Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Let's Discuss: Is Thrifting an Alternative to a Materialistic Mindset? Are We Filling Emotional Voids with Objects?

Last month I wrote 12 Reason to Buy Nothing New. Style, Environmentalism, and Deep Introspection. Reader Raffia left a question in a comments that beat me to my planned follow-up:

While thrifting is very interesting (I only wish we had thrift stores here!) and I agree with your points, I've always wondered if it really is an alternative to the consumeristic mindset. I mean that buying secondhand is still buying, so still a way to fill an emotional void with material things. What do you think? 
I agree with Raffia. Buying second-hand IS still buying and a way to continue to fill emotional voids with material objects. I took a long break from ALL buying, including second-hand buying, even buying for my business, to examine what I tend to buy and why I buy. These are my thoughts a few months in:

1) We Need to Be Careful About Every Object We Bring Into Our Lives. Free, Thrifted, and Otherwise: Thrifting is environmentally friendly, keeping resources from landfills and helping consumers avoid directly supporting slave labor. Hell, it's fun. But once your in the lifestyle you start to realize how easy it is to obtain wares for free or close to it. You get to know all the best stops, your eyes are glued to curbsides. It becomes too easy to pick up too much leaving you with an unorganized hoarder-mess.

2) You Need a Rule and Organization System: Especially for artists, these free and low-cost supplies are necessary, but you need a strict set of rules on what comes in and out an a detailed organization system in place for everything you bring in. Example: Keep all plywood organized by size, texture, and color in your workshop and remnants for jewelry creating neatly organized in a (thrifted) tackle box.

3) Think of the Legacy You Want to Leave: I often think about the legacy we'll leave behind on a macro and micro level. The macro level looks exactly like the future in Wall-E [above], but that's a story for another day! Let's think about what people would say about our homes and our work after we die. I want them to see a thoughtful, helpful creator who collected with a good eye; not piles of junk.

4) Human's Innately Want. We Crave The New and Novelty: In Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping I read about 19th century economist/sociologist Thorstein Velben and his the phenomenon he calls "aesthetic nausea." It's when what was once fashionable wears out its welcome, the novelty's gone and it's chucked for the latest trend. This has been going on since our first civilization in The Fertile Crescent and in caves before this. The human organism constantly examines and collects, seeking new resources and better chances for survival. It's natural.

5) It's okay to examine the world, collect from it, and re-arrange. Thoughtfully. Make a plan: We choose what to bring in and how to reconstruct it into something new. Think about where you choose to spend your money or what to bring in. Do it wisely and with care.

What are your thoughts on thrifting and materialism? Is it still a bad thing?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

100% Upcycled Project #1: Cacti and Succulent Still Life: Kitschy Planter DIY


I'm starting a new project. Determined to stretch anti-consumerism and art muscles, I'm challenging myself to make something new out of objects and supplies I already own every day.  Using what I already have or can obtain from friends is a fun and money-saving way to make life colorful and creative. Today I unveil Project #1: My my first (and not last) 100% Upcycled Cacti and Succulent mix Planter.

[Photo above is from Instagram. Follow me there to see my creative projects in real-time. ]

Supplies, Pre-Owned: white aquarium gravel, homemade cacti soil mix, purple succulent, grey vintage planter, toy
Supplies, Gifted: Cacti and succulent babies from my mom's grown plants.

The Supply's Previous Sad Lives ]

1) I had perfectly good previous mixed cacti soil mix in a planter covered with gravel on kitchen windowsill! It once housed a plant but after I moved it I just used it to hold up my incense sticks while they burned.
2) More dirt was in a big green planter on the windowsill in my office, holding just one sad little purple succulent! All by himself save for his "plant-type" Pokemon toy-friends (gifts from my friend, Birdie). 3) I noticed the succulents and cacti outgrowing tiny pots/jars they were being rooted in at my mom's house.
4) The gray planter was a $1 (or less) flea market score, sat empty in a merchandise box.

Cacti and Succulent Note ] Cacti and succulents  like sandy, well-draining soil and full sunlight. They're hard to kill and grow slowly, making them good starter plants. They're an interior design favorite because you can even fit them in quirky non-planters, like teacups. Their simple, sculptural shapes are inspiring to a designer's eye. I have a post on how to plant your vintage planters with succulents/cacti without killing your precious plant-children here.

My diminutive still life sits on my computer desk and makes me happy when I glance at it throughout the work day. I'm excited to make more plant compositions in the house- somehow without paying a dime along the way. I adore plants, this casa needs to feel like a jungle since I can't get my ass back to gorgeous Puerto Rico (oh Waterfall, Private Island, and Colorful Neighborhoods, muses, all) I'll make one here. It's so satisfying to use what I have for creative solutions versus rushing to the nearest store for a quick-and-generic fix! As a bonus, my cat no longer tries to dig out my succulents with the sharp cacti there to "protect" them.

Join the 100% Upcycled Project:Let's make amazing transformations out of what we already own. Simply:

1) Use items/supplies you already have in your possession to OR
2) Use what your friends/families have. This is all about avoiding retail and realizing and utilizing the abundant resources and community around us. Curbsides/dived finds work, but no buying from Thrifts.
3) Set a schedule. I'm trying for daily (for now!) Yours can be weekly or monthly.
4) Keep it simple. It can be daily drawings using paper and art supplies you already now or something more ambitious. It can be as easy as making a gallery wall out of dusty framed art in the garage.
5) Have Fun! Share the photos with me via e-mail or social media, or link your posts about the products in the blog posts. I may even blog about your creations, anyone interested in me making a Flickr group or other social media group where we can share projects?

Creativity needs limitations to thrive, otherwise the daunting array of selections keeps you from making. Using what we have is the perfect creative constraint; environment and wallet friendly.

Would you prefer weekly updates on my daily DIY projects? How about just spotlights? Or Both? How about a social media group where we can share our upcycled projects? Let me know!
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, August 25, 2014

I Can't Stop What I've Started! Cleaning Out, Feeling Inspired, Vintage Sale Continues!

Right now I'm sitting on the floor pricing every single piece of merchandise in this apartment. (Drinking all the tea. Energy, come to mama.)  I've been dying to get everything I own in front of eyes in my antique mall booth, now I'm determined to defy physics and give it a try again! Ha!

Yep, this is what I'll be working on for the next hour. Real Reseller life isn't very photogenic.

I'm the closest I've ever been to having the organized home and business of my dreams, the one where you have a spreadsheet that tells you where the extra pair of scissors and glue sticks are hiding. One where you open the closet and there's almost nothing in it (versus the fear of an avalanche of wares falling on your head). I'm excited to make new plans with my streamlined business and workspace, help others get themselves the same way (with business planning, organizing, and designing services- e-mail me if you need help) and create like crazy!

If you're local please check out my Southern Crossing Antique Mall booth (Ask for "Thrift Core" or "Booth #4504") where I'm adding all of my wares (or as much as possible) at low prices. I'm clearing out for a new vision! If you're not local my Etsy Shop -- GO TO IT, I SAY! -- continues to mark down wares! I'm excited to work on and share new projects...and even hit some thrifts again eventually, very gingerly. By the by, I'm heading to Orlando this upcoming 3-day weekend if anyone has any kitschy sights I must see to share (or thrifts I can't miss) please e-mail them to me! Of course my evil IKEA stop will be a must. For shame. Now back to work with me, listening to delightful happy retro music like this.

Oh, and I can estimate lower and group shipping deals for you on items in my Etsy Shop, I just have to overestimate there. Thanks!

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Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.
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