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Glorious Pride and Great Garage Sale-ing

Is there a better weekend in the Valley than the Pride Parade, roller derby and some excellent garage sale-ing?  I think not.  This weekend netted some more terrific vintage maps (are you sensing a theme here, or, perhaps, a slight obsession?):

some amazing hooks that are allegedly from the Crane Estate in Dalton:

that’s Gus’ hand…

a cool vintage-y yardstick to make one of these, some old-school 80’s sunglasses (Pretty in Pink?  16 Candles?  Risky Business?), and the best yet:  a recent article in Reclaimed Crafts made me start thinking about using the old-style Scrabble tile racks to affix to the chalkboard windows to hold the chalk.  This morning I went to a tag sale, picked up a Scrabble game, and discovered that all it has in it are the tile racks.  Serendipity, or what? 

And here is a sneak peek of the 8 over 8 pane salvage window turned chalk board.  Now I need to paint, stencil, affix the tile rack, and it will be done!

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Reclaimed Crafts Workshop – Sign Up Now!

Ever walked into a great boutique, seen a creative, hip item, and thought, “I could make that…if I had the time, space and materials”?


Now you do. Treat yourself to the creative process and leave with fun, beautiful and practical items that you can use yourself or give as gifts. We will use primarily recycled and salvaged materials to create projects like serving trays, coasters, napkin rings, photo albums, mail organizers and chalkboards.


the space: the cozy and inspirational Sticks and Bricks in downtown Northampton


the materials: vintage Waverly fabric; 1950’s and ’60’s tablecloths; beautiful decoupage paper; vintage maps; old postcards; calendars and books; salvaged four over four pane windows; and vintage clothespins and buttons, all culled from garage sales, thrift shops, curbside “trash”, Freecycle, salvage yards and our collections


the groove: a social, fun escape from the day-to-day to create beautiful, functional items


the expertise: while none of the projects require expertise, per se, we’ve spent time working out the kinks and creating tips so that you can hit the ground running


the cost: the first workshop will be offered for the discounted price of $100.00, which includes all materials


email JenDieringer@gmail.com for details and to register!

from Hilary’s basement to your mojito glass

We had been on the hunt for recycled tiles to create some simple but fantastic coasters like these and the ones I bought for my mom at the fabulous Twist Craft Fair last year from the amazingly talented Zandra Zuarw from zeal

Serendipitously, my friend Hilary asked for my help to declutter her basement worktable.  Hilary does not like to throw anything away, so when I offered to take her excess bathroom tiles off of her hands, she was delighted.  And so was I.  Check out all of the fun stuff you can use to decorate them:  fabric, maps, an old National Geographic book, and beautifully printed paper.

vintage fabric; i mean, lots of vintage fabric!

it was an amazing morning.  my mother-in-law’s best friend took us to her mom’s basement to look through old fabric. we didn’t know what to expect. when we turned the corner and saw the old-school sewing machines and the largest fabric cutting table i had ever seen, it became clear that we were in for a treat. we had heard there was a lot of fabric, but we had no idea what we would really find in that dark corner of chicopee.  what was there? gorgeous bolts and samples of vintage fabrics from the ’50s-’80s. bright, inspiring colors and patterns. all sorts of prints.

our heads were spinning with ideas of all the great things we could do with these fabulous materials, like this.  yours will be too! 

more fun and games with clothespins

Decoupaged clothespins!  This is such a simple and quick craft project that I managed to get several sets done while my son Gus was napping and Stella the cat was on my lap.  The first set is from decoupage paper, and the second is from a map of Vermont.  I love the idea of a geographically customized gift.

They are great for simply clipping papers together.  If you were teaching a craft class, for instance, you could impress your class by using the clips to organize your decoupage paper by color:

Other great uses are as a photo clip (just affix the clothespin to a base), or to hold papers or display photos on a filing cabinet or a refrigerator (just glue a tiny magnet to the back).  I first admired these at Essentials in downtown Northampton, and then found an easy tutorial at Pin and Paper.  I tried doing them two ways:  with the exacto knife like the tutorial suggests, and tracing around the clothespin and cutting it out.  I found the latter much easier.


They make great stocking stuffers, new job gift (an office job, that is), or wedding and party favors.

vintage buttons + recycled shirt = napkin rings

A blue and yellow striped shirt from Salvation Army and a mason jar full of vintage bluvve buttons.  What more could a girl ask for on a Thursday night while the babe sleeps and the husband plays trivia?  Found this great, easy napkin ring project (see project #15), and I love the results!  







I especiallve the blue  yellow stripes against the napkins made from a vintage Vera tablecloth.  What a lovely summer color combination; perfect for dinner on the porch.


Holy Garage Sale!

This was my first real garage sale weekend since we embarked on Reclaimed Crafts, and boy was I excited. My son Gus’ early wake up time assured us the best picks. Gus, my friend Kerry and I piled into her car and had an unbelievably fruitful morning. First stop, an older gentleman in Florence who was, in his own words, “downsizing.” He wistfully parted with this amazing vintage wall map of the Valley, the kind they used to have in classrooms, while recounting all of the times he used it to get places, telling me it was “faster than the Internet.”

Then on to Holyoke, where an estate sale netted us a great old Jordan Marsh ad, a whole set of “Power of Personality” books (which I may have to read before reusing them as great decoupage material), a New York Times from 1962, and a 1963 year in review book that calls Canada “the ‘unknown’ giant” and features a special report on the Kennedy assassination.

Then on to a sale we fortuitously stumbled upon, to find exactly what I had been looking for to use as mats for accordion photo albums and the 4 over 4 salvage windows Laurie scored last weekend: 12 vintage New England maps.

Finally, $2 bought me an enormous bag of felt in Easthampton, just perfect for converting old tiles into coasters. A very happy weekend!