Monday, February 25, 2008

Charm Love

Every Saturday that I work at the salvage studio is fun – usually really fun. We’re only open two days a week, so those two days can be special. Last August, we had our first charm swap. 25 women attended bringing 25 hand-crafted charms each of them had created. Everyone traded with everyone else, and it was charm love galore! So we had to do it again. Yesterday, to borrow a phrase from our friend Deb Jensen, was “Charmed I’m Sure II”. Only by now, we had two groups of charm lovers trading – one in the morning and another in the afternoon. As the first wave of charms landed on our trading tables, I literally felt my heart beat faster. And by the time we were immersed in deciding which prize to select on each plate, we totally forgot to take even one picture from the morning swap! Fortunately by the afternoon, the camera made it out of my purse, and we took two pictures. Obviously, we were still totally distracted by even more swell charms arriving, and knowing we would go home with one of each.

Afternoon swappers at the studio

After the swapping was done (and my heart rate was in a healthier range), each person shared a little bit about their charm – how they made it, where they found that cool component, what tool did they do what with. Genuine admiration and appreciation was shared by all. The wonderful energy was memorable.

Someone said they couldn’t wait to get home and look at their charms more closely – like when we were kids with our Halloween candy. I loved that analogy.

Our next charm swap will be August 23, 2008. If you are interested, just send an email to and we’ll put your name on the waiting list. (This go around, everyone on the waiting list made it in.)

This morning I’m truly feeling I have a charmed life. --Beth

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Game On!

Sometimes you collect something forever and ever and never quite know why. And then one day, inspiration hits and it’s a powerful force! My sister Stacey has always loved vintage board games and collects both the old boards with their interesting graphics as well as the game pieces (it’s not often that you find them together – over time they seem to get separated and then only one or the other shows up at a yard sale.)

Well such inspiration hit her two weeks ago – and she made these lovely mosaic collages with an eclectic mix of various game pieces. I love that the dog token from Monopoly is a featured motif! -Amy

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Think Green

Beth and I traveled to Bellingham this week to visit the Re-Store in order to collect treasures for our annual Think Green Event. Bernadette kindly let us have the run of the place (within reason) to pick out the doodads for you to use to make your artpieces out of.

What is Think Green? Here it is in a nutshell: First, visit the studio from February 15 through March 8 to pick up a container of recycled treasures and found objects. Second, create a masterpiece of home décor, garden art, altered couture or subject of your choosing from the ingredients in each container. Each will contain the same ingredients, and the only rule is you must use every single item. You may add whatever components you wish. A $10 donation for each container will be collected for a contribution to Re-Sources. Third, return your completed creations to the salvage studio on March 15 for an art display running through March 29. You'll have an opportunity to view all the other submissions and collectively we can revel in our green creativity!

A Re-Store creation in the spirit of Think Green.

We had a great is really wonderful when during the course of your job you can have your and eat it too. -Lisa

Lisa always manages to find a cat...Misha, the store cat, was 'supervising' the whole operation.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Portland, Pearl District, Pretty Little Things

Workshops are one of the favorite things I do as part of the salvage studio. Usually I am on the teaching side of the process, but when I can, I love to be the student. This last Friday, I attended an absolutely swell workshop on soldering jewelry charms given by Sally Jean Alexander in her gorgeous studio in the Pearl District of Portland, Oregon. First off, Sally Jean radiates such a

gentle kindness and a generous spirit! She shared so many nuggets of her hard earned knowledge and experience when it comes to soldering.

The class was limited to ten students, which gave us plenty of elbow room and the opportunity to ask a gazillion questions. It was a vibrant group of women from all over – Texas, Rhode Island, California, Idaho, and of course, Washington and Oregon.

Whenever you need a little computer eye candy, please visit her website, and maybe treat yourself to a little something. Her blog, is charming as well. Plus her recent book, Pretty Little Things, is a goldmine of information and ideas.
This afternoon I’ll be practicing my soldering, and maybe some of my soldered creations will start showing up at the salvage studio. In the meantime, I’ll continue to bask in the glow of that really inspiring day! - Beth

Beth soldering away!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Happy Hearts

We love Friday's and Saturday's at the studio. It is when all our hard work from the week pays off. Our friends and customers drop in to see what we have been collecting, creating and preparing for them. One of our very favorite days is the first Saturday of month. It is our Artist's Trading Card Swap (ATC). Our group is growing by leaps and bounds. I made 25 cards this month and traded them all. Here is what we came home with this month! - Lisa

Friday, February 1, 2008

time to organize...and re-organize!

The new year always brings lots of articles in newspapers and magazines on getting organized in January. I’ve often thought that this is good idea, but never really get much further than putting away the Christmas decorations before all other good intentions to keep on going gets buried. This year is different. Since I am forced to relocate my home office (my boyfriend will begin telecommuting as of Feb 1 and thus has trumped all of the original home office that we previously shared), it was the perfect time to really put all these good organizing intentions into play.

The guest bedroom would my target. I started by emptying out the entire room – those decorator shows are right – you need to clear everything out so that you start with a clean slate. The wall color was already great – a light teal/robin egg blue. I knew that my black desk and an overstuffed chair slipcovered in teal cotton would be coming back in.
I wanted to surround myself with things that would inspire me – which means lots of old books, prints, bottles and clocks. Add in natural elements and metal accents (our motto is lust for rust for a good reason!) and I figured that I had a plan. Storage was utmost important. Having lots of shelves would be the easiest way to store books and papers and then containers to hold everything else – organized of course by content or topic. Since all available bookshelves were being used in the old office (law books take up a lot of space!) I needed to find plenty of my own. Rather than cobble together a makeshift combination, I went to IKEA. There are times when you just need to buy the right item for the right purpose. I bought three white BILLY bookcases and four STRIPA shelves. They are all the same color, sturdily constructed, provide ample storage and don’t call out attention. I also purchased several cardboard photo boxes and magazine files – this way I can put everything in its place and have some hope of finding it when the need arises.

Other storage options are more salvage-style. Atlas canning jars and vintage spice jars, both with galvanized lids will hold everything from paperclips to Chinese fortunes to alphabet stamps to thumbtacks. Five Victorian flower pots hold business cards. My vintage botanical specimen bottles that I brought back from England (LASSCO) hold inspirational finds such as silk thread spools and old clock wind-up keys. A rusty grocery store display rack filled with turn of the century books is the ideal counterpoint to the new smooth white bookshelves. Since I have such an attraction to galvanized metal, I couldn’t pass up the square cabinet doors that were on sale for $1 at IKEA. They have a small ridge on the back where they must have attached to the cabinet. I found an old yardstick which filled this ridge perfectly. I cut the yardstick in half (since I had two doors to mount), attached the yardstick portion to the wall and then hung the door off of the yardstick. The doors make terrific magnet message boards and carry through the metal design element of the galvanized jar tops, metal wire baskets and metal hooks.

The last major surface to cover was the floor. Since we have a rambunctious golden retriever, Calvin, I needed something that would stand up to lots of wear and dirt. FLOR carpet tiles do the trick. These ingenious tiles come in a myriad of colors, textures and designs. You arrange them in whatever configuration you want. They are comprised of recycled materials and have a non-slip backing.

And the best part is the clean-up. If a tile becomes soiled, you take it up, wash it off, let it dry and put it back in place! Or if a tile gets totally trashed, you can replace just that tile without sacrificing the entire carpet. I like the designs and colors look so contemporary – gives a modern edge to my space without going overboard.

The best part is crafting a work space that is comfortable and practical as well as inspirational. Virginia Woolf had it right – a woman does need a place of one’s own. - Amy