Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Vanity Reciprocity Challenge


The older I get the harder it is to maintain the illusion of dewy beauty, especially since I was never a natural beauty to begin with. This is not a Woe is Me pronouncement—I reserve self-pity for the truly dire circumstances. Fact is, this year, the year before I turn the golden 5-0, I've noticed a bulking up of packaged promises in my lotions and potions drawer.

They promise to firm me, smooth me,
tighten and clear me,
soften and refresh me,
deep cleanse and unclog me,
shine me up, matte me down,
strip me gently, kill me softly...
hey how'd Roberta Flack get in there?

So when my teammates with etsy's Upcyclers asked me to pick the August challenge material to repurpose, the obvious choice was to survey all that glossy packaging and make something beautiful out of what helps keep us beautiful. I call it the Vanity Reciprocity challenge. You can read about it here. In a few days, a wrap-up post will also appear on the team blog, here.

Dude or dame, you likely use some grooming goop with regularity. A shame all those gorgeous boxes, cases and jars get tossed. Unless...

Vitamin C face capsules brighten an old brooch.


I have nine jars (so far) of these now-empty luminous capsules with the silkiest elixir for brightening skin tone. They're so round and healthy-looking they make me want to flatten them like bubble wrap. But they're so much more resilient. And versatile...


Skewing closer to my fabric art background, this one's an attempt to make a ginormous pendant that stays light thanks to the airy dangles. It's about as wide as your hand is long. I have no idea yet how to hang it around my neck, whether to use leather, ribbon, chain or braided trim, so this one's on the shelf for now.


It does let the light through, and can double as a suncatcher of sorts, I suppose. More creative minds than mine would've taken this concept and ran with it. Me, I procrastinate.


I auditioned different colors of seed beads for my next project...




In the end I went with the color closest to the Vitamin C capsules, the better to suggest a persimmon tree in full fruit.



I have some flattened glossy boxes waiting for me to whip them into something next. They housed my probiotics, aspirin, joint pills, and "excess carb absorber"—necessity combined with more vanity products! Thanks to them I can walk upright without clutching my gut, head, and knees.

If you are so inclined, dear reader, jump in and create something from your grooming goop stash. Then drop me a line here and link back to your blog, Facebook page, Flickr account or wherever else you've posted a photo. I wish blogger would allow picture embedding in the comment section, but we're not there...yet.

What else should I make with the nine jars of Vitamin C capsules?

20 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It occurs to me I fudged the truth a bit by including leaves! Persimmons come out in full force when the leaves have all fallen. But I had this small packet of leaf notions I found at the thrift store and I couldn't help using some of them.

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  2. I love this idea and any idea that includes re-purposing ... I use my old jars of face cream in my altered art and never throw them out but collect them for future pieces. Thanks so much for this delightful post.

    Happiness for all ... keep up with ideas to save our planet.

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    1. "...never throw them out" — a description many of us share! Thank you, ArtSings!

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  3. Turning the big 5-0 myself in a couple days..have you noticed how much larger the old lady/ wrinkle cream aisle has grown in the last 5-10 years? It used to be Ponds, Noxema and pink Oil of Olay!

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    1. Happy Birthday in advance! Call it like it is—that's what that aisle is! And also a money pit. How dear and familiar to me those standby brands are.

      The boatload of variety at your typical American store became a source of fascination for my husband's eastern European friend a couple of decades ago: he was speechless that cereal takes up an entire aisle.

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  4. I think I love the tree the most too, but everything is great! So many ideas! And I bet those vitamin c capsules look pretty just sitting in the jars, too!

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    1. Ooh yeah, have you seen those lamps with clear glass bases? Those would fill those up prettily.

      Readers dear, hop on over to Sarah's blog to see how she met this Vanity Reciprocity challenge: http://sweetsomedaylove.blogspot.com/

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  5. What a fun idea! I really start laughing. And I'm pretty sure, if you wouldn't have told me, I would have no idea what it is!

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    1. Hello, Nauli, glad it made you laugh! Thank you for visiting. I was so impressed with your beautiful wedding in Bavaria and I want to share my delight with my readers, so the link is

      http://blog.nauli.de/2012/08/ein-schonster-tag-im-leben-most.html

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  6. Replies
    1. Guess I won't try to sell it to you, Hope! LOL

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  7. P.S. Has no one noticed that the Mona Lisa is holding a corn dog? That pic was taken at the state fair. What's a fair without a corn dog!

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  8. You are so creative! I have so many aging beauty products--mostly hair stuff--but it would never occur to me to do anything so magical with them. I just buy more and shove the old ones to the back of my cavernous bathroom storage closet (I don't know why they made it so cavernous). I can't toss them because the recycling rules in my town keep changing!

    Also--I did notice the corn dog. We're heading to a county fair this weekend; I am sure my kids will get them.

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    1. And be sure to eat a funnel cake for me!

      OMG, yes, I have hair stuff up the wazoo, too, ever since making the mistake of using a hair straightener prior to our Hawaii cruise last spring. I thought I'd go with armor on against the humidity. Wrong! I ignored the warning not to use the product if you've ever used red dye on your hair. Forgot that I did indeed use a coppery highlight eons ago. Frizz city!

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  9. Hi there,

    Marie. How are you ? My name is Shantalie and I am new editor on expat arrival's. You did an interview for our site a while ago. I am currently working on updating our pages on California and LA and I was hoping you could contribute.

    Please email me on : shantalie@expatarrivals.com

    I hope to hear from you soon !

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    1. Hi, Shantalie, congratulations on your new position with expat arrivals. I've emailed you. Talk to you soon.

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  10. Love this post, Marie...I can certainly relate. I kind of gave up on the "beauty" products....let come what may! I should probably try a little harder, but I find it takes too much effort these days..lol!

    I really love the tree in your hoop art - turned out beautifully! Thanks so much for your wonderful choice of medium and for motivating me to create something for the August challenge! ~ Marcy : )

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    1. Hi Marcy! I know what you mean, I am SO weary of the maintenance required! Not to mention the hit to the wallet that it entails. On the other hand, since I'm in the public eye on the job, I learned the hard way that if I want to stay viable I have to pay the price. I could almost write a separate post on being tugged both ways.

      Thank you, and I'm glad you enjoyed the Upcyclers challenge for August. You certainly rose to it! I can't wait to see what you'll come up with for the t-shirt repurpose challenge.

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  11. You're so creative. I love the persimmon tree. Yes, I too have tons of containers go into the trash as I search for that dewy complexion without peeling, frying, lasering, plumping or all the other more drastic ways to recapture a little of my youth.

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