Thursday, July 3, 2008

Favorite Tools

Greetings. My quest for the set of charms the Husband brought back from China is still proving fruitless, so I thought I'd show off a few of the super-cool tools I use in my bead making and jewelry designing instead, today. Note the sleek lines, the shiny surfaces, the overall look and feel of these objects that just shout out how desirable they are for beading. Envious, eh?

If you, like me, have ever had a young child in the house, then chances are that you've had a bunch of these lying around at one time or another. I used to make a lot of fresh fruit puree for the Short One in his toothless days, but even so, we still ended up swimming in these little containers and jars. During a visit, my mother-in-law - who is an artist - commented that she could probably use the plastic containers for holding paint or water or some such, and it finally twigged that I, too, could incorporate these in my crafting, rather than just chucking them out by the dozens each week (which always bugged me).

The glass containers are the perfect size for holding small batches of hand-colored resin. I use the plastic containers as water and oil holders when I work with metal clay. The container tops make an excellent portable surface (with the addition of a small lump of polymer clay) to hold fine silver pieces level and steady when I am ready to fill them with resin. The containers are also terrific for sorting beads or even for holding small projects.

The SO was already starting to gnaw on solids by the time I started saving these, but I still managed to amass two big cardboard boxes full of them, which are currently sitting in the basement. I use them pretty much every time I work with beads and jewelry, which is to say, practically every day, and, of course, I love the fact that I don't pay an extra penny for them. I will be extremely sorry when they're gone. (I'm already eyeing the little sister of one of the SO's playmates as a possible new source of containers...)

So, does anyone else have good tips for recycling objects to use in crafting and/or beading projects? Please do leave a comment, if so - I'd love to hear about them.

Thanks for visiting!


Anonymous said...

This brought back dad used the baby food jars from my childhood days in his workshop to hold nails, scews,etc. He had a wall that had little shelves and under the shelves he had nailed the lids of the bottles so that they were all within sight and a quick twist and they were open and easily put back in place. there are still some in the garage even today I think...

Melissa J. Lee said...

Thanks for your comment - that's a great memory. Now that I think about it, I think my Dad also kept nails in a few baby food jars (although he did not have such an organized set up as yours). Really, it's embarrassing how long it took me to figure out how useful the jars and plastic containers would be!

he-mc-leckie said...

Melissa: how is your meat from the grocery packaged? If it's like mine, there is a styrofoam tray holding the meat. Well, my suggestion is, instead of throwing the things into our landfills, 1. wash the trays well. 2. Put into your workroom. 3. Use as beading tray.
The styrofoam is very forgiving with your needle points which is great when picking up the little beggers. The trays bend easily so put them on a rigid surface and they last longer.
Is that a great tip, or what?!?

Melissa J. Lee said...

Helen, that is a great tip!!! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Your PMC design of that fortune cookie is really neat. I like the finish and how eye catching! Wearing one of these would be sure to spark a conversation.

Teri B

aallen66 said...

The baby food jars are great, but I've gone in a slightly different direction. (my youngest kid is also 18, so I am loooooong out of the baby food stage.)

I started using things with sentimental value as well as practical use. I have a coffee cup & saucer on my desk that hold loose beads and whatnots until I get a chance to put them away. The cup and saucer belonged to my grandmother, who drank coffee from it every morning. I leave it out on my workspace and always have a reminder of her.

I also have my great-grandmother's mason jar full of buttons on the table and an old goodwill creamer that my mom picked up years ago with miscellaneous things in it.

None of this stuff has any monetary value, but I like having my family "around me" every day. Plus, I don't have to leave these things stored in a cupboard out of sight.

Melissa J. Lee said...

Hi aallen66, That's a great story - I love the idea that you have your remembrances serving everyday crafty functions, so you can think of your family every time you use them. It sort of suggests to me the whole idea that life is meant to be lived and not just shut away and protected. Thanks!