Sometimes it takes me a while to get inspired. I might find elements in different places and hang on to them until an idea pops up then I can put the different pieces together. Most of the time its not right away. That is the case with this set I made recently. I bought these blue and aqua glass beads last year but hadn't made anything with them. I found the octopus charms a couple of months ago and stuck them in my bead bag and essentially forgot about them. Then one day, I was at the Ybor City Saturday Market working on some recycled paper bead jewelry. I came across these blue and aqua glass beads in my bead box and WHAM! Just like that, it hit me. I knew I what I was going to use them for. I stopped what I was doing and gathered all the supplies and started working on the set you see above. Finished it a short amount of time. I have to say, I was impressed! So what was it that made me suddenly become so inspired? Well, I'll show you. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present- Honeymoon Island State Park.
You see it, don't you? Uncanny, huh? I had just been to this beach the day before and took this picture. The seagull was totally by accident, by the way. I just loved the colors of the sand, surf, and sky. As soon as I saw the beads with the nearly identical colors and the black in the bird, a light bulb went off. That's how it is for me sometimes. Inspiration can strike in the strangest ways!
If you ever find yourself in the Tampa Bay area I'd recommend checking out this beach. It is amazing! And of course, don't forget to stop by the Ybor City Saturday Market and look for me!
On a recent trip to EPCOT in Orlando I found this amazing sculpture. It is of a penguin momma and baby and is made from discarded materials found on beaches. As beautiful as it is, its also sad that so much trash is found on beaches that you could make something like this. Like most art, it is designed to make you think. Lots of bottle caps, straws, and food and drink containers. I guess people think that plastics are biodegradable. Some are but the vast majority aren't. It can take hundreds of years to breakdown. According to the National Park Service, it takes a plastic bottle 450 years to decompose in the environment.
It's stunning to think about this. But it doesn't have to be. this should be an easy fix. Just dispose of your trash properly. It's that simple. Most beaches and parks have trash cans and recycle bins. Fishing spots have fishing line collection tubs. And if they don't, take it with you.
I reuse as much as I can and recycle the rest if possible when I am making something. I can't fathom just chucking a can over my shoulder and walking away. Back in the day I was a smoker. I NEVER just threw my cigarette butts on the ground. It just wasn't right to do that. Thankfully, I quit smoking many years ago.
So on this Earth Day, I would like to take a moment to remind everyone that we only get one shot at this. If we screw this planet up we don't get a do -over. That's it. Were done. We have made many strides but we still have a long way to go. I am heartened every week when kids approach my tables at the Ybor City Saturday Market of any craft shows. They're tuned in to recycling and are fascinated by what I can make. Once, I met a young man and his father at an event. The boy was so fascinated by everything. He looked at every table with complete wonder. A few months later at another event that same father thanked me and told me I had inspired his son. He makes art from recycled materials and is always looking for new things to make. I have to say I was moved to tears. I was not expecting that. But it felt very good to hear! I was doing exactly what I was meant to. Happy Earth Day Everyone!
Nice, huh? The awesome folks at EcoFest created this to promote the event. If you are looking for something to do on the 13th, come to EcoFest it's going to be an awesome day!
Second time around! Isn't that what recycling is all about? For the second year in a row I will be a vendor at EcoFest. This event is so me! It is all about helping the environment by showcasing the many different was to recycle and live a more sustainable life. EcoFest is sponsored by Learning Gate Community School. The students, teachers, and parents make this event so easy to participate in. They are there to help with anything you need. Including watching your booth for a bathroom break! Believe me THAT is very much appreciated when you do an event by yourself like I do. Since this is a family friendly event it draws a pretty big crowd. Kids are naturally drawn to my stuff. I use Legos, guitar picks, duct tape, etc. If I could just figure out a way to reuse slime I could make MILLIONS! MMWHAAA! I digress. This year EcoFest has moved from Sunday to Saturday and from Lowry Park to Julian Lane Riverfront Park. I hadn't really been to this park before so a couple of weeks ago I stopped by. I couldn't believe my eyes. This place is amazing! It was 4pm on a Saturday and the place was full of people and pets and so much activity. The park is beautiful! There are winding sidewalks, new restrooms, great public art and a splash pad!
Somewhere in here is where I will be!
Doesn't that look fun?
I can't tell you excited I am to see how this new location does for this event. This part of Downtown Tampa has really seen a surge in the past few years with the addition of the Riverwalk and Armature Works. Moving the event to Saturday is a big deal too! That will definitely bring more people out.
From the EcoFest website:
Our 10th Annual EcoFest will be held on Saturday, April 13th at the Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park 1001 North Boulevard Tampa, Florida 33606. The event will be open to the public from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM. Admission to the event is free.
There will be live music, demonstrations, informational booths, green living products and services. Some local artists, green businesses, environmental organizations, alternative health practitioners, renewable energy specialists, organic farms and gardens with produce will be in attendance.
Check out the Eco Fest website for more details.
So I will have to give up one of my Saturdays at the Ybor City Saturday Market. But since this event is right up my alley, I can't miss it. I'll be back the following week or better yet you can come see me at EcoFest!
So... I finally got around to redesigning the 'ol website. It was long overdue. No more green text. I recently redesigned my market set up with new table covers so this new layout blends well with them. It feels much more streamlined and fresh. Before it was just too busy and had WAY too much text. I tend to talk to much. Anyone that knows me will agree. So now the website is cleaner. and more user friendly. I tried to restrain myself and will leave the excess verbiage for the blog. So i would love to hear some feedback. I'm a big girl, I can take it!
It's that time of year again! No not back to school. I'm talking about Creative Loafing's annual Best Of The Bay! If you are not familiar with Creative Loafing it is a free local paper with great articles, loads of entertainment ads, movie reviews, and some pretty interesting classifieds. It basically an alternative to your everyday newspaper.Each year they conduct a survey of the best of everything in Tampa Bay. And I mean everything! From Best Local Band to Best Dog Groomer. Every category you can think of and then some. I was nominated a few years ago in the Best Market Vendor Category a few years ago. Sadly, I did not win. Imagine my surprise this year to learn that I had been nominated in the Best Place To Shop Green Category! I was truly shocked. It must have been one of my customers that nominated me. So to them I say Thank You. There was one tiny little snag. They misspelled my name. they put "Reusing By Susan" instead of Re-Usin by Susan (ya'know, cause it rhymes!) Not sure if it was submitted that way or if the folks at Creative Loafing thought it was a typo. I have emailed the nice people at CL and hopefully it will be corrected.
In Hollywood they say "its just an honor to be nominated". I can say that is definitely true for me. when you look at the others in my category, I really don't stand much of a chance against the likes of Whole Foods, Earth Fare, and Trader Joe's. But hey, I'm in good company, right? So if you find yourself surfing around with nothing to do. Why not head over to Creative Loafing's Best Of the Bay . www.cltampa.com/botb2018 My category is in Goods and Services> Best Place To Shop Green> Reusin(g) By Susan. Thanks a bunch to whoever nominated me! I really am humbled.
Ain't no cure for the summertime blues... Isn't that how the song goes? Well I don't these blues are anything to be sad about. I just love these colors. I always find myself drawn to blues, turquoise, and aqua. They remind me of the sea and water. There is a tranquility in these colors. I guess that is why I make so many pieces in this color family. Well if you like these colors or any color for that matter, check out my Etsy shop . There I have every color you can think of and maybe some you cant! You can link to it from the SHOP tab above.
Re-Usin By Susan will be at Eco Fest 2018 Tampa Bay at Lowry Park on Sunday April 22nd.
In just a couple more days I will be at my first ever Eco Fest! I have been invited to be a vendor there for several years but something always comes up that keeps me form being able to attend. But not this year! I am so excited! What better place to sell recycled jewelry than an event that celebrates recycling? This event promises to be big with an estimated attendance of 5,000+ and 145 or so vendors, food trucks, charities, and more.From the Eco Fest 2018 website, "There will be live music, workshops, demonstrations, informational booths, green living products and services. Some local artists, green businesses, environmental organizations, alternative health practitioners, renewable energy specialists, organic farms and gardens with produce will be in attendance. All vendors must supply their own tables, chairs and tents. In addition, we encourage you to become an EcoFest 2018 sponsor to highlight your green brand within the community."
If you would like to learn more you can go to www.learninggate.org/ecofest
I hope to see lots of familiar faces!
So I was making this pendant out of a Disney park map. The front had Pirate Mickey and the back had a map of Adventureland. Well, there was a glue mishap and the back of the pendant stuck to my table and a piece of the paper tore off. After a moment of cursing my carelessness with the glue I decided to try something. I glued a skull and crossbones charm over the missing section, hung a skull bead and key charm, and turned the back of the pendant to the front. Problem solved! I always say, nothing is ever truly beyond repair. WD Magic Kingdom Adven skull beads andRecycled a skull charm. 24" ball chain.
Colorful Can Tab Creations
Recently a customer brought me a handful of can tabs. You know the ones you find on energy drinks and some beer cans. I an always grateful when a customer brings me something they think I can put to use in my creative endevours. I get wine corks, bottle caps, computer disks, and lots of can tabs. But when someone brings me colored can tabs, i do a happy dance! You see there not as easy to come by. I dont drink energy drinks do i have to rely on others to provide them. They collect them from their kids, coworkers, and friends. Usually i get a dozen or so at a time just like the customer i mentioned before. However, she surprised me the following week with a sandwich bag nealy full of a couple of hundred csn tabs in every color of the rainbow! It was an upcycler's dream! After washing and sorting them i got to work on the three pair of earrings in the picture above. I really how the Red Bull tabs have little bulls on them! So cute! I have a lot more ideas for these tabs. I just need a few more hours in my day!
These earrings and much more can be found most Saturdays at the Ybor City Saturday Market.
We already have Talk Like A Pirate Day why not a Dress Like A Pirate Day? Oh wait, we do! Around these parts of the Sunshine State. particularly in my hometown of Tampa, it's a pirate's life for us every February. That's when the city loses its mind in a quest for the ultimate booty- strands of colorful plastic beads. February brings us Gasparilla. A mock pirate invasion, parades, balls, art & film festivals, and a marathon. Think Mardi Gras meets Pirates of the Caribbean.
Started at the beginning of the 20th century, Gasparilla was just a spring festival designed to promote the city. Borrowing an obscure legend of a local pirate rouge, city leaders concocted the Legend of Jose Gaspar. They dressed like pirates and "invaded" the city on horseback. Each year the parade grew and took on a broader civic appeal with more Pirate "Krewes" joining the festivities. Now there are over 40 Krewes devoted to everything from female pirates (something that was explicity banned until the late 20th century), Celtic heritage, sailors, gamblers, Roman Gods and Godesses, Latin heritage, and even one Krewe devoted to the Titanic survivor, the Unsinkable Molly Brown.
The parade itself winds down the the world's longest continuous sidewalk on Bayshore Boulevard at 4.5 miles.
It is a sought to behold. Each year hundreds of thousands of people line Bayshore Blvd and scream for beads. The Gasparilla Parade is the 3rd largest parade in the US behind Macys and the Rose Parade respectively.
As a former Krewe member myself, (shout out to the ladies of the Krewe of Saint Brigit!) it is one of the most fun things I've ever done! If you think it's fun being at the parade, try being IN it! But that's a story for another time.
Basically, Gasparilla is more than just a parade or even season. It's a state of mind. Which brings me back to my jewelry. I am inspired to create some pirate themed designs. This year I actually made some bangles from recycled parade beads. I have a few more ideas that I have to get busy on but for now I have several designs available here on my website or as always at my booth at the
Ybor City Saturday Market, Saturdays from 9am- 3pm.
I love a bargain. I often find myself scouring clearance sections of stores. One of my favorites is craft stores. I find bags of beads and findings that might be missing one, or tools that someone purchased and returned, or something that didn't sell that is perfect for me. in the case of the lovely brooch you see above, or was missing a rather large focal rhinestone. when I picked it up I immediately knew I had something special. It is all glass rhinestones. which are very heavy. This gives it some serious weight. It is very sturdy. Even at the regular price of $17.99 it would have been worth buying. However since it was damaged, I got it for a steal at 8.99! I know, right? I figured I could find something in my vast collection of crap, er, materials to fill the void. So I bought it. I decided the most logical thing to use was a button. I had just recently been given a tin of vintage buttons that I hadn't really looked through yet. I have lots of jars and boxes of vintage buttons but these are special.
These buttons belonged to a friend's mother. She had shown them to me about a year ago but was quite ready to part with them. A month or so ago with great deal of trepidation she gave them to me. I looked through them and found a tarnished rhinestone button that was missing a stone. I placed it in the hole and it fit perfectly! I glued it in place with some E-6000 (FYI best jewelry glue ever!) Them I took silver glitter glue and filed in the missing stone. I then used gold glitter glue to cover the tarnished metal of the button. I let it dry overnight. I wore it the next day to lots of compliments. I won't be selling this piece. I'm a pinaholic! But I'm always on the lookout for stuff I can rework. So next time you come across something broken or less than perfect on a clearance shelf don't assume it's no good. Because when it comes to upcycling. nothing is beyond repair.
New year, new approach. I'm not one for resolutions but I do like the idea of starting fresh. For me, I'm starting with this website. I have been neglecting it in favor of my Facebook page and my Etsy Store. However now I plan on using all three together. I started with registering my domain name. Long overdue. I'll be adding more stuff to my Etsy store and posting more on my Facebook page. I'm going to be a social media butterfly! Look out 2015!
Packing peanuts whimsically transformed into Snowman poop!
A little tulle, a little ribbon, some computer printed labels, and of course Styrofoam packing peanuts! Voila! Snowman Poop!
I've seen similar things with marshmallows or mints, but any chance to re-use something gets my creative circuits firing.
These make great party favors, or office gifts, and they are super simple to make.
I used a roll of glitter tulle from the craft store. Much cheaper than tulle circles.
First Cut about 6 to 8 inch lengths of tulle and ribbon.
• Place packing peanuts in the center of the tulle
• Gather the corners together and twist.
• Tie ribbon around the twisted tulle.
• Attach label with another piece of ribbon. I printed mine on the computer but if you have nice penmanship you could do them by hand.
• That's it! Snowman Poop!
I get asked how I come up with some of my designs. Sometimes it's a pretty easy answer and sometimes it's a bit more complicated. I see everyday things as having potential all the time. But the inspiration often comes much later and very unexpectedly. For example, this necklace above. The two large aluminum pieces have been in a shoebox on my shelf. They used to be the handle to a box cutter. It broke and I couldn't bring myself to toss it. Fast forward a year or so later. I go into that shoebox for something else and spot them. No sooner than I touched them, inspiration hit. Wham! Just like that I knew what to do with them. As you can see above, I documented the process from start to finish. The necklace only took 20 minutes to assemble. But a year to think about it!
Well, it's almost that time of year again. Yep, you guessed it! Time for Small Business Saturday! In case you have been stranded on a deserted island for the past few years, Small Business Saturday is a movement to promote supporting small businesses. It's always the Saturday after Black Friday. Escape the crowded malls and put money into the local economy!
I've seen this movement grow and grow. I'm so proud to be a part of it! My fellow
The Ybor City Saturday Market vendors and I look forward to seeing everyone! Buy local. By local.
Now, what new goodies have I made this week?
It's been a busy year for me. I have had to do a lot of traveling for my "real" job and therefore haven't been able to make a lot of new pieces. My workload may not be letting up but I'm going to make time for creating if it kills me! in the meantime check out some of the stuff I have been working on.
I recently did a brief interview for In The Field Magazine, a local agricultural publication. When I was first approached about it I wasn't sure how my jewelry would fit into a magazine about farming. But as it turns out the magazine is so much more. Libby Hopkins, the writer, has column called Market Watch where she profiles local markets and artists. The magazine as a whole is very focused on supporting local small businesses, which is something I am very passionate about. You can read the magazine in the above image or at their website. It was a lot of fun doing this and I hope you will check it out.
Here's a couple of heart themed pins made from some recycled components. I have a fascination with pins. I make a lot of them. I guess I get that from my Mom. She loved pins.
I've had this idea in my head for a while. So, I finally say down and made it. I think it came out pretty much how I pictured it.
I'm a proud Whovian*! I've been looking to make some Doctor Who jewelry for some time. I found shrinky dinks to be a great material. Inexpensive, easily obtainable, and easy to use. *Fan of the long running (50 years) British Sci-Fi tv series Doctor Who.
Re-Usin' by Susan is the culmination of many years of exploration and experimentation in jewelry making. People ask me how I got to be so creative. I tell them I ate paste as a child.