Ironstone butter pats

Ironstone. Butter. Pats. What can I say? Their popularity has skyrocketed in the last few years. To the point that they’re now ridiculously priced. But I love them and am not planning on selling any of mine for a long time.

I started collecting ironstone butter pats about 5 years ago – I just loved their compact size, the heft, wear and patina and they were just so dang cute! I imagine them being used on a table setting back in olde England, each with a pat of butter neatly placed in the center. Even better if the butter pat had a pattern pressed into it from a vintage butter mold!

Butter pats come in various sizes – some are marked or stamped but most are not. Don’t they look great just stacked together ?

I consider myself lucky if I stumble upon any reasonably priced butter pats at this moment in time. Like everything else, I think the prices will eventually drop so be on the lookout.

Decorating with vintage clocks

It all started with the gold and white Big Ben clock below that I had as a child in my bedroom. I didn’t think that someday I would miss this old gal but in 2000, my home caught fire and this clock was completely destroyed.

Around 8 years ago, I started noticing old Big Ben and Baby Ben as well as other vintage clocks at flea markets and I was drawn to their shapes, colors and overall design. I started picking them up for around $15-20 and so, a new collection was born.

I love the way they look individually as well as in a group. And the more wear and patina, the better! Most of the clocks in my collection no longer run but that’s not an issue for me. I just love that they served their purpose some time ago but are still around for collectors to enjoy.

Sometimes all that’s left is the clock face but these also make great display pieces. I’ve used an old metal flower frog to hold up this clock face below.

No matter their size or color, vintage clocks always make a display look just a little bit better!

Packing and storing holiday decorations

The Christmas holiday is over and, sadly, it’s time to put all of the decorations away for another year. I’ve tried to pare my Christmas decor down to mostly vintage items and, because of this, they require careful storage so they’ll be safe and ready for another year.

I’ve begun to collect vintage Gurley candles which are so cute! There are candles for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas! Since I live in Southern California where it gets very hot in the summer, these candles can not be stored in the garage or anywhere where the temperature isn’t regulated. I store mine in a small tote in my bedroom closet. Each candle is wrapped separately in acid-free tissue paper. This is a great way to ensure they will be around for my family and I to enjoy for years to come.

Before I get started packing, I empty out all of the tissue paper from the empty totes where the decorations will be stored.

Each individual decoration gets wrapped, by itself, in tissue paper. Nothing is just dropped into a box without protection. It’s so important to respect your collection and the time and energy it took to collect everything over time.

After everything is carefully packed away, your boxes should look like this:

Store everything in strong, sturdy and labeled totes for next year.

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year.

Collecting vintage scales

You’ve probably seen them on Instagram and Pinterest. Vintage scales are a great decorative piece to use in your decor. I love using them for their chippy painted colors and as risers for other vintage decor pieces.

You can find vintage scales at flea markets as well as online auction sites where they run from $15 to $35 depending on age.

I love the rusty goodness of the one pictured above. I found this one on Craigslist.

Right now, I’m using my scales among my Thanksgiving decor!

Protecting chippy painted furniture

I love chippy paint. I love the shabby look. I’ve even started to paint furniture myself and am learning how to weather it. I’m never deterred when I find a great chippy piece of furniture because I know how I can protect the finish.

The biggest issue with chippy painted furniture is that it’s very hard to clean without rubbing off more of the old paint. Plus, on some pieces, this paint may be very old and could possibly contain lead – it’s never easy to know.

I researched and watched numerous YouTube videos on painting furniture and had heard so much about this product, that I knew I had to try it out.

I purchased this from a seller on Etsy and it’s such a great product. I use a sponge brush but since this top coat is water based, it’s very easy to clean up. It has little to no odor so you can use it inside which is what I usually do.

I start by lightly brushing my piece with a dry paint brush to get off any lingering dust and dirt. Then I lightly wipe down the piece with a very slightly damp cloth and then lightly wipe dry. You may lose a few small chips of paint in this process but you would anyway if you were going to dust the piece. Once you add the top coat, dusting becomes so much easier!

I usually apply two light coats to my pieces. The first coat will dry in about 20 minutes so this isn’t a lengthly process.

Try this for yourself and you’ll be so satisfied with the result. And the best part is you’re protecting that chippy painted finish on your treasured pieces!

Re-Wiring a vintage lamp

Have you ever gone to a vintage market and seen the perfect lamp but then you looked at the frayed or ancient cord and realized you could never plug that in? That used to happen to me until I found this perfect little alabaster lamp which I fell in love with. I knew I couldn’t use it until it was re-wired and what better time than during a pandemic, to learn how to do it myself.

I went online and ordered a table lamp wiring kit from Amazon for around $14. Then I went on YouTube and watched a tutorial on how to wire a lamp. It was so easy and not intimidating at all. The only thing you’ll need is a Phillips head screwdriver and a pair of wire strippers. Everything else comes in the kit.

So next time you see that vintage lamp that’s too good to pass up, remember this new skill you’ve learned. It’s fun to do it yourself!

vintage Decor – architectural salvage

If you’re interested in giving your home more of an individualistic style, consider using architectural salvage pieces in your decor. This piece above was created by using old pieces of salvaged wood and giving it a light coating of white paint.

Finding architectural pieces is easier if you live in parts of the country where old barns and homes are being torn down or renovated. I’ve found a few pieces here in Southern California but have purchased pieces on eBay and had them shipped to me. You can also find architectural salvage on sites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.

This piece above was an eBay purchase and was created out of an old piece of ceiling molding. The vintage hooks were added on and it now works perfectly as a coat and hat rack.

Some pieces come to you already created into something useful like these signs below:

The piece below is a heating grate salvaged from an old home. I love these heavy old pieces – some are way more ornate than this – and all are beautiful.

One of my favorite architectural salvage pieces to find and display are old leaded glass windows. I have three in my collection, one of which is pictured below.

Other salvaged windows make wonderful decorative pieces like the two I have on my stairway wall:

Start looking around at vintage markets and the internet. You’ll be surprised what you can find.

Collecting – Vintage Stoneware Crocks

It started with one small mustard crock. Then it began to grow and grown.

Crocks have been around for centuries – they were originally used to store butter, pickles and even meats (once called potted meats!). The best part of collecting crocks is their versatility; plus it’s so cool to imagine the history behind them – where have they lived before and how were they used?

Last Christmas, I had so much fun adding small artificial Christmas trees to my crocks. Such a simple display which I just love!

Or even filled with greenery (artificial or real) for every day.

No matter how you decide to use them, crocks are a wonderful addition to any collection. Right now, they are super popular so prices may be a bit higher than standard but keep hunting, I’m sure you’ll find some out there to add to your decor. Happy hunting!

Restoration – Transforming a thrift store table


I recently bought this table at Goodwill with the intent to clean it up, paint and distress it, and sell it. This would be my first attempt at furniture restoration and I was excited to start the process.

The table was in very good condition and cost me $12. When I got it home, I cleaned it up using Krud Kutter which is an all-purpose cleaner that doesn’t have a really harsh odor. It cleaned the table nicely and then it was ready to sand.


Since the scratches on this table weren’t that deep, I used fine-grit sandpaper from 3M for this project which is the best way to control how deeply you’re sanding. It’s also the best when distressing painted furniture.


The paint I’m using on this table is Magnolia Chalk Paint in Shiplap.  I like using this Wooster paintbrush because it has a short handle and the angled brushes make it easy to get into tight corners on furniture pieces.


I started on the bottom of the table so the top would be the last thing I’d paint. The paint went on very smoothly but at the end of the day, it took three coats to completely cover the brown wood underneath.


After applying a coat of Dixie Belle clear wax to the table, I noticed that the paint finish wasn’t as opaque as I wanted it to be. You could still see some of the brown paint on the top and bottom shelves. So, I lightly sanded the table again and added one more coat of chalk paint. Then I waxed and buffed it for a smooth finish.

I’m very happy with the way this little table turned out. Now I have to decide whether to keep it or sell it.

Collecting – Vintage James Keiller Dundee Marmalade Jars and Crocks

You’ve seen these on Instagram and Pinterest or purchased them at a local vintage market, eBay or Etsy. They are so highly collectible right now. Here’s a brief history of the James Keiller Dundee marmalade jars and crocks.

Back in the 18th Century, the story goes that a ship carrying Seville oranges sought refuge in Dundee Harbor. The lot of oranges was sold to James Keiller whose mother, Janet, decided to make marmalade out of the bounty. Thus, the James Keiller Dundee Marmalade Company was born. Back in the day, it was believed that the pieces of orange peel in the marmalade aided in digestion.

James Keiller’s son, James, Jr. took over the business in the late 1700’s and named the company James Keiller & Sons. The company set up a factory in Guernsey (an island off the coast of Normandy near France). Dundee Marmalade’s popularity grew and by the end of the 19th Century, the marmalade was shipping to all the way to Australia, New Zealand, India and China.The son of James Keiller (Alexander) and grandson (John) ran the company after James Keiller’s death.

Keiller’s Dundee brand of orange marmalade became one of the first brands to be formally registered when the British Trademark Registry Act went into effect in 1876. The firm was acquired by Crosse & Blackwell in the 1920’s and sold again several times after that. The James Keiller & Sons Dundee Marmalade Company ceased to exist in 1992.

So, enough with the history lesson. I’ve gathered some information about the different styles of these marmalade crocks and how you can date yours back to a specific time:

This is one of the older crocks (1862-1873) which you can tell for two reasons: 1) the top of the crock has a curved rim which was used with a cork stopper rather than a screw-on lid. The second is the Prize Medal Label and the date which only includes the year 1862 (newer crocks have the prize medal dates of 1862 and 1873).

The rim on this crock was used with a metal and fabric covered lid. These pre-date the newer screw-on metal lids that you find on most jars today.

This crock (above) is newer as you can tell by the raised rim which accomodates a screw-on metal lid. It also includes the net weight in ounces.

This beauty is one its way to me from Portugal! I hope to have it soon.

I would love to hear about your collection and ways that you display these wonderful marmalade crocks!