3. Matchbox Keepsakes

Time: Under 1 hour
Cost: Under $10

Have you ever popped a pretty shell in your pocket while walking along a beach?

If you're like me, you have a bowl of "keepsakes" that you can't get rid of, even if you haven't looked in there in months. Included in mine is a piece of plastic from a car headlight, salvaged after my husband, then 16, crashed his first car; a piece of black shiny obsidian rock from Auckland's One Tree Hill, collected while picnicking on a bright spring day; some Beado's that my daughter has made me as a gift; and a little grey shell that my mother in law gave my daughter on our summer holiday in Port Macquarie.
These little memories deserve better than a dusty bowl on a shelf. This project will show you how to display your treasures and record your memories, and it's so easy to do!


Bulk pack of matchboxes - small or large or a collection of both. Around $5 from the supermarket.
Collection of nick knacks
Photos, magazine pictures, maps, and pretty papers to cover your boxes
Tissue paper (optional)

Here we go....

Arrange your nick knacks in front of you and match up any photos, pictures, maps, or postcards to each little treasure. Try to have something that makes you think of the memory that will be hidden inside the box.
Empty out the matches into an airtight jar and reserve at least one box so that you can use it to strike the matches leftover from this project.
Place your matchbox on top of the material you will be covering it with and trace around it with a pencil. Cut out the rectangle and glue it onto the front of the matchbox.

Choose a pretty piece of paper to glue on to the back in the same way. Once it's dry, write down any notes you can think of about the memory onto the back of the box. It doesn't just have to be places and dates, be creative! Funny things your children said, what the weather was like, or a quote or poem that reminds you of the event are all wonderful things to record for future years.

Lastly, put some tissue paper and your nick knack into its box.
Make as many or as few of these matchboxes as you wish and display them on a shelf, or in a pretty box. I love to display mine in a glass bowl where they invite family and friends to discover what treasured memories are hiding within.

2. Recycled Screen Headboard

Time: 2 hours tops
Cost: Under $20

This project is about thinking outside the square and being a bit creative. My husband found three of these Balinese screens on the side of the road during last year's council hard rubbish/inorganic collection and he snapped them up. One of them is being used as a temporary fence to keep the kids in the backyard, one has been broken into pieces for future projects, and this one was kept whole.

It was on the wall for a while and then we decided to make it into a headboard for our bed. Here's how we did it.


  • 1 long piece of wood. This could be a rustic old door, an old sign, a table top, or a screen like we used. Get out to your local salvage yard and have a look around, you're limited only by your imagination!
  • Leftover paint. We bought some white enamel from the mis-tint section at Bunnings for around $6.
  • Paintbrushes
  • Recycled mirrors, tiles, or glass.
  • Glue or double sided foam tape ($5)
Here we go...

Clean your timber with a stiff brush, wash and dry if necessary.

Give the whole thing a good coat of paint if you wish to, or leave it natural. If you like a distressed look you could wipe some paint over the timber with a rag. We decided to stick some pieces of mirror onto the back of the screen so you can see it through the lattice design, we attached the pieces using double sided foam tape which you can get from a hardware store. Old tiles would look fab, or you could use pieces of vintage china, glass, or fabric glued onto plywood squares.

Next step is securing the headboard to the bed. We have a mattress and base so we just needed to add a piece of wood on either side of the bottom of the screen so that it sat at the right height, then we pushed the bed up to the wall with the screen behind it.

So there you have it, a budget friendly and one of a kind headboard that will give your bedroom a touch of the exotic.

1. Photo Frame with old postage stamps

Time: 1 hour plus drying time
Cost: Under $20


  • Plain frame available from Bunnings, Spotlight, Lincraft or even better - recycle one you no longer like or use. Plain frames from a store range from $4 for a small one to $10 for a larger one like I used.
  • Paint. I used leftover paint from another project but you could use a small test pot or borrow some of your kids paints!
  • Glue. PVA is good. I bought 2 bottles from Kmart for $2.
  • Clear satin varnish. I bought a small pot from Bunnings in the craft section for $5. You can buy it in a spray but it's more expensive.
  • Paint brush
  • A collection of old postage stamps. You can pick these up really cheaply on sites like ebay and trademe. I bought loads of them for $10 on ebay and have more than I could ever use. If you don't want to use stamps you could cut out squares from magazines, use old comic books, recipe books, letters, postcards, or maps. Anything bright and graphic will work.

Here we go...

Paint your frame and leave it to dry. If you're impatient like me then you can speed things up with your trusty hairdryer.

Arrange your stamps in front of you in colour groups. This will make it easier for you when you stick them on. I like mine to look random but you could be fancy and do a pattern using the different colours of your materials. Work from the top and brush on the glue to a small area at a time. Make sure all of the edges are stuck down firmly.

Once your frame is covered and it's dry grab your clear satin or gloss varnish. I need to add a warning here people, because at this stage in my own project I was in for a bit of a surprise. Varnish stinks. A lot. Keep some windows open or preferably do this bit outside. Stir your varnish according to the instructions on the pot then brush over one coat. Leave it to dry for 2 hours and then do another coat. Once it's dry you're done! One very original, very cool frame made all by yourself.

There are so many options with these frames. You could make one for a child's birthday using pictures of their favourite things, or by cutting out the letters of their name and sticking them on. You can use stamps from a particular country and then pop your travel pic in the frame to remember your trip. The possibilities are endless. Have fun!

Lets start at the very beginning....

This blog is about me and my love of flea markets and pre-loved bits and pieces. I'm a person who would much rather whip up some pancake batter in a second hand 1940s ceramic bowl than in a shiny new one from Ikea.

Heaven to me is a pile of vintage quilts and linens at a market or spotting an old wooden table in need of love on the side of the road. My favourite part of trawling through the junk at markets and vintage stores is the moment I spot that one special thing that I know I can transform into something entirely different.

Old things have memories attached to them, and even if those memories aren't mine I like to think that the object has been well used and well loved. I sometimes dream up a past for the things I find. As I cut and sew a skirt out of a 1950s linen tablecloth I imagine a housewife in pumps and pearls hanging out the wash in the sunshine, enjoying the snap the cloth makes in the wind.

So join me on this journey of creations that are born again. I'll post my projects online along with the costs of the materials and instructions on how to make something similar yourself. If you want to share your own creations please do, I'd love to see them. In addition to my crafty projects I'll report on my trips to various markets and fairs in the greater Sydney region and show you the treasures I find on my way.


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