Vintage Fur of Yesteryear

wearing a tan wool jacket and a fox fur stole

There is danger when you scroll through the Poshmark “vintage” tag with the intent to not purchase anything, because you very well might just find something to purchase. And when you’re looking at vintage items (especially when you find one for a good price) you know you might never find anything like it ever again. I’m not usually an impulse buyer, but when I saw this little vintage fur fellow in excellent condition, I decided he had to come and live with me.

wearing a tan wool jacket a fox fur stole a pearl necklace and a cream ring

I know that feelings run high when it comes to fur, and some people might find wearing a fox fur stole macabre, but I quite like this little guy. Fur collars and stoles with the head and tails were very popular through the first half of the 20th century, and in my vintage Sears catalogue books they have quite a few available in the 1920’s and 30’s. In a world of PVC and polyester, where fur, and even leather, has started to become taboo, it is strange to see advertisements for furs that can’t be mistaken as anything but dead animals.

wearing a tan blazer embroidered shell and pearl necklace

I haven’t had an occasion to wear him out, so I had to create my own occasion for his debut. I actually don’t know whether I will ever wear him; I think he would need a very particular occasion, and he is kind of hard to wear because of where the clasp goes. I’m also a little concerned that despite the fact he is in great vintage condition, furs do become fragile with age and I don’t want damage him through pulling and strain.

Anyway, the moral of this story is: don’t browse through vintage clothing unless you are fully prepared to bring some pieces into your collection!

closeup of fox fur stole

Social Saturday | March 12

glass cloches with dried flowers butterflies and moss

We’ve made it through another week, dear Reader! How was yours? My week was good; nothing out of the ordinary happened. I did some redecorating in my room in anticipation of spring…dried flowers, a butterfly and some moss in my cloches.

painting with milk paint and writing letters on pretty stationery

This picture above of painting with the milk paint was from ages ago, but I never posted it, so here it is now. We did finish that storage cabinet this week; sealing it with the linseed oil and assembling it. It’s finished, but we have to wait for it to fully cure before we move it into the sewing room. I hate waiting- I want to move it in now and start organizing the space!

afternoon teatime with carrot cake

I made a carrot cake this week. This is probably my favourite recipe; it substitutes some of the oil for applesauce. One of the problems with carrot cake can be that it’s too oily, and the applesauce fixes that problem wonderfully!

wobblert the american buff gander

The last image I will leave you with this week is this one of our gander Wobblert. It’s a long story of why he has that name, but mainly because he has a problem with his legs and he wobbles. It’s a fitting name. He was mad that I dared to come and take a photo of him, so he climbed up on this snow drift and hissed at me. He’s not actually very mean, but I am always a bit wary since he bit my foot last year when the geese were trying to hatch eggs and he was overly protective of them!

Anyways, that was my week! How was yours? Any plans for the weekend and for next week? 

Social Saturday | March 5 (Winter Again!)

galvanized metal quanset surrounded by trees covered in white frost

And here I am again with more winter photos even though I just posted some on Tuesday…however I woke up this morning and was greeting with this beautiful sight, so of course I had to take my camera out to capture it! I never tire of seeing a beautiful frost. Do you get frost where you live?

a line of spruce trees covered in frost

I haven’t done a “lately” post for a while, so here are some things I’ve been up to.

What I’ve been reading– The “Daughters of Fortune” series by Judith Pella. I received this set for Christmas, though it took forever to arrive (bought from Thrift Books) so I just started reading it now. It’s one of my favourite book series, set in WWII.

branches covered in large white snowflakes and frost silhouetted against a blue sky

What I’ve been watching– I just found out about this movie “Sabina, Tortured For Christ: The Nazi Years”. I wasn’t familiar with Sabina Wurmbrand at all, so it was really fascinating to watch this part of her life. It is available to watch for free this weekend (March 4-6) here. All you have to do is register.

row of graineries in different colours of grey, blue and red covered in snow

What I’m thankful for– The fact that I am feeling much better after being sick for several weeks. It’s so nice to get back into the swing of things- work, sewing and other projects. Even just giving your bedroom a good sweep and dusting feels good when you haven’t been able to do it for a while. It’s crazy how much things pile up when you’re stuck in bed!

seed cone and a pine tree covered in snow and silhouetted against the blue sky

What I’ve been making– My mom and I started painting a storage cabinet in January, but then put it on hold once I got sick. It is our first time using milk paint, and I’ve been quite enjoying it. Now we just have to oil it and then we’re done. I am hoping to finally finish it today! Have you ever tried milk paint?

snow covered road lined with frosty trees

What I’ve been eating– This recipe went viral last year, so probably everyone has tried the Tomato Feta Pasta, but if you haven’t yet, you really should. I used this recipe from The Daily Connoisseur”. Since we didn’t have enough fresh tomatoes, I used some diced canned tomatoes, and it turned out just as good!

branches covered in sparkling white frost against a blue sky

What I’ve been working on: Adding a bunch of my artwork to my shops! I have started re-listing pieces on my Poshmark Shop, and some will make their way to my Art Shop too. I decided not to renew my contract with the art gallery in town, so all of the pieces that I was showing there will be making their way to the shops in the coming weeks.

Well, that’s what I have going on right now. What plans do you have for this weekend? Whatever you do, I hope it is a good one!

a view of a valley with trees and an old gas tank in the foreground covered with snow

Snow Softly Sifting Down

mugo pine needles covered in heavy snowfall

The snow is softly sifting down outside my window, and it looks like a perfect picture postcard. The calendar might say March, but the it’s still winter out there. Before the weather changes to warmer days, though, I had better share these photos. It’s just a small mix of scenes from the past couple of months, that I’ve taken on warmer days when I’ve ventured out for some fresh, cold, air!

What is the weather like where you are at? 

chickadee silhouetted against a cloudy sky

abandoned buildings and trees against a cloudy sky and covered with snowfall

shadows through the trees slanting across the snow drifts

mugo pine needles green against a backdrop of snow

a gravel country road covered in snow and trees with bare branches against the sky

Finding and Styling Thrifted Home Decor

thrifted home decor items on a table: a teacup, pitcher, picture frames and vintage books

I was recently inspired by one of my favourite bloggers, Sarah from She Holds Dearly, to do my own version of her series “Styling Thrifted Finds”. Almost all of my decor is thrifted or secondhand, and it would actually be easier to find the pieces that were purchased new so this is just my “recent” thrifted home decor; otherwise I would have to post a picture of my entire bedroom!

I love thrift shopping, and we have an excellent thrift store in town. It’s housed in the ground floor of an old building from 1912, and is a rabbit warren of rooms full of treasures waiting to be unearthed. It always requires a lot of digging past junk to find those treasures, but the prices are so good that it’s worth it. And because it’s a charity shop, I am always more willing to buy than I am at a for-profit shop. (And to donate my old items to as well!)

a gold enameled vintage oval mirror

First up, here are some items that made their way into my recent gallery wall. I found this vintage gold mirror from that thrift store in town. It was originally priced at $25, which I thought was a bit steep for that shop, and when I brought it up to the till, the lady who organizes the shop knocked $5 off (without me saying anything), because she thought it was a bit steep too! It pays to have a good relationship with your local thrift shops.  There is some of the gold enamel worn off on the bottom edge, but it just adds to the patina. The oval shape of the mirror fit perfectly over top of my bookshelf, and it lines up perfectly with my dresser mirror opposite, so I can use it to see how the back of my hair looks.

three vintage frames leaning against the wall

Thrift stores are also excellent places to find picture frames. The wooden frame with the oval opening cost $0.50, and even though it doesn’t have glass, it was still a bargain. If I want glass for it someday, I could always buy another frame for the same price and steal the glass and it would still only cost $1.00. The oval opening in the frame was perfect for this antique styled photo of my friend and I. (Ps. the black frame with the fashion illustration, below, was originally white, but I painted it with black chalk paint and waxed it and it looks so much better. I also painted the mat with acrylic paint. If you find frames that are the perfect size, but not the colour you’re looking for, you can always transform them with a little bit of paint!)

vintage wooden oval frame; styling thrifted home decor in my gallery wall

Both the wooden frame and the large gold one were frames that I saw at two different second hand shops, decided to not buy, and then wished that I had. Amazingly when I returned to the shops weeks later, the frames were still there, so I brought them home, of course.

vintage gold frame with view from the elbe landscape painting

I wasn’t in love with the watercolour that was originally in the large gold frame (for $8.00 by the way), so I removed it and decided to print some new artwork. I found a couple high resolution downloads of vintage artwork online and got them printed as poster prints. Because they are in the public domain, they are free to use and some can actually be downloaded directly from museum collections. I also printed an artwork for this black frame, below, at the same time. The two pieces I chose are this gorgeous black botanical “Still Life with Roses” by Elias van den Broeck”, and for the gold frame, this landscape which is titled “View from the Elbe” by Johan Christian Clausen Dahl. If you are looking for a different landscape, there are some other really lovely ones available here. (I love the one of the cottage with the chickens in front, but it was the wrong aspect ratio for my frame).

dutch floral still life with roses

I found the vintage brass frame with the convex glass on Poshmark (that’s a dangerous place to browse) and I have put a Victorian calendar page in it for now, but if I ever find a Victorian portrait, I will replace it.

tiny hanging picture frames

I also picked up these little brass frames to add to my gallery wall. I put pictures of my mom and both grandmas in them, and they fit in perfectly.

stack of vintage books

Moving on to finds of a different sort, vintage books are always a great thing to look for. The bottom one, Mary Queen of Scots, was from a thrift shop for $1.00 and the top three were from a library sale; all three for just $1.50.  The library books had dust jackets- always make sure to look behind the dust jackets of vintage books to see if they are clothbound. The top one, unfortunately, had glue residue from the ancient library tape which had ruined the colour and finish of the spine, so I painted it over with gold paint. It originally had gold lettering, similar to the bottom book, so it was too bad that the spine wasn’t in good condition, but for $0.50, I don’t mind. I have gathered all of my vintage books onto the bookshelf in my bedroom, for now.

styling vintage books on a bookshelf

Vintage books also make a nice backdrop for other decor. In the past I have used my vintage books to create vignettes on my IKEA bookshelf. They can also be used as risers to give height to seasonal decor, and large ones can be used as a sort of tray to ground other items when placed on a table. And, of course, you can read them too!

silver spoons before and after polishing

Another thing to keep you eye out for at the thrift stores is silverware. It is getting harder to find, but I do still come across it sometimes. These pieces looked so terrible and tarnished they were mixed into the bin of loose stainless steel cutlery, and were only $0.25 each. After a polishing, they are ready to add to my mismatched silverware set! To polish silverware easily (I wouldn’t use this for anything too precious, since I’ve heard it can blur delicate detail work) this is the method I use.

Line a heat proof container, or your sink, with tin foil. Place silver on top of the foil, leaving space between the pieces. Sprinkle 2 tbsp. of salt and 2 tbsp. of baking soda over top. Boil a kettle full of water (mine is 1.7 L). Pour the boiling water over top of the silver until they are submerged and watch the tarnish magically disappear! Let soak for up to 2 minutes, remove and rinse the pieces and then buff dry with a soft cloth to remove any remaining colour. It works amazingly well!

brass pillar stand

Another find was this brass stand. It is approximately 6″ across and 3″ tall. I think it may have originally been for a pillar candle? Or perhaps it originally had a glass cloche?

plant on top of the brass stand

The top was very scratched, but it makes a perfect plant stand. It gives the purple shamrock at the back of the buffet just enough height from the plants in the front.

vintage transferware pieces

And the last thrifted finds for today are these two transferware pieces- one featuring a scene of an English estate and the other of an 18th century man riding a horse. The teacup didn’t have a saucer, but that was fine because I had another plan for it. Likewise, I didn’t know what I was going to use the little cream pitcher for, but I quickly had an idea. I think the teacup was $4 and the pitcher was $2, from two different shops.

transferware pieces in a drawer and on top of the dresser

I store all of my makeup and toiletry supplies in baskets and castoff teacups. They work perfectly to hold my brushes and lipsticks and makeup wipes, and look so much prettier than usual organizing bins. I added this teacup in with a few others I have in my makeup drawer.

And for the pitcher, I put a bit of stuffing and a piece of black felt inside to create a cushion to hold my hat pins. I wear these pins on my berets, and it’s nice having them easy to access on my dresser as I get ready.  

That’s how I have styled my recent thrifted home decor. I’m always on the lookout for unique home decor pieces, though I leave more pieces behind than I buy these days. I’m trying to be more of a minimalist…but that doesn’t always work out.

What sorts of things do you keep your eye out for at the thrift shops? What is your best thrifted find ever? Do you have any good charity shops where you live?