Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Using Everyday Items in Unique Ways

Tara and I wanted to share some more recent shop and merchandise photos with you. But I also wanted to talk about something that came up while reading Kate's Salvage Dior blog post today.

Kate gives some feedback to readers about "Style Inspiration: Simply Kate" (click here to read her post.)
She gave some fabulous advice on how to decorate with items from around your own home to add some style and stay on a budget.

This really got me thinking. For example, in my profession (education) I have learned that the environment we create for children to learn in is very important. For example, it should include minimal color and visual distractions, be natural in materials, be "home-like", and contain items that are interesting and provoking for exploration and inspiring ideas.

One thing we put into practice in our classroom is to "use every day items in unexpected ways" or ".....take the ordinary and make it extraordinary."

For example, layering a variety of framed photos, art, and quotes to create a unique piece of art, as was done in our Jazz space in the photo above and below.

 It takes a while to get used to thinking this way. But once you do, and start shopping your home or the thrift shops and garage sales, you'll find that every time you see something,  you will have a vision for it that might not be typical or for what it's intended for. You'll pulse will race and you won't believe you scored such a perfect item!

I love the way the letters in the word "ZERO" on this fan appear to be freezing.....

While layering certainly works well in a shop space that is full to the hilt, consider layering in your own home as well! Combine pieces such as silver and gold, barnwood and a pop of color.

These branches were cut off a tree behind Tara's house. Any plant form, even just a branches of green buds, looks amazing when brought inside and displayed in a pretty vase, pail, or bottle! These branches are free (if you don't have them in your yard, consider asking a friend if you can snag some from theirs!)

My recent find at a thrift shop was this white "thing." I feel like it might have once contained glass votive holders, that made a kind of table-top votive tower? There were no longer any glass pieces, but I liked it's uniqueness and was determined to find something to do with it (typical junker mentality!)

It sat empty in my home for several weeks. While browsing at a thrift shop one day I came across several green coke bottles. I thought they might fit inside the holes of the metal "thing", and they did.

I used it as a sort of vase and added some light pink carnation buds I got a bundle of for 3.99 at the grocery store.

Completely random, yet kind of fun! I can see this, along with some lavender tucked in, maybe some burlap trim, and some added glass tea-light holders in the bottom rings as a centerpiece for a table. Each and every one of you might come up with so many other possibilities, too!  (I am going to end up selling this holder with the Coke bottles in the shop.)

Don't underestimate the power of your own creativity! Just try displaying something uniquely. Even if you aren't sure you like it, take photos of it. View your photos (everything looks different in a photo- it's a fresh perspective!) Create an "inspiration file" and save any photos on blogs and sites that inspire you (or cut out pictures from magazines.)

And thank you dear Kate, for being a source of inspiration!!

What is one unique way that you might have used an everyday item in an unusual way?

~michelle & tara~

p.s. Tara informed me that some of the items in the first photo have already sold since that photo was taken, including the white lattice, the blue window frame, and one of the dressers. That is why the second photo shows the same corner but different furniture!


Linda said...

Great post! I love using things in unexpected ways, much originality and personality to it!

A Rosy Note said...

Your space looks beautiful! I love all of your tips too. I always feel so pleased with myself when I can think of a new way to use something. Hope you have a good Easter :)


Susan said...

Wonderful advice Michelle and Tara! I love your ideas, and your space is full of treasures! That coke bottle/vase holder turned out fabulous. It is challenging & exciting to make a fresh spin on something.
Thanks for your comment on my thrift store floral sheet pillows. Hope to see what you also use them for in your Easter project!
Happy Easter!
- Susan

A Cottage Muse said...

You are always inspiring!
Love your displays!

Robin said...

Great tips! Thanks. I have been working on this. I still find it hard to move out of my comfort zone at times . . . baby steps for me!

stampdiva said...

Wonderful post.
I wanted to say thank you for a comment you left for me at The Stampsmith Blog. I actually nearly missed it because that Blog is The Stampsmith DT and not all of the artwork is mine. My Blog is Adorn at
Would love for you to visit anytime.

Desert Rose said...

Great ideas! I however LOVE color so I do the same kind of thing with Textures and colors!Been thinking about my frame...and where it's home will be :)

Amanda said...

Hi Michelle! I really enjoyed this post! I am putting some things together to take to my shop space tomorrow and I have gathered some wonderful ideas and inspiration from you here! I especially like how you layered the mirrors and frames! Your space looks lovely! I will be watching out the window for the mailman this week! I'll let you know when my special package arrives. I'm going to be writing up a post about it when it gets here! yay!
Thank you! Best Wishes and Blessings,

Town and Country Gals said...

Your space looks fabulous! You guys do such a great job at displaying your things to their best advantage! Great tips, it's always fun to try and come up with a new and different way to use your things.
Hope you guys had a wonderful Easter weekend!

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Michelle and Tara,

I love your beautiful shop and only wish I lived nearby.
the pink mirror in your previous post is gorgeous and what a great idea the coke bottle vase is.
Thanks for all the advice you have given.
Wishing you a great week


Jill said...

What a great space you have! I love it all!!