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Flea Market Find Fixing

In these busy days with my baby I entertain myself with short creative projects. I don't knit or crochet (it is too hot for my wooly hobby), so I found other activities. Perhaps you have already known that I loved antique items. My husband has been a collector of antique and vintage pieces from his childhood and when I met him I became his partner also in his hobby, we love visiting flea markets and buying interesting items. In the beginning almost every pretty find caught my eyes, since then my taste has been developed. Now I am focused on home decorations especially from the 1900-1930’s in mostly Viener Secessionist and Art Deco style.
I also put to work these items, they are not just for decoration. We own several vintage and antique pieces that we use in our everyday life. You could have already seen a small copper basket appearing on my blog as a photo prop of my WIP projects. This is a family heirloom I received from my aunt a couple years ago. I store my running project there.
In the early days of my blog I showed you this vintage suitcase. I store yarn and other random things in it.

So, my favourites are Art Deco and Secession and everything in and between (Art NoveauJugendstilTiffany style). Art Deco is very popular lately, you can find Art Deco homewares and decorations from execlusive showrooms to the shelves of hypermarkets and it is easy to get a great deal on antique pieces as well. And why would I buy contemporary if I can get an original quality one? Vienna Seccession is less popular and more expensive. I am always happy when I find something at an affordable price. I found this tray in a small flee market and payed just nuts for it.

My tray wasn’t in a perfect condition, it was dirty, one handle were broken down, but the ceramic part was perfect. So I had a little restoration work on it. For the ceramic part it was enough to wash in handwarm water with a daily dishwashing liquid. The nickeled frame was not just broken but also damaged. Cleaning nickeled things is not easy and cleaning is not enough for a perfect result. Honestly at home it is impossible to restore it perfectly. If this tray had been a unique and expensive one, I would have brought it to a professional silversmith or jeweler to repolish. Anyway, I even like its rusty charm.
Otherwise old nickeled items can be this beautiful:

vitrine {Source}

Nickeled ceiling lamp {Source}

So back to the fixing work on my tray. Firstly I soaked it in water with a small dishwashing liquid. Alcohol or hydrogen-peroxid can be used as well, if you prefer or if you have to clean tight corners. 

At first I brushed the nickeled frame with a general metal cleaner, but wasn’t satisfied with the result so I let it to work for a couple hours. Then I removed the cleaner with a brush and soaked it again before using the next chemical. Better, but not shiny:
I used WD40, which is a must-have in our household. This thing really doesn’t need a promotion, but I want to tell that my husband uses it literally for every metal-related tasks around the house and it works. It helped a little bit in my project as well, it gave that nice shiny touch I wanted to get: 
You may find a few wrong advices on the web, so one more thing. What not to do with your nickeled item? Do not clean it with baking soda or vinegar, both can damage. Vinegar here and there are recommended, but be careful with it and never soak nickeled items into vinegar. Acids generally are not suitable. Nickel is used as a nice silvery polish. And how can you know that your find is nickeled? It is easy, nickel is ferromagnetic. 
After the cleaning process I glued the handles with 2-component epoxy and let it dry for 24 hours. I am happy with the result, it is perfectly usable in its shabby glory. I took it onto the dining table as a centerpiece. 

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