Mailbox to Shop Sign

Remember the mailbox I added to the garden in 2015?

When a lovely woman opened a new antique store near here I planned a gift of the mailbox planter.

Just removed as much of the numbers as possible and applied (roughly – so it would fit the rest of the box) some homemade housepaint.

Printed off some wording, copied it onto the mailbox, used marking pens to fill in the lettering and added a fence picket as a directional arrow. Voila!

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Glass Lightshade Planter

The City of Delta in British Columbia was the first community in North America to provide residents with curbside recycling. The province continues to be fairly progressive and a couple of years ago offered a red box companion to its blue box collection program for recycling glass. (see collection excerpt below).

Glass had to be separated out for safety, environmental and economic reasons. It breaks – some types easier than others. That makes it a danger in a multi-material collection box. It makes separation of multi-materials (much of which is done by hand) dangerous and prevents separation and recycling of the materials contaminated by broken glass, making them difficult to recycle.

It takes time to educate people about what can and cannot be included in a curbside program. Although the table below shows that light fixtures cannot be included in the red box, I have found a few in my neighbours’ redboxes walking down the street on collection day.

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When I found this lovely art deco style lightshade my initial plan was to make a tiered stand, inspired by the fabulous tiered stands made by Angie over at Knick of Time…

Lightshadeplanter2  But then I found a couple of these smaller fixtures that also have a deco flavor.

I was fooling around with them – you know, how we do when we’re starting the creative process. They clicked together as if that was the intention of their design.

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I put some screening over hole at the bottom of the shade to retain the soil. Then I filled it with colourful annuals and my favorite soil (I use the same soil in the garden as I do in potting house plants.

And voila!

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Glass Containers
(Depot or Collected Separately at Curbside – check with your collector)

MMBC Materials List

Material Description Do not include
Non-deposit glass bottles and jars
  • Clear or coloured
  • Consult with your recycling collector for instructions.
  • Empty and rinse bottles and jars. Labels OK.
  • Include lids with container recycling
  • Drinking glasses or dishes, cookware, whole or broken window glass or mirrors
  • Ceramic mugs or other ceramic products
  • Light bulbs or light fixtures
  • Beverage containers (return to depot for refund)

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Chair Planter with Bling

Planterchair1.jpg  Here’s a tip off the top from the auctioneer’s kid: when you go to an auction (or antique store) park near their garbage.

It’s astonishing in this junk-friendly era with distribution mechanisms like curbsides and “Craigslist free” listing, but people still throw away stuff that is…well, “killing me with potential” as we used to say around the Crib board.

In this case the source was my antique auctioneer uncle. He bought a batch lot (a “Lot” at an auction is an item being sold. That item can, as in this instance, be a group of items. Usually they are items of low value grouped together in the hope of creating enough value to make it worth the auction house’s overhead costs of selling it.)

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My uncle wanted one item in a batch lot being sold at a competitor auction and he did NOT want this seatless, scratched up chair frame and told his employee to haul it out to the garbage.

It never got there.

The frame was nearly 100 years old and perfectly solid. Someone had sanded one side – clearly intending to refinish the frame and probably upholster a new seat cushion (if that is your desire for a chair frame you come across, there are tons of cushion forms floating around for free or you can get one cut from scrap wood for a song!)

I had other plans. So on the way home I stopped by the recycling centre. I don’t know about where you live, but in British Columbia you can take your leftover paint to the provincially funded recycling depot in every community. They will either dispose of it in the most environmentally-safe manner possible or, if it is still usable, will put it in a bin where another member of the community can take it for free and use it up (THE most environmentally responsible disposal method). I picked up almost a full litre of off-white paint (colour selection is limited to what gets dropped off…of course).

But I was fortunate and found a good supply of cream colour latex – which I made into homemade chalk paint with the addition of some Plaster of Paris (about 30% which I mix in a separate container so I can play with the combination until I get it right.

I took advantage of the lovely summer weather to paint outdoors. Two coats.

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I then distressed it by scraping with the blunt edge of a butter knife the parts that would be worn naturally (edges of the legs, back and seat, most elevated areas of carved section) and then lightly sanded with a sanding block.

It was pretty, but I wanted something a bit more so I looked through my vintage costume jewellery and found a brooch I thought perfect for the job.

I love pearls – and am quite fond of rhinestones.

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I attached it with E6000- a good, strong glue.

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I wiped the chair down and gave it a coat of clear outdoor Minwax.

The only planter I had that fit the chair was brown, so I gave it a quick spray with quick-drying Rustoleum matt white spray paint. Filled it and set it next to the front door.

The pink flowers brought out a pink tone in the pearls.

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Planterchair8

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I’ve used it as porch décor, but it would make a nice piece of decoration for a backyard wedding, as well.

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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.

 

 

Butter Churn Planter

The delicate, translucent trumpet-shaped flowers of the perennial morning glory (aka bindweed or creeping jenny) are deceptive. This non-native plant is considered an extremely hardy scourge here in the Fraser Valley, where aggressive root systems can crisscross a farm field in the blink of an eye and reach depths of 15-20 feet.

A former neighbor used to turn over his lawn, pour gasoline on the roots and try to kill the roots by burning them. (In areas with cold winters they aren’t a problem – the deep cold kills them off).

Knowing this, I still love having them in the garden. Love seeing the flowers close at dusk and burst open with first sun.

So I do the same thing with these that I do with other aggressive self-propagating plants like Feverfew, Mint and Lemon Balm. I grow them in containers and try to cut back before they seed.

When my uncle bought this reproduction butter churn, its depth had promise as a home for a deep-rooted plant. So I planted it up for him and it now provides a cheerful greeting at the entrance to his antique warehouse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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St Patrick’s Porch Decor

Antique Shamrock Lard tin (from the former Burns Company of Vancouver, BC) planted with Shamrocks and Irish Moss.

The Celts of ancient Ireland believed that planting Irish Moss by your door acts as lightning rod for prosperity and good fortune.  I’ll keep you posted.

It is accompanied by a vintage Blue Mountain Pottery Clover Leaf hostess dish in green drip glaze – a curbside find at the home of neighbours doing a spring purge.  Given the significant Irish population in this city, I think I was lucky to spy it first.

All in all fun, vintage DIY porch décor for St. Patrick’s Day – and here in White  Rock for the month long  Irish Festival in March.

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