Up until recently I've enjoyed the luxury of either living in a fairly decent sized house or, if not, I've had access to the free service known as 'parental house storage'. Either singly or in combination, this has meant not having to really face the problem of what to do with my worldly goods...ALL my worldly goods. After I moved back to Australia in 2012 - well, there it was. All my other stuff. Waiting for me. In a poignant Toy Story 3 kind of way...

Right off the bat I'll admit I'm not the world's best minimalist. I keep things in boxes and tins and suitcases, in shelves, under the bed, in the attic or in the garage because it 'might be useful' one day. Often it is - maybe within a few months, a few years or *cough* a decade or so later, but sometimes it seems to stay in that 'one day' pile forever.

These days I have a modest sized open plan living area (with an oppressively low ceiling) and a small amount of garage space in which to store my ramshackle collection. So, as part of maintaining a healthy home life, it's been important for me that I'm not feeling smothered by nearly 40 years worth of ephemera...which means I periodically go into blitz mode and donate or give excess or unused pieces away, put stuff up for sale and knock off a bunch of to-do projects. I get a kick out of upcycling, doing creative things with my time and having new stuff, so these kinds of weekend craft orgies really do tick a lot of gratification boxes.

Over the last month I've been powering my way through a stack of DIY and craft projects;

A set of cushions made from part of my fabric stash and some reused stuffing and zips - I especially love the green fabric (I've used opposite sides of the fabric on each cushion), not least of all because it was given to me by a lovely old dear at a flea market in Kent.

Some tapestry wool and an old frame (offloaded onto me by my mother - who caught my declutter bug) were transformed into a freehand abstract embroidery. I don't know what this is or what it represents but whatever, I like it.

Jewelry is something I seem to acquire without much thought or effort and after having a bit of a stocktake I realised I had more than I was even aware of crammed into a range of boxes, drawers and pots - and consequently most of it was not getting worn. I knocked together this little jewelry hanger from a piece of scrap timber and some old door knobs. I might paint the doorknobs later and I'll re-mount them on a nice piece of driftwood once I find one but this will do for the meantime.
Doilies the world over are getting makeovers in hipster circles as they find themselves wrapped around rocks, sewn around driftwood and transformed into cheap and cheerful dreamcatchers. Ok, maybe not that cheap if Etsy is anything to go by. Anyway, after seeing a few for sale at various craft markets in Victoria I decided to tackle one of my own, using a funky doily I bought sometime in the 1990s, more of the leftover tapestry wool, and some found feathers.

Framing a couple of bits of nature's art has also been on my to-do list for a while - I picked up the crazy looking sea urchins from an artist in Mendocino (northern California) who was selling off and giving away her bric a brac back in 2013. They've been waiting for the perfect frame since then, and I finally found a handmade driftwood piece from a seaside town in Victoria and used some old wallpaper as backing. The leaf was a bushwalking souvenir from New Zealand, mounted in a secondhand frame.

Collectively I'm estimating this entire craft blitz would have cost me around $50 if I add up the price of everything I bought (past and present). Most of the cost is from the frame and the embroidery hoop (about $30 for both). So not only is crafty upcycling a fun and productive way to spend time and enjoy being creative, but it's also a pretty cheap way of adding some art and utility around the house, as well as getting forgotten treasures out of storage/to-do piles and in use.

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