“I’ve said it before, and by gosh, I’ll say it again — don’t be afraid to toot your own horn.”― Emlyn Chand
Warning Shameless Promotion Below!
You know by now from my BLOG posts, that I have an on-line ETSY shop. This is primarily where I market items I re-purpose from vintage materials. This the Giving Found Materials Fresh Form and Purpose side of this website. The other is the Giving Lost Stories A Voice BLOG content.
Most of these materials come from the restoration and re-habing of historic homes. We are careful to reuse all we can in the homes themselves. However, inevitably materials and found objects remain after. I find even the most obscure object can be remade – usually.
Does it help to know that the proceeds of these products go into the restoration maintenance fund for Maison Steinbuchel? The idea is, if the material itself cannot be reused in the project then the proceeds from a sale can.
It helps to know that when you order multiple items, they are packaged and shipped as one to save on shipping? We refund any and all overage on the calculated shipping done via the ETSY process and charge nothing for handling.
The fact that there is NO SALES TAX ? In many cases that off-sets shipping.
Did I mention unique? Handmade? One-of-a-kind?
Usually a story accompanies the product including information on where materials came from and how the re-purpose was done. These are reflected in the description of each item but if you have questions I am glad to answer.
Examples of the products are pictured, but there are many more items in my shop.
Bridges become frames for looking at the world around us. – Bruce Jackson
Special seasons and events, like the approaching holidays, bring out equally special decor. Floral arrangements, seasonal colors and items that represent memories of past celebrations are displayed. They are combined with updated items that are more than simple visual beauty. They serve to pull special times from the past into this new celebration.
Two familiar forms support various vignettes: the wreath and the frame. Over the past few years they have become somewhat interchangeable in application. But before demonstrating what I am referring to, lets explore the roots of these two forms.
Frames , Wreaths and Smiling Etrucstians
The word wreath comes from Middle English wrethe and from Old English writha, band. Wreaths have a long and distinguished history, going back to the ancient Etruscan
civilization in Southern Europe. I learned about this people when visiting the Vatican Museum in 1985. One comment about this civilization that was borne out in the artifacts is that: “these must have been a happy peoples, as most representations show them smiling.” My husband and I got a giggle out of that as we looked over the various paintings and statues of these “smiling Etruscans”.
Wreaths came to be used as crowns representing various levels of honor, rank or even rule. When placed on the final resting place of a loved one, it represents devotion for a life that has passed from this earth. Today we use wreaths as decoration but in many cases represent an eternal presence in our celebrations.
“Don’t make excuses for not working – make things with the time, space and materials you have, right now” – Austin Kleon – Steal like an artist
In August 1993 I was assigned to a team of four to conduct a civil aviation assessment of the country of Madagascar’s aviation system. The United States FAA had been invited, via the US Ambassador, by the Malagasy authorities to conduct this review.
These assessments are done on a reimbursable basis when it is
determined we can offer expertise not available through another channel. It was a two week trip including travel to and from the assignment, so the majority of our time in country was spent taking care
We did, however, have a few hours to take in sights here and there (yes, I got to see lemurs in the wild). One side trip was a trip over lunch break to the large local outdoor market along L’ Avenue de l’Independance. It was massive. We found some treasures to
bring back as gifts and remembrances. As we walked back from the market, there were stray vendors along the street with their wares spread out on the ground.
“I’ll never throw away my blue jeans.” – Susan Ford
I like denim. I am glad that denim has burst well beyond its original hard-working, sturdy, cowboy, country ranch realm and into all things blue. In fashion and decorating is it considered a neutral, like gray, black and the beiges.
I wear a lot of denim. Even more since I “retired” and work from my home. Over the years, between my husband and I, I have amassed a lot of used denim that has gone beyond its wearable stage, yet seeds of life remain. In this state it has almost endless possibilities.
Where Did It Come From?
A bit of research revealed that The name “denim” comes from the name of a sturdy fabric called “Serge de Nîmes”, initially made in Nîmes, France, hence “de Nîmes” – “denim”. Who would have thought. Perhaps that is why Yves Saint Laurent said: “I wish I had invented blue jeans. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal,
In the W.B. Allistion House, the “little house” we are about to finish rehabbing, I am using denim as the accent fabric for the attic decor. No, it is not a country theme, but this fabric compliments the warm vintage wood tones and soft blue gray color pallet I am going with. This will be a home office space for both my husband and I, as well as a library and media space.
I want a soft, relaxing, creative air, that is gender neutral. We will be living in this house while renovations of the “big house”, Maison Steinbuchel. take place. It will serve as a retreat from activity, decisions and, yes, the stress, this project may bring. It will eventually serve as a guest house on the property.
simplicity – all I hope for in my clothes.”
“Denim Is a Way of Life”
In addition to wearing and decorating with denim, I make stuff. There is a section of my on-line shop named “The Denim Collection”, that features these products. Here are some examples. The photos have links that will provide details on how they were made, what
went into the item and its creative origin.
You could make some of these things yourself, but you have enough to do. I have already done the hard work!
Creativity is always a leap of faith. You’re faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage. – Julia Cameron
I have been working on my vision boards. I keep them simple using foam core boards from the Dollar Store. However, I grew tired of them sitting on the floor in the corner and falling over. I decided I needed a couple of easels to put them on, so I consulted my go to idea place, Pinterest.
All I needed were three boards, a hinge and something to rest the pictures on. I was pretty sure I had all I needed in my stash of reclaimed materials and hardware. As I was letting the idea percolate, I spotted an old TV stand that had belonged to my husband’s grandmother. We used it for a number of years as a TV stand, but those days were gone. The stand was was collecting dust looking for a new life.
Easels Made Easy
As I looked it over, I realized it had all of the elements I needed to make two nice wood easels. No cutting needed. I used every part of the stand except the shelf that was below where the TV sat. The shelf will no doubt find a new home in another project.
Drawer. Noun: a sliding, lidless, horizontal compartment, as in a piece of furniture, that may be drawn out in order to gain access to it. Origin & History of “drawer”: A drawer is literally something that is ‘drawn’ or ‘pulled’ out. The coinage was perhaps based on French tiroir ‘drawer’, which was similarly derived from the verb tirer ‘pull’. (16th c.)
Old drawers, or more exactly, drawers that are no longer useful as drawers but remain in tact, call to me. If you have read some of my previous BLOGs you know a bit of my passion (obsession?) in reusing stuff. I come by this tendency honestly from both my mother and father. On my dad’s side, they just kept stuff because “I might need it someday”. And in some cases that was true. Usually it just meant that things stacked up. On my Mom’s side, the farmers, it was somewhat the same, but the German genes forced things into something useful. Not always in a pretty way but used none-the-less. Nothing and no one sits idle in a German household for long!
In both cases these things represented an asset; money and time that did not have to be spent. It represented frugality and, yes, in some cases a fear of not having enough since these were families whose psyche were formed by the years of the Great Depression. I did not know that kind of lack. Not even close. Cash was not abundant, but we had nice things. Mom knew how to re-purpose, up-cycle and re-cycle before it was a political statement. However, she did not abide clutter and enjoyed making things look pretty. Things in our home were neat and tidy.
Even the Drawers!
So when I see and old drawer my DNA takes over, times two. It takes some skill to build a good drawer. I am almost in awe of the old kitchen cabinet drawers from 70+ years ago, that are still solid and sturdy when the cabinets or cupboards that once housed them are long gone. They are not elegant, built primarily for function: to put things in. So when I come across an old drawer it goes into my project room.
Last winter I needed a foot rest under my desk, so i grabbed an old drawer, turned it upside down and placed it under my feet. Functional. Dad would have left it at that. But my mother’s DNA kicked in recently and here is what happened:
The drawer was:
Lightly sanded and primed. There were stains that my favorite stain hider, KILZ, took care of.
painted on the outside with a semi-gloss version of the wall color of the room it will reside in.
then painted inside in a rust color from a bit of a paint sample I had on hand.
given a “new” handle from my stash of cool vintage hard ware (let me know if you are interested, I have lots)
put on pretty red casters that I acquired from an estate sale for a few dollars.
topped with a padded lid so I can rest my feet in comfort while gaining some storage.
Of course the lid moves this from the old drawer category into the wooden box on wheels category. I guess this old drawer has been up-cycled.
More Old Drawers
Here are a few other things that old drawers have become in the Maison Steinbuchel shop.
Some have gone to new homes via ETSY. I use a few in my own home.
My Old Drawers Pintrest Board is where I collect ideas from others as well as post projects I have done. The cost of these is primarily in my time. With the exception of paint, brushes and sandpaper, the materials are from found objects.
ETSY and Pintrest along with trips to shops where others are exercising their up-cycling, re-purposing talents always spark fresh ideas.
This reusing stuff gene is a stone in my bridge handed down via DNA. However, to be viable, it had to be recognized, nurtured and even adapted. I do not need to do this in order to save cash (although that is a nice benefit), nor even to save time. I could just toss these things out or donate them (which I do this in some cases), and tap an app on my iPhone to order something new (which I also do in some cases), but there is a place in me that is not be satisfied with that.
There are stones in your bridge waiting to be discovered, unearthed and placed in a more prominent place along your journey. A gift of music? painting? Writing? Perhaps a skill that has laid dormant or was set aside. Some area of interest that cries in you for nurture and expression. Something that satisfies your soul. Give yourself permission to recognize what it is and say it out loud. Today.
In the comments below, in one word, describe that latent something within you that you want to pursue.