Many years ago I spent a romantic Christmas in Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario. The historic town is full of heritage buildings, all classically decorated for the holidays.
Star of Wonder
Decorations extended to the windows, many of which bore lighted candles at night. Driving through the streets of the town at night it was easy to forget you were in a motor vehicle and instead believe you were in a horse-drawn carriage in a pre-electric time.
Across the western world we decorate porches and decks, staircases, trees, mantles and tables… and inspired by the windows in Leighton House, the bed and breakfast where I stayed, I have begun decorating windows. Not like the big shop windows, but quaint, rustic decorations.
Farmhouse Kitchen Window (vintage pudding bowls stuffed with greenery and candles).
antique car horn with seasonal greens clipped from the garden
seasonal garden greens and antique car horn
So… I found this tire rim by the side of the road, and it’s being round and too small for a hoolahoop I started planning a Christmas wreath.
Initially I painted it red and made the very simple rakehead wreath on Reddy for Christmas. But I wanted something with a bit more depth, so I painted it with homemade white chalkpaint. Chalkpaint is amazing both for its coverage (one coat) and it’s ability to cling to even smooth surfaces like this. And it, in turn, has a chalky texture that makes it easier to adhere other material.
After the white paint had dried I hauled out the green and white shelving paper I used on the Thanksgiving Sign from Repurposed Antique Mirror and used the same technique to add a bit of depth and texture to this simple metal circle.
Then I pulled together an assortment of items on hand, including the trumpet I used as a garden planter in the summer, the last dried hydrangea blossom and some garden greens. And I added some roughly painted peat pots that I think look like bells.
Then the vintage trumpet and voila!
If you read my Vintage Child’s Sled post, you will know that I am fortunate to have an uncle who is an antique auctioneer and allows me to borrow certain items from time to time in exchange for photography services for his auction. I think I get the best of the deal.
Today when he picked me up for our weekly brunch he had this amazing fan with him.
It is a stunning 1950s style desk fan, but in this Christmas season those red wires said “wreath” to this repurposer.
While I was getting reddy, I pulled out two vintage looking children’s bikes for some holiday play.
I found this metal tire rim by the side of the road and, well, it being round I immediately thought it would make a nice wreath base.
So I spray painted it red (Rustoleum Farm Red)
I added an old rakehead I similarly rescued from the side of the road and tree topper star
Once you start playing with transfers, almost anything is potential medium. I started doing rocks for garden décor last year, and when Christmas came I made a batch to stick in my gift baskets (especially those for gardeners or friends who do outdoor décor).
The larger rocks are fun (and very unique) hostess gifts over the holidays.
This broken piece of tile ended up tied to the front of a gift basket. Beautiful in its imperfections.
This tiny angel rock was pretty in a tiny pointsettia pot.
This rock was a paperweight gift for a coworker.
Very quickly (and without photos) the process is:
- 2 coats of white gesso on the rock for full coverage
- a thick coat of gel medium on the face of the transfer image (which needs to be trimmed to fit the shape of the rock)
- allow to dry several hours (ideally 24)
What an honour:
My friend Cindy recently observed that my “stuff” is very white. This magnificent autumn day inspired me to play with some of my more earthy, masculine junk.
One of the challenges I’m experiencing as a new blogger is having junk to provide constant new material for the blog without living like a hoarder in my tiny apartment. My antique dealer uncle has become a Godsend by allowing me to borrow items every now and then that I can return to him shortly after a project. Additionally, his occasional auctions (he’s semi-retired) provide an opportunity to sell off project results without the overhead or commitment of a mall booth or etsy account.
Mind you the reverse is also true: I love old gear and when I used to work at my uncle’s auction I would spend my entire pay cheque and then some at his auctions.
I borrowed this vintage child’s sled for holiday décor, but predictably I will be leaving an absentee bid at the auction it goes for sale.
I was featured!
Sharing at these blog parties:
By air, sea and land. Four of my uncles fought for Canada in WWII. I am extremely proud to share military memorabilia from my own family.
The youngest, on the far right, lied about his age (17 at the time) to enlist. He became a medic courier, delivering medical supplies by motorcycle to the front. Uncle Murray was shot by a sniper but he was extremely fortunate: the bullet went through the back of his heavy leather jacket and only inflicted superficial injuries to his back.
Lorne, on the far left, was the eldest and fought with the Scottish Highlander Infantry. His baby brother remembers when the Army Chaplain came to deliver a telegram advising the family that he was missing in action and presumed dead.
But Uncle Lorne was eventually found, badly wounded.
“We have received advice on the above subject as follows: Arriving on Hospital Ship from Overseas.
“Arrived in Canada. Expect to be home soon.”
When Uncle Lorne arrived home he had a hole straight through his left shoulder, he had lost half his left foot and had broken several ribs. Direct hit with shrapnel. He was in a full body cast, a sling on one arm, and a cast on his left foot/leg. After several days’ rest he took my mother and his two youngest brothers for a walk (using crutches) to give my grandmother (his stepmom) a break from the little ones. They walked around the Picture Butte Dam. My grandmother was terrified of water and so never let her children in water. On that fateful day my Uncle Bob, about 8 or 9 years old, fell into the dam. He had never been in anything other than bathwater and would have drown had his severely wounded older brother not thrown aside his crutches and dived in to rescue him.
Air force Cpl Melville Passmore.
my great, great, great,great grandmother from Armagh, Ireland
A rusty piece of pipe is the perfect place for last tender sunflower sprouts.
This junky old suitcase was a roadside rescue. I could have used it for storage, but whatever utility it was given, it needed a facelift. With Christmas just around the corner I decided to turn it into a holiday porch greeting.
I began by painting the exterior using homemade chalk paint. I have white latex paint, and I mix that with plaster of paris (ratio: 3 to 1).
I just use a disposable dish like this take out rice dish to mix the paint.
One of the best features of chalk paint is its coverage. This suitcase was perfectly covered in 2 coats.
I wanted to transfer a vintage Christmas image, so I printed it off on my laser printer using regular printer paper.
I trimmed the image fairly closely.
Then I use a paintbrush to apply a generous layer of Modge Podge (there are a other transfer mediums – like Gel Medium). Be sure to cover the entire face of your image right to the edges of the paper.
Then I placed the image wet/face side down where I want it to be on the suitcase and use my hand to smooth out all air bubbles and wrinkles. Then I leave it to dry overnight (I’ve done successful transfers where I’ve only allowed an hour of drying time, but the best ones are left for several hours).
After drying so carefully, I wet it. There are many videos and tutorials on transfers, each with different styles. I scoop a palm full of water and sprinkle over the image.
Then I use the pads of my fingers to rub away the paper, which leaves the image. I do this in stages. After a 2nd drying period, you will be able to see where there is paper residue that needs to be rubbed off.