Guest blogger series | Repurposing + Thrifting

by Admin on 16/09/2011

in Green Crafting, Guest blog series2 2011

Maize Hutton is from Montana and lives in a cottage in the woods with her little Westie Violet. She loves to thrift, design DIYs and share her creations on her blog. She’s a recycled silver artist with two websites Mommy and Maize

Howdy! I’m Maize Hutton and I’m thrilled to be a guest blogger on

I started blogging DIYs back in 2004 when my recycled silver tag necklaces ‘Mommy Tags’ became popular. The success of Mommy Tags enabled me to stay home, create and play. I love to thrift and reconstruct. I consider myself a multi-media artist because I dabble in everything from sewing, embroidery, crochet and knitting, to jewelry making, clay modeling and paper projects.

I’ve been recycling and thrifting since the 70s, a long time before the existence of the current thrift store chains and the popularity it has now garnered. When I was younger, there was a stigma attached to thrift stores but I looked past it when my girlfriend would show me the cute clothes she’d bought and hadn’t spent much for. My parents owned a bar and recycled enough aluminium cans one year that our family of five was able to travel to Hawaii for a two-week vacation! So, I guess you can say it’s in my blood.

Part of being a good thrifter is making sure to visit your thrift store often (I make my rounds once a week) and keeping a notebook of things you’re looking for with family member clothing sizes and measurements of items you need to fit in a specific area of your home. Having a notebook reminds me of what I’m looking for and allows me to stay on track when I’m thrifting because I can get carried away with the idea of a ‘good deal’ and end up bringing home more than I really need or have space for.

There have been times when I’ve bought something, such as a bag of vintage skeleton keys, that I didn’t know what I would use them for but I knew I’d be inspired to create something with later on. I’ve learned not to pass up those special types of items because I’ll stew over them for a few days, come up with a use for them and then kick myself for not buying them.

I also believe that having the basic skill of sewing allows you to reconstruct things you normally wouldn’t consider. My mother taught me how to sew but everything else I’ve learned, such as knitting and crocheting or using power tools, is self- taught.

I’m drawn to vintage linens, doilies, dishes, paper items, and leather coats and boots. I cut up a thrifted leather coat and made the “Howdy” fringe banner in the picture. Currently, I’m collecting a supply of leather belts to use as webbing in reconstructing a vintage aluminium lawn chair. Recently, I was invited to a luau and needed to wear a Hawaiian shirt. I didn’t have one, but because I visit my thrift store often I knew they had a large supply of Hawaiian shirts in great condition for 95 cents. It helps to make a mental note of what you see in your thrift store in case there’s something you’ll need in the future.

If you find an item that appeals to you but isn’t in the greatest condition, consider how it can be reused or reconstructed. For example, if I discover a vintage tablecloth with a great print but it has a few stains that can’t be removed, it can be cut up and used as dishtowels, curtains, a bag, bunting, gift-wrap or blocks for a quilt. Think outside the box and play with various ideas.

Thrift stores satisfy my creativity and help me make something personal to suit my taste instead of buying something new and generic that everyone else has. Thrifting is not only about saving money; it’s the thrill of the hunt. Finding something you’ve been looking for, in the condition you want at a thrifty price, is so satisfying that you can get addicted to the thrill! For me, and my pocketbook, it’s a good addiction to have.

I get bored quickly and I’m always working on several projects at a time. Fast and easy crafts with satisfying results are my favorite, so I thought I’d share a few of my recent creations with you. You can also visit the tutorial page on my blog for archived projects since 2005.

The following projects are easy, take minutes to make and you’ll love the results. You can even include your kids to help you with a few of them! Have fun creating and I hope you visit me soon.

Enamel Vintage Keys with Nail Polish. So easy!

Make Paper Twine with Crepe Paper Rolls

Make Butter with Your Kids It's Simple!

Make some Heart Clips for your Huny

Sweet Vintage Spool Sentiments

Thanks Kathreen for the opportunity to share some of my DIY projects with all of your lovely followers. And, BIG hugs to everyone who visits me on my blog.

Yer sweet!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa September 16, 2011 at 10:19 am

Fun post! I especially love the painted key necklaces… brilliant! Thanks for sharing.


2 Carla September 16, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Great ideas and creativity .. I especially love the Sweet Spool! and I love your blog too Maize!


3 Maya September 16, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Ooo… this was a lovely post. Great to meet you Maize!


4 joanie September 17, 2011 at 2:23 am

Sweet post and projects – lovely!


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