Saving the planet... one garment at a time!

... and one upcycle at a time... Welcome to my blog: A place to have an "over the fence conversation" about sewing, altered couture, upcycling, and all kinds of crafts using found objects, beads, ephemera and other vintage finds!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Tale of Two Tops

This week I've been sewing tops. The top image is an upcycle on a tank top that I really didn't like. I added a tulle ruffle and some beads, and now I plan to sell it. The second is Simplicity 0405, and has kind of an early seventies retro feel to it. Made that one for myself - small amount of self interest there, I guess. (You're seeing the detail view of the back of the top). Now I need to start thinking about Yule gifts. My budget is very limited this year, so I have to think homemade. I hope people can appreciate the time and effort that goes into handmade. What the gifts may lack in dollars spent will be more than made up in hours spent! But they're worth it!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Art of Scavenging (Lessons From Randy)!

Some people make things look so easy. I have a friend, Randy, who is the world's best scrounge. His home should be featured in a magazine. The decor is impeccable - tasteful and expensive looking. The interesting thing about it though, is that there is hardly an item in the house that was obtained at full retail price. We aren't merely talking about good sales either. We're talking deep discount on down to (possibly my favorite word in the English language after "love") FREE. How does he do it?

1. He is opportunistic. When presented with opportunity, he strikes, often not really knowing what he's going to do with an item once obtained, or how he is going to transport it. Our former place of employment was undergoing some renovations, which included the demolition of some Victorian era buildings. One day Randy noticed that workers were dismantling a marble staircase. He stopped one and asked what was being done with the marble. When he discovered that they planned to scrap it, he picked out a large slab from a landing and put it aside. Through one connection, he got ahold of a truck to move the marble, and via another he had the slab cut and polished into a top for a four seat table!

2. He is not afraid to take a chance on a sow's ear. Randy sees the potential in every cast-off pile of household detritus sitting by the side of the road with a sign that says (here's my favorite word again) "free". One day while I was visiting, Randy was focused on some activity going on outside. Some neighbors were moving a chaise down to the curb for trash day. Before they had made it all the way back inside, Randy was downstairs figuring out how to move it up to his place. On close inspection, it was not in showroom condition, but no matter, in it came, a once and future chaise. One man's trash is truly another man's treasure.

3. He invests time and elbow grease in his finds. The aforementioned chaise was treated to a full reupholstery job - but not in some fancy and expensive shop. No, Randy did the reupholstery himself with fabric also obtained at a deep discount.

4. A corollary to #3, he is not afraid to learn a new skill. When Randy "inherited" a cast-off dining room set from friends, he learned to strip the finish and lovingly applied layer after layer of tung oil. When the original owners saw the refurbished set, they were amazed at the result! As the result of this willingness to learn, Randy can do electric work, basic plumbing, furniture reupholstery and wood refinishing, stained glass, painting, wallpapering and much more.

Randy is one of my favorite inspirations as I look to reuse and upcycle. I think of him fondly whenever I see that pile by the side of the road, a scratch and dent item in a store, or an item in a thrift store. Thanks, Randy, I've learned a lot from you.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Things I've been up to

September flew by without one post, but that does not mean I haven't been busy! In fact, I don't really know where the time went. Time management has become a forefront issue for me, lately. I even drew up a Daily Routine sheet to remind me what I "should" be doing, and a Weekly Housework list, as well. Sounds all rather dull, until I think about the things I've been making. The cute Halloween Frame, above, was soooooo easy! Googly eyes, foam letters and witch, frame from the clearance rack at Target! Very good for pictures of the family in all their costume finery!
I completed a little jumper for Mike's granddaughter. She looks so cute in it, but of course I did not have my camera when she was wearing it, only in my studio, so here's a flat, girl-less photo so you can at least see it!