Architectural Artifacts and a Show of Hands

Yesterday I happily wandered a new a favorite Chicago craft show (Show of Hands) and supported two of my favorite jewelers and friends: Tania Rodamilans and Betsy Siber. I also experienced the amazing thing that is Architectural Artifacts. It's described as an antique store and architectural museum. I'd describe it as a three-ring-circus for junk jivers. Or perhaps as The Night Circus meets Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium meets American Horror Story? I'll stop writing now and just show you lots of pictures. 

From a time when you could "know" your future for two quarters.


Refashion: Liberating growing arms

Hi rebfabbers ... it's been a while since I posted! I have a few things to share in the next couple of weeks, but first a quick, practical fix. I've been playing with ways to make kid's clothes last longer and work harder since Ms R arrived in 2010. I've turned long-sleeve onesies into short sleeve swing tops (tutorial), used the legs of too-short pants to add sleeves to old t-shirts (tutorial) and combined a shirt of mine with a onesie of hers to make a dress (tutorial). 


Upcycle: T-shirt keepsakes

A couple of days ago, a friend sent me a message: "I have a ton of old tshirts that I don't want to throw out. Any upcycle ideas for me?" I was about to fire back links to lots of great ideas when I realized:

a. Most ideas for upcycling t-shirts involve seriously repurposing the shirts. In other words, some serious destruction followed by reconstruction.
b. Most ideas for upcycling t-shirts result in things women will like, use or wear. This friend is a man.
c. Most of the ideas are DIYs. My friend Jason is not about to sew himself... well... anything really.

So. This collection of ideas is for him. And others who've collected lots of t-shirts over the years and now realize that some of them have real stories associated with them. They aren't wearable, but have acquired too much meaning to just donate them, or turn them into t-shirt "yarn".  
1. The memory blanket or quilt is a really popular option for sentimental old t-shirts. Lots of tutorials out there (like this from Totally Stitchin) but there's also Project Repat. You "build" your quilt on their site, send them your shirts and they turn them into a quilt for you. There are also Etsy folk offering a similar service.

2. Jason has too many for this t-shirt art idea, but it's definitely easy to do. And the right designs grouped together look really good. (image via)

3. These tote bags are easy DIY. Perhaps not respectful enough of the originals ... but still a good option if you just really like the image on the shirt, but don't want to wear it. 

4. This might be my favorite option. A "memory" scarf is actually something you might use. And it would be really comfortable! The DIY involves some sewing. But I found an Etsy seller who will make them for you. There are probably others. Anyone on Etsy making "upcycled t-shirt scarves" would probably be happy to talk to you about a custom version. And the only "extra" you might pay is shipping to send her/him the scarves.

5. Again, this DIY for t-shirt throw pillows involves some basic sewing. And you being ok with old-t-shirt decor (ahem). Want them made for you? Here's your Etsy go-to


Repurpose: wicker plate holders

What do I even call these things? Paper-plate holders? Plate chargers? Wicker plates? Support for floppy paper discs we probably shouldn't be eating off of? Whatever they're called, they were a big part of my life growing up. Why? Because South Africans like to braai (grill out, barbeque). It's a warm place. We wear shorts on Christmas day and eat outdoors a lot. So, I have strong memories of these plate-holder things scratching my bare legs.


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