Monday, February 25, 2019

Thrift Store Rescue: Sewing Notions Tins

They recently opened up a Goodwill Outlet nearby my house. Goodwill Outlets are where all the stuff they can't or don't want to try to sell in their regular stores goes. So there are often lots of oddities (and sometimes some really awesome stuff that just didn't sell)...the only catch, it's pay by weight--oh and you have to dig through these trough-like tables piled with stuff to find your treasures. Since the stuff is often just dumped onto these tables, you never know what you're going to get...maybe you'll find a left shoe and never be able to find the right. But it's a total treasure hunt!

So, on my recent trip, I saw these old tins. Tins don't typically weigh much, so if they are neat and old, I'll often at least pick them up to take a look at them. When I picked these up, they weren't light--they definitely had stuff in them. So I took a peak inside and saw sewing stuff--old sewing stuff. I figured a tin full of old buttons was totally worth it's $1.29 per pound, so I tossed them in the cart. They were each on different ends of the table, so I thought it an odd coincidence to find two and kept on shopping.

When I got home, I cracked them open to find not only old buttons and needles and spare pins, but also handwritten notes and an old envelope and various other historical odds and ends. It turns out that both tins came from the same house as they both had documents with the same lady's name on them.

The first scraps of paper I came across were notes with the lady's measurements documented in 1954, 1957, 1973, and 1981. She was tiny!   

In the other tin, I found instructions on how to make a tassel and how to thread a needle.

In one of the tins was an envelope with the lovely owner's name and address and postmarked 1954 with a 3 cent Thomas Jefferson stamp!

In the envelope were these patches indicating that she might have been a Dental Assistant. The envelope looks like it was from some dental association organization, so she might have received these patches in this envelope and then later removed them from whatever they were put on, since they appear worn, and put them back into the envelope.

This little brown bag had a fabric covered button and notes about what dress it belonged to. The bag was stamped with the name and address of a shop in Bronx, which is interesting since most everything else indicated this lady lived in Omaha. I imagine it was a special dress that the button belonged to!

So a little bit of a time capsule just from the scraps and bits of paper, but the sewing notions were all great too. Their were salvaged buttons and new unused buttons clearly ranging from mid century up to (the definitely not Bakelite) lightweight pink plastic ones probably from the 80s.

There were a bunch of stick pins, bobby pins, and needles floating around in both tins. This paper packaging with pins from the Diamond Steel Pins company was a fun shade of purple and still had several pins stuck in it..

There were also some neat longer pins with different heads--but clearly no complete sets--just leftovers.

There were also some snaps and clips floating around. It was interesting to see the cardboard with the company logos and prices. The snaps were 30 cents and the blue cardboard of hook and loop enclosures was 15 cents.

There was also a bunch of bits of elastic and clothing tags with care instructions that I didn't keep. There was even some needles stuck in a grocery list. Out the the bits and bobs, some of the neater odds and ends include some round paper clips, a small porcelain doll head, a scotty dog charm, some interesting round clothing snaps, a plastic thimble, and an odd little spatula.

I was stumped by the spatula, so I sought the help of an online group and they searched for the name on the handle. It turns out it's a make up wand (probably for cold cream or moisturizer) from Jacqueline Cochran's line of cosmetics. Cochran was a pilot who was the first woman to break the sound barrier. She also had a cosmetic line. Such interesting history for a little plastic (this one could be bake-lite) wand! 

So, I was expecting to get some pins and buttons, but in the end, I received a little time capsule of a woman's life. It was fun to try to learn a bit more about the woman who owned these tins while I was going through them. I look forward to making some craft projects with the sewing supplies in the future!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Spray Paint Marbled Paper Decoupaged Canister

So we recently emptied a container of peppercorns that we had had for years and I thought it was a nice little plastic jar with a silver lid that I could totally reuse in some way. I pealed off the paper label and ran it through the dishwasher on the top rack to clean it up a bit. There was still a big chunk of glue on it, so I opted for decoupage.

I found some leftover paper (card stock actually) from my spray paint marbling project and cut it to the size of my container. I grabbed some mod podge and a foam brush and I was set to go.

I spread a good layer of mod podge onto the container and lined the card stock up as straight as I could. I'm used to gluing much thinner paper with mod podge, so it did take a bit of persuasion to get it to stick. I had to hold the card stock down on the glue, and I used more glue than I typically would. 

Once I got to the overlapping edge, I put some extra glue under the edge and held it in place. Then I put a layer of glue over the top and smoothed it out with my finger until I was certain it would stay in place. Then I used a paper towel to clean up excess glue along the top and bottom edges and let it dry for an hour.

After the jar had mostly dried, I came back with a thin coat of mod podge to seal the surface. I let that dry for about a half an hour before it was dry to the touch (might take longer if it's humid).

I'm pleased that I found another use for that marbled paper that's so fun to make--if I keep that up, I might just find an excuse to make some more!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Monday, February 11, 2019

Alcohol Ink Ceramic Tiles with a Valentine's Day Resist

Well, it's almost Valentine's Day and I've been puttering away at a few V-day crafts, but neither of them turned out quite like I was expecting. After a few twists and turns, I ended up with a few cute ceramic tiles decorated with alcohol ink using heart-shaped resists.

My first heart-shaped resist comes from a bag of foam stickers from Dollar Tree. I picked these up last Valentine's day absolutely certain that I'd use them for some project. So this year, when I saw them hanging around in my craft stash, I knew I had to try and use them. So I slapped one on a ceramic tile to see if I could use it as an alcohol ink resist.

I dug out all of my pink and purple alcohol inks and a felt applicator. I set my ceramic tile on a craft mat and got to work.

I covered the tile with raspberry, wild plum, and watermelon colored inks. I stamped until the colors started creating little circular cells in the ink.

Then I dripped some twilight purple and eggplant onto a felt to add a bit more depth to the color.

I let it dry for about 30 minutes, and then I tried to take the sticker off. Nope. It was on there good. I used my nails and a dish scraper and worked at when ever I passed by it for a couple of days a couple minutes at a time until the darn thing finally came off. Then, I used some hot water and a paper towel to remove the last of the sticky bits.

After the sticker was off, it looked ok. It wasn't terribly exciting and the edge of the heart wasn't terribly clean. I could have quit here, but I wanted something a bit more exciting.

So I thought of my new little spray bottles. I loaded one of the little mist bottles with rubbing alcohol.

So I sprayed it with a few mists and panicked. Then I sprayed it a couple more times and let it dry.

It created a unique watercolor effect and made the imperfect edge of the heart look a bit more intentional. At any rate, it was fun to test out my new spray bottle.

I wasn't a hundred percent satisfied with that project, so I went about trying again. This time I used leftover hearts from last week's candle holder project. They were just cut out of contact paper with a scissors. I stuck them to my ceramic tiles and set out to see if contact paper would work as a resist with my new favorite inking technique--fire.

I dripped all of my pink and red inks onto the tile around the hearts.

Then I lit it on fire. It's hard to see, but there is a little flame on the right side. I had to light this one on fire twice as it missed the upper left hand corner. The ink mixed and set beautifully.  The contact paper didn't melt or burn, which was a possibility, so I guess that was a win, but the ink did seem to run over the edge more than I had hoped.

Optimistic, I repeated the process on the other tile with the same colors and set it on fire. This time the whole tile went up in a large flame (so be sure to set up your area to be flame and heat proof if you try it!).

I let the tiles dry for a half and hour or so and then peeled off the contact paper. The ink had run under the vinyl. I must have been so disappointed that I didn't take any photos, because I couldn't find any on my camera or phone. I then tried to clean it up with q-tips dipped in rubbing alcohol, but the alcohol ran into the not quite set up ink and made it worse in places. A few days later, I tried to put some triangles of painters tape onto the hearts to try to clean up the bottom edges.

It didn't work. The ink ran under the tape even worse than the contact paper. So I peeled all of the tape off and spent over a half an hour carefully cleaning off ink with a paper towel, lots of q-tips, and a paint brush dipped in rubbing alcohol.

Once I had most of the ink cleaned off, I dipped a small paint brush in some alcohol ink to try to cover any areas that needed to be filled in. Then I repeated the q-tip in rubbing alcohol thing until I had it mostly cleaned up. Needless to say, the edges of these hearts weren't as clean as I had hoped for either. So I have to keep looking for a way to create a resist when lighting the ink on fire.

In the end, none of them turned out quite like I had hoped, but I made the best of them. I learned what not to do and how best to clean ink up on the tile (with lots of patience and extra q-tips). They turned out fairly cute in the end and will make lovely candle plates or coasters. I hope you all have an absolutely wonderful love-filled Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 4, 2019

Stamped Alcohol Ink Valentine's Day Candle Holders

On my last Walmart run, I picked up a couple of these 79 cent candle holders without any idea of what I would use them for. Since it was the time of the year to start my Valentine's Day Crafts, it seemed like a great idea to ink them pink!

I started by cutting some hearts out of clear contact paper with a sharp scissors. I cut some with a paper pattern and some where I just folded the contact paper in half and cut a heart--both methods worked well, but I went with the pattern cut ones for my candle holders so that I had two hearts that were the same size.

I applied the vinyl heart onto the candle holder and grabbed all of my pink and red alcohol inks. I started out using a tinfoil cradle for my candle holders, but I decided that holding them was actually easier for application. I dripped a couple dots of each of my pink inks (raspberry, wild plum, and pinata's magenta) onto a felt applicator for stamping.

They turned out very hot pink after stamping the surfaces of both candle holders. They just looked like pink blobs, so I knew I needed to keep inking a bit.

So I put some red and peach ink on the applicator and tried to break of up the wall of pink a bit.

Still pretty darn pink, I changed out the felt on my stamper/applicator and brought out a purple and cranberry colored ink to, again, try to break of up the pink a bit. I dabbed on the drops of these other colors all around the candle holder and it was starting to look a bit better.

But, in the end, I decided it needed a little something extra, so I stamped on some copper ink. It did the trick. Thought it's hard to tell in the photos, there are little flecks of metallic ink all over the candle holders.

I set them aside to dry for about an hour before I peeled the contact paper vinyl off. They came out very clean, but if you have a bit of bleed through, a tiny bit of rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab can help clean up the edges. I dropped some electric candles in these and they were good to go.