Last year I used a lot of rusty hardware on the bleached bottle brush trees. This year I incorporated zinc canning lids, porcelain insulators, string balls and some kitschy ceramic pieces. Here is the end result:
I did find a few more tin star reflectors, so I used them both last year and this year. They are probably my favorite base for bottle brush trees because they have such a primitive look.
The deer are candleholders,
I stuck corks in the holes and
drilled holes in the cork to insert the trees.
Baby shoes crammed with a doile,
mercury glass bulbs, an angel
and a little bottle brush tree.
These I glued wooden spools in the bottom
and glued the trees into the hole of the spool.
Candle huggers now are tree huggers.
I have already sold so many of these that I have
had requests for more, but I have moved on to other projects.
Last year I was surprised at the end of the "buying season" to find I had hoarded sleds. They just slowly accumulated, one at a time sneaking into my shed until I was an honorary member of Sled-Owners Anonymous. This year it seems to be snow shovels.
I think I didn't even get started until mid-summer.
I just considered how cool (one of the green) shovels looked.
Like a blank slate, just waiting for some winter inspiration.
Then I started finding all sorts of other "blank slates".
My only prerequisite was that they be metal.
And then I got to work stenciling them...
For the above two I used a top from an old
Shiny Brite Box as a stencil for the Christmas Tree.
I thought a snowflake design was
the most appropriate.
Love the wear that this one shows.
This is my favorite,
I love the yellow peeking through.
I am scaring myself a little --
I caught myself admiring a cool looking rake the other day....
We need to remember that our generation did not invent upcycling. It used to be a way of life. Nothing was thrown away or wasted.
This primitive bench started life about 120 years ago as a plush Victorian settee. Somewhere along the line the fabric probably wore away and someone just removed the fabric and foundation underneath. It was replaced with old crate pieces. The family owned a general store in a little town, so they just used what they had -- and that was crates. What we do with pallets today, they did with fruit and produce crates then.
I loved the different colors and types of wood that were used. The foundation of the original settee was oak, but many types of wood were used from the recycled wood that was added for slats. I accented this a little more by using some dark stain on a few of the slats. I added a thin coat of satin poly over everything for protection of the piece, and to protect people from some of the rougher boards that had been used.
One of the boards in the seat had the name "Cramer" stenciled on it, so I am naming the piece Cramer.
I am running low on furniture stored up to restock my booth when something sells. I had just finished working on this piece on Monday. Wednesday I got a call that a big piece had sold. So I took this in on Thursday. The first customer who spied it bought it, but I did manage to get a picture of it with a member of it's new family.
I'm not much into doing tutorials. That is, if there are other places where you can find the information on the internet. This is my second year of doing a mass bottlebrush tree bleaching, and I think I have some good tips.
What you will need:
-- bottle brush trees (I bought mine at Michael's)
-- bleach (only $1 at Dollar Tree)
-- wide tooth comb
-- sharp scissors
-- tub or tray to put wet trees in
1. If you have the old-school top-opening washing machine, do the bleaching in there. I did two multi-packs of trees + a couple I got at a garage sale = 44 of various sized trees. I filled the washer with just enough water to cover the bigger trees (laying down). Turn off the machine after it gets high enough so that the water just sits there. Then I added about three cups of bleach. I had a busy day, so mine sat in there about 8 hours before I messed with them, you could do less.
2. Put the washer on the "drain" cycle, but don't let it spin. When the bleached water has drained, then fill the washer with fresh water to the level you did it the first time.
3. Now the fun. Grab a tree by the base and let it drain into the washer. (Most tutorials finish here). This is a good time to straighten it if the wire "trunk" has been bent. Holding it down inside the washer (to keep the mess captive) comb out the "branches". The big glops of "snow" will come off, but you will still have some left. You will begin to notice long pieces sticking out from the tree farther than they should (these were previously stuck in the snow glop).
3. Over a trash can, give the tree a haircut. Follow the triangular lines of the tree. It is pretty easy to eyeball. Just make sure there aren't a lot of flyaway pieces.
4. Comb the tree out a second time. Try to get all the "branches" parallel to the "trunk". Make sure when you set it down to dry it is looking good, because this is how the branches will be directed when dry. This is what makes a tree really look good. Set it to dry standing upright. It will continue to drain a little, so in a plastic tub or bathtub is a good idea.
(After you drain the washer this time, wipe it out with a paper towel.)
5. Optional: I am not a perfectionist, but after my trees are dry I do the comb/cut thing one last time.
I think you will be surprised how much better your trees look after this process. If you have a tree that gets smushed, this is also a good way to revive it (plain water bath, comb, trim). I like this method because I can do a lot of trees at once, and the mess is contained.
We have had such a lovely, mild autumn in our area. I think it has really prolonged the garage sale / estate sale season. Just about the time I get all melancholy thinking that "saling" season is over, then another one pops up.
This was a fun sale.
And indoors, which was fortunate because it was about 40 degrees.
All the usual suspects were there to shop
and many more besides.
Here is Marcia looking over the jewelry.
This was an estate sale in my little town,
so I knew the family as well.
The sisters did a great job of organizing,
including having two check-out stations.
I don't know whose stash this was,
but it looked like some fun finds.
My friend Leisa is part of the third generation of the family,
This process is a little time consuming, but it is a great way to use those slightly flakey, dirty or sticky (eek) solid colored Christmas bulbs that you come across. You can usually find these second rate bulbs pretty cheap, and the transformation is awesome. People love the mercury glass because the neutral silver non-color goes with everything and they have an awesome patina.
First remove all the metal hangers, and set them aside.
When working with the ornaments, make sure the stem is at the bottom at all times. If a little water gets in, it ruins the ornaments. So, hold the ornament under a medium flow of warm water with the stem downward for a few seconds. Give each of your little patients a turn under the water, I use a wire cookie rack to keep the stem downward until it is their "turn" again.
After the third or fourth round of rinsing the outside, a good portion of the outer paint should be washed off. For the last round gently use a wet washcloth to scrub any stubborn areas (still be sure to hold the stem downward during this procedure).
Gently dry (holding stem down for goodness sakes!) with a cotton dish towel. Set aside for a final drying in the rack (yes, with the stem down!) Give the bulbs several hours like this before replacing hangers. I promise you, you'll be hooked.