Vintage Tin Earrings

Thank you to the many that stopped by my new Etsy shop to “favorite” a thing or two and help me navigate the algorithm they call Etsy!

I’ve been running around like mad the past month. So for this week, I am going to slow down and write each morning. The tremendous amount of stuff I feel I need to get done – will still be there. For now, I’m going to take a moment and share what I’ve been up to.

Over the summer, I got to partake in one of my favorite pastimes, flea-marketing. I love roaming through old farm fields rocking my Birkenstocks and blue jeans checking out what I call the “The Museum of Human History –through people’s old stuff“. The best people watching in the world can be found at flea markets. At least the good ones. They bring out the eccentrics. I love to watch people sifting through remnants of building’s architecture. My daughter and I came out with two 7ft. green shutters. They looked a hundred years old with many layers of paint. It made a pretty cool head board. Then there’s all the humanoid stuff like mannequins. Why is that person walking around with a woman’s torso? Can I follow you home to see what you are going to do with it???

Like I should talk. My strange addiction is smiling animals. I just can’t pass them up. I have about 10 ceramic 1950’s cats. They are all staring at me with giant doe-eyes.

I just cant resist picking another one up!

I have two frogs one blowing into an ancient horn and the other strumming a lyre (weird right?). But their eyes are so cute and the faded green was so pretty I just had to have them for my mantle.

I have my West African crocodile head mask. With a pattern so striking who could leave it out there in the farm field? (Yes. I was the weirdo walking around the flea market with a 5 foot crocodile ;)

Then there’s Fill-up the 1970’s garbage can frog….

I have my Pig Head Collection in the kitchen. You cannot tell me these pigs are not the cutest… They great me for coffee every morning!

And then finally, this summer I acquired this 1960’s owl piggy bank. My justification was that I actually have loose change and now I have a place to put it – (everyone needs a 60’s owl for their change!)

What the heck does this have to do with anything? Laugh, I dunno but one day my children will have to empty my arc? There really wasn’t any point to me getting way off topic…. except when I mentioned flea marketing…..I just got…a little excited… about my quirky animals!

You’re going to kill me. The only reason I was mentioning flea markets was because this summer a woman walked by me wearing this FABULOUS pair of earrings. The pattern on them was like nothing you’d see in a store in 2020. They didn’t look antique. They kind of looked modern. Being the person that I am, of course I walked right up to her and told her they were awesome. It wound up that they were earrings made from vintage tea tins. Oooohhh mmaaannnnnI needed to look into this!

My poor daughter. I dragged her to 13 antique/junk shops in Rhode Island. We went right down the googled list looking for cool tins to pull apart and turn into earrings. She’s a rummager at this point as well. Guess you’d have to be to be my child :)

So I bought my first pair of tin snips, a long metal file and some new drill bits and set off to figure this whole process out. My 50th pair pair of earrings are definitely better than my first pair. Trial and error they call it. But alas, I figured it out.

Now my family would probably tell you I became a little bit obsessed. Every night I could be seen tinkering with little pieces of metal, but as I have mentioned previously, tinkering and keeping my hands busy brings me peace.

So at the tippity-top of this long-winded blog post I attached photos of some of my favorite pairs of earrings I created. I love how bold and avante gard they are. The motifs are so unusual. They are light-weight to wear and I am just having so much fun with it.

It looks like I’ve added another genre to my “creative” list. I’m glad I’ve found another opportunity to enjoy old things that can be repurposed.

Oh wait, one more… this pair is a blast!


  1. I recognize the Blue Mountain pottery cat in one of your photos. I have a swan from that same collection. Blue Mountain closed in 2005 after a long production run in Collingwood Ontario and is probably the best known pottery made in Canada.

    Your tin earrings are truly fabulous, one of a kind jewelry. I love vintage but especially the stories that go with anything repurposed. Thanks for sharing your story!

    1. Hey! You just added a little bit to my cat’s story. I didn’t know it was Canadian… I will be doing a little reading. Thanks for my little history lesson. Old stuff is the best!

  2. Hi Leah, This is a woman whose a RIer and whose art I have been following for years. This just came to my inbox. love, dad

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