Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Renovation Angels Smiled Upon Me

Vanity Tray Before

I found this lovely early 1900s Victorian vanity tray at the Wentzville flea market. It is small, about 6 inches, and very sweet, but extremely dingy, and it came with one piece of clear glass. I washed and polished it and added just a tiny bit of gilt - not too much, I just wanted to restore a little of the original glamour. I don't feel too gilt-y about that...

Cleaned Vanity Tray Before
After researching similar pieces I discovered they originally came with beautiful handcrafted lace between two pieces of glass. Some I found had been replaced with mirror, but I really loved the lace. I spent long hours looking for just the right piece of lace online, but with no luck. I put my little tray in storage until I could decide whether to add a mirror. 
Vintage Vanity Tray with Mirror

And then the Angels smiled upon me... One of my many walks into town (uphill both ways) while in Grafton, Illinois lead me to the Grafton flea market where I found a fabulous piece of vintage Tenerife lace exactly the right size for my vanity tray. Since both pieces were of early 1900s vintage, I figured it was the perfect marriage.

Tenerife Lace with Cutwork Lace Center

Cutwork Lace Center
Years ago I took a stained glass class. I looked in the memory banks for how to cut a circle from glass (not easy as glass tends to break in straight lines). After one major boo boo and many shards later, I managed a second circle to sandwich the lace between.

Cut Glass Boo Boo

I’m very pleased with my refurbished vanity tray. Even though the lace is not exactly what one would have found in such a tray, it is a beautifully hand crafted and delicate vintage piece. I think this tray is a fabulous way to display it. What do you think?

Vanity Tray Refurbish With Tenerife and Cutwork Lace
I do think refinishing to exact original is wonderful, but when it is not possible to do so, I think its better to create a beautiful useful piece than to let orphaned items languish in boxes, don't you agree?

Sharing with Potpourri Friday


  1. "Gilt-y"... he he he. It looks gorgeous - and I agree, much nicer out of the box to be enjoyed and admired by all! :)

  2. Hello Linda, so very nice to meet you. I share your lovely name. Your tray is so pretty. The lace looks wonderful. Have a wonderful 4th. I am your newest follower. I hope you stop by to say hello and follow along. Linda

  3. This is gorgeous! I love it with the lace. Hope you have a wonderful 4th of July.


  4. This turned out beautifully! It's nice to learn of the history of the piece too!

    Thank you for sharing your creativity at Potpourri Friday!

  5. What a beautifully finished product! I think the lace is perfect for the tray. Makes me want to go digging in my basement.... :-)

    Thanks for sharing, loved this post.

    Big hugs

  6. That is lovely. The lace is a perfect fit, so feminine.

  7. Hi Linda...not sure how I ended up here on your lovely blog, but I just wanted to say that your tray is amazing....what a find and you did such a great job of refurbishing it. I love it!!

  8. That is really cool!
    Kristy @ 4 the love of WOOD

  9. Love your little tray! I do stained glass, too, so I can relate to trying to cut a big circle shape without breaking it!

  10. Wow! What a clever, beautiful piece.