Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Showing posts with label upcycling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label upcycling. Show all posts

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.

Trimming my waste: Week 25 (mending spree!)



Goals - Week 25: 
  • Repair things I love to wear
  • Admit that I'm not going to lose "those 5 lbs" before September (and so resize stuff!)
  • Go on a mending (rather than a spending) spree

I live in Chicago. It's either cool or cold a lot and I wear some version of jeans most of the year (because I have the kind of full-time job where that's ok). Then summer happens. It feels like it will never come and then it does. And it always surprises me. The first time I try on things I haven't worn in a year... well, it's rarely fun. Because I've gained a few inches. Or because I realize my favorite things are still unwearable. Because I neglected to fix something that was a problem a year ago. 

In the last couple of weeks, motivated by actually going on vacation during the summer (something I never do!), I've been tackling some mending. Here's what I took on: 

Trimming my waste: Week 24 (pupcycling)


Goals - Week 24: 
  • Celebrate upcycling of every sort!
  • Encourage everyone to just start somewhere 
  • Keep reminding myself (and you): a "zero-waste" lifestyle is about mindfulness, choice and creativity - not perfection

Meet Peanut. Four months old and just 1.7 kg (3.5 lbs). She's not only the star of this (p)upcycle, she's also the newest member of a popular Instagram family! (see them together below)

Trimming my waste: Week 23 (Remix Chicago!)


Goals - Week 23:

  • Support Remix Chicago
  • Be inspired by people who've turned upcycling into a fine art
  • Promote them in any way I can! 

This is my third year documenting Remix Chicago. But this year I had my photographer friend Johnny with me. A photographer who works with (wait for it) cameras he rebuilds himself using classic lenses. In this case, he shot only with lenses from the mid 60's. So this might be my most "meta" blog post ever!


Johnny attaches classic, manual-focus lenses to modern, digital mirrorless cameras. Why? "Because classic lenses are beautifully constructed. Modern lenses are software designed, so they're optically perfect. But clinical. Older lenses were expertly designed and built using optical formulas calculated by hand. The result is a tradeoff between optical perfection and amazing, intangible character." To find out more about photography with classic lenses, visit this page and this page.

Ready to see Remix through Johnny's 1960's glass eyes? Read on.

Trimming my waste: Week 22 (quick refashion)


Goals - Week 22:
  • Clear out closet clutter 
  • Repurpose what cannot be donated or easily recycled
  • Have a little more guts when it comes to "refashions"

I went to bed on Friday night with a head cold and woke up Saturday feeling dazed. You know when you feel too crappy to leave the house, but not so sick that you can't function? Yeah. That. Which means I made myself tackle one small task so I'd feel like I'd accomplished something. The task: put the heavy duvet cover away for the summer. 

This involved clearing out the bag I use to store it... and what did I find in there? Old clothes, most of which I dropped into a donation box on Sunday. And the two shirts that are the stars of this post. I've been storing them for over a year and as soon as I saw them, I remembered why! 

Trimming my waste: Week 21 (bottle borders)



Goals - Week 21:
  • Never stop being inspired by what I see around me 
  • Pause. Notice. Share.
  • But be real about upcycling. Most ideas have their pros and cons.

This past weekend was a long, sunny one. Four days off work... and Chicago was celebrating the beginning of summer and Memorial Day. On Saturday afternoon, I still had no idea what this week's post would be about. I really didn't want to be inside making, or photographing, something. I certainly didn't want to be staring at a screen doing research. And then, wondering down an alley behind a residential condo building, I happened upon this vegetable garden. And because I was with a pro photographer, I have beautiful pictures to share with you! 

Upcycling blues



I hope to have a new upcycling project to share with you soon. But today it's going the way most of my projects go: 

1. Damn, that's a great idea! My version will be even easier.

2. I have everything I need except nails. Hmmm, I'll use screws.

3. But the drill isn't charged. That's ok, I should probably sand and stain first.

3. I just broke part of what would have made this awesome. Fine. Dammit. I'll rethink.

4. While I think, I'll just pull the nails out of the pallet wood.

5. OMG, why is it SO hard to pull nails out of pallet wood!!!??? Yes, that's my foot in the picture.

Really. Is it just me or are pallets constructed to withstand the apocalypse?  





Trimming my waste: Week 3 (hairbands from tights)




Goals - Week 3:
  1. Upcycle a non-recyclable item
  2. Repair or repurpose old clothes
  3. Buy less, make less trash and create more  :)
Stretch goal (punny!): use old tights to line plant pots

Giveaway: Retrash - a new book about upcycling and sustainable living


Celebrate Earth Month by supporting Retrash — a new book about upcycling, recycling, and living a sustainable lifestyle.

Nathan Divine, founder of the website Retrash, is a kindred spirit. I can't remember how I found his site, but I remember the thrill!  Nathan has spent the last 3 years gathering inspired projects by amazing artists. And, in turn, inspiring people to rethink the way they look at trash. Now he's put all of his findings in a coffee table book by the same name (Retrash). The book features the work and ideas 82 designers in 20 countries, including Australia, USA, Germany, Spain, UK, Canada, Israel, France, Romania, Malaysia, South Africa, Thailand, Netherlands, India, Portugal, New Zealand, Italy, Argentina, Belgium and Hong Kong.

I've had the opportunity to see some of the projects ...  and I've created a little sneak peak below of the some of the amazing refashions and upcycled jewelry ideas. To coincide with Earth Day, Nathan launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to print the book (on 100% recycled paper, of course). Just two days into the campaign, it's about 60% funded. How cool is that?

Upcycle: Guest blogging at Upcyclista!








My first-ever guest post is live! Really excited to contribute to Upcyclista ... great blog, great voice, awesome people putting it together. I'd love you to take a look at my guest post... then spend some time exploring their beautiful new site.