“ It’s not about what it is- It’s about what it will become.”
These have been sitting in my art closet for a couple months. Spring flowers were the inspiration behind this project. I remember picking these two items up on one of my Goodwill dollar days and thinking how nice these would be for an art tray organizer.
Maybe some of you remember grandmothers who had these mail stations back in the day. They kept bills that needed mailing out, along with stamps. Maybe there were a few cards in them, along with pretty stationary for a quick letter to a love one.
I still send hand written letters and cards to love ones. I think it’s nice sending little surprises like that to friends and family. I also add stickers and tiny gifts on occasions when birthdays and holidays come up for the ones I love.
I haven’t decided yet if I will be keeping my art station and tray for art supplies. It’s perfect for that. You can store coloring pencils, paint brushes, small pieces of paper and crayons for children. For teens this would be great for make-up brushes and eye shadow trays. Or you can keep it for what it was made for… a letter station. Surprise your love ones with an old fashioned letter now and then.
These two items are usually available at most second hand shops. I love the wooden ones the most. This letter organizer was plastic. I painted it, along with the tray, white, then I added pretty paper to both of them.
I went shopping for some paper at a bookstore in our city. They always have a nice supply of pretty papers. They even have paper from around the world. That is usually harder to find though.
I decoupaged the paper onto the tray and into the pockets of the organizer, then I let it dry for a few hours and added another coat of decoupage glue.
I did run into a little trouble with this project on one of the pocket areas when the paper stuck and wrinkled. I couldn’t get it out to redo as the glue was everywhere on it and it would have torn. It happened to be the last piece of that particular paper pattern so I just had to go with it, mistakes and all. So if any of you decide to try this project yourself remember to go slowly when lining the pocket areas.
My goal was to make it very fresh and Spring like.
You know…now that I am looking at it, maybe I will turn it into a letter station. What would you use it for? I think it would look pretty as a faux flower organizer too. Hmm…now I don’t know what to do.
Happy up-cycling everyone.
Extra thrifting tips- When I wrote up this post I started thinking about how some people, depending on where you live, may not be able to go second hand shopping like we do here in Arizona. Since 2019/2020 there have been many rules put into place because of the situation we are all living with right now.
For years I have shopped second hand. It has kept our family out of debt. With special needs children sometimes you need to buy specialty items for their education and they can be pricey. I have found some great therapy toys and items that I used in our home programs by shopping second hand.
Once those items have had their use I donate them back to therapy centers. Here are some tips to shopping second hand during these times…
Clothes and anything made of fabrics should be washed in hot water. Once I get home I usually hang up clothes and fabrics outside to bake in our Arizona sunshine for awhile. I do this with hard surface items as well.
Hard plastics and ceramics can be washed with soap and water. If it’s a toy I will wash with Dawn soap to help cut down on grease, then rinse well and dry outside. Afterwards I will wipe down with a cotton ball of alcohol. Kids tend to chew on things so I’m always extra careful in cleaning toys. If you have little ones you know it will end up in their months eventually. Also some children on the spectrum will sometimes chew on things to calm themselves.
Another reason for extra care in cleaning children’s toys is that you can check over the item several times to make sure there are no loose items or broken areas. Check online for recalled items anytime you come across toys. I tend to look for vintage toys that were made better back in the day. I was never a big fan of the battery operated toys either.
Furniture needs to be wiped down and cleaned with dawn or dish soap to cut back on grease and oils. Furniture is then left outside to dry in the sun. For furniture I will clean with vinegar and lemon as well. Sometimes I will leave it outside for several days and several washing if it may have come from a smokers home.
I leave books and paper products outside for a few hours depending on the level of heat from our hot sunny days. The heat can destroy books if left too long in the sun as it eats away the binding glue. Most books are left to sit for a few days then we look through them later.
If you are a re-seller yourself of used items, then check with http://www.SaferProducts,gov or www.cpsc.gov/resale to learn more about CPSIA laws in America. We have to be careful of products that can be dangerous to babies and children. We have to make sure we don’t sell anything that may have been recalled or dangerous.
Before donating anything yourselves-
Clean and wash clothes and items and leave in bags for a couple of days before donating. This helps prevent the spread of anything that may be in your house too.