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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Washing Tinfoil, Using Margarine Tubs as "Tupperware," and Sewing Pretty Cardboard

I still do many of the make-do type of things my grandmother did. If "tinfoil," which I guess we now know as aluminum foil, is not very soiled after use -- for example, if it was just used to shield some baked squash from getting too brown -- I wash it and put it into the warm oven to finish drying. 

If you peek in my fridge, you'll think I eat an awful lot of margarine and am afraid of running out. There are little tubs of "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" sitting on every shelf. The real tub of margarine is always kept in the little butter area on the door! Everything else is holding bacon grease, leftover black olives, baby carrots floating in chicken broth (for the plump doggies to snack on) and so on. 

diy vintage cardboard valentine's valentines hearts make-do thrifty

Maybe this was common in the 1960s only where I grew up, but we had wallets, coasters, collapsing coin holders, and recipe-holders sewn from pretty cardboard. Many department stores placed blouses, shirts, and so forth in lightweight cardboard boxes, usually printed with the store name or initials. Others had fancier boxes with all-over patterns, and the five-and-dime had stationery boxes that were just divine. I remember some gorgeous shoe-boxes as well, back when all shoes were expensive. 

diy coral blue cardboard hearts for garland

My grandmother would desconstruct the printed cardboard boxes and cut out pieces for useful items, then sew them. Many times, she would sew through a double-thickness of cardboard, with two different patterns, so that the item was "lined." But for some items, it was just a single thickness with the pretty side of the cardboard "out." Sometimes she'd rub beeswax onto the cardboard to "seal" it and make it more durable. Sometimes she used crochet to connect the pieces. Until it fell to dust, I had a sweet basket she had crocheted from the fronts of Christmas cards.

diy depression era make do cardboard hearts sewn

In keeping with that tradition, I have been making both flat and stuffed hearts to make into a garland for the wall. I used part of a lovely old cardboard gift bag that a friend from India gave me years ago. Coral and blue aren't the usual Valentine colors, but they go very well with my Southwest home, and in my stash of collage materials I had paper flowers in all the right hues. Most of all, I just love make-do's. My mind is so happy and engaged, full of memories of my grandmother, when I'm doing the same handiwork she did so long ago. 

I wonder if anyone else has unusual and extremely thrifty little ways that were handed down to them or that they discovered?

14 comments :

  1. What beautiful hearts and I love the idea of using cardboard and bags for them. A great craft.

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    1. Thank you! During lockdown I'm doing more crafts and trying not to buy very much until employment prospects are better!

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  2. the hearts are very sweet. I reuse the large zip lock bags. If they have not held meat or anything messy I reuse them.
    I think we use to be alot more thrifty in the past.
    cathy

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  3. What a great idea - recycling at its best!

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  4. I reuse some foil and zip bags, save nice jars and boxes for organizing, use tp rolls for seed starting, mend clothing, but haven't done much crafting with cardboard or cards since I was little. I used to use margarine containers for leftovers but ended up throwing more away than eating them. Let's just say too many bad experiences opening those containers of unknown content and age ! :-O

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    1. Oh, that's funny: Peeking into the containers and getting a shock! I like your TP roll idea for seeds very much!

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  5. Lovely posting filled with heart filled memories. I have never seen these. The 5 & 10 wonderful places filled with goodies to buy. I re use the containers also, good for freezing soups and storing leftovers.

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    1. I sure miss the five-and-dimes. Sometimes when I'm falling asleep I can recall our nearby TG&Y very clearly, and "walk" its aisles in memory.

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  6. How funny about the "tin foil". We still joke about my mom saving it. My dearest mom was the original recycle queen.
    I don't remember making things from decorative cardboard, but I am having fun making the paper hearts you shared. I will post on my blog soon.

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  7. I remember when I was in elementary school the nuns would make interesting 'containers' using old Christmas cards which they cut up and sewed using wool. My mom bought one of their "chairs" about 8" high. The seat could be lifted and mom kept bobby pins and safety pins in there.

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