Athena Magazine

Fashion, lifestyle, passions

The lovely sound of Dinner Time Chimes April 11, 2009

Submitted by Marjorie Cunningham, owner of Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry and manager of the Reclaimed to Fame Market.

One of the inspiring merchants in the Reclaimed to Fame Market at 1000 Markets is Dinner Time Chimes. The owner of Dinner Time Chimes is Erin of North Carolina. Her theme for her shop is “Making fun creations from another man’s trash!” And fun creations they are.

I asked Erin how and when Dinner Time Chimes first began and to tell us what started her on this unique journey?

“My daddy and I started making the wind chimes when I was in high school as a way for me to have extra spending money.  It also gave me something else to search for at flea markets, yard sales and estate auctions when we there as a family.  The chimes sold like crazy since they made a unique, inexpensive gift.  However, once I went to college and started my career, I didn’t have any way to make the chimes.  Shortly after getting married, I convinced my husband to buy a drill press for his shop.  He was quickly introduced into the crazy world of silverplate silverware searches and making chimes–and the rest is history!”

Erin has branched out into so many different areas beside silverware recycling, such as her unique birdhouses and owls.  So of course I wanted to know where all of her ideas came from!

“I have to give credit to my daddy for the bird houses.  He saw some along a road in Pennsylvania many years ago.  Since then, he’d been turning our worn out boots into bird houses.  As people stopped by the family farm for goats and sheep, they always commented about the bird houses.  A few tried to buy them, and if he had an extra that hadn’t been hung in a tree yet he’d give it to them.  When I started making wind chimes again, he suggested that I make some of them to go along with the garden themed items that I would already be selling.  He also taught me how to make bird houses from cooking pots and bird feeders from cup/saucer.  You’ll see those available for sale too as we are given more of them to recycle.

“Owls seemed to be very popular this past year and I’d seen a few here and there that I adored, but didn’t really have a need for them.  My husband and I had decided not to decorate for Christmas this past year, as we were rarely home and needed to be spending our time remodeling the house we’d just bought.  However, as the holidays grew near, it was a little blander around the house that I’d thought that it’d be.  I actually did miss having a Christmas tree, even though they’re a lot of work.  I had an afternoon off from work and I decided to make a few ornaments for our ficus tree to surprise Gavin when he came home from work.  Determined not to buy anything, I found fabric scraps and my button box and went crazy making owls.  They were a lot of fun to make and we ended up taking a couple to everyone we visited.  Since everyone loved them too, I used the rest of scraps to make even more owls.”

I asked Erin to tell us what her future plans are for Dinner Time Chimes and where she saw her business 10 years from now?

“I’m sure that life will get even more hectic, especially if we have kids, but I really do hope that I’m still making wind chimes.  With that being said, I wish that I’d thought to keep up with the number of pieces of flatware that I’ve used over the years.  It is probably rather impressive already, but in 10 years time… WOW!”

Erin’s work is such a fabulous way to recycle old pieces of silverware.  When I asked her if there were other areas in her life where she applied the same recycling principles, Erin said that she loved to buy “recycled” clothing at thrift stores.  She loves the challenge of finding something random at a flea market or someone’s trash pile and finding a way to reuse it.

When asked what the most satisfying thing was about her business, Erin said, “The best part is seeing the look on people faces when they turn around and realize that the beautiful sound that they’ve been hearing is coming from these chimes which were made from recycled forks and spoons!  Lately, I’ve not had much time to do craft shows so I rely on emails for feedback from customers, which is also very rewarding.”

Erin also assured me that she does take custom orders.

“Usually it is a request to add beads or to change the bead color, which are quick changes. There have been a few times when a customer fell in love with a chime that I’d made in the past and wanted one similar.  Typically I have something similar waiting to be polished, but I’m not against having to go shopping either.”

Dinner Time Chimes is primarily Erin’s business, but she does get some help from her husband when it comes to flattening the silverware.

I also asked Erin what she likes about being a merchant at 1000 Markets.

“I love that it’s ALL handmade items and that it’s juried.  As the word spreads about the fabulous marketplace, I am sure that it will be even more of a success.  We’re in the process of remodeling and moving, so I’m looking forward to putting more effort to making my 1000 Markets store successful.  In addition to 1000 Markets, I have an online presence on Etsy and my website.  I rely heavily on my personal website when it comes to marketing.  Unless you’ve seen a wind chime made from silverware in person, it is hard to imagine how it would sound, and through my site I’m able to let potential customers listen to our chimes.  I also keep a few stores near Winston-Salem, NC stocked with wind chimes, and I try to participate in a few local craft shows each year as well.”

So be sure to visit her at her
1000 Markets shop
to see all of the fabulous ideas she has brought to life there. In addition to the chimes and birdhouses, she also has the most unique fork easels to hold recipes, business cards or photos.