Monday, October 6, 2014

Cleaning Antique Bottles Found In The Dirt

A bookcase toppled in our house *sigh*, so until I get that bookshelf replaced, my scanner remains inaccessible due to stacks of books. But don't worry, I'll get to that scanner yet! Meanwhile...

At that last estate sale I helped my parents with there were a number of old bottles. Old dirty bottles. Even long after the house was built, in the early 1970s, the owners would do some gardening and find old glass bottles in the ground. Apparently, they had built on land that previously had been the old farmhouse dumping ground. Some of these bottles had been in the ground for 100 years! While the family had rescued the bottles from the earth, they had simply put them in the garage or potting shed. As is. Meaning they all needed to be cleaned.

Cleaning the bottles is relatively easy. After all, these were not filled with "unknown gunk", but with dirt. And, sad to say, a number of dead mice. Ack! (One may have been a frog; but I couldn't bear to look at it long enough.)

To safely clean old antique glass and vintage bottles (without paper labels) found in the dirt, here's what you do -- but remember, always handle these old bottles carefully, looking for any chips and cracks in the glass or parts of broken metal lids that could be dangerous.

Step One: Soak them in warm soapy water. Any dish washing detergent will do.

Step Two: Pour the dirty water out of the bottles and rinse them a bit. Use a tweezers to pull out larger chunks of dirt and debris (including the little dead bodies of mice *shiver*) and to pull off any rusty remnants of bottle caps or lids.

You'll probably need to scrub some areas. I recommend using a toothbrush. Not only do the bristles get under edges where bottle caps and other lids were, but it is narrow enough to get inside most of the openings so you can scrub a bit of the inside of the bottles as well. You won't be able to reach all the dirt this way, but some sometimes that loosens enough that soaking a bit longer will get the rest out.

If not, you'll probably need to get a tub full of fresh warm sudsy water and try a new approach.

Step Three: Fill a bottle about half-way full of warm sudsy water. Cover the opening of the bottle with your hand, and shake. The agitation of the water will jar a lot of the dirt loose.

If that doesn't get enough of the dirt out, cut a small piece of Brillo or steel wool scrubbing pad and again, with your hand over the mouth of the bottle, shake. This time, the steel wool does the scrubbing and scraping. You'll need to turn the bottle in different positions to focus the scrubbing on specific areas, but eventually, you'll get all the dirt out.

Step Four: Disinfect the bottles using a mixture of bleach and water (I like to use 1/4 cup of Clorox bleach per one gallon of water). Let the bottles soak in the bleach water for at least five minutes to ensure they are disinfected. Then rinse.

Step Five: Let the bottles dry.

Step Six: Now that the bottles are dry, inspect them. Those that have dangerous chips should be tossed (unless you have another project in mind for those -- more here). But those with brown rust spots, white mineral deposits, etc. can still be saved by using CLR, Calcium, Rust and Lime Remover.

Make a mixture, equal parts water and CLR. Fill a bottle about half way with the liquid mixture and, covering the opening of the bottle with a gloved hand, shake as you did with the water. Tip the bottle as needed so as to ensure that the whole bottle, especially the spotted parts, are covered in the CLR mixture. Using a sponge, apply some of the CLR mixture to the outside of the bottle as well. Feel free to use your old friend, Mr. Toothbrush, to scrub some areas as needed. (Just be sure to properly clean the toothbrush afterwards, so no chemicals remain on it!)

 Rinse thoroughly in cold water after about two minutes.  Reapply and repeat as necessary.  You may also wish to let the bottles dry before trying the mixture again, to see how they really look.

Most of the bottles will be clean enough to display. However, some will be too cloudy, etched, and damaged to be in collectible conditions. Since Halloween is almost here, I turned most of those not-good-enough bottles into spirit bottles!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Healthy Links For Vintage & Thrifty Living

Good heavens, this summer has been a blur! I'm still at least a week away from getting back into regular posting here, but you'll likely enjoy some of my recent eBay guides:

Quick & Easy Halloween Party Treats -- includes nut-free options!

Decorating Your Home For Halloween With Vintage Graphics (These tips work for other holidays & parties too - just search for other vintage images!)

A Beginner's Guide To Flatware, aka silverware.

Hand Washing Dishes Is More That "Just A Tradition": info on health, the environment, thrift, etc. Especially important for the upcoming holiday seasons as it offers the best practices for taking care of your antique china, crystal, silverware, vintage glassware, and other dishes!

Find more of my eBay Guides here.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

This Week's Thrifty Contest Links

My friend, Suburban Diva ®, has a contest: Disney and Kohl’s are giving one of you a $50 gift card.

Marzetti has a recipe sharing contest; a chance to win a $250 gift card and coupons.

Have you seen the Clorox Periodic Table of Stains? It's on Pinterest. It's really all about using Clorox, but the images and descriptions are kind of cute. (And how many times can you say talking about stains is "cute"?) If you are member of Social Moms, you can earn points for sharing the pins -- not only the Period Table of Stains pins, but Social Moms' Cleaning & Household Tips pins too.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Economical Vintage Living Link Round-Up

Winter isn't over where I live, is it over by you? For those of you struggling with propane shortages and costs, I've tried these wonderful eheat wall panel heaters -- and I love them!

Here are 5 simple ways to make your home a little greener.

Green thumb or not, antique seed planters still work!

Whether you are going green, reconsidering the healthy aspects of dryer sheets, or just want to save money by not using them, here are 7 ways to avoid static cling in the laundry without 'em.

Speaking "7", are you making these 7 recycling mistakes?

Monday, December 16, 2013

More Things To Do With Cookie Cutters

From making cake decorations to clay projects, from batik works to felt ornaments, there's a lot you can do with cookie cutters!

This project idea comes from Brown Lillie Antiques & Vintage. There are no instructions, but it looks like a simple cut & paste craft with some additional items glued inside as well. Then just tie some lace loops for hanging.



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Winter Brings Cream Soups

From the October 1932 issue of The Royal Neighbor, on Milady’s Own Page, a reminder that “oysters are not the only food which comes into its own with the ‘R’ months,” cream soups made with milk, butter, and often a cooked and stewed vegetable are welcome when wintry arrives.

Along with recipes for six different cream soups (Cream of Cauliflower Soup, Duchess Soup, Cream of Spinach Soup, Chicken Cream Soup with Noodles, Cream of Crab Soup, and Bean Consomme; click the image to get a large legible scan with all the recipes), the vintage magazine has additional tips on cream soups.

The vegetables most suitable for cream soup bases are spinach, celery, mushrooms, cauliflower, peas, carrots, potatoes and navy beans.

There are two methods for proportioning cream soups:

One method calls for three cups of thin white sauce to each cup of cooked, mashed or stewed vegetables, plus seasoning to own liking.
Thin cream soups require one cup of thin white to each cup or meat or vegetable stock and one-half cup of mashed or sieved vegetable.
Just in case you aren’t familiar with how to make a thin white sauce, here’s the recipe suggested for you, Milady: melt one tablespoon of butter in a sauce pan, blend in one tablespoon of flour, gradually stir in one cup cold milk. Stir constantly until smooth and slightly thickened.
On garnishing:
If the vegetable or meat which forms the basis of the soup fails to add color, chopped parsley adds interest to the dish as does a sparse sprinkling of paprika on top of each serving. Grated cheese or a bit of melted butter added to each bowl of soup contributes flavor, attractiveness and food value.
Now go forth and warm and nourish your family and friends with delicious cream soup!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hot Pineapple Eggnog

In Favorite Recipes From America's Dairlyand, by the Wisconsin State Department of Agriculture, comes this recipe... The photo looks lovely, but, as I do not love eggnog, I will not be trying this, err, interesting recipe. But I would love to hear from those of you who do! (There are other vitnage beverage recipes here too: Banana Milk Fluff, Buttermilk Fruit Shake, Chocolate Mint Flip, and Eggnog Supreme.)




Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The History of Cake

Infographic by Foodbeast.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cleaning Vintage & Antique Pieces

Usually, I post vintage tips here from various old publications; but here are some articles I've written recently about how to best clean vintage and antique items today:

* How to clean antique wooden furniture

* How to clean old glass bottles

(Don't worry, scanning will resume shortly!)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tips On Baking With Fats, Liquids, and Clabbering Sweet Milk

Some tips on baking from Successful Baking For Flavor & Texture by Martha Lee Anderson, copyright 1937, Church & Dwight Company. I find these tips worthy of transcribing from the image text:

Fats. Solid fats can be used interchangeably. Melted fats or oils should not be used in recipes specifying creaming of the shortening.

Liquid. The use of citrus fruit juices, lemon and orange, is the most recent accompaniment with sweet milk and baking soda for leavening. With the health-giving qualities, this new use for fruit juices in baking is widely accepted.

Sweet milk may be used in place of sour milk if clabbered artificially. To sour or clabber sweet milk quickly, place 1 1/2 tablespoonfuls of lemon juice or 1 1/3 tablespoonfuls of vinegar (white vinegar makes a whiter product) in a standard measuring cup, then fill to the one-cup mark with sweet milk. Mix well. The resulting liquid will contain as much acid as natural sour milk or buttermilk when it is at its best for baking and may be used exactly as natural sour milk or buttermilk in any baking soda recipe.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gingerbread House Recipe & Pattern

Pages inside the Christmas Cooky Book from Wisconsin Electric Power Company; circa 1960s.


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