Posted in Recylce, Repurpose, Vintage decor, vintage upcycle

Vintage Coolers: A Goldmine of Upcycle Uses

Vintage Ice Coolers seem to be showing up everywhere these days…and they are the perfect addition to your vintage collections especially this time of year. Many of the most popular ones are branded with soda trademarks and have fantastic color and retro graphics. Even when they are a bit shabby and well loved they have many uses and are can add a touch of fond nostalgia to your décor, evoking happy memories of spring picnics, summer ballgames and fall mountain getaways. Of course you can still use many of them for their intended purpose because many are found with their drain stoppers and lining intact!


I recently came across two different ones on our Restore Field Trips and have really been enjoying using them on my screened porch. Here this red, white and blue cooler works perfectly as an easy and colorful table that can then be opened to hold drinks for a spring or summer party:

I’ve been using this chrome one for retro-stylish and utilitarian storage:

Some fantastically creative pinners on Pinterest have turned them into displays for a garden or as stand-alone planters –just open the existing stoppers for drainage:

Photo via Pinterest/ Flickr

This one is holding beautiful succulents and check out the cute wagon planter too- so fun:

Photo via Pinterst/ Susan Bauer/ Two Women and a Hoe

You can also turn vintage coolers into ceiling lights, cabin bedside side tables, and a makeshift air conditioner…check out this pinboard I’ve pulled together for more unique DIY Vintage Ice Cooler Ideas and then hit the Restore to hunt for your very own vintage ice cooler!

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Posted in Vintage 50s, Vintage Collecting, vintage upcycle

Accidental Vintage Collections: Milkglass Novelty Mugs

(Originally penned for the Metrolina Restore Blog…)

As we have discussed before, sometimes you don’t always set out to collect a certain something…but maybe you find a few similar items and they look cool together and boom! All of a sudden you find yourself hunting around for said item everywhere you go ‘just to add a few more’ to the group. (I like to call this an accidental collection.) My own favorite example of this are vintage milk glass mugs. I picked one or two up initially because they were fun and cheap, then I started researching them online and would hunt them down when out and about!


These are so easy to find and typically so affordable- on a really great day they can be as low as a .50 each at the ReStore! And some of them are considered highly collectible and valuable, like the Snoopy series pictured here:

The styles are so varied: you can find footed, d-handle, c-handle with every type of design imaginable. And the advertising versions of these mugs are their own collecting group in and of themselves.

Vintage milk glass mugs were typically made by all the vintage kitchenalia manufacturers that your know and love like Pyrex, Fireking, Glasbake, Federal, Hazel Atlas- even Avon and others- so these can easily become an extension of any of those collections you may already have. Beyond that, they are just so durn useful! We’ve complied a list of ways we’ve seen them used to add color and fun to home decor spaces below; what else have you seen?

They can add great fun to any office desk by collecting an array of pens & pencils.

A group of them can organize remotes in the den or living room.

On the vanity or in the bathroom they can be used as a vintage holder to collect travel sizes for guests or cotton swabs/cotton pads.

In the bar or kitchen they can hold mixing or serving  utensils- or double as a spoon rest for use while cooking.

And of course you can use them for their intended purpose!

My dog doesn’t understand that this pic isn’t about her.

In addition I also think they make fantastic unique & thoughtful vintage gifts in pairs or singletons, filled with your favorite tea, coffee, candies, or possibly a great book to encourage the perfect slow break!

The ReStores are full of possible treasures and the myriad of uses for these fun vintage mugs  are endless- what interesting ways have you found for them?

Posted in vintage upcycle

Vintage Tie Rack Upcycle

(Originally written for the Metrolina Restore Blog…)

 Sometimes I buy something for one purpose and then I surprise myself by using it for something else entirely. Does this ever happen to you?

Case in point: this lovely wooden inlaid vintage tie rack. I loved it from the minute I found it for $1 and figured I’d use for organizing somehow, though I wasn’t exactly sure how when I blew the dust off of it at the ReStore.


When I found this rack awhile back, I thought it may be perfect for hanging scarves. I love scarves and have tons of them and I am always trying to think of a cool, unique way to organize them; it made sense and I thought it might make a cool wall display.

Last week I decided I would hang the rack and start organizing some of those crazy scarves. I started my process of moving the tie rack around the walls to see where it might fit and as my eyes landed in a pile of not-so neat costume jewelry necklaces it hit me: this thing would be even more AWESOME for organizing my necklaces!

And voila…I cannot believe I ever considered it for anything else:

It’s perfect for this use, proving sometimes you just need to be flexible in your thinking about how you’ll use and upcycle the treasures you find. But ahhhhh…I still need something to help me out with those scarves…