Vintage Treasures and Upcycle Possibilities

BUT FIRST… The latest from my cat – Smokey.  Cats, being the total Prima Donnas that they are, how does one explain a cat finding comfort laying on shoes for a nap?

She did open one eye in disdain for me interrupting the snooze.  I slunk away in shame and left her to her beauty rest.

Now on to the main subject – UPCYCLE.


I came across this cute little photo album (circa 1960s) in a second hand store.  It’s actually fairly small and only holds about eight photos.  But it’s solid brass, so it’s nice and heavy, and it’s pretty with it’s detailed lyre (on both sides) and it’s ornately finished pedestal base.


Here’s some good visuals so you can get an idea of the size of this rather unique piece.


This is what it looks like from the back, it’s really quite well made.  But aside from it being a photo album, which many of us don’t really bother with much anymore, what could you do with this?


As it turns out, this is the PERFECT size for ATCs.  I’m sure my readers just fell into two categories:  ATCs, wow, cool, I want one of these.  and – Huh? What’s an ATC?

Definition of ATC:  In 1996, Stirnemann began making small artworks the size of commercial trading cards. An exhibition of 1200 of Stirnemann’s cards ran at his second-hand bookshop and gallery INK.art&text in Zurich, Switzerland between 23 April and 31 May 1997. The exhibition ended with a trading session.[2] The ATC project was intended to allow people from different backgrounds to participate in an ongoing art project, which was not part of the art market. Selling or buying ATCs clearly contradicts the initial idea. Instead, people would meet at trading sessions and exchange their art work in a democratic face to face situation. Anybody can participate in the project and all techniques are allowed.[3] ATCs are produced in various media, including dry media (pencils, pens, markers, etc.), wet media (watercolor, acrylic paints, etc.), paper media (in the form of collage, papercuts, found objects, etc.), or even metals, fiber, wax and other materials.

Are ATCs ever sold, yes.  However, long story short, if you sell ATCs they are marketed as  ACEOs which stands for Art Card Originals and Editions.

Whether you call them ATCs or ACEOs folks that are into it are likely to have hundreds.  While this rather adorable little album will hold very few of such a collection, it can, rather exceptionally, display a few of them because some of these cards are just so wonderful you want to be able to catch a of glimpse of them throughout your day, as well as show them off to guests.

This is where the upcycle comes in.  This cute, but forgotten little photo album will now become an art easel where you switch out mini-masterpieces to your heart’s content.

Not into ATCs?  If you wanted to remove the album (which, by the way, is easy to do) then you could use the ‘rack’ to hold a cherished greeting card or note that came with those flowers from hubby.  You could also use it as a recipe card holder or even your cell phone could stylishly rest here.  How about as a paperweight?  A Post It dispenser?

I love it when I find a used or Vintage item that may have outlived it’s original purpose, but with a bit of imagination, it gets reworked into a new form or another purpose.  I’m sure many of these cool little albums are already in the landfills but this one – YES !!! – will live to see another day.

This item is now listed in my Etsy shop, OldRaven.etsy.com

I also have been hitting a few Estate Sales and found some really great items that are going into my shop as fast as I can get them photographed and listed.  Take a look.


This is a souvenir from the 1930s that was made in Jerusalem.  It’s two layers of beautiful abalone shell and it’s about 6″ tall.  Gorgeous!


These are the cutest little flower pots.  They’re covered in pink flocking!  Seriously, inside and out.  They also have silk flowers (looks like apple blossoms to me) all around the top edges.


I tucked one of my hand-painted Easter eggs into each one for an idea on dimensions, but wouldn’t these look perfect in a nursery with silk lily of the valley?  Or you could use them to hold Q Tips, paper clips, etc.


And speaking of abalone – this fish is amazing.  Another souvenir piece, only this time, from Mexico from the 1940s to 50s.


This is really quite the show of craftsmanship because this guy is articulated, you can bend it back and forth and it looks just like a fish swimming.


Besides being pretty, it’s also functional – it’s a bottle opener (see how the mouth is positioned?).  Every man cave needs one of these beauties.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post, I hope you enjoyed it.  And if you get the chance, find something to upcycle and maybe add what you’ve done to the comments and share with us all.

Now – go craft on something.

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