DIY: a cabinet of curiosities

I am a collector of knick knacks. I like *things*, but mostly things with sentimental value or incline toward my interests. This has been more than a decade in the making since some of the items you are about to see go that far back.

You could say this process was a labor of love cause it took many days to finish. I had this old cabinet that was once used for medicine and toiletires. Ole girl needed a make-over in a big way so I decided to give it to her.

Step 1: Dismantle: remove all hardware, it had a fabric panel in the window that I gutted out as well. I removed it all. I only took photos with my phone so forgive the quality.

Step 2: Primer. I used a flat white primer but didn’t prime it to a solid white cause I wanted some of the grain to strike through. The old hardware was brass/rusty. I don’t like it much, especially not on white so I opted to go silver.

Step 3: Paint! I chose to go with white since A) all the moulding in the house is white and B) it helps showcase/pop the items you are going to display. I used Glidden Trim & Door paint cause I had it lying around, it’s oil based and has really good coverage. Only problem with this stuff it takes a tap to dry and stinks to high hell. Painting it was a 2 day process because of the dimension and the drying time.

Step 4: Reassemble by installing all the hardware. The hinges, knob and roller catch thingy were all acquired at Home Depot and no more than $8

Step 5: Curate! In all honesty this was the best part. Gathering all my little knick knacks, papers, postcards, treats, rearranging, getting it to look the way I want. It took a while but I am really happy with the outcome.

And here she is…

Let’s look inside shall we?

Curious about the goods and their significance? Here are a few details.


Left to right: the quartz I got at a gem fair eons ago, the devil mask belonged to a creepy harlequin clown my sister had in the 80’s, the boxes: the top is filled with bees, middle: cicada wings I have collected, bottom: sea glass & shells I collected on the beach in San Diego, the sugar skull was the first one I ever made.


the cicada was the first one I found when we moved to NJ, I thought that agate slice looked like a Turkish eye when I bought it.


Left to right: Kevin, 9 is my favorite number, the plate in the back is from the order of the Eastern Star – It was the first Mason organization that allowed women. Josh’s grandmother Floye was one from what I was told. The jar of safety pins belonged to her.

And the rest is stuff I like… Halloween, vintage medical and chemistry items, bottles and cool antiques I have picked up over the past year.


To say I am in love with this process is an understatement. Something tells me there will be another one down the road but on a much larger scale.

she’s thrifty

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In this edition of my antique hunting I bring you vintage drink buddies. I always look for devils and black cat anything. It just so happened I found both in the same Ziploc bag. The cocktail world isn’t nearly as fun anymore. Look at them!

I also scored a Ouija board for $5 on the same trip. Not sure what I am going to do with two Ouija boards but I couldn’t let it sit there at that price.

It has been a while since I’ve been antiquing… Need to tap that vein soon.

she’s thrifty

It isn’t news that I love the antique stores out here. One of the things I always go through are the boxes of photos. I love old photos! I always have a specific look in mind: old, victorian, odd and post mortem. I never find any of the ooky spooky stuff though.

A couple months ago I came across this pair in the same box. What struck me as odd is that it is the same man, same place, different women.


(click to enlarge)

Of course I had to grab them just out of the weird coincidence. I like to envision the scenario in my head… one was his wife, the other the mistress? Doubt that was the case cause he is wearing the same suit in both photos as well. It’s funny how your body language can totally shift just based on the presence of certain people. Who knows what was going on here, but either way, one definitely made him a lot happier than the other.