Tag Archives: Repurposed

Meet Our Friends Rebecca & Norman: Robot Maker and Presidential Hopeful

Say what? Norman, a current top-runner in the presidential race, and I would like to give you an exclusive, never-before-granted tour of Remnants by RJ: Where the Robot Magic Happens.

For those of you who don’t know, Remnants by RJ is just that—a collection of society’s cast off “remnants” that I (Rebecca Jackson) transform into fun, quirky pieces of art. I tend to see what something could be, instead of what it just is.

Primarily, I make recycled robots. I take discarded bits of life—those things lurking in attic boxes or collecting dust on thrift store shelves—and allow them to find their way to a new reality through trial and error assimilations. Each robot is a transformation of the ordinary into something magical with a name, a story, and a personality.

Just like Norman. As soon as the clock knob came to rest on his little film canister head, I knew I’d found my robot counterpart.

Norman is the odd-bot-out in most situations. He has the innate social skills of an ostrich/warthog hybrid and often feels a bit insecure. You might say, Norman is—and always will be—an underdog. But who doesn’t enjoy rooting for an underdog? Despite his insecurities, he accepts himself as he is and enjoys sharing his journey with the world.

Today, that journey takes you inside The Workshop.

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Finished robots, photo shoots, and packing materials reside in the outer sanctum of the workshop…as does the all-important Drill Press of Awesomeness. (If the house were on fire, I would save the drill press first, then maybe the kids. But seriously, they have legs, they should be able to get out on their own.)

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The inner sanctum is a small square room, located in close proximity to the drill press, that houses the workbench on one side and the robot part shelves on the other. Despite its cluttered, slightly haphazard appearance, the shelves are mostly organized and bins are labeled as necessary: arms, eyes, legs, small feet, etc.

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When a robot begins the reassembly process, it’s a matter of trial-and-error. I usually have the glimmer of an idea and begin looking for potential bodies and heads. Then it’s a matter of trying them out.

Norman is currently overseeing the reassembly of a very special robot for Carolyn. (Since neither of us want to ruin the surprise, this is only a sneak peek. You’ll have to wait for the final reveal.)

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I often try to add something personal or unexpected. It is very important to me that each robot is one-of-a-kind. Despite traditional robots being streamlined, replicated machines, I don’t ever want to mass-produce anything. I love the way my recycled robots find their way to a new life all their own.

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Equally important is my commitment to recycling. As a society, we are often obsessed with the next bigger, better thing. That leaves a whole lot of consumer waste in landfills or sitting on shelves in a thrift store. Incorporating those old-fashioned or outdated materials into my work is not only a commentary on the never-ending race to the future, but it is also a challenge to rethink the familiar, giving it new life as an eco-friendly, sustainable piece of art.

Of course, that’s a natural segue into a concluding paragraph with a good dose of campaign propaganda. Norman is currently running for President of the United States on a platform of “Recycling Materials, Not Ideas.”  Among other things, Norman believes that humans, like recycled robots, are endowed with certain unalienable rights, like Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Appendages.

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Together, Norman and I are ready to start infecting the world with imagination and kindness. Won’t you join us? I bet, with your help, we can change the world.

Thank you to Rebecca & Norman for guest-blogging for us in our summer creativity series!  If you’d like to see more of Rebecca’s creations or follow Norman’s Presidential Campaign here’s where you can find them: remnantsbyrj.com, on Etsy, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and via email at remnantsbyrj@gmail.com.

 

Online Sale at Select Handmade in KC Shops November 1 – 7th!

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Have you had a chance to check out the talented artisans from the group Handmade in KC (www.handmadeinkc.com)?  This is a cooperative of local artisans who offer quality handmade products.  We are very proud to be a part of this amazing group of local artists!

Several of us from Handmade in KC wanted to help you kick off your holiday shopping with a 20% off coupon code to our shops!

The coupon code will be effective November 1 at midnight and end November 7 at 11:59pm Central Time.
All you need to do is find the products that you’d like from the shops listed below.  You will need to check out from each shop individually (not a collective), and enter the code: HANDMADEKC to receive 20% off of your purchase at that shop!  And then do it again for another shop listed below!  Happy shopping!
Beadery Destash
Creations by M & J
The Costume Wrangler
Handmade by Lolo Z
Hang Ups in KC
Hey Paul Studios
Ni-Chern Designs
Nuggets of Goodness
Only Little Wing
Remnants by RJ
Simply Classic Jewelry
Stik A Pin In It
Thyme2Dream
The Tulle Box
Vintage Wedding Gems
Violet’s Buds

It’s Festival Season at Hang Ups in KC

It’s that time of year again and that means that we need to move from our summer family fun schedule back into serious work mode.  This is what we’ve got booked for the fall so far:

  • September 20th: Hillsboro Arts & Craft Fair, Hillsoboro, Kansas.   9am-4pm.   Visit www.hillsboroartsandcraftsfair.org for more information.
  • September 27th: Overland Park Fall Festival, Overland Park, Kansas. 9am-5pm.  Visit www.opkansas.org/things-to-see-and-do/arts-and-music/overland-park-fall-festival for more information.
  • October 11 & 12th:  Sugar Mound Arts & Crafts Festival, Mound City, Kansas.  Saturday 9am-6pm Sunday 9am-5pm.  Visit www.sugarmoundartscrafts.com for more information.

If you come out to any of these shows please drop by to say HI!

This past weekend we officially kicked off festival season with Festival of the Little Hills in beautiful historic St. Charles, Missouri.  This festival is huge – with over 300 vendors lining the gorgeous Main Street and Frontier Park, on the shores of the Missouri River.   We thought it would be fun to share our photos with you.

Pre-Show Street View  Street View

On the left, Main Street prior to opening.  On the right, our sidewalk view from the back of our booth.  Check out those gorgeous historic buildings and the cobblestone street.

Weather  Crowds

How was the weather?  Well it started raining on Friday at about 5pm and it stopped on Sunday around 3pm.  That didn’t stop the shoppers who wait for this festival all year, though.  Although they may not have reached their expected 200,000 shoppers there were A LOT of people there!

Booth Booth RHS

Here are a couple of shots of our booth.  We had some fun collecting and refinishing props such as tables, a handmade metal sign (top of the back of the booth) and new stands.  We also welcomed a new member of our team – Grace! …that’s her in the front of the booth with the jewelry hanging from her.

Grace Night Booth

This is a better photo of Grace.  We love how vintage-looking she is and the fact that she didn’t complain about the rain at all.  Another issue that we had to deal with this year was lighting since this festival goes to 10pm every night.  With the help of Kristi’s husband Matt and our friends at Handmade in KC (www.handmadeinkc.com) we found some lighting solutions that were very effective as well as pretty.

Despite the weather we had a blast and fell in love with this historic town on the edge of St. Louis.  Next up – Hillsboro Arts & Craft Fair. Hopefully we’ll see you there!

Thank you all for letting us share our adventure with you!

DIY Christmas Ornament From Repurposed Measuring Stick

I love old wood yard & meter sticks.  They used to be given away free as marketing materials and now they average around $8 each at antique stores.  I decided to make a Christmas ornament out of one of the old folded measuring sticks that has been hanging around my workshop for a while.  You could make this ornament using an old ruler you have hanging around as well.

Before we get started we’d like to thank Tracy Spisak, photographer extraordinaire from Gallery Portaiture (www.galleryportraitureinc.com) for photographing this DIY project!

This is what you’ll need:

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  • Measuring stick or ruler cut to the size you’d like
  • Letters from your local craft store
  • Jump rings
  • Ribbon
  • 2 pairs of pliers
  • E6000 or Tacky Glue
  • Seasonal buttons or decoration

1.  Choose the festive word that you’d like to spell and drill corresponding holes in the bottom of the measuring stick to hang the letters from.  Then drill a hole in the top left hand and right hand corners to string the ribbon through.

2.  Run the jump ring through the hole in the top of the letter and the hole in your measuring stick.  To open and close your jump ring grasp it with a pair of pliers on each side of the split.  Then twist in opposite directions – basically one hand should be going towards you and the other away.  Never pry the jump ring directly apart horizontally.  Attach all of your letters.

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3.  Cut a piece of ribbon about a foot long.  Run one end of the ribbon through the right upper hole and one through the left upper hole on your measuring stick.  Knot the ends of the ribbon and trim the ends.

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4.  I added a silver glittery button to the ornament to give it some sparkle.  You could add anything that catches your eye.  I also tied a knot in the upper part of the ribbon for a little extra flair.

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5.  Show off your crafty skills all your friends!

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If you aren’t up to making your own ornament check out our website (www.hangupsinkc.com) to check out what our creations.  They make great teachers and hostess gifts!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hang Ups Holiday Ornament DIY – Scrabble Tile & Measuring Stick Ornament

Ornaments make great teacher gifts.  Teachers gifts are even more special when students help to create them.  You could have your child help design this ornament adding personal touches for their teacher.

A special thank you to Tracy Spisak from Gallery Portraiture (www.galleryportraitureinc.com) for photographing this DIY project!

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Vintage Measuring Stick Ornament

It is great if you have vintage wood Scrabble tiles for this project but not necessary. Hobby Lobby sells wood letter tiles that work great. Have your child spell our a word that reminds them of their teacher to personalize this gift.

Ingredients:

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  • Wood letter tiles.
  • Wood measuring stick – you could even use a wood ruler that you have hanging around at home.
  • Brown ink.
  • Ribbon.
  • Decorative touches like snowflakes, jingle bells or festive colored beads.
  • Jump Ring.
  • Pliars.
  • Glue.

You can personalize this ornament by adding charms, beads or Christmas findings that your child chooses.

Step 1:

We prepared a piece of inexpensive measuring stick that we found at an antique store by cutting it to the correct size to fit the word we chose, drilling a hole in the center of the top and bottom and sanding off all rough edges.  We wanted the wood letter tiles to have more of a vintage feel so we used a brown ink pad to softly antique the edges of the front and sides of the tile.

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Step 2:

We then used E6000 glue to attach the letter tiles to the measuring stick. You may prefer to stagger your letters left and right, center them or move them to one side as we do.  This is another design aspect your child can help with.

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Step 3:

We glued on snowflakes to give this ornament a festive feel.  This is the hard part…you need to leave this ornament alone for several hours to allow the glue to set.  E6000 takes several hours to bond securely but is very strong.  If you prefer using hot glue go ahead!

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Step 4:

Run a metal jump ring through the bottom hole in the ornament and hang either pretty beads, jingle bells or whatever you think is pretty from the bottom.  We chose a Santa bell.  When opening Jump rings never pull the edges away horizontally, always pull them apart as pictured below so that they go back into a perfect circle.  Next run a pretty ribbon through the top hole and PRESTO you have a beautiful and unique handmade ornament.

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Hang Ups in KC Partners With Literacy Kansas City

Literacy Sign Blog

Kristi and I are thrilled to announce our brand-new partnership with Literacy Kansas City.

I’ve had a few people ask me what Literacy Kansas City is and it occurred to me that not everyone is aware of the desperate need for literacy programs in all geographical areas.   For example, approximately 225,000 adults in the Kansas City area function at the lowest literacy level.  Literacy Kansas City’s goal is to help raise awareness of our community’s significant literacy needs and provide free one-to-one and small group tutoring programs.  Their volunteers give the gift of self-esteem, new opportunities, and capabilities that literacy brings to virtually every aspect of a student’s life.

Why are Kristi and I so passionate about literacy?  Because we LOVE to read and believe that everyone should have the opportunity to love it as much as we do.  Kristi was a reading volunteer at her kids school in Liberty for years.  She also loves that her children have started to share that passion for reading, they will even recommend books for her to read. I have an English Literature Degree and a background volunteering with the Barrie Literacy Council in Barrie, Ontario, Canada.  I’m also the daughter of a school librarian and I am a school library volunteer.  I LOVE (it’s that big and bold love again) working in the school library.  Who knew?  I guess I really am my mother’s daughter.

So where does Hang Ups in KC come in?  We are in the process of creating a brand new line of jewelry dedicated to the joy of reading in the form of inspirational words and quotes.  The jewelry will be in our usual eclectic style using mostly vintage and repurposed items.  A portion of every sale in this line will be dedicated to Literacy Kansas City.  Our brand new Literacy Kansas City line of jewelry can be found on our website by clicking on the jewelry tab.  To make it super easy, here’s the link:  http://www.hangupsinkc.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=78_80.  Here is a sneak peak of what we have available online right now.

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We would truly appreciate it if you could help us to spread the word about our new jewelry line in support of Literacy Kansas City.  This is the link to our website’s home page  (www.hangupsinkc.com).  We would also love to hear what you think we should create – so many of our friends and followers have brilliantly creative minds.

For more information about Literacy Kansas City and their initiatives please visit www.literacykc.org.

I guarantee that your city has the same needs as Kansas City.  Go ahead and google literacy programs in your area.  They are looking for all kinds of support like tutor volunteers, book donations, sponsors, etc.  If you are as passionate about literacy as we are maybe there is something you can do to make a difference.

 

 

Top 10 Places to Shop For Antiques & Vintage Items in Kansas City Area

We visit many antique stores, architectural salvage shops and thrift stores searching for unique items to make into jewelry.   We often find ourselves wandering down tiny winding paths in stores filled to the ceiling with treasures.  Kristi has a history of tripping over things and getting her scarf stuck in running fans and I have an extremely sensitive nose so I have been known to gag dramatically now and then at the pungent smells around us.  Our shopping excursions are always filled with adventure, fun and a lot of laughter.   Today we are going to share the best of the best, in our humble opinion.  Taking into account cleanliness, organization and unique finds the following are our top 10 favorite places to shop for vintage and antique items in the Kansas City Area:

  1. Jesse James Antique Mall, St. Joseph, Missouri (www.jessejamesantiquemall.com).
  2. The Brass Armadillo, Kansas City, Missouri (www.brassarmadillo.com/kansascity).
  3. Rivermarket Antique Store, Kansas City, Missouri (www.rivermarketantiquemall.com).
  4. Lucky Dog Vintage, West Bottoms Kansas City, Missouri(https://www.facebook.com/LuckyDogVintage/info).
  5. West Side Story, Kansas City, Missouri (http://www.thewestsidestorey.com/).
  6. Hickory Dickory, West Bottoms, Kansas City, Missouri (https://www.facebook.com/hickorydickorykc).
  7. Timeless Treasures, Claycomo, Missouri (433 U.S. 69  Kansas City, MO 64119).
  8. Nook & Cranny, West Bottoms, Kansas City, Missouri (www.facebook.com/NookandCrannyKC?ref=br_tf).
  9. Jeff’s Architectural Salvage, Weston, Missouri (www.jeffsarchitecturalsalvage.tinytownsusa.com).
  10. The Hillcrest thrift stores in Liberty and Parkville, Missouri (www.hillcresttransitionalhousing.org/thrift-shops).

The best way to find out about new merchandise, sales and events at your favorite stores is to “Like” their Facebook page.  We love the daily updates and inspiration that we get from our favorite stores!

If, like us, repurposing is your passion we highly recommend that you follow the Junk Mafia Gang via their “Junk In My Trunk” radio show, Facebook or check out their website (www.junkmafia.com).  In their own words Darren, Ed and their team are “reporters of JUNK, Day Trips, Road Trips, independent business owners, restaurants, truck stops, and all of the other things that make the road ways of this great country a wonderful place to live and love!!”.  Hang Ups in KC is thrilled to be:

This summer I discovered the Granddaddy of all Antique Stores near Perth, Ontario, Canada.  I will blog about it next week with some pictures.  In the meantime we would love to hear about your favorite places to find antiques and vintage items.  It doesn’t matter if you are not local.  We travel frequently and are always looking for new places to check out.

We Are Springing into Fall!

It’s not fall and the weather isn’t fall-like here in Kansas City but it sure feels like fall now that Labor Day weekend is over doesn’t it?

We had a fun and busy summer with our families but we also squeezed some Hang Ups in KC business in.  A little over a week ago we launched our website (www.hangupsinkc.com) with a huge sale.  Thank you all for checking our site out and for your support.  We had a fabulous weekend and are excited that our website it finally out there!  At the present time we have 88 items listed on our website.  We continually create and post new items so please check the site regularly and keep us in mind when you are looking for unique and affordable gifts.

Speaking of unique gifts we do custom orders!  Check out our “Custom Pieces” tab on our website.  We have some great personalized gift ideas posted and will be adding more in the next few days.  If you have an idea of your own send us an email at info@hangupsinkc.com.

Now that we are back to work full-time we will be blogging regularly with fun DIY projects and awesome recipes.  We also have some guest bloggers lined up.  If you have something you’d like us to blog about we welcome suggestions – drop us a line at info@hangupsinkc.com.

We wish you all a happy and creative autumn!

 

Hiho Hiho It’s back to work we go!

July and our month-long summer break have come to a close.  Kristi kept very busy with her graphic design business and family.  It wasn’t all work for Kristi, though, she spent a fabulous week on the gorgeous gulf coast. The break from reality and coastal living have inspired her and I can’t wait to see the new designs she comes up with this fall.

Alabama 2013

I spent my month on the road with my family.  First we went to visit family & friends in Canada and to attend our nieces high school graduation.  While I was visiting my parents, north of Kingston Ontario, they introduced me to the most mind-blowing and amazing antique store I’ve ever been to.  I’ll be featuring it in our next blog post.  After we arrived home from Canada we spent 4 glorious nights in our own beds and then we headed down to New Orleans for the BIG trip celebrating my husband and niece’s graduations.

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Here they are along with our boys standing in front of St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square (French Quarter).  New Orleans bubbles over with creativity surrounding food, art & music…oh and the ghost stories.  I can’t even begin to express how much I love that city.

So now it’s back to reality and back to work.  We are not complaining, though, because we get to do something that we love every day and on our own terms.  How lucky are we?  Kristi and I had a day together this week that we used to visit some of our stores and plan for our busy upcoming season.  We are both feeling very creatively inspired and are excited to be back at it!

We hope that you all are having an amazing summer and are feeling as inspired and energized as we are!

Button Bracelet DIY

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Todays confession:  Kristi and I are more than a little obsessed with buttons.  We love new buttons but especially love vintage buttons.  We thought it would be fun to do a DIY tutorial on making button bracelets.  It’s a fun and inexpensive activity to do at birthday parties, with your kids over the summer or for yourself.

What you need:

  • Waxed linen.  It is more firm than regular crochet linen and you can buy it for about $1.99 at Hobby Lobby or your local craft store.  Use a coupon and you can get it for just over $1!
  • Buttons; you can use buttons that you have around your house or buy them for just a few dollars at thrift stores, craft stores, antique malls, etc.
  • Beads; they are very inexpensive at craft stores.
  • Scissors.
  • Super Glue.

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Start by measuring your wrist to determine how many inches long your bracelet needs to be.  Your clasp will be a button that you will slide through a loop at opposite end of the bracelet.

Start by cutting 2 lengths of about 25 inches of the brown waxed linen.  Line them up together and slide the ends through the button.  Create a knot by making a circle with the linen near the button and pulling the linen through it making a nice tight knot at the base of the button.

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Slide a bead onto the two pieces of linen and nestle it close to your clasp button.  Make a knot after the bead.  Separate the ends of the waxed linen sliding the ends through the first button hole in opposite directions.  Pull it snugly against the knot you made.  Do the same for the next button hole and tie a knot.  Add another bead and knot again.

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Continue threading the buttons and beads alternately onto the bracelet, knotting on either side.

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Once you have added the last button tie off the end of your bracelet with a slip knot.  Pull tightly and, if you want, make a another knot around your existing knot.  Once you have pulled the knot tight trim off ends and glue the knot with a bit of Super Glue.

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How fun was that?  Have a great summer!