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Holding On to All That Stuff: A Creative Crafter's Best Tool

Updated on April 6, 2015
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Donna enjoys using her arts background to create fun craft projects with a special focus on using repurposed or handy household materials.

hording unusual supplies can lead to great craft projects!  (c) purl3agony 2013
hording unusual supplies can lead to great craft projects! (c) purl3agony 2013

When I was in college, my art professor told us that an artist should collect and save everything and anything that might inspire us. She pointed out that you never know from where your next creative idea might come. She said that we should keep images that might inspire us, colors and textures that we might use, and any bits and pieces that might become source material or samples for an art work.

Now I don't think I've gone overboard, but I've definitely taken her advice. Over the years, I've held on to piles of magazines and catalogs, loads of postcards, a bag of scrap fabric, a bin of seashells, and various odds and ends. It might seem crazy to some, but only a crafter can understand what a goldmine this stuff can be. Recently, I've turned this stuff into some neat projects

fabric wreaths made from scrap material  (c) purl3agony 2013
fabric wreaths made from scrap material (c) purl3agony 2013

Scrap Fabric Wreaths

About 10 years ago, I bought a bag of scrap fabric for some sewing projects. Over the years, I have used it very little, yet felt the need to move this fabric to two different states with me. Recently, however, I used this pile of discarded scraps to create two fabric wreaths. Both of the wreaths came out very nicely and wouldn't have been possible if I didn't remember "Oh, I have that bag of fabric somewhere!"

stenciled tote bag  (c) purl3agony 2013
stenciled tote bag (c) purl3agony 2013

Stenciled Tote

At Christmas, my mother gave me a tote bag made of this (to me) odd toile fabric. I must admit I didn't really like the bag, but I had the idea of stamping purple flowers on top of the fabric to give it a modern look.

In digging through my stuff, I came upon this clothing tag that I have saved with a cut out of a daisy flower on it. I realized I could use this cut out as a stencil for my flower instead of cutting my own. With some paint and a little bit of time, I had a new tote bag that I really love.

recycle catalogs into bookmarks  (c) purl3agony 2013
recycle catalogs into bookmarks (c) purl3agony 2013

Scrap Paper Bookmark

After years of scribbling ideas and sketches on whatever paper I could find, I finally invested in a nice journal to keep all my thoughts organized. In celebration of my purchase, I made myself a funky new bookmark to keep my place in my journal.

Taking the back page of a catalog where the paper was a thicker cardstock, I chose an interesting area of the image and cut out a bookmark-shaped section. I used some decorative shears to give my bookmark a scalloped edge. I then punched a hole in the top and used some leftover yarn scraps to make a colorful tassel. Now this is not a really inventive project, but I've created a bookmark that I like and I enjoy using.

(c) purl3agony
(c) purl3agony

I still have LOTS of stuff I've saved, including this collection of things I've picked up off the street. There's broken heart lockets, a little fireman's hat, a random doll's foot, and other weird bits. I've always had this idea of making a sculptural figure out of all of this, but who knows what it might become?

I hope you have a fun collection and get some creative inspiration from it!

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    • purl3agony profile image
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      Donna Herron 3 years ago from USA

      Thanks so much, Better Yourself!! I need to work on organization, too. I often know that I have just the thing I need for my next project - I just don't know where I put it :) Oh well... thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • Better Yourself profile image

      Better Yourself 3 years ago from North Carolina

      I love what your art professor told you! This makes me feel better about all the little things here and there that I hang onto not knowing what will come them one day, you just never know :) Better to have it than not when an idea strikes. I just need to find a better way of organizing what I have. Love your hub!

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 3 years ago from USA

      Hi Heather - Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I think I might have a project coming up using that doll's foot and broken locket. Stay tuned... :)

      Hi DzyMsLizzy - I mourn at the thought of all that great stuff you threw away. But it sounds like you're busy making wonderfully creative projects of your own - just from different materials. Glad to meet another person who's been bit by the creative bug :) Thanks for your vote up and comments. I appreciate it!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Ha! Reminds me of my mom and I and our "dollhouse box," to create the world's grandest dollhouse for my daughters...then, maybe granddaughters...in the end, it never happened, and all the stuff ended up dumped in the trash, as I'm not really a crafter of that ilk. I lack both the talent and the imagination to create things such as you've illustrated. My crafts tend to be things done on paper with rubber stamps, painting ceramics (basically, a 3-D coloring book--all you have to do is stay within the "lines"), and things of that nature. From scratch? Come up with brilliant ideas? No, not I. My brilliant ideas are words on paper or photographic images. ;-)

      Voted up, interesting and funny.

    • Heather Says profile image

      Heather Rode 3 years ago from Buckeye, Arizona

      I love hanging on to bits and pieces of anything and everything all in the name of crafting. I always hang onto leftover pieces of scrapbook paper-- they're too pricey to just throw in the trash. I love your bookmark and wreaths. I'll be on the lookout for the doll's foot and broken heart locket in your next great masterpieces :)

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 3 years ago from USA

      Very funny! Maybe the first step of recovery is admitting you have a problem - or writing a hub about it :) Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate it!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 3 years ago from USA

      Having watched a couple of episodes of Hoarders yesterday, I was afraid yet intrigued about reading this hub. I am a crafter as well, and do have a tendency to pick up things that can be used in crafts. It is a fine balance to collect the supplies to be stocked when you are ready to craft, but not save anything and everything and run out of room. I think the key, as you said, is to actually use the stuff.

    • purl3agony profile image
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      Donna Herron 4 years ago from USA

      Hi Glimmer Twin Fan - I've gone searching for something, only to realize I had thrown it out years before. I know what you're going through :) I'm sure you've got plenty of "good stuff" left! Thanks for commenting!!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I just cleaned out my junk room and was amazed at how much stuff I had accumulated. I kept some and tossed some. My mind is whirling with ideas and my trash can is full of stuff that I wondered why I ever kept. Hope I did not make a mistake throwing some of it out.

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 4 years ago from USA

      Hi Kidscraft - Good luck reorganizing your stash of treasures :) Thanks for your comments!

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Nice projects! And I understand the feeling that you don't want to through out something that one day you might use.... on the other hand you have to stay organized! But you can be sure that the day you through out something....the next day or not long after you will need it!

      Because we had major (unfortunately really necessary) renovation in our basement (where I keep all my stuff) I have to reorganize everything. So I feel a little bit overwhelmed. ... because on one hand I try to create things and on the other hand I try to reorganize all my "stuff". Getting there :-).... slowly!

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 4 years ago from USA

      Hi Natashlh - Great to hear others share my craziness/genius! Thanks for stopping by!

      Hi pstraubie48 - It is a great way to recycle and bring new life to old things. Thanks for your support!

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 4 years ago from USA

      Hi theframjak - I try to keep my hording to small items or things that are easy to store - just don't tell my husband :) Thanks so much for your comments!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Great way to recycle and reuse those treasures we have held on to. As long as it does not control you, it is nice to save those bits and pieces that may come in handy at some future time.

      Thanks for sharing this with us.

      Sending Angels to you :) ps

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      I have so much random stuff because I think it might come in handy some day! It's was great to hear from like-minded folks.

    • theframjak profile image

      theframjak 4 years ago from East Coast

      Great hub. Sounds like you must have a lot of storage space in order to keep all of these odds and ends.