the ReFab Diaries: upcycling
Showing posts with label upcycling

From cow-dung speakers to insect-powered protein, here's this week's upcycling news round up.



Here's your weekly round-up of interesting upcycling news from across the globe.


Here's the upcycling news round up for this week.

Welcome to a new feature! As long as there's good upcycling news to share, I'll gather it into a weekly roundup going forward. 

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.

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.
Have you ever wished there was a way to get in touch with people who had items you could use in your upcycling projects? Ever had a bunch of stuff at home that you had to throw out, but wished you could upcycle instead? Did you know that a few years ago, there was an app that promised to help upcyclers do just that? And another one looking for funding right now!

The app was called Cora, and it was supposed to be “your mobile app for a lower impact life”. Cora promised its backers the ability to search for items they wanted to get rid of or upcycle, and then presented them with ideas for new projects, or connected them to people in their area who were looking for the exact items they were trying to get rid of. Similarly, the app also promised to help users find items they needed in their projects, making projects inexpensive and hassle-free. Did it seem too ambitious? At the time, it didn’t. There had been a massive movement towards upcycling then, and an even bigger shift into mobile technology. Gaming Realms, the company behind Total Gold, said that there were 1 billion smartphone users by the end of 2012, and this number has continued to grow. 

With the app relying heavily on upcyclers willing to share their ideas and used stuff, the most difficult part about implementing Cora was getting upcyclers to sign up for it. They did and it funded. But, more than two years later, Cora has yet to surface. The team behind the app have, however, released Trash Backwards, a web app that does most of what Cora promised to do. But the web app is poorly designed, has limited accessibility (only available to 6 cities in MA and WA), and is, well, a web app, - not the mobile app that the upcycling community had been hoping for. Was it all too good to be true? Cora wasn’t the first app that tried to bring upcycling to mobile phones. A few months after their project closed, Create Change was launched on Kickstarter too. Alas, it didn’t get funded. 

Now there's GiftMe App. This is a mobile app currently crowdfunding through Indiegogo. With 19 days left to fund, they aren't close to their target. And I know they're committed - they've contacted me many times via different channels and I'd love to see their idea come to life. What do you think? Are you willing to fund a mobile app for upcyclingDo you use any apps to help you upcycle?

Disclaimer: This article contains a sponsored link. I do this now and again to help pay the bills and allow for free promotion of great ideas like GiftMe App. Thanks for looking!

What can you do with old hangers? Vintage wooden clothes hangers are beautiful things and generally crafted to last forever. 

Image via Household 6 Diva

Yes, it's possible that old wood hangers might break, and somehow no longer be able to perform their hanger-ly function. But that's not the point. I think old hangers are beautiful things that should see the light of day! So bring them out of the closet, show them off and keep them out of the landfill. Here are 16+ new uses for old hangers: 

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.

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.