Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Showing posts with label repurpose. Show all posts
Showing posts with label repurpose. Show all posts

2018 Holidays by the Book

Hi everyone! Yes, I'm still alive even though my blog has been very quiet - a new job and life-in-general will do that. Anyway, it feels like fall in Chicago and my daughter's mind is already on Halloween and holidays in general. So I was inspired to pull together a thoroughly bookish holiday post.

The goal: Everything holiday, by the book! Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving decor, and all December decorating and giving... using old books and book pages. 

Doable? Yes! Ready? Here we go.


"Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"

I'm not a big wreath person but holy Poe, this Raven-inspired thing is cool! All the instructions here.

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

Trimming my waste: Week 33 (breadbox upcycles)

When you commit to 51 weeks of posts and then you skip a week ... well, it feels odd. But I had to thanks to being sick. Again. My immune system has been less than effective this year.

How is this relevant to breadboxes? It's not. But it has provided the kick I needed to take a hard look at the way I eat. And I'll tell you more about the changes I've made next week because they are, actually, relevant. To both breadboxes and trimming my waste!

Meanwhile... I needed to go back to my blog roots a little to get back on this wagon. I used to do a lot of these repurposing round ups in pre-Pinterest days (remember those?). So let's have some fun with old breadboxes before I tell you about my much-lower-waste eating.

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.

Upcycled coat rack

A couple of weeks ago, I shared some of the frustration I was feeling around this project. Let's just say that when I'm making it up as I go, my upcycles rarely go smoothly. But now you get to benefit (a little) from my mistakes! Full tutorial after the jump.

Upcycle: Leather belts + twigs = kitchen organizer

This idea for the kitchen was inspired partly by Pinterest and partly by need! First, I have a whole Pinboard dedicated to new uses for fallen branches. I love the many ways you can repurpose them indoors and used branches as a Christmas tree last year. Then I hung on to some of the sturdier ones when I moved in January (I got odd looks from the movers!) 

The need arose when I found myself staring at my new "back splash" every time I washed dishes. It's ugly. It's in serious need of fresh paint, or a real makeover! But I'm renting ... so whatever I do has to be temporary. I also had no way to organize the paper towel, sponge etc. And that's how the idea arose. I spent $2 on leather belts at a thrift store and everything else I needed, I already had. 

Upcycle: A book-bud vase?

This weekend I made myself tackle the dull things I've been avoiding since I moved. Like hemming curtains. And moving stuff to the basement storage. My reward? Making this ... thing. 

I'm not quite sure what to call it. A book vase? (I already made something I called that) Organic art? Maybe a book bud vase? I'm really not sure, so I'm calling it a mixed-media upcycle. And, whatever the name, I love, love, love how it turned out! And it was easy to make so read on for instructions!

Repurpose: Vintage sheet shower curtain

I have the time and energy to execute about a quarter of the projects swirling in my head (or on my Pinboards for that matter). And because I'm pressed for time, I usually sit on ideas until I think I've landed on the fastest route to execution. This often backfires (of course!). But not this time. This time, once I'd gathered what I needed, the actual making and hanging took an hour. 

Also, I should admit that this project really started with the discovery of the sheet. I was trawling eBay and Etsy for fabric to recover chairs (a project that is taking FOREVER). Along the way, I encountered the most amazing vintage sheets. Bed sheets should not be amazing. But these are. Because the designs are unusual. And, once you're holding them, the quality is striking. I bought one that will soon be a new bedcover for Ms Ro. The other is now my shower curtain! Here's the how to:  

Upcycle: For Halloween ...

I rarely create holiday-specific posts, but this year I've seen enough awesome halloween "upcycles" that I feel compelled to round them up and share. Like the diction-fairy costume pictured above .... really? Does it get any better??? Good tutorials here and here

I featured this creepy idea a long time ago in a post dedicated to repurposing old umbrellas. I'm bringing it back out again because it remains a great idea!

Love this Frankestein bottle care ... DIY of Crafting a Green World

Not really upcycling ... they're crocheted. And I love them ... so go take a look at more lovely images of them at Cute Cottage Overload

Old grill rack turned spider web? Yes. Simple and easy. Care of Petticoat Junktion

And finally ... some creepy dolls. Because I don't think anything's creepier than creepy doll heads. More at Sweet Pickins Furniture 

Upcycle: Cable Ties, zipped up!

Is it just me, or are zip ties (cable ties) bombing the blogosphere? Maybe it's a bandwagon... but it's certainly a colorful one! So, in lieu of actual spring color, I'm bombing today's post with zip-tie colors. Here's a whole array of ways to repurpose these funny little things...

Upcycle: Coke bottles + duct tape = glam lamp!

I looked ... I looked again. And yes - this refab does, in fact, involve upcycling soda bottles. And there's duct tape of course (separate tutorial for the shade). 

Will this kind of fun repurposing solve our plastic problem? Of course not. But every time you look at materials getting reused this way, you're reminded of their durability. Plastic is forever. It is not disposable. So let's repurpose as much as we can.

Head to Matsutake for the instructions.

Upcycle: Wax Paper Chandelier...

Great example of some thrifty refabbing ... and creative reinterpreting!  Two places to go for a complete tutorial (I've used images from both):  Design Sponge and Courtney Ann

ReVision: Magazines into a wall clock!

I've seen this simple paper-rolling technique used everywhere. But I'm blown away by this clock! Perhaps it's the way Brandy's combined colors? Head to Repurpose Relove for a great, step-by-step tutorial

Repurpose: How does your garden grow... in that!?

It's officially summer (in my hemisphere)! I celebrated with an early-morning run to the lake. Watching the sun come up over Lake Michigan is one of the pleasures of living on "the coast of Chicago". I'm also marking the solstice with a little roundup of quirky container-gardening ideas. If, like me, you live in a flat/apartment in a city (and have seriously restricted outdoor space) you have to get creative if you want to grow things. I say go all out and have some fun with it! (warning: this post contains pics of unmentionables)

Repurpose: Ball Chain = Twisted Necklace ...

A cheap, humble raw material.  A great little DIY necklace. Care of Dismount Creative

Repurpose: Vintage linens ...

Dottie Angel
 has, literally, written the book on Granny Chic.  The blog is a visual feast ... it will convince you to alter your aesthetic accordingly and cover your world in vintage linens.  If nothing else, it sent me on a hunt for projects involving repurposed / upcycled vintage sheets, pillow cases, hankies etc.  I think I found some awesome last-minute Mother's Day gifts! 

The Dottie Angel "hangy-me-jigs" pictured above inspired the Ashley Anne mobile below ...  Read on for another 24 ideas...

Repurpose: New pop for old balloons ...

Balloons are a cheap way to bring a lot of color to a party space ... so we use too many of them and don't think much about it.  Then we dump them in the garbage or, even worse, happily release hundreds of helium-filled orbs into the air.  Eventually, they come down and cause havoc.  They're kinda nasty.  So.  Ideally, we should stop using them.  If you love decorating with them, buy a bag and make yourself a reusable set, like the ones picture below.  

If you want some ideas for what to do with them once they've performed their party duty, read on ....

Repurpose: Old bread box = charging station

Saw the  top left version on Apt Therapy (via BHG) and went in search of others .... I know one corner of my kitchen is a mess of cords so this project will happen as soon as I can find an old breadbox 

Repurpose: Vintage enamel pin bouquet...

The Martha Stewart Weddings blog (Brides Guide) recently mentioned Stringcycle's guitar-string flowers ... they said "we see them fitting into a quirky vintage wedding theme as totally unique table decor". I think fresh-flower alternatives are big for bouquets too ... and this enamel-brooch repurposed wonder deserves a look.  It's bold and out there.

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: