Vintage Matchbook Notepads

As promised last week, here is my tutorial on how to make old matchbooks into notepads. Matchbooks have become highly collectible because of their size, affordable price and nostalgic illustrations. The box I bought at the flea market last week range from ads for coca-cola to auto dealerships to to fancy hotels. They are also becoming rarer. With new smoking laws, like we have in New York state, the freebie matchbook at the bar or hotel lobby are slowly going the way of the payphone.

Once the matches are removed and paper added they make handy places to jot quick notes and lists throughout the day.


Step 1: Empty out your matchbooks and gather paper, a ruler, x-acto knife and staples. I'm into graph paper right now and decided to try out some colored staples.

Step 2: Measure the matchbook to figure out the dimensions of the paper for the notepad. The space where the paper should fit is 1.5 "x 2". Cut the paper a little shorter, so the matchbook can fold over it easily. I measured out 1.5"x1.75" rectangles on my graph paper.

Step 3: Cut and separate your paper into stacks of 12 sheets. (Too many more and it becomes hard to staple.) Lay the stack into the bottom fold of the matchbook and staple high enough to catch the paper, but low enough so the opening flap of the matchbook can still be tucked in.


Bonus Ideas:
  1. Try different kinds of paper; handmade, lined etc...
  2. Many matchbook come with illustrations or writing on the inside. If some don't you can stamp words inside; to do list, books to read etc...
  3. Use the matchbook as template to create matchbook notepads from new paper in different sizes.

**Advice**: Vintage matchbooks can be brittle depending on age. It may be wise to reinforce corners with clear tape or spray seal the matchbooks while they are flat.


The Early Bird Gets The Deals

After my poor timing last week, I returned to the East Avon Flea Market in it's full glory at 8:30 am on Sunday. The 10 or so shops I encountered shutting down last week, blossomed into nearly 50, bustling with curious shoppers. License plates from as far as Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Ontario, Canada were spotted in the parking lots, which spread onto the Vintage Drive-In Theater grounds.

I found some treasures for future projects: tea cups for my candles and lamps, vintage hankies for textile projects and colorfully illustrated matchbooks for matchbook notepads (tutorial coming next week). Oh, and the last Go-Go's record I needed to fill out my collection on vinyl. Total money spent: $15.

If you decide to go to this flea market, brush up on your bargaining skills. I am not a particularly aggressive person, but the tattoo I have of deer antlers on my chest goes a long way with the male vendors in this rural part of town. That aside, you have to be confident enough to respectfully talk a vendor down or walk away. Wait a few steps and you'll suddenly be chased by lower offers. Here is an awesome guide from Design Sponge on getting the best from flea markets. There is also the chance that you might meet certain buddies vending there (errr...Kim and Josh of Green Bus Adventures) who cut you a freebie from their booth. Thanks guys! And thank you Avon Flea Market.


Antique Jackpot

This is my time of year. Flea markets, garage and estate sales, antique expos and street fairs are sprouting all over, satisfying two of my deepest desires: vintage knick knacks and carnival food. Yesterday I embarked on a search for new supplies to upcycle in my Etsy shop.

First I took a scenic drive to the East Avon Flea Market with some friends. This is a fantastic venue, full of treasures hawked from the back of peoples vans. You'll get a mix of genuine antiques, useless junk and designer knock off bags sold by folks who may or may not be legal immigrants. However I made the mistake of getting there too late. At 2:30 pm many were packing up. Next Sunday I will know to be an early riser. Check out this child's desk we saw that looks a little like a Ouija board...

I was not about to go home empty handed, so we decided to check out Nancy's Barn Antiques. I have passed this gargantuan barn of awesome many times, but never got out of the car. Boy am I glad we did. With rooms full of china and toys and clothes, furniture, books and bottles, NB is a place I could spend days in.

Nancy, the woman, was also very friendly and helpful, allowing my friends and I to oogle late into the afternoon. I found new buttons for my upcycled earrings and rings and a neat little decorative ash tray. I highly recommend NB. It is full of nooks and crannies and she was adding MORE from boxes the whole time.


Rochester NY Street Team In The News!

On Wednesday, four of our local street team members we featured in an article on Etsy in the Business section of the Democrat & Chronicle. This is excellent publicity. And since I saw (charlatan) psychic Sylvia Browne on Saturday night at the Seneca Niagara Casino, my (common sense) guides are telling me there are amazing things in our future...


Personalized Microscope Glass Necklace

I took a great class this past week at Studio 34, here in the Arts district in Rochester. My expert teacher was Vickie Porter, a fellow street teamie who runs In My Head Studios. She got me outside of my comfort zone and into soldering, to create a cut microscope glass pendant. These necklaces are so versatile, because you can sandwich any paper thin item in the middle, from pressed flowers and photos to mini collages. I used vintage stamps (for my stamp collecting mom) for a Mother's day gift.

Soldering takes a lot of practice, so my first attempt here is pretty rough around the edges. I sort of wanted to keep this though. My mom is real lucky I love her ;)


Sweet Mojo

This past week I have had a well deserved lucky streak. The day before this last market I received the news that my art teaching position would be cut for the coming school year due to deep budget cuts. And unfortunately I am not alone. The best anyone can do is put good energy out there and be proactive. In return the craft gods have bestowed their good (if not temporary) mojo on me.

Becky Johnson, the brain behind the Sweetie Pie Press, featured some of my work on her blog this week. She traded several of her excellent pins for my yeti ring after meeting at the Mayday Underground Market. I feel honored to be recognized by this established Canadian crafter as she travels across the country on a market hop. Is it any coincidence that I also made my first Etsy sale to Canada soon afterward?

In fact I had 3 sales this week, and a big one just before the Mayday show. These buyers have been particularly wonderful, sharing feedback and what they plan to do with the goods from my shop. Keep it up Universe!


Mayday! Underground Review

This past Saturday I participated in my largest show to date, the Mayday! Underground Craft + Art Market . The best part is that it was created and organized by Amanda Preske and Casey Wright (a.k.a. Beadwork by Amanda and Peaches Products) fellow members of the ROC Etsy Street Team. They'd "had enough of the boring shows" in their pasts and wanted to create a large scale art market with indie and DIY sensibilities on par with second storie and other national shows. They gathered talented and diverse artists from the surrounding regions, some local music and made an impressive first event.

The space for this year's event was the basement floor of a huge brick building on St. Paul Street, across from the Genessee Brewing Company. It stayed nice and cool inside on an unusually warm day for May in Rochester. I loved the exposed brick and painted pipes wandering across the ceiling. It fit the audience we were trying to reach and left a lot of space for the vendors and shoppers to wander and enjoy.

For this show I stuck with upcycled goods crafted from vintage materials and vintage inspired ACEO's. The cocktail napkin coaster sets were a particular crowd pleaser. I reached my sales profit goal, met many wonderful people and learned a lot about putting on a show from the seasoned tables around me. I have so many ideas for future markets. Here's to the first year of Mayday and many others hopefully to come!