Sunday Selections 1.3.2016

"Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time? That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future."

Hermann Hesse  Siddhartha

Collectibles, Dollhouses and Roomboxes, Vintage books

Colleen Moore's dollhouse, seen like never before

http://youtu.be/lwrOw-b81X8 Colleen Moore's dollhouse is the ultimate in magic and artistry-the tiny perfect furniture! the miniature bearskin rug with mouse teeth! all those incredible books written by hand by famous authors!  It doesn't get much better than that.

This CBS news story details the conservation that the Fairy Castle recently underwent and is completely worth the 6+ minutes. Especially wonderful is seeing the house taken apart room by room (it was designed that way so that it could be packed in to 200 crates and shipped around the country being shown and raising money for charities that benefitted children) and seeing all the furniture out of the house and in display cases.

I spent countless hours of my childhood studying the book Colleen wrote about her dollhouse:

Colleen Moore's Doll House

This 1979 edition tells the story of the castle in Moore's own words. She includes wonderful details about how things were made and talks about all the people who helped her create this masterpiece. Lots of funny little stories including one where her grandmother prophesies that the miniature cradle she had made for Colleen out of antique jewelry will "...be my tombstone...more will visit it than my grave." Great photography by Will Rousseau including lots of detail shots of furniture and accessories. You can find it here (not an affiliate link.)

A few years back Mike and I took a weekend trip to Chicago and of course we had to go to the Museum of Science and Industry to see the Fairy Castle (and lots of other cool things as well--great place, I could have spent the entire weekend there.) I picked this book up to add to my collection:

Within the Fairy Castle

Published in 1997, this volume has more gorgeous photographs (by Barbara Karant) and includes a floor plan for the castle and dimensions for each room. It can be found here (also not an affiliate link.)

The castle was created during the Great Depression of the late 1920s and the early 1930s and cost approximately $500,000 to complete. But one could argue (to paraphrase a credit card ad) that it's true value is "priceless". It surely could not be replicated today. I am so thankful to Colleen Moore for her vision for this castle and I am thankful to my wonderful friend Jean who sent me the link to the CBS news story.

Book reviews, Collectibles, Organizing

Book Review: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

I am not by nature a minimalist.  I love things like paper and fabric and vintage art and doodads of all shapes and sizes. My rooms have always been full and most of the time that has felt good to me, cozy even. But then sometimes comes that creeping feeling of burden. Of too much. Of being sick of constantly tripping over things, tired of having to move things out of the way to get to other things. It is a heavy, uncomfortable feeling. Perhaps you know it? Since you are reading a blog dedicated to the love of stuff, I am guessing you might.  And while we may both recognize this feeling, perhaps we can also agree that it is often a very hard feeling to act upon? Much work will be involved. Upheaval. And letting go. Sometimes it takes a crisis to force the issue. A few weeks before Christmas, we realized that our hot water heater had sprung an unfixable leak. Water had been seeping under a wall and into my studio for an undetermined amount of time. It was Christmas crazy time and I had been spending every waking hour shuttling small people between Nutcracker performances and holiday pie parties (yes, that is a thing now) so I wasn't spending much time in the studio. The first I noticed of the leak was a musty wet smell. I was poking around in stacks of craft supplies in search of the origin of this elusive and undesirable smell (all the while hoping not to find a dead rodent) when I realized that my slippers were wet. Wet? how...? Water? WATER!!

None of these things that I love enjoy seeping water surrounding them. In fact they are positively finicky about water, one sniff and they begin to change and morph into things far less pretty then they should be. So, I had a big challenge on my hands--must.save.stuff.NOW. Let the husband worry about the broken hot water heater, I was on a mission to save all the goodies. Luckily, the water was fairly isolated so I could merely relocate the stuff from that area to another area and voila! Good plan...except all the other areas were also full of stuff.

And so a 12 hour game of Tub Tetris began. Pack a tub, move it to the storage room. Move all other tubs around to accommodate it. Repeat, trying not to trip on the first tub as you are doing so. And again and again and again.  Plastic tub towers began growing taller and taller. Ran out of plastic tubs, started using cardboard boxes. At the end I was damp, exhausted and convinced--something must be done here. Although I could never admit it before, this *is* actually too much stuff.

I wanted to include a pic of my storage room--this is all real folks--nothing pinteresting here. But the unedited photo was way too embarrassing so I had to employ my abysmal photoshop skills to pretty it up a bit.

The only way to relieve this feeling is to purge. Organizing, while great, won't really help you--or at least not for long. You must whittle down that tall tower of plastic tubs to a smaller tower of plastic tubs. I like to think of it as "deaccessioning"--which is what museums do when they sell off some of their treasures that they can't store or use any more. For letting go of treasures is a process and a sometimes painful or difficult one. But there is a payoff at the end--a burst of energy and air and a feeling of space around you that brightens and refreshes. The bonus is the certainty that you will find something awesome that you forgot you owned.

Enter the genius that is Marie Kondo, organizational guru and author of the new wildly popular book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Kondo has come up with a new way of approaching clutter and she calls it the KonMari Method. If you are a reader of craft or lifestyle blogs, you have probably heard of this drastic but effective method.

The book is deceptively small but it packs a lot of ideas and practices between its covers, many of which run counter to current organizational advice. Kondo states "tidy a little a day and you'll be tidying forever." (p 15) which makes the previously liberating idea of getting rid of 5 things a day seem like a perpetual drag. "Storage experts are hoarders" (p. 22) is not a headline you will see on any lifestyle magazine's January cover but it made me laugh that rueful "I am laughing because this makes me uncomfortable with it's truthiness" laugh.  "Starting with mementos spells certain failure" (p. 44) is another truth not universally acknowledged--who hasn't had a planned afternoon of organizing the filing cabinet be swallowed up by an envelope of forgotten photographs from your college room mates wedding ten years ago?

This is not to say that the book and method are without faults. Kondo can be a bit overzealous, as when she describes whittling down her book collection by tearing out the chapters that she wants and throwing away the rest. And there is an understanding of relative spaces involved that seems to have gotten lost in translation. Kondo is Japanese (the book is translated to English by Cathy Hirano) and she describes clients going through every one of their possessions in their living spaces at once, in the time frame of a day or two. I don't care if you can move with the cartoon rapidity of Speedy Gonzalez, no one is going to be able to sort all the possessions in this house in 48 hours, even if Red Bull is involved. (which it isn't--I always feel like it is going to give me a heart attack.) So although she recommends making your sorting a special occasion and letting nothing interrupt your progress, I have had to adjust and allow eating, sleeping, showering and working to have their place. I am expecting my thorough sorting to take about six months total.

Kondo repeats a certain idea frequently--that your possessions should give you joy. It is a sensation that she asserts that you will feel when you are physically touching the object. If that feeling is absent, the object should be released to find another home where it is needed more. Kondo asserts that you must touch each and every object you own to determine if the feeling of joy is present and as wacky as that sounds, I have found it to be true. She calls it "joy" but to me it isn't a happy feeling so much as a feeling of the aliveness of the object. In the past, I have occasionally had difficulty in letting go of objects that I had once had plans for but this time, if it doesn't feel "alive" I am okay with letting it go. I have other plans and projects now and I need the space, both literally and symbolically. Kondo makes a point to encourage you towards understanding that objects often come in to our lives for reasons other than what we might perceive. Once the object has fulfilled it's purpose, it no longer has "joy" for you and should be released to make it's way to the next person who has need of it.

So far I have gone through all of our children's books and released several hundred books. Our filing cabinet has been cleaned out and ten years worth of utility bills shredded. In the studio I have made great progress in completely emptying a closet that was previously jammed with supplies. Art paper, beads, ribbons, buttons and tons of other mixed media goodies have, like Elvis, left the building. Some have been passed on to friends, some have been given to a local after school art program and others have been bagged, priced and thrown into a box marked "yard sale". As I go further in to this tidying up process I hope to share my progress with you, including details on how to most effectively get rid of the things that don't give you joy.

There is a passage where Kondo states that "tidying up is a dialogue with one's self". And I spend plenty of time dialoguing with myself about all manner of things, but I am curious about what you have to say as well. Have you read Marie Kondo's book? Tried her method or rolled your eyes at the idea that you are crushing the life and soul from your t-shirts by stacking them? Do you feel joy or life when you touch certain objects? Do you think there are things that you are ready to let go of? Let's talk.

 

 

 

Collectibles, home decorating, On the Wall, Uncategorized

Tempest in a Tea Towel

I love a catchy title, even when it doesn't make much sense. Today on the blog: tea towels? Yes. Tempests? Not really, no. A gnome, a leprechaun and the country of Ireland all got together one day under a shady tree...

We had a tempest-y day last week in the Carolinas and I am here to tell you no one would choose a windy storm over a lovely, brightly printed and pretty bit of linen or cotton. No one. Except a storm chaser might, but those people--while interesting--are probably totally nuts and consequently not great candidates for tea towel collections. You and I are inherently sane(ish) and therefore we love tea towels! They are the best. (So are storm chasers, really. I love to sit on my couch and live vicariously through their adrenaline filled journeys deep in to the heart of dangerous and uncomfortable storms. Tea towels for them too! Perfect for futile moppings of camera lenses in the face of driving horizontal rain.)

Anywho, according to an article entitled "A Brief History of Tea Towels" on the Weaving Today website, tea towels originated in 18th century England. Made from lint-free linen, they were used to dry fine china and other delicate household treasures. Another possible employment was to insulate the tea pot or cover a tray of delicious baked goods prior to serving. Early tea towels featured embroidery, often done by the ladies of the house as hand stitching was considered a suitable past time for upper class women at this time. The common custom of embroidering tea towels continued right up through the middle of the last century as we see in this example circa 1950s or 1960s:

Thank goodness it isn't Tuesday, that sounds thoroughly unpleasant.

Embroidered tea towels are still fun to make and great to give as gifts. I stitched up a pile a few years ago to give as favors for a kitchen shower I was hosting for a friend. I used these patterns from Sublime Stitching but there are lots of great options out there including vintage patterns like the one above. My lovely friend Liz sells great embroidery patterns including this one that looks charming on a tea towel.  I love the combination of fun to make, attractive and useful, don't you?

The earliest example of printed tea towels that I can find reference to is the use of patterned  feedsack cloth. This early example of repurposing or upcycling ( which, by the way, our ancestors did not need a special term for as they just called it "using") gained popularity throughout the early part of the twentieth century. The towels, made from the printed but rough material used to transport goods such as flour and grains, were suited to their purpose and attractive. Though sturdy, they were hard used and many haven't survived to resurface on the vintage marketplace. A lot of the items I see offered for resale that are marked "feedsack" are either reproductions or are referencing a type of rough cotton fabric that is similar in texture to feedsack fabric.

Not a feedsack towel. It was time for a picture and this towel is my favorite.

After the end of WWII, traveling as a tourist began to become popular and with tourists around we always find souvenirs! Souvenirs are a topic we may discuss quite a bit here on wonderland5 as they often become personalized objects that help us to tell the story of ourselves to those around us. They also help to remind us of the stories we are telling ourselves every day--what could be better than thinking of your trip to York last year while you are cleaning up the kitchen today? Tea towels printed with maps were especially popular in England and the UK but were also found in Europe and across the US.  A fascinating fact that I learned while researching this post is that while the concept of maps on fabric was not new, it was employed very creatively during WWII.  A blog post on welike2cook.com states that British airmen carried a map printed on silk in their survival kit as silk is more durable under stressful conditions than paper and also more easily concealed. How cool, right? I would love to see one of those in person (here's some on ebay).

During the eras of the 1950s through the early 1980s, another very popular category for the printed tea towel was the calendar towel. Many of these are currently on the resale market as they may not have been used at all or used primarily as a wall hanging decorative calendar. I currently have this lovely example hanging on my kitchen wall.

I never know what day it is so having a 50 year old calendar is not a problem.

There seems to be a market for bringing this type of item back as I have been seeing artist produced calendar tea towels showing up around Christmas time in the last few years. I received the towel below last year from my sister, with whom I share a love of all things Vera Neumann.

If only this had come with a subscription to the "jam of the month" club it would have been a most perfect gift.

Vintage printed tea towels can often be found priced at $10 (US) and under. They are an affordable, fun and easily stored collection. Modern printed tea towels come in at a slightly higher price point, costing approximately $15-30 (US), with the limited edition artist tea towels sometimes costing more. They still seem to be most popular in the UK. Ulster Weavers is a textile company in Ireland that has been in business since 1870. Their website shows the royal seal that states that they are kitchen textile suppliers by appointment to Her Majesty the Queen. I like to imagine that this contemporary towel from Ulster Weavers that I recently sold on ebay is similar to one Queen Elizabeth uses to dry her tea cups.

Please pass the sugar, Prince Phillip!

Ulster Weavers excels in graphic design for the tea towel and from the looks of my recent pinterest searches, it has done so for quite some time. I guess a tea towel is like a poster that you can use, or display, or fold up and put in a drawer for another time. This, to me, hits the high notes of a good collectible. I will be keeping my eyes peeled for more vintage graphic tea towels and I hope you will as well. Because if I haven't convinced you to hoard more objects than I am not doing my job properly. (This is *not true*--for if you are hoarding all the objects that lessens the chances that I will get to hoard them for a while.)

It's all in the details.

Questions? Comments? Awesome tea towel pics? Hit me up in the comments or find me on facebookpinterest, or instagram.

Collectibles, Crafts, Dollhouses and Roomboxes, On the Wall

Roombox: Blue Hutch

Cigar box room: Blue Hutch I have been a lover and a collector of miniatures as far back as I can remember. Real life in tiny form is just so appealing. The furniture is great but really it is all the little STUFF that I am rapturous about. Just as much as I like full size stuff, I like itty bitty stuff even better.

At last count, I have 12 full size dollhouses in my collection. All but two of them are tucked away in my basement storage area because despite being real life writ small, dollhouses are damn hard to display. When my kids were tiny, it was out of the question due to their extreme choking hazard nature. Now though, I could have one out--Jack and Anna are older and well trained in the care and handling of Mama's toys. But they just take up so much valuable display space.  And the dust, oy vay the dust! Don't get me started.

Anyway, a few years ago I found a great book on Amazon: (affiliate link)

Artists! Making tiny rooms! in Cigar boxes! Brilliant!!!

I like all those things--tiny rooms, art, making things...cigar boxes not so much. I got mine from a retired gentleman who runs a "Cigar Club" in town--one of the last places in the universe where you can smoke inside. Where the very purpose of BEING inside is to smoke. How I would have loved that twenty years ago! But now--ugh. The boxes reeked of cigar smoke. Luckily, a week airing out in the garage made all the difference in the world.

I painted and papered the boxes and selected with care the tiny things that would go inside. I wanted each to convey of feeling of *somewhere* and for the most part I think I succeeded. Eventually I will show them all to you but today it is the lovely blue hutch that I am featuring.

The hutch itself is a wood blank from a big box craft store. The doors don't open. I painted and distressed it to give it a nice patina. Then I chose what tiny treasures would live inside.

Cigar box room: blue hutch detail

I think most of these miniatures are ReMent from Japan. They make the cutest tiny food in the known universe. (Scientifically proven to rate 100% on the cute-o-meter) On this blue hutch we see a (starting top left) a chocolate package and a tiny tea tin (which may not be ReMent). Then a tiny jam jar with lid. Second row features two golden serving plates, a tiny cream pitcher with a gold accent on the handle and some lovely decorative bread. The third row has my favorite piece, the peach preserves jar that looks like a tiny peach. The spoon even looks like a peach! And finally we have some type of pudding mold on a plate.

http://instagram.com/p/svOm50KckS/?modal=true

I remember that I was reading a book about colonial America at the time I was putting this together and that influenced my sense of where this *someplace* was. The color of the hutch, the shape of the cream pitcher and other small details all contribute to the feeling I was going for. Of course there was no branded chocolate or printed jam labels in the Revolutionary War but since I am not trying to give a historically accurate portrayal, the anachronisms don't bother me.

When I was done, I put some hanging hardware on the back and hung it on the wall. Voila! A wonderful solution for those of us who love dollhouses and miniatures but don't have the space to display them all.

I will be listing this piece on ebay soon and when I do I will edit this post to include a link. In the meantime, feel free to peruse my Dollhouses and Roomboxes Pinterest board!

http://www.pinterest.com/betsy_couzins/dollhouses-and-roomboxes/

 

 

 

Crafts, home decorating, On the Wall

String Art: Top 12 Thoughts, Tips and Tricks

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I often find myself drawn to new activities that are not as easy as they look. Take the above as an example. This masterpiece of craftsmanship was picked up at a yard sale last summer.  I have a love for the look of galleons and an open space on my wall so it was an easy purchase decision, never mind the unbeatable asking price of $.50. I would have paid ten times that amount! (which would still only be $5 and therefore a steal for a handcrafted item that obviously took many hours to complete.)

I hung the piece in our dining room and found that it drew my eye a lot as I went about my days. The more I looked at those billowed sails the more I thought it really looked like it was a fun thing to make. Perhaps I should make my own string art? Similar to my addled imaginings while watching professional figure skaters, I began with the impression that string art magnificence could be achieved with minimal effort and maximum sparkly costume wearing. What could be hard about pounding some nails into a piece of wood and then twisting some string around them? Spoiler alert: I was wrong. Here's a few things I learned the hard way.

1. To be fair, string art doesn't have to be hard or complicated to have a great visual effect. Like many crafts, the quality of your output depends on the quality and appropriateness of your supplies and your ability to pay attention to the details of execution.

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2. Use solid wood for the base of your first project. I did four pieces and used solid wood as the bases for all of them. I have seen other string art projects that use foam core or corkboard as a base but I wouldn't recommend that for your first attempts. Solid wood plaques can be found inexpensively at all your local craft stores. The thrift store is also a great place to find solid wood objects at great prices.

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3. Choosing the correct nail for the project is really important. Choose your wood first and then select the appropriate nail to go with that piece of wood. Nails should be thin with a sharp end. Make sure your nails are not too long. I used 11/16" linoleum nails on boards that are .33" - .75" thick.

4. The final piece in the supply puzzle is the string you are using. I tried yarns both thick and thin, embroidery floss and sewing thread. The thickness of your material really effects the final look of the piece. The thinnest material--the sewing thread--tangled the most easily and was difficult to work with. I ended up liking the delicate thinner materials like the embroidery floss or thicker thread even though they were more complicated to work with. One of the threads that I liked most had a bit of a shine to it which looked good in the final product.

Using thick yarn on the bottom and thinner string on top creates a layered look.

Once you have your supplies together you are ready to begin. There are a few different ways to go from here: outlining a shape to fill in or setting out the nails and then using the thread to make the pattern. I tried each type and found that the outline was simpler to do.

5. Start with a simple crisp outline--the crisper the better.  For my "A" project and the piece with the heart, I started with the shape I wanted cut out of cardstock.

6. Keep the nails close together and evenly spaced with an equal amount of head showing. 

7. Once all the nails are pounded in, use the hammer to even out the heights as it will be more difficult to do this once you start stringing.

8. Choose your first nail position and tie a taut double knot around the nail. Push the knot down so it is inside the nails where it will be covered up by subsequent wrappings of string.

9. As you are wrapping the string keep an even pressure on the string.

10. The easiest pattern is the random fill in.

shown from the side to illustrate the various layers of string that build up and you work.

If you are attempting to create a pattern with the string pay attention to what side of the nail you are wrapping from.

using the string to create the pattern within the outline

11. Occasionally stop and wrap the string around a nail twice to serve as an anchor. The string WILL come undone, this is natural and to be expected. These anchors provide you a few extra seconds to grab the string before it unwinds completely. Push down the string towards the wood as you go to make room for further layers on the nail head.

12. Finish off your work with another taut double knot and perhaps a dab of glue on that knot after you cut the string.

All in all, I enjoyed my forays into string art but like figure skating, I don't see it becoming my profession. One benefit of trying things yourself that are harder than they look is the increased respect you will quickly develop for the craftspeople who create intensive detailed pieces like my beloved galleon. You can check out more crazy good string art pieces on my pinterest board:

http://www.pinterest.com/betsy_couzins/string-art/

 

Children's Books, Collectibles, Vintage books

The Pop-up Art of Vjotech Kubasta

One of my favorite things to collect and sell are vintage children's books. I really gravitate towards works from the 1950s, 60s and 70s because I love their graphic illustrations and their color schemes.  There are certain illustrators that I have collected for years such as Alice and Martin Provensen and Mary Blair but one of the great things about children's books is that there just so MANY of them. Consequently, I feel there is always a new genius to be discovered. That was certainly the case last month when I found this freestanding paper pop-up Christmas decoration at an estate sale.

Vojtech Kubasta, 1967

I didn't know much of anything about this instant Christmas scene when I unfolded it. I identified it as Eastern European because of the onion dome on the church and thought it looked like it was from the 1960s due to the figures. On the back was a copyright notice written in a foreign language. It was priced higher than I would typically pay for unidentified paper ephemera but I just felt really drawn to it and it was a price I *would* pay for a Christmas decoration for my home so the purchase was made. (I don't always follow the maxim of 'buy what you like' but when something is more than I usually pay it helps to think about what I would pay if it were for myself.)

As it turns out, this piece was designed by Vojtech Kubasta (1914-1992), an artist and illustrator who spent the majority of his quite prolific life designing pop-up books, advertisements and scenes in Prague. It was designed and printed in 1967 as part of a yearly series of Nativity scenes. This presumably shows Prague readying for the upcoming holiday.

Vojtech Kubasta, 1967, detail

The focal point is this adorable baby Jesus, being fondly looked after by Joseph, who is smoking a long pipe and Mary, who is enjoying a mug of lager. And after giving birth to a savior in a manger, who's to say she doesn't deserve a refreshing beverage? Not me.

Vojtech Kubasta, 1967, detail

The details of the scene are very atmospheric and graphic. I love the simple yet expressive faces of the people and the wonderful snow falling all around. And the onion dome. As mentioned, I am always a sucker for the onion domes.

Kubasta is considered to have been an innovator of modern pop-up and movable books. His first pop-up was published in 1956 by ARTIA, a state-owned corporation in Communist Czechoslovakia. It was a version of Little Red Riding Hood. Many other pop-ups followed throughout the years including this version of Cinderella from 1972.

Vojtech Kubasta, Cinderella 1972 cover

The genius of this book is how simple, yet effective the pop-up elements are.

Vojtech Kubasta, 1972, Cinderella, detail

 

For example, this illustration of Cinderella's 'Happily Ever After' uses only the simplest of cuts and folds to create the effect of a 3-d table set for a banquet. The fact that the image could be printed as one sheet and then cuts made allowed the books to be manufactured more economically and therefore made more widely available. Hooray for mass produced wonderful stuff!

Vojtech Kubasta, 1972, Cinderella, detailThis is my favorite spread from the 1972 Cinderella book. Using a forced perspective, Kubasta creates an effect that makes the viewer feel herself to be part of the scene, Cinderella on her way to the ball, surrounded by magic and guided by a Fairy Godmother with an incredible hat.

By all accounts, Vojtech Kubasta was a very successful illustrator, publishing more than 120 titles and innumerable advertisements and free standing pieces in his lifetime. These are the two that I have currently collected but I am searching Pinterest for more, with the knowledge that next time I run across one I will know what it is.

http://www.pinterest.com/betsy_couzins/vojtech-kubasta/

Ellen G.K. Rubin is an expert collector of pop-up and other movable books. She has a great website called The Pop-Up Lady that includes descriptions and links to images of the recent Kubasta exhibit that she curated.

Finally, here's a great video of Martha Stewart visiting the Brooklyn Public Library for the Brooklyn Pops Up! exhibit. She shows many classic examples of vintage pop-up books, including some from our friend Vojtech Kubasta.

http://www.marthastewart.com/918284/history-and-art-pop-book

Martha knows that pop-up books are a 'good thing'. And so do I.

Collectibles, home decorating

The faker the better: vintage plastic flowers from the 60s and 70s

  orange plastic flowers

I love fake flowers. The faker, the better. My favorites are the plastic ones from the 1960s and 70s--the ones that scream "I am artificial! In no way do I come from nature!"  I like real flowers too but I am no gardener. Firstly because I have Lupus and being out in the sun makes me feel horrible and sick but mostly because I am LAZY. And growing flowers may be rewarding but it sure seems to be a lot of work.

I'll tell you something that requires no work: FAKE flowers! Pick out the ones you like, pop them in a vase or jar and voila! Instant flowery happiness. They never fade or need more water. You could ignore them for a year or ten and they will remain unchanged and asking nothing from you. When you tire of them, stick them in your storage area until you want them again, they don't mind at all.

orange flower close-up

I love color, don't you? These vintage plastic flowers have amazingly saturated colors and some have really unexpected color schemes.

pink, green and brown--what a color scheme

Here's an interesting one: orange, dusty pink, brown and light olive green. This is not a color combination that I see much these days. And that makes me love it even more-because it is different and unexpected. Honestly, this particular group of fake flowers hasn't yet found it's place to be displayed in my home but I'm thinking maybe Thanksgiving? It has a very autumnal feeling to it. And certainly pink is very under represented at Thanksgiving.

one way to display fake flowers

I like to use plastic flowers in a variety of ways in my decor. Lots of these flower arrangements come already attached to a plastic circle base as they were for use in a bowl or as a candle surround. I find this makes it really simple to just hang them on the wall with other display items. The above is a hall in my home that I rearrange fairly frequently. A small nail will hold this arrangement perfectly as it weighs very little.

plastic yellow rose close-up

People say to me "but Betsy, what about the dust issue? These fake flowers seem like real dust and dander traps." To which I reply "Have you seen my house? Obviously dust is not a huge concern to me."  but of course it is. Because dust is dead skin and stuff and that is totally gross. But here's the thing--these flowers are made of plastic--completely! Unlike the modern fake flower which is silk and fabric, you can run these arrangements directly under your faucet to clean them. Give them a little rub to get the sticky stuff off, put them outside in the sun to dry for an hour or two and you are set for the next calendar year.

ohai fake flowers!

"Ohai fake flowers!" Even a small stem of plastic flowers can really make a display extra special. Like most of my collections, I get my flowers at the thrift store or yard sales. Most of these shown were purchased at the Goodwill Outlet store where you pay by the pound. You can get a lot of fake flowers for just a few bucks. Don't worry if they look a bit grubby--they clean up well. And you will enjoy them for years--and years--to come!

Want to see other people's fake flowers and how they use them? Follow my Pinterest board:

[embed]http://www.pinterest.com/betsy_couzins/big-ole-vintage-plastic-flowers/[/embed]

Uncategorized

Welcome to wonderland5

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Hey there, welcome to wonderland5's newest little corner of the web. We are so glad you are here! Come on in and set a while.

First of all, let me introduce myself and tell you just a little bit about wonderland5. My name is Betsy Couzins and I started wonderland5 in 2003. Back then I was all about making and selling crafty things on etsy. I had a blog about crafty things and got my work published in craft books and magazines. I did craft shows and hung my work in coffee shops and galleries. After a few years I decided to broaden my focus to include selling vintage home goods and collectible toys on ebay and etsy. That has been my primary occupation for 4 years now.

I wanted to start this blog because the common denominator at the root of all these activities is a love of great stuff. I love art supplies of all kinds, vintage children's books, dollhouses and miniatures, scandinavian enamelware, anything with a galleon on it, Daher tins from England, those little chalet music boxes, and Fisher Price toys from the 70s. I love to search for treasures and then do lots of internet research on what I have found. I am a crazy organizer, delighting in creating systems and plans to organize all my stuff. My shelves and mantels are a constantly rotating curated show of stuff that I have found and loved at garage sales, thrift stores and antique malls. And finally, I genuinely love to sell stuff online. There is real pleasure to be found in helping someone find just the piece they have been looking for or never knew they needed but really love. it's a reunion that never gets old for me.

In this blog I hope to cover all these topics and more. So far, I have planned posts on a famous and prolific early pop-up book maker from Czechoslovakia named Vjotech Kubasta; the resurgence in interest in that classic of the 60s and 70s--string art (including a mini tutorial project); and a sneak peak into the miniature world that I have created in my basement.   If any of this sounds interesting to you, please plan on a return visit. We're always happy to see you.

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