Saturday, December 27, 2008

Winners Fall Contest

Sorry it took so long to come back on this. But first there were so few replies to my Fall Contest that it was useless to make a draw. Then after some rallying on the message boards I had a handfull more, but found myself already up to my neck in making Christmas gifts and preparing for the upcoming Christmas craft fairs.

The answer to the question was ten. On the bottom, though not clearly visible, but it's just logic to me, there are four. Second floor there are two next to the box. Third floor two are clearly visible, and as said, one hidden behind the monkey makes three. Then there's one more on top, though you see only half of it. Was this difficult? I didn't think so.

However again there was only one correct answer and again (third time!) is was Mary (m/mi) from the HGTV boards. I don't know if it's correct to 'let' her win again, but I excluded her last time.

So I think this clever girl deserves to receive her favourite item from my shop. The funny thing is that this cute necklace is actually a curb found item too, but I fixed the closure so that's a tiny little bit of me in there.

For the second prize I made a fair draw from the other participants, no matter what your answers were. And the name I drew was: Hybrid Hopes who found me through the GetCrafty forum. The cat booklet will go to Portland. Here's her blog:, a fun blog about crafting and decorating.

To thank the others for their effort I'll mention all their sites or blogs if they have one:

My good friend Nate, who runs a great photography website with his family:

See Nitab43's (HGTV) craft projects here:

Drema2 (HGTV) didn't get the idea of the contest somehow, but here's to thank for taking an interest anyway:

A special thanks to Tisme (HGTV). This is her quilting and crafting blog: But she also happened to be my Christmas gift exchange buddy on the board and she shows her gift from me here!:

Sherryknit (HGTV) stole my heart with a post about recycled yarn on her knitting and crochet blog: Read the post here:

Last: thanks Fuzzbugjr (also HGTV), but she has no online photo album or blog to share with us.

Just one more thing. At one point the second prize winner of my Barbie contest (the curb found scarf) offered to send me some crochet hooks totally for free, when I mentioned on the HGTV-boards I needed those for my recycled T-shirt projects. But I never even realized this was the same person until they arrived in the mail and I recognized the return address! Sarisue, thanks so much again and this is just one more reason to continue these contests. No matter how tiny the groups of participants are, there's alway something nice coming from it! Though next up, somewhere in January, there will be just a simple giveaway. Keep checking!

Pouch crocheted with fabric strips from a trashed T-shirt, zipper from a trashed pair of jeans.
And here's a cuff, using the closure from a trashed winter coat! I already sold this one at my last craft fair, but I'm planning to make some more.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Alley Roses

Last week I had a custom request from a buyer on Etsy, for a flower brooch in a different colour than I had available in my shop.
She didn't have one specific colour in mind and just wanted something not too flashy that would match her brown coat, but one she mentioned was ochre.
To get to that I finally frogged the colourful stripy jumper I showed in my post about free recycled yarn.

As I ended up with a whole palet of colours I decided to make small array for my customer too choose from. Not completely to my surprise, she chose the bright red one with the black bead. Now these photos are horrible but I had to take them inside by winterlight, before work, as I wanted to show the results quickly.
Today I had more time and wanted to see how my new dress dummy could be of help to nicely picture the leftover brooches. You don't see much of the dummy itself, but the nice thing is that I can place it by the window and turn it to catch as much possible light and still be myself in a good position to take the photo. And now I can finally drape that lovely jacket I found on a body, so you don't see the inside of it on the picture.
Also the scarf is a curb find.

I didn't make a lot of money on my order, but in the end it cost me next to nothing and hopefully the new pictures will help to sell the rest. I had fun responding to the request and I collected a new very happy buyer's review in my shop. Feel free to take a look if you want to see more crocheted 'alley roses'.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Dress Dummy!!

I'm not a dress maker, but being a textile crafter I do reconstruct clothing sometimes and I have knit/crocheted garments in the past. So a real dress dummy is something I've wanted for ages, but not something I'd spend money on.

In the past I already showed the items I had to make do with so far, a cardboard male shopwindow dummy and a half body lingerie dummy. But those were only good for displaying. But nevertheless at the time when the BF found them on Monday morning errands I was happy enough.

But some two weeks ago he had a bigger surprise for me. These days he sometimes goes for an extra late night excursion after our usual Sunday evening walk. Already asleep I never even heard him leaving. So what a thrill when he came downstairs the next morning and sort of casually said: Oh, found this for you last night... Ah, my eyes popped, my mouth fell open... Couldn't have been happier with expensive jewelry.

This dress dummy was thrown out because the foot is broken. I can fix it, but for the time being she fits right on top of the pair of legs (this is out of proportion of course, the whole thing has double hips now) from a shopwindow dummy I found last summer. That's funny because I know they used this as a sort of decorative stand (they fitted a flat piece of plastic on top) in a bar where we went a couple of times years ago and it was in the trash right in front of it. I also found one of her hands, painted in the same ugly way. Until all's fixed or repainted they're waiting in the messy corner in my workroom, so sorry for the messy picture. Soon I hope to be able to show some either curb found or hand made garments on both the dummy and the legs!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Tulip Oscar

As I was sorting out my bulbs (see previous post) - unfortunately quite a lot were bad, so I was left with about half the amount, but still a lot - I found a piece of paper in the bucket that read: 500 bulbs, tulip Oscar. So now knowing what they are I dicided not to plant them in my lawn (Sher) as I will have to dig them up again, but I did put some alongside.
Then I quickly Googled tulip Oscar to find this gorgious deep bright red flower! Maybe a bit traditional, but I love it. I also found some information and it turns out to be one of the strongest tulips around, it takes bad weather and thrives in both sun and shade. Just perfect for an Amsterdam garden. Now hopefully the strength of this variety also means these old bulbs will still push up and flower. We'll see!

Monday, November 03, 2008

A Bucket Of Bulbs

It's bulb planting time, and some two weeks ago the trash offered me this very timely gift. And as you can see, when I say bucket I don't mean a yoghurt pot sized bucket (that's what my harvest from my tulips from last year fits in... see here). This is a 20 or more liter container and really filled from the bottom to the brim with... well, I'm not sure what type they are, but because of their size my guess is daffodils. They were waiting for me only a block away in the Wednesday trash and of course this report will be continued next spring when they will flower.

Now this amount is even too big for my small garden, but I plan to put them in the public patch behind the garden fence as well, and as I suspect they maybe older than this year's harvest and may not come up all, I'm not afraid to put them all over. Can't wait for spring now!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Come Curb Shopping With Me

First this: My Fall Guessing Contest is still open! Click HERE to read more.

I live in an old but very green part of Amsterdam, very close to the historic center, but evenly close to parks and nature, almost near the edge of our town. This is just a very nice walking lane next to a playground around the corner from my block. Now, first I want to tell you something about the trash system in my neighbourhood.

Across the road at the end of my street, is a fairly new group of blocks that were built around ten years ago. They call it the eco-friendly neighbourhood because in between the blocks no cars are allowed. There are only footpaths and lots of green. Around it are underground trash collection points where people can dump their bags in anytime, so they don't have to wait for trash night, next to the more traditional containers for paper and glass.
Over time, when more old buildings were torn down and replaced by new luxury apartment blocks, more of the underground collection points were placed in other parts of my neighbourhood, provided there's enough place for them. But there will always be enough traditional collection points that can only be used on trash night in the older narrower streets. These are simply blue iron poles placed around 50 meters apart in every street where people can leave all bags and bulk trash. They make the work of the trash men a bit easier as they don't have to stop in front of each door or go look behind parked cars. Even though you'd think the underground containers take most trash from the sight of pickers, it's unbelievable what collects around them on trash night. Often they're full by then, but on trash night people place everything that doesn't pass through the openings, like bulk trash but also boxes with small goods, around them. In fact they've proved to provide us with some of our best finds.

Now let me take you outside with me and take you on a tour to show you some of our favourite shopping spots. In daytime that is, because my camera is useless in the dusk and who wants to see piles of trash anyway?

This is usually the first street we take. It's alongside the 'Eco-'hood' as it's generally called. In the middle, where you see the cyclist is the first group of underground paper, glass and other waste containers. It's right there we found our fantastic couch. It's also a first stop because it's where we bring our own waste paper and glass.

After a second collection point further on we turn right into the footpaths between the blocks and come back this way. As the houses were built on the premises of the old water company, you can still see the watertower (that 'spaceship' in the back) and some of the old 19th century industrial buildings (these are now official historic monuments), now turned into a restaurant, a tv-studio and theater.
We then find this collection point to our right. Here you get a better view of what the containers look like. The 'chimneys' on top are used to pull the containers up from the ground. Once they hang in the right position over the truck the bottom opens and the contents fall into it. It works the same for the glass and paper bins. They look the same, only have different openings. The chairs are not supposed to be there as it's Saturday afternoon and trash night is Sunday, but I take it someone is hoping they will be found by someone before the trash van passes.
From there we have various routes through the old streets around my own house with the traditional collection points, to arrive here at the flower shop. There are 'undergrounds' to left, not on the picture, that have been put there more recently, less than two years ago I think. If you want to see some of the gifts of the flower shop itself, take a look here. We found our dresser in the street straight up from the left of this block, which we go up and down.
This bin is across the street and proves that on a Sunday afternoon it is already filled to the brim.
We then turn left past the shop to arrive at this recently re-furnished square. There are one collector for glass, one for paper and two for other waste. It looks really neat now, but believe me in a couple of hours it's an enormous mess. The paper container is always full, so countless bags full of magazines and newspapers are placed next to them. Objects like lamps, pottery etc. could pass through the openings of the waste collectors, but people always put them in boxes next to it. Then there's always a lot of bulk trash; I guess the wide space invites people from across the street and more far to bring it here instead of placing in on their own narrow curb. By the time we arrive often other pickers have gone through it all and don't place items they don't want back in the boxes. Sometimes clothing is lying all about, being pulled out of (unsealed) bags. Plus there are the stinking bags of regular kitchen waste if those collectors are full as well. And even those are being cut open sometimes! I'm not very proud of it and we never stay too long here. I've found some interesting magazines and take a quick peek in the boxes for kitchen stuff, I've found nice shoes and lamp shades and such. If it jumps in my eye I take clothing for recycling. But I don't go rummaging through the dirt, not only is it beyond me, I just don't want to make the mess worse! But is here we got our television set. We were just crossing the road when we saw a man coming out of the building in front carrying it in his arms!

From there on it's back home via various routes. All in all it's been a walk of about three quarters of an hour, only if we linger or find something great that I have to go pick up a cart for it takes up to an hour and we hardly ever go more far. I sometimes still can't believe how much we find in such a small area!
If you enjoyed this post you may also be interested to read this old post about my house.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lunch Bags

What's so special about a pack of lunch bags to even blog about? Nothing. But:

- Well, I blog about anything I find in the trash that I think is not trash. This product is complete and even still sealed and clean, so definitely not trash, no matter how cheap or futile.
- I found them in Amsterdam, Holland, that is Europe! How does a USA manufactured product end up on the curb here? Because I wouldn't know where to buy this over here. Besides, any paper lunch bags are nowhere to be found in my country. We use plastic 'boterhamzakjes' or 'sacs a sandwich' as is printed on the box you buy them in.

So someone, on vacation or a business trip, flies from Holland to the US, buys paper lunch bags (maybe because we don't have them over here, I can follow it until there), drags them home, but then never uses them and (years later I presume) trashes them. I think that's amazing. Or ridiculous!

Now if you think this means I'll bring 50 lunches to work in paper instead of plastic you're wrong. Because I've recycled plastic bread bags for that for years and I won't change that. I use one bag (they're that strong) for at least a week (just shake out the crumbs and it's good for another day), then I still don't throw it away, but use it for cleaning the cat litter box. We use the lump making litter stuff, a day or two of the cats 'production' fits perfectly in one reused bread bag and it keeps the smell from my trash bag and in case I get a hole in that, no harm is done (allows me to use the thinner, cheaper and more eco-friendly trash bags as well).

The paper bags I will take to my next craft fair. With a card stapled on them they will make great and neat looking eco-friendly packaging! Brings me to my craft: if you still want a chance to win an item from my shop or a lovely (curb found) booklet, you can still enter my contest. Previous post or click here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cat Accessories And My Fall Contest For Cat Lovers

Sometimes all things fit perfectly together. I haven't posted in a few weeks so it's about time. I've been wanting to show our - with the help of curb finds - self constructed cat furniture for a while.

I still have to present our new cat Pepe, who showed up in our neighbour's garden last March out of nowhere. Not exactly a curb find, but a good find after all. He is the sweetest! I have a new great curb found gift to give away - and it happens to be a lovely booklet for cat lovers. A new season is coming up... So it's the perfect moment for a new guessing contest!

I'm keeping it simple this time: all you have to do is guess the number of scratching poles my BF used in his latest construction (second picture). Next - as usual - go to my Etsy shop and describe what you like. And as before there will be two winners. First prize is any item from my shop up to $10, provided it ships as a flat envelope.

Second prize this lovely booklet with the story of Tobermory and bloggers will be featured. It's unused, so you can still use it as a gift if you like.

Does that sound like fun to you? I sure hope so. You can enter your comments until: THIS CONTEST IS NOW OPEN UNTIL I HAVE ENOUGH RESPONSES TO MAKE A REASONABLE DRAW!!. Make sure I can contact you through your blog or message board account.

Now let me show you our stuff. I don't know if they sell exactly the same constructions in the US, but with mondialization it wouldn't surprise me. These fun play sleeping and scratching constructions are a must for every cat lover, but they are expensive. As it turns out sometimes they are not very strong and fall apart quickly. And people throw the pieces on the street. All we have to do is reconstruct them with the help of some old planks for a strong basis and really strong screws and bolts (the only things we bought). The fun is our structure often changes when we find new additions for it. Cats love that. They also love to get stuff from the street. They hate shop smell. It doesn't tell them anything.

This is the situation about two years ago. That's my fat Cézar on top. A few months ago we found a complete and hardly used piece. At home we soon found out why it was thrown out. Every time a cat jumped from it, it fell over.

So the BF integrated it in the existing piece and now we have this fantastic cat castle.

To make a passage from the balcony to the garden we simply connected two old ceiling beams and made little 'chicken steps' from scrap wood.

Any man (read burglar) trying to reach the balcony this way would immediately break through the connection but for our Pepe here it's strong enough!

Of course I never bought a litter box in my life. As you can read in The Cat Carrier, they come in numbers and so I even had an old one to give away. With one upstairs and one downstairs in great condition we are well provided, but I still see them regularly in the trash. Sometimes I'm tempted when I see one in a fancy colour, but it's not even worth the trouble.

I do own one cat carrier that I bought, because I wanted this model, a top loader for my difficult outdoor cats and it's easily attached to the luggage carrier of my bicycle. But I have two of these wicker carriers (and had and used up more in the past) that were nicely 'handed' for free to me by my neighbours.

One warning: do not bring stuff home from the street that has been used by other cats when you have kittens that haven't been vaccinated yet and clean all plastic items with bleach. Even though you can bring cat's disease with you from anywhere, you can't be too careful!

To end here's a little help for the contest: one of the poles is hidden behind the monkey and you can't see the top plateau. Have fun!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pottery and Ceramics

Last time I was quite militant, wasn't I? So now for those who prefer to read my blog for that reason, let's go back to showing some of the prettier trash found treasures. I don't want to talk about the pile of ordinary plates, cups, bowls, mugs etc. Apart from what I inherited from my family any addition to my kitchen cabinets comes from the curb. Honest, people throw out complete sets! But here are a few of my 'showpieces':

This crude terracotta jug makes a nice vase. I like it because it's quite probably someones project from a pottery class or so. Despite the crudeness it's well made and beautiful in it's simplicity.

This earthenware piece comes from the trash of on of the few detached houses in my neighbourhood. It's the old lockkeeper's house; the old locks being out of use for years, the keeper's widow was allowed to stay, but recently she moved to a home and in the year previous to that we found all sorts of interesting things there. I can't say how old the vase really is or what it's worth because it has no factory stamp, only the maker's signature, but it is an original hand paint in the tradition of Delft Blue (even though this one is coloured).

Here's a nice bowl that's not old, but certainly handwork and completely intact. I don't know what part of the world this comes from, India, Africa? If anybody knows, let me know!

And isn't this cute? It's only 4.5'' high! A mass produced piece for sure and a copy of old styles, but it's fine porcelain and the paint work is still done by hand. As it's not really my style I put this one up for sale in my Etsy shop, in case you're interested.

Saturday, August 02, 2008


Just philosophizing about trash and recycling a bit. But an important renewed explaining about this blog. Please, please read even if you think it's long... And some of the smaller stories from my life as a curb shopper that I haven't gotten around to make complete posts about that still need to be told.

The curb gives and the curb takes. When I put out old furniture myself it's usually stuff I already had for free and really trash. But somehow it even always finds it's way to a new user. That old school table (my dad was a teacher and he saved an old one and then gave it to me when I moved out) with rusty iron legs was taken practically from my hands by the old iron collector. Probably the same guy took my totally worn out ugly office conference chairs (present from work, I was in the purchase dept. at the time). They were gone within half an hour. And even my great aunt's ugly (though real oak) round table at least was gone in the morning. It's top was stained and had burn marks and I always wanted to give it a paint job or new varnish, but the thing was just to large for my house and after he found his fantastic table even my BF had no use for it anymore.

So yes I admit I'm guilty too of throwing things away... But as said, I'm afraid the thrift shop wouldn't have sold them and I make sure the other scavengers get to see them. I know a lot of people think the same way when they put out large things. It just happens you don't have place for things anymore. Elderly people move to a home and have to down size. The thrift shop will gladly pick the stuff up, but you just decided to give it for free directly to it's new users. OK, I can live with that. Though the thrift shop (GW, SA or whatever) trains people, you may not agree with their policies. It's often the smaller things (sometimes the cheapest plastic stuff) that are obviously really trashed that puzzle me most and prove the stupidest irresponsibility! And that's basically what this blog is all about. You'll find enough examples when you scroll down my posts, but here's some more recent ones to illustrate my point of view. Last week I found an opened bag of clean cat litter stones. Almost full. Well, there may be a sad story behind it, but with hundreds of cat owners in every street, couldn't they find a neighbour who could use it? Or why trash an almost brand new complete dustpan and brush set? Hmm, did they buy a vacuum cleaner? Perhaps they emigrated? Now the BF has a double set, but kept his old one to use on the balcony.

And then the toys. Recently I found more bags full of plush puppets that I'm definitely going to try to sell after washing them, but if their previous owners could have taken that little effort (machine does the job) they could have made other children happy with them. There also were a baby floor puzzle and a large wooden pull cart with blocks. Both neatly packed up in their original packaging, even taped up!. Used, but complete, intact, good and expensive toys, not plastic shit. A school or day care centre would have been so happy with them! They were hidden in plastic shopping bags (not sealed) between real trash, so I took those boxes and placed them visibly in front so hopefully someone took them.

I'm always really happy when I see other people finding great stuff. Like the young couple who found a baby bicycle (you know the real mini bicycle with the side wheels on the back wheel) for their little girl. Judging from their skin colour they were immigrants, maybe even refugees, people who have a hard enough time getting by I guess. I'll never forget the proud smile on daddy's face. Or the time we passed by and didn't take a very clean and new looking matrass, because we already have a great curb found matrass. When we came back from another direction we saw a young man, a student I took it, struggling with it on his bicycle. We saw a couple, probably in their mid fifties, loading up a set of the cutest kitchen cabinets (real wood, not ply or pressed) on a cart. They didn't look like curb shoppers and were a bit startled when we congratulated them with the find, so I just figure they had accidentally stumbled upon the cabinets and took them for a child that just moved out to his or her own flat. Or that young lady (she looked educated and trendy!) with her vase. It was huge and looked like some sort of African primitive art. Beautiful, I might have taken it myself! It must have weighed a ton because she had to go and get her cart for it. I think she too just went outside to place her kitchen trash and stumbled upon it.

I already posted about clothing but I just want to add how really stupid it is to put clothes on the curb (because of the alternatives in my country). Of course, I'm happy when I find them, but especially in my neighbourhood, they only have to walk a bit to drop them of in a special container, placed there for Amnesty International. They are all over the city, but this one is right in the centre of my 'shopping area' which includes no more than six streets or so, so any clothes I find are never more then two streets away from it! In fact I just Googled to find this picture and learned these containers are all over the country.

So this is not the actual one near me, but just an example to give an idea because I don't know if anyone overseas is familiar with the concept. Anyway, you know what I do with curb found clothes I can't use? In there, of course, never back to the curb! And I guess Amnesty would be happy with those plush toys as well.

This morning I went for groceries early and before my local thrift shop (it's on my way) opened. When I passed there I already saw some plastic bags placed on their doorstep. On the way back I saw more goods placed by their back entrance. Good to see people bring their stuff of course, just makes me wonder: are they avoiding contact with the shop personnel?

Brings me to a discussion I found on HGTV (read here). Someone was (rightfully I think) complaining about a GW store refusing her stuff. But it brings two questions in mind. One, of course if thrift shops have such a luxury problem, it says something about how many perfectly good to use goods there are around in the rich countries, where in the same time we just go on producing new stuff! It's crazy!!! What if the crisis hit today and no more furniture, clothing and such were produced? For how many years could we go on without a problem? A lifetime, believe me. Second, as I found the question on the T-2-T board, I was asking myself how come they still have so much stuff to offer to GW and SA... But that's not really criticism, as I don't know the stories behind it. I generally love what these ladies are doing.

It has become a long post without much pictures, so I want to end with one of my own after all. A bit OT, but not completely. Remember that second hand display head I bought through Etsy I showed in the post about the craft market? That lady who sold it to me was so sweet, finding out I'm a yarn girl who likes leftovers, instead of normal parcel fillers she used old yarn she had no use for anymore. It turned out to be 100 % wool bits of tapestry and embroidery yarn, perfect to use in my felted flowers!

Here's one of my favourite results so far. The flower itself is my own yarn (which I bought for next to nothing from a man who kept it for years after his crafty mother deceased), but the leaves are made of hers. For sale in my shop of course. If you like look here for the sale info.

It really has become a long post and I hope I didn't bore anyone (I know myself I tend to scroll down when posts are to long). These were stories I've been wanting to tell for a long time but just never seemed to fit in anywhere. And somehow I felt the need to explain once more why I curb shop. I'm not greedy, it's not about getting free stuff, it's not even about making great benches from bed headboards or shutter boards (no matter how cool that is and I admire these people!!!), but about showing how we overproduce and right now that's more than bad for the Earth. We don't need all that new stuff, it has to stop!!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Bag Of Potting Soil

I really wonder what the story is here. Someone decides to repot some indoor plants and buys a bag of 20 liters of potting soil. They end up using not even a tenth of that amount. Place the bag in a (balcony) closet, the attic or something for the next time they need it. But somehow they got rid of all their indoor plants or only bought complete new ones and threw out the old ones every so often? After a couple of years the soil in the bag got completely dried out, they consider it useless and throw it in the trash? I just can't believe they have a garden and not found use for the stuff.

I also don't believe they put it out with the idea of 'someone will pick it up' as most people do when the put out furniture (including myself). They just really trashed this. What a waste. Waste of money for them, waste of resources for the Earth and everybody. Lucky thing I came by and spotted it.

Not that I really need potting soil, since I make my own compost with only fallen leaves from my garden, but the stuff comes in handy filling up those holes on the side when I repot plants to bigger pots. Especially because it's so dried up, it falls in like sand!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I don't mean creams, lipsticks or other things you smear on your face, but I don't mind taking for example a bottle of nail varnish from the trash. Perfume is expensive, so I don't say no to a free bottle.

These varnishes weren't even used and came complete with the accessories in the cute case. The cardboard files are brand new too. I have no problem at all using up the leftover of remover. The perfume (when I found it the bottle was almost full) was a Queensday pick from left behind goods of the flea market vendors.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Selling Trash

I love sending my trash all over the world. Preferably I just give it away and I use curb found items as (second) prizes in my contests.
But recently I sold my first real trash item through Etsy. I forgot where and how I found this cute knitting spool, but probably in a bag of toys. I still have my own old knitting spool and I couldn't use it as a prize because it had to ship as a parcel. That's a bit too expensive for a giveaway.
I was anxiously waiting for the buyer to send feedback for a couple of weeks, but she just did yesterday, so I'm quite happy about that now. Unfortunately I made a mistake with the shipping rate and undercharged, so I practically didn't make any money with the sale but that doesn't matter. I'm just glad someone across the world is now happily spool knitting on a tool that I rescued.

And this is Cat's prize! The winner of my last contest has good taste and chose an item that I made from a real landfill rescue, while most of the yarn of my crocheted work in my shop at the moment is still from my thrifted and vintage stock.

Recently I found several pairs of pretty brand shoes that are not my size. One pair never used, the others in very good condition. As I've seen others selling second hand shoes on Etsy, I think I'm going to give that a try real soon.
These are Sacha sandals.
Original Bally's fabric covered pumps with a genuine leather sole.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Winners

And the winner is....
First let's go to the correct answers to my Summer Contest: The Simba dolls are picture 3 middle and right, picture 5 middle. The vintage doll is picture 2 right. Two of the Simba's were easy to recognize by their hair from my Etsy shop, then knowing their face (all the same) I thought it would be easy to find the third. Can you see the vintage doll sitting with her stiff legs in front of her on the main photo? Also on the detail photo you can see her make up is much lighter than all the other dolls. Clearly my whole concept (four answers to find) was too complicated, because I had the stunning number of six replies, one of them not participating. I decided not to extend the due date, because I hate to linger on and what's not working is not working, period. Due to the few responses I didn't make a draw, but a personal choice of the winners.

So let me present you my six wonderful contestants and their sites/blogs as far as they have one and explain how and why I chose the winners. Despite the lack of responses I had a boost in visitors and made just enough in ad revenue to cover the costs of the postage, so nothing's lost. And now my biggest fun is starting, because I'm going to give away the prizes!

First Mary (m/mi) sent me a PM over from the HGTV Knitting & Crochet board. As turned out in the end, she was the only one who had all answers right and took the trouble to go over to my shop and comment on my work. Unfortunately she won my last contest, so I hope she understands it will have to pass this time...

I'm grateful for Barbie expert Vikki from Pimp My Barbie to have come over and taken the time to really study my dolls and try to name them. Her answers were correct (of course!) but not complete and I would have loved to know what she thinks of my Barbie dresses... Yet I do hope to get her some extra visitors to her blog this way, so she will feel her effort wasn't for nothing.

Debbie, from My Cozy Cottage World, just thank you for stopping by and letting me know. I sure miss you on the (BlogCatalog) boards.

Of course I expected a response from my good friend Jenn T. of The Thrift Shop Romantic. Or perhaps she'd appreciate it more if I mention her new humour blog, Of Cabbages and Kings. She'd be in with two correct answers even though she too forgot my shop, but you know, I did send her that Christmas present last year... Sorry Jenn, I'm sure you understand.

A last minute reply came from Sarisue from the HGTV-boards. With three correct answers and taking the trouble to review my work I think she deserves to win my second prize, the lovely silk scarf. Also because she revealed to me she makes doll's dresses and I'd like to see those some time.

Which leaves me with Cat from down under. I also met her on the HGTV boards, where she profiles herself as the most productive, most enthusiastic crocheter I met so far on line. But apart from that her work is all self designed and quite humourous (I think) and if she does copy she gives it always a touch of her own fun style. On top she shares all her designs on her weblog and website, both named Cats-Rockin-Crochet. And rocking she is. Highly recommended! She's not afraid to show all her try-outs and she does stand critique. Cat had only two correct answers but she did take the trouble to judge my work. On top I find in her an ever enthusiastic responder to my posts on the board, so to thank her for her support and her friendship I think she well deserves to win the first prize. As she let me know in her private comment she likes my polka dotted hearts coasters I will gladly send those over to Australia! Unless you'd really want something else Cat, just let me know!

To end here are some pics of a crazy dress I designed a while ago. Inspired by a thrift shop find of real goat hair sock wool, Ken's curb found sword, Joan of Arc and Wagner's Walküres.

Winners are contacted through PM on HGTV. Thanks everybody, hope to see you again in my next game!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

My Barbie Dolls (Including Contest)

ADDITION: 06/25/08
Sometimes you do things right, sometimes you do things wrong. When I posted my contest around Christmas lots of people enjoyed guessing what my silly kitschy deer head was originally made for. I thought my Barbie dolls would entertain you as much, but from the few replies I've had so far I take it I'm wrong. So I've decided to make things a bit easier and make a statement as well. Please read:
1. I do NOT think Barbie is a good role model for girls (or any woman, for that matter), but fashion dolls DID help develop my creative skills when I was a kid and though I found them pretty, I don't think I ever tried to, or thought I had to, look like them.
2. I collect these dolls because other people throw them away and I'm proud to show what I rescue.
3. Of course I want to attract extra visitors to my blog and create awareness, but other than that the contest is only meant to entertain and with the above in mind, I hope you see the irony of it too.
4. Rules change: Any entry that has two out of four guesses right (three imitation dolls, one vintage doll) is in for the prizes. I do need your critique of my designs, so please visit my Etsy shop and tell me what you like (or not).


Finally summer is almost here! To celebrate I cooked up a little guessing contest again. Entries must be posted before 01 July 00.00 CET. It may sound difficult at first, but it is absolutely not! Clues are in my Etsy Shop and in this post, so I expect only correct answers!!

But before I continue bear with me and let me explain why I collect Barbie dolls. Because I'm not one of those who spend money on latest editions and official Mattel clothing. None of that, Im not a Barbie girl, but they just come to me and I still love making clothes for them (sometimes). You can read a little more about that and how Barbie helped me develop my creative skills when I was a kid here on my official designer's website.

My mom bought me my first Barbie dolls when I was four or five, so around 1967 or 68. Little did I know then that the 'modern' dolls with the rubber legs with a knee mechanism were on the market since 1966 and my mom bought me cheap leftover stock with the stiff legs on the street market. No matter how I begged later on for a Barbie with bendable legs, I never got one. She always claimed she found the new Barbies had ugly faces with to much make-up on, but obviously she found them too expensive as well.

Now my two old dolls are classified vintage and worth money and I'm so glad! I'm also very glad my parents never ever threw out toys and waited till we were adult to decide ourselves what to keep and what not. I left my dolls in their house for my nieces to play with. Only when they were getting to old for it too I took the whole lot including clothes (many of them hand made by mom) with me and then, just for fun picked up my child's hobby: dressmaking for Barbie! But then I started wondering if my dresses would fit the modern Barbie dolls, so I went to the thrift shop and found one very ugly one with inked hair and only half a foot for one euro or so. But as she only served fitting purposes she was good enough. I cut off her hair and gave her boots to make her a bit more presentable. But not good enough for pictures so I browsed the internet and bought some more second hand ones after all. Got a good deal and found there were many special edition dolls around and got one very pretty doll with a different body than the standard ones with them.

But I should have known then that I could have even saved that money. Soon after we switched from occasional curb shopping to really regular scouring the streets two years ago I started finding dolls. Some were damaged or had ugly hair, but some were just gorgeous and in mint condition. A clean-up and hair wash and combing made them all presentable enough for me. So here's the whole lot, believe it or not 14 in total (plus one of my own in the photo here)! I undressed them all, so the experts among you can recognize the various types. The accessories came with the finds as well.

There's a little catch here. Not all are real Barbies. There are three imitations, Simba dolls, in my collection. Do you recognize them? Well, that's my first contest question. As said, clues in my shop, you don't need to be an expert!
Here are five close-up shots to see better. Use these for your answer. There is no logic in the grouping of the dolls, I picked them randomly by three for the photo's. That left me with an empty spot of course, so I added one of my vintage dolls. Question two: which is she? It should be easy, there are two clues in what I wrote above. For your answer just give me the picture number and tell me if the Simba doll and/or vintage doll is left middle or right.
There's one more thing I want you to do for this contest. Go to my Etsy Shop, pick the item(s) you like best (not made by me category excluded) and explain why. Of course I'm doing this for marketing reasons, but your comments will be very useful for me. And you may end up winning that item! Maybe one of the Barbie dresses themselves? Your pick is by no means decisive and I can't give away the larger items for reasons of shipping costs, sorry for that, but feel free to comment on them if you like. If you win you get to pick any item up to 15 dollars that ships as a letter.

Like last time, there will be a lovely curb found second prize as well. Isn't this silk scarf gorgeous? It comes from the bags I wrote about in this post.

To sum up the contest rules:
-Find the three Simba dolls.
-Find the vintage (before 1966) Barbie doll.
-Browse my shop, choose a handmade item (name the title of the piece or post the link) and explain what you like about it (it doesn't have to be a page full, but please try to use more than one word).
-Send your answer as a comment to this post. I will hold the comments back for publishing until the drawing date, 01 July 00.00 CET.

Make sure I can contact you through your blog or blogger account. If you don't have one leave your community ID (HGTV, Craftster, Getcrafty etc) or just tag the option to receive replies in your private email (address wil not be visible for me or others). Only if none of these options work for you leave your email address in the comment.