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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hobbies and Thrift Shop Shopping

Ah, recycle, renew, rebirth. These all go together well. I love thrift shopping for crafts, for supplies, for antiques and dolls and inspiration. I'm not the only one. Also, as life-long learner, I have to say that books on hobbies give me ideas. One should never be bored. There is always something to do. Our local river sanctuaries and parks host workshops to craft ornaments out of natural materials including milk pods and seeds. I am using leaves this year, pressing them and ironing them between wax paper. The holidays should be a time of simplicity and peace, of good food, of sharing,of families. I recommend the following two books for inspiration, and for enjoyment.

1. Wilkinson, Lettice. Charity Shopping and the Thrift Lifestyle. NY and London:
Marion Boyars Pub. 2009. This is a fantastic book, reasonable, and beautifully and colorfully illustrated. I wonder that Martha Stewart has not thought of it. The book covers thrift shops, antique stores, charity stores, Salvation Army stores, etc., in the UK, USA, and Australia. I feel a world tour comingon. There are cafes and bookstores, clothing stores, department stores [the literarily famous Oxfam!], haute couture stores, everything. The author is reader friendly and enthusiastic and there is contact information for everything. I bought this and two other books on doll houses and assemblage mixed media art. I was not feeling well, but readng a medical book on my "symptoms" must depressed me further, so I bought this and the other books. I felt better immediately.

2. Schwartz, Alvin. Hobbies. NY: Simon and Schuster, 1972. This one is an oldy but goody. It is easy to read, well-illustrated, and eclectic. The book is divided into sections on crafts, collections, Nature Study and Science/Communications. Each is further divided into types of crafts, types of collections, etc. Ther is a good index, and a lengthy bibliography, to me, the hallmarks of a great book. Try The Bookthing.com or Amazon to find a copy, or Alibris, but it is worth looking for. It is not out of date, and many of the topics are current. There is an excellent chapter on puppets and puppetry that is fascinating and gives history as well as tips on how to make different puppets.

Art teachers and scout leaders would love it.

Hope everyone enjoys the cool, crisp days of November as we have. We have sun and cool weather, my perfect formula. Though the holidays are now a sad time for me, I try to put a spiritual spin on them. I make crafts, and bake from my mother's own recipes, contained in an unwieldy scrapbook, mostly in her handwriting. It is as if she works through me when I use them, and she and my grandmother are still beside me. Giving presents has become more important to me than receiving them, and even more important is keeping in touch through cards, letters,and email. I wish everyone peace and joy, and the chance to find themselves through a love of nature, art and music. I was watching the Create channel on PBS, and the knitting/crochet show emphasized that indulging in these crafts and creating something beautiful empowers one, and gives confidence. I couldn't have said it better myself!

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