the ReFab Diaries

Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

14 Unexpected Benefits of Hand Sewing


Every now and again I'll go on a mending or refashioning spree, and I'll share it with you guys. What I don't share are the many times I thread a needle to stitch on a button or repair a small hole in a shirt I love ... or put small darts in a dress otherwise too wide for my daughter; by hand. I was raised by a tribe of woman who sewed - not in some precious, artistic way... it was simply a survival skill for them, like being able to boil an egg. I realize that this mindset has shifted, and our generation is more likely to replace than repair. So I recently gave the 7.5 year old Ms R her first lesson in sewing on a button. And as we worked together, I realized again how valuable it is for her to learn things like this. Why?

Making things Bright.


Confession: I loathe the forward and backward movement of the clocks. It messes with my body's rhythms, my appetite, my energy levels etc. And right now, the sun starts going down around 3:45pm in Chicago. So, I'm literally looking for light, and always grateful for the merry and the bright. Here are some ideas for making your life a little lighter, if you're needing it as much as I am!

Sustainable pet care: 5 ways to get started


sustainable dog treats
Written by Nat Smith, Rover.com community member. Rover is the nation's largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.

If you're a dog owner and also trying to find ways to reduce packaging and plastic waste, this post is for you! As Nat Smith (from Rover) points out, do-it-yourself treats and toys are not only a great way to cut down on packaging: sustainable pet care can also save your money and improve the quality of your pet’s life. What could be better? Here are five ideas from Nat:

SproutingStories: succulent, upcycled book planters.


"Everything deserves a second chance, especially old books." - SproutingStories.


If you follow me on Pinterest, you know I have a board dedicated to upcycled books, which is how I found SproutingStories, my new favorite book upcycler!

Get 20% off your own handmade, succulent book planter. 

Grab the code at the bottom of the post.


An upcycler responds to a refugee crisis: meet Andrea Boyko.



Once in a while, a fellow upcycler sends me a story that blows me away (thank you Feltwerker). This inspiring story starts with a shoemaker who tried to imagine walking miles in no shoes. Not just walking, fleeing. Leaving everything you have and doing it barefoot. Having to make your children do it barefoot.