Jennifer Perkins is a compulsive crafter, wife and mother living in Austin, TX. You can read more of her crafty escapades on her blog Naughty Secretary Club.

I think each time I go to a flea market my husband sits at home and dreads what I will be bringing home. There was the giant 4 foot tall panda head, the dining room chairs on wheels and once there was a grocery cart. When my husband and his green thumb heard my master plan for the shopping cart all was well on the home front.


  • Old Grocery Cart
  • Scissors
  • Potting Soil
  • Herbs
  • Coconut Husk Liners

  1. The first thing to do is cut your husk liners to fit in the baskets of your cart. Dirt will fall right through those small cracks so you have to line it.
  2. After the cart is lined fill with potting soil.
  3. All that is left to do is plant your favorite herbs. Be sure to water your cart frequently as it is like a big hanging basket and will dry out easily.
  4. Harvest your herbs to your hearts content. The nice thing about your herb garden on wheels is you can easily transport it around to catch the best sun and have the easiest access.

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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!


I love this Driftwood city made by Alisa Burke – she generously shows us how she made it too.


Betsy from craftivism wrote in asking for help seeking ideas on ways to recycle trash in a small Guatemalan village – here is the letter – if you can help either leave a comment here or email her betsy[AT]craftivism[.]com

One of the biggest problems regarding health in Guatemala (and other countries) is related to trash. In the villages, to get rid of trash, they burn it, right in the middle of the village, letting dangerous toxic fumes blow right down the main street, not 10 yards from houses, kids, cows.

I’m working on putting together a grant proposal with some ideas of how the villagers could reuse their trash to create something useful. Yes, they could also make stuff and resell it, but unless it can be resold in country, it’s perpetuating Guatemala being dependent on other countries. The money from the grant would go towards making/teaching/testing creations in order to see if the villagers can easily make them …

Given the DIY/craft community’s enthusiasm for reusing materials, what could we come up with that would make life easier in developing countries? From solar power to LED lights to making yarn from plastic bags to reusing plastic bottle … The possibilities are endless! The biggest problem is finding a way to reuse plastic so it can be saved from the town dump. Yes, recycling would be awesome, but not as practical in the middle of nowhere. Water is also an issue as some people have to carry it from a stream in buckets… which I can tell you, are heavy!

So, I’m asking you, lovely craft peeps, to either pass on any links you might have of creative reuse ideas or to pass on the word that I’m looking for them.


sculpting with fabric scraps with this textile leftovers scarf tutorial. Thanks Jo: it’s great for recycling and using up all those scraps and bit and pieces that you don’t have a use for otherwise.

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