Category Archives: Kitchen Decor

Cleaning Up With Kindness – Found On A Friday

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SewEco Reusable Snack Bags on Etsy

As a newly born “vegan”, I am looking for ways to reduce my carbon footprint, reduce my use of chemicals and natural resources, and still maintain that fabulous air of geek chic that I have cultivated for myself. Sometimes, there are challenges in the way of finding that perfect new time-saving and Eco-friendly object of desire for your home, but luckily, that is not always the case. Here are a few fabulous finds that you can easily put to work in your home and they will make you feel all green and fuzzy all over.

SNACKABY Eco Friendly Dishwasher Safe Reusable Sandwich Bags on Etsy.

The first area where you can make a quick and easy change is swapping out all those plastic sandwich and snack baggies you use in your own, or your children’s lunch kits.  Yes they are convenient, but they cost a fortune and end up in the trash.  There are heaps of options that you can make yourself, or take advantage of the many fabrications and expert touches that can be found on Etsy. Many of these bags can be cleaned in the dishwasher, and certainly in the washing machine, and have well “Serged” edge details that will stand the test of time. Unlike bulky plastic containers that are forever losing their lids, and take up room in a lunch bag or backpack, these collapse flat, and are perfect for smaller snacks like dry cereal or raisins, without offering a challenge to little hands.

Inspired Stitchery Unpaper Towels, Selection Of Colors on Etsy.

Paper Towel is another product many of us are forever buying, and once used, tossing out. Unlike a kitchen cloth, which may harbor bacteria after a single use, a paper towel offers the ease of a clean wipe for window cleaning, and can be used in a variety of ways. So how do you replace something so indispensable? You buy or make yourself some reusable toweling that does the same job but can be washed endlessly, maintaining it’s lint free surface, and absorbency.

Sew Happy Designs by Abby Custom Reusable Cloth Paper Towel Roll With Snaps on Etsy.

Personally, I wash all my lettuce and leafy veggies like kale as soon as I come home from market. I then place the leaves on toweling, and roll it up before placing it in the fridge crisper compartment or a storage bin. This is a huge waste of paper towels, but it makes perfect sense for a re-usable thin toweling that can be used week after week.

Kootsac Reusable Bulk Food and Produce Bags on Etsy.

We have all been a party to the movement to replace plastic and even paper grocery bags with cloth or canvas reusable bags, and many of us have embraced this change. But take it a step further and you can replace a few other shopping bags on your trip.  For instance, if you buy bulk foods, particularly dry goods, nuts, or candy, you are likely forever looking for that roll of plastic bags and twisty ties near the bins. How about using your  very own cute baggies that you can easily stash into those reusable grocery totes.  You can use them over and over, and they won’t add any weight to your scales or garbage to your bins at home.

The High Fiber Reusable Produce Bags on Etsy.

Similarly, you can get yourself some reusable vegetable bags that can go from market, right into the fridge when you are in a hurry. Made of linen or mesh, you can pop these directly into the fridge and not worry about things going mushy in an air-tight plastic bag, and they look really cute too.  Easy wash and stash for your next shopping trip, they are the perfect thing for veggie lovers.

Clean Sypria Wool Dryer Balls by Tara Fletcher-Gibbs on Etsy.

Want to replace your fabric softener and have some fun at the same time? Pick up a handful, a half dozen, or more of these fabulous all natural wool dryer balls. They average about the size of a tennis ball, and can be found in colored or natural tones.  They are safe for handling around the kids, and can be scented with natural oils to impart a yummy scent to your laundry loads.

Moss Creek Wool Works Wool Dryer Balls on Etsy.

They actually do more than just soften your clothes, they draw in moisture to speed your drying process, therefore reducing the amount of energy you use per load. Reducing static naturally, they contain no harsh chemicals, and are safe for your household pets to play with should one roll away. They are especially perfect for drying cloth diapers, and can even do double duty for play when teaching your toddler about colors.

Sew Much Style Reusable Eco Friendly Bowl Covers on Etsy.

My final kitchen miracle worker is one that is equally stylish and very smart, whether you are baking bread or storing leftovers.  Bowl covers have been around for a long time, they usually resembled mini-shower caps, but were still plastic which become greasy and aged poorly over time. When looking for a plastic wrap replacement, or even to foil the aluminum foil trap, using fabric covers is the perfect option. They breath a bit to let out excess gasses and prevent spoilage, but still keep things crisp and fresh.

chez-sucre-chez Bowl & Container Covers Set [Various Sizes & Colors Available] on Etsy.

These are just a few of the great Eco friendly and washable kitchen essentials, and a laundry essential that will save you time, money, and most importantly your conscious when it comes to reducing your environmental impact. They may seem like small things, and maybe they are, but they are just a small part of a bigger trend.  All of these items are produced by hand, made by crafty artisans that believe in their products and are more then happy to work with you to meet your needs. Many will create custom orders just for you, and you can often find very local products made in your own area to reduce your shipping costs too. There is no reason why your kitchen can’t be the center of your new Eco conscious self, just as it it the center of your home.  Fabulously kind and chic items like the ones featured above are not only great for your personal use, but make brilliant gifts for friends and family too. I love finding a reason to blog on Fridays!

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Pop Quiz: Spot The Tiny Treasures – Teeny Tiny Tuesdays

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 As part of my daily routine, particularly since starting up this blog, I browse through the newly listed items on Etsy to see what new treasures catch my eye and may end up in a future blog post.  Normally, I respond to the images I see immediately, and am pretty sure what I am looking at. But today, I got ‘taken’ so to speak. I thought I was looking at a shabby chic cottage style desk, but when I actually read further into the listing, I realized I was in fact looking at a miniature. I admit it, I was totally fooled, this miniature desk looked so perfect and so real, it was hard to believe it could fit in the palm of my hand. Since today is ‘Teeny Tiny‘ day on the Fab, I thought it would be the perfect day to spring a little pop-quiz on all my fellow tiny fans.

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Throughout this post, you will find 12 images of great Shabby Chic Furniture. The kicker — wait for it — only some of them are doll house miniatures, others are full size people home decor.  You get to give it your best shot, get out a post-it note or piece of scrap paper, and make your guesses. The images are all numbered, 1-12, so scribble down which are “SO TINY” and which items are “NO TINY“.  Then head to the end of the post for full item credits and links to these fabulous Etsy shops, and the list of answers. Challenge your friends, see if they can spot the itty bitty treasures that are so great, they look just as ‘real’ as their full sized counterparts. Ready, steady, GO!

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Here are the fabulous details about all of these items, the truly tiny for your doll house and the truly Shabby Chic for your home. If you want to see how you did on the quiz, the answer code is tucked just below this list.  If you want to share your scores, feel free to do so in the comments, I would love to know if anyone else got ‘taken’ by something tiny today. Happy Tuesday!

  1. Distressed Wood Shelves – Shabby Chic by Paula, Pollygots on Etsy
  2. Dollhouse Shabby Chic Painted Wooden SIDE TABLE Miniature Furniture 12th Scale by Ladies Mile Miniatures on Etsy.
  3. Chicken Wire Kitchen Cabinet – Rustic Miniature by House of Artistique on Etsy.
  4. White Washed Cabinet by Dienke Cazemier, Bell Jar Mini on Etsy.
  5. One Inch Scale Narrow Chest of Drawers by Storybook Miniatures on Etsy.
  6. Shabby Chic 32 Inch Bench – Furniture by Dale, Dales Wood and More on Etsy.
  7. Dollhouse Miniature Coffee Table – Shabby Chic by Denise, Deesware Miniatures on Etsy.
  8. Cabinet 1:12 Scale Shabby Chic Style by Marta, MartaPellise on Etsy.
  9. Lazy Couch, To Go With The Lazy Chair by Dienke Cazemier, Bell Jar Mini on Etsy.
  10. Doll Dining Table and 4 Chairs Set in 1/6 Scale, Shabby Chic (Blythe, Barbie, Bratz, Momoko) by buildingIDEA on Etsy.
  11. Wood Wall Vase Shelf Key Hook Shabby Chic Distressed Wood by Michael Hutton, Twigs2Whirligigs on Etsy.
  12. Shabby Chic White Wood Wall Shelf With Peg Hooks by ShabbyNChic on Etsy.

Tuesday, February 21/2012 – Pop Quiz: Answer Key, Foraging For Fab.

A Trip Down Grocery Lane – Time Travel Thursdays

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Groceries ART BLOCKS – Set of 21 Ephemera Art BLOCKS 1950’s Magazine Advertisements by Suzanna Scott, Sushipot Parts on Etsy. $145.00 USD.

I was born in the early seventies, that means the big 4-O is coming soon, but even I remember a time before grocery stores became giant tributes to mass consumption of over produced and over packaged goods. Most people dread the “weekly” trip to the grocery store, some people go out less than weekly. Our food has become so laden with preservatives that shopping carts are now immense, ready to hold all those giant boxes and bags that can shelf sit for decades.  Many of my friends and family have turned to shopping on-line, with a standard order delivered right to their doors at great expense, but it is a busy family’s savior in a time pressured world.  We now have so much waste, so much to recycle, that taking out the garbage can be more labor intensive than cooking up dinner.

Vintage 1946 Grocery Shopping Advertisement – Mother Daughter at French Frou Frou Antiques on Etsy. 10″x13″. $12.95 USD.
Vintage 1950 Mother Daughter Grocery Advertisement at French Frou Frou Antiques on Etsy. 10″x13″. $12.95 USD.

So when did it all go so horribly wrong? I am by no means the best at being ‘green’, I am not a vegetarian, and I am not someone who is the most socially aware, but I would have to be blind not to see that we have gone in a direction that is going to be very hard to change.  The old Corner Grocery Store is almost extinct, and that is a shame.

Corner Drug Store Vintage Photo of A Woman Standing In Front of a Drug Store at Romance Writer on Etsy. 3 3/8″x3 3/8″. $2.50 USD.
Girl Buys French Bread & Spaghetti from Retail Market Shop in Snow – Antique Photograph at Snaposaurus on Etsy. 3.5″x2.5″. $4.25 USD.

 In Canada [where I hail from] and the United States, the mega-sized grocery and drug store combo is a dominant feature on the landscape of most suburban shopping centers.  We don’t really even question it when yet another Big-Box shop opens around the corner. However, there was a time when small corner grocers were essential to a neighborhood, and many shopped for fresh goods on a daily basis.

Large Vintage Wire Shopping Basket with Handles – Old Country Store at Antique Beans on Etsy. SOLD.
Vintage Light Blue Grocery Store Shopping Basket at Planet Alissa on Etsy. Estimated 1970-1980. 16″x10 1/2″x9″. $20.00 USD.
Old Vintage Metal Store Display Tag for Fruit Flavor Certs Candy Breath Mints at Leora’s Magic Carpetbag on Etsy. 2 1/4″ Across. $9.99 USD.
Old Vintage Metal Store Display Tag for Dentyne Spearmint Gum at Leora’s Magic Carpetbag on Etsy. 5 3/4″ Across. $12.99 USD.

We drank out of glass bottles, which we returned. Dry goods were sold in paper boxes lined with wax paper, or tins that would be re-used.  Ice cream came in a paper box. Bread, produce, and meats were wrapped in paper and tied with a string. Your home ice-box didn’t hold as much, and things did ‘spoil’ as you would expect fresh food to do.

Vintage Sky Flakes Cracker Tin – Add To A Collection or Use To Store Special Items at Artsy Gemini on Etsy. 7″x4 3/4″. $4.50 USD.
Vintage Spice Tins & Extract Bottle – Lot 2 at UnAbashed DeStash on Etsy. 5 Spice Tins/Boxes, 1 Bottle. 1940s. 50s. 60s. $30.00 USD.
Vintage Spice Tins – Lot 1 at UnAbashed DeStash on Etsy. 7 Spice Tins/Boxes. 1940s. 50s. 60s. $35.00 USD.

So what, you may ask, is my point? Well, sometimes we need to take a look back in time to remember that most families had all their needs met by their corner store, and that the more we package and preserve, the more wasteful we have become.  For many, a look at vintage grocery ads, items, and containers in a wonderful way to remember the days of their childhood. For others, a reminder that for all our “progress”, we have taken a huge backwards leap in taking care of Mother Nature.

Set of 10 Sample Size Grocery Products Rare Collectibles at Antigua on Etsy. Boxes and Talcum Powder Tin Contain Product. Circa 1960s. $100.00 USD.
6 Vintage Jack And Jill Strawberry Gelatin Dessert Boxes at Antionettes Vanilla & Vintage Finds on Etsy. 3.5″x3″x1″. New Old Stock, Never Used. $8.95 USD.
Vintage Chocolate and Food Extracts for Vintage Snacks at Violet’s Steamer Trunk on Etsy. Original Price Tags On Some Items. Range in Size. $11.00 USD.

My family is rather unique in that I come from a ‘Grocery Ancestry’ of sorts. On my father’s side, his parents owned a corner grocery store on St. Clair Avenue in part of Toronto’s most well known early residential areas. He grew up working the store, and as he tells it, bribing the delivery drivers to let him drive their trucks long before he was of age.  On my mother’s side, her father and his partner had a ‘pop’ bottling plant in Thunder Bay, Ontario where they bottled such favorites as Nu-Grape and Sun Crest.  My maternal grandmother also had her time working in a butcher shop as a young woman before she married my grandfather.  You could say my love of the corner grocery store is almost a genetic trait.

Vintage Coca-Cola Bottles, Set of Coke Bottles in Original Carry Carton at Kona Boutique on Etsy. Holiday Style Cardboard Holder Included. $19.99 USD.
Vintage 7up Green Glass Soda Bottle at Antoinette’s Vanilla & Vintage Finds on Etsy. Circa 1950s. 7 oz. Bottle. 8″ Tall. $6.95 USD.
TWO VINTAGE Sun Crest Soda Bottles at Dee’s Attic Treasures on Etsy. 10 oz. & 7 oz. Bottles. Bottles From Atlanta, GA. $18.00 USD.

 Most people, I imagine, have had some connection to a corner store at some point in their family tree, there were just that many small shops serving the community.  Today I want you to remember those days, before the mega-ginormous food outlets, and remember all the families that relied on the small corner stores for their livelihoods and as a main food source for nourishing their families.  The stunning art blocks at the top of the post are the perfect way to honor that heritage in a new and eye-catching way. If you collect old photographs or glass bottles, you can find some of the best on Etsy. Vintage packaging and ephemera remind us of a simpler time and are great photo props or serve as inspirations for decor and artwork projects.  An old soda crate can become a great way to organize your craft room or studio.  This Time Travel Thursday, I ask you to think outside the “Big Box” grocery stores.

Vintage Wood Divided Soda Crate A-Treat Supplies Storage Primitive Industrial Box at Vintage Jane on Etsy. 17 3/4″ Long, 12 1/2″ Wide, 5 1/4″ Tall. $36.00 USD.
Coca-Cola Crate at Cottage On Cactus Lane on Etsy. Vintage Original. 18″ Long, 12″ Wide, 4.5″ Deep. Perfect for Storage, Decor, or Shelf. $25.00 USD.
Vintage Land O’Lakes Wooden Cheese Box at Uknow Uneed Another on Etsy. 11 3/4″ Length, 3 3/4″ Height, 4 1/4″ Wide. Bottom Opening Hinged. $25.00 USD.

Shaking Things Up – Strange Stuff Saturdays

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They are quite a pair, those salt and pepper shakers we all have in our kitchens or dining rooms. Sometimes salt and pepper shakers are beautiful crystal antiques, perhaps they are very kitsch, others are mostly utilitarian, and sometimes it is a large grinder that requires a little elbow grease to get the perfect seasoning. In my place, I just use the sea salt in the spice bottle from the market, and my pepper comes in a little bottle with a grinder on top, also supermarket bought. How terribly boring and wasteful, really. Ugly labels, they are not really refillable, and even if I recycle the bottles, it isn’t an ideal situation. So I need to get myself a cute set of Salt & Pepper Shakers. I decided it was a good time to see what I could find on Etsy, so many great vintage picks and handmade or upcycled options. So I ran a search, and of course, came up with oodles of listings. Let me say, before I begin this post, that it is all about the images, I wanted to show you the ones that really stood out, for a variety of reason. Now remember, this is “Strange Stuff Saturday”, so what is strange in today’s post is my immediate reaction to the salt and pepper sets. I am going to show you a pile of great ways to spice up your kitchen, and give you my exact first reaction in a caption below the image. All the individual item Listing Details and Etsy shop links will appear at the bottom of this post, and while my comments might seem odd, or negative, they are in fact the very reason these shakers are fabulous. I don’t want boring, I want funny, ironic, creepy, or just plain strange. Let’s Shake Things Up!

  1. First Rule Of Zombie Land – The Double Tap. [They look like crawling Zombies to me, with bullet holes in their heads!]

  2. Because Everyone Wants To Think About Dirty Laundry While Eating.

  3. There. Are. No. Words.

  4. “I Bagel Your Pardon!”

  5. “Pass The Toe Jam?” [These are a Canadian souvenir set, I am so proud of my country!]

  6. Good Morning. You Are Not Dead Yet.

  7. A Freudian Rorschach Test. What Do You See?

  8. Nothing Classes Up A Kitchen Like A Piddling Puppy

  9. Please Pass The Ass

  10. From The “Bunnies On Acid” Collection

  11. [They are Vintage Nuts, do I actually have to make a smart-ass comment on this one?]

  12. The Eyes, They Follow You No Matter Where You Go. Creepy!

  13. The Fru-eats Of The Day-vil. [“The Fruits of the Devil”, So I Married An Axe Murderer – Mike Myers quote from my very obscure sense of humor.]

  14. If The Salt Looks Like Dandruff… What Does The Pepper Look Like?

  15. Urns. Pepper Flakes. How Wonderfully Macabre!

  16. I Now Understand Why Some People Are Afraid Of Clowns.

  17. This Is What My Eyes Look Like After A Night Of Heavy Partying.

  18. Little Critters in Carbon Freeze, Just Like Han Solo [Star Wars.]

  19. Bam Chicka Wow Wow – Makin’ Bacon!

Pardon my rather odd and extremely obscure sense of humor, but those were my exact thoughts on seeing these strange and wonderful shaker sets. It strikes me that these are almost all, if not entirely, vintage items. It makes you wonder, why is it we get such a kick from these bizarre kitschy items? Were they intended to be funny or is it just a matter of the esthetic at the time. I haven’t seen nearly as many modern salt and pepper shakers that made me laugh as much as this random selection did. I could have gone on and on, there are so many more treasures to be found over on Etsy. Have a great weekend everyone, and next time you look at your own S&P shakers, think of Foraging For Fab!
Image Credits:

  1. Vintage Pushup Salt and Pepper Shakers by Out Of The Pink Sky on Etsy.
  2. Vintage Westinghouse Washer and Dry Salt and Pepper Shakers by Random Voyeur Vintage on Etsy.
  3. Vintage Salt and Pepper Shakers Retro Holt Howard Grant Pixie PixieWare Elf by Magpie Antiques on Etsy.
  4. Holt Howard Lefton Bagel Donut Salt and Pepper Shakers Two Peppers holt howard strange crazy anthropomorphic by Retro Chalet on Etsy.
  5. vintage salt and pepper shakers – feet – Canada souvenir set by Forrestina Vintage on Etsy.
  6. Pair of Tombstone Salt And Pepper Shakers by Dusty Attic on Etsy
  7. Anthromorphic Mushrooms Salt and Pepper Shakers 1970s by Melony’s Whimsy Daisy on Etsy.
  8. Vintage Dog and Fire Hydrant Salt and Pepper Shakers by Lady Ivy Vintage on Etsy
  9. Texaco Souvenir donkey Salt and Pepper Shakers by Chelles Treasure on Etsy.
  10. Weird and Wild – 1950s Vintage Rabbit Salt and Pepper Shakers – by Goodlookin’ Vintage on Etsy.
  11. Vintage Pair of Nuts – Salt and Pepper Shakers – Nuts by Strange Vagaries on Etsy
  12. Vintage 70’s squirrel salt and pepper shakers with wiggly eyes by Belle Epochalypse on Etsy.
  13. Vintage Garlic Head Anthropomorphic Salt and Pepper Shakers by Two Little Owls on Etsy.
  14. Set of Vintage Salt and Pepper Shakers Monk Plastic Hong Kong Japan by Ye Olde Antique Shoppe on Etsy,
  15. Vintage Salt Pepper Shakers 22k Gold Warranted China Porcelain Shaker Set by Carlea Pink on Etsy.
  16. Vintage Salt and Pepper Shakers, Clown Teapots by The Dish Dash Kitchen Company on Etsy.
  17. Vintage Salt & Pepper Shaker Set Plastic Rooster by Magnolia Vintage on Etsy.
  18. Vintage Salt and Pepper Shakers, Circus, Japan by Lulu’s Five and Dime on Etsy.
  19. Vintage Black and White Pigs Salt and Pepper Shakers by Salt and Pepper Mania on Etsy.