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Today, I had the distinct pleasure to browse both a large community yard sale and the area set aside at the Recycling Center for the deposition of unwanted, though usable, items (it’s a free Goodwill, really, with a 4 item limit).  This got me thinking about recycling and how I think it used to be a familiar everyday concept.

recycleThis is probably more accurately “reusing,” but I think the  term “recycling” has evolved in meaning to encompass all that is using something that already exists.  Of course, there is upcycling, repurposing, etc.  Whatever you want to call it, I think it is fantastic.  Instead of running out to Target to get something shiny and new (which I don’t think is always bad), I love the warm fuzzy thought of taking something that someone no longer needs and giving it a new life.  I think that used to be the American way – or at least the way of the Southern housewife.  It’s how I grew up: we couldn’t afford to rush out and buy everything new, and we had plenty because my mom was crafty and conscious.

Now, unfortunately, I see that the contemporary American way is something far less conscious.  It’s more about impulsive decisions to do what suites at the moment because one wants to, someone said it’s better, etc.  For instance, Cash for Clunkers…while I love the environment and think often on the impact of fuel consumption and the like, this program seems absurd: It says that a solution to an environmental issue is to buy something better.  It couldn’t be to drive less, carpool, or keep unnecessary waste out of landfills.  Yes, buy another car is the clear solution.   I find myself thinking, “That is SO American.”

And that makes me sad.Plate

Mug I’ll be ok, though.  I have my free handmade coffee mug and $0.25 plate to cheer me up while I wait.

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If you think this is cute, click the image to see what else unfolds…

It’s a beloved first grade crafts meets  savvy creative woman.  Good thing I haven’t yet passed my opportunity to make these.  File under “must do.”

Go ahead, look at the detailed instructions.

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This week’s featured seller on the Etsy Chat Team blog happens to be one of my favorite twitterers to follow: MissMooseDesign.  She’s sweet, down to earth, and has a lovely Etsy shop that she keeps stocked out of her love for crafting and rescuing vintage items.  I particularly like this line from her description on the blog:

“If I had to iron my clothes everyday I would probably run out into traffic. I would say that I am definitely blessed beyond belief.”

Market Bag by MissMooseDesigns

Market Bag by MissMooseDesign

Ok, now I mentioned winning, didn’t I?  Well, at the end of next week, one lucky (!) person will win both a handmade market bag and matching coffee cup sleeve from the shop of MissMooseDesign.  Believe me, you want these items, unless, of course, you never drink hot beverages or go shopping and neither have any friends that enjoy such pursuits.

There are a variety of ways to enter this contest, so, get going!  (Or not, that will give me a better chacne to win) Best of luck!

-Rebecca

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I’m not sure how any other Etsians feel, but for me, photographing my artwork is like a second go-around at the creative process.  And, sometimes I find it frustrating.  GreenTeaPot

Photographing the 3D pieces can be like a photo shoot.  I’ve got a curvaceous model just waiting for me to capture the most attractive angle.  I can be creative and emphasize my favorite features.  It’s almost like I’m getting a second chance to create art from a similar yet separate idea.  That, I can handle…it’s even fun most of the time.

Still Life Rocks and WoodI haven’t found the 2D art to be as cooperative.  After all, I created it to be exactly what it is, and it is more about content and emotion than form and function (that isn’t to say that emotion is not present in my ceramics).  For shots of 2D work to look “right,” I have to get the shots straight – there is one correct angle.  I have to get the lighting fust right – to bring out the color and texture.  There is very little play in this realm, and I find it constraining.  It feels much more difficult to draw the character from a painting (or drawing or etching) into a photo.  It seems almost unfair to ask those works to prove themselves in front of the lens.

So, what is there to do about this?  In short, I don’t know.  Spending more time with my camera and with my art might do it.  Taking some time with my thoughts might also help me to write descriptions that convey the intent and character of the pieces.  Perhaps it takes trust as well: on my part to remember that I am my own worst critic, and on the part of viewers that what they see – as nice as it might be – is far more in person.

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So, I recently moved into my very own apartment for the first time. I adopted many things from my parents home, two of which were a pair of dining chairs that has previously belonged to my grandmother. Now, as much as I loved her, floral needlepoint is not my style. Neither is sitting on a rock hard surface whilst dining. So, here follows the story of my dining chair recovering process.

My before:

Before

Seat before

These were long-used pieces, with quite a bit of wear and scratches. I started with scratch over and paste wax – with several days in between. That got the wood looking smooth and shiny. After allowing the Paste Wax fumes to dissipate, I began the next step: recover the seat.

Removing the old cover was a piece of cake, and I found that my “before” was actually someone else’s “after.”
before my before

After reflecting on the wonderful things about hand-me-downs and family pieces, I cut quilt batting (3 layers) to fit the seat.  I cut my new fabric to fit the seat, and began what turned out to be long process of getting the fabric lined up properly and tucking and folding the perfect corners.  This involved some trial and error, and some thankfulness that one rarely sees the underneath of the chair.  I also got ot do a lot of hammering, which always makes me feel self-sufficient.  There was some more trial and error involved in screwing the seat bottom back onto the chair frame – my first attempt yielded a somewhat crooked product.  After all of this, I now have the loveliest dining chairs (that I’ve ever had, at least).

After!

I’m not sure that the photo really does justice to the improved cushioning of the seat and look of the wood.  You’ll just have to trust me on that.  Overall, I am so happy with this project: not only that I did it (all by myself), but that I have chairs that more accurately fit my style and remind me that I am, in fact, a grown-up in this “real” world.

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Today, I sold my first item on Etsy.com. I am so excited about this. I can’t wait for someone else to own one of my pieces…I’ll have to wait, though, she lives in Australia.

No rest, of course, I’m back to posting more items. Today is this lovely oil painting, one of my first.

Forest Floor, Morning Mist by Rebecca Penny

Forest Floor, Morning Mist by Rebecca Penny

What I love about this painting is the depth of the forest. The ground pushes back and finally into the mist of the furthest background. It depicts one of the aspects I most love about the forest and nature on the whole: the unending mystery. You could walk for miles and see something new with each step. At the same time, walk enough, and the forest becomes like a best friend – present and dependable. It’s always there and always with something to give; we only have to step inside and be open to discover.

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