August 6, 2012

at home in the curious city

You know the saying, "it's not what's on the outside that matters, it's what's on the inside that counts?" Well scratch that. After you finish pouring that last glass of wine, take a look at the bottle before you toss it in the recycling.  It's beautiful. It just needs a little makeover. Here's how:
Start with any old glass bottle or jar. Here I have a candle holder, wine bottle and lemonade bottle.
To remove the labels, submerge the bottles in water overnight or for a few hours. The labels are generally applied on with water based glue so soaking them in water will help dilute the glue.
After 2 hours, the labels begin to come off of the glass bottles. They should peel off pretty easily. Just scrub off any remaining bits of paper and glue with a wet sponge. But if after a few hours the labels don't budge, then that means they were applied on with an oil based glue. The same concept applies - battle water with water so battle oil with oil. Soak the labels in cooking oil and let it sit until they peel off easily.
Et voila!
I love finding vintage treasures at thrift stores. There's nothing quite as satisfying as paying a few measly bucks for housewares that would cost hundreds elsewhere.

I found a beautiful and brassy artichoke lamp at Goodwill for $8.99. Read it and weep!

I love the detail on the finial.
The brass was a little spotty, and there were webs of dust. Luckily the wiring is still intact, and the lamp works perfectly.

I decided to try Bar Keeper's Friend to polish up the brass.

Unfortunately, it didn't work so well on the white spots. I tried baking soda/vinegar mix too, but no change. Anyone know of any good ways to get rid of the spots?

The Bar Keeper's Friend was most effective on cleaning up the little ball & chains.

Though it's not 100%, I think this dark and moody lamp is a pretty good addition to my place and at a great price point too!


  1. I love the DIY vases! I am inspired to do this at home! Thanks for the tutorial!!