the ReFab Diaries

Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Valentine upcycle: Book-page treat bags


Yup - I made a Valentine's Day thing. Mostly because I was inspired by Pillar Box Blue's upcycled map hearts. They're so easy to make and such a great way to repurpose magazines, old book pages and, apparently, maps. Also, sewing paper is fun!

Flowers for Dreams: Low-waste, ethical and beautiful.


A second post from me in a week? Yes. Because sometimes I find a story right under my nose and I have to share it asap. Especially when it's about a flower company and Valentine's Day is around the corner. 

The cut flower business is bloomin' wasteful. 

Lovecycled... 20 Valentine DIYs



 For you I have to risk it all 

'Cause the writing's on the wall 
 Sam Smith


I haven't done a Valentine's post in years. But I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by the hate happening all around me right now. So let's make love... out of junk.

Upcycle: DIY book-page gift bag


Happy Sunday! Here's a quick DIY for you. What you need:


  • Old book pages
  • Mod Podge, scissors and tape
  • Hole punch and material for handles (twine, tape, ribbon)
  • A big hard-back book (or a box from your recycling) for sizing the bag

45 ways to make less trash.



At the beginning of 2016, I committed to trimming my waste. After years of using this blog to gently reinforce the message that mindless consumerism is a problem, I decided to take off the gloves. Inspired by the zero-waste movement, I joined Be Zero's #makelesstrash2016 challenge and declared my intention for the year: to trim my waste. Because we are literally consuming ourselves. And we need to wake up.

Thanks to the generous (and robust) zero-waste community I've become a part of, I'm reminded often to stop worrying about the word "zero". Zero waste is an industrial term being applied to a lifestyle. It refers to a circular-based economy where we design without waste as an end product. We don't yet have the infrastructure, laws, or consumer demand to move us from our current linear economy to something circular. Zero waste is a goal - the lifestyle is not to be taken literally. That's why we need to educate ourselves on materials, on resources, and on how we can give companies the incentive to make change. We have to simplify and become resourceful, thrifty, and community-centered again. We have to rethink the way we consume. And we have to make less trash.

What have I learned this year? That every small change matters. That avoiding plastic packaging is incredibly difficult. That avoiding single-use plastic is not nearly so difficult. And that putting my money - and my energy - where my values are is worth it.

Here are 45 tips, takeaways and learnings from 51 weeks of trimming my waste: