Monday, December 16, 2013

Vintage and fun holiday decorating in our tiny space.

Lately the trend for many people has been to live in small spaces. Not all small spaces are small houses as I have learned. I live in a small townhouse style apartment and space is quite challenging since coming from a large home. Many "things" have gone in different directions, but I am much less stressed about the stuff. This is how we've decorated this holiday season with the vintage mixed with a few treasures and bargain decorations.

At the door hanging on the plant hook is this battery operated candle that came with a bargain garland. Very not decorated is what I mean. I decorated with some Craft Zone ribbons and some dollar store ornaments and as you can see we've had some snow (12 inches be exact) and it made it twice as beautiful.

On the kitchen counter is one of the two cookie jars from a very large collection that was kept and some holiday cookie mix and Grinch pills. LOL. I had to keep something for when the grandchildren came. By the way the other cookie jar is a McCoy smiley face, have a happy day jar that was a gift I received the first Christmas after my first child was born. I couldn't let that one go so I gave it to her since I am now living with her. 

This is our dining room. Room enough for a vintage china hutch, a table and four chairs. On the opposite side of the table is a vintage desk and I use one of the chairs from the table to make this my work space, photo center, shipping center and whatever it needs to be. Most everything my daughter has is mid century modern and been painted to cover the fact that it was actually not in good shape until she painted it. 

She has decorated with Mikasa plates, vintage planters, Santa's, snowmen, Vera cups and saucers, Mikasa Ben Siebel plates and even painted thrift store wine racks and glass racks to match the hutch. The inside backs have been covered with vintage wall paper to cover the holes and damage.

Add to the mixture some vintage Pyrex, a fondue pot and some vintage Lefton made in Japan Holly pieces and we have our decorating done. Simple, colorful and small. Some time Tuesday we will put our tree up and decorate it and then we'll bake some and eat some and be merry a lot and this will be our Christmas. 
OH! Don't let me forget Jax, our mischievous elf who has found his way to an ice cube tray because he was missing the North Pole. Who knows what he'll be up to next.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy your holidays. I may pass on a blog post next week if things get to hectic. MANY BLESSINGS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Holiday Sewing

Sewing projects for the holidays all made from reclaimed fabrics and scraps.

To start, there is a wonderful 34 inch square tablecloth or lap blanket made entirely of reclaimed fabrics and scraps. We cut fabric down to 4.5 inch squares when we can and let them just accumulate until we can make something with them. The holiday colors are so cheery. The folded fabric stars are made of leftover scraps. I make many of these for my family and friends, but this is the first time I've listed any on the store.

This 16 inch pillow is made of new green cotton fabric, but the quilted flower and doily are reclaimed. We try and make good use of our favorite fabric pieces.

This has been our favorite piece of reclaimed fabric and we are still using pieces of it. These are two quilted place mats that are 18x12.5 inches. We had a wonderful time Thanksgiving weekend sewing and folding fabric. We were in our element. We did get some thrift shopping in and we'll be posting the items found at a later time. Please stop by the stores and see what's new. Have a great week everyone.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Time out to thrift shop.

Enjoy life and do things slow. That's my new motto. I've just stopped pushing and wishing things were different and so far it all gets done and along the way I'm having some fun. Well let's put it this way I am slowing down because the body says to. I had to make a drop off at the donation center so we took the time to do a quick walk through. We found a few new items for the store.

First to be rescued were these two very lovely all hand embroidered, and well done if I do say so, cloths. After soaking what seemed like one hundred years of dust out of them we discovered the beauty of these pieces that must have taken forever to do. They are done in black and red and even the borders were hand hemmed and embroidered. 

Also found was a vintage Vera scarf and two Christmas print napkins. The Vera scarf has the lady bug on it.

We found a pair of Danish style wooden candle sticks and some purple Mikasa pieces. I loved the lavender on the shelf and when my daughter picked it up and it was Ben Seibel Mikasa she got excited. We looked for other pieces but these were all we found. It's simple and attractive. I also went out to an estate sale and found a few small items for myself, like brand new slippers and a pair of vintage webbed lawn chairs that need some serious cleaning, but for $1.50 each I can take my tired bones outside next summer and sit in something of comfort. The webbing on them is in good shape but they are the kind of chairs that you can take the old webbing off of and replace easily by just loosening a screw. They also have the kind of legs that don't dig into the ground and leave you off balance. (Oh I so just blamed that on the chairs). So hopefully with a little WD-40 and some cleaning I can bring them back to awesome condition. One more thing on my list of to do's. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dehydrating to keep from wasting.

First up: Apples

This is my 30 something year old dehydrator that just keeps on going. I hope I get a lot more use out of it. With apples being plentiful and reasonably priced I have been dehydrating them so that I don't waste them. As much as I love apple pie I just couldn't justify making a pie and not eat it. When I do I will make a 4 inch pie and know it will get eaten. Veteran's Day this year was spent with my Grandson's and I discovered that they like apples. They finished what I had left in the refrigerator and would have consumed all of the dehydrated one's too if I hadn't had other snacks for them. I'm so glad they love nutritious food. The thing about dehydrating is that you start out with a lot and end up with a small jar full. 

Today however it is time to do the potatoes. Some how I thought that I needed more potatoes than I could eat, but the price was right. I've cooked and cooked potatoes and filled the boys up with potatoes and now it is time to dehydrate some. After all of this I think I still have 15# left. I may end up doing more later in the week so that I don't lose them. Storage in a small apartment is tight, but I can vacuum seal dehydrated potatoes in jars and tuck them some where until I need to use them. 

I'll have to head over to Pinterest to seek a couple of simple recipes. I never in my life would have thought that I would still be using this dehydrator for anything other than the jerky I make for gifts, but when you don't have that big family around any more, and it costs less to buy the larger amounts I guess it's the thing to do. I'm building a reputation as the homesteader in the townhouse.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween week thrift finds.

The pickings have NOT been slim, but the budget has slowed and so has time. I've been busy trying to get a few plants in, hardy Lavender and Hosta's to be exact, and clean the flower beds (thank you Kalob) and oh let's not forget the never ending chives. I don't know why but this year the chives have been a bit overwhelming and there is one more cutting today I'm sure. 

This is a sampling of some of the items found from previous thrifting trips that we will be listing this week. Sales have been steady and we can't ask for anything more than that. 

New embroidery patterns. Two of the four designs.

Salt and pepper shakers.

Large vintage metal tray.

Juvenile print fabric.

More fabric.

And even more fabric. 

Then with all the other things going on with grandsons playing football, love you Josh, and another grandson wrestling, love you Kalob, my granddaughter traveling to New Orleans with her college newspaper, love you Amanda, there's that wonderful cold weather moving in and a change in cooking habits. The basil plant is one of my newly started winter indoor garden herbs and who could ask for anything better than home made deep dish, double crust, chicken pot pie. Love!!! Yes the Danish pot was a thrift find as were all the terra cota pots and saucers and of course the deep dish casserole bowl. Very few items in our home are new.
Have a wonderful week everyone.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mikasa, Fabric, Up Cycled and Service Pieces

Thrift finds this week were so much fun.

Aqua and silver were the finds in this group of Mikasa coffee mugs, a Mikasa Ben Seibel bowl, a beautiful silver cosmetic case that has already been embellished (up cycled) and a beautiful aqua glass with silver embossed flowers. I know a lot of people who are drawn to the color turquoise. It's beginning to grow on me too.

Another turquoise serving tray, oval serving dish and vintage oval casserole with flowers.

This group is the bright colors. First a vintage snack container and pretty vintage fabrics. Fabrics are my favorite finds. Who can resist the colors. Please stop by the stores to see what's new.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Filling the cupboards with extracts and spices.

It all started with vanilla.
I enjoy baking and giving my goodies to friends and family but the extreme cost of extracts and spices was discouraging me. I also have been known to can my extra banana breads, pumpkin breads and whatever to keep from wasting. Being single means smaller portions needed. Well I finally did it. I bought the vanilla beans and vodka. I now have two quarts of vanilla extract brewing, some vanilla sugar blending and some vanilla pudding mix in the pantry. I will be sharing some of the extract and using some for gifts. 

We had been making taco spice and other mixes since our discovery of Pinterest and saved money with our every day cooking so why not keep going and make more mixtures and extracts. The result is two cupboard filled with everything from canning spices to exotic extracts. The canned store bought tomatoes are because I now live in an apartment and growing my own is not allowed and canning them in my small kitchen would be too much. Some day I will have that privilege back. I miss it. If you have it cherish it.

I have a quart of local honey, lavender blossoms and extract, lemon and orange extracts and I also added some burger seasoning this weekend. I hurried this morning to make the lavender extract so that I could put the empty vodka bottle out with the recycling. There were two bottles that went out this morning. I wonder what the refuse collector is thinking. Oh well that's how it goes. Later this week I will be making lemon orange sugar with some leftover dried rinds. I think this holiday season's baking and gift giving is going to be so fun. I'm also looking forward to enjoying healthier eating and more flavorful eating. I already am missing fresh Basil.
I hope everyone has a wonderful week.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Altered Big Shirt

I just finished converting this big shirt into this light weight house robe. At this, in between time of year my winter robe is too warm and my summer robe is too light. This shirt being 100% cotton made it just right for early fall evenings.

I didn't take a before picture, but this was a ladies size 2 X dress shirt. Today it is my robe.

I cut off the shirt cuffs and I added reclaimed lace border to the collar, sleeves and bottom. This gave it the lengths that I wanted and a little femininity. I didn't remove the collar I just stitched the lace to the existing collar to give it stability.

I thought I was done, but it still needed something. I removed the "shirt buttons" in exchange for these pearly ones and did some simple gathering with bias tape and ribbon to give it that non shirt look. It's been fun to make something for me. Hope it inspires you to make something up cycled. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What's new at The Craft Zone.

A few thrift finds.

Jars, jars, and more jars

I try not to spend a lot of money on used canning and food storage jars unless I need to get new ones. Lately it seems as though the thrift stores are charging way too much for used jars. Sometimes $2 plus tax. I leave most of them for some one who doesn't know that a new one with the lid and rim retail for $1.02 plus tax. I managed however to find several for $.75 and made sure the came home with me as long as there were no cracks or chips. This is not the total lot because I filled some already with my potato soup and granola. I found a 1/2 gallon jar, several pints and a couple of different size jars for my special sugars. Yes the bottle of Vodka is on the counter and the vanilla beans are on their way. These jars will hold my vanilla extract, vanilla sugar and vanilla powder. By the holiday season I will have home made gifts to give using my creations.

I found new packages of rick rack and bias tape for $.25 each and my best find was the nutmeg grater for $.50. I can't wait to sew and cook using these items. Confession: Yes I am domestic at heart.

For linens this week I found two double flat sheets with two matching pillow cases and two similar pillow cases. I've slowed down buying new linens until I get caught up (lol) with the projects and inventory I already have, but the price was just too amazing to pass up. I'd tell you but I almost feel guilty getting them for what I did. 

And finally what about all those lovely 12 inch pillow covers made by that creative lady at She continues to amaze me with her use of all those vintage pieces of fabric for up cycled projects. Well, that's what's new here at The Craft Zone. I have some up cycled sewing projects underway, but they are still works in progress and subject to the time I have to do them, but I promise I will be posting them soon. Until then I hope everyone has a great week and please take the time to visit the stores to see what's new.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Simple but good thrift finds.

Very relaxed thrift adventure.

The Pyrex finds were quite a story this week. For the longest time we have been searching for the large aqua Cinderella bowl to complete a set. After a few years of searching with no luck one was purchased for a reasonable price on an on line store. One week after it's arrival and the excitement of having a complete set we wandered out for a donation drop and took a chance at walking through the store just to look. To our shock there she was,sitting on the top shelf, looking tired and for 1/5 the cost of the one purchased on line. Now we have two and can retire some "plastic" functional large bowls and enjoy the new Pyrex. The orange casserole bowl we will be adding to our collection and using it for decoration to add more color to our living space. We found two teal Fire King bowls, another made in Japan Owl vase, a Pyrex refrigerator bowl with a cover, a Vera scarf plus others and a Sesame Street twin sheet. Not a bad thrift haul. We did however leave some Pyrex behind that was in great shape, but the prices are getting higher on some items and it makes it quite easy to leave them behind. That plus the fact that storage space is a commodity these days leaves little choice but to be picky. 

We also found this lovely Kokeshi doll. It is large and a traditional doll. The joke was that I could use it as a bat if any one broke in. Nice thought offspring. It is made from a solid piece of wood, not rare, but just plain fun.

We also found this amazing stoneware Norwegian dish. It is quite heavy with a blue and green floral print. I am going to have to research this. We hadn't seen bowls of this nature with the built in handles, but we are still new to a lot of vintage items. So all in all it was a great week. Very relaxing and peaceful. We hope everyone has had a great week too. Stop by and visit our stores and see what happening. Best wishes to all.