Tag Archives: second-hand

Deptford Junk Market strikes again

It’s ridiculous that I don’t blog here more because I’ve turned into the biggest magpie possible recently.  I will definitely blog more – I promise!  Anyway – while I’m here I thought I’d let you know about the wonderful find I had on Deptford Junk Market [or as I heard a middle-class lady tell her long-haired 3 year old called Oscar – the ‘flea’ market] today.

Awesome Scrapbook Find

This, my dear friends, is a beautiful scrapbook created from a 1968 catalogue of Christmas cards. The colour instantly grabbed my attention. Imagine my joy when I opened its pages:

Awesome Scrapbook Find

Look at this beautiful woman. She appears throughout the album and I just wonder if the scrapbook belonged to her.

Awesome Scrapbook Find

Awesome Scrapbook Find
Lots of notes and letters – some in Spanish – beautiful handwriting.

Awesome Scrapbook Find
A couple of pages of stamps – some of which I’ll turn into Photoshop Brushes to give away here.

Awesome Scrapbook Find

Awesome Scrapbook Find
Some great matchbook covers and Christmas cards

Awesome Scrapbook Find
Sketches [not very good unfortunately]

Awesome Scrapbook Find

The dates on these range from 1968 to 1969 as far as I can see – so it’s 40 years old. Most of the items on the stall I bought this from come from house clearances so the sad thing is is that it feels as though perhaps this woman no longer is around. That this was just thrown into a pile along with other belongings.

I don’t know what to do with it now. Part of me wants to turn it into my own scrapbook because the book is so gorgeous. Perhaps remove all the items [most of which are held in by photo corners] and reuse the book. Or I could keep it how it is. Or create my own art around it. I just don’t know. At the moment I’m just enjoying flicking through it and marvelling at this woman’s collection and craving to do my own now!

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second-hand living is officially ‘cool’

Friday night was fun.  Despite not wanting to actually go out due to having a stinking cold, I still took the time to adjust my dress and make and extra petticoat to go underneath it.  Hopefully I’ll get a good photo of how I looked on Friday night, but as I entered the doors of the club I was asked to pose for a photo as I was officially ‘cool’ 🙂 I’ve never been ‘cool’ and at 36 I never expected to ever be cool. But apparently my outfit was and I’m pleased to say the intrinsic parts that made it up were ALL second-hand.  My dress was from the Salvation Army shop in Catford and cost me £3.49.  My jacket was handed down to me via a friend of a friend – as it didn’t fit them, my bag was a box purse from a charity shop (quite a while ago so I can’t remember where it was from) for £3 and my shoes were my darling Pradas – £9.95!  The only new aspects to my outfit were my pink tights and some more netting to go under my dress.

Whoo hoo – I AM cool! lol – although judging by this photo I definitely don’t look cool:

I'm the one in the middle

I'm the one in the middle

Apparently they want to put the photo of me on the website for This Feeling – I’ll let you know if they do so you can see the outfit in full.  I was kind of shocked but pleasantly surprised 🙂

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my best thrifty purchase

Prada Kitten Heels.  £9.95 from the British Red Cross charity shop in Lewisham.

Pradas

Pradas

I bought these firstly because they were SO comfortable – they fit like a glove.  I spoke to the assistant and said ‘did you realise these were Pradas?’ – apparently they did and that’s why they were in there for the princely sum of £9.95. Then I wasn’t sure if they were real, however they apparently are as my friend who used to work for Jimmy Choo’s has testified.

Definitely my best find so far 🙂

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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 #2

Back again – thought I’d continue the blog (curtailed this morning because I really felt awful – was awake at 3:30am with my cold playing up).

So far, we have bags and art.  Of COURSE there is way more that you can do with books.

Turn books into jewellery

I LOVE jewellery – as a girlie – I really don’t think one can have too many accessories.  Especially if they aren’t from Primarni (!) or Claire’s Accessories – but are made from sustainable sources – and if possible – using your own fair hands.  However, if you don’t feel that you have the ability to create your own beautiful jewellery – I’m sure that these wonderful women would be willing to sell you some of their work:

Effemeral Life

Effemeral Life

Liz Hamman is a mixed media artist from Manchester – and I am in total awe of her work. She doesn’t appear to have a store although you can contact her here

Her work is a mixture of origami and a vivid imagination.  Obviously with paper – it has ephemeral nature – is it really meant to last? It’s fragile and so delicate.

I find it hard to actually pick a piece of her work to choose as my favourite – so I’m going to link to her slideshow here. Goggle her innovation and let your imagination FLY!

Betty Pepper

Betty Pepper

Betty Pepper’s designs are stunning – I would love to be able to buy just one piece of this beautiful work.  I think what makes her jewellery even more special is the way that she presents it.  Showing the necklaces simply falling from the books they were made from.

“Betty calls the books orphans and she finds them in charity shops already carrying their own secret stories, looking for new homes. The jewellery finds solace in the books as it too has a story attached to it, who it belonged to, when it was given, why… Betty likes to use second hand textile in her work as she says it has a tactile, human quality and, like the books, it carries scents and stories, wears and fades like memories.”

Ann Martin is a quilling expert – and she creates some beautiful pieces.  She essentially uses quilling paper – however I wonder to myself whether it’s possible to use paper from books.  The results may not be as delicate or as uniform as hers but it could be worth trying. You can find the tutorial here.

And finally Frucci Designs.  I can’t post the images here but I urge you to visit her blog and LOVE her designs.  They are truly truly beautiful.

Hopefully this has been interesting.  There are more ideas coming up but I don’t want to overload you!

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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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M’s Birthday Weekend

Yesterday was ENTIRELY unsuccessful in the second-hand tour of East London. We walked from Monument to Mile End Road to look through the East End Thrift Store. Don’t believe the flyer when it says that ‘almost all’ are £10 or less. I didn’t see one dress under £15. I’m not going to criticise the store for not having anything that didn’t suit my personal style – because I think that actually the store is really good. If you like 80s clothing, a lot of flowery dresses, plaid shirts (for men) etc. We didn’t really see anything that we liked which was unfortunate as we’d walked so far to get there – however I can see why it’s popular. It’s off the beaten track, it’s well organised and friendly. So if you like your fashion flowery or plaid – go there. It’s reasonably cheap and well stocked.

After failing there we wandered towards Brick Lane and went into my favourite shop – Junky Styling. I can’t afford anything there but I love to look at their new designs – they had a beautiful OAK dress styled from a man’s suit. At £250 it was a real steal – just not a real steal for my pocket! They didn’t really have a lot in stock though – which was really disappointing – I was hoping to introduce M to my favourite store!

Then we wandered to my favourite vintage store – Beyond Retro. I remember finding it with a friend of mine a couple of years back when we went on one of our wanders around East London. It’s a treasure trove of retro clothing that’s simply fun to trawl through. Unfortunately M’s not into trying on jump suits and wedding dresses – so it wasn’t such an enjoyable experience.

We then wandered, and wandered and wandered. The world of vintage and upcycling is becoming EXTREMELY trendy and unfortunately, when something becomes trendy in London it become expensive. I think I’m going to stick to my charity shops, car boot sales and jumble sales.

Sorry that this post is so dull – I’m very very tired from going out for a wonderful meal last night – and I want to sleep.

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