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Valerie Tyler Collection Blog

How to Clean Brass

Posted by Valerie Tyler on

This post does include affiliate links. This blog receives income when purchases are made through these links.

 

One of the reasons I love vintage brass so much is that it often looks lovely with the patina and wear of time, but if there are particularly nasty blemishes you can also clean it up and make it look almost good as new.  The vintage decor items I carry in the Valerie Tyler Collection are a combination of pieces that I have left the original patina on,  as well as others I felt would look nice with a little shine.  Sometimes I even find pieces in which the owners kept the items shiny and polished for years!

Typically when I want to polish up a piece I use a product called Twinkle

It's an easy to use polish.  I just run my item under rather hot water, spread the paste on with a provided sponge and within seconds it starts to get lighter and shinier.  I have found it doesn't work on really tough spots, so at times I will use a toothbrush or even extremely fine sandpaper to clean off particularly troublesome areas. 
A little trick I learned from being a jewelry designer is that you can buy abrasive paper in extremely fine grit.  Use it carefully on brass items and it can really add a shine. (3M WET/DRY polishing paper )
If you want to avoid commercial brass cleaners, a few alternatives that sometimes work include ketchup (leave on for 10-15 minutes then rinse) and yogurt (allow it to dry then wash off)
A note of caution, an item that may appear brass may actually be merely plated and something altogether different under the plating.  You can determine if it's plated a few ways.  If a magnet sticks to the item there is most likely steel or iron beneath the plating.  You can also use a nail or small sharp object to put a small scratch in the item in a hidden spot. Anything other than a bright gold color and you probably have something that is not solid brass. 
***The owner of this website, Valerie Tyler, is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com.

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Library Decor Spotlight

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We converted what should have been the dining room in our house into a library and I absolutely couldn't be more pleased.  While we have an overwhelming amount of books I wanted the library to serve as a bit of an eclectic art gallery too, so there are very few design "rules" we followed other than to simply include things we liked.  Objects include Asian vases, African teak sculptures, Greek Bronze, Natural items.  Knick Knacks can get lost of look cluttered, but when combined and placed along the bookshelves they're much more interesting. 

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Spotlight on Personalized Jewelry

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Glam Holiday DIY and Display Ideas

Posted by Valerie Tyler on

This post does include affiliate links. This blog receives income when purchases are made through these links.
First off, let's start with another one of my ridiculously easy DIY's  that end up looking really lovely. I literally took a handful of rocks my kid had collected from around the yard, gave them a good washing in the utility tub, and then let them dry.  I spread them out on a plastic table cloth and then simply spray painted them gold with something like Krylon 1000 Premium Metallic Spray Paint, Gold
Regular rocks are always lovely for adding a natural touch to a display, but by painting them gold I know had something to give a little extra holiday glam.  I filled a vase with the gold rocks then topped it off with a few natural treasures from the yard, and volia! 
One other way to add some holiday glam very inexpensively is to hunt down vintage brass.  I collect it, I hoard it, and occasionally sell it.  There are all sorts of lovely pieces to be found from peacocks to pineapples, but I think brass deer or a rocking horse are perfect for the holidays. Display your brass with evergreen branches, piniecones, or even glass bulb ornaments to add to the festive look. 
Find the rocking horse for sale in the Valerie Tyler Collection Decor section:

 

 

***The owner of this website, Valerie Tyler, is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com.

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DIY Holiday Display

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For the holidays I re-purposed steel bird cages to make a a simple, yet striking centerpiece for my dining room table.  This was SUPER re-purposed too because I used the same bird cages for a Halloween display elsewhere in my house earlier, and just switched out the decorations inside the cages.  Definitely a good way to stretch your decor budget!  

I actually found all three of my bird cages on various trips to a local thrift store.  They're not too uncommon and you can check garage sales, consignment sales, and if you're really in a pinch even a pet store or small decor shop (though they might not be as artistic looking). 

While these were previously painted black for Halloween I gave them a light dusting of an  dark green spray paint but sporadically applied on top of the black it so they had a vintage look. I then scavenged my yard for evergreen branches, pine cones and twigs to lend some natural style.  I did purchase dried moss and fake berry branches from a local craft store. 

It was simple, not too expensive and best of all took very little time to put together.  Plus I enjoyed getting outside and using some natural elements from my own back yard. 

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