Newbie attempts at totems, etc

threekittens_iaFebruary 5, 2011

I visited a couple thrift stores in the small town where I worked today. Hoping to make a large totem. My first totem also. Bought a little of this and a bit of that. But it just doesn't work when I get it home. Had hoped to use the tall purple vase and little short purple candle thing in the one photo along with some clear glass. But, I can't make it work together. Soooo, I might just start with the smaller clear one in the other photo. With just the little blue thing on top. Haven't "glued" it yet. Still playing with it.

Or maybe I just need to hold off and shop the thrifts in a larger city first?

The one junk shop did have lots of the large old lamps with the clear but colored glass bases. A few quite large but priced at $18 each. I could probably get them for $15 but that still seems a bit to spend when you have to add other pieces to them.


Here is a link that might be useful: PIcs of purple vase and possible totem

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nmgirl(8 S.NM)

I like what you have going with the clear one. The other pieces...I think you need another piece or two to tie them together. A saucer or small dish inverted over the bottle perhaps? Have you tried flipping the bottle over and setting the round piece on top? Hmmm, you still might want another piece or two. I've found that sometimes it takes a few trips to gather all you need, that's how most of us have collected a stash. The tricky part for me is remembering what I already have on hand...

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 4:34AM
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threekittens. I am also trying to make my first totem and it is harder than it looks. I have been hitting the thrift store and a small flea market. Yesterday I broke one of my prettiest saucers when it fell over as I stepped back to look at my handiwork. - Marylee

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 8:18AM
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concretenprimroses(4B NH)

The clear one looks ready to me too! Very pretty. You might want to consider an upside down platter on the bottom to help keep it from getting dirty splashes, if you are putting it in the garden.
I have way too much glass because I buy anything promising that is under $1. Special pieces I will pay more. You just need a larger stash to choose from!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 8:25AM
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nmgirl(8 S.NM)

Re: trial stacking totems
I learned the hard way to not trial stack my totems on either hard floors, tables, counter tops or near/around pets. I also don't leave trial stacks unattended.
I always trial stack on a carpeted or padded floor. It's saved many a glass piece when the totem collapsed.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 12:03PM
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Marlene Kindred

Nice looking totem! And don't'll find just the right pieces for the purple vases. I attached a picture of one that I made a couple of summers ago because it has a amber colored vase very similar to your largest purple one...might give you ideas.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 7:00PM
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Oh, I like that amber one. :)

Being a bit obsessive/compulsive, I went to Council Bluffs/Omaha today and shopped 5 thrift stores. I think SA & GW are a bit crazy on their prices. I bought a bunch more trying to spend at most 1.99/piece and preferrably If I really get into this I'll have to watch for a antiques/household auction. DH & I used to go often for antiques and sometimes they end up selling tables of the cheaper glassware in big lots for a few bucks.

Beings I also like antiques, I have to balance this garden junk vs collectible glass thing in my mind. One thing I paid 2.99 for today is a cake plate. I think its kinda too nice for the garden. BUT, its not like I don't spend bunches on my flower gardens already and after all, it is used glass. :-P

Just keep thinking of my MIL whose every day dishes are a mismatched, chipped mess. Depression era mindset. I don't think she'd EVER consider putting a nice cake plate in the garden. lol

And yes, to the dangers of dry stacking the totems. I stacked that one last night on the floor in front of the couch. And then the smaller of my 2 dogs took a flying leap off the sofa right between the totem and the coffee table. didn't take long for me to get it disassembled and packed away after that. A close one for sure.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 8:51PM
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concretenprimroses(4B NH)

Sounds like you now have a lot of stuff to choose from. Five TS s in one town, I'm quite envious.
I just want to add that when you glue them together don't do it all at once, especially if the piece is tall. Glue a couple pieces to gether at a time then combine. For example, if the totem is six pieces glue the bottom two, the middle two and top two. Then when those are set (next day probably), take your middle two, now one piece, and attach to the bottom two. Wait a bit and take your top two, which were glued earlier, and put them on. You may choose to attach more than 2 pieces first depending on their shape and difficulty and have the final glues be the easy flattest ones. Hope that makes sense.
Oh, and its nice to do that second glueing out in the garden near where you want the piece. Then you don't have to carry it around. That may not be an option in the winter, or for those who sell them, but I'm a bit of a klutz so I prefer that.
Can't wait to see what you make!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 4:43PM
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I am soooo bad. Went back to Omaha today (100 mi round trip) as I saw there was a tag sale that started yest. So today was 1/2 price day. Bought lots more. And then a few blocks from that house ran across another one where the people were conducting the sale themselves. They didn't have much stuff but what they did have was more glass. AND, I got 3 garden tool edgers like were in that winter video by larksperennials I posted the other day. She had them upside down in the ground as though the tool end of them were flowers. Got them for $1.00 each. And a couple of old hoes too. Will prolly put the edger things by my new "old" barnboard garden shed this spring. :)

Got so much I had to leave it in my vehicle. Gotta get the stuff I bought yesterday into tubs or something before I drag in more. :-/

Can you say OCD?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 9:50PM
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Wow! you are on a totem frenzy!! You should be able to create several now! That house sale was really great & lots of cheap prices. I stopped at 1 ys on way home from church but mostly baby clothes so didn't get anything. Have fun creating! Jan

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 11:29PM
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threekittens, it sounds like you are hooked! he-he I think we should organize a glass totem support group.

I really like those purple swirly pieces in your totem. I remember seeing pieces like that and I know your picture doesn't do them justice. I bet your totem will be stunning in the garden.

Keep those totem pictures coming!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 1:31AM
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mary2010(9 FL)

If we do organize a totem support group I suppose I should be the leader (lol).

I will support anyone who has totem fever. Just look what it's done to me in less than a year's time!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Mary's website

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 12:12PM
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Oh man. We went to 4 tag sales today. Fought the urge best I could to not buy more stuff! I must have spent close to 100 last week putting together a glass supply n half is still in my car. And to date no totems! I did end up buying 3 green vase things at one sale cuz the color matched nice bu spent 3 - 4 piece which I know is too much but I could not make myself not get them! Also got a micro plate. Then a glass bunny for 2 at another sale for a totem topper. Sundays are 1/2 off on the cheap stuff at these sales so will have to remember not to go on sat next time. And more importantly not to go at all till I get some of stuff I already bought used! Also saw deals on centers for plate flowers like little petal edge ceramic dishes only 4 for set of 10. Did buy 5 ceramic butterfly dishes for 4. Plain white. Managed to leave the other 4matching ones behind that they had priced separately. Sorry wrote too much

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 10:58PM
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