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When life gives you lemons…

I love Ebay.  I also hate it.  I have found so many odd things there that I’ve truly needed…a sewing machine manual for my ancient Kenmore upon which my grandmother sewed clothes for me when I was a kid, an overhead projector (Are you old enough to know what that is?), and recently, a new blade for our trusty Bullet blender!  After Etsy, it’s my “go to” place.  But, Ebay also should come with a disclaimer of “Buyer Beware” or “Caveat Emptor” as my father used to tell me all the time.  And perhaps we, as the buying public, should know that anyway…that most of the time, people are honest, and pretty much all of the time, you get what you pay for.  However, while some sellers aren’t exactly dishonest, they don’t believe in full disclosure either.  And while a picture might be worth a thousand words, on Ebay, photos don’t always tell the whole story.

Recently, I won an Ebay auction for some vintage plastic charms.  I paid a fair price, and there were several photos.  There was a description that, while not misleading, did not tell the whole story.  Some of that was left up to the photos which did, upon close inspection, show the whole story, but well, yeah…I hope for more from seller descriptions.  At any rate, let’s just say that I wasn’t exactly thrilled with what arrived in the mail.  It wasn’t horrible, and, to be honest, it was my own fault for not dissecting the auction photos and firing off a question or two to the seller.  I gave the seller positive feedback because, well, he/she didn’t try to pull the wool over my eyes, they just put the hat on my head and let it slip downward.  LOL  Like I said, it was my own fault.  And the silver lining to all of this is that, while the items were not precisely what I expected, they ARE salvageable.  Hooray!  When dealing with vintage items, a certain amount of imperfection is to be expected.  These little gems were no exception.

The listing was for plastic cocktail charms…you know, the kind that you used to get in gumball machines found in laundromats, grocery stores, etc..  When I was a kid, I knew where every one was to be found around town.  I used to volunteer to accompany my mother on the days I knew she would go to one of the establishments that had a gumball machine.  I had a penny stash for that sole purpose.  Anyway, I won the auction.  I always get such a fabulous feeling of satisfaction when that happens as if I had just won Lotto or something (not that I’d know what that feels like).  When the charms arrived, I was a bit puzzled as, not only were they rather dirty, they were in pieces.

Vintage Charms Upon Arrival

Vintage Charms Upon Arrival

They were not broken; the glue holding them together had apparently dried up over the years.  And when I went back to the auction to check on the advertised condition, while the auction text did not say that some of the charms were in pieces, when I inspected the photos very, very closely, I could see that some of the cups are indeed separated from the bases.  My bad.  But, this issue is actually another silver lining!  The fact that the cups detach from the bases so easily due to the condition of the vintage glue made my “fixes” so much easier to accomplish.

Here is a shot of the “charm” part of these lovelies…the little plastic loop that was handy for attaching to a chain worn around a child’s wrist or neck back in the day.  For my needs, however, the loop had to go.charms 02  I snipped off the loops with wire cutters and then used different grades of sanding sticks to smooth out the plastic.  I get my sanding sticks from a small shop that caters to model builders.  The sticks are thin strips about 1/8″ wide.  They look like nail boards that have been sliced lengthwise, and they come in different grits.  The bag of charms contained several bowl shapes.  I found three that looked like good candidates for margaritas.  I have been looking for those online for ages!

Here are the bases after loop removal and light sanding:charms 03I decided I wanted some fun colors for Spring and Summer, but tracking down spray paint that works with plastic is always a challenge where I live.  I love Krylon Fusion, but it’s tough to find here, and when you do find it, the color choices are limited.  The next time I head over to Denver, I’m going Fusion hunting!  I was looking for bright lime green and hot pink.  What I found was lemon yellow.  So, that’s what I went with, and I do like how it looks.  I put on 3 thin coats, and it covered well.  The down side to painting is that it does reveal anything you missed in the sanding stage.  So, only 3 of the 6 bases I painted passed the muster.  But, since I only had three margarita shaped bowls, it worked out.  I will have to do some more sanding and repaint the other three bases.  I hope to get to pouring resin next week, and if I do, I’ll share a photo of the finished margaritas!

Charm Bases after Painting by OSS

Charm Bases after Painting by OSS