Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Making Something For Free Or Almost

Tippers folkart

I’ve always liked to make things-I’m positive I inherited the trait from Granny. These days she sticks to crocheting-but when I was a kid she made everything from snow scenes (including a whole tree one time) to painting Aunt Jemima bottles.

When Chitter and Chatter were little they’d say “Let’s create Momma let’s create” what they really meant was “let’s get some paint, glitter, and glue and destroy your kitchen.” It always ended in a major mess-but along with the disaster there was usually an artwork or 2 produced as well.

Most often I like to paint, work with mixed media-or a little bit of both. What gets me most excited-is when I can create something for free-or for almost free. The little piece of artwork in the photo is just such a piece.

Somebody gave me the frame (I’m thinking it was Miss Cindy); I used The Deer Hunter’s can of black spray paint to spruce it up; the lime green piece of paper is from my stash of scrap-booking paper; and I used a piece of Granny’s scrap yarn to make the hanger. The only part I purchased-was the dog-and he was a steal of a deal.

A few summers ago, we were hitting the yard sales in Black Mountain with Miss Cindy. At one house a very nice man was selling his collection of hat pins. He said he used to work in a truck stop (or maybe that was his wife). He had tons of them-most of which had never been opened. Even better for me and the girls-he was selling them-3 for a quarter. We stocked up on dogs, horses, cowgirls, tobacco pouches, hot-rods, and a few “kiss my grits” for good measure.

So for less than a dime-I created was able to create pieces of folkart.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.



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  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    November 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    I’m always making things from ‘free’ stuff. I love creating and crafting, I think I took it from my mom, we made things together all the time.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 5, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    If you figured the cost of your time and trouble to collect and assembly your artwork what would it be worth? The value comes from the talents and efforts of the artist. Looks like a million dollars to me.

  • Reply
    Barbara Johnson
    November 5, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Free is Good. I gathered the pine cones in our yard, wicked them with some string, dipped them in bees wax from a friend, and now I have beautiful and useful fire-starters for winter. All free~except the string 🙂

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    November 5, 2011 at 8:41 am

    and Anastasia…my dear, please don’t try to paint…just paint…what you see and what someone else sees is the art of it all…After all…”Home Is Where The Art Is”…and the joy when just laying different colors on the canvas becomes your creativity….it doesn’t have to be a specific or realistic thing…
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    November 5, 2011 at 7:22 am

    This is such a fine piece of artwork, Tipper. I’m afraid I’m wreckless at using my hands to create things. My grandmother loved knitting and crocheting and tried hard to teach me her art. Later, my mum, who is a self-taught painter, tried to teach me how to paint. Well, I did make a good effort, but the…final product was always a disaster!

  • Reply
    janet pressley
    November 5, 2011 at 1:57 am

    I remember all the kitchen fun I have had with Katie and Corie and the many creations we have stirred up. I am a subscriber! Nana

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Isubscribed ages ago via Yahoo. For some reason this computer won’t let me use the subscriber link you just posted.
    I found a dressing table seat by the curb, spray painted it black, used free foam, free burlap coffee sack, the trusty staple gun. Made a stool very much like the one seen on the latest Target ad.

  • Reply
    Darlene LaRoche
    November 4, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Yes I am a subscriber…and LOVE IT !!! I too make quilts from any type of scrap material I have on hand or am given to me by friends and family…and I use yarn to tie the tops to the backing, using a old blanket for the batting, saving more money, I made quilts for 2 nephews and a niece last Christmas, all it cost me was my time and the love I put into making the quilts for them…love to recycle anything I can…

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    A subscriber! What a concept!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    I too am able to make stuff out of left-over’s from another time or another person—I guess it all started as a wee one my dad was the creative one a carpenter by trade so I requested a doll house with 6 rooms–what I got was a box with 6 pieces of thin plywood to figure out how to make the rooms —let me tell you at the time I was quite upset but after sitting sulking about it –and then realizing that if I wanted it I needed to create it it came out quite fine–I played with it for years and the decor changed many a time and now I am thankful I was out to the test for now it is a part of my life to create—and Tipper I am glad that I have become a subsciber to your blog —it is something I look forward to each and every day. LInda Kerlin

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    November 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Home again, home again Jiggity, Jig…Yep been gone all day..I tell you what, those doctors offices have the worst seating arrangements…just long..LOL
    I love the dog in the cute….You might want to check online for some of those mens hat pins…some are very collectible and expensive…like Olymic pins etc….
    You brought back memories of the Mrs. Butterworth bottles…or Aunt Jemima bottles…My Mother and I would paint them, glue on lace where the apron was supposed to be..tie a ribbon around her…Put a hole in a piece of cardboard, fit it over the syrup cap after painting and making a dime hole size in it for a bank..glue it together, put on a tiny flower and ribbon and I thought they made spiffy dime banks…LOL
    In fact in my Moms estate I found one she stored in the Attic..Yep I brought it home..
    Thanks Tipper, you are very creative!

  • Reply
    Eva M. Wike, Ph.D.
    November 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Now Tipper, that is a fine piece of ART you made all by yourself – almost! I have been in the Calculus classroom for the past TWO DAYS and to win this fine creation would surely put me back on track – oops back on the tennis court!
    Cheers, Eva Nell

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Cute!! In a way, when I piece string quilt tops, they are free because I use scraps that most people would throw away. I think they make the prettiest quilts too. My girls have accused me of taking pieces from the wastebasket!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I’m a happy subscriber!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 11:53 am

    When I go to flea markets or garage sales, I seldom ever get a
    bargain. They see me a coming. You
    have a talent for crafting a make-
    do project and for only a dime.
    Now you got me thinking about framing my beautiful German Shepherd I had for 15 years…Ken

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 11:51 am

    That’s a great piece Tipper, and the price makes it even better!
    I used to let my children make creative messes too and have never regretted it; they’ve grown up into imaginative and resourceful people!
    Granny passed you a double blessing – creativity and the ability to make do – and you passed it to Chitter and Chatter.
    It’s a great tradition, and one day you will be the Granny creating with your grandbabies!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Yep, I’m a subscriber. Fun idea for a gift. Passing it along to my ‘crafter’ friends.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 11:00 am

    It is always very satisfying to make something from nothing. My grandma was always very good at keeping me occupied and from underfoot. She would give me pieces of scrap fabric, a needle and some thread and I would happily “sew” for the whole day! Little did I know that I was learning a skill that I would put to good use many times in the future!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Do you miss having your kitchen trashed for art. It seems like those days for me are so very far away but I can so remember them like crazy.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    November 4, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Tipper–Neat piece of work. I so envy folks with artistic talent. I have precisely the same amount of it I have musical ability, which is to say, none at all. On the other hand, I can make things grow, so maybe not all is lost.
    Mention of how you acquired the pin intrigued me. I love to browse flea markets, antique shows, and the like. I seldom find anything of interest to me (or if it is, I can’t afford it), but the simple act of looking at things which harken back to a world we have lost and which carry with them an aura of having once been special to or cherished by someone soothes my soul.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 4, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Tipper, I love how you create things. You have a good eye for creating. Your girls have the same eye.
    Perhaps Chitter and Chatter would be willing to make a donation for the months prizes.
    I like to recycle things like picture frames, books and clothes, use them and pass them along.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 9:11 am

    I love that your Granny instilled the art of making from anything to you.
    My Granny’s were more like cooks and that is not my thing. My grandmother did teach my Mother to cook though and Good! She was a pie maker at a department store!
    I missed the times my mother had her hands into crafting from early painting furniture, it was all green and red stained to making oil cloth Christmas panels for our front door and more. I just never paid attention.
    I love that you have listened and share your memories!
    I have been a subscriber for your blog awhile now and enjoy it always!
    Smiles, Cyndi

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    November 4, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Nothing better than free or ‘almost free’ My family has a tradition at Christmas for the adults, of make it, bake it, or take it. This means instead of buying their gifts we have to make, bake, or take. It is a challenge to come up with something they each will like. This falls right in with this tradition of keeping with the true Spirit of the Holidays.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 9:00 am

    I never realized that hat pins had so many different tops on them. I have a few very old ones from my mother-in-law that I keep on my dresser. I always wondered how they were used without poking them into ones head. Experience must have been a good teacher. I have room for more in my holder.

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    November 4, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Hi Tipper–
    I love your dog in the frame! And I guess I’m a subscriber since I get your blog in my email everyday. I can’t start my day without it!
    I do crafty things and usually use natural elements I find outside. I love to use nuts and berries and interesting twigs, etc. Nature sure has a bounty of beautiful things to bring inside and admire – especially at this time of year. Happy hunting…. K

  • Reply
    Mary Jo
    November 4, 2011 at 8:51 am

    I’m like you-I am always looking at things to see if I can re-work them into something else!! Nothing tickles me any more than making a masterpiece out of something that looks totally useless on its own!! I am so glad I am a subscriber-I enjoy your posts SO much!! So, what else have you made from your treasures???

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    November 4, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Busy knitting houseshoes here. The needles were rescued from the trash pickup, the yarn donated. Found the pattern online.
    Pretty much makes it ‘free’, I guess.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    November 4, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Well, Tipper I surely like to make things that cost little. I save every piece of scrap wood from projects that I do. I also have a habit of picking up things when walking the dog, just walking through the woods on our property. I had a shadow box that my wife gave me years ago, but just never found the right things to go in it. In the past several months of my walking, I collected mostly natural things. Things like feathers of a variety of birds who pass by or fly by, acorns, and other seeds, a strange leaf that has a stem coming out of the middle with little seed balls on it (I still don’t know what it is), a small half dollar sized turtle shell. Many of these things have made their way into my shadow box which now sits on our coffee table. My wife picks at me all the time for collecting strange things and I have a best friend that I camp and hunt with. He says I don’t do so well hunting because I’m always looking for “stuff” and not the target. :o) Oh well, it has served as a great conversation piece and cost me little more than the time to walk, bend over and pick things up.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    November 4, 2011 at 7:59 am

    wow tipper that was a great sale.. i would have to stock up also… and i find that the most pleasing things to me are homemade ones..
    you did a great job…. its simple and beautiful.
    please enter me into the giveaway..
    hmmmm lately i have been making toilet paper mini books.. have you seen those?? ill have to send you one.. 🙂
    big ladybug hugs and have a great weekend..

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    November 4, 2011 at 7:48 am

    You come up with THE best ideas!

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