the ReFab Diaries: upcycled holidays
Showing posts with label upcycled holidays
Still looking for a quick, thrifty, upcycled Valentine DIY? Here's 2020's big round-up of the 30 best ideas I can find. Some of them throw back over a decade because good ideas don't date!



Season's greetings fab friends! I realize that it's a bit late to be sharing an idea for a reusable advent calendar, but hey... maybe it'll provide some last-minute inspiration for some of you! And the embroidered cards are super-easy to make, so it's not too late to try them.



Valentine's Day is just around the corner and, if you have children in elementary school in US, you might be like us: on the hook to produce 15-20 kid-friendly Valentines for the students in your child's class. And all their teachers. And the coach.... and, and, and. In short, it's either a daunting task to make a "batch" or an expensive shopping trip to buy things that will probably be thrown out.

Oh, and we generally leave it until the last minute because, who doesn't?



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.

Confession: I loathe the forward and backward movement of the clocks. It messes with my body's rhythms, my appetite, my energy levels etc. And right now, the sun starts going down around 3:45pm in Chicago. So, I'm literally looking for light, and always grateful for the merry and the bright. Here are some ideas for making your life a little lighter, if you're needing it as much as I am!




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!


 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.


I'll be a the warmer hemisphere for the holidays this year, so my Chicago decorating is minimal. And I don't have a real tree. Not sure I ever will because. Well. Bit wasteful I think? 

But I kinda do have a tree. At the very least, a way to display ornaments and lights. Because most of my ornaments are meaningful and unpacking them every year is a sentimental journey I look forward to. Many are souvenirs. Some gifts from people I love. And/or, in the case of the intricately beaded South African angel, made by someone I love (my mom). 

I also have a few ornaments I made myself (see below for the how to). So, yes, some decorating has happened! 




You may have seen the recent post dedicated to my scrappy tree and handmade ornaments (copper himmeli and twig-and-wire trees). This copper candle holder was made at the same time. I was inspired by the metal taper holders I've seen here and here. I liked being able to find a new use for a mason jar. And upcycle a little plastic sample bottle at the same time! Read on for the instructions...

I tend to be a fake-tree person. This year, while contemplating getting a real one, things took a different turn. We spotted a pile of fallen branches and agreed they might make a fun tree. So I ended up with the mess pictured below ... 


And once I stripped a lot of branches off to "make" the tree, I wondered what I could do with them. Which set off the spree of DIY ornaments below! All quite easy to make. I've linked to tutorials and inspiration.




I love folded book ornaments and wanted to come up with one of my own ... some slight variation that is a little different. It took some experimenting but I'm happy with the result! So here it is - enjoy! (More folded book ideas and tutorials here)

Today I discovered The Cardboard Collective. Really inspiring stuff, all made out of this material we tend to drown in... care of Amazon's odd packaging principles. And with the holidays around the corner, here come the boxes! If you have space, hang on to them for next year and create a whole holiday scheme around cardboard!  DIY inspiration from:

1. Rust and Sunshine - cardboard igloo tutorial

2. Design Sponge - spiky packaging trees

3. The Cardboard Collective - little button tree

4. A Bunch of Bishops - Simple woven circle ornaments

5. Gusto and Grace - Corrugated cardboard garland

6. Enjoy it (Elise Blaha) - Packaging wreath

7. The Cardboard Collective - Star tree-topper







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 







Handy with a saw?  This tutorial involves cutting, roasting (or nuking-to kill the critters) gluing etc ... but the result is great.  Check out her mirror while you're there... thanks Pretty Handy Girl!


Wrapping yarn around balloons is a technique popping up everywhere ... lovely twist on the the idea at Made by Michelle ... she also has a sweet fabric heart garland tutorial.


A page is for folding
A plane is for flying
A feeling is for saying
and sending and sighing!

Write a letter to your love ... then send it across the room via paper plane (printable - designed by Cathe from Just Something I Made)


I'm also loving these printable soap labels (could be used to wrap candy bars or decorate DIY party crackers!) ... care of Soap Deli News.


Super-cute printable notes from Fresh-Picked Whimsy ...


And .... some pipe-cleaner decor!  Tutorial at Sweetie Pie Bakery


Heart-shaped page markers from Craft & Creativity (tutorial in English and Swedish)


Classy printable card and "coupons" care of Love vs. Design


One of many printable vintage valentines care of Cheeky Magpie...


Make a paper-heart mobile ... from Being Brook


Tutorial and free printable from Creature Comforts...



Four adorable printables from Hello!Lucky ...  For many, many others see the round up at The Long Thread.


Make a puffy origami heart garland ....







If you save all those paper grocery bags (you know, the ones you have to use because you left all your reusable bags in the car ... because it was raining and your kids were screaming?) ... use them to wrap gifts!  Alisa Burke is beyond talented and I love her eye.




Pin It

pvc pipe wreath


I don't advocate going out to buy plastic piping to make this wreath. But if you see it being thrown out, what a great way to upcycle it! Besides loving how this looks, I also love that it would be versatile from year to year. You could easily change the ornaments, colors etc.

PVC pipe wreath


PVC pipe wreath


I can also see the obvious paper-towel / cardboard tube upcycle option.  Full set of instructions at Today's Nest.








What can I say ... I'm a big dork, and so is Ms K. So Ms Ro's bookworm halloween costume was inspired by Mila's Daydreams ... a blog that went viral overnight. Sadly, the original daydream pics have been removed due to copyright infringement all over the place. But Design Mom still has a few of the original images - see them here.


Make it!
This was as super-simple costume to create. I bought a couple of nylon garbage-bag dispensers from the dollar store and removed the plastic piping from each end. I sewed them together, stuffed the bottom half with poly stuffing and everything else you see is pipe-cleaners. Total cost: $5. This would not have worked if the kid hadn't been so comfortable wearing her pipe-cleaner specs.  :)







When I lived in England, I quickly picked up the phrase "cheap and cheerful"!  I think of the ubiquitous spherical Christmas tree ornament as the embodiment of that phrase. And I love them!  The Christmas Ball Bouquet above could not be easier to make (tutorial care of Indie Fixx). 




These lovely (simple!) gatherings don't need instructions. They come care of Belle Maison - a new favorite blog of mine. 






A couple of really kid-friendly holiday projects.  Spot the Piperlime packaging these two projects have in common?? 

The wreath is from Elise Blaha - find the instructions here.





The cardboard trees below were posted on Design Sponge last year.  The instructions are here.



 
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