I’ve Saved some Strange Stuff in the Name of Art—

My family mocks me mercilessly about this. 

My nephews’ efforts to humiliate me for saving cat food cans know no bounds.  They love to remind me of the empty Sweet ‘n Low packets I collected—the sales receipts I saved.  They allege I’ve crossed the line—stepped off the edge separating the safe side of sanity from the abyss that is crazy-ass receipt saving by strangely aging aunts.

Regular readers of my blog will be well-aware that sanity’s not my strong suit—that I’ve had my own up-close-and-personal encounters with literal madness.

But that was a long time ago and has nothing to do with my more recent eccentricity.

In the past I’ve used cat food cans to make this:

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The labels to create this:

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I’ve used empty Sweet ‘n Low packets to make this:

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But I’ve stopped collecting cans.  I no longer save evidence of my sick obsession with the artificially sweet or my misadventures in retail therapy. 

Now I’m mad about maps—crazy for cartography.  But before you laugh like the rest of my relatives, take a look at this Christmas tree ornament that features a map of downtown Lexington, the city where I live.  I admit it’s not a complete success.  It may be a little heavy on the pink, which is not exactly a Christmas color—but not every foray into elving can be Santa successful:

But this one, which includes a map of Africa, may be a bit better:

However, if neither of these epitomizes happy holidays in your mind, you might prefer your own ornaments made from found and repurposed fabric.  Here are a few I didn’t share in my last post:


But still, my favorite is the following:

variation on the label ornament above (notice ingredient list)

Yes, I know I showed you these the other day, but I’m sharing them again, because I’ve run out of canned tomato labels and could really use your help recycling Del Monte or maybe even Hunts.

Would you mind saving some for me?  I promise I won’t tell my family you’ve contributed to my hoarding habit.

I swear on an empty cat food can, I won’t!

(Note:  For directions on how to make the ornaments, click here.)

28 thoughts on “I’ve Saved some Strange Stuff in the Name of Art—

  1. “Sanity’s not my strong suit”…. This needs to be plastered somewhere in my house! Love the use of maps. A friend recently used maps as wallpaper and now I’m determined to copy!


  2. Very, VERY creative, and not at all insane 😉
    I think it’s brilliant the way you have juxtaposed colors and prints in your ornaments….the results are fantastic! And each one is so different from the first! Loved the pink one most of all, heheh.
    Also loved the artwork in which you used the cat images 🙂


    • Thanks so much, Munira! I’m glad you noticed the way I paired and juxtaposed pattern–good eye, my friend! And I’m thrilled you liked the pink one, as that’s the one one I felt least confident about. It helps to know you appreciated it. Thanks!


    • Thanks so much. Glad you like the ornaments. Sometimes having these things on hand helps the creative process and even looking at them can spark ideas for me. Doesn’t sound like it’s about hoarding for you either. It was great having you stop by. I hope you’ll come back soon!


  3. These are amazing, Kathy. You are so talented. Sorry I have been a little behind on my blog reading lately. I just sent you an e-mail. Look for it.



  4. Maps! I love maps. I often wonder what will happen with maps now that so many people use GPS. My GPS, by the way, is still a map. I keep waiting for the AAA to tell me that they no longer have hardcopy maps available and that I’ll have to print it online. Eeek. Maps, in my opinion, are works of art in and of themselves. Maps are journeys and adventures. Maps are memories for me too. (I have saved a few from past trips, maps that we highlighted, that I tuck into the photo albums from those trips.)

    I love what you do with the things you “hoard.” Is it really hoarding if you repurpose it by turning it into amazing art? I don’t think so. It has me looking at the cat food cans I keep tossing into the trash in a whole different way.

    I’d send you tomato can labels if I had them. I can my own tomatoes and they don’t have labels (which has me thinking I ought to design my own label just for the fun of it). I have, however, run out of home canned tomatoes so if I have to buy some before the tomato harvest comes in, I’ll be sure to get Del Monte or Hunts. Any hints on removing the labels so they’re still in good shape for you to use?


    • I too love maps and have saved some from Vietnam, India, and Haiti, that I would never cut up. I love what you say about maps being journeys and adventures!

      About the tomato labels–you can remove them by cutting at the seam with an exacto and peeling off from there, as usually that is the only part that is glued. I think it’s so cool that you can your own tomatoes. We don’t have any canned tomatoes now either, as we have them fresh from the garden.

      (Yes, if I use the stuff to make art, it’s likely not hoarding. I think Sara likes to teasse me more than anything.)


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