Today I’m going to show you how to add whimsy to your garden with vintage finds to create a cottage garden look.
Shopping for Antiques to Use in the Garden
Last weekend my favorite local antique store was having a Summer Solstice Sale and almost everything in the shop was 20% off! The Collectors’ Eye in Stratham, NH is a 2-floor antique store located in a big ‘ole barn.
The big covered front porch is where I have snagged some of my favorite pieces for my garden over the past few years, There’s loads of fun stuff…it’s one of those spots where you can look around and keep finding things you didn’t notice at first.
I was on the hunt for interesting vintage pieces that I could use to dress up my cottage garden a little more this year.
One cute inexpensive find was wood herb markers for $2 each (plus 20% off), I thought they were a good find.
Another item that I have been picking up and putting down for a couple of years is the decorative bee skeps that they stock…maybe someday I’ll pull the trigger on one but not today.
Wouldn’t it look so perfect in a cottage garden?? Totally, right!!!
Next, it was time to take a stroll through the barn. It’s set up with different small rooms full of treasures from different sellers. I love this kind of set-up with merchandise from a variety of sellers because there is always such a diverse selection to choose from.
One beautiful find…that I resisted and didn’t get but boy, I loved…was this chippy wood terrarium. Friends, it took strength to leave that behind but today I was focused on my garden!!
The thing I always tell myself is that the store is just down the road so if something is haunting me that I left behind I can take a ride back! It’s a good tool to use when I don’t want to be impulsive.
For all my blue & white loving friends you would have loved all the ceramic, pottery, and glass bowls, bottles, and vases!! The little sailor suit hanging on this old cabinet was just the cutest!
One thing that I love about this shop is that there are also some handcrafted new items mixed in.
These handmade cement garden stones were so cool! They are imprinted with leaves and are made over the border in Maine. Spoiler: I grabbed the one below in the picture, I have a few empty spots in my perennial garden where the plants didn’t come back this year.
What Vintage Items I Brought Home
So my focus was to find a few interesting things that I could work with to make some whimsical additions to my cottage garden. The stepping stone was the most expensive item at $18 and the rest of the goodies I bought were under $30.
- Leather Baby Shoes
- Wood Plant Markers
- Vintage Garden Tools
- Red Metal Child’s Shovel
- Small Terra Cotta Pots
- Twig Wreath
- Leaf Stepping Stone
Making a Peter Rabbit Inspired Scarecrow Garden
Years ago I saw a picture from an English gardening magazine of a Beatrix Potter garden in the UK. It always stuck with me…you know how that happens? You get an idea in your head and sometimes it takes a long time to actually do it!
Confession time…I can not sew, like not even a button! Not sure why I never learned (and I have a new sewing machine that I got at the beginning of Covid thinking it would be the perfect time to teach myself!)
So I had to figure out how to make a Peter Rabbit jacket. I have been looking for jackets or sweaters for a couple of years when I’ve been out thrifting with no luck.
Then I thought that I could DIY a jacket out of felt. Amazon sells felt by the yard and I found the perfect blue color.
I am by no means a seamstress…but I used a yardstick and drew out the outline of a Peter Rabbit jacket.
First I folded the felt in half so the jacket would be 2 sided. Then drew a basic jacket shape with arms and the little lapels at the top.
Once I had the shape cut out, I ran fabric glue down the seams to attach the 2 sides together.
Next, I fold down the lapels and glued them into place, and then cut down the center of the top piece of felt to open up the jacket.
Not pictured here, I also glued 3 plastic buttons on the front.
Now for those baby shoes, I had been looking at thrift stores and even Walmart for a pair of baby boots I could use to recreate Mr. McGregor’s Garden from the Tale of Peter Rabbit book. Guess what, not an easy item to find…and the new boots were pretty expensive! That’s why when I spotted this pair of shoes for $7.95 I grabbed them.
Just a couple of coats of dark brown paint is what I used to transform them. Messy but it did the job!
One final touch to my Peter Rabbit scarecrow was a bunny-shaped sign. I had the wood sign in my craft stash and gave it a coat of black paint and then hand-painted “no bunnies” across the front.
Peter Rabbit Scarecrow
When you walk through my garden gate I set up this little whimsical garden area. The vintage white fence was from a trip to Sage Farm, an antique store in N. Hampton, NH.
That little red shovel turned out to be the perfect size to pop in next to the scarecrow.
One of my all-time best flea market finds was the galvanized watering can that I scored for just $2!! Honestly, I think the seller was just sick of seeing me and gave it to me for a steal so I would stop haggling with him!!!
I’ve had these ceramic mushrooms for a couple of years now. They were from the Christmas Tree Shops.
A few broken old terra cotta pots made a cool little display, I hated to throw them out so I’m glad I found something to do with them…and side note, don’t forget your pots out in the freezing New Hampshire winters!!!
What is more perfect for a Peter Rabbit garden than to add carrots!! The seeds have a way to grow before they fill in this area but are looking good so far…as long as a real-life bunny doesn’t hop into my garden!
Also, I planted a few tri-colored bush bean seeds in this small garden along with a few flower seeds and a small variety of sunflowers but they are all still just teeny now.
So until some of the seeds I planted start growing in more I added a vintage wicker basket with some annuals to add some color to this spot for now.
So with just a few vintage items and an idea that had been stuck in my head for years I created a little bit of whimsy when you enter my cutting garden.
Today a few of my friends are also sharing their own thrifted, vintage, and antique finds with you. Wait until you see what they have in store for you!
Stacy | Bricks N Blooms
Stacy is sharing some terrific ideas for getting a vintage aesthetic when you are out thrifting. She shops at what looks like the most amazing flea market when she is at her Vermont vacation home and I am seriously jealous of her ReStore down near her New Jersey home!!
Kim | Shiplap and Shells
Kim just returned from a European dream trip to Italy and Greece!! She is sharing her adventures and some amazing pictures of antique doors and gates she came across on her journey.
Amber | Follow the Yellow Brick Home
Amber is joining us today to share her amazing vintage finds for the garden. I can’t wait to check it all out! She has an eye for thrifting and decorates with the vintage goodies she finds.
Thanks for stopping by today!! Check back tomorrow when I am going to share part 2 and what I created with the rest of my vintage finds!
Just love your little Peter Rabbit garden. I’m a little late to the party, just going through my zillions of emails. I think it’s great that you created that adorable jacket from felt! I do sew, but I doubt I could make a cute jacket like that. My suggestion for when you do decide to start sewing is to take your machine’s manual and go through every page, doing what it suggests. I think it’s a great way to learn your particular machine and it will give you confidence to start actually sewing. Good luck! Oh, and I hope to come to NH soon to check out the shops you suggest. Thanks for sharing! Jan in MA
Learning to sew is on my list for this winter…especially since the Farmer’s Almanac says we are going to be in for it in New England!! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, I so appreciate it my fellow New Englander!! The Fall Vintage Bazaar New England is Oct 1 & 2 at Kimball Farm in Haverhill, it’s going to be a good one (as long as it doesn’t rain, then it’s going to be a muddy one!)
Jen girl, this is absolutely darling! I love every single little piece of whimsy and can’t wait to see it once the veggies are bigger! Great job, pinned!
Thanks, Cindy!! It’s been a slow-growing season here…we had a chilly Spring.
So cute, friend. Such a fun idea. Please make one for me to scare away all of the squirrels!!
They are the worst!! I have a one-eyed squirrel that sits on my deck railing…I can’t even scare him because of that one eye thing!!
You dud a fantastic job! It’s adorable. I can’t sew a thing either.
My mom was almost as good as a seamstress. I regret not listening and letting her teach me.
At least great fabric glues are available. And washable now.
I’m the same way, Cindy! My Mom used to sew all my clothes when I was little and I regret not learning! But it’s not too late and I’m determined to teach myself!
Love your scarecrow and the jacket!!
I would pay money if someone wants to make one!!
Thanks so much!!
I love your scarecrow! I saved a magazine article with a Beatrice Potter garden and have always wanted to make one. You’ve inspired me. That red shovel just makes it so cute and great job on the jacket!
Oh, thanks so much!! Finding that shovel was pure luck! I’ve never come across one before…and probably won’t again!
So cute! I love your scarecrow. Hugs to you.
Thanks so much, Renae!!
That shop looks amazing and I love all the little treasures you scored! Loved the chippy terrarium too, but sometimes we have to just walk away!
That little scarecrow is the cutest. Those little shoes are such a whimsical touch! I want to make some kind of little scarecrow for my garden this fall. You have inspired me.
Aww, thanks Amber!!
Your Peter Rabbit scarecrow is so adorable! Very fun post, Jen. Love the handmade garden stone too.
Yes, I have to put that stone out! I picked it up and put it down at least 10 times because I was looking for vintage stuff for the garden…but I couldn’t resist and it’s a local artisan too so I didn’t feel too bad!
I love your whimsical scarecrow garden, Jennifer. I found an inspirational garden a few years ago that I’ve wanted to try myself but haven’t found the appropriate Peter Rabbit outfit. I can’t sew! Loved this so much.
LOL, I can’t sew either!! Thank goodness for fabric glue!! I can’t wait until it all grows in but everything is super slow this season here!
Jennifer, I love the little scarecrow garden. I should do that to keep the bunnies out! They are wreaking havoc on my zinnias right now. So cute!
Not the zinnias…not the zinnias!!!