Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The all-scrounged wall display

Like my little tree, the other decorations in our tiny habitat are also developing and morphing as the days tick away. I keep finding things to add. For instance, no room for a mantelpiece here, so I have a small-scale resin wall shelf got at a ridiculous closeout--$2, I think. On it I've surrounded a vintage tree topper with various castoffs picked up from the floor of the craft store, and outside the entrance. Pic 1 was taken last week:

I just took this one about 5 minutes ago:

Maybe there'll be some trailing ivy on it before The Day. The rule is, whatever I put up this year has to be free.

Nothing whatsoever to do with Christmas

But it's fun! HGTV has a What's Your Style? quiz wherein you actually can't see the results coming a mile away. Click here to amuse yourself for a few minutes. No one should be surprised that my style, according to the test, is Eccentric. (Somebody must be stalking me!)

Tree redux

Okay, so I think I'm on my final draft now. My trees often end up as works in progress during the season, and this year is no different. I took it all apart to add some cool LED lights and then a final touch with a paper chain made from scrapbook remnants. Then around the bottom I stacked up some of my Christmas bear collection. This one is my favorite, as the little angel outfit was handmade by a young friend from a hanky and scrap fabrics, with a little moss halo.

Merry Week Before Christmas!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Card '07

Here's my design for this year. It demonstrates why I never throw anything away. The big star at the top is an old button; the smaller stars came off an old mini garland I've kept from years ago; the backdrop to the Christ Child is cut from a coffee cup sleeve discarded at my local coffeehouse. I found the tube of gold glitter paint in the alley behind the craft store--that was a great find!

May the Prince of Peace shine His everlasting love and light into your heart this Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2007

One of those great finds

Thanks to the Altered StART Yahoo group, I came across this great resource: Artist How-To. I'll be spending a bit too much time there, I think.

Just too cool. Merry Christmas to me!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday with the CBL

No more posting yesterday--computer problems! Arrgghh! But that, as they say, was then and this is now. There's fresh coffee in my big Santa mug and I'm rested up from the stress. So, back to the Christmas spirit and more from Crafty Bag Lady-land!

We got a cutie-patootie little Charlie Brown tree from Beverly's, as our collective allergies don't permit any more cut trees and we don't have space to store a big faux one anymore. It's on our coffee table, which works great until we want to watch a movie and we have to move it. (We only lost one ornament--the cost of glass hitting stone.) The ornaments are all handmade, salvaged, or vintage. I inherited a box of these from the former building manager, who had them since the 50's, I think. They're my faves!

Closeup of said favored ornaments:

Actually, I think having the little tree makes them stand out even more.

Hope your Christmas season is a blessed,happy, and crafty one!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas with The Crafty Bag Lady

What have I been up to all week? Remaking and decorating with salvage, of course! The next few posts will show you a little of Christmas at our home, and how I scarfed most of the sparkles.

First off, the kitchen table. Nothing spectacular here, just an arrangement of three electric candles I got at a last-chance sale last New Year's Eve for 25 cents apiece. I think they're lovely with my dish towel curtains and tablecloth.

Now for the living room/office/sewing room/craft room/studio/whatever.

Except the table, everything in the photo above was rescued from some toss-out bag or another...and that makes the Bag Lady happy!

Here's something I made many years ago, when my kids were small:

It's just sequins and straight pins on a foam ball that cost about 10 cents. I have it atop a salvaged mirror tile with a votive holder (leftover from my Lord of the Rings phase) and a sparkly red foam dot that fell off something.

I dressed up the curtains that line my doorways with vintage ornaments and bits of an old garland, tied up with grosgrain ribbon I got for $.99 a spool.

I'll post more later, after I get 5 more cards ready to mail and have my afternoon coffee.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Salvaged Santa tag

It's all his fault. Every time I get around this little chunk of giggling sweetness (the baby, I mean), half-glued projects get momentarily forgotten on the table and dishes pile up in the sink. Okay, well, dishes are piled in the sink anyway, but I did forgo working on stuff yesterday because of Baby Boo-Boo. Do you blame me?

Okay, so here's what I did today:

Materials I used: Manila cardstock, tag template, St. Nicholas image, small piece of clear plastic, scrap corrugated cardboard, tissue bits, ribbon, plastic reinforcer, Podge, a tad of embroidery floss. Tools: Scissors, hole and scalloped circle punches, rubber stamp, green and gold ink pads, watercolor, felt tip marker.

Salvaged: The scalloped cardboard circles are cut from a piece I got from a dumpster behind the craft store, and a hot cup sleeve from the local coffeehouse. The ribbons are left over from various shopping bags, as is the tissue. The blue plastic reinforcer happened to get stuck to my blouse while I attended a local art show tonight (no, really; I just looked down and there it was) and so of course it had to go on! I Podged a piece of plastic over the printed St. Nick to laminate it, and attached the plaid bow with a little bit of embroidery floss.

Bought: The St. Nick is another from the set I bought on eBay The ink pads were on sale at Beverly's and already really cheap, so I picked up a few.

Everything else was from my vast array under-table jumble. I admit the tag was supposed to have red glass glitter on the edges, but I couldn't find where I'd put it, so oh well.

(Sigh. I have really got to get a better camera! Maybe one will show up on Freecycle soon.)

Cost: Except for the $6 I splurged for the ink pads, the tag was entirely free.
Satisfaction level: I like it so much I don't want to give it away, so I might not unless a very special friend wants it (you know who you are.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The great glasses case makeover

I had to give up contacts in my late 40's as my aging eyes couldn't stand the feel of them anymore, so it's back to glasses when I'm away from home. Trouble is, the free cases the optometrist gives me are 1) blah and boring (not me at all!) and 2) prone to disappearing in the bottom of whatever huge bag I'm carrying at the moment. Since the Law of UIUWIOMIDODW (see my first post) demand I not even consider buying something to remedy the situation, it was Podge time again in the old corral.

Everything I used for this project--tissue papers, lace and ribbon, glitter--was from my stash. Apologies for the indistinct and badly done photos. I am, after all, the Bag Lady, so my humble phone camera has to do for now.

Too bad you can't see the bronze glass glitter on the top, which gives it a subtle shine. There's also a narrow satin ribbon outlining the bottom of the lace, which doesn't show up too well in the pics, either. Overall, though, I think this turned out rather nicely, don't you? In fact, I'm not too proud to beg my friends for their old hinged cases so I can make more of these in different colors and styles, as gifts.

Now I don't have to spend two and a half minutes rummaging for my glasses.

Coupla dimes' worth of Podge. That's it.
Satisfaction factor: Yee-HA!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Life and times of old St. Nick

So I downloaded a set of vintage sepia-toned St. Nicholas images from my favorite eBay purveyor of such, phenomenon1859. (Go there! You can download beautiful images for very little money, and print them out as you need them!) Then I was wondering what to do with it. Card? Collage art? Not this time; I wanted to wear Nicholas. After all, he is one of the greatest icons of the season and I wanted to honor the historical him. Hmmmm...yes, badge! But where to find the right size backing? Of course--the kitchen! There was a jar of Chinese mustard that I don't even want to think about how long it's been part of the fridge furniture; I knew it was time to let go. The lid was just the perfect size for my use.

Some hoarded tissue paper for the base, an application of Mod Podge, and my Nicholas was taking form. I needed some felt and embroidery floss anyway, so did a run to our neighborhood Beverly's, and spent a whole 68 cents. While there I found some discarded sequins on the floor and a castoff silk leaf in the wastebasket next to their wreath making station. Whooo! Not too proud to beg! One of the sequins ended up in the collage, on the Believe tag. A snipped tiny edge of the leaf gave me just the right little touch of greenery. The snowflake is part of a piece of paper doily someone discarded on the front porch of our apartment building. I just dropped some glitter on it and sprinkled a little more on the edge of the badge. A smattering of Stardust Stickles, another layer of Podge on top of the paper items, and I was done.

Now for the fastener. I could've spent more $ on pin backs, but that wouldn't be very Bag Lady, now would it? Instead I hot glued a safety pin onto the back, and covered it with a little strip of green felt.

Here's how it turned out:

I wore it to church yesterday and to a Christmas party last night. What holly, jolly fun!

Cost: 25 cents for the felt, of which I used maybe a penny's worth; the ink for the printouts; $1.85 for the image sheets, which I will use in dozens of ways since I got many images for the price and it works out to maybe a nickel apiece in the end; a dab of Podge and hot glue. Altogether, less than a buck.

Santa-sfaction factor: Oh please, who can measure the Christmas spirit?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Slice 'n' Dice Sweater

First, The Victim, AKA the world's softest, coziest chenille sweater with the biggest elbow holes:

It was a freebie I got from my local Freecycle which I'm dissecting and piecing together again; the challenge being to see how many new things I can get out of it. I began with the turtleneck. It was like love for my neck on a chilly night, so right off I thought "neckwarmer". After cutting it out, I inverted and hemmed it under. Then I took some of the banding from the bottom of the sweater and fashioned a rose embellishment, like so:

Now I can just throw it on under a jacket or even on top, instead of a scarf; or wear it around the house.

Cool! First piece down; now how many more to go?

Next I lavished some decoration on a pair of my signature black socks. I'll wear these all through the holidays (my book club Christmas party tomorrow night! Yay!) but also any time of the year. It was just a matter of snipping off the sweater wrists and stitching them inside the sock tops, then doing some quick cross stitch.

Everything is handstitched, of course, since old chenille doesn't take kindly to machines! The rest of the pieced sweater is under my craft table, awaiting my ADD-addled brain to flit back. I plan to get at least a hat, purse, marble necklace, cell phone cozy, and teddy bear out of it before I'm done.

Cost? Practically nada; maybe a quarter's worth of thread and embroidery floss. Also, I got a nice episode of Hercule Poirot out of the way while I worked.

Satisfaction factor: Moderately high; will go up when I make more stuff.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Reclamation Arts and Nifty Thrifties

The Welcome mat, made from repurposed big-box bags and leftover jute twine, is out for any kindred pennypinching souls who happen to be in the neighborhood looking for stuff for that next attempt at appeasing the recreative urge within.

Okay, so the mat hasn't been actually made yet...but it's there in my head, waiting for the day I get all jazzed up enough to actually make it. And I will, I promise...I will! In the meantime, for your amusement, here's one of the best I've ever seen:

I'll be blogging my scrips 'n' scraps, thisses and thats, throwaway treasures rescued from underfoot and out of recycle boxes, and the dazzling (or at least, hopefully, pleasant) goodies that result from my efforts to reclaim the world. Or on behalf of the world. Or in spite of the world. Or something like that.

Reclamation is the metaphor for my life. It's mercy and rebirth and renewed purpose and not being ready for the junk heap just yet. It's also common sense thriftiness, not being wasteful just because we can but rather, as my mother used to put it rather wistfully, leaving the place better than we found it.

Now before the schmaltzy Disney soundtrack is cued and little doves come twittering from the rafters with olive branches in their beaks (made from castoff silk Christmas poinsettia leaves, naturally) let me state that I have nothing against buying stuff. Buying stuff is fun, and I do so whenever the need to, the time to, and the funds to do so coincide. However, this blog is about UIUWIOMIDODW. Aside from being the world's most cumbersome acronym, it also shortcuts the old-timey gem that serves as my life motto:

"Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Or do without."

Being thrifty not only stretches one's money, it stretches one's creativity. I love the challenge of seeing what I can create, or recreate, from what may have appeared pretty useless.

Kind of the way Father God reclaimed my own life. Yeah.