Starting Christmas Traditions

Little Betty is just shy of 3 now, and this is the first year she’s old enough to start understanding what’s going on during the holidays and get excited.   I thought this was the perfect year to start some new holiday traditions that she’ll hopefully enjoy for the rest of her childhood.  The first one I started was The Elf On The Shelf – has anyone else ever heard of this before?  It’s super cute and involves a retro knee hugging elf, so you know I’m all over it.  Apparently it’s been around for a long time, but I’ve never heart of it until this year.  The other tradition I thought Little Betty would dig is an advent calendar.  She’s so excited about Christmas that I thought it would be fun to have a way to count down the days.  But of course I needed something I could kitsch up!

I found this great DIY advent calendar here and was really attracted to the recessed center – perfect for a little Kitschmas diorama!  And I like the boxes which are big enough for a decent little surprise each morning.  Best of all, I like that this is something I can reuse year after year.

All of my favorite kitsch is represented – Putz house, mushrooms, deer, silver Christmas trees, and an elf!

When Little Betty first saw it, she said “I love dis mama!”  Now just to find 24 cute surprises to put in the boxes that aren’t candy…

What are your favorite holiday traditions at your house?

Scenes of Vintage Christmas at Casa Crafter

Our decorations are all up, and I’ve really been enjoying how great everything looks in our new house.  One thing I really love about this house is that it feels very cozy and homey, kind of like my grandparents rec room in the 70s.  Maybe it’s the knotty pine paneling everywhere, aided by our vintage furnishings.  However it happened, I find it comforting and nostalgic and it makes me happy.  It’s a lot different than our old house which very nice but more in an interior design magazine kind of way – looked great in pictures but was a little awkward for every day living.  Anyway, the Christmas decorations going up have really underscored this difference between our old and new houses.  The whole house feels warm and fuzzy to me and I wanted to share a few shots of our Kitschmas Wonderland!

Have you decorated for Christmas yet?  Leave a link in the comments!

Mantiques – my guy likes em.

Believe me, I know Mr. Crafter is a catch.  He’s cute, funny, sweet, and best of all, he likes junking!  Yipee!  Due to his crazy work schedule though, I do most of my junking with my trusty junking gal pals or solo.  But I always keep an eye out for things my sweetie would like.  Mr. Crafter has taken over the a couple shelves in the dining room buffet to display his little prizes that I pick up for him at estate sales and flea markets.  Nothing big here, just little trinkets I think he’d dig.  He loves seeing what I bring home for him and enjoys setting them up in little vignettes on his shelf.  Here’s a few shots from his “prize shelf!”

I especially love this rainfall measuring advertising piece.  My shopping partner in crime (the one that found the shortie inlay boots – I declare her to be called Shortie from here on out since I talk about her so much!)  was actually jealous of me for once when I found this!  It looks like it’s never been used – it’s totally pristine.   Not like the fully rusted out but still incredibly awesome 50s flashlight you can see here.  I also picked up these old packets of photo corners for Mr. Crafter at an estate sale.  Not only might they be useful (he loves to take pictures and collect old ones) but the graphics on the packaging are pretty great.

You may remember those gay birthday candles from an estate sale early in the summer.  The mixed nuts can is full of old nails.  So perfectly grandpa.  Also grandpa is the toothpick holder that Shortie and I picked up for our respective “grandpas” at the Dairy Palace on a recent shopping trip out of town.

This mosquito repellent I picked up solely because of the awesome graphics.  I knew Mr. Crafter would love it, and I was right.  The pin cushion I bought for the shop but was quickly adopted by Mr. Crafter.

I’m super in love with this globe perpetual calendar.  I think it’s one of the coolest things ever.  And the bank behind it, although totally unusable bc I don’t have the combination, made Mr. Crafter very happy.

I get Mr. Crafter a lot of stuff that won’t fit on the shelves too – this is just his little “shrine” to vintage knick knacks I pick up thinking of him.  Mr. Crafter also has lots of cool collections of his own that I’ll feature someday.

Do any of you have significant others who like old stuff as much as you do?  What do you keep an eye out for when shopping for them?

I splurged. Don’t tell Mr. Crafter.

I have a new favorite thing, and it came about quite by accident.  I went to a Christmas bazaar with my brother and sister in law yesterday and came across a booth filled with the most AMAZING throw pillows in the world.  I’m not kidding, people.  It’s 100% scientifically proven fact that there are no cooler throw pillows in the free world. They are made by Kate Hersch of August Morgan right here in Austin TX.  She makes them from vintage pieces of embroidery, or sends vintage embroidery kits to fair trade artisans in Haiti and India to be embroidered.  Folks, they’re insanely awesome.

Don’t believe me?  Here are a few jewels from her website:

Are you dying of cuteness yet? She has pillows that hit all my buttons – deer, mushrooms, owls, zodiac themes,  bargello – her asthetic is perfectly spot on in my opinion.
I tried to restrain myself in her booth.  Really I did.  Especially considering these pillows are at a price point that requires some careful consideration.  But interior design wise, it had to be done.  Especially when my sister in law picked this one up and thought it would be perfect in my house:

She was right.  I completely fell in love with it and had to have it.  Our tv watching couch is covered in vintage crewel pillows, and I thought this would join them, but I think it’s going to live on this Heywood Wakefield chair in my craft room.  You can’t see it here but it has a turquoise canvas backing.  Little Betty picked one out for her room too:

I think Little Betty’s going to have good style.  There were similar ones with a tiger and another with a pink hippo that I might have chosen instead, but she was very sure this was the one.  And now that it’s in her room, I can see she was right!  This one has a pink canvas backing.

I can already tell anytime I have a few extra bucks I’m going to be craving one of these lovely pillows.

If you love vintage crewel and needlepoint as much as I do, head on over to her online shop and see if there’s a pillow that would turn your couch into a more inviting place.

*It occurs to me that it may look like I got free pillows to write this post.  I wish!  No, I just think they’re really awesome and wanted to share them with all my lovely friends.

Elf Cardholder Recreated – Sucess?

Remember how I said I wanted to recreate this cute little elf cardholder that was in a craft magazine of mine but was missing his directions?

Well, I did it but I’m not sure it can be called a success.  Something seems a little…off…

Does he kind of look like he has “one chromosome too many?”  Where the original looks very cute, my version is about 35% creepy, and 25% like it was done in a kindergarten class.  Both versions are 100% kitsch.  There is a fine line between kitsch and bad taste, people.  I’m not sure where this guy falls.  Although I do have him hanging up in my house, and will put Christmas cards in his envelope as they arrive, I’m not sure I’ll put him up again next year.  We’ll see – maybe he’ll grow on me.

Anyway,  I had mentioned doing a tutorial for this if anyone was interested, but now I’m not sure it’s tutorial worthy.  If you’d like to make him, let me know and I’ll put one together.

Another Shopping Trip – Yippee!

Little Betty and I embarked on a whirlwind out of town shopping trip this weekend.  Although most of it was for the shop,  there are a couple things I don’t think I’ll be letting go of.

But first, I must tell you about the bizarre house I encountered at an estate sale.  One of the things I love most about estate sales is that you never know what you’re going to walk into.  It could be a great experience or you could end up running out screaming in terror.  (Just kidding!  I never do that.)  This particular house was pretty unique even from the outside.  It had some good mid century lines, but not classically so.  I can’t even describe it, and I’m sorry I didn’t get a picture of it.  But I do have some things to show you on the inside!  This house had 3 50′s tiled bathrooms.  Yay!

A green one:

 

A yellow and blue one:

And a really stunning pink and grey one:

They were all beautiful, except for the unfortunate vanities in the green and yellow bathrooms.  All the floors were incredible, but I especially love the green, pink, and grey floor in the pink bathroom.  However, I would like you to take this opportunity to note the “Mobile Mounting Kit” strategically placed right above the humping beanie babies on the sink.  Methinks this is no accidental placement.

There were more oddities to be seen in this house as well, such as several “art” pieces for sale like this one:

You can’t read the price here but it’s $50.  And it seems to be in memorial of someone as there is a name and life dates.

There was also this “customized” wallpaper:

Just in case you can’t tell due to my crappy iphone picture, those flowers are drawn on with crayons and the birds have been cut out of a magazine.  Yes.  It’s true.

The front room of this house was really beautiful with expensive antiques and art, but the rest of the house was a hot mess of randomness.  I did walk away with a few things here – some old cameras, a hand painted sign, and a kitchen wall clock.  And I will always have my memories of the mounting beanie babies.

The other sales I went to I really scored big!  I couldn’t bear to part with this sweet needlepoint, so it’s now hanging in our bedroom:

 

I’m really excited about this landscape of a chalet in the mountains:

I want to keep it so bad, but this thing is MASSIVE and I have no idea where I could fit it.  I’m kicking some ideas around, but I may have to take it to the shop if I can’t figure out anything else.

But the thing I’m most excited about is not anything I scored at estate sales this weekend.  It’s an ebay score.  Ever since I was turned on to Vladmir Tretchikoff by the fabulous Jennifer Perkins I’ve been pining for a Tretchikoff of my very own.  He is the recognized “King of Kitch” and is known for his paintings of green faced ladies.  I’ve been following leads of Tretchikoff sightings, stalking ebay and etsy, and holding out for one to come along.  And boy howdy did it ever!  I finally won one on ebay for a mere $25!  These babies can go for hundreds!  I was stoked, to say the least.  And it arrived this weekend!  Here is my Chinese Girl by Vladmir Tretchikoff, hanging over my bedroom vanity.

I think I got this so cheap because it has a couple scratches to the print.  But brave and resourceful gal that I am, I just took some of Little Betty’s crayons and touched them up lightly and now it’s hardly noticeable.  I am beyond tickled with this new addition – even Mr. Crafter likes it!

Did you score anything great this weekend?

Expanding my Kitschmas fever

Yes, I’ve been wreath crazy.   And the fact that they’ve been selling like hot cakes in the shop is only encouraging me to make more.  But believe it or not, as I start to run out of wreath supplies, I’m starting to focus on other vintage Christmas craftiness.  For example, I’ve been rehabbing Putz houses:

And I’ve also been throwing together random vintage Christmas odds and ends to make things like this:

I’ve also been scouring my vintage craft magazines and patterns for Christmas crafts I find interesting.  I am obsessed with making this helpful little elf card holder:

but sadly some very rude person tore out the pattern page.  Waaahhhh!  That’s ok though!  Betty is not so easily discouraged.  I think I can recreate it based on the picture and the measurements you can see in the picture.  Stay tuned to witness my sparkling success/crushing defeat.

Oh, and no, you absolutely do not see Christmas decorations up in my house already.  That would be crazy.

Make your very own Kitschmas Wreath!

 

If you’ve been reading my posts over the last couple weeks, you will know that Betty loves her some kitschy ornament wreaths.  In fact, I have been making them obsessively.  I may need some sort of intervention.  However, let my unhealthy obsession be your gain!  I want to show you how I go about making them in the hopes I can infect you, too, with my fever and we can spread our Kitschmas spirit over the world!  Now, I did not invent this idea.  Many, many people have made ornament wreaths like this all over the place, and they probably do it just like I do.  But in any case, I’ll walk you through making one.

You will need a foam wreath base, tinsel garland, wire for hanging, wire cutters, a high temperature hot glue gun and plenty of glue sticks, glass ball ornaments from small to large, and all the kitschy goodness you can stand.

The first step is to wrap the foam wreath base with tinsel garland.  Use a spot of hot glue on each wrap around to secure it.  I wrap the whole wreath twice over because once looked a little sparse to me.

Now is when I add a wire loop for hanging.  Just twist the ends of a long piece of wire at the bottom and twist a loop into the top.  Then secure the loop at the top with a spot of hot glue so it doesn’t slip around.  Snip off the excess wire at the bottom with your wire cutters.

Next, glue large glass ball ornaments all around the outside of the wreath, and smaller ones around the inside.  You can use large balls on the inside too, but it will make the hole in the wreath a lot smaller.  It just depends on the look you want.  Before gluing, put the ornament up to the wreath to see where it will hit and put glue on that spot on the ornament.  If you don’t have enough room at the end to fit another ornament of the same size, just fill in with something smaller as I’ve done here.  It won’t be that noticeable after the wreath is done.

Here comes the fun part!  Now I place all my fun pieces on the wreath and decide where I want them to go.  After I’ve got that figured out, I glue them down the same way I did the ball ornaments – check to see where it will hit the wreath and put glue on those spots.

After all the kitsch is in place, I fill in with plainer ornaments – small and large glass balls, floral picks, and various small vintage Christmas doodads.  Keep going til the tinsel is covered as best you can.  I don’t mind seeing some of the tinsel peeking through, but I try to cover it pretty well.  Then double and triple check the hold of all your ornaments.  You will probably have to add spots of glue here and there to make sure it’s holding together well.

Now hang your Kitschmas wreath on the wall and admire your creation!

If you make one of these, or rehab a Putz house like in my last post, I’d love to feature them here!  Leave a link in the comments or send me a pic.  I hope you have as much fun making these as I do!