Thursday, May 29, 2008

Garage Sale Finds of the Week

It's that time of the week again...time to do my part to recycle used toys into "new" toys for my son! I found a lot of great items, both baby and household, but here are a couple more good toy finds of the day:

Fisher Price Little People Alphabet Learning Zoo...regular price $43.00...Garage sale price: $6.00! This is a cool little toy where you set the animal figure on it's corresponding letter, and depending on what you have it set on, it'll either play the animal's noise or say the letter.

Still collecting a stash of legos...this week it's the regular Legos (non-Duplo), and this nice pile...roughly $15.00 worth for $3.00!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Just a couple cool things

Here are just a couple cool pieces of recycled eye candy for you from a couple of my favorite links:

Check out this cool collar made of the hooks on clothes hangers:

More cool art made from bottle & can tops:

Friday, May 23, 2008

Garage Sale Find of the Week

Yesterday was Thursday, which in the summer is synonymous with "garage sale day" in the Junk Mail Gems studio. There were not a lot of sales around, being right up against a holiday weekend, but my little man and I headed out to hit just a few sales in our neighborhood.

In my opinion, purchasing used stuff is right up there with other green practices like purchasing cool gifts hand made out of recycled materials. Of course, there are certain things one may not want to buy used...underwear, toothbrushes, wedding dresses, you get the picture. There are also things that lose their value and functionality over time, and it's our job as creative people to find ways to repurpose these things. But Lego's are not one of them...they last forever and are a timeless toy!

Today's best find for the little guy was this big bag 'o Duplo Legos. I got all of these for $6. I think you'd be lucky to get like one Duplo animal or car for $6 new. They were trying to sell these for $12 along with an old, wood end table that had a lego base screwed to it. While I admired their nice DIY Lego table work, I didn't want another large piece of furniture, so they sold me just the legos for $6. I later found out it costs $15 just for one Duplo base...should've snapped that up and just removed the base!

The thing about Legos is they last forever, and old and new blocks still connect together beautifully. I have collected a pretty good stash of pieces already this summer for when Sammy gets bigger...both in Duplos and regular legos.

These Legos will outlive any video game system by decades, and will foster the kind of creativity I want to pass on to my son! In the meantime, I think I'll go build a house while he's still napping...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Recycled Cake Stands

Today I made a trip to my local Savers and picked up a few parts to try this cool recycled cake stand project that I posted on a few days ago. I had seen a very similar project originally on the DIY network and have been meaning to try it since! Here are the steps I took...

Step 1: Find some old plates, and something to use to add height (a vase, goblet, candlestick, teacup, etc) Here are the pieces I picked up at the thrift cost me about $6 for all of these pieces. (Probably would be $1 if from a garage sale!)

Step 2: Squeeze some epoxy out of the tube onto some scrap cardboard or paper (or junk mail!)...make sure you get even amounts out of both tubes.

Step 3: Mix up the epoxy. Some people use popsicle sticks or tongue depressors for this. I like to use those wood skewers because they are smaller and it helps apply the glue more precisely.

Step 4: Spread epoxy on the bottom of whatever you are using for the stand. In this case I'm using a goblet.

Step 5: Stick the goblet (or candlestick, or vase, etc) on the bottom of the plate. Make sure it is centered. It's better to glue in this orientation than to put the plate on top of the goblet, to avoid glue dripping down your stand.

Step 6: Wait for the epoxy to set and turn it over! The length of setting time depends on the kind of epoxy you use. I usually get the quick setting 5-minute stuff because I little patience for things like drying glue and paint!

Step 7: Bake a cake and serve it in style on your one-of-a-kind cake stand! Don't put the stand in the dishwasher though...hand washing is best.

Here's the other one I made; I think I like this one the best:

Okay, so I photoshopped the cake on. But, in all fairness, it IS a photo of a cake that I made. ;-) These work great not only for cakes, but cupcakes, brownies, cookies, doughnuts, and any other treat you can pile on!

You can also use these as pillar candle stands in between dessert serving duties:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Belt chair

Check out the awesome chair made out of woven fabric belts. This looks like it would be really fun repurpose-ing project...all thrift stores have that aisle of out-of-date belts and old chairs! Yet another project to add to my list. Visit the artist's site here! Found via Design Milk.

Amazing Paper Art

It is really amazing what a creative person can do with something as simple as a single piece of paper. While I sell my products made with junk mail, I've also been exploring what kinds of frame-able art I can do with it as well. I did a posting a while back with some amazing work done just with cardboard, and thought this was a nice version of work done just with paper.

You may have seen this in a chain email stating it was part of a contest at an art museum in DC (where the name of the museum is misspelled even), but the emails are is all work done by one artist, Peter Callesen. Check out his amazing work! I thought I'd give credit where credit was due, rather than passing on the made up email!

While you're at it, check out some of these other amazing paper artists:
Jen Stark's amazing and colorful card stock sculptures
Laura Cooperman's super intricate work
Su Blackwell's clever and creative cut book art, &
Javan Ivy's incredible paper animation!
Know of some more? Leave a comment!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Kate's Recycled Cake Stand

Check out this cool DIY project for making a cake stand out of old plates and vases, over at Design Sponge! I'm totally going to have to try this...good thing I'm planning to do some more garage sale-ing tomorrow...I'll add plates and vases to my list! Now if I could figure out a way to incorporate my junk mail too that would be great!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Daily Serving of Iron-y

So I'm sitting in my studio today, eating my Froot Loops while browsing the web, and as I come across a couple mesmerizing ideas for recycling cereal boxes, I blindly reach to set my bowl down on my desk and must have missed or something, because it fell off and spewed cereal and sticky milk all over my wood floor and all over Sammy's play gym. (sorry, that was a huge run-on, I know) Ugh, so now that I got all the cereal cleaned up that was spilled ironically due to my attention being focused on cereal box ideas, I can post them...

The clever, creative, and resourceful folks over at RePlayGround have a couple great ways to re-use cereal boxes! Check out their cool tutorial for making a wallet out of cardboard cereal or other food boxes, and this fantastically simple idea for using cereal boxes to organize your magazines!

Monday, May 5, 2008

May Magnet Mania!

In honor of this upcoming Mother's day, it's Magnet Mania May today as I've just added SIX new categories of magnets to the Junk Mail Gems product selection! Bad grades on your report card? No problem! Mom will still want to hang it on the frig with these cool recycled junk mail magnets!

Top Left: It's hip to be square! Check out the new square magnets, made from colorful catalog and magazine pages! These magnets are 1-1/16" square and are $1.50 each.

Top Center: The bigger the better! JUMBO magnets...just like our original catalog & magazine magnets, only WAY HUGER! 2.25" diameter, for $3.00 each.

Top Right: Large Magnets...if you're not quite ready to make the jump from our current mini magnets to the mega-huge Jumbo Magnets, try the middle ground with these new Large Magnets, 1.5" diameter and just $2 each!

Bottom Left: Spell your name or favorite words with these cool letter magnets! You order the number of letters you need, and tell me what you want to spell. approx 5/8" diameter and just $1.00 each

Bottom Center: Show everyone how punctual you are with these cool clock magnets! They are NOT actual working clocks, but are made from images of clocks and watches from recycled catalogs and magazines! You get an assortment of 5 clocks in varying sizes for $10!

Bottom Right: Junk Mail Icons..."You may have just won a gazillion dollars!" "Free offer inside!" It's all the junk mail icons and phrases we love to hate, immortalized in magnets! you get a selection of 5 (varying sizes and shapes) for $10!

Check them out today...if you order by tomorrow you'll get them in plenty of time for Mother's day!
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