Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sewing Month Challenge

September is National Sewing Month and even though every now and again I pick up a needle and thread or stomp on the sewing machine pedal, sadly, sewing has never held my interest for very long.  So what's an upcycling blogger to do  when she doesn't have the know-how to blog about all things needle and thread?  Throw it out to the readers, that's what she's to do!  So, I hope you're game for a little "Craft Wars"-like challenge.

Here's the deal, the first ten people to post below and tell me that they are up for the challenge will receive a packet of trash in the mail from my craft lucky little devils!  Then it's you're job to incorporate all of the items into a craft of your choice.  You can incorporate any other materials from your own craft closets (wouldn't it be sweet if you had the Micheal's Craft closet to work with?) and it must be sewn in some fashion (by hand or with a machine).  You'll have until September 10, 2012 to send me pictures and a written summary of your project via email.  Here's were it gets good...

I'll post a blog for every project that I receive back with links back to your blog, website or Etsy shop.  All posts will be shared via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.  Then at the end of the month we'll give readers the chance to vote on their favorite project.  The one with the most votes gets a $100 shopping spree in the Upcycled Stuff shop.

FAIR WARNING #1:  I will take photographs of packages before they go out so no cheating and leaving things out. 

FAIR WARNING #2:  You may not receive a stitch of fabric from me....muahhahahah

So, are you game?  If so, tell me below and then send your mailing address to  Good luck everyone!

Stuff4 Sewing

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Upcycled Pet Stuff

If you ever find yourself in Taylors, South Carolina be on the lookout for a little shop called Pet Paw-Teek.  Then swing by and say "hi" to my mom and dad.  They just opened a modest little pet shop and I'm helping to stock the shelves with a variety of upcycled pet items.  Check out some of stuff I just popped in the mail.

Kick sticks made with organic cat nip and hideous ladies pants (no joke - these REALLY were ladies pants):

I had to give up the kick sticks with huge fish all over them because....well, they kept disappearing as I made them.  I mean, would YOU tell her she couldn't have it....

T-shirt braids, kinda like those fishing pole toys

Organic catnip seeds with an Old Spoon Garden Marker

Unfortunately, I'm not close enough to give her one of my upcycled pet beds.  This one is an old Goodwill coffee table and scrap bead board and molding that I picked up on a Freecycle.  The cushion portion is patchwork of old jeans.   I was going for shabby chic...did it work?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Upcycled Games on the Go

This is it, the last unofficial week of summer!  Are you ready for it to be over?  Hopefully you're planning one last get away this holiday weekend.  And if that includes a trip with the kids you'll likely be packing a few activities to keep them busy.  Here's an upcycled version of travel game that I recently pinned from Martha Stewart:

You'll need a T-shirt, ruler, scissors, fabric markers, safety pin, sewing machine and at least 24 bottle caps in two colors.

Lets get started!  First cut a T-shirt bottom off just below the armpit.  You may want to adjust where you make that cut depending on the T-shirt size, I'm using a ladies size Large.  Then cut off a strip about an inch wide from the armpit side (keep the hem in tact) and set it aside.

Flip your T-shirt inside out and sew a seam across the cut portion creating a bag.  Then cut two small slits in the T-shirts original hem.  Grab the 1" strip that you previously set aside, cut side hem off if there is one and then tug the piece from end to end to make a piece of yarn.  Use a safety pin to thread the yarn through the hem.

Turn your bag right side out and flatten it out on your work surface.  Using your ruler and a fabric marker it's time to mark out your checkerboard pattern, which is 8 squares by 8 squares.  I made mine 1" X 1" squares but think that 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" would have been been better. Once you've decided how large you need to make your board start drawing your lines...mine were 8" long. As your boxes are formed you can start coloring in  every other box.

You're checkerboard is done.  To double the fun, flip the pouch over and sketch out a couple of tic tac toe boards.

Finally toss your bottle caps (a minimum of 12 of each color) in the pouch and off you go.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Green Product Review: The Reveal

Here's the kind of convenience I don't mind spending my money on:

It's called the Reveal by Rubbermaid.  Unlike similar models, the Reveal doesn't have disposable pads to throw away and the refillable well will hold any solution you even suggests vinegar right on the package.  What's even better?  They sell additional (reusable) pads and wells separately:

I keep one well filled with homemade orange infused vinegar solution and the other filled with yummy smelling almond Method wood floor cleaner.  Eventually, I'll get around to making a few extra pads from old towels like in this tutorial. But for now, I'm thrilled that I can buy a little convenience that doesn't give me a guilty conscience!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My Upcycled Gift Box: No Template Needed

Yeah, yeah, I know it's not original but this tutorial shows you how to make a gift box out of a cereal box (or any other food packaging).  This one differs a bit in that you don't need a template and you can make any size you need from memory.  The YouTube video is like 15 minutes but trust me it doesn't take that long and once you get into the groove you can really crank these puppies out.  Great for gift giving and for your smaller products if you're selling your craft items.

Hop over to YouTube to see how I made them.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Kitty Litter Box Turned Quickie Toy Box

Thanks to those who donated last week I can keep the litter clean and fresh for the rest of the month.  Now it's time to feed the kitties with this fabulous to turn those litter buckets into toy boxes.   One of last week's donors commented how she uses her Tidy Cats buckets for this very purpose but she hadn't had time to "pretty them up."  Little did she know, that was the next project I was working on.  But, I took a slight detour from the design I was working on based her "not enough time" comment.  I've made it a little less labor intensive to make and added a detail that would help the kids keep things organized without mom's help.

Isn't it fun?!  I wanted to use primary colors on my toy box so I didn't paint the lid or the center of the handle but feel free to change the color of those to suit your design.

If you love it, please consider donating to help feed the kitties and I'll post another cute use for these kitty litter buckets next week.  Here's the link to donate:

Here's how I made the toy box. Before you start painting you'll want to sand the entire surface of the bucket with an extra fine grain sand paper.  Then wash and dry completely before you start painting.  You can pop the handle out of its "socket" and spray the bucket and handle with 2-3 coats of spray paint meant for plastic.

Once it's dry, you decide whether to leave it as-is or add a detail or two to help the kids keep their toys organized (so that you don't have to).  If your kids don't read yet you can Mod Podge on a picture of the toys that belong in the bucket.  If they do read, add the words.  And viola!  You have a fun toy box that doesn't look all that much like a kitty litter bucket for the cost of a half can of spray paint.

LT - 090909 - 460x80 Logo

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How I Love a Happy Accident

For the longest time, I've cursed my beading wire every time I finished a bracelet or a necklace.  All too often I'd pull it quite tight and end up coiling the leftover wire like a piece of Christmas ribbon rendering it useless.  There is usually enough leftover for a bracelet and I typically cast it aside...until recently.  I stopped fighting it, that's a hard thing for me to do seeing as I'm a typical Scorpio and quite stubborn (er...determined!).  Anyway, here's some of the new pieces that I've made with the INTENTIONALLY coiled beading wire.  I'm actually loving this curly effect now that I've decided to go with the flow!

Newspaper Bead Necklaces
Map Paper Bead Bracelet
Newspaper Bead Bracelet

Stuff4 Crafts

Monday, August 6, 2012

An Old Globe that Can Hold Just About Anything

You can tell when it's craft fair season from the types of posts I write.  This one is a little something that displays my soda can butterflies.  Although, now I'm finding that people are noticing the display piece more than butterflies, hmm...   At any rate, it is a fabulous little piece and it really could be used to house just about anything around the house.  Before I used it at a craft fair for the first time, it sat on my kitchen counter collecting receipts.  You could use it to collect mail, too.

Here's how I made it.  First gather your supplies:
1.  The Southern hemisphere of a globe (I picked up a globe from Goodwill that had a smashed stand, it's cardboard and easily pops apart along the equator)
2. Adhesive (I used silicone because it leaves a nice thick bead that would cover more surface area of the round globe but exopy would likely work as well) 
3.  Something to use as a stand (mine is a smaller urn style planter, but you could use a larger candle holder - just use whatcha got)
4.  Finishing tape (I'm using a foil tape that is used to finish the edges of stained glass but you can use that scrapbooking tape as well)
5.  Old Maps (or newspapers or magazines)
6.  Decoupage glue and a foam paint brush

This one really doesn't need all that much explaining so I thought I'd try to do in one step, here goes:

To use this as a planter, I popped a round Chinese food takeout lid into the bottom of the globe.  It provides a nice flat surface for the plant to sit on and catches any moisture from the plant.  I recommend removing the plant to water it and letting it dry in the sink a bit before returning it to the globe.

How will you use yours?

Clearance Appliances at BidCactus

Thursday, August 2, 2012

How to Make...Soda Bottle Bottom Flowers (say that three times fast)

Oh yeah, it's a statement piece!  Only the brave few can actually wear it but I love looking at it as it sits front and center on my craft fair table.  It certainly draws attention too!  Although this soda bottle flower was turned into a pendant, you can attach a pin to it and wear it on a handbag or a jacket or maybe even attach a hair pin.  Really the possibilities are endless with a little imagination.

Wanna see how I make them?  Check out this YouTube tutorial and upcycle some of those plastic bottles.

Stuff4 Painting
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