Monday, September 27, 2010

Hoard, Sort, Play, Create, Repeat - Step One: Hoarding

My creative process can be summed up in these 5 words.
It all begins with hoarding.

This weekend I was doing what I typically do on sunny Saturdays and Sundays: tag saling. I get up early, look at listings online, map out the best route, throw some bags in the car, set up the GPS, and go. Sidekicks often include a record-loving husband or fellow junk-loving friends.

If I’m not doing this, chances are, I’m going to a flea market, thrift store, consignment shop, or daydreaming about doing one of the above. I don’t know if it’s the thrill of the hunt, the love of junk, the passion for reusing, the wacky conversations with all sorts of people, or a slight touch of “Grey Gardens”, but I cannot passively lie in bed on the weekends knowing there is stuff out there waiting to be discovered!

This is where the seeds of ideas come from:
A pop of color on a plastic thimble.
A rusty drawer pull with filigree detail.
A deck of vintage playing cards with parading animals.

These items beckon to me from the insides of filthy shoes boxes and inspire me to create. They capture my curiosity, and compel me to buy. This isn’t difficult to do when the grand total for a heap of junk comes to $3.

I know there is a fine line between collecting and hoarding. I justify my hunting and gathering by turning the old into new. The thimble and drawer pulls are necklaces-to-be. With a few alterations, playing cards become my business cards. And sometimes one can find two totally unrelated things that will magically blend together creating a match made in heaven. My favorite example:

Murky chicken snow globe + creepy doll head with no skullcap = just plain wow.

Although I’m just a few stacks of newspapers short from being on Hoarders, I am attempting to provide a second life for things no longer used. Simultaneously, I am keeping A & E producers and folks in hazmat suits from knocking at my door. 

At the rate in which I’m gathering, I know it’s improbable that all my stuff will be reused but this doesn’t stop me from being a weekend wares warrior.  I find comfort in knowing that someday when I’m gone, there will be one hell of an estate sale:

ESTATE SALE– Over 50 years of accumulation. House filled to the brim. Costume jewelry, vintage clothing, buttons, keys, thimbles, stamps, playing cards, games, school supplies, ephemera, dentistry collectibles, kitschy art, Pyrex bowls, doll components, records, toys, planters, Halloween collection, boxes of craft supplies, old electronics. Too much to list! Fill a bag for $10. Early birds will be tarred and feathered.

Okay, fess up. What do you hoard?


  1. Great post! I confess...I hoard chocolate...I have it within an arms length at all times :)

  2. You are absolutely amazing! Love the blog, and love YOU!!! MM

  3. I'm into pyrex, too! And vintage Tupperware when I can find it. 3x5 to 4x6 prints of preferably Hummel figures or birds, old textbooks (pre 1990 is now old to me O_o), cookbooks, magazines from the '80's or earlier-- any type, get them for the ads-- elephants, tablecloths and pillowcases-- especially if they have cross stitch on them... Trying hard to stop. In fact I haven't gone to ANY tag sales this year because I don't need anything else. However much I like to pretend I'm some kind of creative genius I just don't use the stuff like I used to.

  4. We share the same passion!!! I love going to garage sales, estate sales, auctions, flea markets, and second hand shops! Turning trash into treasure is so satisfying isn't it? My biggest hoarding is vintage jewelry (that is either broken or missing its mate) to turn into new jewelry. :)

  5. I am with you on that one Kelly!

    Thanks Kim! Right back atcha!

    Jessica...why am I not surprised? Ha! Do you display any of your ads or prints? If so, where?

    Wings of Flutter, I could tell by your blog that we have a lot in common! How is the organizing going?