Category Archives: Upcycling

Something New & Just for Me

Most of my creative endeavors lately are something I might sell.  Even if I don’t plan on selling that particular one, it’s a tester for something I’m considering selling.  I did make a new necklace for myself, but that’s in a way to help me sell.  It’s embarrassing to go to a networking event, say I make jewelry, and not be wearing a fabulous statement piece that I made.

This new project, however, is just for me (and my cats, really)!   I had a funky thrift store rug the cats loved to sleep on.  It was thick and comfy in the afternoon sun.  But the last time I washed it, it really shed a lot, had more obvious gaps, and still smelled weird.  Time to toss it.

Old Rug


I don’t know what I saw, but I suddenly thought I should make a hooked rag rug.  Not a braided one, but one with lots of little tufts.  I’ve raided my fabric stash and come across fabulous, bright colors.  Cutting them into strips 1/2″ by 3″ is the hardest part,  I started with my pinking shears so there would be less shedding, but it was taking even longer and hurting my middle finger knuckle.  Regular scissors it is!

Rag1As my husband says, this is going to take forever, but I’m not worried.  I’m two rows into  a bazillion of them.  I have a little latch hook that helps me tie the strips into lovely little knots. Right now working on my rug is the closest I can come to relaxing.  (I really do suck at relaxing).

The little bit that I have done already feels nice when I step on it.  The cats are already laying on the rug, even though it’s bare canvas webbing.  Milo really liked being underneath it and popping again.  Sorry, I didn’t get a picture, I was too busy laughing at him.

Sure, I needed a new project like I needed a hole in my head.  But it’s a present for me and I deserve it.  And my cats deserve it, too, I guess.



What Should I Charge?

More and more work I get is on existing jewelry.  I am developing a reputation for being able to upcycle jewelry without it “looking like junk”.

I’ve had a client come to me with 5 pieces from a necklace her Grandmother’s to turn into something fabulous they can wear.  I love adding just the right amount of flair to this set for her.  It was an interesting project to make the piece custom for my client, not just what I’d like to wear.

Madame Saslow's Curio- Repurposing2

Another client just needed her beautiful necklace shortened.  At it’s length of about 25 inches, it just felt too formal for everyday wear.  It’s an easy task for me to take out a few beads and polish up the silver for extra shine.

Madame Saslow's Curio- Altering

Madame Saslow's Curio- Altering2

Madame Saslow's Curio- Altering3

A third client, who does wardrobe consultation, ordered some bracelets to go with some necklaces and they are funky.  Way too thick, weird clasps, and they just don’t sit right.  You can really get more like 3 bracelets out of the beads of one.  I’ll be taking these apart and making a few new bracelets out of them.

Madame Saslow's Curio- Repurposing

With all of this fabulous work comes a question:  What do I charge for this kind of work?  Hourly on some, hours plus materials on others?  Materials for the shortening project is negligible.  On the work with Grandma’s jewelry it’s beads and findings, and I don’t have a break down to that level for pricing.  It’s hard for me to look at the huge seed bead bracelets and put a price on the work, though I know it’s could be a lot if I have to do any restringing.

A similar issue came up with another artist asking me to teach her wire work.  Do I charge an hourly rate for instruction?  If so, is it $20?  $40?  A social media expert I know charges more to teach than to do the work herself.  When you teach, you give away your knowledge and future work.  But in my case, the other artist isn’t going to pay me to do wire wrapping for her in any case.  I’d prefer to teach her.

What do you charge?  What is a service like this worth to you?  Have you had someone charge you for this before?

I’d love your input.

Project FAIL

Yep, I’m abandoning a project.  A project I thought was going to be awesome.  I have a huge box of bottle caps.  I have a new drill bit for hardened steel.  However, this


is NOT getting made.
“Why not?  It’s super cute and upcycled!  Adriann, you LOVE upcycling AND your drill,” you innocently protest.

OMG.  Drilling those holes was going to take forever.  Maybe my drill isn’t powerful enough.  Maybe I just wasn’t holding it at a good angle.  Whatever it was, I wasn’t prepared to spend the countless hours making that.

I don’t love beer.  Used bottle caps are cool.  I admit, I am a bit snobby about things made from new bottle caps.  That’s cheating!  You have to drink (or know someone that does) for your craft.  So, I don’t love this bottle cap wind chime enough to make it for just  myself.  Unlike knitting socks, which is a soothing, portable craft that makes super comfy socks.

It sell it and make back money for my time, I’d have to charge more than a sane person would spend on a bottle cap wind chime.

The other problem, I was destined to stab myself with that nice new hardened drill bit (probably more than one).  And though it is pretty small, I wasn’t prepared to sacrifice my dexterity and digital mobility to this project when I have other things I can be doing.   I bleed enough for fencing mending.

What have you abandoned recently?  What should you give up, but just haven’t yet?

I wish more people wanting to sell hand made goods would consider this before trying to sell their work.  I don’t sell hand knit socks.  I’d have to charge $100 a pair for the time and nice yarn it takes.  This is not a good business plan.  Ask yourself if the time and materials required to make the item too expensive to sell and make a profit.

Attaching Bits to Things

I was discussing with my friend Melissa (check out her blog, Forgotten Skills) my love of gluing bits to things.  Her husband didn’t have a clue as to what I meant.

It isn’t just gluing, per say, but attaching in any way.  Be it with glue (E- 600, two part Epoxy, or Hot Glue), my trusty Staple Gun, or some sort of string (yarn, monofilament, thread, whatever).

These methods of attachment cover a multitude of craft projects.

Recent examples are:

Reupholstering a previously VERY ugly little chair thing.  (with Staples)


Gluing Dominoes to a shallow box. (Two part epoxy)


I will be painting the inside of some now red drawers gold, but the application of paint isn’t really attaching.  It falls into the whole other category of “If it holds still long enough, I will paint it”.

Recent examples of this are:

The same said ugly chair thing getting it’s nasty brass self sprayed glossy black.

The previously mentioned drawers being sprayed red.  When they were blonde wood they looked too country charming with the heart cut outs.  Now they are going to be boudoir fabulous in red with gold and who knows what else I add to them.


Now, Melissa and I also like to discuss the merits of “Zombie Apocalypse Crafting”.  Scrap booking is NOT a Zombie Apocalypse Craft.  Making jam and canning is.  I like to think reupholstering is, because you can get more use out of a good piece of furniture.  I admit, spray painting a little cubbie of drawers isn’t a ZAC, but it does make me happy and make use of something that I otherwise didn’t want.

Do you like to attach bits to things?  Do you have a useful Z.A.C. (or a non-useful craft confession?)

Craft Booth Displays- Forks and Dishes

As promised, I bent forks for my Wednesday Night Market displays and took pictures.  Bending forks in a pleasing manner is not as easy as you might think.  I saw pretty pictures and thought, “I can do that!”  And I can, but I ruined a fork in the process.

Here’s the inspiration:

From Pretty Handy Girl via the Ginger Penny Pincher

And these hooks are gorgeous!

From The World by Us via the Ginger Penny Pincher


Here’s what I came up with.  I’m quite pleased.  The half marbles in the jars make a pretty weight.

I managed to find a cute free template for my little signs “Madame Saslow’s Curio Gladly Accepts Cash & Credit Cards” & “Take $5 OFF Purchase of Earrings & Necklace”. Then glued them to red paper for umph.

Here’s a mangled fork for your amusement.  😦

*Bonus Pics!*  My new business cards in the dish I sprayed orange to hold them at my booth! Gorgeous logo by Emily Martin.

I’ve had this “orange art” eraser for a long time, I’ve never wanted to “ruin” it.  And now it’s a perfect paper weight for my cards!

One Way to Brighten a Rainy Week

Not only has it been raining all week, but I’ve been sick!  However, I promised you pictures of my surprise craft project and it is a sure fire way to brighten up this rainy day!  I made it for a friend of mine and she’s just thrilled to have it.  I love what can be done with hot glue, fake flowers, and feathers!



Insert Clever Title for Post about Wreath ‘Here’

Blogging when I’m tired means I can’t think of a creative title for my post.  However, I still really want you to see my latest creation.  This giant wreath is awesome!  Its as big in diameter as my arm is long.  I used the last little bit of gorgeous, expensive yarn leftover from my favorite knit hat for it, the great sparkly burgundy stuff from the notions floor at Britex.

I took this to the Share Exchange, too, since I’ve taken my other, smaller, wreaths there and its so huge I have no desire to ship it from Etsy.

Milo really likes this wreath, too.  You also get a picture of me looking fabulous when I dropped off the wreath, with a peak at my pink wreath in the window of the shop!