Friday 28 June 2013

My Garden Angel

Just like the birdhouses, this is not really a historical collectable but rather something that I have created to decorate my garden. Maybe one day someone might see it as being worthy to be included as part of a folk art collection. Wouldn't that be nice? This angel is only the first, of what I see as many, that I plan to make.  (Hmm, do I see a potential business opportunity developing here? Maybe you would like to order one from me).

I chose to add a rusty star garland to the head of the angel with three more rusty stars on her chest.

She also has a single rusty star hanging from her hands.

My angel is wearing a blue dress with cream wings and face  

My angel looked as though she was ready to soar into the heavens once she was attached to the fence. At least that's what I think.

I plan to make some more angels of different sizes and designs for my garden in the near future. Don't want her to be lonely, do we?

My Birdhouses

Thought I would feature my collection of birdhouses in this post. This collection is quite different to any other that has been featured as these birdhouses have all (well almost all) been made by myself. They don't have a very long history either. Maybe, as they get older, they will become more collectable to future generations. So far I have nine birdhouses and one bird feeder.

My most recent birdhouse is a Red Barn Birdhouse which I made a couple of months ago. I have always wanted a big red barn and it looks as though this may be as close as I'll ever get to fulfilling that dream. I was inspired to build this birdhouse after seeing one that was somewhat similar on Facebook. Below are some photos of this birdhouse.
As you can see, I like to use very weathered pieces of wood where ever I can. I think this adds a lot of character.
Another rough piece of wood on this side too.
The Red Barn birdhouse in position on the fence. I gave it a branch perch and added three rusty barn stars as decoration. Who knows, someday I may even add a couple of other things to this birdhouse such as a little barrel and a little ladder.

Thought I'd try a rusty tin roof on this cream birdhouse. The tin actually came from our old rusty downpipes from when we had them replaced late last year. I try not to waste anything.
As you can see, the tin is very rusty. More character.
Pink this time with a heart shaped hole and an old door knob. I try to do something different with each one.
Small orange hardwood birdhouse
The little orange birdhouse was actually cut out, but never assembled, 7 or 8 years ago while we lived in Melbourne. It sat in pieces in my workshop for many years until one day I felt I just had to achieve something and so finally put it together. It then sat around unpainted for a few years. Finally, it received its colour scheme of orange and green after seeing these colours used together on something on the internet. It's made out of some old hardwood garden edging from our Melbourne house.
The only bird feeder that I have made. The idea for this feeder came from a plan off the internet, found by my lovely daughter, Ashley. She wanted one for herself so we decided to make one each while we were at it. Don't think she has assembled hers yet.

The bird feeder is made from western red cedar that I've had for many years. I was going to make some more fly screens for the house with the thinner pieces. The wide pieces have a more interesting history. They are actually cut from a long board that was bought to replace a damaged piece on our house. About twenty years ago, someone very kindly blew up our letter box one night and part of it went flying down our verandah damaging the board. The damage to the board wasn't too significant and I just never got around to replacing it. It was just what I needed for the bird feeder.

The bird feeder has been well received by the local bird population and is visited by them everyday. The rainbow lorikeets actually wait in the trees nearby for me to put some seed out for them each morning. Haven't seen the rosella pictured above for sometime now. I think the lorikeets have taken over.
This little birdhouse was made by me in Melbourne. It's almost identical to my little orange one and was cut out at the same time. It has hung next to the front doors of both our Victorian and Queensland homes. I used part of an old wardrobe door handle as a hanger.

This is probably one of my favourite birdhouses and I think possibly the first I ever made. I call it the Gothic Cross birdhouse and just absolutely love the colour.
I designed the Gothic Cross Birdhouse on the computer and built it while living in Melbourne. It's actually made out of some old drawers that were found in a wall of a friend's house at Mordialloc. We were helping them do some renovations to their sunroom and had to remove some old wall sheeting on an unusually thick piece of wall. We discovered that a previous owner had used a series of old drawers to pack out and build out the wall, hence its unusual thickness. Why they would do this will probably remain a mystery but thankfully I quickly saw the potential in the timber and colour of the drawers. Our friends were only too happy for me to have them and so was born my Gothic Cross birdhouse. I still have some of the drawer timbers left over and one day I'll use them for another creation. 

Detail of the Gothic Cross and distressed paint finish.
OK. I didn't build this one but I did do the crackle paint finish. Sometime I will add a little more decoration to this birdhouse.
Detail of the crackled paint finish. I used Crackle Medium by Folk Art to achieve this.
One of my natural finish birdhouses. Rusty tin roof again.
Another simple natural finish birdhouse. Made another one of these with my grandson, Max over the Christmas holidays.
Max loves the drill press.
Max trying to get those pesky nails to go in straight. Not easy for a little guy. Note that I am trying to keep my fingers well away from Max's flying hammer.
Max proudly posing with his birdhouse. Well done Max!

Because I like the birdhouses to have a rustic weathered look, it's easy for me to knock one together, paint it and mount it on the fence all in one weekend. I gives me a real sense of achievement to start and complete a project in such a short time. I'm sure there will be many more birdhouses to come.

Oh, and by the way. I am always looking out for some more old timber to use in my creations. So please let me know if you have any old fence palings or other timber that you want to get rid of.

Friday 21 June 2013

Collectomania - Showcasing A Collector's Passion

If you are a collector, or if you have ever known a collector, you will understand how passionate they can become over collecting what can sometimes be thought of as very obscure objects. I personally know this myself as a collector of Baby Feeders. Not every one shares my passion and in fact many would ask 'why on earth do you collect baby bottles?' To me it is the fascination of the social history and the development of these everyday items. I like to collect things that have been used by the average person in their everyday life and have become a piece of social history.

Karen and I, with our close friends Cliff and Judy, went along to see the Collectomania display at the Queensland Museum a few weeks ago. We are all passionate collectors and were curious to see what sort of collections would be featured in the display. It had been indicated that some of the collections might be considered quite weird by some people. We wanted to see what other people were actually collecting. The following photos probably show a bit of a biased view as they are mostly of the collections that appealed to me.

The first thing that you see at the exhibition, just before you enter, is a cool red tractor in front of a wall of number plates.

I was immediately drawn to the number plate collection as I have a small collection myself fixed to the front of my shed.  Some rather unusual ones here. Makes me want to look out for some more for my shed.

The first thing that hits you when you get inside is this huge Ceiling Medallion from the old Regent Theatre.  This theatre was built in QueenStreet, Brisbane in the 1920s. It has been the centre of an ongoing battle to save it. Most of this historic building has now been lost except for its heritage listed foyer.

Regent Theatre Ceiling Medallion information.

Other Regent Theatre items included a row of seats, some heavy curtains, a chandelier and spot light.

I just had to take a photo of this Fire Fighting Collection seeing that my eldest son Laurie is a firefighter. We gave him a fire hose nozzle like the one featured here when he graduated as a fire fighter. See my Fire Fighting Collectables post.

Fantastic collection of Padlocks and this is only about half of what was on display.

Someone even collected old Washing Machines. Nice to see some old washing powder boxes in original condition. How many of these would have been saved?

There was an incredible collection of Beaters. I was amazed to see how many different types and mechanisms there were. Again, this is only half of what was on display. Well worth seeing, especially if you collect Kitchenalia like I do.

Another amazing collection. This time it's a collection of Salesman's Samples of Sanitary Ware (bathroom fittings). I wonder who would collect things like these??? These samples are not easy to find.

This collection is an example of the entire possessions that an immigrant coming to Australia in the 1950s was allowed to bring with them. They were only allowed to bring one suitcase. In that suitcase would be the sum total of their earthly goods. So much must have been left behind. Great sacrifices were made to begin a new life in Australia. Fascinating insight into our immigration policies after World War 2.

Here we have an interesting collection of all sorts of things that were just found around a country property. I think these came from somewhere like Blackall. A collection that really wouldn't have cost anything to put together but is clearly preserving our countries farming history. I suppose that is why I like this collection so much as I really collect things for their history. Interesting to see they found a Chinese soy pot on the farm (top shelf). These are often found on the goldfields.

Not all collectables on display were old. This was a fantastic display of World War 2 German Soldiers. Apparently the owner chose to collect German soldiers because of their colourful uniforms. Other countries mustn't have been as flamboyant as the Germans.
Detailed diorama of a German garage during wartime.

There's also a very detailed model of Bilbo Baggin's Hobbit Hole from Lord of the Rings. This model was made by Maddie Chambers in England in 2010. You can read all about it and see lots more photos in her blog.

You can stand on a stool and look down into each of the rooms. The amount of detail is incredible. The longer you look, the more you find. Has to be seen to be believed.

Detail of the front door of Bilbo's Home.

There were many more collections on display but the ones above were what I consider to be some of the most interesting. Some of the other collections included snow globes, stickers, spoons and even finger nail clippings. Although I would never collect some of these things, the exhibition did show how varied people's collections could be. It also showed that you don't have to spend a fortune to compile an interesting collection. After all, I am sure the collection of fingernail clippings didn't cost much if anything at all!

Why not go along and check it out for yourself and make your own mind up about the different collections on display. It's on at the Queensland Museum, Brisbane until the end of the year and entry is free.

Monday 3 June 2013

My Collectorama Treasures - June 2013

Went to Collectorama on Saturday. It's a huge Antiques & Collectables Fair held four times a year, in the Nambour Show-grounds on the Sunshine Coast. Today, being the first official day of winter, meant a cold and dark start for me if I was to get there before the gates opened. You guessed it, I ended up arriving about a half hour after it had started. Still got reasonable parking though and don't think I really missed much.

I spent about three and a half hours looking around, picking up a few treasures and catching up with a few friends here and there. I started with the lower covered area.

My first find was a Salter No. 8 flat iron or sad iron on Ashley's stall. This type of iron aren't rare but they are usually to be found in a rather poor condition. This one (pictured below) was in very good condition and also very reasonably priced. Ashley always has many old irons for sale as he is an avid collector of irons as well as many other metal items. Lately he has been selling of his surplus at bargain prices which has enabled me to add to my own collection of irons which forms an important part of my overall kitchenalia collection.

Next I found this tool pictured below. The stall holder said it was for measuring the thickness of sheet metal and the gauge of wire. Not sure if this is correct as I can find no evidence of it ever having any markings on it that would indicate this. I showed it to another stall holder who thought it was more likely to be a special tool used for bending wire. But bending wire for what purpose remains unknown so it looks as though a lot more research will need to be done by yours truly. 

I found another item to add to my kitchenalia collection. This time it was a nice tin mould, maybe for jelly or something similar. Looks a bit like a beetle doesn't it? I believe it is supposed to be some type of fruit shape.

It was time to check out the two storey main pavilion next. You often find some of the better (and unfortunately dearer) items in there.

At one of the downstairs stalls, run by a nice guy from Maleny named Steve, I came across a convict brick with a large impressed heart mark. He believed it to be a genuine convict brick and after a bit of research, I am inclined to agree with him. Looks like another item that will require more research and a post of its own. I had bought some things from Steve before, namely rabbit traps, so knew that his prices were very reasonable to start with and that he was also open to consider any reasonable offers. I noticed that he had a huge circular saw blade on his stall but unfortunately it was already sold. So glad I talked to him about this because he told me that he had another one at home that I could buy. I gave him my card and he said he will bring it along to the next Collectorama in September for me. Don't know how I'm going to wait till then to get it. Hope he doesn't forget and sell it before hand.

Upstairs in the main pavilion I found the rolling pin shown below. I already had a few rolling pins but none with ends like this one. It's also quite a long one and in very good clean condition. Would be great for making pizza because of its length. Another nice addition to my kitchenalia collection.

I finished the morning by looking around the other covered area (the split level one) to see what else I could find.

The following two items were both from the same stall in the higher section of the split level area. I was lucky to see them as they had only been put out just before I'd come along (at least that's what the stall holder said). The DeWitt's Antacid Powder tin seems to be over half full but as the lid is stuck firm I have no way of checking this.  It looks as though someone has unsucessfully tried to remove the lid. Still a nice tin with good graphics. Probably dates from the 1950s.

The second item from this stall is a very tiny bottle of Alophen Chocolate Coated Pills (a laxative) with it's original box. It still has six pills left in the bottle. It has a very interesting ingredients list on the label that says the pills contain both strychnine and belladonna. I think the need for constipation relief would probably become a minor secondary problem after taking these pills.

On the same level I also found these two galvanised pitchers. The stall holder believes they were most likely used to bail out the dirty water from washing coppers. As he had about six identical ones (and he said he still had more at home) I am inclined to believe that they would have been used to scoop out feed or grain either on a farm or in a produce store. They are very strongly made and in good condition. I will probably plant them up and use them in my garden somewhere.

I also found some old Edison cylinder records (nine all up) on this upper level. Their cases weren't in very good condition but all (except for one) of the cylinders were very good. I've only ever had three before so now I have enough to play with when and if I ever get my own Edison Cylinder Gramophone. Also, the stall holder only wanted $10 for the lot which made them even more attractive.

One of my last purchases of the day, found on the lower level, was a child's Puss in Boots plate by Bristol, England. This goes nicely with a child's bowl with similar decoration that I already have from the same English company.

Last but not least was this yellow New Zealand Number plate form the early 1960s. It has already found a good home mounted securely on my shed along with all of my other number plates. Good colour for a 50 year old plate.

Oh, and of course no visit to Collectorama would be complete without stopping by for a chat and to buy some roasted macadamia nuts from Hamish. His stall turned out to be quite the meeting place on Saturday with George, Fay and Gordon, all from my bottle cub, also turning up for a chat while I was there. 

The next event that I am looking forward to is the Caboolture Swap Meet Show & Shine on Saturday the 22nd of June. Never been to this one before so hope it turns out to be a good one.
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