Re-purposing Vintage Photos and Furniture, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Twinkle

We saw this photo-themed tree on the Marietta Christmas homes tour. The ornaments are re-purposed  vintage photographs…

Christmas tree with vintage photo ornamentsAnd that’s not all. Check out the garland of film — remember film? Isn’t it a nice touch when the lights twinkle through the sprocket holes?

Photo Christmas tree and film garlandAfter we left, Sam asked me if what I thought of the camera in the angel’s spot on top of the tree. I had to admit I was so agog at everything else, not to mention busy taking pictures of the pictures, that I didn’t even see it (there would have been a photo of it here if I had). Here’s another interesting re-purposing from the tour —

TV re-purposed as an aquarium

This vintage TV is now an aquarium/end table.

And yes, you could get an aquarium DVD or screen saver for your flat-screen, but isn’t this more fun? Plus, it keeps the vintage TV cabinet out of the landfill and available for appreciation.

VintageTV /aquarium detail

I’m sure this fish appreciates it too.

Here’s one more Christmas themed re-purposing —

Baseball card Christmas tree garland

Baseball card Christmas tree garland.

I’ve already given away most of the Christmas decorations I’ve found while sorting out the house. I say “most” because I kept a few shiny ornaments to display in a glass bowl, but also because there could be more here. I never know what I’ll find next. I discovered several strings of these last summer —

Christmas lights from the basement

Never used, but I wanted to prove they worked before finding them a home … and for all I know, they’re vintage too.

All this reminds me of my parents’ aluminum Christmas tree with the multi-colored light wheel. Now those are popular again and all over eBay…I hope theirs is alive and well and in use somewhere. As for me, I don’t remember ever having a Christmas tree of my own, though I did go through a phase of decorating pieces of furniture for the holidays. The hall tree (aka coat rack) made the most sense, but the fern stand worked nicely too.

 Have you done any holiday re-purposing?

For more on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Twinkle


27 thoughts on “Re-purposing Vintage Photos and Furniture, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Twinkle

  1. what interesting tree trimmings. Your mention of the aluminum tree with the multi-colored wheel made me remember mine. I grew up in very rural South Carolina, where each year we cut down a young pine tree and used it for our family Christmas tree. Since it was a real tree, and pine trees burn very easily when they dry out, my parents worried about risk of fire. The tree went up on Christmas Eve, we decorated it with homemade decorations, then on Christmas Day evening the tree was taken down. When I got married, my husband knew a different lifestyle than mine as he had grown up in an urban setting in a different state. He had never had a live tree! (sad, I know). Our first Christmas together, his parents gave us their aluminum tree with the multi-colored wheel. For several years, that was our tree. Until I read your notes, I had not thought of that tree in many years. Thanks for helping me visualize Christmas trees of my past, far distant past. JanL

    • And thanks in return, I was forgetting that some time after the aluminum tree was retired, I used to go out with my mother to cut down a tree in the timber south of the town where they lived. We went earlier than Christmas eve, though. She had lovely bubble lights (also back in style though the new ones are plastic). So you brought me a memory too. And another one just surfaced — when visiting NYC so often back when Bob had his Dr there, we always liked walking through the streets in December, when the Christmas trees were set out for sale — wonderful smells!

  2. So creative! I have to admit to loving the tv-turned-aquarium best, but the old photos that became ornaments are wonderfully re-purposed for the Christmas tradition. I hope they’re handed down in your family for generations to come! Now if only I still had that Santa that my dad faithfully attached ot the chimney every year in the 50s and 60s . . .

  3. This is a great way to use and show-off photos, I’ve never thought of it before. The tree definitely has a very personal touch to it. Those lights certainly look so pretty. They remind me of those houses that seem to go out all of their way to make the exterior look extremely festive – with flashy festive lights, sparkly Santas, tinsel everywhere…Always looks like a lot of work.

    • It always looks like lots of work to me too – maybe that’s one reason I don’t decorate. The other reason is that’s it’s lots of ‘stuff’. But these decorations are more personal, and they bring to light things that would otherwise be stored away, so I like that.

      • I don’t like to decorate either and don’t mind having a plain and simple look around my house. I like space, and it also makes cleaning and picking up dust much easier.

        Personal decorations, of course, are something special altogether. I wouldn’t mind having one or two on display just to remind me of happy times and those who love me 🙂

      • Funny that you mention dust. My nemesis. That’s the first thing I look for if I think of keeping something interesting that I find, or setting something out to be decorative — “how hard is it to dust?” (or sometimes I think — “the spiders would love that!”)But I do have family photos on my dresser. Thanks for keeping me on track —

      • Dust is my enemy too. You don’t see it until it builds up. Or worse, you start sneezing or feeling your allergies get the better of you. I always think twice before buying a new decoration or stuffed toy – will they collect dust? I have this shelf of knick-knack-toys and it always takes forever to take them all off the shelf, wipe it clean, wipe them clean, and then arrange everything back on.

      • I love my little glass-door bookcase and wish all my shelves were like that. I think they’re called legal bookcases, and it’s so handy because each shelf is a separate unit with it’s own glass door, and I can take it apart and move it by myself. Anyway, that’s the only thing I have that helps me keep things un-dusty. (oh yeah, if I had a maid, that would help!)

      • Legal bookcases are indeed handy in that you can move the units around – and it keeps dust from getting all over your stuff. I haven’t seen too many of them in Australia, and I think they are expensive as well.

        Some people think that by closing your windows, that will make the house un-dusty. They are so wrong 😀

      • We need to get busy and invent an anti-dust machine and make our fortunes. I used to imagine small force-fields would be good for objects in art museums, maybe there’s a futuristic solution for our bookshelves. A more realistic solution – Ikea has some tall bookshelves with glass doors (and my shelves were ‘pre-owned’). I always wonder how the dust gets in.

      • I’ve seen those advertised for helping stop cold drafts in winter; I didn’t even think about dust. My doors have ‘sweeps’ on them at the bottom but I’ll bet this is better — thanks!

    • The woman with dark curly hair and a baby on her lap reminded me of my mother, so of course I love them. I’m torn between wanting to see old photos out and in use, and wanting to keep them protected and away from the light. The good thing about this use is that they’re just out for a short time. Thanks for commenting — Sandy

      • I know that feeling of wanting to protect but it always makes me think of the ‘best china’ that never gets used. I’ve adopted a ‘use’ approach to things in recent years rather than keeping them ‘for good.’ Maybe I’ll come to regret it but so far, I’m enjoying every moment of it.

      • I think you have the right idea. I have family things that I saved for years thinking my nieces would want them when they grew up. Can you believe I was actually surprised to find that, mostly, they don’t? (and now I agree: it’s not about the ‘stuff’)

  4. The way you used the pictures is so clever! Very artistic as well, it adds a unique touch. I love looking through pictures and albums from when I was younger and from when my parents and other family members were younger. There’s so much I don’t know and only so much I can learn through their pictures.

    • I just observed and admired this tree, but I wish I’d had the idea myself. The world and people in it look so different in the photos from a generation or two ago, don’t they? Especially the old black and white ones like are on this tree. Maybe looking at old photos is the source of my fascination with time-travel stories. Thanks for commenting —

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