Wednesday, 20 June 2012

This week's car boot finds being upcycled

The weather has been so bad recently the car boots sales locally have either not been on or really short of sellers. This Sunday I did manage to grab a few bargains, which was a relief as I am very low on stock and have a craft fair at Port Solent a week on Sunday.

Amongst the many purchases this week were a pile of picture frames in various states:

A mirror - well past its best !

 & an old London A to Z

The A to Z provided the paper to decoupage the mirror frame, the effect worked really well and I tried to keep in some well know landmarks

& here is the upcycled result !

Other work now in progress  - a frame decoupaged with a map of France, and one done with music

Friday, 15 June 2012

Recycling T-Shirts

Quick update on t-shirt recycling that I started earlier in the week. I've made lots of t-shirt yarn !! :)

So then there was a bit of experimenting with various plaiting techniques, but the best effect I have found sp far is using finger knitting. Four finger knitting was used to create the chunky pink one and two finger knitting was used for the slimmer black one. 

If I can find enough t-shirts and interesting buttons this is definitely a new product. I think the finger knitting would create great key fobs as well - I though trying of trying to do football team colours for Christmas.

Hope the weathers fine this weekend so I can get to some car boot sales !!!

Monday, 11 June 2012

How to #1 : Creating Yarn from Old T-Shirts

This is the first of a series of 'How to's'. I'm always on the look out for new ways of reusing, recycling and upcycling, so whenever I try out something new I will try to remember to show everyone how it turned out here. This time I am trying out making T-Shirt Yarn. Once made the yarn can be knitted, knotted, crocheted or plaited into just about anything you fancy. I found a few tutorials online showing how to make the T-Shirt Yarn, the 2 most useful ones were:

Step 1: Grab an old t-shirt - ones without a side seam are best. You also need a decent area without graphics as the print will make the yarn not curl at the end.

Step 2: Cut off the bottom hem and across the t-shirt below the armpits ( or far enough down to remove any print)

Step 3: You should now have a tube of fabric. With the closed edges top and bottom, cut strips, around 1 inch wide from the bottom to the top. Leave a 1 inch margin at the top.

Step 4: To create a continuous loop of yarn you now need to join up the loops of fabric. Insert your arm (or someone elses arm) through the top of the fabric to seperate the 2 layers. Make a cut from the right side of the top of the first strip on one side to the right side of the bottom of the second strip on the other side. (see dotted line in picture below)

Step 5: Once finished you should end up with one long line of fabric.

Step 6: To create the curled around yarn that can be used. Hold the first part of the fabric between your hands with a 10 inch gap and give the fabric a tug, then  move along the fabric with your hands giving a tug every 10 inches or so.

Step 7: Roll in to a ball to use in a project

This was my first attempt at this and it was really easy - now on the hunt for some colourful t-shirts !!!!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Victorious Vintage at Portsmouth Dockyard

I have been getting ready for the Victorious Vintage Festival next weekend (2nd /3rd June). A free music festival with loads of great acts and a vintage market alongside. Really hoping that the weather will hold up and its a fun weekend.

I am sharing a stall this time, so the space I have is fairly limited. 1.5m x 1.5m approx. Below is my attempt to set up the stall at home - quite pleased with how it looks, but as I'm sharing I'm not completely sure how my partners will want there half.

I have a few new products ready this time. 
Book ends created from an old coffee table and decoupaged using a worn out book.

Cake plates created using vintage plates and upturned tea cups.

Oak racks created from a vintage table.

Garden markers, created from cutlery.

Have a look at the Victorious Vintage  website and come on down and see us - it's FREE

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Port Solent Sunday Market

Today was the first of 3 Port Solent Sunday markets I am booked in to. The weather has been so bad for the last couple of weeks and it was so cold this morning I didn't set off with too much hope.

Set up was straightforward and well organised and the stall was ready without any problems.

Looking at the pictures now I need to sort out the table covers more carefully in future.

Other lovely stall holders included

visit their websites or visit Port Solent next month to see them

Given the weather, it wasn't too bad a market - lots of nice customers (I'll forget about the man assumed 'my husband made all my stock for me !!!!) and lovely location. Let's hope the weather is better for Alton Craft Market next weekend - hope to see you there :)

Monday, 26 March 2012

A place to paint - my new workshop

What a lovely weekend - loads of sunshine, perfect weather, and now I have a new painting workshop too !!

Up until now I have been working in my 'What I call' den - a sort of large shed at the bottom of the garden. This is great but my problem is that half of my work involves sawing things up and sanding  (so loads of sawdust) and the other half painting (sawdust not welcome !!). So I have been rotating between the two jobs - a week of sawing and sanding / a week of painting.

I needed a (cheap) place to paint, and I have been thinking about a tent as a possibility for a while. Still quite expensive though and also I needed one I could walk around in. Then over the weekend I discovered the base tent that halfords make - it's only £40 and huge - loads of space to paint and loads of headroom - really pleased with it :) (Let's hope it's waterproof !!)

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Alton Craft Market - First fair of the year :)

First craft market of the year today, at Alton in Hampshire. The market is run superbly by the local Lions and you can find more information about the market on the website

We arrived (me and middle son) at around 8am and were shown to our pitch which was down a small street connecting the high street to the market square. We set up fairly quickly and it was great to have Jack with me to help unload.

The morning was quite slow - the weather was a bit overcast and cold - but once lunch time approached things picked up nicely with a steady stream of customers and the sun came out. The market is put on at the same time as the Farmers Market which means there are plenty of people mooching around.

We got some great feedback on the products and sold a fair few items too (Chalkboards proving to be very popular). All in all a successful first outing and feeling a bit tired now.

I look forward to being back in Alton in May.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Craft Fair Checklist - What do I take ?

Panic now beginning to set in as first craft show in less than 2 weeks, so I thought I would make a list (I love lists !!!). Although I have done fairs before, it was several years a go and I am trying to remember all the lessons I learned then. Somehow writing everything down in to a well ordered list stops me fretting. So what do I need for my craft fair ?

1. Gazebo
2. Tables
3. Chairs
4. Products to sell
5. Packaging / Bags
6. Labels
7. Signs
8. Table covering
9. Display stands
10. Warm Clothes
11. Money Belt
12. Change
13. Coffee !!!
14. Food
15. A smiley face
16. Business cards
17. Pens, paper, scissors, sellotape
18. Gaffer tape
19. Paracetomol
20. Receipt book
21. Mobile phone
22. Camera
23. Tissues
24. Calculator
25. Cardboard to stand on
26. My list

If anyone has anything to add to the list please leave a comment. I will update the list after the show !

Other sites I found giving useful help and advice:

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Upcycled Packaging and Display Stands

I am trying to stay as true as possible to my business idea of upcycling, recycling and reusing to create packaging and display stands for my products. There has been a lot of experimenting with cardboard !!! In the end, because my products range in size so greatly - from necklaces to long coat racks - I decided to try drawstring bags made from old duvet covers, sheets or any other cotton material I can find.

There are plenty of free patterns on the internet, and I am no seamstress, so after looking around for a while I found

Although I didn't follow the pattern exactly, it gave me the ideas I needed. My bags are even simpler to make (no block bottom and drawstring on only one side)

So now I just need to set about making 70 or so bags for my first show in a month !!

Pallets seemed the obvious thing to use to create display stands. Seems they are really difficult to take apart though !!! So after a lot of sawing to create lengths of  wood I have managed to create the first crate of five I need for my stand. It will be finished my painting it white with emulsion for a 'shabby chic' effect.

Phewww !! Now all I need is to finish making products !

Monday, 30 January 2012

3 Tier Cake Stand

Making of a 3 Tiered Cake Stand

Really trying hard to stay focused on my main products and not get side tracked - there are so many things to make !!!

Yesterday we picked up some plates I bought on ebay which have a lovely blue and white pattern. I have 6 large plates and 6 smaller plates. I already have the fittings to put together the cake stands so just need to drill holes in the plates !!! (Easy ????)

I have practiced this a few times before on broken plates, but I really didn't want these to break. The trick seems to be keeping the drill bit cool - you can either keep stopping the drill and cool it with a damp cloth or some people seem to use a spray to keep the drilling area cool. (Don't forget, if you are trying this, to use a drill bit designed for drilling through ceramics and tiles). These plates have a decent rim on them, so I was able to add a pool of water to the plate and then 'wet' drill the holes. Success rate 6 out of 8 plates unbroken - result 2 wonderful 3 tiered cake or cup cake stands. (and a few broken bits to trim into necklaces)

Now I just need to wait for the sun to shine to take some photos and get them on sale ....could be a while looking outside......

3 tiered cake stand
3 Tier Cake Stand made with vintage blue and white plates

Now for sale via the website -

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Looking for Craft Fairs / Places to Sell

Managed to get a few more items listed on Etsy this week and also beginning to get the website sorted. Take a look at

Slowly getting to grips with Twitter - following / followers and Etsy Treasuries / Circles and Teams - so much learning !!!!

Still looking for physical places to sell though - craft fairs / school fairs / shops etc in Hampshire. I have emailed a few markets but as yet no response. There is a market in Alton that looks good, one in Petersfield and one at Port Solent, Portsmouth - not sure how difficult it will be to get a spot though. Fingers crossed.

Photography is slowly improving (I think) - constructive criticism welcome :). This is a solid oak coat rack upcycled from the cross bars of a vintage coffee table

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Blog, Folksy, Etsy, Ebay, Twitter, Facebook, Website - how many things need updating !!!

I've been trying to get things up and running online - Wow, what a lot of options / things to do / potential selling tools, so far I have my blog (but you know that because you are here !), I am selling on ebay, I have set up an Etsy shop, a Folksy shop, have a Facebook page, have a website, have a twitter account - phew, I think that is it so far.

So I'm wondering which of these online tools will prove to be effective. I have always sold on Ebay, but it is very expensive so I would like the cheaper alternatives of Folksy and Etsy to work - time will tell. Meanwhile I must remember to tweet, update the facebook page and blog and link it altogether via the website. I hope the time pressure to perform the online tasks won't outstrip the time needed to actually make my products !!!

Here are the links to some of my internet 'places'

Etsy shop
Folksy Shop
Follow me on Twitter
Rescue and Revive Website

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

More products - Broken China Pendants

I've been working hard on a final range of products - this has proved quite difficult, mainly because the business is built on the idea or upcycling / recycling and so I am limited to making things for which I can find the raw materials fairly easliy. Problem is you never know what form the materials will come in. So, an old coffee table might lend itself to being painted or if it's too damaged it may be better to turn it into shelves or a coat rack.

I have come up with a list that I hope to (roughly) stick to, otherwise I will end up being distracted by new ideas all the time. The current list is:

Coat & Jewellery racks
Picture Frames
Black boards
Book Marks
Book ends
Cup cake stands

I have spent some time making some prototypes - first of which are broken china pendants. To make these I have smashed a plate (well my son did !) chosen some good shapes from the pieces and then used a grinder attachment on the drill to finish the edges. I did try drilling holes, but haven't mastered that technique yet ! So, the pendants have a bail attached to them to allow them to be hung.

I'm quite pleased with the results:

What do you think ?

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Wild and Windy Workshop

Today's weather  - 3rd January 2012 - was very wild and windy. My workshop is an old den at the bottom of the garden that has been used for all sorts of things over the years we have lived here. But now it's well and truly mine and full of my 'toys'. The latest addition was my Christmas present - a frame for my drill that turns it in to a Bench drill

This now means my drill holes are pretty much perfect and I can whizz through drilling lots of holes. This morning saw the creation of 4 coat racks

Loads of time saved :) These racks were made from a vintage coffee table (the struts between the legs), the pegs added and now they just need a lick of paint

Tess (my dog) was not impressed with the weather !!! and found it a bit unsettling when the workshop nearly blew away several times through the morning :(

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