Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Showing posts with label decor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label decor. Show all posts

ReFab@Home: The lamp that launched a room...


I have no idea what this lamp is worth, but I found it in a barn in Michigan.  The place was crammed with dusty, rustic antiques.  We were about to leave when this incredible green thing leapt out at me.  I knew it would go with the frog prince chair ... so it had to come home with me.  I paid less than the asking price, but more than I wanted to.  Now that I've owned it for several years, I know I'd pay pretty much anything for it.  


Upcycle: Sandwich bag hanging garden ...


Anthropologie (NYC) window display ... using little plastic bags.  I wonder what they're growing? This would be finicky to replicate, but a great idea for a sunny window in a small space (Via Upcycle Us)


Repurpose: Doily re-do's ...






Starch and doilies ... would your kids even know what those are? I know my grandmother loved both of them - starch for collars and doilies for decorating, everything.  They  adorned side tables, the backs of chairs, her dressing table, her nightstands. She said they were "feminine".  Ak.  I was never a fan.  But I do like the way they've returned.  And I've found 19 fresh (and yes, feminine!) decor ideas I love and want to share:

ReFab@Home: Sentimental about towels (!)

I'm turning the lense on two of my repurposes today.  In case you can't tell, I'm unabashedly sentimental about "stuff".  If it means something to me, I try hard to find a way to keep it around. But I don't hoard (much) - I've moved enough times in my life to be very very scared of my potential inner hoarder.  And, I really like my stuff to have a purpose - not hide in a drawer.  


Towel #1:  One of my oldest friends gave me a hand-painted tea towel / pot-holder gift set about 12 years ago. I love the colors and its Cape Town origins. Ultimately I didn't use it much in the kitchen because all that bright white wouldn't stand a chance. But I hung on to it. When I got a new sewing machine a couple of years ago, I wanted a simple cover and found the tea-towel idea via Martha.  My towel wasn't quite big enough, so I cut it in half and added a strip of bright cotton across the top.  I cut the painted cherries out of the pot holder and appliqued them to the plain side of the cover.  And voila.


Towel #2: When my gran moved from her little flat into a nursing home, my mom selected a few of her things to store for me.  Including a set of 2 thin, oddly sized towels from the 50s.  The fact that my grandmother still had these towels in the 90s tells me something about my genetic predisposition!  I loved the orange detail on them but could never figure out how to use them (odd size).  Then, on a whim some time last year, I chopped one up and turned it into a smock/apron.  Because when I cook, I seem to need to wash and dry my hands 15 times.  I added bright orange ribbon, some hand-sewn detail on the pockets... and now it hangs in the kitchen, actually getting its delicate 1950's hands dirty. 

Upcycle: Give ugly lamps a new life...





This post was, of course, inspired by the light fixture above (seen on Etsy- one ugly cord, a bulb and a few old books.  Not so hard to do if you're interested in trying a little bookfolding.  Anyway, it got me looking for other cool ways to hide ugly cords ... and otherwise upcycle ugly old lamps. Five more for you: 

Recycle: Wordy birdies ...

I made a little spring mobile for myself.  This would be a fun craft to do with kids - very easy! The complete instructions (including printable template) are via Joann Fabrics. Their craft is all about promoting an embossing machine.  Without that, it becomes cheap and easy:  you need paper/ cardstock, mini brats, a hole punch and string or ribbon.  Now that I've actually made them, I will add a couple of tips.


ReFab@Home: Vintage entry ...


We bought a home in a late 1920's building on the north side of Chicago. This meant we got a few things that just go with the territory ... a huge entry way, a very long hallway, a fireplace surrounded by built-in bookshelves and insanely creaky floorboards.  And red walls - thanks to the previous owners, not the vintage. Since the entrance "hall" was so large, we actually had to make an effort to decorate it.  And by happy accident, we squeezed quite a bit of vintage into the corner, for very little outlay.  O'Keeffe painted D.H. Lawrence's faraway tree in 1929.  The photograph on the table is of my partner's grandparents, snapped in downtown Chicago in the '30s.  The old check/cheque printer was made by "Paymaster Systems" of Chicago and is ... old.  And apparently cost $112 in its day! And then we threw in a cheap sunburst mirror and old books.  We like it enough that we haven't changed it in almost 5 years.


Upcycle: Neon spring ... really?


When I think neon, I think the image above. A bright, fun upcycle of beer bottles, but it also makes the 80's teen in me cringe... a lot.  Is it really necessary to bring neon back? It's a fairly intimidating trend ... I'm really not ready for another go round with giant neon hoop earrings, shocking socks, hot pink belts and day-glo lipstick. Yes - lipstick. Wow.

Upcycle: Spring is sprung, the grass is riz...



Signs of spring are popping up everywhere around here!  Sorry for the super-seasonal focus, southern hemispholks ... but you have to understand that the American Midwest is a place where people are so generally deprived of super sunny weather, we get a little high when it finally arrives. Even more so, this South African transplant right here.  So I cannot resist the fun, whimsical, colorful spring projects and upcycles I'm seeing everywhere.  The globe re-do above makes me a little home sick (hello Cape Town, Durban, Grahamstown) ... get the how-to at My Sister's Suitcase.

Upcycle: Woodgrain contact paper re-do's ...


Faux bois / woodgrain is everywhere ... adding a little mid-century flair? A little "natural mod" texture? It's cheap, trendy, versatile and easy to use!  So it's a GREAT upcycling material. Here's a round-up of projects I think are graintastic!

Refab@home: New Weekly Feature!


If I could take you on a tour of my home, I'd proudly point out every thrifted, upcycled, alley-scoured and hand-me-down item.  I like stories ... so I enjoy being surrounded by things that have some history and tell a story.  BUT, I'm not about to try a blog-style home tour - I don't have the photographer chops for that.  And, a toddler has invaded my home, so there are far too many messy toddler piles everywhere.  However, I would like to share shoes, jewelry, corners and favorites ... things I love that might inspire you... and that I can actually photograph.  So, in tried-and-true blogger tradition, I'm creating a weekly feature. Thrifty Thursday posts will be dedicated to the various thrifted corners of my home and my closet.

Repurpose: Humble Thimbles ...


If you're a tiny, imagined being like Arrietty (or any other "Borrower" or "Little"), you trade in thimbles. Really - where would you be without them??  I stumbled upon this pic on Flickr recently and was entranced.  So I went hunting for Thimbalina re-do's for you.     

Recycle: Pencil Holder



Cardboard inner tubes - they're everywhere: cling wrap, aluminum foil, kitchen paper towel, toilet paper rolls, wrapping paper, yarn tubes, fabric roll tube ... etc.  Head over to Craft Passion for this super-sweet upcycle. 


Repurpose: The Vinyl Bowl ...


This is NOT a new or original idea ... however, when I saw the instructions I realized I never did find out how it's done.  So, in case you'd like to melt your copy of "Rock me Amadeus", here's how!

DIY: D-I-Wire Chandelier ...


Mmmm... love this.  A little 14 gauge galvanized wire, a little time. Go make it

DIY: Cupcake-liner garlands ...


I'm starting to think about the summer ... and someone's 2nd birthday.  I, naively, bought a bunch of liners last year then ended up not using them because they looked awful when they came out of the oven.  This garland would a great way to use them up!

Repurpose: Smoothing rough edges ...


Perhaps re-purposing etc appeals so much to me because it exposes the hidden potential in ordinary things. You take something mundane and make it a centerpiece. You bring something rough and utilitarian indoors ... smooth the rough edges just a little and give it a second chance.  I guess I'm an optimist - I definitely believe in second chances!

I think this pendant lamp from Poppytalk sums it up.  An old wire wastebasket has its shining moment!  It provides a soft glow, thanks to a little scrap-fabric weaving.  Read on for a few more ideas on the theme...

DIY: With carefully crafted words, I thee wed


A year (and a day) ago, Terri and Adam got married (Happy Anniversary!).  

Terri Falvey is a crazy-talented copywriter/graphic designer ... who kinda likes books - we once taught reading classes together.  She married someone who apparently shares her interests  :)

Anyways, their wedding was a masterpiece of text/book-inspired craft, art, DIY, repurposing ... you name it. I've been meaning to ask permission to blog about it for ... er ... about a year now. So, on with the post.

(Photos by Edyta Szyszlo - please do not download without permission)

DIY: Button Trees - Round 1


Do you love buttons? Do you store them in jars? Me too.  How about storing them in a way that's a little more visual?  How about a little button art that allows you to actually use the buttons when/if you need them?



Behold ... the humble button tree.  This is a first attempt - there will be a "Round 2" in the near future because I have another idea...

DIY: Hand trees ...


Unlike trees, little hands grow very fast ... so catch 'em while you can!  Trace them onto fabric and use modge podge and your stash of scraps to make the leaves.  This simple, beautiful "kid craft" is from a mom who "hates kid's crafts" because "five minutes after they have created something, I want to throw it away. I just don't like the clutter."  Amen. Thanks to Kalleen At Second Street.