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Vintage Decorative Birdhouse


Sep 25, 2018 Home Decor, Industrial, Steam-punk, Vintage Comments are off

Vintage Decorative Birdhouse

Reclaimed barn boards were used for the walls and a slab of old growth Douglas Fir for the base (both sourced from the nice folks at Western Reclaimed Timber). The attached birdhouses are made from old 2×6 boards that had been used as garden edging in another life. The bits and pieces used to accessorize the piece are vintage finds we have collected over time. All the screws and small hinges used are from vintage Singer Sewing machines we repurposed into tables. The large hinges are antique door hinges. Couldn’t find any old tin for the roofs, so I had to artificially “age” some.

Materials Used

  • Reclaimed Barnboard
  • Weathered 2×6 lumber
  • Vintage drawer pulls
  • Antique Singer screws & hinges
  • Antique door hinges
  • Assorted vintage bits and pieces


Starting off the New Year


Jan 19, 2017 Altered Art, Mixed Media, Paper Arts, Vintage Comments are off

Hello and Happy New Year!

I’m busy starting off this New Year refocusing on what makes me happiest. That will be, rolling up my sleeves and getting messy with paints, gels, and mixed media. All the while staying true to my love of rusty, grungy, abstract, dimensional art (along with altering vintage pieces for our upcoming markets of course).

First, I am going to organize my craft room, which will hopefully include moving my office out of my creative space.  It really is a distraction with unanswered emails, and mountains of paper work calling to me. Look at this mess that accumulated when I put my art on hold over the holidays and used the space for storage and rushed Christmas projects. Ugh – Wish me luck!

craft room 1  craft room 2

craft room 3  craft room 4

Then, I am going to just play and do what ever comes to mind.  I think this Finnibair style altered journal cover I did last year, will be my jumping off place.  As well as the inspiration I get from from art journaling, like these Dina Wakley pieces I did during a recent class with her. Hopefully this all will give me the motivation for a productive and happy year of art making.

create art P1050215

dina 1 dina 2

Have fun this year with what ever makes you happy.

I’ve been seeing this quote recently and it struct a chord with me….

You never know what someone is going through. Be kind. Always.

Happy New Year,

Cheers Val

Vintage Handmade Tobacco Cards


Oct 13, 2016 Cardmaking, Paper Arts, Tutorials, Vintage Comments are off

Handmade Cards using Vintage Tobacco Cards

Just sharing some cards I  finished making….

I always go through my stash of ephemera looking for paper to incorporate in my art.  I came across a stack of 1912 Tobacco Cards that I collected long ago. They were a collection of beautiful flowers and butterflies (my favs). I didn’t want them to sit in a box any longer so I knew I had to transform them into an art project. Tobacco cards are miniature works of art and needed to be enjoyed by others.  Incorporating them into a card was my game plan. Mindful not to alter the original tobacco card, I presented them in a small vellum envelope (Sizziz Die).

Tobacco card 1 tobacco card 2 Tobacco card 3

I also came across a stash of Song Cards from the 1950’s. So I knew I had the basics for the cards I had in mind to make.  I also have sheet music from 1909 Etude Music Magazine that I love to use. The Song cards became the background for the Tobacco cards on the front of the card. The sheet music was used on the inside of the card, as a background for a place to write a personal sentiment.

p1040748 p1040770 p1040745

I choose cardstock in colors to compliment the Tobacco card and all of the paper and ephemera was aged with Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Vintage Photo & Gathered Twig). The front just needed a few embellishments to highlight the Tobacco card so I added some metal key paper clips (Prima) and various metal and wood trinkets (Prima & Tim Holtz). I added some inspirational words using Tim Holtz Ideology Small Talk. These are great because they look like they have been typed on an old typewriter (I have a 1910 Underwood that I use to type words to use in my art, but these are much easier). A few pearl beads in the corners, and I was done.

p1040781  p1040782


I loved the authenticity of the ephemera, making the card truly vintage. These one of a kind cards could also be framed to be on display for all to enjoy.

Hope you enjoyed!       Val

Steampunk Altered Sewing Machine Frame


Jun 8, 2016 3D Art, Altered Art, Mixed Media, Steampunk, Vintage 4 Comments

A 1898 Antique Sewing Machine Frame made into altered art!

Today I am entering this project into Sandee & amelie’s Steampunk Challenge .  I like how the Steampunk assemblage really works well with the antique wood frame.  The frame is from a 1898 New Williams sewing machine.  I love antique sewing machines – they look like Steampunk artwork in and of themselves.  Tissue with vintage styled text on it was decoupaged to an art board to create the background. As for the dress form image, it is card stock from the Timekeeper set from Marion Smith Designs; which is distressed and attached to black card stock to bring out the image. The gears, wheels, and butterfly are from Finnibair’s new mechanical release (love these so much!!!).  A few more metal pieces to decorate the corners (they actually hide the holes where the sewing machine was fastened), and a vintage style key finishs off the piece.

Steampink sewing frame (1)      Steampink sewing frame (3)

Hope you enjoyed!       Val

Altered Clip Board


May 23, 2016 Altered Art, Tutorials, Vintage Comments are off

Today I wanted to share with you how I altered an inexpensive clip board and added a vintage illustration to make a decorative wall art piece.  Altering clip boards is all the rage right now. They have that vintage feel and really dress up any altering or art you add to them. I wanted to keep mine simple and when I found illustrations from a 1921 German agricultural textbook, I knew they would work perfectly. I like sets of three, so I made them from different prints and different backgrounds.

  1. I started by staining the drab silver clip with Alcohol Inks. I did this first so that I would not spill the ink on my finished piece (which I have done before). I just taped off the board to keep over-spills to a minimum.
  2. Next I painted the board white (I used up some old white paint, but white gesso would work too). I also painted the edges of the back of the board white.  Depending on how you are altering the board, you may not have to pre-paint it white.  But I wanted a really crisp white background so that the tissue paper I use next would stand out and be a nice contrast to the print.

altered clip board 1 altered clip board 2 altered clipboard 3

3. Once the paint dried, I decoupaged on some of Tim Holtz tissue paper, using a different background for each of the three prints I did.  I made sure to have enough to overlap a bit on the back edges of the board. I prefer to have both sides of my art pieces to looked finished if I can.  I stained the edges with Vintage Photo Ranger Distress Ink.  I love the weathered aged look that distressing the edges with brown stain creates.

altered clip board 4  altered clip board 5  altered clip board 6

4. I created a background layer of green card stock for the illustration to go on.  The edges were torn and inked to give it a distressed look. To adhere the illustration to the board I used gel medium.

altered clip board 7 altered clip board 8 altered clip board 9

4. To finish the back of the board, I cut a piece of card stock so that the tissue edges could still be seen. I wanted to share a little history of where the illustrations came from, so I wrote a little note to explain. I also photocopied the inside cover of the German agricultural textbook to give it some authenticity.

Altered Clip Board 10

5. Here are the three finished pieces. All different, but I think they coordinate nicely. Bye for now…

altered clip board 11  altered clip board 12  altered clip board 13

Altered Window Pane


Jul 20, 2015 Altered Art, Home Decor, Steampunk, Tutorials, Vintage 4 Comments

Today I wanted to share with you a home décor project I designed from an old salvaged window pane.  At first I was content to simply hang it on my wall, enjoy the patina, and wonder about who had looked through that window for all these years, and what view did they gaze at. But alas, I had to do something to make it my own…

So, again inspired by Sandee & Amelie’s Steampunk Challenge Blog, I altered the window panes with some distressed Vintage/Steampunk/Industrial paper, made some rusty gears, hardware, pulleys, and generally distressed the look a bit more. I used quite a few of Tim Holtz products to distress and alter my piece.

This challenge was unique because you had to choose 3 ingredients from a tic-tac-toe grid. For this project I used; Rust, Top Hat, & Metal as my 3 ingredients. Here are the steps I used to alter the window pane…

1. I started with a vintage window frame that I had salvaged, cleaning it up just a bit.

window pane

2. I used vintage, steampunk papers, tore the edges, and inked the paper with a variety of Ranger Distress Inks. I love this paper from Tim Holtz and was happy that I found a way to display the Industrial images. The paper was adhered to the back side of the window panes (facing forward), I brushed on a very liquid decoupage glue that was safe for glass surfaces. Because it was very fluid, there was only a thin layer on the front of the paper – which made sure that the image wasn’t clouded with the glue between the glass and the image.

distressed papers

3. For the gears & hardware, I used Sizzix Gadget Gears and Hardware Findings die cut from grunge board. Then painted, embossed, and inked the grunge pieces (using Distress Embossing Ink & Powder, Acrylic Paint, Distress Inks) to look like rusty pieces of metal. I glued the gears and hardware to the wood using Glossy Accents.

Die-cut Gears

Gears rust effect

Gears on window

4. The rope was aged by soaking it in freshly brewed coffee and the grounds (oh, the sacrifices we make for art).

rope coffee stained

5. I used Tim Holtz pulley wheels (Idea-ology pieces) and distressed the color them with Alcohol Inks. I fastened them to the top of the window frame (I am a bit handy with a drill) with screws. The rope was used to loop around the pulleys and attach them to a salvaged small barn pulley that was cleaned and polished up.

pulley & ink

Pulleys before and after adding Alcohol Ink

pulley & hardwar

Pulley screwed into top of window

Altered window pane

Finished altered window pane

And Voila! the newly transformed window has found a new home on my wall. It enjoys a view out of my windows, and hopefully many will enjoy viewing it!

Insulator Wall Sconces


Apr 4, 2017 Industrial, Lighting, Steam-punk, Vintage Comments are off

Galvanized Pipe and Glass Insulator Wall Sconces

Vintage glass telephone insulators, black galvanized 1/2″ pipe and reclaimed Douglas Fir boards were used to make these unique industrial wall sconces for your home.

Materials Used

  • Glass Insulators
  • Reclaimed Douglas Fir
  • 1/2″ Black galvanized Pipe & Fittings
  • Vintage Style Twisted Cloth Cord and Plugs
  • In-line Toggle Light Switch
  • Candelabra Light & Fixtures
  • Flush-mount Wall Hangers


Denim Pine Singer Table


Aug 25, 2016 Furniture, Industrial, Steam-punk, Vintage 0 Comments

Denim Pine Singer Table

This beautiful table was created using an antique fully functioning 100+ year old Singer Sewing Machine base with nice original paint and a tabletop made from an amazing live edge denim pine slab (reclaimed from Okanagan, BC, Canada pine beetle wood).  Makes a great unique entryway or display table. Table dimensions are 40″L x 20″ W x 30″H.

Materials Used

  • Singer Sewing Machine Base
  • Hand scraped denim pine plank tabletop


Barn Pulley Swag Lamp


Jul 23, 2015 Industrial, Lighting, Steam-punk, Vintage 0 Comments

Barn Pulley Swag Light

This hanging swag light was created using a repurposed barn pulley from the 1920s to 1940s. The pulley was cleaned and covered with a UV safe protective coating ensuring it will look fantastic for many years to come. Edison globe style light bulb and a vintage style industrial light cages round out the vintage retro look and feel.

Materials Used

  • Barn Pulley
  • Edison Globe Light Bulb
  • Cast iron wall hook
  • Ceiling Hook
  • Vintage industrial light cage


Barn Pulley Lighting


Jul 23, 2015 Lighting, Steam-punk, Vintage 0 Comments

Barn Pulley Lights

These pendant lights were created using repurposed barn pulleys that are from the 1920s to 1940s. The pulleys were cleaned and covered with a UV safe protective coating ensuring they will look fantastic for many years to come. Edison style light bulbs and vintage style twisted cloth covered electrical cords and trouble light cages round out the vintage retro look and feel.

Materials Used

  • Barn Pulley
  • Edison Lightbulb
  • Vintage style twisted cloth cord
  • Cast iron wall hook
  • Vintage style trouble light cage


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