Flower Tins

Confession: when I go with my uncle to take consignments for the auction I have to leave my wallet at home.  I have an addiction. I’m a junk junky. o

Sometimes, even without my wallet I frequently come home to my bursting apartment (I’m not quite being scouted for the tv show “Hoarders” but it gets close sometimes).  Occasionally I use the Wimpy (the Popeye cartoon character) approach “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”.  If it’s a really special item – and I’ll share a hilarious story in an upcoming post – my darling uncle buys it for me.

In this case, our friend John, who buys and sells out of a commercial storage locker, as well as an antique mall booth and a portion of a new antique store, gave me a handful of leftover tins. I wouldn’t have bought them all – there are some American tins and I only collect Canadian and Irish-theme tins.

This blog is as much about landfill reduction as demonstrating value (historic or commercial) in items that some people would throw away, so John’s gift was a challenge.

This random collection of antique and vintage tins contains a couple of Canadian tins that will join my collection and the rest I’m going to use for gift-giving.

Mid-summer gardens are flower-filled and blogland is full of posts of unconventional items to use as vases.  Second nature to this junkaholic.

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A “welcome to the neighbourhood” gift for a new neighbor who has a potted garden, a few thank yous for dinners and drinks and garden plants, and in no time I’ve checked off a number of names on that perpetual gift list I keep in my head.

I’ll be honest. A couple I’m going to de-plant and send off to friends and contacts who might enjoy additions to their own collections.  Thoughtfulness, ingenuity or collect-it-forward sooo  outrank a price tag when it comes to gift-giving.

 

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Canuck Junk

Getting ready for July 1st.  Polishing up my Canuck Pride.

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This is the antique window my uncle rescued for me from his friend and client, Herda.Graniteware Garden

I needed a Canada Day (July 1st for my American pals) porch greeting – and quick. So I just printed off the words, taped the pages in place on the back side of the window and then used black and red Sharpies to trace the lettering onto the window.

The Maple Leaf I drew by hand (obviously – lol).

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This antique doll comes from the East Coast of Canada. The clothing (including the sou’wester hat) is traditional fisherman attire. The red hair – well, our maritimes are heavily populated with the descendants of Irish immigrants.

 

 

River’s Edge Vintage Garden

Surrey BoysIn my last post I wrote about the group of kids who grew up together in North Surrey in the aftermath of WWII.

The flush of prosperity that the rest of North America experienced in the late 1940s passed over North Surrey for some reason. Until the kids were old enough to drive they  entertained themselves fishing, swimming, learning box and to smoke cigarettes and getting into mischief along the banks of the Fraser River.

The bond they formed was quite something. Any one of them would risk his own life for another. And so it was in the summer of 1947 when a group of them were playing on the bank of the Fraser River my mother did what all of the kids were strictly forbidden to do. She went out onto a log boom and – as she had been warned countless times – slipped between two logs.

She couldn’t swim and had never learned to hold her breath under water. I would not be here today  had my “Uncle” Joe not ignored his own safety and raced across the logs to where my mother fell through. The only sign of her was a clump of wet hair stuck to the side of a log and Uncle Joe grabbed it and pulled my mom to safety. Even though she couldn’t swim my mother might have been able to pull herself to the edge of the log boom and get her head above water. But the lump of wet hair that was used to save her life held her in place beneath the water and she would surely have drowned had it not been for Uncle Joe’s heroics.

Because of the community’s economic struggles many of the kids went to work exceptionally young. Uncle Joe was just 14 years old when he borrowed money from his parents and bought his first commercial fishing boat and licence. He also helped out with the boat launch yard his family owned on the bank of the Fraser River.

About 20 years ago Uncle Joe tore down an old shack on the boat launch yard and built himself a beautiful bungalow with huge windows along the sides of the house  overlooking the Fraser River. I have spent many evenings there watching the harbor seals crest and the eagles and shore birds hunt.

Last weekend I was down at Uncle Joe’s place and was charmed by the lovely garden he has created and filled with vintage charm.

The antique mangle isn’t just decorative. It is still put to use wringing out towels and blankets that come off the boats wet.

antique mangle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Another antique still in use is the large antique winch is used to wind up the garden hose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A small but working antique lighthouse perched in the rock garden.

 

An antique wood duck decoy floats around the rock pond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Downtown Abbey-era Trough

Heartbreak! This Victorian English trough was a birthday present to myself last year.

A friend had it for sale in his store and I saw it on his web site first.

It became my online porn and I soon added the site to my favorites.  My facebook friends were quickly forgotten as I devoted my not-so-spare time to rationalizing the purchase.

It’s not cheap, but rather uncharacteristically for a girl whose tastes tend toward rustic and primitive, I fell in love with its ornate iron swirls and scrolls.  I verily swooned when I set eyes on it.

 This was not a trough  you would find in a barn, of course.  It would have been at the front of a very up market hotel or a great estate like Downtown Abbey for elegant visitors to water their horses.

I, of course, had visions of container gardening (I lined it with heavy plastic before playing with pots of shade plants), but I couldn’t find a place where it fit.  It had to be under cover so it wouldn’t rust and fall apart, but I just don’t have covered space wide enough.

So with a broken heart I’m going to have to sell it.  I can think of a million “repurposes” – it would be gorgeous wedding catering décor – filled with tubs of ice and used to serve food or drinks or to receive gifts.

It would also be gorgeous in a boutique selling pillows or towels or yoga mats.

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The Broken Truth

I looked out my bathroom window one morning while brushing my teeth and someone was going through the garbage can I had put out for weekly collection. It was a long time ago (like many of the things in my home, I AM an ANTIQUE). Then I was young and head of an environmental group and kinda prominent (read: mouthy). The person going through my trash wasn’t a homeless person – it was a young reporter curious about whether I walked the talk.

He didn’t  get a story, but certainly  taught me a lesson! While it isn’t always practical, we all should try to practice what we preach.

So when I was helping my uncle clear his home of some “junk” recently, we had fun talking about alternatives to the garbage can for some antique and vintage items that had been damaged.

As a multi-media altered card artist, I am always on the lookout for bits of broken pottery, porcelain or glass.  There are a lot of cool jewelery artists who similarly repurpose broken bits.

But a glass Hen on Nest at my uncle’s was a great example of not throwing the Hen out with the bathwater.

The “nest” part of the piece had a large chip missing. But I bet some modern jewelers would love to get their hands on this mottled vintage glass.

   The chicken top, however, was in perfect condition.  No need to let a jeweler break it up or throw it in the glass recycling.  There are a number of new leases on life available to items like this.

It could be placed on an oval bowl or basket in any complementary colours.

 It’s spring so you won’t be surprised what this junk gardener did!!

Graniteware Garden

A few months ago I got a phone call from my antique auctioneer uncle. A friend of his was moving from a house to an apartment and wanted to consign some items to his auction. When he arrived at her house to discuss the consignment he saw a large pile of items destined for the dump.

He asked her if she would be willing to give the items away instead of sending them to the dump, then called me as soon as he got her approval.  That represents a bit of a shift for him. While I learned my love of primitive antiques from him, I think he frequently despairs that my appetites have gone a bit far.

But this load goes straight to the heart of why I created Adventures in Junking: reducing landfill contributions through creative reuse or repurpose.

I suspect my fellow junkers will see it as a great score!

The graniteware canning pot is full of smaller graniteware items, and these were the inspiration for a Graniteware Garden.

People who follow Adventures in Junking may remember these wicker chairs were a roadside rescue from last summer, as were the graniteware bundt pan and it’s support (which was the base of a coatstand). But the lovely little graniteware pot stuffed with spring blossoms is part of the haul from Herda.

The lid for the canning pot gets in on the act, repurposed as a welcome with the help of a piece of chalk.

The choice to use the canning pot in the garden instead of the kitchen is made for me.

My lovely antique Red Rose tin had already been rusted through when I rescued it. I had no reservations about using it as a cover or sleeve for plant pots, but its condition limits its function (and value!)

 

 

Even though my pots and tins are rusty and rustic, I want them to last.

So I put plant pots inside the decorative tins or pots and pull the plant pots out for watering and put them back after they have stopped dripping.

A lovely rusted antique milk pitcher houses a hosta

 

Hard to believe someone was going to throw away this lovely old bread basket

The brass mid-century ashtray was another curbside rescue.  I immediately saw a good prospective repurpose, but was surprised to find it. There are many  collectors – hobbyists and professionals – who drive up and down streets looking for scrap metal .. And brass brings a good price.  Recently at one of his antique auctions a brass bed that wasn’t very attractive sold for $50 to a fellow who turned around and sold it to a metal recycler for $150.

From an environmental perspective, seeing antique or vintage brass go to a metal recycler is certainly preferable than seeing it end up in a landfill, the antique lover in me worries that the strong price of scrap metal will greatly diminish the amount of metal antiques we leave future generations.

I am also a container gardener, and as I said, I immediately saw a repurpose in the ashtray. The little ashtray comes off for emptying. I took out  a metal bundt pan that I hung from a tree as a bird feeder last year and popped it onto the ashtray stand, then replaced the ashtray to hold the bundt pan in place.

I filled it with seed and added a metal jar lid filled with water

A little friend shares my love of critters.

 

A little seed in antique graniteware bowl which will hopefully keep the squirrels away from the feeder intended for birds.

 

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Cottage Garden Ivy Chair

I rescued this child’s wicker chair from the curb in front of a neighbour’s house. There was a hole in the wicker seat. That suited me just fine. The garden was calling. But it was dull and uninspiring as it was.

I’ve been playing with a distressed decoupage treatment recently. I’ve done a birdhouse and a Thanksgiving sign. I thought I would try it on the child’s chair.

Rather than widening the hole in the seat to accommodate a plant pot, I wanted to add a vintage spring form baking pan to echo the green in the paper.

I painted the chair with my homemade white chalkpaint, and then used modge podge to randomly apply torn strips of paper. Then I let it sit for at least ly.24 hours to let the modge podge dry completely. Then I used a scraper and coarse sandpaper to distress it heavily.

I picked a couple of patches of moss to further echo the green in the paper and the springform pan.

The finish project is destined for one of my guerilla gardening sites, and I want to make it as vandalism resistant as possible. To secure the bake pan t the chair seat, I inserted a chopstick into the bottom of the spring form pan, attached a doubled length of gardener’s wire, which was fed through one of the holes In the chair seat and secured by wrapping the remaining wire around a second chopstick.

I sprayed the entire chair and outside of the baking pan with exterior poly (3 coats). Then I filled the bake pan with good soil and added several lengths of ivy and a couple of white winter pansies.

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Vintage and Salvage Birdfeeders

I've seen so many bird feeders made from chandeliers, but this little shade was an orphan when I found it.

I’ve seen so many bird feeders made from chandeliers, but this little shade was an orphan when I found it.

Antique matchholder in photoframe stand

Antique matchholder in photoframe stand

Birdfeeders don't have to be large and chunky. Or purchased from a specialty store. Little song birds (and squirrels) will make themselves at home feeding on seed in a simple thrift store melmac plate on an old iron lamp base turned candle pillar

Birdfeeders don’t have to be large and chunky. Or purchased from a specialty store. Little song birds (and squirrels) will make themselves at home feeding on seed in a simple thrift store melmac plate on an old iron lamp base turned candle pillar

Porcelain fruit bowl filled with clean cool water and a bone china Victorian berry bowl on pedestal holds songbird seed

Porcelain fruit bowl filled with clean cool water and a bone china Victorian berry bowl on pedestal holds songbird seed

I've used it elsewhere, but I like to include small dishes of seed in various places around the garden, including on the porch and windowsills where birds are quite comfortable hanging out.

I’ve used it elsewhere, but I like to include small dishes of seed in various places around the garden, including on the porch and windowsills where birds are quite comfortable hanging out.

I rescued this small garden caddy from a neighbour's recycling bin and planted with pink and purple flowers to attract the birds and inserted a baking pan of birdseed in the middle.

I rescued this small garden caddy from a neighbour’s recycling bin and planted with pink and purple flowers to attract the birds and inserted a baking pan of birdseed in the middle.

 Antique lamps repurposed as bird feeders

This antique whale oil lamp has been modernized with electricity and the shade has been misplaced, making it a good candidate for being repurposed as a birdfeeder (would be lovely as a planter, too)

This antique whale oil lamp has been modernized with electricity and the shade has been misplaced, making it a good candidate for being repurposed as a birdfeeder (would be lovely as a planter, too)

An antique zinc canning jar lid enabled a more modern light shade to fit the lamp securely enough that birds feeding are unlikely to upset the bowl of seed.

An antique zinc canning jar lid enabled a more modern light shade to fit the lamp securely enough that birds feeding are unlikely to upset the bowl of seed.

antique roasting utensil is stuffed with fresh grapefruit and hung on a tree The holes are small so only little birds, like the songbirds that are so frightfully endangered, will be able to feed.

antique roasting utensil is stuffed with fresh grapefruit and hung on a tree The holes are small so only little birds, like the songbirds that are so frightfully endangered, will be able to feed.

This little antique sterling silver tea strainer dangles from the repurposed banana stand above the miniature silver hanging basket. The holes in the strainer will allow water to flow through.

This little antique sterling silver tea strainer dangles from the repurposed banana stand above the miniature silver hanging basket. The holes in the strainer will allow water to flow through.

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Washday plunger birdfeeder

this photo shows the chip on one edge. The birds won't mind a bit and I sanded it to make sure there are no sharp edges to delicate claws.

this photo shows the chip on one edge. The birds won’t mind a bit and I sanded it to make sure there are no sharp edges to delicate claws.

This vintage birdhouse has seen better days and yesterday my neighbor put it on her curb. I think it has one more season in my junk garden.

This vintage birdhouse has seen better days and yesterday my neighbor put it on her curb. I think it has one more season in my junk garden.

The lantern had screw holes in two sides that were ideal for a twine hanger. You see that I tied on a bolt to stop the twine from slipping through the holes.

The lantern had screw holes in two sides that were ideal for a twine hanger. You see that I tied on a bolt to stop the twine from slipping through the holes.

the shade fit perfectly onto the top of this antique oil lamp whose shade broke long ago. I slipped a corner of a plastic shopping bag into the shade to sto

the shade fit perfectly onto the top of this antique oil lamp whose shade broke long ago. I slipped a corner of a plastic shopping bag into the shade to sto

the shade fit perfectly onto the top of this antique oil lamp whose shade broke long ago. I slipped a corner of a plastic shopping bag into the shade to stop the seed from slipping into the lamp, then filled the shade.

the shade fit perfectly onto the top of this antique oil lamp whose shade broke long ago. I slipped a corner of a plastic shopping bag into the shade to stop the seed from slipping into the lamp, then filled the shade.

 fine dining

It has a chip on its shoulder so someone tossed it to the roadside. I had vague plans to turn it into a succulent planter, but we are in a stage 3 drought at the moment and my thoughts went to the critters who can't turn a faucet on when they get thirsty. The chip is on the edge and doesn't affect the quality of the water.

It has a chip on its shoulder so someone tossed it to the roadside. I had vague plans to turn it into a succulent planter, but we are in a stage 3 drought at the moment and my thoughts went to the critters who can’t turn a faucet on when they get thirsty. The chip is on the edge and doesn’t affect the quality of the water.

an antique china condiment dish holds birdseed, and a vintage china sugarbowl filled with water hangs from a repurposed banana stand

an antique china condiment dish holds birdseed, and a vintage china sugarbowl filled with water hangs from a repurposed banana stand

antique pickle or condiment glass dish

antique pickle or condiment glass dish

We're not the only critters who get thirsty on hot dry days.

We’re not the only critters who get thirsty on hot dry days.

It's always a good idea to provide a bit of shelter for your bird refreshment stations. So I put flower planters around this one to provide some colour to attract birds, but also to provide some shelter for them.

It’s always a good idea to provide a bit of shelter for your bird refreshment stations. So I put flower planters around this one to provide some colour to attract birds, but also to provide some shelter for them.

This glass lantern top with the metal top has a big chip on one side, so it was curbside consignment.

This glass lantern top with the metal top has a big chip on one side, so it was curbside consignment.

Vintage Gardening

Recently, while helping my uncle, the antique auctioneer, prepare for his upcoming auction I let him negotiate a price for me on a fabulous load of Canadian antique tins

Recently, while helping my uncle, the antique auctioneer, prepare for his upcoming auction I let him negotiate a price for me on a fabulous assortment of Canadian antique tins. If you ever get to the pretty historic village of Cloverdale (in the centre of Surrey, BC) you must visit Jack’s Place – his web site doesn’t begin to show the  Wrange of treasures his store contains. (http://www.jacksantiques.com)

My friend Patricia’s beautiful porch chair planter

Vintage style iron birdcage

Antique chair, vintage bundt pan and oodles of spring flowers

Antique chair, vintage bundt pan and oodles of spring flowers

Cobalt Pansies Fern in a lantern

 For this vignette I was looking for something delicate. I lined the trivet with cheap screening and filled it with dirt.

For this vignette I was looking for something delicate. I lined the trivet with cheap screening and filled it with dirt.

I picked delicate plants, like these bright leggy geraniums and young ivy.  To add to the softness I was trying to create, I covered the roots and dirt with moss.

I picked delicate plants, like these bright leggy geraniums and young ivy. To add to the softness I was trying to create, I covered the roots and dirt with moss.

 

old faithful banana hanger with an antique silver plated condiment trivet planted with leggy pansies and a young ivy.

old faithful banana hanger with an antique silver plated condiment trivet planted with leggy pansies and a young ivy.

These tins belong to my uncle. He's taught me so much about antiques and collectibles, and now I get to teach him about vintage gardening.

These tins belong to my uncle. He’s taught me so much about antiques and collectibles, and now I get to teach him about vintage gardening.

The gleam in my uncle's eye is copper,  Growing up our home had antique copper cookware hanging from a custom-made rack above a 12 square foot, 6 inch deep cutting board. Copper boilers sat in front of our fire place, filled with kindling and paper or gleamed from the shelves around our waist-high fireplace.  I showed him that it can also add welcoming warmth to the garden entrance on a cloudy summer day.

The gleam in my uncle’s eye is copper, Growing up our home had antique copper cookware hanging from a custom-made rack above a 12 square foot, 6 inch deep cutting board. Copper boilers sat in front of our fire place, filled with kindling and paper or gleamed from the shelves around our waist-high fireplace.
I showed him that it can also add welcoming warmth to the garden entrance on a cloudy summer day.

Antique bronze cricketer

Antique bronze cricketer

There is something very appealing about the contrast between the hard dark bronze figurine and the fluffy light flowers of alyssum and petunias

There is something very appealing about the contrast between the hard dark bronze figurine and the fluffy light flowers of alyssum and petunias

Benjamin the Cat is neither tin nor a container of any thing but tuna fish. But he loves to supervise all of my goings on.

Benjamin the Cat is neither tin nor a container of any thing but tuna fish. But he loves to supervise all of my goings on.

 

The little Red Seal Peanut Butter tin isn't Canadian, of course. It's an American tourist, but I loved that it has its original lid.

The little Red Seal Peanut Butter tin isn’t Canadian, of course. It’s an American tourist, but I loved that it has its original lid.

Pretty as a Pig Tin. I love pigs: have since I was a child. So this lard tin from Guelph, Ontario almost leapt off the shelf and into my arms.

Pretty as a Pig Tin. I love pigs: have since I was a child. So this lard tin from Guelph, Ontario almost leapt off the shelf and into my arms.

Rogers Golden Syrup from Vancouver, BC and Red Rose Lard from Brantford, Ontario

Rogers Golden Syrup from Vancouver, BC and Red Rose Lard from Brantford, Ontario

We are a tea drinking coffee grinder loving family. And I love the look of the combination of rich green  succulents, frail ivy against the rich wood and ironwork

We are a tea drinking coffee grinder loving family. And I love the look of the combination of rich green succulents, frail ivy against the rich wood and ironwork