#AtoZChallenge | Vintage bakelite buckles transformed into framed childhood memories

I had a three inch orange binder that I stored on the bottom shelf of my bookcase. It had a hand written tag on the spine that read “house ideas”. I filled it with magazine pages and articles for home decorating ideas and craft projects. They were all neatly organized with page protectors and divided into sections. I would pull it out and look through it occasionally. 

Eventually Pinterest and digital storage slowly replaced my hard copies and I looked at the book less and less over the years. A few years ago, I finally went all in with digital and went through my binder one last time. I kept a handful of ideas by mostly recycled the pages and put the page protectors into a drawer thinking I may have a use for them again someday.

One idea I had saved from Martha Stewart Living was on reusing vintage Bakelite buckles and turning them into picture frame magnets for your refrigerator. I no longer have the article and it was from so long ago that I can’t find it on the magazine’s digital pages either but I remember it well. It was a fun, inventive and appeared to be an easy craft although it would require the use of power tools.

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#AtoZChallenge | Upcycling bed risers into planters to give my spring herbs a lift

When there are thousands of great ideas sometimes it’s hard to pick just one. This was one of the last crafts that I did as I prepared my A to Z challenge posts. I kept circling around from one upcycled craft to another. I was like a dog distracted by a squirrel my attention tenuous as I moved from one upcycled craft to the next all being brought to life with glorious possibility on Pinterest. As I veered from one craft to another, I took a step back and took a moment to breath.

I looked at my project list to identify specific things on my to-do list to see which ones actually worked with an upcycled project. Why make something that I really don’t have a use for?

When I found a pair of bed risers at Goodwill, I had my answer. I have been looking for four matching planters to use in the spring when I attempt yet another round of growing indoor herbs for the season. Last year I used various planters that I already had on hand. They worked but they were mismatched and they just didn’t have that personal vibe. Time to try and craft some new ones. Continue reading

#AtoZChallenge | Travel gallery wall puts our memories on display

I use to travel with a large black camera bag. It had padded dividers that you could move around and secure with velcro to change the storage configuration. There was enough space to hold my 35 mm camera along with a telephoto lens and multiple rolls of film. Depending on the destination, I needed to have enough film for the entire trip. When I was finished shooting a roll, I would insert the end of the film all the way into the canister so I wouldn’t mistakenly use it again. The system worked for me although it was heavy to carry around.

During our trip to Costa Rica, after one long transfer that included crossing a lake by boat, I realized after arriving at our hotel, that I had left my camera bag on the boat. While heartbroken at losing my camera, it also meant all of my pictures that I had taken of our trip up to that point were also lost. For a memory keeper like me, that was the truly devastating part.

The hotel called the tour company that managed the boat transfer and they located the bag. We were only at this stop for another day but the tour company promised they would send the camera bag on their next transfer. Miraculously, the camera bag showed up at the hotel the morning before we moved onto the next stop on our itinerary. Everything was still in the bag including all of my film. It was such a happy surprise. I really thought it was lost forever. Continue reading

#AtoZChallenge | Salt dough tags to up my gift wrapping this year

Santa winning at a Slot Machine and a San Francisco Trolley Car hang in my tree each Christmas. Salt dough memories of wonderful trips that I’ve taken with my girlfriends over the years. My mother in law also gave me one with a decorative wreath and a newlywed couple where the husband was blond and the wife brunette. Not as easy to find as you would think. Trust me!

I had a phase where I loved that style of ornament. They were affordable and came in just about any design imaginable. 

Three simple ingredients and a little bit of patience while my artful creations spend six hours in the oven?  This sounded like the perfect project to do while working on other things. After a burst of creativity, I could move onto other items on my to do list. I love the idea of multi tasking even if I know it’s not really a great thing to do but in this case it seemed possible.

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#AtoZChallenge | Reduce, reuse & recycle : toilet paper roll napkin rings

After only a few months of collecting our cardboard toilet paper and paper towel rolls, I was amazed and horrified at how many we had. It was like the classic Star Trek episode The Trouble with Tribbles. They just seemed to multiple until suddenly we were overrun.

It started out harmless enough. We wanted to make a donation to a local non-profit, Ruth’s Reusable Resources. Their mission statement reads,

“Our mission is to ensure that all students, from pre-k through high school, have the basic supplies and creative tools for literacy, STEAM, and health education through the environmentally-conscious distribution of donated business supplies.”

They have an extensive list of donations that they accept in support of their programs. There are so many ways to help this wonderful organization. As part of my support local new year’s resolution, I had researched their organization and was focused on the donation section for “Things to save from the trash and recycling bin”. I printed it out and hung it on my refrigerator so my family could get into the habit of saving these items for our donation.

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