Monthly Archives: March 2013

A Crafty Project – Work in Progress – Refurbishing and Up-cycling Vintage Suitcases – Part 1

I can’t reveal why at the moment, but all will become more clear as this project progresses. I have recently purchased a number of “vintage suitcases” seven to be exact, and I intend to refurbish, and up-cycle them, again, it’s a little “hush hush” for now, but as this project develops and progresses, all will become clear.

This is suitcase no 1. The hinges, in fact all metal furnishings are incredibly rusted and tarnished.


As you can probably see.





There was a luggage label attached to it, which I carefully steamed off, and like any miser skinflint, stuck straight onto eBay.

Vintage luggage label – Messageries Maritimes -SS CAMBODGE – SS STELLA SOLARIS

My reasoning for this, was perhaps somebody collects these types of labels? Or even that someone would like them as an addition to their refurbished suitcase? Who knows? But it is of no use to me, unless it does not sell, so when eBay provide free listings, it would be quite foolish to look a gift horse in the mouth.

You’ll see in my listing, that I did a bit of research about the liner in question, and provided a Wiki link to an information page all about it.

There were a number of strange coincidences about these cases when I went to pick six of them up from one seller. We got chatting, and I explained, that one of the cases had caught my eye, because it was the exact same model of overnight case, that I had as a teenager in the 1980’s. we got talking more, as I recognised her, and I could not place from where. I discovered that this person was a florist, and it wasn’t until I was travelling home, that I realised that she was the florist that had arranged my flowers for my first wedding, which was spooky in itself. The spookiest thing is that there is a name on one of the suitcases, the name of a former work colleague from my first ever full time job in 1985.

If you start to read my blogs, you’ll discover that I digress frequently, but do get back to the point eventually, so it’s worth bearing with me and riding the digression out 🙂

Right so back to it…..

I have very sensitive skin, so I avoid harsh cleaning chemicals like the plague, and apart from anything else, to some respects, I want to refurbish these suitcases as sympathetically as I can to get them to the end result that I want. So quite a bit of research was in order.


I read on The Kitchn’s site, that it is possible to remove rust with a potato, and baking soda. I found that bicarbonate of soda is the UK equivalent of baking soda, so used that instead. You slice the potato, and dip it in the bicarbonate of soda and this in theory dissolves the rust – result – Yes it does, but not significantly enough, and it is quite a messy method, so a little more research was in order.

I read on Wiki How to do anything, that a paste of bicarbonate of soda and water, applied with a toothbrush works also. So I have just applied the paste to the front of the suitcase fixings, and have left it to sit for an hour, then I intend to scrub the paste off with a slice of cut potato, then rinse away and buff. I will upload pictures of the results with the next enthralling episode.

Have a great day

Love from

Crafty Mrs Mac

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Self Harming Awareness Day 2013. You really can not make comedic material like this up!

    Self Harming Awareness Day 1st March 2013

As per the title of this post,….Self Harming Awareness Day 2013. You really can not make comedic material like this up!

My thirteen year old daughter (AKA Minime) came downstairs for breakfast this morning, looking an absolute vision! Very smart in her school uniform, and she’d fashioned her waist length hair into an “Audrey Hepburn style” bun. She made and ate her breakfast (whilst I was preparing the lunch boxes) and proceeded to wash up her breakfast things. She had pushed the sleeves of her blazer up her forearms, in order to keep her clothes dry, and that is when I spotted it…..


ME: “What is that on your wrist?” I snapped

MINIME: “WHAT?” the retort.

ME: “We don’t say what Minime, we say pardon?” I admonished her.

MINIME: “PARRRRR—DUUUUUUUN?????” Was the reply

ME: “What is that on your wrist?” I asked again

MINIME: “WRI I I I TING” I was informed as if I was an idiot.

ME: “And why do you have writing on your wrist? And what does it say?” I asked again calmly.

MINIME: “It says KEEP FIGHTING, didn’t you know that it’s Self Harming Awareness Day today Mum?”

ME: “No darling I didn’t, I thought it was St David’s day today”. I replied slightly confused.

MINIME: “It is Mum, but it is also Self Harming Awareness Day today, and loads of people on Facebook are writing “KEEP FIGHTING” on their wrists in ink in order to spread awareness”

Now forgive me for interrupting this dialogue, but anyone who attended Christopher Whitehead School for Girls during the 1980’s with me, particularly in the same form as me, (3C), or top set for Music and RE, will be reminded of the cautionary tale we were frequently told by Mrs Cole and Miss Potts, of a former pupil, who had written on her skin with the ink provided in the ink wells on our desks, and had made herself very ill, and died of blood poisoning. Whether or not this story was true or not, it was sufficiently effective in deterring me from ever wanting to write on my own skin, preferring a rough jotter instead. This may also be at the root of my aversion to body art, but I digress.

ME: “OK Minime, so someone on Facebook has asked you to write in ink on your wrist…. “KEEP FIGHTING?’

MINIME: “Yes Mum, to highlight the fact that people self harm, and to raise awareness of their problems”

ME: “That’s ok, Minime, I was just trying to get things straight in my head. As you know, I find Self Harming a very serious subject, and having been a self harmer myself, at various times of my life, when events were out of my control, I heartily understand your desire to make the plight of these people known.”

MINIME: “That’s a relief Mum, I thought that you were going to tell me off for writing on myself, and make me wash it off!”

ME: “Sorry darling, I don’t know whether to tell you off, and make you wash it off, or wear it all day to show how gullible you are?”

MINIME: “What do you mean?”

ME: “The act of writing on yourself, is in itself a form of self-defacement/self-harm and in doing so, you are not helping to raise awareness at all, you are publicising to join the club of self harmers!” You really are a silly girl, kind hearted but silly, now go and scrub that ridiculous thing off your wrist”

She did, and stormed out of the house wordless. Kids! tut!