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Moving and changing name …

… this blog is moving over to here: http://oursecondhandlife.blogspot.com/

and it has a new name – This is OUR second-hand life to celebrate my magpie existence with the boy 🙂

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I’M BACK!

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C30 C60 C90 GO!

I’m a child of the 80s.  I’m a child who sat next to the radio waiting to press ‘record’ when my favourite tracks came on the Chart Countdown.  I’m a child who sat with her microphone and recorded her own radio stations much to her elder self’s disturbance.

As I progressed into the 90s, tapes took on a whole different meaning.  I remember becoming friends with the ‘coolest’ girls in school because one of them had Cupid & Psyche (Scritti Politti) and Songs From The Big Chair (Tears for Fears) on tape and she dubbed them for me (as you can probably tell – the cool kids in my school weren’t the ‘rich and trendy’ ones). As your collection grew you started making mix-tapes for your friends.  Or ‘taped letters’ for your pen-friends.

Fast forward to discovering the opposite sex.  I was kind of a late bloomer – I didn’t get my first ‘proper’ boyfriend until I was 16 (believe me, that was late amongst my friends!) and I remember making him mix-tapes.  He never liked the ones I made – and a mix-tape I made him as I went off to Uni and he stayed at home ended up sparking the argument that eventually caused our break-up.

The end of mix-tapes occurred for me a few years after I’d finished uni.  I was working in a video shop and we used to listen to music in there – often the staff would make mix-tapes to listen to – mine never got played as my music was a bit too ‘alternative’ – however – one special day a colleague of mine made me a mix-tape.  I had to go and have an endoscopy and I was going alone.  My friend felt bad he couldn’t come with me and posted a mix-tape through my letterbox that morning to cheer me up. My boyfriend at the time wasn’t happy about that and started to read things into the lyrics of the songs on the tape.   Apparently ‘Things Change’ by The Bluetones was a message for us to split up.  Eventually my bf’s paranoia and obsession drove my colleague and I into each other’s arms – we’ve been there ever since – some 12 years later!

So as you can see, the mix-tape means a lot to me.  I have so many more memories of creating tapes for my sister, my pen-friends, the pain at a tape getting eaten in the cassette deck … I love tapes and so I’m loving this whole 80s revival.

You can see where this is going can’t you?  Yup – my love of tapes made me look into what you can turn the humble tape into if you don’t want to keep it in its original form.  I wasn’t prepared for how diverse the tape has become – it can be turned into almost anything – and here are just a few of those things:

Art

ifi5 has produced some amazing art from recycled cassette tapes:

I really fell in love with her art and found it difficult to feature only a couple of pieces. She states on her website that:

“I am a self-taught artist who works with non-traditional media. Most of my materials have been discarded or donated at some point.

I try to express an idea, through the arrangement of very common things, with the hope that some message is conveyed without words.

I love the nostalgia of the archaic and I hope that not everything which has outlived its use goes to waste.”

HEAR HEAR 🙂  That’s what we like to hear! One day I hope to be able to afford one of her pieces – I think it would look awesome decorating our walls.

More wonderful art incorporating cassette tapes and other media.

I love the imagination behind this work – and the colours ROCK.

Household goods:

Obviously because of their shape and size cassette tapes make excellent frames as this shows.

I need a new jewelry box – I like this idea – though it’s made me think of another way of doing it – just need those tape cases without the poky bits!

This is by far my favourite invention of what to do with cassette tapes (although I do think that perhaps these are mini-tapes as this lamp would be freakin’ HUGE if they were normal sized ones)  The light it reflects is beautiful and the design is so simple.  Obviously there are many impersonators around trying to create the same thing however I’ve not seen one that is entirely successful.  Well definitely not as successful as this one.

I’m intrigued as to how they find a bulb that won’t melt the tapes – most tutorials I’ve seen suggest fitting it around an existing cheap Ikea lamp, however that doesn’t really sit with my ‘second-hand life’ ethos.  So I’ll have to think into this more about how I might try and make one of these.

JEWELLERY (of course!)

I think almost everything can be upcycled into jewellery. And cassette tapes are no exception.  Here are three of my favourites:

I especially like the first example of crotcheting the tape to create that beautiful neckpiece.  The other two designs have given me ideas (oh dear) of how to create some wicked earrings and cuff using cassettes.  Such great imagination though!

Journals and Note-books

This is the final section (for now) – as always I have found NUMEROUS examples of how to upcycled your cassettes however I just think I could overload you (and myself) with ideas – so I’ll save them for a later post!

I’m fascinated by the idea of creating my own journals and notebooks, I think I’ve previously mentioned my obsession with buying stationary – so it’s natural that I should think of upcycling paper to create my own.  I especially liked the idea of a tape sized note-book:

I especially like this one – it’s simple and streamlined design really makes me think of Muji products.  So … I thought I’d give it a go.

Polly’s Craft A Week – Week1 – Making my own journals:

In my usual way I don’t make things simple and streamlined – I tend to go overboard.  Also I find tutorials very difficult to follow – I’m a kinaesthetic learner through and through, I need to learn by either doing or being shown.  Reading how to do something doesn’t really help.  So I just botched this one together and I think it’s alright actually.  It’s a tribute to the mix tapes of old with loads of the magazine cuttings we still have from a collection we were going to use for mix-tapes (how sad are we?).  So it’s a bit rude (which is my way sometimes) – however I’ve got other ideas about how I’m going to create another one using my collages:

As you can see I didn’t finish it off very well and there IS a reason for that.  This was just the trial run.  I’m going to give it a go with one of my old Marc Almond tapes.  I’ve got the album on CD so I don’t need the tape any more – we’ll see what I come up with eh?

If you want to try and follow a tutorial on how to do this you can find a couple here:

Cassette Case Note-book

Cassette Tape mini-journal

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What to do with books – #1

A home without books is a body without soul.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

BOOK SHELVES

BOOK SHELVES

However – I sometimes wonder if the time comes when you have TOO many books.  There are days when I virtually salivate over the sight of peoples’ libraries, their shelves stocked floor to ceiling with books, and there are other days I want to take all my books and throw them out, because I don’t know when I’ll ever get round to reading every single book I’ve ever wanted to read and re-read every book I’ve loved reading.

Next to my bed right now

Next to my bed right now

Not that you can really see them – however for some reason the Stephanie Meyer ones are standing out!  Yes, I’ve read all of the Twilights – I bought The Host – however my better half says it’s rubbish.  So whether I get round to watching it is debatable. Suffice to say that’s a pile of books next to my bed.  We have 4 shelves in the bedroom full of books, 6 in the study and 9 in the living room.  That doesn’t include all of the books in the loft that still haven’t been unpacked in the 7 years we’ve been here.

Ok – so I decided to look around to see what to do with all of these books, apart from the obvious.  As I’ve blogged before – I’ve started Bookcrossing – I’m yet to see what happens there.  And of course I give books to charity shops etc.  However I do have a lot of books that are in a SHIT condition.  So decided to search around this wonderful thing we call the world wide web to see what other people do with books – upcycling wonderfulness abounds:

Turning books into purses/bags

Book Bag

Book Bag

If you click on the photo you will be taken to a video tutorial that looks pretty easy to follow – so I recommend trying this out.  I’m yet to find a book that I think will work well for this – but as soon as I do I will post it here so you can see my efforts.

SO cute

SO cute

Cute star bags

Cute star bags

These are some cute examples of books turned into purses.  There are SO many on the internet now – just search and see what you can find.

Turn books into art

Click on the photo to take you to a whole set by a school.

Click on the photo to take you to a whole set by a school.

Books of course, are art. However – to turn this form of art into more art looks so much fun.  I saw a wonderful exhibition at Fulham Palace last month entitled ‘Butterfly’ about the obsessiveness of a butterfly collector – using copies of The Collector by John Fowles (one of my favourite books).  The exhibition was very interesting and really made me want to try something similar in my purse designs.  I’ll post them when I’ve created my final design 😉

Here are some other links showcasing books into art:

Rag and Bone Blog – some collected examples of beautiful paper art – I LOVE the octopus

Books into vases

Reversing vandalism – San Francisco public library’s exhibition on old books turned into art

Fun Forever – another blog that collects some wonderful examples of books into art

{part #2 – coming up}

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have so much to blog about …

… but I have a really bad cold at the moment and just want to go to bed.

Promise I’ll blog tomorrow 🙂

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The Rules …

Well – this is an experiment at first – for the rest of the year.

1) I am not to buy anything NEW unless essential e.g. underwear, food, drinks etc.

2) If I DO buy something new (ie: if I lose my nose-stud for example) then I have to donate at least 2 items to a charity shop

3) I can buy a new item as a present IF it’s handmade

4) I must post photos and details about all my second hand goodness

5) I can buy second hand goods from charity shops, vintage shops, car boot sales, jumble sales, ebay and from friends

Simple enough? I think so.  I mostly buy second hand anyway – it’s just getting into the habit of doing it.

I’m not doing this as some sort of ‘this is my green life’ or anything like that.  It’s just a way for me to document my second hand buys – I absolutely love thrift shopping.  There is something intrinsically joyous about finding a bargain at a car boot sale, or in a charity shop and KNOWING that other people can’t just go out and buy the same thing straight away.

Or, I love knowing that I’m looking for something (generally a book) and searching everywhere for that elusive second hand bargain.  I remember when I was at the book market on the South Bank with a friend of mine, and I said to her ‘I could really do with finding a great book about cemeteries’ (I photograph cemeteries – http://www.londonnecropolis.com) and straight away I found one 🙂  Currently I’m looking for a used copy of “The Forgotten Garden” by Kate Morton.  I really enjoyed “The House at Riverton”, but I refuse to pay ridiculous prices for new books.  I know that the authors must be paid but I just can’t afford it at the moment and I’ve always bought second hand books.

So there you go … the start of my quest to live the second-hand life.

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