the ReFab Diaries: repurpose
Showing posts with label repurpose
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Did you know that about 40% of the waste in most landfills is building material? Construction and demolition have created so much waste that in Illinois alone, most of our garbage has to be trucked out of state because out landfills are, well, full. 

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

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

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)

A cheap, humble raw material.  A great little DIY necklace. Care of Dismount Creative
What to do with 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, her blog sent me looking for ways to upcycle and repurpose vintage linens, sheets, pillow cases, hankies etc.  I think I found some awesome last-minute, upcycled Mother's Day gifts! 

What to do with deflated 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.  

So, since we don't generally think of balloons as reusable, we need to see them as the single-use plastic items that they are and 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 how to reuse balloons once they've performed their party duty, read on ....
Let's talk about bread boxes. Or not, since there's not a whole lot to say about them, right? So what to do old bread boxes, because they're still around and need a new purpose in life. 

Saw the  top left breadbox upcycle 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 

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.

What to do with old doilies? 

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. And I mean doilies 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!) ways to repurpose old doilies in eclectic decor: 

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: 

Two awesome tutorials to step you through upcycling those ratty old cargo pants.  The version above is from Noodlehead.  The version below is from Bludor

The term Steampunk is a play on cyberpunk and, according to various Wiki's, was coined in the '80s to refer to a specific genre of literature - think H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and Philip Pullman ... think Victorian-era tech meet cyberpunk vision. I love these fictional worlds (completely captivated by His Dark Materials).  More recently, I fell in love with The Night Circus - magical steampunk-ism (?)... read it if you haven't.  Anyways, I'm a fan of the genre.  And, for the most part, I love the art, fashion and design informed by the steampunk aesthetic. It brings the small, hidden, "inner workings" of things out.  It often gives hard metal, gears and mechanics a softer, magical twist.

Chicago is so warm and sunny right now ... it's summer in March!  I want to string a hammock under a tree and drift through the days.  It will probably snow in April, but for now I'm staring at all the dull, grey/black/teal things in my closet.  Blagh!  So ... the hunt for (re) fresh, floral ideas begins.

I am in awe of the craft, resourcefulness and colors in these products.  The how to (via Supercyclers) is limited ... but I'm featuring it anyway because it's an amazing way to take one of the ugliest objects on earth and transform it.

I recently featured Mielie, a South African company creating amazing woven art, objects and acessories using old t-shirts and knit-fabric overruns.  The post got a huge response, so here are a few more fun ways to repurpose old t-shirts!  First, the hip chevron mat from The House that Lars Built.

DIY: Penny desk...

in , , , , by ReFab Diaries

Maybe a desk made of pennies will help generate lots of good, deep thoughts?  Via ManMade DIY (one of my biggest blog crushes).

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!

My guitar was my great love from around age 10 until a few years ago, when a bum wrist forced me to hang it up. I know I've thrown out miles of old strings along the way - what did I know?!  Anyways, when I stumbled upon Stringcycle about 4 years ago, I was smitten for obvious reasons... and my "musical bouquet" has been in a vase on my dining-room table ever since (these babies don't wilt!). On a whim, I asked Julia if she'd be interested in doing some kind of stringcycle demo for me.  When she agreed I believe I did a little dance.

So, I'm beyond excited that today, I get to introduce Julia Friend as my first-ever guest blogger.... and, along with you lovely folk, finally learn how to make her tuneful blooms!

Julia gives a second life to used strings rescued from musical friends and instrument repair shops.  Why instrument strings?  "Because they're beautiful and infinitely useful!" Julia's a fan of homemade music and most things DIY, especially when it involves reclaiming used materials. She's been crafting with instrument strings for a decade, on and off, and sells her work at music festivals, craft fairs and on Etsy.  She stays on her toes by "refining designs to accent the properties of the strings and display good craftsmanship".  Be sure to check out all the beautiful pieces in her store or through Facebook ...  {Tutorial after the jump!}

I saw these "candy" lights and thought Quality Street!!  Not that I've seen/tasted one of these "choc-ies" in many years.  They used to come out especially for the holidays ... the way I see Fannie Mae bought around here ... or See's Candies in CA.  So I think it's entirely appropriate to create party decor with this kind of "candy".

Get the how-to at OhHappyDay.  If you planned it, you could start saving plastic clamshell berry containers now, rather than buying corsage boxes.