I’ve been a long time stalker of the Mustard Tree Op Shop and I decided to try my luck and ask a few questions about their thrifty upcycled inspiration. Here’s what I found out
Is there one person behind the upcycled items we see of a few people at the op shop?
There are a number of people behind the Upcycled items we have at the shop.
Amanda and Dale are responsible for a lot of the crazy things you see there. They make the lamps and lighting and are responsible for most of the displays in the shop. Judy and Leanne are our gardening upcyclers, propagating plants at home. Judy also creates fun sculptures with old golf balls. We have had working bee’s at homes to create things like the tea towel cushions and stools. Christine and Jean helped with these.
The more we do, the more the volunteers want to help and contribute.
2 Why has The Mustard Tree begun this initiative?
We have begun this initiative for a number of reasons.
Number one is to reduce the amount of waste we have to dispose of.
We get a lot of donations. We all seem to love vintage items.
Sometimes these donations are visually appealing, but are just a bit broken or incomplete. Sometimes they don’t pass electrical testing. So what can we do? Unfortunately a lot of it has to go to landfill. We recycle unusable clothes as rags. We sell recyclable metals to the scrap dealer.
Luckily we are also able to upcycle some of these items to resell in the shop. So we reduce landfill, reduce our operating costs by cutting down on rubbish/bin fees.
We create items that we have proven to sell for higher prices than they would have in their broken state.
We create a visually appealing space for our customer and volunteers.
All these factors combine to ultimately help the community which is the main function of The Mustard Tree.
3 Are they popular with op shoppers? They’re not typical to op shops but we know the Mustard Tree is pretty special.
It has proven to be quite a talking point among our customers and volunteers. People seem to appreciate the reason we are doing it and sales have been positive. They are unique pieces often with an “industrial” look. It’s fun to create these items and see them sold to an appreciative buyer.
4 Have you got a favourite upcycle that has been done at the Mustard Tree?
There have been a few upcycled items that stand out.
Lamps made from old oil cans proved popular, as did one made from a red Tonka fire engine.
The Necktie light fixtures are always a talking point and the first thing we did was a chandelier made from cutlery. Affectionately known as the “Chandelier of Death” due to the hazards we endured while constructing it!! It hangs in our café.
Lately we have made some cushions and stools from old tea towels. They look great!
5 Do you have any tips for people wanting to upcycle any common household cast offs?
My tip for upcycling is to think outside the square. You can make a lampshade out of just about anything.
Vintage items are so fun to work with because they have such a great look and they evoke memories in people when they see them used in a fun and quirky way.
Another tip is to use the internet. There are so many things being done around the world that can give you inspiration. Pinterest is great for browsing.
6 What upcycled items are currently available at The Mustard Tree?
Our upcycled items are always changing. Many times we will work on something for a while and it is sold ½ hour after its out for sale.
We generally have a number of lamps and succulents in interesting planters for sale. We currently have tea towel cushions and stools. We also have decorative bunting made from old books.
I then asked what else we needed to know about the Mustard Tree.
All that we do at The Mustard Tree, including our Upcycled range is to help raise funds so that we can help people in the community.
The Mustard Tree is part of Lilydale Baptist Church and as a church we want to show God’s love as we care and provide for physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the hundreds of people who come into the shop every week.
We want to be seen as more than an op shop. We want to provide a place that people can come and feel welcome. Customers are able to enjoy a coffee and light meal in our café, they are able to purchase clothes, furniture, books, manchester, bric-a-brac, records and so much more at affordable op shop prices. If people need extra help we have Community Care. We run a Foodbank where we provide food parcels to anyone in need. Each month we provide enough food for approx. 3000 meals. We also offer pharmacy assistance and when necessary free clothing and household goods.
Each Tuesday (during school term) we also have a free lunchtime meal. This is known as Community Table and is open to anyone who wants to come and share life over a simple meal.
Huge big thank-you to the tireless team at the Mustard Tree, you’re op shop super heroes.
How inspiring are they? I’d love you to share some tips or creative ideas on what you upcycle below.