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Showing posts from 2016

5 "Thrift Store Find" DIY Craft Projects They Keep Showing, for Things You Haven't Been Able to Find at Thriftstores Since 1987.

Me love Pinterest.
I know it's all a big, fantastic lie, but like every other pretty magazine catering to our fantasies before it, it makes us feel like we can achieve the same, heavily worked-over, fantastically styled, filtered, and photo-shopped perfection in our own lives. And sometimes that's enough.

But as a professional builder of ridiculous, up-cycled things, and a veteran thrifter (I can show you the scars!), some of these Pinterest DIY are just a parade of despair, false promises and dashed hopes. There's no call for that.

1. Vintage Suitcase Crafts:

Not only is this type of vintage suitcase VERY rare at your garden variety thrift store, follow this link to see how much rather highly involved work went into it.

2. Stuff made with old "thrift store" silverware.

Here's what you'd hope to find:

Here's what you're most likely to find: Oh, this stainless steel crap will bend alright--most of it already has the scars of the church community cen…

G is for Garbage In-Garbage Out--Good Advice for Potential Hoarders

I do try to keep a relative handle on the homeostasis of my inventory and my home work and storage space. I keep things either selling or returning, and I'm trying to buy less actual inventory.

But I've lost interest in the back-breaking work that the eBay biz requires and I have hit a patch where I just can't deal with the even limited social interaction with buyers. I try to convince myself I'm buying salvage materials for my new up cycle projects, or that I won't be acquiring any new inventory when I'm up at my farm for the entire summer. All the same, I'm picking up definite vibes that this is an addict's justification and I'm starting to cross the line where the stuff is coming in faster than I can process and get it out again.

You actually can't call it "inventory" if it's not actually for sale. It is just "garbage."

Part of the hoarding disorder is the supreme discomfort that is caused by getting rid of items.

I do…

E is for Ephemera--The Beauty of the Impermanent #A2ZChallenge

From the Greek: Ephemeron--a short-lived insect. Members of the family Ephemeridae include dragon and damsel flies as well as may flies in the genus Ephemera.

For the rest of us: the detritus of our lives: concert tickets, bus tokens, valentine's day cards, matchbooks, packaging, coupons: objects meant to be useful for a brief period of time.

And then what?

Advocates of simplicity say it should be thrown away.

I have tried.  

But I don't think they're looking close enough.

Simply because it is not meant to be durable doesn't mean much of it isn't a tiny window into some artist's mind.

I am not ashamed to say I buy many things based on the cleverness or beauty of its packaging. I consider this a way of supporting the arts--manufacturers paid someone to design the structure, the image, the lettering. It may not be as grand and sweeping as an operatic performance, but the opera itself is ephemeral as the ticket. And no less beautiful because of it.


Meditations: Easter Sunday Mass, The Goodwill, and the Slow and Agonizing Death of the Myth of Quality Time that Couldn't Come Soon Enough.

Quality Time is horse shit.

The entire trite idea--from its insipid, pseudo-psycho-babbly-style name to its central philosophy--of "Quality Time" is horse shit.

I was an impatient, self-involved, artsy-fartsy teenager when all those insipid, pseudo-psycho-babblers started bandying the term about and I knew it was horse shit. They knew it was horse shit but they sold the stupid parenting books anyway!! EVERYBODY knew it was horse shit. But, much like the fantasy-land of politically-mandated communism, people still want to believe it can work. If you just get the right people in charge, if you can just apply the right amount of legislation and force and if we can just keep everyone from fleeing the can work! 

It will not.

It is horse shit.

People, children, animals, weather, opportunities, tides, horses, flowers, tomatoes and so on won't do something or have something or be something you want them to do or have or be simply because you designate a moment that…

A Series of Unfortunate Irritations

This subject has been written and blogged about before (and undeniably more brilliantly) in many different ways--most resonantly for me, "The Sneaky Hate Spiral" (in Allie Brosh's hapless and hilariously insightful Hyperbole and a Half), or more optimistically, playing more gently on the theme of Brosh's Hate Spiral, as "one of those days" (Brian Konzman, a Jesuit scholastic in The Jesuit Post) that present an opportunity to see the glass as half full or expand, through prayer or meditation or yoga or whatever, our capacity for patience and whatnot, or as the classic depressive cycle that is kicked off with irritation, frustration and restlessness as can be found in just about any artist's self-reflecting blog on the internet.

So I'm not covering new ground here. Although when one is slogging along, deep in the tangled undergrowth of the circuitous path of the Hate Spiral, even though you're all oh-shit-here-we-are-again, it still looks as thoug…


Let me begin by saying I don't have OCD. 
Or, perhaps, I should say I don't have any papers to prove I do have OCD. I'm quite certain if I were to go have a mental health checkup with a psychiatrist they'd find something. A whole list of things. I already know I've got things. I don't need to pay some other crazy person 100 bucks an hour to have him tell me I've got things.
Lately, though, OCD seems like the thing to have. Like it's cute to say: "I'm so OCD!" because you like clean counters or because you sometimes have to go check and see if you locked the door. Or you think you're a "hoarder" because you buy Scotch tape in bulk and save wrapping paper and have more than three magazines on your coffee table.

I just get a little...obsessive. About things. A single word or line or phrase from something. A number. Not stepping on cracks or, conversely, stepping on ALL the cracks. An imaginary friend or the storyline in a particula…