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In with Old, UP with the New

Sunday, October 26, 2014
How many of us have had the experience of wanting an adorable shabby chic item, but find ourselves wishing it fit our color palette just a bit better or wishing the top of the piece had a more durable finish and a bit heavier antiquing on the bottom of the piece? And so many of us can relate to the creative art teacher who has the most tremendous ideas, but the most limiting budget! Rebecca Stephens is a creative mind and artist that has been creating, thrifting, and experimenting with upcycling for as long as she can remember. Rebecca knows no limits, her creativity can be found on Facebook at Red Shed Restoration – and be ready … You may see inspirational chalkboards, hand-stamped vintage silverware, beautifully restored furniture, or cleverly repurposed screen doors! One thing is for certain, no matter what Rebecca is UP to upcycling, the results are beautiful! Read on to catch her interview with us for where she gets inspiration and Rebecca’s tips for upcycle fans everywhere! Tell us about the upcycle lifestyle and you, have you always been a creative person? “I have always been creative, for as long as I can remember. Armed with a glue or staple gun at all times. I would always look at something and think to myself, “I can MAKE that!” So, instead of paying top dollar for an item, I found a way to make it or something similar myself. I was not always successful, but trying gave me experience and courage to try more new things, mediums, styles etc. My experience in upcycling came from teaching art  with VERY limited funds. I had to learn to use what was on hand. Making rain sticks from paper towel cardboard and beans, or just painting a rock. And it worked!” Tell us more about Red Shed Restorations  —  What is Red Shed all about? “I currently operate Red Shed Restorations, a furniture renovation company. I am lucky enough to be selling my “goods” in two local stores in the area. The owners are so very encouraging and supportive of my craft. I specialize in “smalls” which is home décor type items. I love seeing an item at a salvage yard, thrift store, garage sale, etc. and giving it new life with a few tweaks and a coat of paint. I swear, most items speak TO ME. I can see something for what it CAN be rather than what it currently is. Some of my favorite recently “restored” items are an old window turned rustic chalk board. (Did you know you can chalkboard paint over glass?), an old lamp base turned chunky, shabby chic candle holder, and old, gutted sewing machine turned sweet little table and mason jars into liquid soap pump, and old screen door which now displays my wreaths inside, for ME to enjoy. I also love to hand stamp silverware. I do custom orders and several wedding sets that include Mr/Mrs Forks and Just Married stamped cake servers. Old frames are a fun way to create little vignettes on wall space to show off ANYTHING your heart desires. Frames are so easy to find and easy to renovate. A coat of paint in your favorite color(s), maybe some distressing and voila! Hang your childs artwork, post weekly menus for your family, display a favorite dish, endless possibilities. I have mine hung on a chalkboard wall and change out quotes regularly.” IMG_5267 IMG_5280 What keeps you engaged and continuing to upcycle, what is your reward? “The absolute, most rewarding aspect of my work is when I am able to see a piece I created put to use in someone’s home. I am thrilled and sometimes still shocked that someone not only likes my work, but PAYS me for it. I love a good challenge, and they are usually presented to me in the form of  “can  you fix this?” A client will come to me with a piece that has seen better days, hoping that there is still some life left in it. Ive got to look past the dings, and flaws on say, on old dresser, and bust out the sander, wood putty, magic wand (smile) and really resuscitate the old gal.” IMG_5277 Where do you go for upcycling inspiration and materials? Any special rabbit holes your like to look for? “I am a lover of JUNK and I’m not afraid to admit it. I love salvage yards, junk stores, alleys, thrift stores, flea markets et al. Those are the best places to find items to restore, rejuvenate and re use. The prices are usually dirt cheap, so it can accommodate any budget. You may have to get your hands dirty. I often bring gardening gloves to some places that allow me to “dig” in their unsorted areas. Hello spiders!” IMG_5282 You are so upbeat and encouraging! We love your spirit. Do you have any advice for our followers & readers? “Don’t limit yourself! Learn to properly use tools. Think outside the box. Almost anything can BECOME something else.” You can view my items and contact me through www.facebook.com/redshedrestoration

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