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Craft Corner: The Perks of Being a Hoarder

I’ve talked before on this blog about being a bit of a craft dabbler. Mostly, I like putting the things around me to good use in an aesthetically pleasing way. But really, crafting is just a way to justify my hoarding habit. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not at A&E’s Hoarders level. I just have a little more trouble passing by that sidewalk sale/urban reuse center/estate sale/thrift store without stopping. And buying. But hey! At least it’s used and therefore cheaper and more ecological. Right? Right. So today I’d like to share a project with you. This project supports my personal mantra: Hoarding. It’s Not So Bad!

Here’s exhibit A: the back of a vintage suitcase I bought for $5 at a garage sale.

Since I completed this project a long while ago, this is the only before shot I have. The inside of the suitcase was lined with a beige silk that was heavily stained. There was also a stretched out elastic pocket that just hung sadly.

Unlike many of my usual garage sale purchases, I actually knew what I wanted to do with the suitcase when I bought it. At the time, I had just moved and had been wanting to create a decorative display in my room, sort of like a cabinet of curiosities, inspired by the extremely awesome Museum of Jurassic Technology. (Next time you’re in LA, check it out. Seriously, it’s a fascinating place).

Now close your eyes and imagine I cut the sagging pocket out and then sprayed gold dye all over the silk lining. I put thumbtacks on the top side to hang my necklaces, interspersed with some photobooth shots. On the bottom, I installed photos and other ephemera I’ve collected over time and voila! Exhibit B:

Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

I love having my necklaces organized, but didn’t want to buy and hang a whole separate display. So incorporating it into my suitcase was the perfect way to turn something decorative into something pretty AND utilitarian. Below my necklaces and photobooth shots is a photo viewer with a picture of my grandparents inside from the 70s. My grandmother was kind enough to hoard that one for me, and seeing it reminds me of her. To the right, an old school answering machine tape.

But I think the action is really on the bottom part of the suitcase.

The bottom left photo is held by a teeny plastic clothespin I found randomly and refused to surrender, despite having no use for it. To the right: a Tattly tattoo designed by Julia Rothman so I won’t forget I have it. Next to the tattoo is a butterfly I bought at a Portland market that never hung well, and above that, a magnifying glass/metrics converter from a flea market in Saint Petersburg, Florida.

Clockwise from top: three tiny vials filled with moss and pebbles I made but decided not to sell at the Chronicle Holiday Craft Fair (that’s a blog post for another time); one of my favorite photos; gold foil matches spotted and grabbed from the Chronicle Holiday Party at The City Club of San Francisco; a paint chip from the San Francisco reuse center SCRAP; and some plastic bubbles I thought I’d use to make magnets, but, true to hoarder form, have sat untouched.

Clockwise from top left: An aquarium fish from the free pile at Chronicle; an empty absinthe bottle I brought home from Prague ten years ago; a mold of my teeth created before a root canal; another would-be magnet; the weathered label from a bourbon bottle; and a tiny pencil reminiscent of the days when libraries didn’t just use computers.

So you see, hoarding is not so bad! Take a cue from me and arrange all of the items you’ve hoarded in a deliberate manner. Then you can call it art.

Lisa Tauber
Editorial Assistant

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