Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Child's clay pottery pieces

Happy Valentine's Day! I am linking this week to one of my favorite link parties, Suzanne's Vintage Thingie Thursday. I love browsing through all the treasures! 

One day - let's call it 10 years ago - while digging through the bins of loose junk at a thrift store, I spied a little piece of glazed, molded clay. I pulled it out of the bin and quickly realized: it was a small clay "monster," obviously made by a child.

Call it PMS, but I got pretty emotional thinking that someone’s mother had likely died and their child’s handmade art got donated to the thrift store. 

Needless to say, my soft collector's heart fell in love with this little guy. So I took him home, and for the next several years I picked up "clay projects" with surprising frequency - to the point where I had a pretty impressive collection of orphaned childs' pottery. 

I actually re-donated many of these pieces after I pulled them from storage following the flood in 2008 that took our house. But I've kept the Monster Guy, and a few other favorite pieces, and thought I was done with this phase of my collecting. 

Until about two weeks ago, when I happened upon this hefty heart dish at the Goodwill. 

My daughter spied it first, pointed it out, and I actually said, "Oh, it's really nice but I don't buy clay projects anymore."  

"Are you sure?" she asked. "It's pretty big, and it's only 99 cents." At that point I took it from her and began to inspect it. It was covered in little stamped markings, probably using similar tools that made the "teeth" of Monster Guy. 

Even with the pretty red and yellow sides, and the generous size, I was going to put it back until I turned it over and read the writing on the back: 

"To: Samtha Samantha, From: Kyle with love"

Someone please tell me I'm not the only one who gets emotional over these things... 

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cleaning an antique wool hooked rug: don't try this at home

I'm almost afraid to admit this, but I decided to toss my possibly antique wool hooked rug into the washer and dryer in hopes of restoring it to some sort of less-than-disgusting condition. 

It worked... for me. But consider yourself warned: DON'T try this on your cherished heirloom rug and then try to sue me when it falls apart in the washer. The ONLY reason I tried this on my rug was that it was specifically NOT a family heirloom. It was a good thrifty vintage find, the right colors for the right price... but it has always been really, really dirty, and to be honest, I wasn't entirely thrilled with having it in the house. 

Here it is the day I brought it home... it's about 3 feet by 4 feet in size. 

This "before" picture hopefully shows you how faded, dirty and matted-down the fibers were. 

I first tried to clean this rug last year by laying it out in the yard and blasting it with the garden hose. ("Sheep get wet, and they don't shrink," I reasoned.) It took for-ever to dry, and even then I felt like it wasn't clean. Plus it had grass clippings on it. So I put it in the dryer, and it came out nice and soft, but not as "revitalized" as I had hoped from a cleanliness standpoint. 

This time around, I decided to go all in. I set the washer on cold water, put the rug in by itself with a dash of liquid soap, and let 'er rip. When I opened the washer, quite honestly I was sorry I'd done it: there were globs of loose, wet, matted wool all over the drum, and I was sure I had ruined the rug. I peeled all the loosened wool off the rug (and cleaned out the washer). To my surprise, after doing that, it really looked like the only actual damage was to a small section of the binding. So I went ahead and put it in the dryer. 

An hour later when I pulled it out of the dryer, I was pleasantly surprised. 

Yes, I ruined a bit of the binding. I believe this would not have happened if I'd thought to set the washer on the gentle cycle. These two photos show the same section of binding, top and bottom. 

But, the rug itself was soft, and clean, and smelled like a dryer sheet. The colors really are beautiful, and the loops are no longer matted. This rug is welcome back in the Mom cave, even with the battle-scarred binding.  

Again, please remember: for me this worked because I had just $20 and zero emotion invested in my rug. And I got lucky, because the "sheep don't shrink" theory holds somewhat true. 

However, the "sheep come apart in the washing machine" theory is also somewhat true. And I would hate for that to happen to your family treasure. 

More soon, 

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Printer cozy part 2, and a freebie

I noted on Twitter this past week that things change quickly - sometimes daily! - in the ol' Mom cave. I recently showed a picture of the cute little cozy I made for our scanner/printer, using a finished standard pillow sham. I sewed up the corners and made a nicely-fitting box cover. 

Well, "the rest of the story" is that this is only one of two printers that we owned, and both of them were out of ink. Needless to say, we finally came to the point where we HAD to print something, and also needless to say, we discovered it was cheaper to buy one new all-in-one unit than to replace the ink in both of them. 

So - short version: we got a new all-in-one printer, but it's more square than rectangular and now my cute little cozy doesn't fit properly! 

Now it's not all bad news... the good news is that we can print, remotely, with the cozy on. We only have to remove it if we want to use the document feed on top for multiple pages, or the scanner. So while the cozy doesn't fit as well as it did on the other one, this unit is functional while still "sort of" covered with shabby roses! 

The other bit of serendipity here is that by getting rid of two pieces of equipment, I freed up the top of this very pretty antique table for a display or vignette of some sort. 

In other news, at work this week someone had set this little cutie on a table in the employee breakroom with a sign attached, "Free to a good home." My first thought was that the basket was a little too "cute country" for my current tastes, but my second thought was "spray paint." So, with the notion that I might eventually paint the basket, I snatched it up.  

I have to admit, it's kinda growing me just as it is. (Ha! get it? GROWING on me... because it's greenery... oh I crack me  up!) 

How was your week? :) 

More soon, 

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