A while back I was shopping for a friend and came across some adorable jewelry in a local boutique. I don’t know about anyone else, but I get immediately jealous when someone has a creative idea I should’ve had first.
(Isn’t it interesting that usually the fun crafty things get made by people who not only have ideas but ideas accompanied by the energy and supplies needed to accomplish them? Imagine if the real creative people could actually get things done–what would the world look like then?)
I have spent weeks throwing old junk away, junk that apparently people wipe down and use to decorate their little vintage, knick-knackery booths. Flea markets divided into a hundred teeny invividual shoppettes, the kitschy adorned pegboard walls and cute craftery. Blech. I hate it and love it because I could totally do it, but I can never get around to it. It’s impractical at its worst and a fun side hustle at its best. All the things I love most.
And also–I just found and chucked out 90 percent of the stuff folks are reselling at these awful flea markets. Tossed it (old tools, kitchen gadgets, rusty cookie tins, vintage hair dryer, a spaetzle maker) right into a roll-away when I might’ve cleaned off the bird poop and made five bucks.
People sell empty McCormick spice tins for two bucks a pop. Who in the world is buying this stuff?
But then there are darling little earrings and old tarnished butter dishes and scrabble-letter wall hangings…and I’m back in.
It was jewelry made from typewriter keys. That’s what had me perusing the booths looking for old Underwoods and Woodstocks.
Ergo my flea market, thrift store day was spent accumulating heavy old typewriters and wondering if a Dremel tool would be strong enough to saw off the keys. (It’s not. Or at least I project that it won’t be–first I have to find the little screws that hold the bits on. What a stinker it is to not be organized in any practical way. Little children, keep your Dremel tools together in the nice plastic compartments that come with it.)
My kids were fascinated by the purchase. I hadn’t realized they’d never seen one in real life before. It’s pretty cool to see the hammers swing up and smack the paper right on the ink ribbon. And when you press shift, the whole roll moves up. So we all fiddled around with it one night while I carefully scrubbed old green paint off the keys.
The next day I spent hours looking on Pinterest for more creative original jewelry ideas I might hack. I knew I’d reached a dead end when I came across a sparkly breast milk resin ring. Turns out you can buy a kit on Etsy to preserve and commemorate such body leakage. The trick is drying the milk to a powder first, then blending it into the resin. I am legitimately grossed out. While brushing my teeth this evening it occurred to me you could just as well scrape up the toothbrush scum off the bottom of your sink and get a comparable opalescent gem. Or the hard water from the shower door. Or an amber version from the pee my little boys scatter to the north and south winds of the toilet.
(Just because things can be preserved with resin does not mean they should be preserved with resin. This applies to many things in life. Tattoos, namely.)
It was hard for me to take the first step and cut the keys off the typewriter. I love an old typewriter, and I love the romantic thought of someone a hundred years ago tapping out a novel on this very machine (Ding!) and getting to the end of the line (Ding!), pushing the scroll to the left (Ding!) and beginning all over again.
Chances are it was not Steinbeck, but every typewriter could have been Steinbeck.
Eventually I told myself I didn’t have any sentimental affection for this typewriter two days ago so I shouldn’t get too attached to a story I just made up in my mind about it. It might be worse than preserving body fluids. Might.
So I didn’t get started on the project till today. And you can also see why I am not a regular blogger, as the rabbit trails prove.