Monday 19 November 2012

A Little Bit More Shed Decor

I have added a few bits and pieces to my shed recently. Some I made myself and some I picked up at the last Collectorama at Nambour.

The first photo shows three 3 dimensional barnstars that I made. They are made from some thin galvanised sheet tin that I actually bought probably over 30 years ago. I was going to use it to make trays for the bottom of some birdcages that I intended to build.

My three homemade Barnstars
On close inspection you can see how the centre of the red star is not quite as crisp as I would have liked it to be. This was the first one I made. I began to refine my manufacturing process as I went on with the result that the cream and blue stars turned out a lot better. I chose to paint these stars red, white (cream) and blue to be in keeping with the colours of the Australian flag (or the American Stars and Stripes or the British Union Jack for that matter). My barnstars are approximately 30cm across and I have arranged them in a random pattern just above the barn doors of my shed.

The three barnstars above the barn doors
I intend to make some more, next time experimenting in different colour schemes and materials.
Click here for a brief history of the origins and uses of barnstars.

The next photo shows some more horse gear that I managed to find. This time a few different horse bits.
Three different horse bits.
I managed to pick these pieces up at the last Collectorama in Nambour a few weeks ago.
Amongst the gear were two horse bits which were a little different to the one that I had. My original one, the one on the left is blacksmith forged whereas I believe that the other two have been machine manufactured. Maybe some one can confirm this for me? I would also like to know what the two bits sticking out of the centre bit were for. Can anyone help me here? Included in the lot were a number of horse shoes and some other steel bridle links (at least that's what I think they are).

My Horse Gear.
I actually saw a set of leather horse blinkers and a full leather bridle for sale at the fair. They weren't too expensive but I am trying to do this shed decor thing on a budget so I left them for someone else to buy.

Below is a photo of the steel hook and shears that I also got from Collectorama, as well as my experimental Union Jack.
A collage of rusty metal and a few other bits
The shears were in a box of rusty junk which the seller really wanted to get rid of so was open to any offers. I picked out the two pairs of shears and was hoping I could get them for $10 for both. Before I could make him an offer he asked if $5 sounded OK. Of course I said that would be fine.

Two pairs of rusty shears
The shears are both marked and still work surprisingly well considering their rusty condition The smaller pair are simply marked Crest and Germany. The larger pair of sheep shears, however, have a number of different marks on them. They are marked Hind's Patent - Double Hollow Ground as well as Burgon & Ball Patent No 294. Along with a few other marks, they are also have Made in England stamped on them. Apparently, Hind's Patent shears were of the type used by the sheep shearing legend, Jack Howe.  He once sheared 321 sheep in a single day with shears like these. His hand sheep shearing record still stands today. They sure look good hanging on my shed and would probably clean up OK if I decided to put in the effort to do so. Read more about Jack Howe here.

The hook and chain was sold to me as possibly used to move wool bails around but I don't think this is correct. I believe it was most likely used to pull out stumps or drag logs behind a tractor. Either way it makes a great addition to my shed decor.

Rustic Union Jack and rusty hook
I made the rustic Union Jack while experimenting in making a folk art Australian flag. Never really intended hanging it on my shed but I think it looks OK so there it is. All I did was to grab a small bit of old ply that I had laying around and quickly brush on some acrylic folk art paint (I was after a rough folk arty look). I then got the sand paper to it to give it a slightly weathered look, added some rusty wire to hang it from and it was finished. I enjoyed making it and will probably experiment further with other rustic folk art flags in the near future. I may even take photos at each step along the way for a future post. Might plan to also do this when I make more barnstars.

I am currently waiting on more number plates and signs to arrive, so stay tuned for the next exciting instalment of Johnnyfive's shed decor.

Monday 15 October 2012

My Pharmaceutical Collection

I've finally got my pharmaceutical collection into some form of order. At least the best stuff is all displayed together with the overflow stored in my stationary cupboard close by. I'm using the display stand that I made for my recent club show to house all my dispensing bottles (and a bit more). It's always nice to see a collection come together in a display.

Large Pink Drug Jar
I was very fortunate to be able to pick up three very nice items for my pharmaceutical collection at our Morayfield show three weeks ago. The first one I bought from my friends stall on the Friday night when we were setting everything up. It is a very large pink ceramic drug jar (about 27cm tall and 17cm in diameter).

The jar is in excellent condition with only some crazing to the glaze as can be expected on a ceramic item of its age (probably c.1900 or maybe earlier). Most of these jars have quite a few chips around the rims and have damaged handles to the lid. The only thing that would have made this jar more desirable would have been an appropriate pharmaceutical label. I was told that my friend used to keep cat food in this jar. Originally it would most likely have been used to store pharmaceutical ingredients used in the preparation of medicines. The large size and bright colour of this jar could also indicate that it was intended for display purposes in the pharmacy window. Pharmacists would often have a colourful display of large containers in their windows to attract customers and to make it obvious that it was a pharmacy.
The large pink drug jar shown beside the my largest dispensing bottle. 

The next item from the show was another drug jar bought from the same friend on the Saturday of the show. This one is a little more modest in colour, design and size. It is white and only about 15cm tall and 9cm in diameter but it does have a good paper label. The label reads "Oleum Anisi" which is Oil of Anise. You can read about Oil of Anise here. This jar is also in excellent condition.

White Drug Jar

Unknown manufacturers mark (possibly German) on the base of the white drug jar.
The number 2 probably refers to the size of the jar.

The third item that I bought from the show for my pharmaceutical collection was a Sloan's Liniment bottle with its original box.

This bottle is not particularly old (probably from the 1940s) but does have great graphics and lots of cool information on the box and label. It also has a strongly embossed star pattern on the rear of the bottle. These patterns were to warn the handler that they had picked up a bottle that contained poison. So when you got up late at night to get something for the headache you had, you would immediately know you had picked up the wrong bottle. It also has the AGM mark embossed on the base. The particular mark on this bottle was used by the company 'Australian Glass Manufacturers' from 1934 to 1948. You can read more about Dr. Earl Sawer Sloan here.

Another recent addition to my pharmaceutical collection is this cedar test tube stand pictured below. I found this in a local antique shop a few months ago. It is constructed entirely of Australian Red Cedar and I just love it. It has a few stains (actually some look like burn marks) but these just add character. This stand may or may not have been used in a pharmacy but looks right at home with my collection. If it didn't actually come from a pharmacy, it may have been used in a chemist's laboratory or even a school laboratory. I don't have any test tubes for it yet but they shouldn't be too hard to find. Anyone out there have a few they want to get rid of? The bottles didn't come with it either but it just so happened that I had a few that kind of look OK.

The stand is very well made. Who ever made it even took care to set the brass screws (align all the screw slots). This is always a sign of a good craftsman. The green felt is rather worn in places but looks original.

 I wonder what else is waiting out there for me to discover and add to my collection?

Saturday 13 October 2012

My Shed Decor

Lately I have been collecting all sorts of rusty stuff and other old things to decorate the outside of my beloved shed. I have been scouring fairs and markets all year for anything that would look interesting. Below are some photos of some of my finds.

Just some stuff that I've had for sometime now
The extension ladder was my Dad's. He used it a lot when he was building homes with my Grandfather. Their building company was called "Ron Stevens & Son". I wish I still had one of their tin signs that they would put up on their building sites. The last time I remember seeing them was when Dad and I cut some up to make trays for the bottom of my birdcages when I was probably about 12 or 13. Would love to have one to display on my shed. Might have to make up a dummy one.

The red tub also came from my childhood. I painted it red to protect it from rusting when I sunk it into the ground to provide a pond for my pet tortoise, 'Plonky". I named him Plonky after a similar tortoise we met while visiting friends in Adelaide on our first big family road trip. This was way back in December 1965. I've still got my diary from the trip. Oh, and they named their tortoise Plonky because this was the noise he made when he walked down their hallway. Plonk, plonk, plonk....

My mystery item.
I wonder if anyone knows what this large rusty thing is? It was also used by my Dad & Grandfather while building houses. It is a floor clamp. You used it to clamp onto the floor joist and then push the floor boards up tight while nailing them down. If this doesn't make a lot of sense, come and visit and I will give you a demonstration. The sieve was another thing they used.

The rabbit trap above doesn't work but still looks the part and didn't cost much. But I do have some others that are in full working condition. Apparently, so I'm told, rabbit traps can be classified or identified by the different marks on the trigger plate. I have a trap with a spade on it and another with what looks like a trowel. Don't know if this makes them special or not. I just like the look of them hanging on my shed. The two working rabbit traps were found at the last Collectorama fair at Nambour.

Spade mark on one of my rabbit traps
Trowel rabbit trap
Close up of trowel mark
Large rusty hook and chain
The large rusty hook was a Caboolture Market find. I love this hook. I think the chain came from Nana's (my Mother-in-law) place and is probably an old anchor chain. Come and see me if you need to work on your car and lift the motor out.

Horse gear.
This is my small collection of horse bits and pieces (bits literally). The horse hames were found at the last Collectorama at Nambour. They don't actually match but look OK together. Horse hames are part of a draft horse harness and are used in conjunction with the horse collar . The stirrups are another Caboolture Market find. They are not brilliant as they are both (I think) for the right foot but they look OK. I really like the horse bit. It is a blacksmith forged piece and was found a few weeks ago at my club's show at Morayfield.
"EMU" brand on horse hame
Blacksmith forged horse bit
Some of my number plates
Now for my number plates. I have discovered that you can buy genuine American number plates (or license plates as they call them) quite cheaply on the internet. So this is where most of my number plates have come from. They make a great display. The American plates also have some amazing graphics. Much more interesting than our Australian plates although I do like to have a good mix of both. The top Victorian and Queensland plates came from Karen's Auntie Hazel's garage in Melbourne. The lower Victorian plate came off Karen's car from our time of living in Melbourne.

This NON-MOTOR VEHICLE plate came off an Amish buggy from LA GRANGE COUNTY, INDIANA.
(I believe that Indiana is the only US state that requires the Amish to display number plates on their buggies.)
Karen's Victorian number plate from her Hyundai Excel.
Some more of my number plates.
The top Victorian and Queensland plates also came from Auntie Hazel's garage while the lower Victorian plate came off my Holden Berlina when we were living in Melbourne. I love the Kentucky plate as our house was built by the company called Kentucky Log Cabins. It is also the Bluegrass State and I do love my bluegrass music.
Kentucky Bluegrass State plate and others.
Nice Texas plate showing the space shuttle and my Victorian plate
I still have plenty of room for lots more number plates and other rusty junk. Maybe you might have something that you don't want that would look good on my shed. Who knows, I just might be willing to take it off your hands for you (if the price is right). Please let me know if you do.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

2012 Queensland Historical Bottle & Collectables Club Show

It's been a very busy last few months as preparations were under way for last weekend's Antique and Collectables Fair at Morayfield. It was the Queensland Historical Bottle and Collectables Club's, my home club,  annual show. Now it's all over for the year I will try to catch up on adding some new posts to my blog. This first post being about the show.

The show opened to the public at 9am and closed at 4pm. I believe that over 700 people visited the show this year. Overall, it was great success and a credit to all who were involved.

I entered four displays again this year and won three first places and one second place. Nice to know my efforts were appreciated. Below are the photos of my displays.

American Nursing Bottles display (1st place in the Nursery Bottle category)
 I always like to do a baby feeder display as they are one of my favourite things to collect. I usually do a general display covering the development of baby feeders over the past 150 years. This time, just to be a little different, I decided to focus only on American Nursing Bottles as I had enough for a 15 bottle display. I was fortunate enough to recently acquire a couple of very early nursers (the Americans tend to call their baby feeders - nursers) and these were featured in my display.

Dispensing Department display (1st place in the Pharmacy Bottle category)
Another favourite area of mine to collect is Pharmaceutical Items. Last year I put on a general display of pharmaceutical items but this year I concentrated on the pharmacist's dispensing bottles. I built a special display case for them. The idea for the sign 'Dispensing Department' came from looking at old pharmacy photos. The dispensing bottles (or chemist rounds as they are known) were always lined up on shelves under such a sign. This display also gave me the perfect opportunity to display my Pharmacy Prescription Ledger that I featured in an earlier blog.

Vintage Games & Toys display (1st place in the Games & Toys category)
I have enjoyed collecting vintage games over the past couple of years. I found the early Monopoly set at Collectorama and the Buccaneer game at the Caloundra show last year. The Schuco ferrari, Dinky crane and Donald Duck ramp walker are all my own toys from my childhood. I had hoped to display a tin of Ezy-Bilt and a box of Bilda-brix but they took up too much room. Maybe they will turn up on a future display.

Sir Walter Scott Miniature Bookcase of Waverley Novels display
(2nd place in the Single Collectable with Written History category)
This miniature set of books has always been a favourite of mine. I just had to show them. They also feature in an earlier blog.

Karen and I also had a stall at this show selling collectables and some other odd bits and pieces. We actually made more money from the stall than I managed to spend on the day. My purchases will feature in a future blog. Below are some photos of me sitting at my table of goodies just waiting for someone to come along and buy them.

Waiting for the buyers to come along
Potential buyers? Afraid not! Just my children and grandsons come to see grandpa. I really appreciated their visit even if they didn't buy anything (my daughter actually went away with a few freebies).
Me again waiting for a passionate Coke collector to come along and buy all of my Coke memorabillia.
Below are some photos of what I believe were some of the best and most interesting displays of the show. Hope you enjoy them.

A great display of Matchbox Cars. Every car, 1 -75, are featured on the stand at the top of the display.

Carter's Ink bottle display. This display belongs to a friend of mine. He really does have some fantastic blue inks.

Baby and Invalid Feeder display by another friend and member of the club. Some hard to get feeders among this lot.

More of my friends Baby Feeders. Quite a few here that I would love to add to my own collection.

Nice display of Coloured Soda Syphons. You don't often get the opportunity to see so many beautiful coloured syphons together like this.

This Favourite 5 Collectables display belongs to another friend of mine. The sailor's sweetheart shell and the carved silky oak panel are amazing. The Stones Corner pot is also another beautiful and rare piece.

Kitchenalia display owned by another friend. I didn't enter this category this year although kitchenalia is one of my main collecting areas. I did however manage to buy a piece at the show to add to my collection.

Millitaria display owned by yet another friend. He has been collecting millitaria for many years and has  managed to put together an amazing collection of items.
Some more of his collection. This time it's Trench Art. Items made by the soldiers while still at war and also soon afterwards out of old millitary shells and other discarded pieces.

An amazing display of Early Australian Convict Relics. Quite macabre but fascinating.  Where on earth did they manage to get the condemned prisoner's hood from? Can't imagine there would be too many of them around.

Miniature Earthen Ware Pipe Display. This is another great display of hard to get items.
I am already looking forward to next years show. Until then, I will keep on searching for those elusive treasures to add to my collections. Who knows what we will see on display next year.
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