Upcycling and Consumerism

In the past few months, I have discovered something about myself. I really love crafty magazines. This probably shouldn’t be surprising, but as someone whose only magazine subscription was 2 years of I-didn’t-read-it-at-all scientific american. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to read it, there was just never enough time to read all that text. What there is time for is to look at pretty pictures and choose which text I want to read. Enter craft magazines.

First, I found one that mostly pulled items off of etsy, and while it had some instructions, it was too….well, something. I didn’t enjoy it enough to want to get another one. But then I found GreenCraft Magazine:

 

This is the second issue I bought, as I liked the first one enough to continue picking them up. There was something quite magical about all the different ways people had found to upcycle everyday materials. And unlike the other magazine, they weren’t just featuring the items without explaining–every item had a “how to” associated with it.

And then I found another upcycling magazine, so I figured I’d better pick that one up too.

This one is different than GreenCraft, it still has tons of cool ideas and tutorials, but it also features some products without instructions (but that is still made of upcycled materials). As well as having a guide to a useful skill related to crafting. I don’t know if this is how all of these magazines are/will be, but hopefully they will, since it is nice to have it be its own magazine instead of a copy of the other one.

In short, I love both of these magazines, and highly recommend them. If I had to pick one, I would probably pick GreenCraft, but only by a little.

These magazines have inspired me to start looking at everyday items a bit differently. For instance, instead of buying organizers for a shelf we have, I’m making them out of cereal boxes and tape. Infinitely cheaper, and still just as functional. (And I can cover it in wrapping paper / magazine pages to make it pretty.)

It’s also helped me take a serious look at my consumerism. It isn’t the only motivator I’ve had to do that, but it has certainly contributed. Why would I buy things when I can make them? And for each thing that I can’t make, but I want to buy, why do I want it? Is it going to be useful in the long run or just a space consumer?

And, really, what better time to be extra conscious of consumerism than Christmas-time? I am finding the commercialism fairly terrifying, this year. It kind of makes me want to hide in a corner. But instead, I’m going to try do do things differently. Other than a few thoughtful, high quality gifts, mostly I will be giving handmade items, or donations to a cause on the person’s behalf. It won’t be quite as “SHINY!” as previous years, but it will be so much more meaningful. Because I have enough, and so do the people I’m giving to (no offense!). But, there are lots of people and animals who don’t.

Who knew a magazine could change my world so much?

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Fan Friday #11 – Flowers

Today I share with you one of my favourite things, not to buy for myself (although I’ve considered it), but to receive.

Fan Friday Presents…Flowers!

I love flowers. I love to look at them admiringly and smell them. And I especially love them when they’re in a bunch and I can call them mine. My lovely fiance has been told this frequently figured this out, and is just wonderful about spending way too much money on gorgeous flower arrangements.

Jealous yet?

Jealous yet?

Above is the beautiful array he sent me for my birthday yesterday, which arrived embarrassingly in the middle of a company meeting. Which I must admit was a little awesome, too.

What’s your favourite any-occasion gift to receive?

The Secret To A Happy Marriage

Now, I know what you’re thinking, I’m not even married yet, so how could I possibly know that kind of secret? It came as a bit of a surprise to me, as well.

You see, I stumbled upon this secret in the most unlikely of places. A grocery store. What would a grocery store know about romance? Well, it depends on the grocery store, I’m sure. This particular grocery store is well known for having a bit of a different stock of items than most. In addition to having oodles of bulk items, it also has many gluten free products and even a few vegan ones. And it is within this frozen foodland that the secret was discovered.

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That’s right, chocolate covered soy-based ice cream bars are the secret to “a healthy, long lasting relationship”. I wouldn’t have believed it myself if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. So there you have it folks. If your marriage is on the rocks, you’d better go out and get yourself some of these. Results guaranteed!*

* Results not actually guaranteed–not even a little.

I must admit though, they were quite delicious, and definitely a good ice cream craving killer. And a bit of a throwback to my elementary school days, when they’d sell revellos at lunch for $0.50. Those were the days! </end tangent> I rate them 5 out of 5, getting a 1 star bonus for entertainment value.

Seriously though, there is a secret to a happy marriage. I have no idea what it is, but it may look a little something like this:

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That’s right, it’s a penguin cookie jar. My dearest love got it for me for our anniversary. It’s functional, it’s adorable, and it’s a penguin. I can’t really ask for more than that.

If that’s not a happy relationship, I don’t know what is!

Have you come across any hilarious packaging? Gotten an awesome gift lately? Tell us about it!

What I Got For Christmas

And just like that, the holidays are over. I am now asking myself questions like: “What happened?”, “Where did they go so quickly?” and “Why do I feel so exhausted?”. I’m sure this is normal, something like PHSD (post holiday stress disorder) and with time and counselling I may recover some of my sanity again…

So while I’m waiting for my sanity to return, I thought I’d start out the new year by sharing some of my favourite (and most crafty) gifts that I received from the awesome people in my life.

Thing-A-Ma Jig by Bead Landing

Thing-A-Ma Jig by Bead Landing

The first awesome thing is a “jig”. It is a tool for wire work that allows you to quickly and easily bend wire into all sorts of shapes. This particular one came with several different sizes of pegs which means it can be used for both funky shapes and jump rings. It seems to be of solid construction, so I know the fun wire-bending times will continue for years to come.

Antique Sewing Box

Antique Sewing Box

This is an antique sewing box. Well, it may not be antique, but it is second-hand and made out of a really nice dark wood (close enough, I say). It’s a bit difficult to tell in this picture, but instead of drawers, its top two levels slide up and outwards, so you can see everything at once (see right side of unit in picture). Then when you’re done, it condenses nicely again (see left side of unit in picture). It is going to hold a lot of crafty awesomeness.

The only downside of this thing is that it’s a heavy sucker, so its level of portability beyond the house will be limited to how far I can convince my fiance to carry it. I am also considering putting wheels on it so that it’s easier to move within the house as well.

Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin

Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin

This book was on my Christmas list and is in keeping with my goal to start my own etsy store this year (after I finish planning a wedding, that is). I’m hoping it will be the inspiration and guidance I need to successfully start up my own small (tiny, really) business, and maybe take it beyond that–or at least know what’s required to do so. I am nurturing a tiny seed of hope in that I have decided on what my first product will be (but it’s a secret!).

The Fairy Fastener - Best Invention Ever

The Fairy Fastener – Best Invention Ever

This little miracle makes putting on bracelets one handed a breeze. You just clip one end of the clasp and then hold the handle area with one hand, then fasten it with the other. I’m seriously stoked to have this and may just start making myself more bracelets so I can take advantage of it. Want one? You can get more information here! *

* note: I get really excited about certain products, but I’m in no way affiliated with the companies. I just want other people to have the opportunity to get as excited as I am.

I am extremely spoiled, and definitely got other things (including something very special that will get its own blog post later on), these were just a snippet of the ones I thought would most correspond with this blog. We also got something like 6 (!!) vegan cookbooks for Christmas, and I’m hoping I can convince my lovely fiance to do a guest post that talks about each of them.

What awesome things did you receive (or get for yourself) for Christmas?