What's Up Wednesday: Junksmith

Our very own Junksmith will be participating in the
Pleasant Home Artisan's Sale in Oak Park, IL.

Open house and meet the artist event is
Sunday, December 4 from 1-4 p.m.

The show continues from
Monday Dec. 5- Sunday Dec. 11, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Pleasant Home is an historic house museum located approximately 10 miles from  downtown Chicago. 
Free tours will be conducted during the open house. 
Go to PleasantHome for further information.

Pleasant Home Artisan's Sale
217 Home Ave., Oak Park, IL.

Images © Junksmith


Feature Me Friday: Black Friday Cyber Monday

Find fab Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals 
from a few of our Trashion Team Members ! 
Rabbit Totem Beaded Cuff by Robin Stelling
Check out Robin Stelling and her beautiful creations!
Use code THANKSGIVING11 at checkout for 25% off
all ready-to-ship items including cuffs, necklaces, earrings, etc. 
Please note: Discount does not apply to custom orders or made-to-order items.

Grunge Heart Scrabble pendant by Tubby Tabby ~ 50% off!
Get on over to Tubby Tabby's shop to find 50% off select 
pendants listed in the Upcycled section on sale now!
No codes needed, they're priced to sell!

Gift Card Earrings by Green Designs by Lisa

Visit our newest member Green Designs by Lisa
Black Friday through Cyber Monday sale!!! 
30% off any item in her shop!! 
Use code Moorea and the discount will be taken.


Feature Me Friday: Deja Vu

We're finally back with another fantastic feature...
Rita J Peters of Deja Vu and SenoritaCA
Rita comes to us from sunny Quail Valley, CA  92587

Hey Rita! What’s the first thing you remember making?
As a child we used to re-cycle christmas cards, make things from brown paperbags, make paperchains out of music sheets or pages from a colorful magazine, paperdolls out of thrown away magazines. We were always treasure hunting at the dump that was back in the day where the trash wasn't processed or bulldozed over and you were allowed to crawl amongst the treasures!
Why do you work with recycled materials?
It gives me such pride to be able to take something and re-design it into something current or useable once again. Materials from days of yorn are so much better constructed or made.

Where do you work?
I work on my patio, pictures are attached. I have re-designed my walk in patio as a shop.
Editors note: This looks an awful lot like Santa's workshop!  

What are your favorite tools?
Jewelry pliers, scissors, and a dremel.
How do you get from A to Z?
By design!

Who inspires you?
Frida Kahlo, Laurel Burch, free spirited artists of which there are many non-descript in our area.

What music do you listen to while you’re working?
Frida Kahlo Movie Sound Script, Frank Sinatra, and it really depends on the weather and my mood.
Read any good books lately?
I read magazines - subscribed to Cowboy and Indian, Belle Armoire Cloth Design, Bell Armoire Jewelry Design and I have tons of bead books that I dive into when I am going to undertake a new challenge.
Been to any great exhibits?
No but my Frida Kahlo charm jackete was on display in Germany at a Frida Kahlo Exhibit.

Besides Etsy, where can we find you work?
I am featured on Ebay, same shop name Senoritaca and I am also showcased in an antique shop in Lake Elsinore called Mora's Antiques - 130 North Main Street, Lake Elsinore, CA.

How do you promote your work?
I have been in the newspaper several times, an article was written up about my work in Antiques, a Riverside County monthly publication that showcases unique people and their works. I float my work on facebook amongst my friends. I also donate items at my church so people will go to my shops on the internet.

What do you do for fun?
Sing in a rock and roll praise team for Celebrate Recovery. It is awesome.
I garden vegetables, herbs and flowers. Go for the hunt in thrift stores, estate sales, Salvation Army, garage sales - nothing more relaxing than doing this.
What’s in your future?
I plan on remodeling a space in my home, an attached room, that will be set up as a shop. I plan on taking silversmithing classes to begin that venture.

Have any words of wisdom?
No matter where you go there you are so leave your footprints!

Images & Text © Rita J Peters


Feature Me Friday: EllieMac Designs

This week we'd like to introduce you to Mary Beth Stevens of EllieMac Designs! Mary Beth comes to us from Lynchburg, Virginia.

What's the first thing you remember making?
As a child I remember trying to teach myself to draw from a Richard Scarry children's book. The first finished product I made was in college (1990). I repurposed an old chair my grandmother gave me. I loved finding old furniture and giving it a new life. I re-painted it and did some hand painted flower work. My family & I just moved to a new house this past fall and I found that chair... I'm glad my skills have improved!

Why work with recycled materials?
I came up with an idea for a recycling project for my son and his kindergarten class in 2006. It was a 2 week project where the 3 classes brought in their recyclables (plastic & cans) to school. Whichever class collected the most won a party. As the days passed I collected the recyclables and stored them at my house to determine which class had the most. It was amazing how many bottles & cans the kids brought in. After the contest my children and I sorted everything in our back yard. There were mounds, piles & heaps. I wanted to created something for my sons teacher to remember the project... that's how my recycled art began. I did have a picture with my son in the heaps, but I can't find it.

Where do you work?
I work in my home & in my yard. My children own me and I revolve around them most of the time. So... I get to work on my projects when they are occupied.

How do you get from A to Z?
I'm quite organized. My friends actually chuckle because of my OCD in organization. They know who to ask when they move and need to pack up or just tidy up & rearrange things. I tried to start up an organizational business but had to stop because of my physical limitations; I've had 3 back surgeries.

What are your favorite tools?
I don't think I have a favorite, but I can say my Boston Terrier has a massive phobia to one of my tools. It's the tool I use to center punch my flower layers. It's not a regular hole puncher so it makes a loud noise. He freezes in fear because of the sound and will not move until I leave my work table, it sometimes is hours.

Do you listen to music while you're working?
Sometimes I have the local radio station on, sometimes the TV, but most of the time the sound of both is drowned out by my Red Poicephalus Parrot named Cookie, so I just talk to her.

Read any good books lately?
Beautiful Creatures & Beautiful Darkness - The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl. If you like imagery and fantasy these are awesome. I hope there's a third book.

Been to any good exhibits?
Last summer my children & I went to Philadelphia, PA and saw an exhibit on Cleopatra (National Geographic). It was amazing to actually be in the same room with relics that belonged to Cleopatra herself. Wonderful & interesting history!

What  five fab things you're purchased on Etsy?
Taper candles from Forest Candle Studio
Roman Coin Ring from Marajoyce
Tuffet from Fiber and Fire
Crown Charm from Cathy Dailey
Lampshades from A Shady Past

Where do you sell your wy work?
I'm on Etsy and there is a shop in Ocracoke, NC that carries my stemmed flowers.

How do you promote your work?
I'm trying to start a blog, but have no idea what I'm doing as far as setting up my page. I go into the forums on Etsy and belong to 4 Etsy teams: UpCyclers, Flowers & Romance, Hill City Street Team & the Trashion Team. I post on Facebook and Twitter also.

What do you see in your future?
I hope that my work continues to get noticed and people find my work to be beautiful and EllieMac Designs grows. I would like to finally be able to say to myself I am a true artist.

Have any words of wisdom?
I've gone thru out my life trying to find my true passion, what I was meant I do/career, believing my art was not adequate. I have my BS from college, I have my certification as a CNA and a Medication Technician and I also took classes to become a teacher years ago. But... I've always, always come back full circle to my art and began creating again. My wisdom... have confidence in yourself and listen to your heart.

Images & Text © EllieMac Designs


Trash Talk Thursday: Cast Your Vote!

Lego Belt Buckles

The nice folks over at Fine Tuxedos and Formal Wear Accessories 
are sponsoring a little contest, and our very own
Miss Courageous is lucky enough to be part of it!

So, please head on over to their blog and vote for her
Lego Belt Buckles, product lucky number 7!
Good luck Miss Courageous!

Images © Miss Courageous


What's Up Wednesday:
What I Received in the Mail Today...

Etsy Sellers... you gotta love 'em

I found two beautiful vintage victorian trade cards in
a lovely etsy shop called Vintage on the Ridge.

I received my package today and was delighted to find my cards carefully wrapped in pretty teal and brown polka dot tissue paper with a dainty matching ribbon tied up in a bow. Very nice.

What tickled me most about the package (besides the cards wrapped inside!) is the note on the matching custom sticker used to secure the tissue...

I Hope You Love It
Thanks So Much
Please leave feedback  -  It's nice to hear from you!

In such a small space this seller was able to convey to me her anticipation that I love what she's sent, her thanks, and what is probably the nicest request for feedback that I've ever received. Nicely done.

Do you have any great packaging stories to share?


Marketing Monday: Is It Relevant? Part II

Feather Stickpin / Blush

This week I'm posting a bunch of links for those of you who
would like to read up on the subject. There are posts and
discussions just about everywhere!

And if you care to dive into the Forums on Etsy,
here's a link to discussions on relevancy!


Marketing Monday: Is It Relevant?

Magnetic words
Vintage Redoux

rel·e·vant adj \ˈre-lə-vənt\

Definition of RELEVANT

1 a : having significant and demonstrable bearing
on the matter at hand

: affording evidence tending to prove or disprove
the matter at issue or under discussion <relevant testimony>
c : having social relevance
2 : proportional, relative

Antonyms: extraneous, immaterial, impertinent, inapplicable,
inapposite, irrelative, irrelevant, pointless

If you've been around Etsy this past week,
you've probably heard about relevancy.

The Storque posted about it
Keeping It Relevant: Default Search Is Now "Sort By Relevancy"

and there was a letter from Chad, Etsy's new CEO, Notes From Chad

Here are some tips on Putting Your Shop On Top: Etsy's Most Relevant Search

There are lots of discussions in the Etsy Forums as well as on Twitter.
While all of shop items may not come up as the most relevant,
or even on page 1 in a relevant search,
I think something I saw on Twitter is important to keep in mind,

"We have to be a happy getting some items on page 1.
Think of it as an ad for your shop.
A buyer sees it - might not be right color but your shop has
a [item] so in they come to browse around.'


Marketing Monday: Pricing Your Work

Starburst Double Cuff Bracelet

Emily of Candy Calamity sent me this link last week
How-To: Price Your Handcrafted Goods.

You might think that pricing your work is more of a business tips sort of post, but pricing your work is related to how much you might sell. Changing your prices, creating a coupon, or having a sale are all marketing techniques to increase sales. So when you price your work, you must keep all of these things in mind in addition to all of the things mentioned in the article.

Happy making and don't work for free!!!


Marketing Monday: Attributes on Etsy

12 Purple Eco Heart Stickers

Kimmy of bellavioletta shared a forum thread with me this weekend.
If you have been listing new items in your shop,
you may have noticed a new box with "attributes."
Everything from African and Art Deco to Victorian and Zen.
Here's a link to the discussion thread
Having trouble with attributes? Here's a guide!


Marketing Monday: How to Screw Up Your Art Show

Burnt Orange Carnation Corsage - Repurposed T-shirt
Marang Studios

If you're like me, you're busy enjoying summer!
For some of you, that might mean a craft fair.
I had to share this post I found, because so much of it just made sense.

How To Screw Up Your Art Show

I can say I'm guilty of a couple of things the author says not to do,
but I think my favorite part was,
"Hang a showstopper on the rear wall. You MUST stop the hoards
of people rushing by like the Children of the Corn."
And "We saw a tent sign, 'No one enter without permission.' "
I was once at a tent with a sign that read "please do not touch"
and the artist was selling textiles. "Need I say more?"

So find that showstopper, don't hang silly signs, and
have yourself a great summer and some great shows!!!


Marketing Monday: Promo Swaps!

Fab Trashion Team Swag

Promo Swaps are a great way for teams to help promote each others work.

Kimmy of Bella Violetta organizes a promo swap for our team twice a year.
It's a daunting prospect, trying to corral a bunch of artists,
but she's up to the task!

Everyone that participates sends Kimmy swag and in return receives a box of goodies. It's always exciting to open the box to see what's inside.
The promos get better every time we swap.
It's really quite impressive!

When we send out an order it includes a promo from a fellow member.
Who doesn't love to get swag??

The Trashion Team creates art, jewelry, fashion and objects from materials that are recycled, leftover, thrifted, or found.
We promote environmental awareness & look good doing it!
But it doesn't stop there! Man do we know how to brand our businesses!
Check out the amazing promos from this year's swap!

Images © 2011
All rights reserved.



Marketing Monday: Copyrights

Landscape recycled skateboard heart keyring
Last month there was a stir about Urban Outfitters stealing a design from an Etsy designer. While Regretsy may not be popular with everyone, the blog's author pointed out that the Etsy artist wasn't the first  to create the design in question in this post.

Recycled copper ring 
I also found a very informative article on Crafting an MBA that explains why "You can't copyright an idea and you can't copyright a useful object." The author, Megan Auman, starts out discussing the Urban Outfitters story and goes on to explain that the US government sees jewelry as a useful object and will not give it copyright protection.

Striped blouse shirt sweater with oversized draped side in pastel pink cream & brown -ready to ship- 
Do you make clothes? The government also sees clothing as a useful object and here's a great video on "how the lack of copyright and patent protection for clothing design has accelerated the creative pace of the fashion industry."

 under the oyster moon- medium silk/rayon sleeveless top
So what to do? I liked what Megan Auman had to say about it: "Your biggest concern shouldn't be getting your ideas stolen, it should be obscurity." and "If you're really concerned about being copied, the best thing you can do is be innovative."

 Red beaded bracelets with words of hope and inspiration charms


Marketing Monday: Living In A Fishbowl Part II

SALE - Gold Frame Granny Reading Glasses

Last week there was a bit of press about online magazines. Here's the article that started it in the NY Times: The Thriving [Online] Shelter Magazine Industry. And here's Grace Bonney's response on Design Sponge: Design Online: A Response to the NY Times Story On Online Magazines. I wanted to focus on Grace's last point, "Younger women, as content producers and business owners, need to take greater control over how we are presented and how we present ourselves."Most sellers on Etsy are young women, content producers and business owners. Just last week I talked about how we "live in a fishbowl." Everything you say and do relates back to your business, and how you and your product is perceived. Mom was right, darn it. Not only do you have to remember to mind your P's and Q's, you need to remember to think before you speak. And if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.


Memorial Day: 2011

Today we remember and give thanks
to the men and women that so bravely protect our country
and to those that have so honorably given their lives
so that we may be free.


Marketing Monday: Living In A Fishbowl

Recycled wine jug center piece

I read a post yesterday, 10 Terrible Tweet Types Killing Your
Twitter Strategy. And while I haven't been on Twitter as much
lately, the post reminded me of some advice I received as
a manager at a big retail shoe chain.

We live in a fishbowl.

I don't know about you, but the whole thing sounded crazy.
Our personal life should be just that, personal, right?
But as mainstream media shows, nothing really is so private .
And that translates to us as artists and sellers.
How you treat the people you have chance meetings with may
reflect on your business.

So mind your P's and Q's in your daily and virtual life!


What's Up Wednesday

Our What's Up Wednesday post now includes a look inside the shops of our talented team members as well as the events they will be selling at.  Whether online or in person, stop by to shop our recycled, upcycled and vintage wares.

Do you like your trashion with "sprinkles of fun & funky"? Then a visit to the shop of marysmenagerie to see her eclectic trashion wares like these is a must:

Handmade Beaded Body Jewelry Purse made with cd's
Grunge Victorian Lace Boot Wall Hanging

Earthtones Hand Dyed Upcycled Slip

Have a sweet tooth for trashion? Then get out and visit Emily of Candy Calamity at Soulard Market Park Arts & Crafts Fair in St. Louis, MO on Saturday May 14th, from 9am - 3pm. 

This fun and funky craft fair kicks off its 2nd season on May 14th.  It features the best of the best in local arts and crafts and offers more than fifty artists to shop with. In addition to the delightful wares, the fair will include live music, food, street performers, and area nonprofit organizations.  You can visit the Facebook event page for more information.

Emily will be there selling her coffee bag wallets, candy wrapper bracelets and earrings, and other fun trashion jewelry and accessories.


Marketing Monday: Be Yourself

Ever find yourself to be a little shy talking about what you do?
Just be yourself!

upcycled material cuff - eco friendly

A recent post I read, Come Out on Top of Your Competition,
really made a lot of sense. If you just be yourself,
the words flow, and if you are like me, you cannot stop talking!

A few key points:
No one else has it.

Madonna Record Album Purse - 26" shoulder straps

Offer your talents.

White and Black Glass Salad or Dessert Plate

Your audience will come.

Portfolio clutch laptop sleeve black leather unisex

Just do what you love and be yourself.

I Heart Vinyl Rockstar Necklace


Trash Talk Thursday: Tree of the Week


Last Sunday while walking to our local coffee place my friend told me that a tree we were approaching was her ‘tree of the week’. Did I have one she asked? I do not, I replied. (I am not a tree hugger type myself. My idea of being in nature is the walk from my vehicle to my front door.)

This, I have been told, is fairly common among upcyclers.
I think we come to this because
1- We are all thrift store, tag sale and vintage junkies.
2- We love the hunt.
3- We are very creative and like to challenge ourselves.
4- Oh yes, it’s good for the environment, blah blah, blah.

In order to upcycle you must be able to think outside the box and see the beauty in, well, garbage. Mucho creativity! A quick search on Etsy came up with many wonderful examples. Here are some of my favorites...

Enlightened Thinking

An Blath Paipeir

Amazing, right?

So next time you see that bulk trash pickup pile on the side of the road pull over and have a peek. You just never know what treasure awaits! You have your hand sanitizer already!

Happy Hunting!

What's Up Wednesday

This week three of our team members have shows on Sunday, May 1st in Kansas, California and Wisconsin.  If you're in the area, get out and shop for handmade work from local artisans just in time for Mother's Day, graduations, weddings or Father's Day.  Not in the area?  Please share this post on Twitter and Facebook for your friends who might be.

Stop by and shop with Mandy of  iamthemandy at Art in the Park on Sunday, May 1st from 10:00am - 5:00pm.  It takes place in South Park (11th & Massachusetts) in Lawrence, KS. 
The 50th Anniversary Art in the Park is sponsored by the Lawrence Art Guild.  It features over 150 local, regional and national artists. Fine art and fine crafts abound in a lively atmosphere of music, vendors, and childrens activities.  Admission is free. For more information, visit the Facebook page: 

Mandy is an artist, designer and crafter.  From buttons and old newspapers to cheap t-shirts and fabric scraps, iamthemandy’s style is reflected in both what she wears and designs. Although some may see fabric scraps and old magazines as trash, her philosophy remains: reuse. repurpose. reinvent.

Stop by and shop with Robin Stelling of CreativeBeadz at the Saratoga Rotary Art Show on Sunday, May 1st from 9:00am to 5:00pm.  The show will be held at West Valley College in Saratoga, CA.

The 54th Annual Art Show and Wine Tasting will feature a wide variety of fine art: paintings, sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, photography, glassworks, woodworks and mixed media. Craftsmen from around the country showcase their works at what is recognized as "the largest one day juried fine Art Show in the West"!  
For more information, visit their website:

Robin creates eco-friendly jewelry for the modern nomad from vintage global textiles, beading and gemstones.  Learn more about her and her work at

Lastly, you can stop by and shop with Rachael of Rachael Brooke Designs at Absolutely Art's "Girls Day Out" event on Sunday, May 1st from 10:00am - 5:00pmAbsolutely Art is located at 2322 Atwood Ave., Madison, WI.

Rachael will have a trunk show of her latest vintage tea tin earrings, button brooches and more for sale on Sunday.  She will also be leading a "make & take" jewelry project throughout the day.  You can make a recycled copper wire and button necklace or zipper pull for $10.  Proceeds from the "make & take" will be donated to the Canopy Center in Madison.  The Canopy Center provides many services to parents in crisis in an effort to prevent or stop child abuse.  They provide services through three programs to 4,000 people annually.  There will be food, drinks and chair massages during the event, too.


Marketing Monday: Driving Traffic to Shops

Bike Tire Key Fob

I read this post over the weekend about
6 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Gallery.
I just dropped off some work on consignment yesterday,
and I thought it was very relevant for that, too.
After all, I do want my work to sell!
The shop is a pop up shop - opening for only 2 months.
Any extra marketing the artists can do will really help the owners
toward their goal of making the shop a longer term retail venture.

Make A List Upcycled Lined Paper Notebooks- set of 4 Special Price

While I do not have a mailing list (I really should),
I'll be dropping off some of the shop's postcards at other local businesses.
I'll be tweeting, posting on Facebook, and blogging.
The shop is having an opening event in a couple of weeks, so I'll be there. But don't expect to see me in any videos :)


Dragon's Spark is an urban boutique offering original designs
by local artisans, recycled materials, fair labor fashions from
around the world, and vintage jewelry and apparel.
Find them at 4280 North Oracle Road, Suite 130, Tucson, AZ.


Trash Talk Thursday: Let's Refashion... Go!

Let’s Refashion…Go!

Let’s assume you have found your “raw” materials and have washed, unstitched and cut into usable pieces. How long did that take? Yeah, I know.

This is my process for making the above bonnet. Let’s start. First I drape pieces of strategically cut tee shirts, pinning as I go and stretching to shape. Once satisfied with placement of both seams and text (and lots of pinning) I head over to the machine to piece together. I am using a zigzag stitch here and leaving the edges raw. It’s a design decisionPress and trim.

While still on the form I cut the rough outline of the desired shape-inthis case a Neo Victorian Bonnet. Stay stitch around edges to stabilizethe stretchy fabric. It is starting to look like something.

Trim and repeat for lining. I often use solid color tee shirts for this because the hat is now reversible. I made a self casing and threaded a cord, also made from the recycled shirts, to tie under the chin.

A little decorative trim (also tee shirt fabric) hand stitched on to the back seam and there you have it!

Images & Text © Delight Worthyn