the ReFab Diaries: upcycled holidays
Showing posts with label upcycled holidays

It looks more and more likely that Muslims will be marking Ramadan under lockdown restrictions,
once again unable to meet with friends and family as was also the case in 2020 due to the global
pandemic. This means that there will not be the large gatherings for the breaking of the fast as is
customary, which will no doubt be hugely disappointing to those of Islamic faith.

ramadan in lockdown

My lovely friend (and long-time art teacher and inspiration) Amanda Evanston recently taught several classes on how to make holiday-themed art and cards using scrap paper. I'm not making a lot of art myself right now, so getting creative with old Anthropologie catalogs was therapeutic! 


how to make christmas cards

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.


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