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 I collect many old things. I like the hunt but I am really thirfty so its not easy to find great pieces for cheap. Some of my favorite thrift shops have figured out the value of items which is a bummer. There is nothing more thrilling than finding something you KNOW is collectable but has that $1.00 price tag on it.  This Elite Tray is one of those rare finds. To be honest, its not really valuable, but it is in perfect shape and I love the design. I had intended to sell it in my Etsy shop...but not today.. Its pretty happy in my front hallway so... I'll just show it off here for now.

One of the coolest things about collecting antiques is learning about their history.
 I found some great info here: 
and here:

I've seen these all over Etsy and Ebay but still not quite sure about the history of Elite Trays. 
This one sure is a piece of art!

Funked Up Jeans

Do you own a pair of well worn jeans that fit you to perfection, but could really use a make over?

Looking for a pair of one of a kind jeans that you won't find anywhere else?

Then its time to funk them all up....or let me create something amazing for you!

Send me your tired, your ripped up, stained or bleached out jeans. 
Tell me the colors and style you'd prefer, and in about two weeks, you will receive a pair of crazy, amazing patchwork pants that are like no others.

Check out my Etsy page for finished pieces and to request your own custom pair. 
Email me anytime at lauraeassa@gmail.com with questions. 

Vintage Upcycles

I have just a little obsession with old, cool things.
I've always been thrifty and crafty, but since moving to Florida 15 years ago, I'd say I've definitely kicked it up a notch. There are just so many great place to find cheap treasures here.

A few years ago I went through a divorce and left many of my creations behind but I always knew I could always make more stuff.  When I moved into my new home a few years ago, I had very little decor. Rather than buy all new things and spend money I didn't have, I started getting creative with some of the crappy things I'd find. Here are just a few of the fun projects I've created.  

Here is my favorite little corner with some of my collections that make me happy. 
I know many people don't understand my infatuation with old stuff but many of my finds are really quite sentimental to me.

The hammered aluminum you see was all part of my grandmother's collection. I've added a few other pieces scored at junk shops to complete the set. I'll feature hammered aluminum in a future post. 
 Antiques from my family are incorporated all over my home. This 1940's red learning toy was my mom's in school.  The vintage Bingo game board was a thrift find but the old faucet handle and vintage glass bottles all came from my dad's stash. Trust me he still has a stash.

One of the coolest things to me is when you can use your actual family photos These are of my grandfather and great grandparents with their oil company truck in New Brunswick, NJ.
My great grandfather looks a lot like my dad in that top photo.

Pine Cone Christmas Wreath

As a child in the 70's, I remember my mom had this weird thing for pine cones.

When we’d go camping, she would fill paper grocery bags full. My sister and I just didn't get it. Mom would bring them home and make a few wreaths but mostly,  they would sit in her craft room for most of my childhood.  My dad has always been tolerant of her craft hoarding since he too is always on the hunt for anything he could re purpose.

This Christmas I decided to revisit 1975 and make my own wreath from nature. I live right next to this very lovely wooded area so it was easy to find pine cones and even easier to collect them with the help of my little neighbor friends who I convinced were on a mission to find the best pine cone.

It doesn't take much to make a pine cone wreath. Here are the basic materials.1. Wire wreath base  $3 from Joann with a coupon
2. Floral wire  $2 from dollar store
3.Wire Cutter4. Gloves  ( I did not and trust me you need them)
5. Paint and glitter optional6. Bonus: gullible neighbor kids

Creating a wreath is pretty basic. You position the pine cones around the wreath and wrap the wire tightly around each one while attaching it to the base. I do not suggest trying to glue them to the base as you will have a big gooey, broken pine cone mess on your hands.

 I cut long pieces of wire and wrapped many together for stability. Be sure to hid the wire within the pine cone layers. I'm pretty sure a category 5 hurricane could come through here at this point and my wreath would remain intact lol . I used that much wire.

Oh and  I highly recommend wearing garden gloves for this project because I did not and my poor hands look like I fought a cat and lost. Once everything was held in place, paint or add glitter spray to liven it up and add Christmas balls or greens. I created dictionary page flowers since I like the natural minimal look. I've made many crafts from books which you can find under "paper crafts".

Thanks for stopping by and
Merry Christmas!

Vocabulary Word Costume

What is my easy frugal way to create a costume for the vocabulary word parade?  Start with items you already have around the house. ( I realize not everyone has costume stuff and the massive craft stash in their garage that I do) but you can be creative with most things. Tux came from last year's thrifted Abe Lincoln report costume, Hat was repurposed twice before. Extra cheer bow fabric came in handy and the tiny rabbit on his hat was $.25 at the Goodwill. Put it all together, Googled a big word for magician and there ya have it.

Fabric Scrap Wreath

This is the easiest wreath in the world to make. Well, yeah it does require some patience.. and cutting... but the end result is worth it. It cost me nothing since I had the materials in my garage. I used a wire base from a thrift store find I've been stashing and just started cutting up rectangular pieces of fabric. I have my fabric scraps sorted by colors in boxes in the garage to make projects like this easier. It took about two hours of cutting and tying scraps on the wire frame while I watched American Horror Story Coven. I whipped up a couple of cute pillows and added the rats by attaching  Dollar Store sticky hooks (6 for $1.00). I had to stab the little plastic rodents to make holes in their bellies to stay on the hooks. tee hee. I love the result. My house looks infested! 

Vintage Baby Gift

Check out the new gifts I'm adding over on my Etsy page. I love combining vintage, new and custom crafted items. This 1950's lamb planter would make the perfect gift for a retro loving mamma. I've created three new 24 month size Carter onsie flowers and a vintage fabric flower clip that can be worn anywhere or used as decoration in the nursery. Stay tuned for more unique gift creations!

Vintage Metal Art

Old ugly metal pieces from the 70's and 80's are everywhere in junk shops. If you can look past the dull paint or faded brass, you will see the true potential in their form and design. You can find more vintage decorative items in Hospice Shops and charity stores where older people donate their treasures. Tampa friends can find items like this at Last Chance Thrift on U.S. 19 in Palm Harbor. I find all kinds of treasures there.

VooDoo Witch Doctor Costume

Ok so this year I decided it was time to be scary for Halloween. My friends know I live for this season and start thinking about it well before October, but this was a bit of a last minute idea using stuff I already had around the house. This costume was fun and easy to make. I basically cut strips of fabric from old clothes and tied them to a ribbon to wear as a skirt. I took an old blonde wig and tied fabric strips throughout and added some dollar store skeleton parts.  The dollar store skull and a branch from my yard along with some raffia and a repurposed hat from last year's steampunk costume completed the look.

Patio Chair Redo

Summer is finally here and that means two solid months of crafting happiness before back to teaching. Check out this piece of crap I found homeless and lonely. I could see it had potential. I'm still trying to figure out a way to create a better cushion but I worked with what I had and for a quick fixer upper...I'd say it turned out pretty cute!