I found a bunch of these a few months back at Anthropologie.  At $16 each, I thought that was a little crazy.  You can certainly make this for literally less than $1 per message.

Save-On-Crafts has a bunch of options for the bottles.  There are several lots of 12 where each bottle is less than $1.  Also try your thrift stores and craft stores.

I snapped this picture on my phone of an example I saw while I was in the Anthropologie store.  I love how they used some twine to wrap the message.  It makes the paper more compact and easier to remove from the bottle.

Nothing like a daily love note washing up on your bedside table each morning!


Friday, January 20, 2012

The Friday 5 - Vintage Dress Forms

A picture I took for The Lucketts Store Design House.

I'm totally in love with dress forms this week for some reason.  I pinned a bunch to my Pinterest account.

From time to time, we get vintage dress forms in the shop.  Usually they're in the $200-$600 range, but lately, they just haven't been getting many in.

I found out that even for experienced treasure hunters and pickers, THEY are having a tough time finding these nowadays.  So of course, where do you go when you can't find what you need?...the internet!

I scoured around and found a few favorites out there, but they're mostly early 1900's versions and many easily  ranged from $750 and up.  Here are the results of my labor...enjoy and have a great weekend!

{1} Late 1800's version found on eBay for, gulp, $1,000!  This one is 54" tall and came from an estate sale in Ohio.

{2} This one is early 1900's.  It stands 4' 6" tall with a 21" round skirt and costs $795.

{3} Not sure of the era on this one, but another example of a cage dress form.

{4}  This one extends to 43" tall.  I love how the photographer offset the form in this picture against that dark concrete wall.  Pretty!

{5} These are really exciting....well to me anyway!  Here is a pair from France circa 1750!  These are still available from Coup d'Etat in San Francisco.  One is listed as 6' 2" tall and the other is 6' 6" tall.  No price listed for the pair, I can't imagine...

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Love letter pillows

It's pretty rare that anyone gets a handwritten love letter anymore.  Or maybe it's just because I've been with the same person for 13 years now that we mostly bond on the couch watching TV now  : )
One of the things that I love about looking through old letters and postcards is the handwritting ---- combine that with the rarity of an actual handwritten love letter today and enter the love letter pillow.

These are such a fantastic way to immortalize a love letter {either yours or someone else's} and the graphic script adds such a nice design element.


If you want to create your own handwritten text, you can either have a photocopy of a your own handwritten letter and then transfer that on a pillow {flip the text first}, or there are several good fonts that are based on handwriting.  Sorry I didn't have time to put in pics of each {maybe later}, but here are the quick links to some of my favorites:
  • Jenna Sue - a more casual, younger looking script handwriting {link}
  • Otto - a more traditional, older looking script handwriting {link}
  • Bernard - a traditional looking script {link}
  • Brown Bag Lunch - a heavy looking print that looks like marker {link}

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sweets for your sweet

This cute idea is from a few years back, but I've saved it for a few reasons, 1) it reminds me how to print out gift bags using my home printer, 2) it reminds me brownies can come in other shapes besides squares & rectangles, and 3) it's a cute idea for a teacher, coworker, or loved one gift for Valentine's Day.

Pop on over to Twig & Thistle for the full tutorial, including how to make the heart shaped brownie.  I'm sure anyone would love to receive a sweeeet gift like this one.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Recycle Your Holiday Candles!

Repurposed Candle DIYHere is a picture of what my candles look like after the holidays....grubby and spent.   I burn my fingers every time I try to light the inch-and-a-half of wax at the bottom.  Even with all the finger burns and ugly jars displayed around my house, I somehow still can't bring myself to throw them away.

I feel like I'm throwing away Christmas.

Okay, time to grow up and get over it.  I finally found a great solution to this problem. 

Kara at Happy Go Lucky melts her hodge podge of candles down to create a tiered candle of different scents.  Please visit her blog for her tutorial {here} and you never have to feel like you're throwing away Christmas again! {okay, maybe that's just me}

Tip:  when you're doing this, make sure the candles scents you're using tell a similar story.  What I mean by this is don't mix evergreen with sea mist with lavender with Christmas cookie, or you'll end up with a headache like I did the first time I burned my concoction.  If you have enough candles that could be remelted, think about using similar scents and similar colors.  The results will be beautiful!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Words with Wire

Words are powerful and really striking graphic elements.I saw this tutorial for making words with wire on Family Chic. Camilla wraps her words with yarn, which gives so many options for color and texture.

I have a bunch of old hangers lying around and I'd love to play with the natural metal as well {instead of wrapping with yarn}; maybe even check out some scripty fonts and see if I could mimic a cool font rather than freehand the script. Maybe I could even attach these to a large canvas and do an entire saying?We'll see what happens. Until then, it's on my list!

Here are a few sayings I'd like to try out:
  • Love
  • Cherish
  • Family
  • It is what it is
  • Every little thing is gonna be alright
Pop on over to the Family Chic blog for the full tutorial.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Eight Resources for Vintage Prints

Beautiful horse print I found in a vintage horse racing book and framed.
Hi everyone!  I'm super-excited.  I put in an order today from for some vintage books, one on parrots, one on owls, and one with horses.  I'm a print-aholic {if that's even a word} - I love looking at antique animal and plant plates.  They're also wonderful as art too!

I just can't see spending $40 at HomeGoods for a print from China, when you can buy a book of antique prints reprinted in the US or UK from 30+ years ago for a fraction of the cost.  And because these are old reprints and not the originals from the 1800's, a lot of my guilt over cutting them apart goes out the window.

Where do you find your old books and images, I'm often asked.  The truth is you have to train yourself to always be on the lookout.  My favorite haunts are: 

1.  Library Sales.  Private donations tend to be in better shape, but old library books that often look like heck on the outside have undamaged plates & images on the inside.  They're usually only a few dollars per book, or if you can wait, there are usually "fill a box" sales on the last day when they're trying to get rid of everything.  I've found some great 60+ year old French dictionaries at my last sale.

2.  eBay.  Not too original, but yes, scour eBay regularly.  I usually just look at the Buy it Now books or ones that are ending soon so I'm not tempted to "bid myself up" too high on a book.  Bookmark your favorite dealers.  If you find something you like that's well priced, check what else that dealer has - oftentimes they have the same style or type of item and tend to keep their prices consistent {i.e., if someone prices items to sell, most likely much of what they have will be a deal; if a person's prices are ridiculous, all of their prices will likely be that way}.  I've found a dealer who had a slew of bird and insect books on eBay just by hitting "view seller's other items." 

3.  Amazon. Not much else to say here except that the used books option is my best friend.  There are tons of books out there for a few dollars each plus media mail shipping.  I've only been burnt once {the item's pages were stuck together, ruining several prints}, but I emailed the seller and they refunded my money and told me to keep the book.

I scored this 1910 book on fruit growing {and all of its plates} online

4.  Online Libraries.  Because there was a huge movement to scan in and digitize old books, you'll often find complete copies of old books {including their plates} online.  The resolution is often good enough to make a print from, and you get the original imperfections of the paper which adds character.  {Note: I only look at books pre-1923 that have expired copyrights}

5.  Public Domain Resources.  I like to go to the National Archives site for old and rare books.  The site is well-organized and you can find good quality copies of the prints.

6.  CDs.  There are a lot of companies that now sell the digital copies of the books I mentioned above that were in the public domain and in online libraries.  The CDs {usually on eBay} are typically not the best quality scans {be sure to look at seller feedback and review details of the scan's dpi}, but you'll get tons of books on one CD.  For example, I purchased a ornithology CD, which came with PDFs of more than rare 25 books.

7.  Vintage & Antiques Stores.  I like to check out the "paper section."  With everything else, there are dealers with crazy prices that make reframing not worth it, and sometimes you'll hit the jackpot.  I have not had much luck with thrift stores up until now.  I find they usually don't have older items I'm looking for or the image style I prefer.

8.  Blogs.  There is one main blog that I go to for my vintage images - The Graphics Fairy.  She has thousands of images and has a category for full size printable art as well.