My Introduction to the Construction Junction.

My husband is a silly man who often claims, when I ask him a question, that I am “grilling him like a salmon.”  But he is a good sport.  After all, he married me, didn’t he?  So when we were in Pittsburgh last year for the opening of Into The Forest, he agreed when I told him I needed to make a stop at the Construction Junction. He even opened the door for me!

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The Construction Junction is a nonprofit used and surplus building material retailer.  It accepts all kinds of donations-construction materials, old appliances, electrical supplies, plumbing supplies, tools, lighting, building materials and many other things too numerous to mention.  This keeps stuff out of landfills and gives it a second life when it leaves in the hands of a customer to be used in a new project.

 

 

But the construction junction is also a mecca for creative types.  I found some embossed tiles there that make perfect polymer clay texture sheets.  I got some brass pipe and metal parts that I will recycle into jewelry.   If I wanted one of the vintage stoves that seem to be all the rage these days,  I could pick one up at the Construction Junction and restore it to working order.

 

 

 

The place is HUGE, the staff is friendly and there is plenty of parking.  Check it out if you find yourself in Pittsburgh.

 

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My New Jewelry Making Tools

Who doesn’t love a good deal? My friends know that I am a bargain hunter. Here are my latest jewelry making tool scores.
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Otto Frei close out two Fretz mini raising hammers $84.00

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Ever since  I used Artsy-Sciency’s metal shears in Puerto Vallerta,  I wanted a pair.  They cut so easily.  ArtGirlsTools  $13.25 plus shipping

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Haiko flush cutters  Amazon

16 gauge    $9.29

10 gauge   $12.67

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Optivisor – low cost version. I had a couple of genuine Optivisor lenses but no holder. I didn’t want to invest in a genuine Optivisor so I tried this low cost knock off. My Optivisor lenses fit and it came with some lenses of its own. Probably not as good as the genuine thing but you can’t beat the cost.

$$16.50 plus $3.00 shipping from China.  Delivery takes a few weeks.  Order it here.

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Foredom Bench Lathe  $188.50

Jets Jewelers Tools and Supplies  Order it here,

There’s a story behind the bench lathe.  I was jonesing for one ever since I attended a Clay ConneCTion retreat a few years ago and got to try one out.  I went searching for a deal and was wary of  buying a poorly made knock off or, worse yet, a counterfeit.

I had one prior order with Jets Jewelers and Supplies who does business on eBay.  I didn’t like the item I got and they refunded my money in full no questions asked.  So when I saw the deal on the Foredom Bench Lathe,  I ordered it.  Jets Jewelers promptly sent me an email informing me that I had ordered the 240 volt model and asked me if I had not really meant to purchase the 120 volt model.    I thanked them for catching the error and my bench lathe arrived a couple of days later.  I love it.  And I commend Jets Jewelers and Supplies for their great customer service!!

Note: Some of these prices may have gone up since I bought the items but they are still great deals.  I have no affiliation with any of the sellers or manufacturers.

Copenhagen’s Hidden Shopping Treasures


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Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark, which is supposed to be the happiest country on earth. Now I had always heard depression is more prevalent in places like Scandinavia where the winter days are short and cold. But as I grow older, I have come to realize that happiness is not having what you want; it’s being grateful for what you have.

What the residents of Copenhagen have is a city dotted with consignment shops, resale stores and thrift shops. And it’s not considered gauche to be seen patronizing these establishments. I don’t know about you but if I lived in Copenhagen, that would be enough to make me ecstatic.

I was determined to find some of these places. My quest led me away from the tourist traps and into a the residential neighborhoods of the City. Along the way, I found an area peppered with vintage and antique stores which were perfect for buying gifts and souvenirs. Here’s what I found:

Bla Kors Gebrug is located in a residential neighborhood near the Danish Museum of Art and Design. This is a charity shop meaning that it is a non-profit and less pricy than consignment shops.
The space was large but there were not many clothes at the time I was there. No matter; what they did have was quality and in good condition. I bought a striking lined felt merino wool shell and a long, wide silk-blend scarf–and I found two pair of circular knitting needles. The cost for everything was under $15.00 US. A visit to the Design Museum rounded out the day.

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The next day, we spent the morning at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek and then headed West on Vesterbrodgade in search of more treasure. I was not disappointed.  I checked out two resale shops: Genbrug where they sell most items by the kilo, and and Kirkens Genbrug. Both of these are also charity shops.

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If you are into vintage, don’t miss Genbrug. Besides womens’s clothes (grouped by decade – 60’s, 70’s and so on) they sell accessories including a wide range of purses and pocketbooks. Not everything is in top condition, so it is advisable to examine before you buy. The store is crammed with clothes and very popular so I would bet there’s a lot of turnover.

Kirkens Genbrug sells women’s and children’s clothes, books, tchotchkes, accessories, housewares, small appliances and whatever else anyone donates. The inventory was in good condition. Their clothes were a little less retro and more to my taste. I didn’t buy anything here, but I wanted a sweater the cashier was wrapping up for someone else. Isn’t that always the way?

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My big surprise was finding a cluster of curio and curiosity shops around 170 Vesterbrogade. When I started out on my shopping exploration, I did not expect to find so many interesting antique shops. Most of the items they sold fit more into the vintage than the antique category meaning that they were charming and affordable. It also meant that my gift recipients would not be getting T shirts, refrigerator magnets or Viking statues. Ok, maybe one Viking statue but that’s a special case.

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I stumbled into a little place called Antike Kate at Vesterbrogade 177. The store was stuffed with china and crystal and jewelry and trinket boxes, ornate frames, vases, silver candlestick holders and vintage picture frames. And more. I bought an amber pendant on a silver chain and a vintage picture frame for gifts and a small old-fashioned flat iron that I will use in my metal work. I wish I had bought more things; I could have done most of my Christmas shopping.

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Antike Kate was only one of many curio shops on that stretch of Vesterbrogade. Many of them had merchandise out on the sidewalk to lure customers. A waiter back at our hotel said that tourists routinely complained about how expensive things are in Copenhagen. And they are. So he was surprised when I told him that I found some cool stuff at a good price.

I enjoy exploring antique and curio shops when I am outside the US because the stock is different than what I’m used to and, if you ask, there’s always a proprietor to tell the story that goes with an item. I always learn something even if I don’t buy.

And looking is free.