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I’ve been in full-on use what’s in the house mode this year, so I was pretty excited to stumble upon the book Wise Craft: Turning Thrift Store Finds, Fabric Scraps, and Natural Objects into Stuff You Love by Blair Stocker at the library.
There are some really pretty projects in here (I love the woven seat backs and the beach glass necklace) and a lot of upcycling classics like changing the upholstery on chairs and patching jeans even when they don’t need to be patched.
Some projects are useful — blankets made out of old shirts, cozies to slip on the handles of pans — while some are completely ornamental, like leather-covered rocks and decoupaged plates.
There’s a heavy emphasis on Halloween crafts in the fall section, and a couple of Christmas projects, too, but otherwise it’s not holiday heavy. There are virtually no in-progress photos, so you need to have a little crafting savvy before you dive in.
I wanted this book to be more about using what you have in a general way. I don’t know what I mean by that, really. Maybe more alternative ideas if you don’t have 10 striped woven dress shirts to make a picnic blanket, say.
I feel like it leans more heavily on the thrift store finds portion of the title, as in you need to look at the book and then go shopping for a table you can drill into or a leather jacket you can cut up.
But there are some cute projects in there that I did actually have the supplies for. I made some felt flowers out of a swatch of felt from my first book, which was a lot of fun and pretty easy, and I was glad to use some of the felt that’s been sitting in my office closet for years.
In the book, they are used to decorate mirrors (and made into a brooch) but I think I’ll use them to decorate gift bags and embellish curtain ties (more on that soon).
I also made a pan handle cover out of more felt. I’m a little worried about how practical it is because, while it’s felt on the outside, the part that actually touches the pan is batting, which is polyester and can melt. I want to experiment with either natural wool batting or just using the felt by itself. And, because I can’t let a yarn craft go by, I started making these crocheted circles, which, for reasons inexplicable, are coming out different sizes, even among the same color. She made hers out of wool, stitched them together and used them as a table runner. Mine are cotton and I think I’m going to make placemats.
This book did offer some fun ideas, but a lot of them are things I would never make because I don’t have the supplies and I’m not going to go out and get them. But it also got me thinking about how I present upcycling and reusing and how I might offer more options to people that encourage them to use what they have, so that can only be a good thing.
Do you reuse things in your crafting? I’d love to hear about it!