Thursday, March 30, 2006

Antiques in France

by corey amaro

Spring is in the air, and the fleamarkets are filling up the scenery faster than the leaves on the trees. If you are coming to France forget the Eiffel Tower, let the Louvre hang out by itself, forego the caf├ęs, runways and the Champs Elysees! Instead grab your bag and head for the flea markets! (Remember this: wear comfortable shoes, go there around 7am for the best deals, and start by saying, "Bonjour!")

Here is a sampling of the things you can find in the South of France.
Little bit of French country anyone?
A souvenir to cherish!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

garden-gate headboard

if you live in an area that has an architectural salvage spot, or where old buldings reside, then you may be lucky enough to come across discarded pieces that can be recycled into beautiful furniture. flea markets, yard sales, even roadside pick-up are places to begin. an idea recovered from my martha stewart stash has been on my mind lately, since i adore wrought iron beds. their romance could fit in any type of setting, and if you're like me and like to mix modern and vintage, this is for you too.

here, a garden gate tipped to one side becomes a one-of-a-kind headboard. a trellis, a section of a victorian fence, or even a door would also be good ideas. make sure you clean up the peice by sanding off any rust, applying metal primer from your local hardware store (work outdoors!) and paint your desired color. use wall stud or anchors, home improvement stores are a big help if you describe the find your are looking to hang. the idea is to mount it behind your bed in a way that is pleasing to your eye and your taste. there's something rewarding in taking something that was once loved but cast aside and breathing new life into it. especially when that tranformation takes place in an intimate surrounding like where you lay your head at night.

Friday, March 24, 2006

garden salvage

The best thing about gardening for me is finding creative ways to re-use worn out objects. I visit a lot of different gardens in the spring, with my camera in hand...

Here are a few clever recycling ideas I've found in my neighborhood (click images to view larger).

salvage garden ~ recycled windows

This garden utilized old broken window panes, with the most wonderful shapes as backdrop for a small koi pond and fountain.

salvage garden/ faery garden

A miniature fairy garden was built using old wooden crates at different angles.

salvage garden

This old metal bedframe creates a whimsical garden room at my favorite local nursery. In the springtime they plant it up with friendly violas and white bacopa that cascades over the sides. The drawers are planted up with bright pansies, and a floormat was constructed at the base with Irish moss (groundcover), that spells out "Mary's room".

skeleton key wind chimes

Last spring I created these skeleton key windchimes, with fishing string, beads, and crystals.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

mirror mirror on the wall

by corey amaro


Sometimes that which we are looking for finds us instead.
Sometimes we see what we are missing caught in a reflection.
Often an object tells more than one story.
Never is there one way of looking at it.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Seek and you shall find!
Often what we need is within ourselves.
When going to the fleamarket keep an open heart, for you never know what will
come your way!
Vintage Venetian mirror with a reflection of vintage
handpainted wall paper in the background

Sunday, March 19, 2006

laughable loot

sometimes you can't help but snicker at all of the ridiculous things you find in thrifts, most of which i can't leave behind. here are a few of my most recent knee-slapping novelties!

nautical s&p set

this nautical salt-n-pepper set features the lovely companionship of one pipe-mouthed slicker-wearing old salty and his naval pal cap 'n pepper, who are both sporting fantastic goatees, by the way. what is so amazing is that these seasoned mates look exactly like the graphic on the box - it is uncanny!

needlepoint kits

these charming little needlepoint kits were each given their own names like holly horse the horse and rooster the rooster. they came equipped with all of the essentials for a completing a piece including a 6X6 printed canvas, wool yarn, a tapestry needle, instructions, and when the craft was complete, a printed paper frame! that's right, the brown and yellow decoration around the colorful critters is not a part of the canvas. it is in fact a piece of paper that you are supposed to use when framing your holly horse or rooster. they also came in their very own plastic snapped carrying case for needlepoint on-the-go.

the fabulous rotating knitting bracelet

how is it possible that the fabulous rotating knittng bracelet is no longer an everyday knitting necessity? look at the facts:
* always near you
* cannot tangle
* ideal while travelling
it's also made in the usa, it's gold plated, and the instructions are very simple:
1.-fold the "shuttle" flat.
2.-insert ball of yarn thru shuttle.
3.-open shuttle.
4.-you are now ready. ball will rotate and yarn cannot tangle.
what is so genius about the fabulous rotating knittng bracelet is its ability to break the norm of existing as a boring crafting device - not only is it fashionable, but it's the most practical knitting aid ever made. fashion and crafting can be friends after all!

Specialiste Du Meuble Provencal

Specialist is Provencal Furniture
by Corey Amaro


When one window is closed surely another opens!
Today the antique fairs in the South of France
were cancelled due to rain!
Rain! Such a rare event! We need rain! I should be
dancing with joy with Gene Kelly!
Instead, I feel like the rain on the parade!
Unwelcoming and splashing the puddles that
are in my way!
Did it have to pick Sunday to come visit?
Six other days in a row it could have had!
Why on Sunday!
One window closed, but another always opens...
I'll go check out the shops instead!

Friday, March 17, 2006

10 rules for salvage sisters

1. when in doubt, don't throw it out.

2. rust is a variation of red; red is always an acceptable color.

3. never be the early bird at a yard sale. the real possibilites are in the rubble.

4. never sell among yourselves; trade only. (it keeps that sisterly love alive.)

5. broken? all the better. imperfect is perfect.

6. don't look at it for what it is, but for what it could be.

7. it's about the eureka! moment, not he thing itself.

8. make the recycling bin your first stop for art supplies.

9. hunt, find, and tell. no secret sources.

10. never worry about how to get it home; just get it.

~excerpt from the salvage sisters by kathleen hackett & mary ann young

Common Grounds: Flea Marketing in France

by Corey Amaro

-Bonjour Monsieur! How much does this vase cost?
-25 Euro, it is tres sympas non? It is nice isn't it?
-Yes, yes it is! Too bad that it is chipped...see here?
-Oh, really? But it is not so bad, once you put flowers in it, nobody will notice.
-Since it is chipped will you take less, how about 10 Euro?
-No, no, no my price is firm, 25 euro! If it weren't chipped I would sale it for over a hundred Euro!
It is a very good deal at 25 Euro.
-Umm, Okay you're selling it at 25 Euro, and I am asking for a better price, maybe we can strike a deal somewhere in about 15 Euro?
- What! For that price I might as well have it restored and sale it for more!
-Come on, please! I am willing to buy your chipped vase, can't we make a deal?
-Whew! I'll make a petite effort, 20 Euro and that is final!
-That is nice of you... 20 Euro and you throw in that teacup without a saucer...see it over there, Yes, that one!!
-WHAT! I give you an inch and you take the whole stand! You are one tough cookie! Here take the plate for 15 Euro!
-And the teacup too?
-Ah, you Americans are good at business! Here is the deal... I'll give you the teacup, if you'll have a cup of coffee with me?
-Sounds tres sympas! With a wink of my eye I add...
As long as you're paying for it!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Put On A Happy Face

There's nothing like thrifting to raise your spirits!

It's cheaper than a new haircut or fresh flowers;

Fewer calories than a pint of Rocky Road;

Keeps you from whining to your sister, again;

And gives you something to talk about on your blog!

vintage baking pans

i recently went through a giant stack (a few years worth in fact) of martha stewart living magazines to cut down on the clutter in my home. and going while through them, an article about vintage pans struck really my fancy. it makes me wonder, are baking pans a common collection? are they easy finds at thrift stores?
i can imagine them making lovely displays hung in a mass on a wall, with their delicate but industrial shapes looking like sculptures. and imagine the cake shapes you could make! i'm sure that there have been remakes of vintage pans, but something about pulling out some perfectly shaped brioches from an antique french mold is extremely romantic.
or what if you started a collection of vintage baking pans from all over the world? now that would be a tag sale tale.
(photographs by jose picayo)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

existential thrifting

one of the most intriguing things about thrifting, to me, is knowing that i find one-of-a-kind treasures that existed many times over at some point in time. i often ponder how unique my finds actually are - i cheat and look them up on ebay and find that there are more than one of what i found out there! it truely amazes me that somewhere out there, someone, or possibly more than one, owns a copy of these thrifted finds of mine!

does someone out there have this vintage milk glass spice jar set with cute little pink metal tops that sits in my kitchen, sitting in their kitchen?

milk glass spice jars with pink metal tops

does someone have a yard or two of my most prized vintage fancy chickens fabric that's stashed among other piles of uncut fiber in my sewing room, in a pile in their sewing room?

fancy chickens

and to think that someone else in the world could be looting the same exact thing that i found yesterday in a thrift in philadelphia - it is unbelievably bizarre! what are the chances of that happening? my answer would be slim to none, but a few times in my thrift career i have found something twice!

has this ever happened to you?

Friday, March 03, 2006


This colorful display in my aunt's home really sparked my imagination about how something as inexpensive as a glass bottle can make such a big impact when grouped together as a collection.

Location is also important when planning a display. Here my aunt took advantage of a mirrored built-in cabinet and used tiny lights to illuminate them (pictured above). A porch rail or window ledge is also another great way to display glass, the afternoon sunlight brings out its translucent qualities. Below is a picture of my vintage miniature bottle collection. Last spring I moved them onto my kitchen window ledge to display sweet pea cuttings.

Here are a few random ideas for creatively displaying vintage collections:

Draping vintage hankies diagonally on a shelf so the corner triangles are hanging over the edge in lieu of vintage scalloped shelf paper.

Display folded stacks of colorful vintage linens on open shelving arranged by color.

Try not to be a slave to convention, instead use an object out of context to show off your ingenuity. Old metal wire egg baskets are great for storing things such as art supplies, and something as common as a old metal beach pail can breathe new life as a clever brush, soap, or towel holder on a bathroom vanity.

Backs of old postcards can be re-used as apothecary bottle labels with spray adhesive, the image showing on the reverse side through the body of the bottle.

Items in a display can be completely unrelated in theme as long as the colors harmonize. Try looking to the past for color palette inspiration.

By moving objects around in your home every now and again, you'll feel as if your collection is brand new!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


so how much is luck involved in finding?

well, you visit several hit-or-miss shops, every so often, you come to know their strengths and weaknesses. the one on main street always gets the best shoes, while the one on the other side of town gets the best cardigans and paperback books. you visit often, but don't always win with a treasure to come home with. you sometimes go out of your way and leave empty handed. you leaf through dirty piles of unwanted items to find it. your toddler gets terribly bored and begins to hide under teh unwashed smokey smelling racks of coats and you just ran out of hand sanitizer. your hair gets sull of static when you try on that sundress. and its pilled all over.

and yet, with all that planned time and effort, being in the crowded, smelly thrift store with the rude sales people...somehow...when you do arrive at the just so straw beaded structured spring bag for a mere credit lady luck.