One gal’s junk . . .

Copyright Junk Gypsies and Great American Country

While visiting good friend and fellow author MJ Fredrick recently, she got me hooked on watching Junk Gypsies. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, these two Texas sisters find what some might consider junk at flea markets and then use their creativity to reimagine and upcycle them into really neat decor items. It’s a fun and inspiring show to watch. I’ve always been drawn to creativity in all its forms, even ones in which I personally don’t have any talent. Whether it’s painting, drawing, music, carving, sewing/costuming, doesn’t matter. I think those of us who are creative in one way really appreciate the talents of those who are creative in different ways. So the fact that I really admire what these ladies do isn’t a surprise. It also really speaks to my love of the idea of things getting a new life and prevention of waste. We’re such a throwaway culture that I really love the the entire upcycling movement.

After coming back from MJ’s, I continued to watch Junk Gypsies. And that led to me watching Flea Market Flip. This is a competition show where two teams of two people are given $500 and one hour to buy items at a flea market to complete three different projects. They only have one day to complete the projects, and then they have to try to sell their items at another venue. Whichever team makes the most profit on their items wins $5,000. I don’t always like the styles that some teams come up with, but I admire how they all have their own distinctive styles, an eye for how to repurpose items that some people would just throw in the trash, and then how they’re able to find buyers who share their appreciation for what they’ve created.

Pinterest is a fabulous place to get ideas for upcycling. And there are tons of blogs and websites devoted to the concept as well. In fact, when my husband and I recently sold our big entertainment center, I was sort of surprised how quickly it was bought. The lady who bought it said she was going to make a toy kitchen for her kids with it. Unable to visualize what she was talking about, I Googled it and was amazed at some of the before-and-after photos of that type of project. You can see a lot of these kid kitchens here.

All of this exposure to upcycling genius has me wanting to try crafting some projects myself. I don’t have a lot of spare time, but I do have an ugly bookshelf that I might try to give a makeover this fall. We’ll see if I can tap into another creative well or if it turns out to be a design disaster.

Are youย  fan of upcycling? Do you make the projects yourself? If so, share some of your stories. I’d love to hear about them.



  • Helen says:

    Is he coming to visit me ?

    Have Fun

  • Helen says:


    I agree these people are so clever although I haven’t seen either of these shows I have seem similar things done and I am in awe of them firstly I really have no imagination LOL and could never see myself doing anything like it ๐Ÿ™‚

    But I love the fact that things can get reused instead of wasted good luck with you project I look forward to seeing pictures of it ๐Ÿ™‚

    The GR can play with the grandkids for a while today and the Tim Tams were on special so there are a few packets here as well as some of the new red velvet ones which are so yummy

    Have Fun

  • Shannon says:

    Hadn’t really thought of this. I’m not a pack rat, but I have plenty of things in my condo. So there are some things I’d like to replace rather than add. I’ll want to replace my current desk eventually, so I might look at some sites and blogs and see some possibilities. I’m the kind of person who if prompted can see possibilities, but it does take the prompt.

  • Caren Crane says:

    I so enjoy seeing other peoples’ creativity. I have no grand ideas like that myself. I think I could tap into that, but I never would. Never will.

    I used to do craft projects and actually created some beautiful needlepoint, cross stitch, crewel work and even some really nice Christmas ornaments that I painted. I abandoned ALL of that when I started writing. Between writing, the family and the Day Job, I have no time for this sort of “extra” creativity. Fortunately, I have a sister who does every craft known to mankind (and is an artist), so between her and my crafty youngest daughter, they keep me supplied with lovely handmade things. ๐Ÿ˜€

    I do love to admire what other people do, though!

  • MJ Fredrick says:

    I love love love the Junk Gypsies. I think they’re really fun and really make something from nothing!

  • Deb says:

    Hmm, I’ve never seen either of these shows. I think it’s clever people can come up with ways to re-purpose objects. I think I’m creative, but not in ways of thinking how to re-use something. My grandpa was way ahead of the game. He took old t.v.s (the kind that came in the beautiful wood frames) and made benches and bookshelves out of them.
    My mother has taken old clay tiles (the round ones used for waterways in fields) and painted on them, so they make pretty garden objects.
    A friend of mine likes to take old window frames and hang them on her walls; some have quilt blocks, some have grapevines, others are just plain. She also took an old ladder, hung it from the ceiling, used old Mason jars and outfitted them with light bulbs, hung them from the ladder, and has an AWESOME light fixture. THAT is cool and serious upcycling.
    I’m going to have to check out these two shows; they sound interesting and fun.

    • Deb, I love the idea of the ladder with Mason jars light fixture. That’s totally the sort of thing you’d see the Junk Gypsies do. On last night’s episode, they turned the blades of an old windmill into a ceiling fan.

  • Dianna aka Hrdwrkdmom says:

    I haven’t seen either of those shows but they sound right up my alley. I used to sew a lot, in fact I worked at a sewing shop at one time. I love to see what people do with “throw away” items. The vision people have just amazes me.

  • Anna Sugden says:

    Great post, Trish! I love seeing creative shows like that and am a big fan of upcycling. I only wish I had the talent to do what those ladies do.

    My upcycling project – which is still waiting for me to find the time to do something about it – is to make cute little display frames out of the drawers from an old school crafts cabinet. I currently use old printers trays to display things and am always needing more.

  • catslady says:

    I use to be more crafty but not that creative so usually following directions lol. I hate throwing anything out that could possibly have another life. We have a local thrift store that will take quite a few things and that’s where the really creative people can pick up some great stuff lol.

  • Minna says:

    Yes, I’m a fan of upcycling! Lately I’ve been making things out of old jeans: dust covers for my printer and computer, denim pocket fridge magnets and now I’m trying to make a bag (if the old %/”#ยค& sewing machine behaves.

    By the way, there was a show similar to Junk Gypsies. I think it was called Junk Brothers.

  • Becke says:

    Very interesting. I must live in a cave. I’d never heard of upcycling and my speller also questioned the word.

    The kiddie kitchen was awesome, but I doubt I’d have the motivation or patience to give that a shot. I send everything to Goodwill because they are convenient, close, and don’t fuss about the items donated.

    Since Dad was in real estate, our home was always on the market. Therefore, I accumulated little and didn’t form attachments to things because they often didn’t make the next move.

    Most of my sewing, cross stitching, crocheting, knitting, and painting skills have faded for lack of use. I think it’s part of the journey. I tried them, liked them, and moved on to something new. Actually, I think ADD drugs resolve this issue!

    • I’m in “getting rid of stuff” mode right now, but I’m beginning to look at things that I might otherwise just haul to the Goodwill or put in a yard sale and trying to figure out if there’s a way to repurpose them and possibly sell them that way.

  • Trish, I hadn’t heard of upcycling! How interesting. We end up getting most of these shows on cable TV so I’m sure I’ll get a chance to see it. I’m hooked on all the British antique shows. There’s one a little bit like one of the ones you mention called Bargain Hunt where two teams of two buy antiques at a fair and then sell them at auction. Whoever makes the biggest profit wins. I think antiques are so environmentally friendly – the ultimate recycling!

    • Bargain Hunt sounds interesting, though I will admit that I’m not much of an antiques person. At least not usually. It’s more if something really appeals to me. I’d think antiques that came out of the Southwest would appeal to me more because I like that type of architecture and decor.

  • Amy Conley says:

    LOL I am so completely uncreative it isn’t even funny.

  • I haven’t seen these programs, but I have seen these sorts of projects on Facebook and Pinterest. My sister in law is the creative recycler of the family. For my Mom’s 75th birthday she made a frame of a section of an old door. She framed a photo of Mom at the age of sixteen in this antebellum dress. Around the photo she glued antique buttons, earrings, wooden thread spools, broaches. It is absolutely amazing!

    I do love to quilt and do needlework and when I see a project I like in a magazine or online I put a copy of it in a notebook for future reference. One of these days …

  • Trish, the dh loves American Pickers. I think he hopes they’ll pull up in front of our house one day.

    I think upcycling is great, but I’m not gifted in crafts. I admire people who are.