Sunday, October 20, 2019

Using Flea Market Finds

Constructing the Christmas ornaments this year I received comments from friends and even strangers on the train about my use of recycled items. Seldom in what I construct do I use new materials. The abundance and cost of items at flea markets and second hand stores make an inexpensive alternative to buying new. If what I make turns out, I have saved something from going into the rubbish bin. Most things turn out.

This morning I went to a flea market here in town. The specialization of this market was on clothing. I was on the lookout for old jewelry. I was fortunate, it was worth the walk in the rain to get to the market.

So what did I find?

For starters, I bought a crystal hair jewelry piece. 

This piece will be deconstructed. The hair comb portions will find a use someday, but the strands of hanging crystals will work in all kinds of projects. Crystals, when found in a hobby shop, are expensive. Cutting the crystals apart, leaves the perfect place for a needle to pass through the bottom of the casing to sew the crystal to whatever is being constructed.

The hanging crystals are small and very useful. To the right are larger ones from a previously bought necklace found a couple weeks ago that has been cut apart. The metal that holds the crystal casings together was cut using a pair of wire cutters and then the, now cut, interconnecting metal cut pieces were removed from the crystal casing using a small pair of needle nose pliers. 

Some of the metal pieces can be seen just below the larger crystals. After a couple snips, you become proficient at removing the metal interconnecting pieces.

Ya, so, what will I do with them?

Below is a Christmas ornament. Made using the same construction method as the stars from the last blog post.

I found the felt trees on clearance at a local shop. After covering them with vintage lace, the larger crystals were used as some of the Christmas ornaments on the tree. 

From the necklace, there are enough crystals to make a second similar tree. I paid one euro for the necklace. The ornament is two sided and both sides are identical.

What else did I find?

Earrings and a necklace. 

The necklace was a pain to detangle which is why it was not worn by the previous owner. I bought it for the birds. The chain can be used for various projects later as well. Good chains are a nice find. No idea what I will do with it but it will go in my stash for later when I want to use it.

The last item was a pair of earrings. Just thinking of wearing them makes my ears hurt. Those earrings will be caught in the wind and pull as they are worn. I owned a pair of wood ones years ago, that went to Goodwill for that exact reason. Four small metal pieces make up each earring. Looking at the construction one can see that just a couple of rings, that can easily be removed, holds them together. Jewelry pliers will separate them. I see uses, due to the type of metal, they will not corrode, on a crazy patch quilt or perhaps a Christmas ornament for next year.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Christmas Ornament 2019

I was reminded this week that I have a blog and that some people I know miss it. I have been greatly neglecting this blog and will, at least until the end of the year, attempt to fix that. As happens so much life, life got in the way.

It would be nice to start with this year’s Christmas ornament. Every year I am in an exchange with eight like minded women. We all put lots of thought into what to make. The rules are we can send the ornament off any time after August. We beat the higher cost of Christmas postage that way, if we choose to. I knew that I had a trip to Boston planned for early September so that was my deadline. The cost of mailing them from France would be high and the next time I had planned to be in the states was going to be in December for Christmas.

I am a collector, not to the point of being a pack rat, but close. When I collect, it is for a purpose. Sometimes I do not know what that purpose is when I start. Whatever the item is, it percolates in the back of my mind for months, sometimes years until one day I know what to do with it or by then, do with them. 

One such example is the collecting of broken rosaries. For years, I have been collecting them. They are cheaper to buy broken. For example, last year I found two crosses from rosaries in a second hand shop in Germany. The price was right, as my goal is to buy them for less than 3 euros each. Normally in France, I find them for 5 euros each. 

Here are some of the ones I have found:
A broken rosary without the cross is a common find at flea markets in small town France. I buy them for the beads and the metal medallions.

Once in a while I buy something that doesn't quite make sense to me but once home and can do a little research can find what things are. For example in France it is not uncommon for a young girl to receive a bracelet such as the one below for either first communion or more probable confirmation. They are normally made of silver and fit a wrist smaller than 6 1/2 inches.

Or this, a form a chapelet which is held in one hand:

I at first thought it was a broken rosary until getting it home and looking at it closely. I had to looking it up. I had never seen one before.

Once a year, in August, my little town in France has a sale where vendors come from outside the city but also the shopkeepers sell of things that are on clearance at especially low prices. At least 5 years ago I bought a package of eight thick felt brownish grey stars and another pack the same size and color of Christmas trees. The color is probably why they did not sell. A brownish grey Christmas tree is rather an odd color and not very festive. The felt stars and trees languished in my sewing room for years. This year I pulled them out as well as some wide pieces of lace I had in my stash. 

As I began with my idea, everything I thought I might need was placed on the table:

Then using a glue stick, the lace was attached to the thickness edges (sides) of the tree and star, first to one side and then after it dried and trimmed, the method was repeated on the other side of the tree or star. 

The work in process:

The lace stays in place at the sides since the next step was to sew on the beads along the edge.  In the picture above, with all of the medallians you can just make out the beads sewn to one of the stars after the lace was applied. The needle went through the layer of glue with no problem.

Now, the decorating began. Rosary beads were fashioned into sections and sewn down on to the star on both sides. A cross was placed on one side and a medallion sewn to the other side. They actually went quite quickly, unlike the trees which are becoming a time sink.

The result, front and back, can be seen below


The stars have been delivered; the trees, for another exchange later this year are still a work in progress.