Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Uses for Industrial Finds

I'm back after a long weekend away and a large family reunion. Since I don't have pictures together for thrift finds, thought I would show some nice uses for industrial pieces.


I seem to have gathered an assortment of wooden boxes. But I never thought to put them all together and I think they look great this way.

I like this idea for clipboards, it's a great way to put a collection together. The combination of different sizes and clipboards made of different materials is interesting. They could also be hung on a wall as a group.
The Chic Ecologist

Brilliant idea with these truck spring stools!  I like them as they are, but they would also be great painted and it would make them look contemporary. One would make a gorgeous plant stand also. If your husband is a trucker, I think I envy you right now.
Urban Comfort

I think this collection of old sign holders works great in a grouping with photographs.

the city sage

I like this industrial cabinet, it's very functional. It could also be a tv stand, used in a entry way, or hold towels or   linens.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Collectible Kokeshi Dolls

Kokeshi dolls
I am drawn to different art forms made by the Japanese such as lacquerware, woodcuts and kokeshi dolls. Their design aesthetic carries through in everything they do and the kokeshi doll is no exception. The kokeshi doll is a Japanese folk art form. Kokeshi dolls originated in the Tohoku region of Northern Japan in the early 1800's. It is thought that the dolls were first made by woodworkers, called kiiya, who sold the designs as souvenirs in the winter season to tourists who came to visit the well known hot springs resorts.   
Vintage Creative Kokeshi
Woods typically used for kokeshi are cherry, dogwood, Japanese Maple and Mizuki. The wood is left outdoors to season for one to five years before it can be used. The woodworker turns and cuts the dolls on a lathe and then polishes them to a very smooth finish. The head and body are usually turned separately; then attached together by a plug. Then the kokeshi doll is painted. There are two types of kokeshi dolls, traditional and creative.

Traditional Kokeshi
Traditional Kokeshi

Traditional Kokeshi
Traditional kokeshi, produced only in the six prefectures of Tohoku, are very simple in their design with round heads and cylinder like bodies sans limbs. The floral and linear patterns painted on the kimonos have been developed and passed down through generations of kokeshi makers and are distinctive to the area where they are made. The primary differences between styles are the shape of the body and head, as well as the painting and colors used. The type of wood and lathe used may also differ.

Creative Kokeshi
Creative Kokeshi

Creative Kokeshi

Creative Kokeshi

Creative Kokeshi

Creative Kokeshi

Creative Kokeshi

Creative Kokeshi

Creative Kokeshi

The creative form of kokeshi dolls, called Shingata, are not limited in terms of shape, color and design. The artist can paint and style the doll however they wish. The only requirement is the use of a lathe, the same tool used for traditional dolls. Creative kokeshi, which developed during World War II, are limbless also.

Craftsman making Kokeshi dolls

Kokeshi Craftsman
Every year in early September, wood craftsmen throughout Japan gather in Naruko Onsen, where the kokeshi is honored through competition. The artist who creates the best kokeshi doll receives a prestigious award from Japan's prime minister.

Creative Kokeshi

Creative Kokeshi

Mother and son Kokeshi

Kokeshi are generally bought by Japanese people as mementos. In addition to being ornamental, they are also seen as charms to prevent fires or even ward off evil. The Mizuki wood often used to make the kokeshi doll's head, translates as "water tree". It is a very moist wood and some Japanese believe that having a kokeshi in their home helps prevent fire.

You can find Kokeshi dolls at estate sales, antique stores, thrift stores, websites and eBay.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Thrift Share Monday, May 22

Yard work and other obligations have seriously cut into my thrift time (boo...).But it needs to be done and I did get out once this past weekend to a Goodwill store on the other side of town. I like going to this particular Goodwill as it is a bigger store and always full of stuff.  Here are my goodies:

I like the shape of this tall ribbed glass bowl. The two glass Heller jars are very sturdy and will be good for storing ingredients in the kitchen. The glass Planter's peanut jar is cute and will look nice with nuts in it. Think I'll just use it for gatherings as the two males in my house have no appreciation for this type of thing :>) 

I love sunflowers, so I had to buy this vintage stationery, right?

I've used this El Verde Ironstone platter already, for a grill out yesterday. I put big tomato slices  with fresh mozzarella and basil, drizzled with olive oil on it and it looked very pretty.

I found this cloisonne and brass candle holder to add to my collection of cloisonne. The other candlestick is made of iron, I like the design of it.

I really like the japanese motifs on this heavy plastic tray. It was difficult to take a picture as there was much reflection. I have heard that there is a product that will take scratches off of plastic - anyone know what that product is called?

This is the mystery object. It looks to me like a ice bucket or wine chiller. Bottom is marked Polytherm, made in Germany. There are initials - the letter W is over Mf. If you know anything about this item PLEASE let me know. I did a search and wasn't able to find anything.

This is the frustrating part, I couldn't find a lid. I spent over an hour looking for it in the store, hate it when that happens. 

What did you find this past weekend? This post is a part of Thrift Share Monday with Apron Thrift Girl.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


If you want to get your upcycling on, REcreate is the place to go. Owner Katie Thompson's innovative ideas and eclectic style = one of a kind items. Sadly for most of us, we won't be able to go to her store in Cape Town, Africa. But there are pictures of it on her site and she has an online store.

I was initially drawn to REcreate when I saw these suitcases chairs - what a cool idea. I am drawn to the black/green one. Here's another unique idea, an ottoman made from a galvanized tub.

This hatbox ottoman is super cute and has the bonus of storage

Here are some repurposed clocks designed by Katie.

These lamps are great and would fit in any contemporary, industrial or eclectic decor

More great repurposing ideas from Katie. I especially like the fryer basket. A grouping of the garden sieves above a desk would be nice.

Katie says that she loves creating functional art from discarded nonfunctional junk. She's definitely got the knack for it!

Recreate studio is in Salt River, Cape Town, South Africa

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Thrifting Finds

Ever go to a sale where the offerings are slim and you start to regret the time and gas spent to get there? THEN you find one great thing. Such was the case this past weekend at an estate sale. I was about to leave when I noticed a great side table in the corner. I paid $35 for it and took it home.

I like the style of this table -  the details on the drawers, the legs, the open space and iron bars on the side.  The brand name is Brandt. I've seen some of their more rustic furniture. Think I'll spray paint the knobs and feet covers black for now. Flanking the table are my Baker Chairs, a previous craigslist find.

I found two pieces of Dansk enamelware at another sale. The pitcher is a really pretty cobalt blue, which doesn't show in the picture. I think it will be great with fresh flowers in it. I paid $6 for it. The brown casserole has some wear on the enamel around the edges, but I was excited to find it so I bought it anyway, it was only $3.

The candleholders were $6 for the pair. They are heavy for their size and have great mid century style. The label says nagel, made in Germany. Anyone familiar with these? I feel like I've seen them before.

I bought this vase for $1.50, I like the style and finish. It says USA originals on the bottom with other markings. I've come across USA pottery countless times but the markings seem different.

Did you have any good finds this past weekend?

This post is a part of Thrift Share Monday with Apron Thrift Girl 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Inexpensive Fix - Bar Cabinet

Here's a project I did last summer using thrift finds. I found a cabinet at a University Surplus Store. It's actually a metal bookcase that wood framed doors were added to. Wish I had before pictures, but that was before this blog. Anyway, the cabinet was all black, had stickers, scratches, a nameplate and was dirty. But I liked the lines of it and the super long hinges that show on the outside. I spray painted it gray inside and out,  except for the doors which I painted black.

I use the cabinet for storing glasses, ice bucket, coasters etc. 

Above the cabinet I hung this print my husband and I bought in the Napa Valley as a memento of our trip. The print has a border of wine labels and a map showing where different wines were made. 

The wood sculpture was a steal for $20.00 at annual thrift event for a local assisted living organization. 

On top of the cabinet I have a ceruse finish tray with different coasters and a decanter. 

I'll probably do more rearranging/adding, just not sure what to do yet. I like this cabinet, but it's not permanent. It was an inexpensive fix.  I'd like to put a nicer piece of furniture in it's place at some point. No rush, this cabinet is very functional until I find exactly the right thing when I can afford it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tree Stumps

What could be cheaper than free and rhymes? A tree - tree stump to be exact. While walking my dog Friday night I spotted a downed tree cut into big chunks. As soon as I got home I asked my husband to help me and we picked out two. I'm going to use them for plant stands on my deck.

I want to place mine on our deck, like these. But I have two tree stumps and want to fill in with planters and flowers. I'll show pictures in a later post, still need to buy my plants.

I've done this with a tree stump in my yard, planted daisies in it. Makes that tree stump you didn't remove look like it was intentional.

There many ideas online for tree stumps. And why not? A tree stump table can add a lot of interest to a room or a nice contrast to contemporary furniture. I've picked out some ideas that are more simple, no whittling or chain saws required. 

An obvious choice other than a plant stand, is to use a stump as a side table. I think I'll let mine dry outside for a season or two before using inside. Here are some nice examples.

The painted bark on these tree stumps adds a bit of style.

These tree trunk tables(or stools)look like they could walk away!

According to the site "No trees are cut to make these tables. They are created from trunks salvaged from lumbering activity or trees that have fallen naturally. Each piece is cleaned without chemicals, then kiln-dried for four or more weeks. After lengthy sanding and hand-polishing the log is coated with a non-toxic sealant and a locally produced bees wax to then receives its legs. Wrought-iron or chrome legs are specifically selected for each table."

Find a bargain on some stools on Craigslist and use this idea. Metal legs would add a nice contrast. Some sanding, stain (optional) and varnish would be in order. These would look nice around a pub height table.

Ok, I guess I lied about no whittling, but aren't these vases charming? I especially like the succulent in one. I think this could be accomplished with a drill and the right kind (hole boring) of drill bit.

Add a clock kit to a tree slice and you've got a stylish clock! I like the way the white clock hands look, but a bright color would be nice too.

For some upscale ideas and a tutorial, check out Nesting Place.
They have several nice ideas.

Do you have any ideas for tree stumps or slices? I'd love to see comments about your ideas!

This post is a part of Thrift Share Monday with Apron Thrift Girl
and Wicked Awesome Wednesday with Handy Man, Crafty Woman