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Thursday, October 29

collision of left and right brain = super cool yardstick box

Those of you who have been following along at home may remember that part of my inspiration to begin crafting again was to exercise the other part of my brain, as I am a lawyer by day, and don't have tons of opportunities to be super creative there (though I surprise myself sometimes).  I've been a legal aid attorney almost my entire career, which began waaaaaaay back in the mid-90's.  From 1999-2000, I took a year off to clerk for the probate and family court judges in western Massachusetts, a super fun and interesting job.  At that time, John A. Barrett was the register of the Franklin County Probate and Family Court.  What I didn't know until 2 minutes ago was that he began his reign in in 1978 (when I was in grade school, thankyouverymuch).  I know you're not reading this blog to ponder my inexplicable decision to go to law school. Stay with me; we're coming back around now.

What John A. Barrett's remarkable 24 year reign as register, an elected position (despite the fact that the vast majority of humanity has no idea what a register is or what s/he does), tells me is that he must have been an excellent campaigner.  Which brings us back to the original point of this post:  yardsticks.  One specific yardstick, which I scored at the fantastic Loot in Turners Falls.  

This yardstick: 

John A. Barrett


of Probate

The yardstick requested (implored?) that we "re-elect" Mr. Barrett, so we know it's not circa 1978, his first year as register, but that's the only clue I have as to its age.  

So now you're thinking that this is a really lovely inside baseball story, but who is going to care about Mr. Barrett and want his campaign yardstick on her desk?  I'm so glad you asked.  A lawyer friend recently hung her own shingle in Greenfield, Massachusetts. She practices family law.  In probate and family court.  In Franklin County.  SO PERFECT, right?  Right.  

Sunday, October 25

so much loot at loot

Yesterday's outstanding Pumpkin Fest in downtown Turners Falls presented an excellent excuse to go to Loot, a place that speaks my language.  If you haven't been to Loot yet, for the love of god, go. Loot describes itself as an industrial artifact and handmade goods emporium, and it's that and so much more.  

But today I'd like to talk about test tube holders, because I have lots and lots and lots of test tubes.  Like this many:

Not that I'm complaining.  And I've come up with lots of great ways to use them.

crutch tips, naturally

rubber stamp carousel (also from Loot!)

salvaged table leg

And now that I've scored all this gorgeous barn board, I have several more tricks up my sleeve.

But there is beauty in simplicity, and putting test tubes into a vintage test tube rack acquired from Loot, and using it as a bud vase, is both simple and beautiful.

Barbara thought it wise 
to label her test tube rack

and she was apparently 
in Group II, Table 5

dismantled barn: every girl's dream

This girl, at least.  Really, what could be better than picking through a pile of red barnwood from a dismantled barn in the Pioneer Valley on a beautiful fall day?  Sad to see the barn go, but as so many are these days, this one was structurally unsound.  I'm very glad to know that all of the barn boards will be salvaged and reused, some by me!  

Luckily, friends are well aware of my barn habit and hooked me up with this incredible opportunity.  I can't wait to get into the studio to start using this gorgeous wood. 

naked barn

cheap and enthusiastic labor

picking the best

load 'er up!

apple basket of beauty

Thursday, October 22

not your grandmother's bud vase

Ardent followers will remember my discovery of Studio Second Canal about a year ago, when a friend sent me a beguiling Craigslist post about about an artists' collection of picked and found objects, vintage finds, industrial artifacts and surplus components.  Wow, just wow.  So many incredible finds, so much interesting stuff, many of it culled from long-shuttered brick factories in the flats of Holyoke.  And best of all, Bruce and Nancy were so friendly and enthusiastic about my repurposing and upcycling endeavors. 

Sometimes I acquire items that are amazing, but I have literally no idea what I'll do with them.  You may remember my post about the Parker Parkerette leaf sweeper from over a year ago. 

it sweeps leaves!

It's a perfect example of something I bought with no idea in mind. I still have no idea in mind.  It's still in my picking buddy's shed. But I digress.

Happily, there are times when items present themselves in such a way that you can't possibly miss the repurposing message. At Studio Second Canal, I lost my mind over an enormous box of test tubes, an item I had been ogling for years, and had never seen in such abundance.

Then sitting virtually next to these beauties, was a box of these.

I asked about them out of curiosity, not because I was particularly drawn to them, as rubber is not one of my go-to materials.  Crutch tips.  That's right, crutch tips.  Apparently the Paper City, as Holyoke is known, produced much more than just paper.  They made lots and lots of crutch tips, and many of them landed here at Studio Second Canal.

Of course I also couldn't resist buying the mold that was used to produce the crutch tips.

But really, could I have been given a better gift than crutch tips sitting adjacent to test tubes?  I think not.  Edgy and unusual, yet beautiful and elegant.

Wednesday, October 21

weddings and reclaimed crafts

A few years ago, we hosted a super fun wedding diy bridal shower. While guests noshed, drank and chit chatted, they also helped the bride complete some handmade table numbers, and personalized a box to be used to store well wishes that we had already decoupaged with maps with personal meaning to the couple.  It was a great way to bring some close friends together to have fun and help the bride create really special decor for her wedding.

We were recently asked to create some signs from salvaged barn boards for the upcoming wedding show for Valley Wed, which seeks to connect couples to the top local wedding professionals in western Mass.  If only Valley Wed were around when I got married!  

all roads lead to....

So many of reclaimed crafts' creations lend themselves to wedding decor and favors.  Here are just a few.

Monday, October 19

goodies for sale - vases, trays, business card holders, oh my!

I'll be at the Fall Festival at Hampshire College this Saturday from 10-4, joined, apparently, by many farm animals as well as some other amazing, local artists, including Tiny Anvil Jewelry and Taproot Threads, two of my favorites.  

Here's a sneak peek at just some of the items I'll have for sale. So put on your best flannel shirt, baseball cap and Dansko clogs, and come on over!

vases from burlap potato and coffee sacks

the left coast

lovely New England - sea to the clouds

mile high Denver

big apple

vote what now?

half the world