Hello, ACC readers! My name is Rhonda. I have a shop on Etsy called the Junk Stop and I also write a blog called Crafty Bitch 101. I've been crafting for as long as I can remember, and from the very beginning I started using found materials. My first craft show was around age 12, and I sold pins I made out of the remaining pieces of my incomplete puzzles, with various other found objects attached. (A low-temp glue gun was the first piece of craft equipment I owned, circa age 10!) Scavenging is something I come by naturally; it's gotta be genetic because it's so typical of my father's side of the family! My dad is one of those people who not only can fix anything, but probably has the parts on hand to do it. He's a serious packrat, but only with truly useful stuff (no trash bags full of gum wrappers or anything!) and he's got it all pretty well organized. So I guess it's no suprise that I have shelf after shelf of storage bins labeled with things like "plastic spools" and "soda can tabs."
There's always satisfaction in finishing a project, but I feel even more so when I complete something that's mainly composed of items that were kept out of the landfill. (As an added bonus, recycled crafters have very little to worry about when it comes to the cost of supplies!!) I do consider myself a recycler, as opposed to an upcycler. "Upcycle" is a fairly new word, but I've been doing this in one form or another for almost two decades now. Call it what you will, it doesn't really matter to me. (A rose by any other name!) Stop by my shop and check out what I do. (I also carry craft supplies, and my fried Sara and I sell some vintage clothes too!) And if you mention at checkout that you saw me on Audrey's blog, I'll give you 10% off of your entire purchase! Just wait for a revised invoice before paying!
RED NECK CHIC
I have been making purses (amongst other things) for about 10 years. About half of my bags were made out of "found" fabric pieces such as curtains, pillows, table clothes, etc. and most of them sported belts as handles as well as vintage trims and accessories - and the other half were/are made out of designer fabric samples! I had been playing around with the idea of "marketing" the fact that I recycle/upcycle - and also that I used a lot of leather and cowhide (recycled of course!)- for awhile! I had about 15 different names and concepts that I had been knocking around when on a Saturday morning (almost a year ago!!!) "red.neck Chic" just came to me!
It all started on a sunny Saturday morning – U-turn number…(not sure what number, but I made some Grandparents Proud!!!) and of course, the mandatory garage sale! (Turns out later I found out that it wasn't a garage sale, but a "junk stand" that is open every week-end!) I waded through absolutely unbelievable piles of junk and with treasured belts, a lamp base and an embroidered pillowcase as trophies in my hands, I go to the garage sale lady that LOVED my purse – just to disappoint when I was a quarter short! Oh no! Am I going to have to give up THE GREATEST belt?!!? Alas, no, she reluctantly gave up on the quarter, but "red.neck Chic" was born…thank you garage sale lady!!! I later took her the quarter back - and also thanked her for being my inspiration (I'm not sure how she took that, but...)! Now I feature not only my handbags, but "unplugged lamplighters" (lamps out of almost anything!!!), "saddle tramp" (fashion), "splat fine dining" (kitchen and dining accessories with a twist!) and "u-turn" (really cool garage sale finds!)! I strive to make all of our "red.neck Chic" items out of recycled/upcycled materials - I firmly believe in the "reduce, reuse, recycle" movement - but while "upcycling" I don't see why you can't have some fun! Take something that started out "ho hum" and make it FANTASTIC...while adding some duct tape of course!!!
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