Trash Talk Thursday: Tree of the Week


Last Sunday while walking to our local coffee place my friend told me that a tree we were approaching was her ‘tree of the week’. Did I have one she asked? I do not, I replied. (I am not a tree hugger type myself. My idea of being in nature is the walk from my vehicle to my front door.)

This, I have been told, is fairly common among upcyclers.
I think we come to this because
1- We are all thrift store, tag sale and vintage junkies.
2- We love the hunt.
3- We are very creative and like to challenge ourselves.
4- Oh yes, it’s good for the environment, blah blah, blah.

In order to upcycle you must be able to think outside the box and see the beauty in, well, garbage. Mucho creativity! A quick search on Etsy came up with many wonderful examples. Here are some of my favorites...

Enlightened Thinking

An Blath Paipeir

Amazing, right?

So next time you see that bulk trash pickup pile on the side of the road pull over and have a peek. You just never know what treasure awaits! You have your hand sanitizer already!

Happy Hunting!

What's Up Wednesday

This week three of our team members have shows on Sunday, May 1st in Kansas, California and Wisconsin.  If you're in the area, get out and shop for handmade work from local artisans just in time for Mother's Day, graduations, weddings or Father's Day.  Not in the area?  Please share this post on Twitter and Facebook for your friends who might be.

Stop by and shop with Mandy of  iamthemandy at Art in the Park on Sunday, May 1st from 10:00am - 5:00pm.  It takes place in South Park (11th & Massachusetts) in Lawrence, KS. 
The 50th Anniversary Art in the Park is sponsored by the Lawrence Art Guild.  It features over 150 local, regional and national artists. Fine art and fine crafts abound in a lively atmosphere of music, vendors, and childrens activities.  Admission is free. For more information, visit the Facebook page: 

Mandy is an artist, designer and crafter.  From buttons and old newspapers to cheap t-shirts and fabric scraps, iamthemandy’s style is reflected in both what she wears and designs. Although some may see fabric scraps and old magazines as trash, her philosophy remains: reuse. repurpose. reinvent.

Stop by and shop with Robin Stelling of CreativeBeadz at the Saratoga Rotary Art Show on Sunday, May 1st from 9:00am to 5:00pm.  The show will be held at West Valley College in Saratoga, CA.

The 54th Annual Art Show and Wine Tasting will feature a wide variety of fine art: paintings, sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, photography, glassworks, woodworks and mixed media. Craftsmen from around the country showcase their works at what is recognized as "the largest one day juried fine Art Show in the West"!  
For more information, visit their website:

Robin creates eco-friendly jewelry for the modern nomad from vintage global textiles, beading and gemstones.  Learn more about her and her work at

Lastly, you can stop by and shop with Rachael of Rachael Brooke Designs at Absolutely Art's "Girls Day Out" event on Sunday, May 1st from 10:00am - 5:00pmAbsolutely Art is located at 2322 Atwood Ave., Madison, WI.

Rachael will have a trunk show of her latest vintage tea tin earrings, button brooches and more for sale on Sunday.  She will also be leading a "make & take" jewelry project throughout the day.  You can make a recycled copper wire and button necklace or zipper pull for $10.  Proceeds from the "make & take" will be donated to the Canopy Center in Madison.  The Canopy Center provides many services to parents in crisis in an effort to prevent or stop child abuse.  They provide services through three programs to 4,000 people annually.  There will be food, drinks and chair massages during the event, too.


Marketing Monday: Driving Traffic to Shops

Bike Tire Key Fob

I read this post over the weekend about
6 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Gallery.
I just dropped off some work on consignment yesterday,
and I thought it was very relevant for that, too.
After all, I do want my work to sell!
The shop is a pop up shop - opening for only 2 months.
Any extra marketing the artists can do will really help the owners
toward their goal of making the shop a longer term retail venture.

Make A List Upcycled Lined Paper Notebooks- set of 4 Special Price

While I do not have a mailing list (I really should),
I'll be dropping off some of the shop's postcards at other local businesses.
I'll be tweeting, posting on Facebook, and blogging.
The shop is having an opening event in a couple of weeks, so I'll be there. But don't expect to see me in any videos :)


Dragon's Spark is an urban boutique offering original designs
by local artisans, recycled materials, fair labor fashions from
around the world, and vintage jewelry and apparel.
Find them at 4280 North Oracle Road, Suite 130, Tucson, AZ.


Trash Talk Thursday: Let's Refashion... Go!

Let’s Refashion…Go!

Let’s assume you have found your “raw” materials and have washed, unstitched and cut into usable pieces. How long did that take? Yeah, I know.

This is my process for making the above bonnet. Let’s start. First I drape pieces of strategically cut tee shirts, pinning as I go and stretching to shape. Once satisfied with placement of both seams and text (and lots of pinning) I head over to the machine to piece together. I am using a zigzag stitch here and leaving the edges raw. It’s a design decisionPress and trim.

While still on the form I cut the rough outline of the desired shape-inthis case a Neo Victorian Bonnet. Stay stitch around edges to stabilizethe stretchy fabric. It is starting to look like something.

Trim and repeat for lining. I often use solid color tee shirts for this because the hat is now reversible. I made a self casing and threaded a cord, also made from the recycled shirts, to tie under the chin.

A little decorative trim (also tee shirt fabric) hand stitched on to the back seam and there you have it!

Images & Text © Delight Worthyn


What's Up Wednesday

This week's What's Up Wednesday post is dedicated to our Trashion Team Earth Day Sale!

As it says on our Etsy Trashion Team Page, "We're a global group of Etsy Shops that specialize in turning trash into treasure! We create art, jewelry, fashion and objects from materials that are recycled, leftover, thrifted, or found. We promote environmental awareness & look good doing it!" Earth Day is every day for the members of team. Trashion celebrates the beauty in unconventional objects & materials. For our team members, recycling is an art AND an ideal.

In honor of the official Earth Day on April 22nd, the following team members are offering sales or free shipping in their Etsy shops this week:

iamthemandy - Free shipping on all April orders with coupon code SUPPORTLOCAL11

Rachael Brooke Art Jewelry - 15% off through April 24 with coupon code EARTHDAY15

Candy Calamity - 25% off through April 24 with coupon code TRASHIONTEAM25

re-maker - 20% off through April 24 with coupon code TRASHIONTEAM20

Anyone's Guess - 15% off through April 24 with coupon code TRASHIONTEAM15

Tubby Tabby's Jewelbox - 20% off through April 24 with coupon code TRASHIONTEAM20

Scavenger's Daughter - 12% off with coupon code EARTHDAY2011

Junck - 10% off with coupon code TRASHIONTEAM10

Nature Made Scents - 20% off with coupon code TRASHIONTEAM20

Pulpa Paper Products - 20% off with coupon code EARTHDAY20


How2: Market Survival Tips

The farmers market season is upon us, are you ready to sell your artwork at a local market?

This week marked my fifth year selling at my local market. I’m sharing some strategies for a successful day at the market.

• Practice your display at home first

• Have different levels on your display tables. This brings more visual interest as well as gives you more room to showcase your wares.

• Make sure your displays are sturdy, they should stand up to customers & wind.

• Have a lot of change. Then get more. The alternative is to have tax included, you will need to back out the sales tax at the end of the day to pay the state, but you won’t be burdened by a bunch of coins.

• Put your information on the customer copy of your receipt book before you start, you can use a stamp or print labels, this way, if somehow your customer doesn’t get a business card, they will still have your info.

• Make a price list with tax and total, if you're like me my math skills are completely absent early Saturday morning. I still use a calculator for figuring change, that and plenty of caffeine and I'm in business.

• Dress appropriately, layer. You never know with early spring, and if you happen to be set up in the shade it's going to be even colder. If you're in the sun, you may need some sunscreen. Prepare for both! Pack some "little hotties" hand warmers and a tube of SPF & sunglasses.

• Give yourself plenty of time to set up, if you are done early you can always go grab coffee or say hello to fellow vendors

• Some markets have a selling before the bell policy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t interact with customers, talk to them, get their purchase ready, you just can’t take the cash until that bell rings.

• Taking credit cards… if you have a smart phone look into the
square or other apps, other options available include Pro-pay & Paypal. These are good temporary solutions unless you want to commit to a contract that could last for a couple of years.

• Know where the nearest ATM is, especially if you don't take credit cards.

• Have a
sign-up book for e-mail mailing list, you can let your customers know about new items, special sales, or send them coupons for their next visit.

• Make sure your prices are clearly marked.

• Have things in different price ranges. Not everyone can afford the original, have some prints too. Greeting cards & postcards are great impulse buys especially with tourists. Smaller pieces that pack well are a good idea too, as many markets can attract tourists.

• Get a banner for the front of your tent. Or make one.
Create brand identity and get your name out there.

• Put some things at eye level. Have something interesting to draw people to your space. Whether it's a colorful sign, work of art, or a hanging display, it will make your booth more enticing.

• Make friends with your neighbors. You never know when you might need change for a fifty or run out of credit card slips, or simply need a quick potty break!

• Please don't just sit behind your table, greet people, welcome them, walk around and interact! (if you must sit, see if you can get a stool or bar height chair, it makes you more approachable & eye contact easier with customers)

• NEVER let a customer leave empty-handed. Give them a
business card or a flier, a sample of some sort, something to remember you by. I’ve done pin back buttons, temporary tattoos, and candy with my logo on it as take-aways. Other ideas include upcycled bookmarks, mini matchbook notebooks, magnets, postcards.

• Most of all have fun! The customers at farmers markets are already in tune to sustainable options, and you’ll find they love local artists.

Images & Text ©
Miss Courageous


Feature Me Friday: Miss Courageous

This week we feature Trashionista Millie Hilgert aka
Miss Courageous and Buckle Up!
Millie comes to us from lovely Boise, Idaho.

Who is Miss Courageous?
Miss Courageous is a mother, a sister, a friend, a mentor, an inspiration. She is strong, adventurous, brave, creative, independent, heroic. There’s a little Miss Courageous in everyone. Millie Hilgert designs and makes all Miss Courageous jewelry & accessories. Everything she makes used to be something else. Call it upcycling, recycling, repurposing, eco-friendly, crafting green, re-use, reinvent, or redesign. Whatever you call it, ultimately it means you get something fresh, fun and new from something that reminds you of your childhood. From vintage game pieces and record vinyl to bottle caps and altered LEGO bricks, Miss Courageous transforms pop culture into Pop Jewelry and Accessories for you and your home.

What’s the first thing you remember making?
I remember kindergarten crafts with glue and macaroni, and yarn on tin cans.

Where do you work?
I am lucky to have a really great studio space in my basement. And you’re lucky enough to catch it while it’s clean.

Why work with recycled materials?
I have always been fascinated with history, restoration, and transformation. I live in a 100 year old house and drive a 1963 ford falcon wagon. Similarly, the materials I use all have a history & a story that makes the finished product much more interesting & fun.

What are your favorite tools?
My dremel, my drillpress, and my band saw, yep, I’m a girl that loves power tools!

What music do you listen to while you’re working?
If my husband is home sometimes I get to listen to him working on a new song, but usually I play old school 80s alternative on my i-pod or Pandora.

How do you get from A to Z?
Fueled by coffee, driven by the desire to create something out of the unexpected, helped (with a small h) on occasion by an enthusiastic 5 year old, and propelled by a warped sense of humor and large dose of sarcasm.

What are the five best things you’ve purchased on etsy and where did you find them?
Okay, not necessarily in this order:
• MixedSpecies “today I am not a ho” t-shirt for my husband, these guys are simply hilarious
• My fleece slugs from supersugarrayray are a wardrobe staple for any super hero, especially at an outdoor winter market, I love them so much I’m on my 2nd pair.
• “there is a light” print from onetwofivego it’s a smith’s quote and hanging proudly in my kitchen
• A cool vintage condiment holder from vintagebyalexkeller
• & my logo… I had it designed by etsy seller kieutiepie

What do you do for fun?
Peruse thrift stores, drink coffee or wine with good friends, spend time with my family and creating, yeah, my work is fun!

Who inspires you?

Random strangers, Monet, Warhol, Seth Godin, and Doctor Seuss.

Read any good books lately?
Amy Sedaris’ SIMPLE TIMES, crafts for poor people & REWORK by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

Been to any great exhibits?
Do you mean lately? Does a LEGO® convention count?
How do you promote your work?
Aside from the usual, facebook, twitter, a sadly neglected blog… I also have my logo on the back window of both my cars, my everyday Honda Element and my 1963 ford falcon wagon that I use for hauling my things to the weekly market. I give out pin-back buttons with my logo with Etsy purchases, at the market, and at random places. I’ve actually turned unsuspecting flair wearers into customers. I silkscreened my logo onto re-usable tote bags to give with purchases at events. I donate items to local charity auctions, making sure to give them plenty of business cards. I wear my products, everywhere. I belong to a local Etsy team, Idaho Indie Works and also another local artist group, Treasure Valley Artist Alliance. This might sound silly, but I have a business debit card that I use for almost everything, everybody always asks “what’s Miss Courageous?”

Besides Etsy, where can we find you work?
I’m at the Capital City Public Market downtown Boise every Saturday from mid April thru Christmas, I also sell at a local artists co-op ( and at a illuminate salon in downtown Boise. I also participate in local art & craft shows and lately have been vending at LEGO conventions around the Northwest.

What’s in your future?
I will continue to create new products and add them to my Esty lineup. I have a few very fun new belt buckle ideas in the works as well as some new houseware items I’ve been toying with. My daughter starts school next fall so I’m looking forward to having more uninterrupted time to create.

Have any words of wisdom?
“Be heroic.” This was told to me by a drawing teacher during my brief stint at art school, I wasn’t filling the entire page and he was encouraging me to do something big. But it stuck with me over 20 years and has been a constant reminder in many situations.

Check out Millie's work on Etsy at Miss Courageous and Buckle Up
Or on her blog Images &

Text © Millie Hilgert


Trash Talk Thursday: What Price Knowledge?

What Price Knowledge? Upcycling PT 2
by Delight Worthyn

People often say to me, "you find great stuff” and it is true, but there are many visits that are a bust...Many...the trick is to go frequently, very frequently and pounce if you find something.
I have been sewing for a lot of years and I understand how garments are constructed and therefore how to take them apart.
I wasn’t born with this knowledge I have learned largely through trial and error, learning vastly more from the latter. (Hint-don’t be afraid to “fail”) Although you can expect to pay less for material you should be prepared to make up for it in labor.

Let’s go to the thrift store… To start:
1) Become a regular at your local thrift stores. If you have a question about price always talk to a manager. The clerk ringing you out can’t help you and are often instructed not to sell an un-ticketed item. If they have seen you around you will get the best deal.
2) Be prepared to spend time sorting through a lot of undesirable stuff. Dig into bins, good stuff is often at the bottom. And it probably isn’t clean-bring hand sanitizer!
3) Most thrift stores have a half price day, find out what day it is and GO.
4) If you see something that really speaks to you buy it on the spot for it will be gone when you go back.
5) Have a general idea of what you are looking for, but be flexible.
6) Bring a tape measure
7) Look over the garment and don’t dismiss stained or otherwise damaged items since they may have trims, buttons and the like that you can employ. I am generally looking for either tee shirts or silk. I have developed a signature style using the ubiquitous tee. I dye them, hand paint them, bead them and weave them. People never believe where they started.

Years of acquired skill and knowledge, how much is that worth,
I wonder?
Check out both of Delights Etsy Shops to see her fanciful work!
DelightWorthyn and ScavengersDaughter

Images & Text © Delight Worthyn


What's Up Wednesday: Opening Day!

.To celebrate the opening of the Capital City Public Market in Downtown Boise, Idaho. Miss Courageous will be having a huge sale, with many of her fantastically creative upcycled items up to 75% off original prices!

Find bottlecap necklaces & keychains, upcycled domino necklaces, recycled records & more!

Find Miss Courageous at her booth by the fountain on the Grove in front of Qwest Arena.

Capital City Public Market Opening Day!

8th Street, Downtown Boise

Saturday April 16 from 9:30 'til 1:30

Images & Text © Miss Courageous


Feature Me Friday: Fashion Green T-bags

This week we feature Fashion Green T-bags.
Linda comes to us from Kent, Ohio.
Who is Fashion Green T Bags?
I'm a 52 year-old retired teacher, a mother and a wife. I value my family and friends above all else and I try to make a positive difference in the world. I run my shop to raise money for our local food bank.

What’s the first thing you remember making?
The first thing I remember making is a bag from an old t-shirt. It was a bit over done and I've since made them much simpler. I like them better now.
Why work with recycled materials?
We consume too much new material in our country when we have perfectly good reusable material easily at our disposal. If we are to be good stewards of our Earth we MUST use less new and make fewer demands on our natural resources.
What are your favorite tools?
My favorite tools are my sewing machine and a seam ripper.
Where do you work?
I work in my kitchen at the table or in the "dining room" that I've converted to my craft room. I don't really have a permanent set-up. I just work where I feel like working.
What music do you listen to while you’re working?
I usually listen to NPR.
What do you do for fun?
I swim, work out, bike ride, hike and take camping vacations with my family. I spend some time on the computer "socializing" but I prefer to meet people face-to-face.
Who inspires you?
So many people. My husband and my children make me want to be the best person I can be.
How do you promote your work?
I don't spend a lot of time promoting. I belong to a few Groups on Etsy and I try to renew items regularly. I haven't worked a lot on my shop recently because I'm back in graduate school for my 2nd master's degree and my time is spent writing papers and reading...lots of reading.
Besides Etsy, where can we find you work?
You can find my work at occasional craft shows.

What’s in your future?
I hope to work in the field of bully prevention/remediation when I am finished with my degree program. I also want to continue to maintain my Etsy Shop so that I may continue to raise money for the local food bank.
Have any words of wisdom?
REUSE REUSE REUSE and be kind.
Images & Text © fashiongreentbags


Trash Talk Thursday: Upcycling-a labor of love

Delight Worthyn: Upcycling-a labor of love

Often I am faced with a question about costs of some of my hand crafted items and the interaction usually goes something like this, ‘since you are using recycled materials how come this item is expensive?’ I have accepted the mission to explain some of the process and concerns that go into upcycling.

But let’s start at the beginning.

. Our grandmothers didn’t use this term but they were upcycling all the same. It was a way of life not to waste things that could be used again. (How many people have inherited vast collections of buttons)... The term ‘upcycling’ was coined in 1994 by German Reiner Pilz who also used the term ‘downcycling’. This is what we primarily think of when we use the term recycling. You know, melting plastic bottles to become some other hybrid plastic that is degrading with each generation. Upcycling is taking used materials and turning them in to something of greater value. For instance, after demolishing an old building you can 1- crush the bricks and make an aggregate 2- clean and restore those same bricks and use them in a new building. It takes a lot longer to get those bricks into usable condition so you see upcycling is a very labor intensive process. Time is money!

. Over the next few weeks I am going to take you on journey through the wonderful world of upcycling. Knowledge is power and also, as Martha would say,’ a good thing’.

and Delight's Website and Blog.


Etsy Treasury: Trashion in Bloom

It's been a long... long winter.

The Trashion Team has been thinking Spring!



Images © 2010