Thrifting finds and craft envy

I hit some thrift stores in the last week and brought the bf along for a couple of them. He found some cool 45s and LPs (including a typing course–sure to be valuable to hipster DJs but not sure what we’ll do with it). I found a very nice roasting rack for $2.99 and a weisse beer glass for 60 cents. For the uninitiated, there are specific glass shapes for different beers, much like wine glasses but possibly more varied. It can be expensive to buy them all, especially if you only drink one glass of a certain type of beer each year. So I keep an eye out at thrift stores for these distinct shapes and grab them when I see them.

I’m still on the lookout for a small table for our vintage radio. I’d also love to find an old potting bench for our porch, but that might be easier said than done. They can be pricey when new, and I think folks let them sit until they fall apart instead of giving them to a thrift store. Used ones online are as expensive as the old. I’m considering buying a kitchen cart from IKEA (the same model I had in a kitchen a few years back) to double as a potting bench.

Then I got the bright idea to possibly alter the cart to make it more like a potting bench. I looked around the web and saw crafty folk do great things with rummage sale finds and trash-picked wood. But in reality, I won’t be doing any ‘upcycling’ of garbage. There are several reasons for this. First, I live in an area where most communities are gated, so trash picking isn’t an option unless I want to trespass. I almost miss my studio apartment in a wealthy section of Philly, where rich neighbors would leave tables and shelves (that were like new) by the curb on trash day. My mom still uses the table we brought to her house as well as some rather expensive planters.

It’s also too hot for yard sales. No one wants to sit outside to sell or shop when it’s 95 degrees by 6:30 AM. I’m curious to see if yard sales appear when the weather cools off. So many residents are snowbirds that I doubt they have much excess stuff accumulated in their part-time homes. My odds of finding the makings of a crafty-cool potting bench are slim, I guess. And while I’ve developed an admiration for crafters, I am not one of them. I can use tools and follow directions well, but my design skills are pretty much nonexistent. My bench would be sturdy, but it would be ugly.

Finally, I just don’t believe that all handmade stuff looks good. When Martha Stewart and a celebrity made layered necklaces/cowls out of strips cut from old t-shirts, it looked cute on TV. But if I tossed a clump of t-shirt strips around my neck and went out, I’d get strange stares. “Color blocking” looks like funky fun in magazines and on a cute DIY chick on YouTube, but if the average woman wore pleather Goodwill pumps with neon paint on the heels, it would look shoddy and a little crazy. Therefore, my franken-bench made from an IKEA cart and a curbside Target bookshelf would look awful, even with a coat of orange spray paint and hip stencils.

All of this craft envy and craft anger comes not just from my thrift store trips but a bad tour on I got a link to a hipster craft collective and went down a path on tumblr that led to me my latest silly web site idea. F*** doesn’t exist, but it should. Perhaps it would be a feed featuring ridiculous craft or DIY projects that, even if they look awesome and are do-able, make the reader feel horrible about themselves for not making cool stuff. I want to list each entry from a crafter who shows me how easy it is to make my own trendy clothing from a bag of clothing found on the side of the road. I want to point out that no, I don’t want to go to an antique shop and update a mounted moose head by coating it with glitter and installing lamps in its antlers for a ‘fun and funky addition to the dining room.’ And in not doing so, I am still a good person. And by the way, the end table made by bundling newspapers with old leather belts and painting it? It still just looks like you use a pile of newspapers as a table.

Whew! Someone needs a time out.

[Please note that I do not hate DIY people or think they are bad. I am jealous of their design skills and crafty instincts. But I still think the t-shirt-strip-necklace looks ridiculous in real life.]


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One response to “Thrifting finds and craft envy

  1. Now I want a moose head for my new apartment!!

    Speaking of scoring curbside junk, I came thisclose to buying a ridiculously expensive chair at the Korean equivalent of Wal-Mart last weekend. And what should appear down the street a day later? A totally cushy desk chair, with a slight tear. Now all I want to do is hang out in expensive neighborhoods and look for the good stuff!

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