Renovation project: recycle and upcycle

I found I was taking work home with me at the weekend, but not in the way you might think.

Cool Blue is promoting the UK’s first Festival of Thrift right now – and it promises to be a haven for thrift lovers and crafters everywhere.

The festival – at Lingfield Point, Darlington, in September – is all about finding enjoyable ways of making the best of these cash-strapped economic times by sustainable living with a modern take on the ‘make do and mend’ attitude of our grandparents and great grandparents.

So how did I take work home with me?

Was I hunched over the laptop writing a 10,000 word client report or fashioning an attention-grabbing advertising strategy?

No I wasn’t – the weather was too hot and I had a barbecue in Denby Dale that demanded my attendance on Saturday.

It was more the concept of recycle and upcycle that I took home with me.

If I’m honest, it’s a way of life I’ve dabbled in for decades but admitting you mooch around charity shops and scramble around flea markets wasn’t deemed fashionable a few years ago.

That all changed recently with the emergence of all things ‘vintage’.

So the time has come for me to finally admit my ‘vintage’ vice – my name is Julie Martin and I’m an impulsive and compulsive eBayer and flea market forager.

My indulgence at the weekend was a wooden garden table and chairs that had seen better days.

Well-loved would be the term thrifters would use to describe them – roughly translated they were incredibly well-worn and weathered.

Some would go so far as to say they were shabby without the obligatory chic.

But – and I have to say this – with a bit of elbow grease, sandpaper, a tin of quality wood stain and a few more hours work they are coming back to life.

Garden party anyone?