Archive for the ‘Ideas’ Category

I was so impressed when I stumbled across julienjaborska’s Etsy store.  The store’s name is Rebicyclist and this upcycling artist does belts, keychains and coasters.  What a great idea, turn those useless old bike tires into something useful and stylish. 
My favorite belts are the chunky road tire type, I think they’d be an edgy statement in the workplace.


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When I was searching Etsy today for someone new to spotlight, I entered ‘upcycled’ into the search engine and was so impressed to find these works by KD.  The green circle bracelet is so elegant and then looking through her store I found some lovely earrings as well. 
ArtworkbyKD also has some very fun and quirky flower rings as well.  Her shop is worth a second look, or third or fourth, enjoy.

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upcycled wildlife

upcycled wildlife

In our backyard we have all kinds of butterflies.  But for my girls they never hold still quite long enough.  So I’ve been using our old aluminum cans to add more butterflies into their lives.

WARNING – cutting aluminum is dangerous, I use a pair of leather gloves.  Also, we keep them in sight but out of reach, they are too sharp for little fingers.

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I found a new use for my silk fabric sample books.  I saw some of these chic little silk flower hair pins over on Etsy the other day and decided to try my hand at them.

Silk Flower Hair Pins

To begin I cut out some circles, three of varying sizes works best and makes the flower look really pretty. My largest circles are about 1 inch across.

Then with a candle you learn how to pass the edges of the circle through the flame until you’ve got a slight singe on all of the raw edges. This will be a learning process, be patient and cut a few extras so you have some practice circles.

Next take some thread and secure all the circles together and add a center bead.  Pass through the flowers and bead twice before attaching to the hair pin.

Add the hair pin and wrap 4 times, tie a good square knot and glue.  I used a multi-purpose glue that is more gel than liquid, that way it doesn’t leak through the fabric and stain the flower.  Once you’ve got a good secure attatchment to the hair pin clip the threads and wear.

This little project is good for head bands and little clips as well.  This is such a great way to use up some scraps you might have around your house.

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I’ve been working on Halloween costumes for about a month now, off and on.  I’m so excited about how everything worked out and how beautiful the girls looked.  Here they are on the way to the party.  Thank you to Threadbanger, if you haven’t visited their site or downloaded their podcasts, go for a visit!  The wings are due to their great tutorials and excellent instructions.

recycled hangers and knee socks made the wings

recycled hangers and knee socks made the wings

beautiful little rosebud

reused easter dress shortened and gathered to make dress

reused easter dress shortened and gathered

not bad for a girl with horns…

this family

this family

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I’m so excited!  We’ve been at this for almost a year, in that spirit I thought I’d do kind of a recap.  Here are my favorite ways to reuse, repurpose or recycle.  Enjoy!  And as always, please send photos or comments – we love them!!!

Cardboard – Draw on it, paint it, or cut it down.  Use as a substitute for chipboard or wood in your art.

T-Shirts – Cut down old, stained or ill-fitting shirts into ribbons. Crochet a rug, knit a scarf, or even wrap the scraps up to make little birds or other amigurami.

Wool Sweaters – Save or collect thrift store wool to make Christmas ornaments, soft animals or applique.

recycled wool sweater monster

recycled wool sweater monster

Jeans – Even when the fit or color doesn’t suit anymore jeans can be used.  Try tacking them down on a piece of burlap or old towel to make a warm, soft bathroom rug.  Jean is great as a backing fabric for mini quilts or mini ATC cards.

Aluminum Cans – Cut the cans into flat rectangles and wash – heavy gloves are a must.  When dry, trace butterfly or bug outlines, circles and squares over interesting patterns or colors.  Cut and attach to walls, furniture, punch holes and decorate a light or make jewelry.

Upholstery Samples – Embellish with stitching, applique, embroidery.  Use little scraps to make unique jewelry; add a few grommets and you’re on the way.

Buttons – Inherited from grandma, picked up from the thrift store or harvested from your old clothes.  Paint, draw or glitter for interesting embellishments to hats, shoes or jewelry.  Buttons make great eyes for wool or felt monsters.

Baby Clothes – They can be very expensive and so easily stained but needn’t be discarded.  If staining is minimal consider some simple applique to cover stains.  Heavily soiled items can be cut into ribbons and used much the same way as t-shirts.

Books – Picked up for pennies, the pages make a great background for ATCs or collage; I even use them as part of my jewelry packaging.   If you want to make the type a little more subdued, just try a single coat of gesso paint.

Junk Mail – Create collage, cut and glue into hanging stars; my girls don’t need coloring books with all the paper we get in the mail.  We’ve even sent out Christmas cards in junk mail envelopes.

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A few weeks ago I was surfing around Etsy, which is what I do when I’m procrastinating about my messy house or the dishes that still haven’t been washed, or the blogging I’ve not gotten around to.  Anyway, I do this alot and I have a new favorite recycling artist.  His shop is Dank Artistry and I want to be his new best friend.

I looked through his site and ended up with a long list of all the rings and bracelets I wanted and then I remembered a very unsucessful little foray into spoon rings during college.

My mother gave me some spoons to work with, they belonged to my Grandma.  They were those lovely Reed and Barton flower dessert spoons.  Well I made my mom and sister a couple of key rings and then I attempted to make a bracelet for my self.  After a very messy solder joint and some damage to the silver plating I had a bracelet that I’ve worn no more than a dozen times since (yeah that was 10 years ago).

Well thanks to the power of Alchemy I asked Dank to help me  fix the mess I’d made all those years ago.  And today I received the finished pictures of his work… I am speachless, he made them sparkle, they look so pretty and I will be able to wear them, and now I have two little rings that I can pass on to my two little daughters.

Please visit his site, and if you’ve the inclination – give him some business.  He’s very talented and friendly, the communication was excellent, and his prices are wonderfully reasonable.

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