Overwhelmed no more

I have been on a mission for the last year - to clean out the massive quantities of stuff in my basement.  Some of it has been remainders of inventory from the (now closed) salvage studio retail space.  Some of it has been raw materials for projects.  Some of it has been projects in process.  And some of it was just detritus that had to be tossed.  I've been making good progress on most of it.  But the albatross that lurked in the back of my studio still remained...
18 plastic tubs of fabric.

As I've commented before, I have been sewing since I was a little girl.  At one time, I made most of my clothes.  When I started my company, four corners design, I made pillows, tablecloths and bed linens from a combination of vintage and recycled fabrics.  So over the years, one accumulates a lot of fabric...because you never know when you will need just that right texture/color/pattern for whatever it is that you are making.

I've stopped making my clothes - I pretty much wear blue jeans, gray t-shirts and wool sweaters now.  I stopped making pillows from vintage textiles - people would love the design but would prefer, for example, that the fabric to be red and not blue- they did not understand that with vintage materials, its one-of-a-kind.  And whenever I was working on a project and wanted to add some fabric, I could never find what I was looking for because there's so much and its so disorganized - to say nothing about rummaging thru 18 tubs and finding the desired fabric in the last tub!

Last year I heard about this "purge party" happening in Seattle - it was too late for me to participate but when I got the early info in January, I immediately signed up.  There's a group of Stashaholics, a fabric swap community, that sponsors a "Purge Party" twice a year at Magnuson Park.  Its a place to unload your stash (and earn a commission on your sales) or you can load up on more stash by coming to the sale.  This spring sale will be April 10 & 11.  All the details can be found on their website, Our Fabric Stash.  One could even sell their stash and also buy more but I'm going to resist and just unload.  And its not just fabric - textiles, yarn, notions, craft supplies will all be for sale.  I also love the part that whatever you don't sell, you can choose to donate and the Stashaholics will take care of giving it to a charitable cause.

So I'm going thru my 18 tubs and have it whittled down to 4 tubs that I'm keeping.  These rest went to Goodwill or is being tagged for the Purge Party.  I have a lot of fabric remnants - I organized them by color and have bundled them together so you get a coordinated package of material - perfect for making a quilt, a totebag, sachets, whatever you want. 

I have 75 bundles - many have vintage materials and designer fabrics in them - don't you need one for yourself?


Beauty in your own backyard

The April issue of Birds & Blooms magazine has a feature article on my book, The Salvage Studio: Sustainable Home Comforts to Organize, Entertain and Inspire.  Written with my former partners while I was a founding member of the Salvage Studio, this book provides inspiration and instruction for 35 sustainable projects to create an enjoyable and comfortable home.

The Birds & Blooms article focuses on projects you can do to liven up your garden and highlights several of the stellar photos from the book (thank you Kate Baldwin!) to provide incentive to get out there and starting creating. If you want the step-by-step instructions, click on the link in the right-side column of my blog where you see the picture of the book- this will take you directly to Amazon where you can buy your very own copy.

The garden goddesses - featured in the magazine article - are one of my favorite projects from the book.  I love thinking up inventive ways to use stuff that people are throwing away- and people definitely throw away old trophies!  I had a eureka moment when I saw a women at the Goodwill Outlet unscrew the top of the trophy from the base.  It never occurred to me that trophies came apart!  And the victorious woman (or man as the case may be) has a long threaded screw attached at the bottom - so I thought that this could be the perfect finial to an art sculpture.  Playing around with more metal/terracotta/heavy plastic junk with holes in the center and building a monument led to the birth of the garden goddesses.  Again, if you want more detailed instructions, this project is included in The Salvage Studio book.  So what are you waiting for - click here to order your copy now!



This past weekend, we traveled to Eastern Washington to visit my sister - it was her birthday so we wanted to have a grand celebration.

Like myself, my sister collects discarded, dilapidated, vintage and even older- stuff.  The key to keeping such stuff is to find a way to appreciate it without it taking over.  In her house, she has made an extraordinary effort to display her collections with an artfullness sprinkled with wit and humor.  The style tip here is condense and edit - and focus intently on a theme.

Stacey has a niche in her living room with several shelves where most of her collections are kept.  The top photo is the "dog" shelf.  Notice that there are personal photos mixed in with the vintage playing cards and the dog icons.  Those photos add a great punch of personality.

The following photos are from the two shelves of "games".

Every item does not need to be seen - the mix of shapes and colors inside of a jar or the abundance of texture from an overflowing container adds to the complexity of the display.  Variety in height and scale also adds interest.

Two special books receive attention front and center but there are many more interesting volumes behind - and might have their time to shine in the future.

Remember - condense, edit and focus - it can make the difference between a jumble of junk and a picture of panache for whatever collection you may have.


Easy as 1 - 2 - 3

One: old wooden hangers

Two: tattered sheet music

Two & one-half: 
Add a dab of paint, a length of wallpaper, a flourish of ribbon...

Three: a trio of hanger art
great sources for inexpensive supplies:

Latex paint - your local hardware store (like Lowes!) usually has a mis-tint area where you can pick up paint for a discounted price.  The small sample cans are great since you can get just that little bit of paint that you need for a small project.

Wallpaper - Any store that deals with wallpaper will have sample books.  These books expire as new designs are released and the store receives updated samples.  Often the expired books are free for the asking.

Ribbon - for those of you in the Seattle area, Midori Ribbon has an outlet location.  Midori carries an exquisite line of ribbon, handmade paper and buttons for crafts, decorating and gift giving.  Details on their events and sales can be found at www.midoriribbon.com

It's as easy as 1 - 2 - 3! And you can quickly swap out other images and designs - change according to the seasons, the holidays, whatever whim strikes your fancy...


The Weekly Fluff

Today at Faded Elegance, there were chicks, birds, bunnies and eggs - I guess Easter is on its way!

Faded Elegance
Downtown Historic Snohomish


More metal madness

As the weather warms, many people's thoughts turn to gardening - what to plant, what to prune, what survived the winter, what needs to be moved.  Though I appreciate having a garden, I just did not inherit a green thumb.  When we moved into our lovely 1902 home, the interior was impecable.  Outside there wasn't a single plant beyond the sod in the front yard.  My sister transformed both the front and back yards into a green oasis. Its a struggle for me to do the garden thing.  So instead, I focus on garden art.  What can I add to my garden to make it more interesting...and put off weeding until later...

I made these Junk Flowers to hang on my fence.  I had a motherlode of metal pieces- odds and ends, flotsam and jetsam.  I started with a large metal lid - a garbage can lid for two of them, enameled pot lids for the others.  I like using a large lid as the base - it has a handle on the backside which can be used for hanging the completed "flower" on the fence.  From there I just played around with different shapes and configurations until something just looked right.  It helped if there was a hole in the middle of whatever piece I was adding, but an electric drill with a high-powered bit solved that problem with little effort.  I did drill a hole in the center of the lid that I was using for the base.  The main component holding the flower together is a long machine screw with a washer and wingnut, threaded from back to front.
This large "flower" is composed of a flat round metal grill underneath a bicycle tire frame with gear derailer, capped off with a old water spigot handle.
This "blossom" has a jello mold layered over a car hubcap, topped off with a smaller jelly mold.  I had the metal screw protrude about one inch out from the center where the nut is attached, making it look like a flower pistil.
This "bud" has a plain jello mold cradling a circular mouli grater, capped with the cover from a chicken feeder with a finial of a sink strainer.

As you can tell, the options are endless.  Just playing around with the parts, varying the textures & finishes while adjusting the depths will give you as much variety as exists in the floral world!


It finally arrived!

For many of you who are fans of the shelter magazines - and none too happy when Country Home/Cottage Living/Domino/too many more to name magazines folded last year - the prospect of a new publication on the horizon was manna.  Available now on the newstand, this inaugural issue of Flea Market Style is not yet a regular periodical, but there is great hope that this one hit wonder will repeat!

As part of the promotion of the magazine, there were several giveaways on the Flea Market Style blog that fellow bloggers could enter.  Only one of the items caught my attention - one of the vintage embellished shoulder bags from Junk Revolution, the brainchild of Ki Nassauer.  To say that I was surprised when I found out I won is an understatement!  I'm not one for kate spade or louis vuitton - this bag was perfect for hauling my personal stuff with me to work/the store/errands/whatever.  So I waited...and I waited...and I waited...   

and today it
finally arrived.

I love the trinkets hanging on the front- one is a watch gear, one is a skeleton key, one is a county dog tax tag but the best is the mini auto license from Illinois 1957.  A couple of years ago, my sister gave me one of these mini licenses from our home state of Wisconsin.  I remember as a child that every car owner received one of these to put on their key chain.  I immediately added my WI tag to the mix.  The bottle cap riveted on the strap says it all.

By the way, I believe your local Lowes should have copies of Flea Market Style - and magazines are always discounted 10% off publisher's price.  My favorite article is the one detailing the many uses for old Reader's Digest books - of which I have a few ideas myself - but that's another post...

The Weekly Fluff

It's time once again for my weekly visit to Faded Elegance.  Since I've been playing with metal lately,
I gravitated to metal details today.

Tick, tock...If you seem something you like...don't delay!
Faded Elegance
Historic Downtown Snohomish


Many hands make great Art

Last year when I decided to focus more of my energy on my art, I found connections with two like-minded souls,

 Lisa JonesMoore     and

Though all three of us could be classified as "multi-media artists", our approach, technique and outcomes vary greatly.  Both Lisa and Wendy have new shows and workshops on the calendar and I wanted to pass on the good word!

Lisa is offering these
hands-on workshops:

 “Beeswax Collage: Celebrate Spring!”
(Course #ArtsNow C420) - April 10 - $115
Learn the basics of working with collage and warm beeswax
Edmonds Community College/ ArtsNow
www.edcc.edu/artsnow, Register and Info: 425-640-1243

“The Painted Page: Celebrate May!”
(Course #10.0332) - April 24 - $57
(Spring quarter catalog coming out SOON)
Collage and paint free-form books
ASUW Experimental College, UW Campus, Seattle
http://www.exco.org/, Register and Info: 206-68-LEARN

“Cabinet of Curiosities” - May 15 & 22 - $80
Make an inspiring and memorable cigar box assemblage
Arts Council of Snohomish County, Everett
Register and Info: 425-257-8380

Wendy Lee has new work that she is showing at the Arts Council Gift Store in Everett.  Opening reception is Thursday, March 11 from 6-8 pm.

Wendy Lee also has plenty of workshops on the calendar:
intuitive collage books
     sunday, may 23, 10-5pm
composition 101: using collage
     sunday, july 25, 10-5pm
juicy journals
     saturday, november 6, 10-5pm
All classes held at the pacific northwest art school, whidbey island.
more info at http://www.pacificnorthwestartschool.org/

This is only a smattering of what these two fantastic women have in the works - visit their blogs to get the whole story!
Wendy Lee Lynds - www.badabling.blogspot.com
Lisa JonesMoore - www.jonesmoore.blogspot.com


Thinking inside the Big Box

A business friend of mine, Janna Lufkin, is a contributor to a facsinating blog, Lifestyle Insights.  One of her recent posts praised the hardware store, There's style in them thar aisles.  I couldn't agree more!  Keeping your eyes in focus and your brain in gear, you never know what you might find at the hardware store and how you might use it.  Last week's episode of Project Runway had the designers shopping at the hardware store as the source of materials for their outfits - the finished projects were astonishing - some in a good way, others not.  It all depends what inspires you!

A Eureka Moment hit me while at Lowes last week.  As the seasons change, there are many items that are reduced for sale to make room for new stock.  And sometimes these items linger too long in the aisle...until one day, one of the managers finally says to move it and get it out!  This was the case with a stack of metal fireplace screens.  Now anything that's metal immediately captures my attention.  I took my time and looked over the display model...mmm...there just might be some possibilities here.  I grabbed three boxes from the pile.  Of course I heard a round of comments and remarks about why anyone would want three fireplace screens, but I ignored them.  The price on the screens had been marked down to $23 - and now there was a big sign proclaiming 90% off last marked price - for $2.30 each, I was willing to take a chance.

Of course, this was the one time that I had driven Monty's cute red Hyundai instead of my Subaru Outback - but no worries, the boxes all fit.

To begin my project, I took a screwdriver and a hammer and popped out the rivets from the hinges on one side of the screen.  I now had one of the side panels free.  I noticed that the remaining two panels formed a nice free-standing "L" -potential display fixture for art shows...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

With the rivets removed, there was a hollow opening on each end of the panel.  I threaded a length of jute twine through the holes and tied it off.  I love jute and use it for everything; there is a variety of thicknesses, textures and colors & it gives the "casual/I just threw this together/oh, it was nothing" look that I like.

Now I was ready to hang my new organzing/inspiration/decorative panel.  A few magnets to hold three vintage postcards - completed.  A christmas ornament hanger twisted into a small "S" hook to display a well-loved clockface - accomplished.  Ingenuity and pluck put to the test - passed.

I have two more intact screens and one partial remaining...I'm thinking garden-themed organizers...I'll keep you posted.

worth a look...

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