A couple of weeks ago I went to "The Digs," my favorite junking spot. I came home with a set of vintage biographies, several trophy tops, a bag of corks, a vintage tray, some vintage school workbooks, old sheet music, some assorted sewing items, a rug beater, two baseballs, and a pink tutu. I know, to some it sounds like a whole lot of crap, but to a junker like me it was a veritable gold mine!
"A goldmine? really? Aren't you exaggerating just a bit?" you might ask. A Goldmine! I tell you! Here are just a few of the things I've done with my loot.
The Trophy Tops: After cleaning and sterilizing both the corks and the trophy tops I attached them each to each other to make unique, conversation-piece dinner party decor. I plan to use the trophy top corks for both place cards and to re-cork my open wine bottles. A winning design don't you think.
The Vintage Tray: On my way to "The Digs" I stopped at a neighbors garage sale and picked up a great little painted side table. I'd been looking for something to put in the school library bathroom and thought this little table would work. I loaded it into the back of my Beetle and forgot about it. As I was emptying my car from the day's adventure, I mindlessly set the vintage tray on the table and it wasn't until that moment that I realized just how perfectly the two pieces went together. The pair are now being used in the library bathroom and are displayed exactly as they were serendipitously paired.
The Vintage School Workbooks: I've had so much fun working with these! As a student of the 60s the nostalgia these inspire is priceless. As you can well imagine the pages of these books had become brittle and I feared they would disintegrate very soon. I wanted to preserve them in a way that was fun, whimsical, and decorative. I decided to decoupage the pages onto a few of my vintage suitcases. To see other examples, visit How to Decoupage a Suitcase.
The Old Sheet Music: Because of the success I had with my suitcase decoupage project, I decided to do the same with one of the sheet music booklets. I'd had this vintage American Tourister train case for some time. I love the size and shape, but was a little underwhelmed by the boring beige color. The sheet music decoupage was, in my opinion, just the touch this case needed to make it sing!
The Sewing Accessories: I was thrilled to see upon closer inspection that the plastic bag with fabric turned out to be a complete quilt kit! I'll be working on that project very soon. The Zig Zag accessories tin containing bobbins and assorted sewing machine attachments now sits atop my crafting cabinet alongside the rug beater. I don't actually use them, but they display nicely.
The Baseballs Though I haven't yet begun this project, my plan is to turn these into cuff bracelets. Apparently this trend is all the rage. I'll post a picture as soon as I've finished my cuffs.
The Pink Tutu: After trying it on and wearing it for a bit (I've had issues with the tendon in my right foot and have been in and out of an ortho boot for a few months awaiting surgery. I was feeling poorly and thought wearing a tutu would help lift my spirits. It did.), I decided it would be best to display it in my school library. It now hangs among my vintage collection of hobbies and leisure themed displays.
The Vintage Signature Classics Book Collection: What a treasure these are. They were published in the early to mid 1960s and they feature the biographies of some of the most important people in history. Mozart, Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln, and many more. I purchased all 23 that I found plus 2 We Were There series books. The colors of the covers are absolutely wonderful. I like them just the way they are, all stacked up and on display, but I really bought them with a few projects in mind. I've been pouring over The Repurposed Library: 33 Craft Projects That Give Old Book New Life, by artist Lisa Occhipinti, published by Stewart, Tabori, and Chang 2011, and have wanted to try a few of her projects. The book mobile you see pictured at right was one such project.
Another is a variation of Occhipinti's floating bookshelf. I made the shelf out of 3 books from the series. It was a very simple project that took only minor skill with a saw, a drill, a 1"x6", and some "L" brackets.
My hope is that people will begin to look at stuff through the eyes of a junker. What you once might have seen as a pile of worthless crap, perhaps instead you'll see TREASURE! Something to inspire a unique repurpose project, a unique display item, or a usable, practical piece that still has lots of use left in it.
All photographs taken by Paulette Rodriguez.