DIY Crafts

Sometimes in the world of crafting, I bite off more than I can chew. This is a pattern even from when I was a kid.  I’d start projects and then leave them lying around after being distracted by something else…as my parents like to remind me.  But no more! After seeing this amazing vintage lamp at a nearby arc thrift store (for only $6.99!!!) I knew I wanted to rewire it and had to see it through.  There were several vintage lamps that caught my eye but this one won my heart :). Untitled1

The lamp has such beautiful shades of blue and green and I LOVE the 1970s drip glaze.  The only problem was that the plug was bent and the wiring looked rough.  Usually I’d let a little thing like fear of a painful shock turn me away from such a beautiful lamp-but not today! I figured rewiring a lamp couldn’t be that hard, could it?  Could it?!  I’ve seen so many amazing vintage lamps at arc, but I’ve never known how to rewire them-now I will!

The first step was buying a lamp kit from a local hardware store (around $10) so that I could figure out what all of this entailed.  Then when I couldn’t read the miniscule print on the back of the package I resorted to the internet.  Here’s what I had to do (the abbreviated version):

I unscrewed the ornament at the top of the lamp and then popped the oval harp off. Untitled3

After that I flipped the lamp over, pulled off the cardboard bottom and unscrewed the nut on the underside of the base that holds it all together.  With that undone I slowly took the whole thing apart and then threaded the new cord all the way back through the base up to the socket.  So far so good!

Things got a little trickier once I had to strip a bit of the wire at the top in order to actually rewire the socket.  I’d like to tell you that I did this no problem and then easily wired each side of the wire to the correct screw.  But that would be a lie.  I needed help! Untitled5

I was so worried that I wouldn’t do it correctly and would somehow make something explode that I wimped out.  I don’t even have a picture for you of me completing the job with help.  I should be ashamed…but I’m not.  Because as soon as I plugged this puppy in it lit up beautifully!  (Sorry for the lousy picture, though.)  Another arc treasure to satisfy my love for vintage, and for such an amazing price; I’ve seen drip glaze lamps like this being sold for tons in antique stores.  Arc always hooks me up with fabulous vintage wares for super low prices.  Plus I never feel guilty shopping because it goes to such a great cause.  Now all it needs is a lamp shade.  Wonder where I might find one…

Julie W.

arcs and Crafts

I really like to shop.  I especially like to shop for vintage items.  I get more excited over vintage pyrex than most people do on their birthdays.  I also enjoy crafting and bringing creativity into my life in any way that I can.  Combining these interests means that by default, I LOVE ARC THRIFT STORES!  They’re pretty much my favorite places on earth.  If I’m not at home or at work, there’s a good chance that I’m at an ARC.  Not only do they provide my vintage shopping fix, but they also do wonderful work in the community for individuals with developmental disabilities.  ARC provides advocacy on behalf of these individuals at the local level, as well as in state public policy.  They also provide family support, employment opportunities and a host of other services for people with developmental disabilities.  This is a population that I love and it makes me want to support all that ARC does.

Being creative can look a lot of different ways for me: sewing, writing, knitting, really anything crafty that shuts my brain off and allows me to create.  I don’t have a creative job so I have to fill that creative hole in my free time.  Lately, I’ve been finding ways to be creative and to hit ARC for some vintage wares, which also means that I can be crafty on a tight budget.  These are exciting times for me, people!

The other day at one of my favorite ARCs, I came across this beauty:


A vintage crewel embroidery kit for $1.99!!! Can you feel my excitement?!  I snatched it off of the shelf before anyone else spotted my good fortune…though no one was nearby at the time.  I get a little bit too excited about a great vintage find.  Or so I’ve been told J  One of the main tips I give to people that initially get hooked on thrifting is to dig deep.  Sometimes the truly great treasures are hidden in the bottom of the pile or on the back of the shelf.  But these treasures are absolutely worth the effort.

With this crewel kit, I quickly set to work figuring out the different crewel stitches.  I love to cross stitch but I’ve never learned any other “real” stitches.  I typically make up my own.  But not this time!  This time Jiffy Stitchery was going to instruct me properly.  The kit had great instructions and all of the yarn and cloth I would need, as well as an embroidery needle.


This was the perfect craft for me because it was relatively quick, and had such a great vintage retro feel to it.  ARC came through for me again, big time.  After just a few hours, spread over the course of a couple days, I completed my first vintage crewel craft.  Drum roll please…….


TAA-DAA!!!  I love it! I was going to frame it but I think I’ll just trim it and hang it up still in the embroidery hoop.  It’s so kitschy and retro; the bumble-bee is my favorite part.

You’d think now that I’d gotten this out of my system I’d be on to a new creative endeavor, but I’m afraid all it’s done is fueled a fire.  I am on the hunt for more of these fabulous vintage crewel kits!  And there’s nowhere else you’d find me out hunting than at ARC.

– J