Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thrifting Rules to Live By - #1

If it has a bar code or is marked 'Made in China' put it back.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thrifting for Fun and Profit - Appliances

In the past I have tended to ignore the shelves in the back of the thrift store that are filled with electronics and appliances. Too boring - no color or texture to draw me in. But sometimes you find treasures back there, too. I can't count the numbers of bread machines I've found for friends at $8 a pop - some of them expensive brands. Yesterday I found a Cuisinart ice cream maker. No manual, but that's not a reason not to get it - you can find most any owner's manual online. (I found the one for this item easily once I got home.) With the economy in the shape it's in,
don't overlook the local thrift store as a cheap source for expensive appliances. Even frivolous ones like an ice cream maker.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Handmade Pink Beret

Hot Colors
Originally uploaded by WanderingLydia

Apparently I'm still obsessed with unusual hats. Take a look at some of WanderingLydia's over on Etsy - they are all wonderful! Wouldn't it be fun to try to make something like this from felted wool sweater scraps?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Today's Junk-it

Today I was able to indulge my inner scavenger and spend the morning at my favorite thrift venues. Before I even leave the house, I find a Depression Glass guide in the mail from This is an auspicious omen for the upcoming hunt. By the way, if you haven't joined yet, I highly recommend it. I've been able to trade lots of old books I no longer care about for ones that I actually want - like crochet books. You can't have enough crochet books.

First stop is the neighborhood Half-Price books because they are having a 20% off sale during the Memorial Day weekend. I find this book on filet crochet for $3 (because you can't have enough books about crochet, right?) and two cooking magazines for 25 cents each (because I am a little bit cooking-impaired and can always use more recipes and instruction.) With 20% off, the total comes to $3.02.

Next stop is Thread-Bare (aka The Stitching Studio), a DIY thrift store whose proceeds go to a good cause. This shop is mainly for quilters and people who sew but they often have yarn and vintage items. I find a great 70s craft magazine and a vintage crocheted potholder booklet. (Did I mention you can't have enough crochet books/booklets/pamphlets/printed material?) Drive out is $1.08.

Onward to my two-fer: two thrifts stores side-by-side in a strip mall. I strike out at Goodwill but I find these four vintage hand painted Christmas mugs at the Salvation Army, regularly 4 for $4.99 but on sale today for half-price. I now own 4 mugs that I don't have an immediate use for and will have to store until I can figure out a crafty use for them. This sort of item is my Thrifting Achilles Heel. If it wasn't for my iPhone Ebay app, which encourages me to catch and release, I would be bringing home MUCH more booty than I already do. In fact, I think the savings from this app may more than pay for my monthly data charge. Hmmm....

My last stop is the mother of all junk stores - the Goodwill Outlet Store. I am slowing down now but I do manage to find four squeaky dog toys for a total of 81 cents. A few will go to the dog, but I plan to cannibalize the others in order to get the squeakers out. My son, who hates crafting with a passion, has actually agreed to make 'dog toys' with me. My plan is to use my stash of felted wool sweaters to cut and stitch together a dog toy or two using my thrifted squeakers. Sounds like a fun holiday weekend activity, doesn't it?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Magic Ball Scarf

I'm currently working on a light summer scarf made from a 'magic ball' - a ball of yarn composed of lengths of many different yarns. For a control freak like me it's a little unsettling not knowing what yarn will turn up next. But lots of fun as it turns out.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, May 27, 2010

How to display your wares

Isn't this a clever display option? I saw this train case display recently at a local crafts show and was very impressed. I actually have a couple of these vintage train cases that I've found out junking. Didn't have an immediate use for them but couldn't pass them up. Unfortunately, I don't have the patience to do craft fairs (plus I'm too shy) but I thought I'd pass on this great recycling idea to those who do.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Repurposing old dolls

Photo by Luxford St.

Love this hat rack (limb rack?) from Luxford St over on Etsy. Lots of other clever and useful reused items there as well.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Silk Necktie Art

Lilian Asterfield Ascot
Originally uploaded by LilianAsterfield

I went to the very first Austin Renegade Craft Fair this morning. Lots of great creative stuff. I think I was most impressed with Nicole Deponte's upcycled neckties. I've always thought there should be some use for all those beautiful silk neckties that I see at every thrift shop. Something besides making quilts or pillows, that is. Check here for more of her work.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ride the Wild Rooster

Not completely sure why I like this print but I really do. More great art from Tessa McSorely can be found at her Etsy store, How to Use Art.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Let's Get ready to Scrumble!

One of the things on my crochet to-do list is to learn how to scrumble. Scrumbling is free-form crochet, i.e., making it up as you go along. I found a great set of tutorials to download here. Anyone else going to try it?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

How to make an astronaut spacesuit

Figuring out how to make an astronaut costume on the cheap for a homeschool class turned out to be a fun exercise.

Here's how you make the helmet:

1. Find a 'helmet size' bucket or basket. This will be your mold.
2. Put a plastic bag (the type you get at the grocery store) over the outside. This will be the 'lining.'
3. Using duck tape in the color of your choice, tape all over the plastic bag.
4. Using regular scissors, trim around the bottom of the helmet and remove the helmet from the basket. It should lift off easily since the tape stuck to the plastic bag, not the basket.
5. Cut out the faceplate.
6. Give it to your favorite Jr. Astronaut.

Oh, and while you have that duck tape out, go get two 2-liter soda bottle to make a set of oxygen tanks.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, April 23, 2010

Speaking of crowns and hats...

I found this fabulous vintage Vogue hat pattern while on a junk walk-about. I am hack seamstress at best but there are only four pattern pieces so maybe I can manage.

I'll dig through my fabric stash and keep you posted.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Crocheted Crowns

Not only is the temperature flirting with the 80s around here, the pollen count seems to be permanent stuck on 'high.' So lately I haven't been too motivated to crochet or even handle yarn. But I do still enjoy surfing Etsy where I found some wonderful 'crocheted crowns' like the one above by Xenobia Bailey . Now that's what I call a hat.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Just your ordinary every day Slack Set

I was glancing through old 70's crochet pattern books and found the pattern for this 'slack set.' Surely this marvel of design deserves a more imaginative name than 'slack set'? Any ideas?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hooded Scarf, or Scood to you.

With blizzards seemingly everywhere this winter this simple head wrap seems like a good idea. It's called a 'scood' - short for 'hooded scarf.' Or should that be 'scarf with a hood'? In any case, it will keep both head and neck warm.

Pattern available in my etsy shop or on Ravelry.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What NOT to Crochet

Could you use a good laugh? Even if you don't crochet, please check out the What Not to Crochet Blog. The picture above is a mere sampling and one of the less offensive of crochet offenses.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Make a Rose Scarflette for Valentine's Day

A customer asked for this design not long ago, and I had a lot of fun trying to figure out the easiest way to construct it. After a few false starts, I finally came up with something I'm happy with. It can be made with a tie (shown) or a button closure.

Pattern available in my etsy shop or on Ravelry.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Biggie Circle Scarf

I have been admiring the circle scarfs that seem to be so popular, especially the moebius strip type that, technically speaking, have only one side. Alas, my version has two sides but it is very easy to make and works up fast (would you believe less than an hour?) when you use a giant hook (size Q) and 5-6 strands of yarns at a time.

Pattern available in my etsy shop.