Cedar Reindeer Rescue

The At the end of August I drove past a number of items that had been placed curbside.

I saw potential in several pieces, including the two cedar reindeer.

They are similar but not an exact match. Even the wood is different colours. And those fuzzy pink noses! A cross between Rudolph and Pinocchio.

I used nail polish remover to remove the pink noses and the plastic neck ribbons. I also removed the plastic eyes which had been glued on crudely, and one of which was missing.

Then I watered down some white latex paint and gave them a quick whitewash. The cedar was untreated, so it absorbed almost all of the wash in some spots, which added to the rustic, country look.

The whitewash made them look a tad more like a matching pair.


10 Junk Altered Autumn Cards

Old lace, fabric scraps (including the seams that are of no use as dust cloths!), old buttons, belt buckles, bottle caps, corn husks, candy wrappers, old keys and broken jewelery pieces…

When most people do a cleaning purge such items go the trash.  With me they go on cards.

I recently took the opportunity to get a jump on my holiday (Thanksgiving/Christmas) cards.   Boy I  had fun!

I’m getting a lot more confident in my multi-material play at the same time.

And since the cards frequently include something more, I pulled out to include with my cousin’s card this antique autograph book that belonged to our  Grandma.



I enjoy the benefits of the internet as much as the next guy. But I swoon over hand-written cards  and letters.

I don’t receive a lot these days, but here’s a sample of what my family and friends can look for in their mailboxes over the next few weeks.













vintage charm button 2


Altered Card Canada’s Parliament Building


I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to use this gold maple leaf lapel pin that I got at an estate sale.

An old friend I lost touch with – crazily because it is someone who was precious to me – just got a major career promotion within the Canadian government.

As AiJ readers may know, I love making altered cards. But I’m nervous about sending this one. Not everyone shares the same artistic taste.

My favorite feature is the piece of rust I used as a harvest moon behind the corrugated cardboard hand torn silhouette of the center block of Canada’s Parliament Buildings.

Would you feel really special if someone sent you a hunk of rust and fabric fragments?

Fingers crossed!


For the first time I also altered the envelope. The base of the card was fabric from a pillow sham that came with a Movie blanket (one I bought specifically for the sofa) and never had use for the pillow sham. I cut a piece of the edging and attached it to the envelope with a vintage button.

It can’t go in the mail like this: Canada Post sorting machines rip embellished envelopes. But I will be sending this expedited mail, so Canada Post will put it into one of their expedited mail cardboard envelopes.

Upcycled Tabletop Dinner Warmer

Ever have one of those wonderfully intimate meals where the conversation is as scrumptious as the entrée and the last thing you want is to be dashing back into the kitchen for seconds…  but you also don’t want to put a chill on that hot conversation with food gone cold.

  Last autumn I rescued this table lamp from a neighbour’s curb. The glass shade was nowhere to be seen (probably in the glass recycling bin in pieces).  The shade support held great promise, however.

It became a sweet cake stand/server at an  autumn tea.

Recently, though, while enjoying one of those great intimate dinner chats that you hate to tear yourself away from, I saw further purpose for this baby.

I had my nextdoor neighbor (a retired electrician) remove the electrical parts of the lamp.







and I cut off the cord at the bottom, which could then be pulled through the top.






I put a short pillar candle where the lightbulb had been, lit it and put a baking dish in place of the lamp shade.


Would work fabulously to keep pizza or rolls warm – and I would bet a short soup or stew pot would be a great success, too.

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Priceless One-of-a-Kind Tin

Momma at Passmore GroceryMy mother was about 10 years old when this photo was taken in front of my grandparents’ grocery store (around 1948/49) in North Surrey, British Columbia.

As the picture suggests, North Surrey was a humble but wholesome blue collar neighbourhood. It was full of hard-working families like mine and most of the kids who grew up together then remain friends and now, most in their late 70’s early 80’s, still get together every 3 months for lunch or to see an Elvis Presley impersonator concert.

Except my mom. She died  when I was 10, the same age she was in this photo.

Having retired (supposedly), and watching his pennies, last year my uncle (my mother’s brother, who raised my siblings and I following my mother’s death), gave me a Christmas present that didn’t cost him a dime. But, as the credit card commercial says, to me it is precious.

Passmore Grocery Tea Tin

Around the time the photo of my mother was taken, the Murchison Tea Company of Victoria, British Columbia made personalized tea tins for each of their merchants for Christmas.  There was only one tin made for each merchant, and this was my grandparents.

As I suspect is true of most families, a lot of cool “stuff” from my family did not survive the passage of time.  My antique auctioneer uncle salivates over the long gone storefront signs in the photo of my mom. I am thrilled this tin has survived three generations and being moved back and forth across Canada.

Watching the horrifying news coverage of the Fort McMurray fires I looked at my spoiled, lazy cat sprawled across the back of the sofa with his paws dangling down and told him that if our home catches fire he’ll have to fend for himself. I’ll be running for this tin.

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Spring blues

It is only January, but here in the temperate rainforest of southwestern British Columbia, the garden is full of buds and one little e winter pansy has lifted its face to the sun.

This first spring blossom holds the promise of the warmer days to come and the opportunity to have my morning tea outdoors.

It’s been a crazy winter. I didn’t get around to potting up my geraniums and bringing them inside, but they didn’t die.  We have had several days of good frost and even a couple of snow, but not enough to kill the geraniums.

This is an actual bird nest which I found on the walkway outside the house. The eggs are little plastic easter eggs that I painted, first with a couple of coats of gesso and then a couple of coats of pastel blue-mint homemade chalk paint.




tuesday cuppa tea button