Category Archives: Tips

New Frontier – At The Auction

vintage-finds-008I went to an estate auction last Saturday with my husband and my friend, Sara.  None of us had ever been to an auction before, but we were open to trying something new and it was a beautiful, sunny day, so we piled in the car and drove about 30 mins to the estate of someone who used to own an auto repair shop.

It was totally different than anything we had ever been to before!  It wasn’t set up like the auction houses you see on TV.  It basically looked like a giant garagle sale in someone’s yard, but you had to wait until the auction started to buy stuff. After we figured out how to sign up for a number and how to bid, we totally got into the swing of things.  Hubs wandered over to the auto section of auction, while my friend Sara and I camped out in the housewares section.

Then we started winning things. 

I have to admit, it was pretty undignified, even for me. We were clapping our hands and squealing when the other won something they wanted, and by the end of the first hour we had our arms filled with treasures and a very bemused crowd around us. Someone took pity on us and gave us boxes, another person gave us some newspapers to put around our glass items to keep them from banging together.  But most just laughed at us, not in a mean-spirited way, but I think they laughed with us because we were so obviously enjoying ourselves.  At least I hope they did. If we annoyed anyone, I apologize!

Sara walked out with three boxes of treasures. She got a set of vintage stoneware similar to some her grandmother had left her and a great green pitcher and bowl with a curved edge. vintage-finds-007

I got an Apollo Ware melamine bowl with pastel splatters in it.  I LOVE it.  It has some light utensil marks on the inside, but it will make a great chip bowl.


I also got a great set of vintage glasses. They aren’t as old as some other ones I’ve had, but I love that these are a little heavier, and since we use the vintage glasses for everyday, it will be nice if they can take a beating and still be functional. We have broken two vintage glasses in as many months, and are starting to feel pretty bad about abusing them.

After the housewares section of the auction was over, they started on the furniture and other items.  These “other items” consisted of seized drug bust items from the state of Michigan, like semi-automatic guns and electronics plastered with evidence stickers. Seriously.  So, we played with the guns for a while, took pictures of Sara holding a Bushmaster and laughed and then cashed out our purchases. Sara’s total was under $20, and ours was a little over, since Hubs had bought some tools. All in all, pretty good entertainment for a Saturday afternoon. 

We can’t wait until the next one!vintage-finds-015



Filed under Laughs, thrifting, Tips, Vintage

Popular Science Show Place Home – Entryway Divider

Welcome guests into your home the 1950’s way with this great entryway divider!Entryway Divider 1

Entry Divider IIEntry Divider III

Another great idea from the Make Your Home a Show Place issue of Popular Science!  Stay tuned for more great ideas, such the best garden shed EVER, telephone corners and even furniture!

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Filed under 1950s, DIY, Ideas, Tips, Vintage Houses

Popular Science’s DIY 1950s Home

On Valentine’s Day, Hubby and I drove 2 hours up North to go to a restaurant we discovered while we were first dating.  Most people would think that was too far for dinner, but I always look forward to long drives with my husband. We spend those trips talking, and I mean really talking.  At home there are distractions and dishes, phone calls and bills, and pretty soon we fall into bed exhausted.  But when we go for a drive there are no distractions, and we talk for hours about philosopy, art, our relationship and other abstract things that we normally don’t talk about during the busy week.

And we get to shop!

We are always suckers for a mysterious looking shop, a cute roadside stand, and pretty much every antique store we can lay our eyes on.  So when we arrived early for our dinner reservations, we decided to drive around the little town we were in until we found some place to shop.  Of course, about 30 seconds later, we stumbled on a cute little antique shop, where I found this magazine:Popular Science MCM

And a MCM fountain of information! The main article consists of do-it-yourself decorating and furniture ideas for the “modern” home. They are so great, like this one for a bathroom vanity.

PS Bathroom Vanity

Stay tuned for more ideas from this fun article, including a room divider, a garden shed and even furniture!


Filed under 1950s, Tips, Vintage, Vintage Houses

Spraypainted Lightswitch Plates – Easy Idea

As with most older homes, our house has been treated to a lot of room painting since its original construction.  Some was done by professional painters, and some was…welll…not. Oddly enough, it is the painting of the professionals that got me steamed this time.

I am not sure what exactly you get when you hire a professional painter, but I assume that the rule is, “If it’s on the wall, we paint it.” At least, that is what I gathered from the lightswitch plates in our kitchen. Some of these are in their vintage glory, chrome plates that are just as pretty as the day they were screwed on.  Others aren’t doing so hot, having been subjected to at least a few coats of paint.  They must of have been the plates the previous owners forgot to take off the wall before the painters came.

We threw around a few ideas while painting our kitchen ourselves (all plates were off, thank you!). My first instinct was to just replace the painted plates with new ones. But there were a few problems with that. Metal switchplates are expensive when you have to replace more than a few, and since we just bought the house we were on a budget. New also wouldn’t match the shape of the originals, even if the metal matched. Especially the springloaded switches, which I don’t even know if you can buy plates for anymore! So we came up with an alternative solution.

Metal spraypaint. Krylon Premium Metal spraypaint, to be exact.  It says it resembles metal plating on the can, and I would have to say it comes pretty close to doing just that.  Take a look at our finished products:

Silver SwitchI do have to say, I think this switch turned out the best.  This is from the master bedroom, and all the switches had been painted, so we weren’t sure what color they originally were. However, they all have this great, wrinkled tinfoil pattern.  I think the chrome paint really brought out the details in this cool switch.

Springloaded Gold SwitchThis is the gold from the set of switches in the living room. The texture underneath is from the painting over of the switch, and it does show under the gold, but only if you are really close to it.  Otherwise, I think it turned out well. The gold switchplates are an unexpected pop on the Porcelain walls.

The process was relatively simple, as with most spraypainting. We laid down a plastic tarp on the floor of the garage, laid out the plates and sprayed them down well. We also sprayed the screws for the plates, since they had been painted over as well.

Ta-Da!  New looking plates for under $10. We bought two cans of paint (one Chrome and one Gold) and had enough to do all the plates in the house!  Now I am seriously thinking about spraying some of the 1980’s light fixtures over the fireplace….


Filed under Ideas, Our House, Renovation, Tips

Caring For Your Commercial Flooring At Home

Commercial FlooringI love my new commercial Armstrong tile in our kitchen.  I love that it is retro looking, I love that it is durable and I love the fact that you can pull a tile up and replace it with no real effort if something horrible happens.

But what I don’t love is caring for it.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate it. And it isn’t as difficult as some might think it is. But it does take some effort. There are many other pros to commercial flooring that make up for the one con of maintenance.  And it isn’t difficult maintenance, once you know what to do.  This is how I care for my commercial floor, based on Armstrong literature, our installer’s advice and my own experience.

1) Do not wash or scrub your floor for 4 or 5 days after installation.  The adhesive on the backs of the tiles needs to set, and any water that gets down there will screw it up. Foot traffic is ok, but try not to drag any heavy appliances across it. But if you do and a little “gap” shows up, you can just move the tile back in place.  Sometimes you can just push or pull it, but sometimes you need a hammer and a prybar to “coax” it back in place.

2) After the 4 or 5 days are up, sweep and damp mop the floor. No large quanities of water, please. It is critical to get all the dust and junk off the floor, otherwise it will be imprisoned forever under a layer of wax, bugging you every time you wash the floor. Well, not forever I guess. You could strip the wax off, but who wants to to that?  So be careful with dustballs and animal hair.

3) You need to add some finish to it, with a coat of wax or whatever your flooring recommends.  I was able to find my commercial wax at my local Lowes, and it was about $20 for a huge bottle. Not too bad. On the wax bottle, Armstrong recommends that you strip off the manufacturers finish, but our installer said that in the last few years they have changed the finish on the tiles so that you can just wax straight over it with no stripper.  This is what we did, and it worked out just fine.

4) Apply 4-5 coats of the wax with a rayon or cotton mop and apply it in circular strokes. This is actually important, even though it isn’t mentioned on the bottle. A sponge-type mop won’t work, trust me. And back and forth looks terrible when you are done. Trust me again. And keep a sharp eye out for particles while you are waxing. You can easily pick little things that aren’t supposed to be there out while the wax is still wet and avoid future headache.

5) Wait 30 minutes to apply the next coat.

There, see? Not so bad.  And that is  it for after the installation.  Our installer told us to do a maintenence coat of wax every few months, which isn’t bad at all. I figure it will give me the push I need to keep my kitchen at its cleanest. Otherwise, I might not do a full mop every couple months.

Oh god, don’t tell my mother I said that!

Or you could just do like others do, and get local janitorial service to put the first coat on for you. Hey, no muss, no fuss.

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Filed under Ideas, Tips