Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Showing posts with label upcycling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label upcycling. Show all posts

March Upcycling Madness



This year I've been participating in Joanne Hawker's #MarchMeetTheMaker challenge on Instagram. As I write this post, the month is drawing to an end and the challenge is closing in on 453,000 posts!

Overall it's been an eye-popping, inspiring experience... but Day 11 was the biggest day for me. The challenge prompt that day: reducing waste. I spent the whole damn day on Instagram - no exaggeration. Not only did I interact with hundreds of new-to-me, waste-conscious makers, I ended the day truly pumped by the number of people who expressed concern about their packaging waste, noted that they're using clean energy, and pointed out that, outside of their businesses, they do everything they can to avoid single-use plastic etc.

Wow.

Below are just a few of the makers who stood out. The big takeaway: if you don't already have enough reasons to support small, solopreneurs, here's another one. The stuff they bring into the world is not only made with care. It's made with a conscience.

Upcycling with stencils and a giveaway!



Happy 2019 to all of you! I'm getting this blogging year off to a generous start thanks to the lovely family running Stencil Revolution. One of you lucky refabbers will be receiving $50 to spend on the stencils of your choice from their shop. I've also rounded up some inspiring stencil makeovers for you, with links to the original projects.

Yup - it's a $50 giveaway! 

An upcycler responds to a refugee crisis: meet Andrea Boyko.



Once in a while, a fellow upcycler sends me a story that blows me away (thank you Feltwerker). This inspiring story starts with a shoemaker who tried to imagine walking miles in no shoes. Not just walking, fleeing. Leaving everything you have and doing it barefoot. Having to make your children do it barefoot.

Of Upcycled Planters and Keeping a Clear Head.



My friend Lynzie is an 8th grade English teacher, a yoga instructor and one of my favorite upcyclers. A few years ago, I shared her dresser makeover. And if you follow me on Instagram, you've seen her little crate-on-wheels bookshelf.

Last week, Lynzie shared a couple of pics of mismatched vessels she's turned into planters. I asked for the story:  


Lovecycled... 20 Valentine DIYs



 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.

Trimming my waste: Week 24 (pupcycling)


Goals - Week 24: 
  • Celebrate upcycling of every sort!
  • Encourage everyone to just start somewhere 
  • Keep reminding myself (and you): a "zero-waste" lifestyle is about mindfulness, choice and creativity - not perfection

Meet Peanut. Four months old and just 1.7 kg (3.5 lbs). She's not only the star of this (p)upcycle, she's also the newest member of a popular Instagram family! (see them together below)

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.

Trimming my waste: Week 22 (quick refashion)


Goals - Week 22:
  • Clear out closet clutter 
  • Repurpose what cannot be donated or easily recycled
  • Have a little more guts when it comes to "refashions"

I went to bed on Friday night with a head cold and woke up Saturday feeling dazed. You know when you feel too crappy to leave the house, but not so sick that you can't function? Yeah. That. Which means I made myself tackle one small task so I'd feel like I'd accomplished something. The task: put the heavy duvet cover away for the summer. 

This involved clearing out the bag I use to store it... and what did I find in there? Old clothes, most of which I dropped into a donation box on Sunday. And the two shirts that are the stars of this post. I've been storing them for over a year and as soon as I saw them, I remembered why! 

Trimming my waste: Week 21 (bottle borders)



Goals - Week 21:
  • Never stop being inspired by what I see around me 
  • Pause. Notice. Share.
  • But be real about upcycling. Most ideas have their pros and cons.

This past weekend was a long, sunny one. Four days off work... and Chicago was celebrating the beginning of summer and Memorial Day. On Saturday afternoon, I still had no idea what this week's post would be about. I really didn't want to be inside making, or photographing, something. I certainly didn't want to be staring at a screen doing research. And then, wondering down an alley behind a residential condo building, I happened upon this vegetable garden. And because I was with a pro photographer, I have beautiful pictures to share with you! 

Upcycling blues



I hope to have a new upcycling project to share with you soon. But today it's going the way most of my projects go: 

1. Damn, that's a great idea! My version will be even easier.

2. I have everything I need except nails. Hmmm, I'll use screws.

3. But the drill isn't charged. That's ok, I should probably sand and stain first.

3. I just broke part of what would have made this awesome. Fine. Dammit. I'll rethink.

4. While I think, I'll just pull the nails out of the pallet wood.

5. OMG, why is it SO hard to pull nails out of pallet wood!!!??? Yes, that's my foot in the picture.

Really. Is it just me or are pallets constructed to withstand the apocalypse?  





Trimming my waste: Week 3 (hairbands from tights)




Goals - Week 3:
  1. Upcycle a non-recyclable item
  2. Repair or repurpose old clothes
  3. Buy less, make less trash and create more  :)
Stretch goal (punny!): use old tights to line plant pots

Giveaway: Retrash - a new book about upcycling and sustainable living


Celebrate Earth Month by supporting Retrash — a new book about upcycling, recycling, and living a sustainable lifestyle.

Nathan Divine, founder of the website Retrash, is a kindred spirit. I can't remember how I found his site, but I remember the thrill!  Nathan has spent the last 3 years gathering inspired projects by amazing artists. And, in turn, inspiring people to rethink the way they look at trash. Now he's put all of his findings in a coffee table book by the same name (Retrash). The book features the work and ideas 82 designers in 20 countries, including Australia, USA, Germany, Spain, UK, Canada, Israel, France, Romania, Malaysia, South Africa, Thailand, Netherlands, India, Portugal, New Zealand, Italy, Argentina, Belgium and Hong Kong.

I've had the opportunity to see some of the projects ...  and I've created a little sneak peak below of the some of the amazing refashions and upcycled jewelry ideas. To coincide with Earth Day, Nathan launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to print the book (on 100% recycled paper, of course). Just two days into the campaign, it's about 60% funded. How cool is that?

Upcycle: Guest blogging at Upcyclista!








My first-ever guest post is live! Really excited to contribute to Upcyclista ... great blog, great voice, awesome people putting it together. I'd love you to take a look at my guest post... then spend some time exploring their beautiful new site.








Inspiration: Book art ...





I find almost any book "art" entrancing but these booklights (Pile of Lights) from In Every Tree would win the prize - if I had a prize to give away.  Sadly, they retail in Stockholm only ... perhaps they ship?


Book sculpture continues to fascinate and is quite do-able.  Check out my handiwork here and a super-simple tutorial here.  In essence,  grab a book you might otherwise donate and start folding.  You'll quickly see patterns emerge.  Or, you could use the following image as inspiration and stack them in some wonderful way.


Finally, you could take a stab (literally) at some serious book sculpting.  You need to work with a really sharp craft knife!  There are amazing "altered books" artists out there.  For example, the appropriately named  "King's Garden" below by Karen ..... of Karen's Whimsy.

DIY: Candoo Creatures!





Here are my latest "doodle twoots" and I've made some changes.  Less shaping of the actual body than on the first one but much more applique.  I've also put the wing-shaped gift-card/note/tooth-fairy-money holder on the back rather than the front, and it's bigger.  I wonder WHOO will be getting these for Christmas?  The mail snails are next!

PS: I would love some feedback on these creatures.  If I can maintain momentum, I'm thinking of selling them as "finish-it-yourself" type kits via Etsy.  So please leave me a comment or twooooooooo.