Tag: vintage

New Sewing Machines

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For the past number of years, I have been collecting vintage toy sewing machines. Most of my machines are from the 60s and earlier. I was recently able to add three new beauties to my collection.

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I purchased this Straco Jet Sew-O-Matic from one Vintage Junk In My Trunk‘s Instagram sales. It is made from both metal and plastic. It has such a unique shape!

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A few weeks back, I sent Roger off to an auction with directions on what to buy! He came home with this little cutie for $20. I am a sucker for red. This one is actually battery operated, although I haven’t check to see if it still works. Most of the time, the battery compartment is terribly corroded, but this one looks pretty good.

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This was the “must have” machine from the same auction. These machines were made by Casige in Germany. Casige made a lot of machines in many different styles over the years. I love to find the ones with fairy tale decals. This particular one is Little Red Riding Hood. I also own a Hansel and Gretel machine.

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Here’s a close up shot of the decal.



Head Cases

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A few weeks back, I attended an estate sale that advertised over 100 head vases for sale! I have a fascination with these that started back when I was a little girl. My Grandma Reva had one in her basement spare bedroom. As a kid, I wasn’t sure if it was pretty or downright creepy. That particular vase is long gone. Probably sold at Grandma and Grandpa’s auction when they moved away from the farm. I wish now that I had it.

Before the big head vase sale, I only owned a couple of these ladies, but I felt like it was time to grow my collection. The vases were priced at $20 each. If you bought two, the price went down to $15 each. Four or more were $10 each. Obviously, I had to buy at least four!

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The lady on the left is the first one in my collection. I just love her gorgeous pin-up look and the simplicity of those red lips and flower accents. The one on the right was part of the big sale. I love that she’s holding a phone to her ear! How cute is that? Both of these have a shiny glossy finish. My other vases are all a traditional matte porcelain finish.

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Here are a couple of glamorous mid-century ladies. I’m not totally comfortable with that lady in pearls. She is the second in my collection. She’s very proper, but I worry that she wouldn’t hesitate to kill me with a hairpin if I crossed her. The gloved beauty is just fantastic. I love the jewels in her flowers.

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I am completely in love with these two youthful beauties. The one on the left has such an ethereal hippie look. The girl on the right reminds me of Alice in Wonderland.

Head vases have been collectible for a long time, but I have this gut feeling that they’re going to become even more popular. I love the way they depict the fashion and style of particular time periods. They’re just pretty! I know I’m hooked, and I’m looking forward to finding more.

Linking up at


Flaunt It Friday


Vintage Linens Soak

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**This post contains affiliate links. (I get paid a commission if you purchase a product using the links in this post.)

Last week I attended an estate sale and picked up a couple of vintage tablecloths. I didn’t inspect them particularly closely before buying them, because the price was right, and I knew I would be able to use them for crafting if they had many flaws.

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When I got them home and unfolded them, I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed. The pictures above are post-cleaning. They were very dingy, particularly along the folds. Both had a number of stains. For some reason, I decided to see what I could find to possibly clean them up a bit. I really loved the colors and wanted to be able to use as much of the fabric as possible.


I picked up a container of Oxi Clean White Revive (affiliate link). I didn’t have high hopes, but I knew it couldn’t do any harm. I mixed two scoops of the Oxi Clean with two gallons of hot water in a bucket. Then, I placed one of the tablecloths in the solution and let it soak for 24 hours. Occasionally, I would push the tablecloth back down into the water as it wanted to float to the top. The instructions are to soak for 6 hours, and honestly, that would have probably been long enough. By then, all the suds were gone, and my tablecloth was probably just soaking in cold dirty water. After the soak, I washed them normally in my washing machine and dried them in the dryer.

As you can see, both tablecloths came out looking pretty darn good! If you look closely, you might still find a faint stain or two, but they are nothing like they started out. I’m not even sure they’re “cutter” cloths anymore. They may have to go into my collection and not my sewing basket! With this success, I knew I wanted to share this product! (By the way, I am not being paid by anyone to tell you this, and I bought the Oxi Clean myself at Walmart.)

I had a third tablecloth sitting around that I hadn’t taken the time to clean yet, so I decided to take some before and after shots on this one. The pictures aren’t terrific, because I didn’t want the results to be affected by editing the photos too much, but I think you’ll see the difference.

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I ran a black thread through the tablecloth so I’d be able to come back and find the same spot after cleaning for comparison. You can see, there are some pretty serious (and kinda gross) stains on this fabric. This time I didn’t soak for the full 24 hours. It was at least 12 though.

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And, look! Those nasty stains are gone. They are completely gone. Any darkness you see in the photos is shadow. I was amazed. I never expected to get results like this. And I didn’t even have to scrub anything! Now, I’ll have even fewer qualms about buying less than stellar linens!

One of these days, I’m going to soak the family socks in this stuff! It’s practically miraculous!

Happy Valentine’s Day

It’s Valentine’s Day, so I thought I’d take the time to share some of my favorite vintage valentines. Just a little eye candy for this day devoted to love!

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A vintage valentine shaped like a vintage measuring cup!

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Common, but a cutie!

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Her arms and eyes move! And look at the cute bunnies on her top!

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Made in Germany. The fancy ones always were!

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Sad puppy.

And finally,

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Because nothing says, “Be Mine” like a green squirrel.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Rusty Avocados!

Auction Finds

Rusty Avocados - Western Flyer Pedal Tractor

My husband Roger was our auction representative a couple weeks ago. I stopped in early to preview the sale and then went back home. This particular auction had about a dozen full sized vintage sewing machines.  I adore vintage sewing machines, but frankly, I don’t have the room for any more, so we passed on those.

Roger is a pedal car aficionado. So, obviously, he was drawn to this Western Flyer pedal tractor. It is in amazing condition with original parts and paint. He especially loves that single front wheel and the cool graphics.

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This vintage frame is big! It measures 23 inches by 28 inches. It’s in great shape and still has its glass. I love the floral design. Even without a picture in it, it’s a work of art.

This metal stand was something that I pointed out, and Roger wrinkled his nose at, but he still managed to bring it home for me. The middle shelf is slanted so that it can hold books. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up and the wind to die down so that I can shoot this with a bit of aqua spray paint! I wonder if I could find a spot for this in my kitchen. It would be cool for holding cookbooks.

Roger and I love to attend auctions together, but our kids are less than enthusiastic, so we often have to split up. Even when I don’t get to attend, it’s a different kind of fun to see what he comes home with!

Auction Finds

Auctions get a bit scarce during the winter, but I got the chance to attend a big one a couple Saturdays ago. It was packed! Regulars are getting a bit desperate for a good sale, so this one was very well attended. There were a number of items I was interested in. Unfortunately, I had to wait about five hours for them to finally get to what I wanted!

The auctioneer is one of my favorites. He is fast and keeps the sale moving, but no matter how fast you are, it still takes time to get through all the merchandise! I did come home with some pretty good stuff, though, so I was glad I invested the time.

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I picked up this cute breadbox for $12.50. The scale is a little rough, but it has a great porcelain top. Plus, I won it for $6. This auction had a bunch of vintage globes. The larger ones were going for about $50. I managed to snag these two small ones for $12.50 each.

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For some reason, I am always drawn to these bug sprayers. Kind of a weird thing to be attracted, too, but I love the colors and the pump mechanism. I think they will look good in an Independence Day display later this year. The “God Bless America” plaque was in a box of booklets about the Dionne Quintuplets. It’s actually a postcard that could be mailed for a dime. Another good piece for the Fourth!

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This leather fireman’s helmet was the prize of the day. My husband wasn’t able to attend the auction with me, but I texted him a photo of this item. I knew he’d love it. I was given instructions to go for it! I managed to snag the helmet for $60 which was actually at the low end of my husband’s price range, so he was very pleased! I was told that this was worn by a fireman in the Peabody, Kansas volunteer fire department, which was neat, as my father graduated from Peabody back in the 60s.

Looking forward to the next auction! Hopefully, I won’t have to wait long for a good one to come up.


Find more vintage finds at Dagmar’s Home link up party!

Upcycled Vintage Checkerboard


Rusty Avocados - Upcycled Vintage CheckerboardThis was a super simple project that I made using my Cricut Explore. The hardest part was choosing what design to use.

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I began with this vintage wooden checkerboard. It is covered with lots of scratches and marks, but I love that about it. I wanted to display it, but it was begging for a bit of extra something. I thought about putting some kind of cute saying or monogram on it. I looked at some big intricate medallion style designs, but they all seemed to get overwhelmed by the bold checkerboard pattern.

So, I started thinking about the fact that it is a game board. And, it could be used for checkers or chess. And, that’s when I came up with the idea for a crown. I searched “crown” in the Cricut Design Space library and found this crown design. It’s from the Inspired Heart cartridge. The neat thing about Design Space is that I didn’t have to purchase the entire cartridge to get this image. I had a short term subscription this time so I was able to use the image at no cost, but if I hadn’t, it would have only cost me 99 cents to add it to my Cricut image library.

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I sized the image to 11.5 inches and let the Cricut do the work of cutting it out on a sheet of metallic gold Oracal 351 vinyl. I purchased my vinyl from CraftCutterSupply.com.

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Once it was all cut out, I had the fun job of “weeding” which just means removing the pieces of vinyl that I wasn’t going to stick down. I used Cricut’s weeding tool which looks like a dental tool. For more intricate designs, a straight pin works well.

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Once it was all weeded, I cut a piece of contact paper big enough to cover the entire image.

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I used clear contact paper that I picked up at WalMart. I peeled off the paper back and placed the contact paper sticky side down on the vinyl image. Then, I burnished or rubbed the contact paper so that it completely adhered to the vinyl. I keep a Pampered Chef scraper nearby for this purpose. A credit card will also work.

Once it was fully burnished, I slowly lifted the contact paper, checking to see if the vinyl was coming up with it. If not, I placed the contact paper back down and burnished some more. You want to gradually pull up the contact paper until you have removed the entire vinyl image from the backing paper.

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Since the contact paper is clear, it’s easy to see where you are placing your image on the game board. I carefully placed the image as I wanted it, and then burnished over the top of the contact paper again. This time, the goal was to make the vinyl adhere to the game board. It’s much easier to get the vinyl stuck to it’s final home, than to the contact paper! When the image was in place, I carefully pulled the contact paper off. Again, you want to watch to make sure the vinyl is sticking to the game board, and not coming up with the contact paper.

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So simple, but really striking, right? I love that I can get a vintage looking sign, by using a vintage piece that already has so much patina. This will probably be mounted above the mantel in my craft trailer.

Before I purchased my Cricut Explore Air, I had not worked with vinyl. All of my Cricut usage had been limited to paper. The Explore makes it so easy to use different materials, and vinyl is really fun and versatile. If you have the Explore and haven’t done anything with this medium, I would encourage you to give it a shot!



Upcycled Vintage Memo Board

Upcycled Vintage Memo Board


This post contains affiliate links. (I get paid a commission if you use this link to purchase the product.)

Rusty Avocados - Upcycled Vintage Memo Board

This past summer I picked up a rather ratty looking memo board at an auction. I think I probably paid about $3.

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The cork was dry and rotted, so I knew that would need to be replaced. I also decided to repaint the chalkboard, as it wasn’t even possible to erase the original one anymore. I started out by removing the cork and giving the entire thing a good cleaning with a damp cloth.

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I taped off the wood frame around the chalkboard, so that it could be repainted without slopping chalkboard paint all over the wood frame. (I am not a neat painter.)

I used Rust-Oleum chalkboard paint (affiliate link)and a dense foam roller to apply the paint. It went on very smoothly and I was please with the finish I got. It did take several coats to really get the coverage I wanted, but it dried quickly between coats. The instructions state that you need to allow the paint to cure for at least three days prior to writing on it.

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Because I am a sloppy painter, I knew I needed to protect that chalkboard while I painted the frame, so I taped off the edges and went to work with acrylic craft paint. I used a sponge brush and about three coats to cover it. Then, I completely covered the chalkboard with a layer of protective paper and sprayed the frame with a clear sealer. This gave it a bit of a shine and should keep the acrylic paint from flaking off too easily.

Here’s the part where you learn from my mistakes:


When the painting and sealing was done, I removed the masking tape from the chalkboard, and along with the tape came a lot of the chalkboard paint. Talk about disappointment. I never should have used the masking tape, or at the least, I should have made sure I was using a much less sticky version.

This error in judgment forced me to sand a good portion of the chalkboard and repaint the entire thing, without the aid of tape. I did most of the repainting with a foam brush and used the roller at the end to finish off. I kept a damp rag handy to quickly wipe any mistakes off the frame as quickly as possible.

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Before I knew about the frustration of masking tape, my biggest concern was replacing that cork board. I decided to create a French style memo board using some pretty gold flecked burlap that I found at Hobby Lobby. I knew I would need to use something rigid, but flexible for the backing so that I could actually get the board back into the frame. I found a piece of corrugated plastic signage material that fit while still giving me enough wiggle room to add the burlap and ribbons. Figuring out just the right measurements was a trick! Trial and error. That’s my usual method!

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It’s hard to see, but the burlap has a little bit of gold woven into it. The fabric on the left is a thick flannel that I used as the padding for the board.

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I cut the flannel just a smidge (technical term) smaller than the backing so that I wouldn’t add any additional bulk that would make it harder to wedge the finished piece back into the frame. I used a double layer of the flannel to give it extra padding and attached it to the base piece with double sided tape.

I cut the burlap big enough to give me plenty of overlap, then placed the backing board flannel side down on the burlap and applied strips of double sided tapes around the edges. I stretched the burlap around the edges and trimmed the corners a bit to reduce the bulk. The corners were still a little rough, but I knew they wouldn’t be noticeable once it was framed.

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When it came time to place the ribbons, I simply did some cutting and eyeballing. I placed all the “back slash” pieces first and evened them up a bit. Then went back and added the “forward slash” pieces adjusting as necessary. To keep it all in place while I glued them down, I placed a straight pin into the middle of each crisscross. Then I glued the ribbon ends to the back of the board.

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This is the glue. I love this stuff. Beacon 3-in-1 Advanced Craft Glue (affiliate link). It’s like hot glue in a bottle without the heat or the gun. It’s strong and dries fast. It’s advanced, kids! I am not so advanced. It took me twenty minutes to realize that the brand new bottle had a foil seal under the lid that was keeping the glue from coming out of the bottle. I thought it was just cold.

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In order to keep the ribbons tight, I added embellished brads to the center of each crisscross. My trusty cropadile allowed me to punch through all those layers of corrugated plastic, flannel, burlap and ribbon. This is one tough tool. Then I could easily attached the brads.

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The brads were some cute Teresa Collins ones that I had in my stash. I love the extra bit of embellishment they added.

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The final step was wedging the board back into the frame. There was lots of bending, twisting, pushing and praying.

Rusty Avocados - Upcycled Vintage Memo Board


And, there it is! I couldn’t be happier with this. (Okay, I would be happier if I hadn’t had to do all that repainting, but all’s well that ends well!)

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Now, that’s a satisfying comparison!

Nylint Ford Truck & Camper

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It isn’t easy to find the perfect gift for my husband, but every once in a while, I come across something fantastic! We found this little beauty at Paramount Antique Mall in Wichita, Kansas. (If you ever have the chance to visit, you absolutely must do it.)

I wasn’t able to buy this the day we saw it, because Roger was with me, but I ran back over the next day and searched and searched and searched. This is a big antique mall, and it took me a while to re-locate it.

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We own three vintage campers, so this definitely caught our eye. It didn’t hurt that it’s the perfect shade of aqua! I was impressed with the condition. The little plastic windows are all intact and slide open and closed. The only issue is that the hinges on the back door are broken. Not an unusual issue in these type of toys.

The truck itself is made of steel. The camper portion is plastic. It was probably produced in the 1960s. I love the details on that camper. Right down to the little propane tanks on the back and that cute Ny-Lint arrow logo.

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The camper can be lifted up and removed. Check out that tiny wheel well! And how about those whitewall tires? I don’t usually get too excited about my husband’s vintage toy trucks, but this one is too, too cute!



My family has a thing for heirlooms. And, not necessarily in the traditional sense of your great-grandmother’s Tiffany lamp or Ming vase. We’re into the stuff that evokes memories. Stuff we remember from our childhood or the simplest thing that belonged to someone we love.

Some of the most cherished items in my house were given to me by a grandparent, purchased at the auction of a friend or relative or even rescued from a box destined for our family’s annual garage sale. Many of them are kitschy, shabby and even downright creepy.

This Christmas, after the kids had opened their presents, dinner was eaten and cleaned up, we adults gathered in the living room for our white elephant gift exchange. Imagine our delight when the very first gift opened (by my brother-in-law) was an heirloom! My mom was passing on Zippy, her toy monkey from the 1950s!

I think my brother-in-law was a bit horrified to be confronted with Zippy’s plastic face, giant ears and creepy hands. My sister quickly stole him from her own husband when it was her turn. I think she was afraid he would give it away (or burn it.) I was seriously eyeing that monkey. But my “little” sister is a lot stronger than me, and she reminded me that she can still leave bruises.


Then, she started looking like she might cry if anyone took that monkey from her. (He came with a gift card, too. I told her she could keep the gift card, even if I stole the monkey. She wasn’t buying it.)

So, when it came to be my turn to pick a new gift or steal one, I let her keep Zippy. Although, I may have mumbled something about her getting the monkey and the red chair…


Ah, yes, the red chair. This super-comfy retro red chair was a fixture at my grandparents’ house when I was a kid. It has a wooden base, and a pair of springy metal bars that make it move like a bouncy rocking chair. I have no idea who manufactured this chair, but I have never seen another one like it.

When my grandma moved to a smaller place, the red chair ended up at my mom’s house, and then one day, it showed up at my sister’s house! What?! Mom had given it to her, without even asking if anyone else wanted it! She was in the right place at the right time. And, frankly, that’s how most heirlooms get handed down around here.

So, I’ve been a bit jealous about that chair for several years. Comments have been spoken. Threats of theft have been made. Last Saturday evening, we arrived home after spending Christmas day with my in-laws and there was something giant on our front porch. Something giant covered by a big plastic Santa Claus gift bag. And there was a tag. “Merry Christmas from Your Not So Evil Sister.” The chair. Just as bouncy as I remembered it.