Athena Magazine

Fashion, lifestyle, passions

Secondhand Angels March 4, 2010

Submitted by Marjorie Cunningham, manager of Reclaimed to Fame Market at 1000 Markets and owner of Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry.

Meet one of our newest merchants in the Reclaimed to Fame MarketSecondhand Angels!   Here’s her story:

I am primarily a self-taught artist.  My mother is a painter and writer and was I exposed to a great deal of art and culture growing up.  I have taken a few classes here and there.  Most recently in the fall of 2009, I attended an ART of REUSE class at John C Campbell Folk School in Murphy, NC for a week.  It was a wonderful, priceless experience.  My instructor was very encouraging; I ended up with time recently after losing a job.  I decided if not now, when so I have been able to get my shop set up and focus on my art.  This is something I have wanted to do for many years.

I have done different things over the years – mixed media, collage, shadow boxes, but really got jazzed up about jewelry after JCC.  I came up with the name Secondhand Angels as I describe on my website.

I started making Angel Pins a few years ago after my Aunt Frannie passed away.  She was an exceptionally creative woman and very influential in my life.  I realize now that making the angels was my way of feeling close to her. She is with her sisters in my banner photo.  I started using odd earrings and pieces of jewelry.  I have sold in local shops, but until now I have mostly made items as gifts for friends and family.

I have recently expanded my vision with bracelets.  All designs are ONE OF A KIND; many are vintage and some are contemporary.  I use old and new buttons, items from the hardware store, sewing notions, beads and whatever strikes my fancy!  You may find an angel charm on most of my bracelets.

I collect items at thrift stores, flea markets and all places in between.  The collecting is just as special to me as assembling my pieces.  Who were the women who once owned these pieces of jewelry?  What were their lives like? Where did they live?  I love preserving the history by recasting items into a new interpretation.

I have also set up a fan page on Facebook and have over 100 fans in two days! Please stop by and join.

I feel this is the beginning of a journey for me and I will quote one of my first customers after she received an angel pin.  “My precious Hope Angel came yesterday!  And I’m wearing her today!  Thank you so much for your gift of vision! Blessings to you.”

I am proud to be a part of Reclaimed to Fame – I am honored.

Amy T. Cunningham
Secondhand Angels


Organic Envy blog: Modern Green Living+Spa Wisdom September 14, 2009

organicenvyI just found a great new organic blog, an offshoot of Organic Spa magazine:

Welcome to Organic Envy! After launching Organic Spa Magazine in January 2007, we felt it was time to open the doors to communication even further. The mission of the magazine is to bring spa wisdom home, as well as to highlight the spas that are leading the organic way. Is there something special you do to find that elusive balance we all seek? We love to share ideas and exchange thoughts revolving around a healthier planet and a healthier you. Please join us in the conversation.

Organic Envy belongs to the Organic Spa Magazine, if you love the publication you will enjoy this green blog.

Facebook page:


The power of yarn August 7, 2009

yarn3From one of my favorite knitting blogs:

During our recent move, I found a box of yarn that I had been using to make afghans that I forgot about – not surprising, right? We managed to locate a local church that accepted items for women (some with children) who lost their homes and we stopped by with a few items. The organizers were thrilled when they saw the yarn. Their enthusiasm came as a surprise at first. Previous donations at other places never created this kind of joy. They reminded me that it wasn’t just yarn – it was a chance to create a present for the holidays, a much needed sweater for a child, an afghan for the winter, or to create something wonderful to sell and that the donation of yarn had reached the perfect home. Hooray! Just a little reminder for us all to share our new found yarn and a season of mindful kniting and crochet.

Marg (grateful, gleeful, and groovin’ to the power of yarn)

Read more of this blog …


JM Craftworks – Fine Handcrafts of Wood & Fabric June 3, 2009

Submitted by Marjorie Cunningham, owner of Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry and manager of the Reclaimed to Fame Market on 1000 Markets.

Jim & Marilyn of JM Craftworks have a wonderful shop at 1000 Markets and are merchants in the Reclaimed to Fame Market. Here’s their story:

We’re a husband/wife team with a small crafts shop specializing in high-quality handmade items, primarily of wood and fabric. All of our work is designed and constructed from start to finish entirely by us. Everything we make is slightly different in size and shape and no two are the same. Each is an original.

We both have a Bachelors of Fine Arts and a Masters of Fine Arts in visual arts. We have worked full-time for museums and galleries for over 15 years as well as previously running our own art services business for six years. Our training has given us a thorough grounding in essential technical skills and enables us to approach our crafts work with the perspective of artists. We are fans of American styles such as Shaker, Arts & Crafts, Mission, and Prairie, and one of our main goals is to bring the values of these past styles into contemporary settings.

We do not use any endangered or exotic woods in our work. We are a green shop and use recycled and reclaimed materials wherever possible; making second use of materials that would otherwise go to waste. Our primary sources of woods are cutoffs from a local large commercial wood shop. The woods they don’t want, which are usually sections with unusual color or interesting patterns in the grain, are exactly what we want for our small handmade items. We’ve also been able to save wood from trees scheduled to be taken out by the city.

Watch a Flickr slide show of our shop in action, producing two handmade wooden jewelry boxes using wood saved from a walnut tree removed by the city. We contacted the city forester and were allowed to gather enough wood for many future projects. See the progression from a section of rough tree limb to finished products:

Whether you’re searching for a keepsake box, a fabric collage or a special handcrafted item that will turn your house or apartment into a home, we can help. We always have work in progress so please check for new items and special sales and promotions. We have work that is in stock and can be shipped immediately, or you can request a custom order for a one-of-a-kind piece that is exclusively yours.

See our portfolio of past & present work on Trunkt:


Roobie Soup – Fabulous purses recycled from cigar boxes! May 27, 2009

Submitted by Marjorie Cunningham, owner of Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry and manager of the Reclaimed to Fame Market on 1000 Markets.

One of the merchants at the Reclaimed to Fame market is Roobie Soup of Orlando, Florida, who fashions fabulous purses from recycled cigar boxes.   Here’s her story:

“I have been creative my whole life… in fact I have been surrounded by creativity as well. I grew up in the south and in a college drama department.  My dad was a drama professor and I spent many an after school night in the costume designer’s (my mom) or set designer’s company. 

“I created jewelry and scrapbooked my little heart out. Then I came up with a way to put them together and show it off sort of subtly!

“Anyway, I am not one to do mass production.   I sort of get bored recreating the same old thing.     I love to alter the use of an item and create something completely different and artistic with it.   I live an “altered” life… hee hee!

“I think life should be fun and you should have ample opportunity to laugh, whether it is at yourself or the situation.”


A Second Chance – Unique Fiber Arts May 21, 2009

Submitted by Marjorie Cunningham, owner of Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry and manager of the Reclaimed to Fame Market on 1000 Markets.

Introducing another of our fabulous merchants in the Reclaimed to Fame Market on 1000 Markets, Jess of A Second Chance, who has shared her story with us:

“Just to let you know who I am… I’m an internationally touring teaching artist. What? One who travels 250+ days out of the year to perform (theatre, dance, music), teach those skills to others (pre K – professional), and produce/write music (3 cds to date, hear them at


“I’m co-founder of an educational physical theatre company, Creatively Independent, as well as co-founder of an Americana Indie music label, RoadWorm Music.

“A Second Chance is an extension of all that inspires me.  I find expressive, abandoned/discarded sweaters and imagine their lives.  I imagine what they can now become and who might be drawn to it.  My different arts have common threads: improvise, enjoy the moment, listen, see the big picture and soak in the details.

“Recycling, re-crafting and supporting charity stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army is how I try and make a difference.  While on the road so much, I come across some great vintage pieces that don’t fit me… so why not spread the love?  Plus, 10% of all sales are donated to  See who’s benefited already!

“I spend most of my time teaching others how to find and express their personal voice.  Now, I’m helping these pieces do the same for you.”

A Second Chance


Waldron Weavings May 6, 2009

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


Our Reclaimed to Fame Market is very fortunate to have as one of its merchants Waldron Weavings.  Margaret recycles old sheets into beautifully woven rugs.  This is an art that you don’t often see anymore and it’s wonderful that Margaret carries on this type of craft.  As she says on her shop profile “Beautiful old fabrics are given another chance to shine.”  She’s agreed to share her story with us.


“I learned to weave at the University of Washington in the late 60’s.  I was taking a general art course and signed up for the weaving class taught by the Home Ec. Department.  One touch of those big floor looms and I was hooked.


“When I moved to Waldron Island in the San Juan Islands of Washington State in 1972, I brought with me a handmade loom made by a friend.  I wove presents for friends and various household items for years, but it wasn’t until I married Joel Thorson in 1984 and moved to what is now Thousand Flower Farm on the island that I started production weaving.

“A friend gave us three bummer lambs, lambs whose mothers wouldn’t take care of them. Joel wanted to learn to spin, to use our wool and to find a way to sell it that would bring in a reasonable income.  So I dragged the loom out of storage where it had been put to make room for children and started making rugs from his hand spun wool using a cotton warp material.  They were an immediate success and we were off on the fiber arts part of our venture.


“Recently I have added bright colored rag rugs woven in an old Swedish pattern from recycled sheets.  I especially love the idea of giving old fabric a second chance to shine.  I also weave fancy boas woven from a variety of glitzy novelty knitting yarns.  I continue to grow as a weaver adding new ideas and techniques to my repertoire.

“I have two 1000 Markets shops, Waldron Weavings, which features my rag rugs made from recycled materials and which shop is in the Reclaimed to Fame Market, and Thousand Flower Farm, which features my other weavings, my wool rugs and boas.”


The making of an artist: Mem’s Pocket Palette April 22, 2009

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

One of the talented merchants in the Reclaiemd to Fame Market is Mem of Mem’s Pocket Palette.  Mem’s story is a fascinating and inspiring one and she has shared it with us.  Stop by Mem’s shop to see her innovative one-of-a-kind creations!

My name is Memory McDermott and I was born and raised in Colorado. My love for found objects and collecting started at an early age. My mom said that I would stuff my diapers with rocks, rolly pollies and anything else I could find that was not attached to something. (As a child I had to empty my pockets before I was allowed through the door.)

“We were raised in a small town, and the dump was down a dirt road along the river about ½ mile out. I started walking that dirt road on a daily basis by the time I was seven. In the summer time the other girls would play with their Barbie Dolls, and I would be at the dump filling my bucket and pockets with treasures.

“While other kids were making mud pies, I was making little bowls and animals. (I’m not really sure if they actually looked like bowls or animals, but that’s what I was making)

“I remember at eight years old this old man in town was watching us one day and he offered me 50 cents for my mud bowl. My very first sale and I was hooked! After that I would go from door to door in our little town with my “famous art” on a cookie sheet and sale to the locals! Everyone thought it was cute, so I did make a little bit of money until my mom and dad found out what I was doing. They were not amused and did not see “the cuteness” in my salesmanship or art. (They obviously had no eye for talent)

“I was never your typical kid, nor did I care! I was completely happy sitting in a tree high above the ground watching other kids go crazy at an outdoor birthday party. I say this because several years ago one of our neighbors died, and their kids came across a picture of me sitting in a tree at a birthday party and sent it to my parents. I was six at the time. I remember those times well, and I also remember that my mind would go crazy. I would watch, listen and think of how many things I could make from the napkin that had just blown off the table or the silly hats all the kids were wearing, and this has never changed about me. I still watch, listen and observe while my mind goes crazy creating things that sometimes come about and other things that get shuffled to a corner in my mind that only seems to be a distant memory of things once thought of.

“I loved the late ’60s and early ’70s! Going to college in Southern L.A. was one of my favorite times! I felt happy, free and political. That time in my life fit with my personality more so then any time since. I function the best when I have a cause. Everything was changing and the world was exciting and I wanted to be a part of it. I loved the freedom those times offered to create and be yourself and I took advantage of it, creating, experimenting and becoming a mother! Life was grand and I was a part of it.

“I could not tell you everything about my life without writing a book so I will skip all the details and tell you that getting a divorce, raising a child on your own with very little child support changes your thinking and your way of living. I soon found that I could make a better living as a construction worker then I could as a “therapist”. (Not to mention I don’t do well with whining) First of all I am petite. I am only 5’ and weigh 103 lbs. but growing up with two brothers I became tough. This is leading to the rest of my life. I became Union Carbides “First Woman” underground miner. I was a driller, and I loved it! Six years after my son was born I had my daughter and continued with construction work. When one job ended I moved on to another so our lives were spent on the road a lot. I worked for Brown & Root, Gary Refinery, Sturgeon Electric and on and on….

“In 1987 I had a brain hemorrhage that changed my life forever. . My son was 13 and my daughter was 7 at the time. They told my family to bring my kids in to say goodbye, that I would not make it through the night, obviously I did (we think, that’s still on the table) but I was in a coma for fourteen days in intensive care and after that a little over a month in the hospital. When I went home my parents came to take care of me for about 2 months, my son quit school to take care of me and my daughter went to live with my brother and is wife some time after where she remained until she graduated. It took me a long time to learn again and to be half way normal again and I was full of anger. I did not see the miracle that everyone was talking about. I spent hours, days and months in a dark room where I could only have two visitors a day and only for 10 minutes at a time. I was full of depression and despair!

“At some point I began to dream again of making things. I would spend hours creating in my mind, making something from an old object or painting a beautiful picture. It was those things from my childhood that kept me going. It was the creative side that softened the anger and gave me a reason to get well so that I could use this time to create.

“During this healing period in my life, which was a good eight years I made things, became a drug an alcohol counselor, opened my own shop and learned a new way of living. I always had a house full of homeless people, which actually started long before all of this and I soon was on a mission to make hats and scarves to pass out to homeless people every winter. (I still do that)

“In a six-year period before I came to Texas I was asked to manage a non-profit organization that was going under because of previous management. They only had 63 paid up members, rented their building and were losing money fast, forcing them to eventually close the doors. I told the board of directors that I would do it only if they stayed out of my way and let me do what I felt was best. I told them that the first thing I was going to do was use a donation (a lot in the city that was donated) as a payment on a building. I sold the lot and bought a huge, huge building for $150,000. They were horrified. I promised them that we would have it paid off within one year. We DID, one year to the date! We put on plays and dinner shows at the Hilton and eventually in our own building, we raised money through various activities at the club, had a monthly Las Vegas night that always brought in a lot of money and by the time I quit 6 years later to move to Texas they had plenty of money in the bank, 10 well paid employees and 892 paid up members. I tell you all of this because I believe after all of these years that a creative mind will take you a long ways if you let it.

“During these years I also got back into herbs, which I studied as a child with my grandparents. I sold my own line of tea for years then wrote a book with all the recipes. The only one I did not include was the Hair Growth Tea as I still have plans of marketing that.

“As I mentioned earlier, to tell my entire story would be a book, which this has become so I will quit with this last entry.

“Today I have two fantastic kids that are amazing adults and one beautiful granddaughter and they all live in Austin! I am also married to a man I met after moving to Texas. We have been together for 8 years now and live 70 miles Northwest of Austin so I am able to see my kids and my granddaughter often.

“I spend most of my days now just enjoying and taking care of our crippled deer and any other animal God sends our way. I still dumpster dive (hubby is over the shock now) and I still have my days but all in all…. my joy comes from being able to create and the hope that every day I have made a difference for someone else in this lifetime.”


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.