Friday, May 31, 2013

One brown shoe, one green shoe

That's what I wore when I dashed out to an estate sale yesterday morning. I didn't realize it until I kicked my shoes off at home. Whoops!

But who cares? I'm in yard sale heaven!
I'm finding all the things I need for ideas that have been brewing in my brain. And I'm finding all those things that trigger the 'Ooooo, I have to have it' part of my brain, too. I'm learning better self-control. Plus the fact that the house is stuffed. Full. Seriously, something has to go if anything else comes in the door. That funny little mid-century table? It's still floating around, in the way, no place to go.

So here's what I found this past week.
Fun stuff! And more doors!

I grabbed this frame, then saw that the picture looks like where I live, complete with red barn.

I couldn't resist this little dresser. On ebay someone is selling the matching toy hi-boy. It's all I can do to say No, No, No.

Blue mini-trunks? Not for long. They will be white mini-trunks.

I was thrilled to find this old bike to put in the flower bed but my neighbor told me to rethink that idea. She said most old bikes don't have the name brand accessories anymore and my bike is completely intact. She said maybe I shouldn't have it out in the sun. Today I'll be moving yard art around so the bike gets a shady spot.

Awwwww. How sweet.

And finally, a cabinet that might become part of my Miss Mustard Seed display when I get my paint next week.

Yep, you heard it here first!
I'm the new Southern Oregon retailer for the fabulous Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Experimenting with mixers and Milk Paint

Who doesn't like to experiment? 
My mind is forever thinking 'What would happen if I doooo ..... THIS?' And if you listen closely you could hear Mr. Bad Rabbit yelling 'Noooo! Wait!'

At a yard sale recently, I found three drug store cabinet windows that would look better painted. :-) And today, since I was home alone, I thought I'd experiment with MMS Milk Paint. 

Plus, I had an idea ......

What if I used this mini-mixer I've had for years? It is meant to mix protein drinks but powder is powder, right?

Ready to go


First I put down a coat of acrylic paint just to see what would happen when the Milk Paint went over it.

Then I rubbed random spots to see if it affected the crackling Milk Paint is known for. While that dried I mixed my paint.

The tools

Water and paint, ready for the push of the button.

But the mixer was silent. Batteries. Dang! So I unscrewed the bottom ..... wrong bottom, and milky water came spewing out. Milky water everywhere. Well crap. I tightened up the mixer and turned my eyes to ....

My buddy, the milk shake blender.

So, here we go again.

While the blender mixed happily away, I fought (because I had to do it over my head so I wouldn't spill the remaining paint) new batteries into the mixer. But first I had to use a fork to get those old batteries out, but, well, whatever. So I had this thing over my head with paint seeping out while I gouged at it with a fork. And finally, I got the batteries out. Good grief. Then came pounding the new batteries in. Seriously. After all that, I loosened up the paint at the bottom of the mixer and got it going. I let both appliances whirr away for a bit while I cleaned paint off counters and the floor.

The milk shake blender made a foamy paint any barista would be proud of. The little mixer made lumpy paint which wasn't its fault, because:
a) I added too much water after the boo-boo.
b) I had forgotten that water went in first, then powder.
Otherwise you get cement, like I did.
c) I'd added cold water

On the left is foam, on the right is the normal paint. I wanted to see if they would dry differently.

As it turned out there was no difference in how the two consistencies of paint dried. So now I waited for the crackling and peeling to start.

All I got was subtle cracking when what I'd hoped for was dramatic peeling.

A few weeks ago I got dramatic peeling when what I had hoped for was subtle cracking.

This is the thing about Milk Paint. It does what it is going to do and not exactly what you might want. You can use a bonding agent to control the cracking but you still never know what the final result will be. It's all part of the fun. Just let your hair down and paint, paint, paint, Baby!

My finished window is subtly aged and ready to go to my booth.

I have two more windows waiting. I wonder how they'll turn out?
Next time I mix paint I think I'll go back to using my tried and true
immersion blender.

Keep it simple, right?

Linking to:
miss mustard seed
finding fabulous
shabby nest

Friday, May 17, 2013

Thinking small ..... and gray

Small items help fill out a booth and luckily I like painting small things. I'm not too keen on repairing them but, hey, if the price is right ......

This sad kitchen office file thingy had three corners chewed off by a puppy. I totally forgot to take photos of the missing corners but you get the gist.

I had to sculpt new corners with wood filler.

 I didn't have high expectations for this file thingy but it surprised me.

Trashed veneer is probably the simplest thing to fix.

Just add trim.

New corners!

The finished office thingy.


I was told by a designer friend that gray and yellow was the new hip combination. Huh. I missed that somehow but I'm game. I had the perfect little test cabinet.
Love the punched tin pineapple.

Yellow and gray. Who knew?

 The inside is not this bright! Honest!

 Yellow in the drawer.
A bit more yellow around the tin.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Collecting and Detecting

The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.

Earlier this week I was pondering my collections past and present and thinking about the history of how they came to be. And how I'm so much more paranoid about fakes when looking at "antiques."  I've been on ebay and etsy looking for toys (because I want to buy myself a present) and saw one of my toy horses listed for over $4500.00. I'll show you that in a bit. I don't know about others, but I'll buy a cute thing regardless of it being real or reproduction as long as it's not misrepresented. And that usually sets me off on another collection ..... It starts with that one cute, probably repro thing .....

I overheard a collector calling them "re-dos."

Rocking horses came first. I was nuts over them. Right up until I wasn't. Fickle me had discovered vintage childs' chairs (which are almost all painted and gone now.) For a few years there were little chairs everywhere in my house. People asked when I was going to start hanging them on the walls. I tried to identify the old chairs, but no one was trying to trick anybody.

For some reason I turned my sights to the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. Luckily no one is faking knick-knacks. I mean, really. The White Rabbit was followed by white rabbits, lower case. Rabbit clutter started to make me crazy so I sold most of them out of my booth. I kept Bad Rabbit, Spare Rabbit and the White Rabbit (the three on the far right, above).

I stumbled upon Dedham pottery and the Roseville Juvenile Rabbit pattern. Be still, my heart! This was the first hard lesson. I started to collect those ... oh how I love that Roseville rabbit, especially the creamers! Then I learned mine were all fake, every one, and that changed everything. Was collecting going to be no fun anymore? Now when I see an old piece of big name pottery, I ask myself 'How badly do you want this fake?'

 My current passion is German, vintage, pull-toy horses, preferably paper mache, and I am haunting ebay and etsy to see what's there. While searching for The Pull-toy of My Dreams I was sidetracked by vintage ride-on horses. While pull-toys can be alarmingly expensive, the ride-on horses are surprisingly affordable. And they are so darn cute! My house has slowly filled up with the little guys and I still don't have a pull-toy. And before I loose interest (like I do) and move on to Naked Mole Rats or something, I thought I'd show you my little collection of vintage horses. And one honest reproduction.

Presenting: The Horses

It started innocently enough with one tin horse. (I didn't know Mobo horses were a collectors item when I found this one.)

My reproduction platform horse is fairly new and came from a chain furniture store. Horses like mine are being sold as "vintage" or "antique" on ebay for big whopping amounts of money. Don't buy one!  On a rocking horse forum I read: "If it's on ebay, it's fake." There were 5 of these horses on ebay, all but one claiming to be 100+ years old.

Check out this ebay listing. Yikes! That's a heck of a mark-up on a $150 horse from a bed store. Look at the shipping! Wow.

Seriously, how cross would it make you to buy this then go by Big Lots and see about 30 of them?

My poor worn plastic horse has had a rough life. But he's authentic!

Couldn't help myself. I know these are a dime a dozen.
 But look at this face!

My super-awesome rubber horse has remarkable detail. He was so dried out when I got him that I treated him with Armour-All which, besides softening the brittle rubber, brought out some of the original color.

Another Be Still, My Heart moment! A Mobo horse and cart! YAY! Finally! I've waited years!
Happy dance, happy dance.

 This odd little horse sounds like 300 baby rattles when he rolls.
It's loud and annoying. :-)

My very rare Davey Crockett glider.

I can't fit another ride-on toy into the house, but there's room for a vintage German paper mache horse. On ebay and etsy there are three I really like. Then I noticed they had the same head and the bridles was painted on, very poorly. Hmmmm, I thought. Something smells fishy. Okay, another lesson to be learned. Let the research begin!

I found a website that compares real and fake antique toys and GUESS WHAT? Armed with information, it looked like the horses I liked were fakes. When I looked closely they appeared spray painted or airbrushed. And the paint was too shiny. Well, RATS! At least my bigger, ride-on horses aren't worth reproducing. (But beware of rocking horses! They're another story.)

So what clues am I going to look for?

This was the one horse listed that I would bet is real, but it's fairly
new - 1940s. See all the cracking and chipping? This was the only horse with aging paint that I saw online. His accents appear to be sprayed but I think they were doing that by the 40s.

This is the real deal, found in Denmark.
No mistaking this is old. I want it, but the owner wants it, too.

 Here are the 3 "German" horses on the US ebay that I was thinking about. Any one might be real, but it's those heads! Plus the shine doesn't look like old paper. Where's the peeling? At least the bridle isn't painted on the left-hand horse.

What do I do when I can't find what I want? I go to the source, in this case Germany and I open with Google Translate.

It's the real thing....

One from Germany and one from Denmark.
Germany. I just gotta think this one is old. :-) Notice the harness was pretty detailed and the paper mache is tearing. On the fakes the paper mache is made from pulp so it hardens to feel like ceramic. And, oh yeah,
its face is missing.

Denmark. Paint is cracking, harness is detailed and the eyes are glass. This is the one to buy. The seller took it off ebay early for whatever reason and broke my heart. If there was an honest copy of this horse,
I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

Eternal optimist that I am, I found two horses in England I want to bid on, as soon as the sellers send me shipping quotes.

Looks real (enough) to me judging from the crackled paint and
chewed off ears.

Swoon. I could make room for this even if I had to carry it under my
arm all the time.

Wish me luck on my bidding!

See bunny at 
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