Monday, June 23, 2014

Toolbox Decorating: Incorporating Found Art Into Your Home

I've always been drawn to vintage tools , , , especially those with bright old paint, wood handles seasoned with oil from long-ago hands, or just the right amount of rust on them.

Every time I go to a yard sale of flea market, old hand tools and garden implements seem to call out to me.
This was the "business end" of a broken rake. Screwed to the kitchen wall, it displays my vintage and collectible linens.

I found this authentic tin letter "L" at a moving sale in Kennebunk last year. It's quite large...must have been part of the sign on a store at one time. Since our last name starts with "L" and the price was right (only $10.00), I snapped it up.

My great big rusty "L" is now part of a grouping on a wall near the reading chair in the living room.
To fill in the space next to it, I framed the sunglasses my "Greatest Generation" parents wore on their honeymoon to Wells Beach, Maine in 1946. Not exactly tools, but "found art" for sure.
I found this vintage T-square ruler at the Liberty Tool Shop, an amazing junkers' paradise in the tiny mid-coast Maine town of Liberty.

It too looked like an "L" so that's the way I decided to hang part of another grouping in the living room...

Above my vintage doorknob collection...more "tool bench" finds.
This old planer came from a small shop in Freeport, Maine. I had to have it for the great mustard color on the knob.
I display it with this book that I found in my father's desk after he passed away...

Dad used the book to build our family's first home in Newington Connecticut in 1950. He, his father and his brother, built the house by hand...step by step...using this book and the tools they had.

Now the book is grouped with a photo of my Dad and the planer on the bookshelf in the living room. Every time I see this little vignette it brings back so many memories.

I guess a ladder is a tool of sorts...I use this one as a drying rack for damp clothes in my laundry room I just like to look at it!
 I've still got quite a few rusty tools and "found objects" to come up with uses for. I buy them because I like their shapes...then I decide how I'll use them. I think the rake might end up on a wall with some sort of display hanging from the tines. I plan to use the saw handle as the top support for a sea glass mobile, and the horse bridle piece...who knows? Maybe a towel holder.
See how it works? Function follows form...

 Do you collect or decorate with vintage tools?
How do you use them???
I'd love to hear your ideas...
I'm hammerin' this post to the following blog parties this week:
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps On the Porch
Motivate Me Monday at Keeping It Simple
Masterpiece Monday at Boogieboard Cottage
Time Travel Thursday at The Brambleberry Cottage


  1. OK, right are busy so I will not hold it against you if you do not reply back! Don't sweat the blog stuff, so we're good with that, right? So glad I checked my blog roll and clicked on your picture!!! I noticed the change and thought it was a new blog post! Boy was it ever!!! I was not expecting such change! I have been missing you, but had decided My Sister's Cottage had probably fulfilled it's healing purpose for you. Congratulations on your retirement, new home and new blog!! You must feel such freedom!!!!
    I retired from teaching this year too. Having breast cancer almost 2 years ago made me realize I want to simplify and change, so I retiring from teaching art was my first step. However, while I retired from public teaching I have been asked to teach part time at the Catholic Church School...only 15 hours a week. I gave in so I could have a little more traveling money. I'm not Catholic, but they said they weren't an artist either so it's a good trade off.
    I really enjoyed catching up through your new posts and I will be praying for Windows 8 enlightenment for far, I can't stand it, but I am learning. Maine is my heart so when this southern girl comes back that way maybe we can meet up. Oh, and if it's moss you like I'll send you some.

  2. I LOVE all your decor with the vintage tools, Cheryl. The "L" letters are so cool. You have some great finds there. The book that your father used to build his house is a fantastic keepsake. I have old kitchen tools/utensils that I decorate with, and I have a black iron trivet for an iron with the letter "G" on it for our last name hanging on the wall, a small tool box holds seashells on the kitchen counter but that's about it. I think your style of decorating is fun. Have a great week. Pam

  3. I love that book that your father had to build is house, and I love how you hung your vintage towels. xoxo

  4. OH my Gosh, you would be fun to shop with.
    We have a huge barn in Rockland with hundreds of vendors.
    I have never seen it all. Great buys.

  5. What fun finds and great displays.


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