Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lions and Tigers and 14 Followers! Oh my!

I was so surprised to see my blog go from 2 followers to 14 over the past couple of weeks! I was hesitant to start mentioning my blog on the etsy forums, but now I'm so glad I did. It makes such a difference to know that if I post something, there are people who will see it -- that I'm not just talking to hear my head rattle, as my grandmother would say. Anyway, I just wanted to say Thank You to all the folks who clicked to follow my blog. I'm going to do my best to post some informative and entertaining stuff. I've got tons of ideas for the new year and hopefully, I'll have time so you'll get to see some of them soon. Until then, a happy and prosperous new year to you all!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Upcycler's Dilemma

When something is broken or ruined it's easy to rip it apart and use the parts to make something new. After all, it's just trash otherwise. But what about irreversibly changing/damaging an object that's perfectly usable as is?

I'll admit that I don't think twice about making jewelry out of surplus electronic parts. Yes, technically (pardon the pun) they're still usable, but the demand is small compared to the supply, so they end up sitting around in warehouses for years, or written off and dumped. My father-in-law sees it as a waste of good old radio parts, but for me, it's an easy choice.

But recently, I was faced with a couple of tougher choices. The first came in the form of a pretty pair of salt and pepper shakers. They're beautiful and personally I don't understand why anyone would ever buy salt and pepper shakers new. There are many, many perfect used and vintage ones already out antique malls, thrift stores, on ebay and etsy... But, there-in lies the problem. There are so many out there, that this pair wasn't drawing much interest in my etsy shop. I had the idea to upcycle them into Christmas ornaments, but did I dare ruin them in the process? Thankfully, in this case, I was able to get creative without being destructive. With a little wire and some beads, they became gorgeous holiday ornaments and because I chose not to do anything that would permanently alter the shakers, they can be converted back to their original purpose with ease. Whew, problem solved, with amazing results!



But the solution's not always so easy to find... I'd been haunting estate sales for months in search of old bakelite dominoes to incorporate into my jewelry designs. (Yes, I know I can just buy them on etsy or ebay, but sometimes you need to hold something in your hand to know it's right.) Anyway, I finally found these vintage celluloid beauties. Woohoo!

So what's the problem? Well, they're a complete set, in great shape, in the original box. They even came with the original instructions. No matter how hard I try to force myself, I just can't break up a complete, perfectly usable vintage set of dominoes. Every time I look at them, memories flood back of playing dominoes with grandparents when I was kid. What to do? I thought about keeping them, but see that bit in my profile about being an aspiring minimalist? Yeah well, I'm trying anyway.... So I finally decided to just list them in my etsy shop as a set and hopefully pass them along to someone who will love them as they are. I may feel differently in six months if they don't sell. Or, maybe some other crafter who can bear to break them up and drill holes in them will snap them up. I wish them luck.

Even though I've seen endless debates on craft forums about ruining usable items in the name of crafting or upcycling, I don't think it's that hard. I just follow what my heart tells me.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My latest treasury!

I'm on a team of fellow upcyclers on Etsy and I made a treasury to feature items from the team. Check it out -- lots of creativity going on here. I love the Dunkin Donuts necklace...if you know me, you know how much I love donuts, so it makes sense that would be my fav. :-)

BRANDtastic! - fun items recycled/upcycled from well known brands. by refinds

















Generated using Treasury HTML code generator by Whale Shark Websites.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Lucky Finds: Does anybody know what time it is?

We should now! Here's a sneak peek at the stuff we found today. Some of what we picked up reminds me of the random stuff I'd find in my father's desk drawers as a kid. Industrial chic. And clocks. Lots of clocks.

Oh, and the big gold tin is filled to the brim with buttons. I needed more of those like I need a hole in the head, but whatevs....

Anybody want to guess what the little mirrored rectangles are? They were so unusual, I couldn't pass 'em up. Can't wait to start turning this stuff into even better stuff!

What a haul!

It was a gorgeous day to be out and about in North Texas today. The hubby and I spent the day on the search for new materials for my Etsy shop. And boy, did we score. I got my grubby little mitts on lots of cool vintage stuff, ready to be cleaned and/or transformed into something even cooler. I can't wait to get to work! "Lucky Finds" photos coming soon...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Creative Girl + Some Old Stuff + The Internets...

After 20 years as a graphic designer, I have to admit I'm a little bored with the graphics gig. I'm not ready to give up design, just to stretch a little and try something new, but still creative. So I'm turning my love for vintage stuff, old electronics and hardware into a business making and selling jewelry (and the random lucky find). Can I make this new biz a success? Maybe the real question is can I do it without losing my mind, my house, my husband, my friends and my cat? Who knows, but I'm going to give it a go and see where it takes me.