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Recycling Magazines

Posted on June 28, 2015 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

I ran a magazine recycling workshop recently at a local shop and the turnout was way better than I expected. I had no time to advertise or even post my workshop as it was almost all word-of-mouth advertising. Anyway, each participant got one magazine and it is safe to say even though we made a bunch of stuff, they still had loads of pages left over to do more recycling at home.

We made bags, tags, cards, beads, envelopes, and flowers - even gift boxes (from the covers). Scissors, pencils (or pens), rulers, glue stick and, of course, a magazine were all that we needed. What fun. I will post the results of this workshop later this week as right now I'm too pooped to download the pictures from my camera.

Stay tuned as I'm planning a series of Saturday morning craft recycling sessions. This time I hope to be a bit more organized.

Ciao for now.

Recycling my stuff

Posted on June 26, 2015 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

In yet another effort to downsize and organize my studio (and myself), I've been selling off a lot of things that were just plain cluttering up the place. Since I almost never buy anything new, most of the things that I am selling are vintage with a few genuine antiques amongst them. When I was a student I couldn't afford a lot of new decorative accessories or even essentials, so charity shops, flea markets and garage sales were the mainstay for my shopping adventures. Now I'm glad that I did what I did back then as I had no idea what my odds and ends would fetch today.  

I was lucky enough to visit Europe over the years and haunted the flea markets in France, Italy, and the UK, bringing home souvenirs of my trips. Few of these were actually tourist souvenirs, just bits and bobs I simply had to have - dozens of Eiffel towers in various sizes, concrete cannonball, brass candlesticks from St. Paul's church in Paris, an antique lidded pewter measure, old wooden boxes - even a foldable military cadet's wrought iron bed which weighed a ton. I brought it over as luggage and the guys at Customs just shook their heads in amazement. No way could I do that today.

Over the years I have sold a lot and miss quite a few. I am reluctant to sell off all of my James Keiller & Son marmalade crocks so have only put two for sale. They still speak to me. Usually I only have bought what I really, really, really was drawn to (and still do) and I remember exactly where and when I made my purchases. Funny how things can evoke such strong feelings but there it is. Do you feel the same way about what you have?

If you want to see what I've posted recently, go here

Upcycling Used Leather

Posted on June 15, 2015 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)

So this morning I set off on my daily jaunt around the neighbourhood. Since it's trash pickup day today I found myself dodging loads of debris and - well - trash. Then I spotted a lovely old brown leather sofa positively screaming, "Take me home!" But I don't need nor do I have room for another sofa so I just walked on by. It was only when I got home that I realized the potential I had lost.

Here are a few things that I found on the web that I could have made from that old couch.

By the way, upon reflection, I realized that I don't need a old sofa to make these - I can use a coat or jacket - so I'm off to Saint Vincent de Paul's charity shop to see what I can find. Old leather belts, too, have a lot of potential.

Leather Storage Bag

Kristi Murphy has a wonderful tutorial for making a lovely and very useful storage bag from an old sofa.  

Leather Sketchbook

If you've got an old leather coat you're not wearing any more, here's another way to upcycle it. This time it's Caitlin and Mandy over at The Merry Thought who provide a tutorial for making a leather-covered sketchbook (or notebook).

Here's how

Leather Pencil Case

Also from the same gals is this how-to for a leather pencil case. So easy-peasy you could make severa. The tutorial is here.

As Father's Day is fast approaching, these are simple enough to make that you could whip these up in no time!

Leather Bag

Really like this vintage leather tote 'Sofia' bag from Whipping + Post and would love to own it but at $195.00 US I'll have to pass. But if you do want to make your own lovely little tote, you can easily follow Emily's instructions for a faux leather bag (substituting the real thing for the faux, of course).

Leather Mason Jar Holder

Here's a way to add more storage place in your craft room or work shop using a bit of wood, a mason jar, and, oh yes, a bit of leather. An old leather belt would work here. Natalie at Natalme shows you how here

Leather Handled Gardening Tool Box

Here's another idea from Natalie. Make a leather handled gardening tool box (actually for any kind of tool). I have a collection of wooden boxes that would be perfect and won't have to make one. You can easily substitute a wood wine crate instead of making a box yourself. Then all that you'd have to do is add the leather handles. Easy-peasy!

Great site with loads of neat ideas to make.

Here's the how-to tutorial.

By the way, my lovelies, I know that there are thousands of other ways to exploit I mean upcycle old leather but I only post stuff that I know for sure that I could, should I be so inclined, make. Hope you enjoy seeing these as much as I did.

Recycling Plastic Jugs Update - Pizza Garden is Ready!

Posted on June 5, 2015 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Remember my original post for recycling jugs into miniature gardens? The first garden that my little friends and I created was a pizza garden and this year the garden was even more successful. Grown from seed, the little plants have outgrown the plastic jugs and are now ready to be replanted in larger containers or into gardens.

The kids will take the ones they planted home while those you see above I will keep and replant into bigger pots (also all recycled - I found an old pail, a large lobster cooking pot that I will be using for my plants). The rest of the plants will go to a sheltered food kitchen.

Here are some of the plants used to create a pizza garden:

Tiny Tim tomatoes and Italian Basil

Parsley and oregano

Rosemary and garlic chives

Hot chili peppers

I packed up little garden kits for the kids to take home along with their plants. Each kit contains a precut plastic jug, one plastic lemon squirt (for watering), potting soil, and unused seed packets. It may be getting a little late in the season, but the kids are all keen to start more gardens on their own.

Here are a few more ideas for plastic jug gardens that you can create. Miniature veggies would be perfect for these gardens.

  • Relaxation (tea) garden (mint, chamomile, lemon balm, lavender)
  • Salad garden (leafy greens, Tiny Toms, baby radishes, cukes, red & green peppers, scallions, parsley)
  • Ratatouille's garden (eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, onions)
  • Baker's garden (chocolate and lemon mint, lavender)

Can you think of any more? Let me know which ones you're planning.

Father's Day Upcycled Gift Ideas

Posted on June 4, 2015 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Okay, I have to apologize for not putting up a post for Mother's Day. Moms are important - I can only plead busyiness (is that a word??). Here are a few for Father's Day then I'm off to the various events going on this morning at City Hall (Food Bank) and Sparks Street (Farm Aid).

Kids: Have an adult with you before attempting any of these projects and always ask for permission before using something for your projects (parents are finicky folks).

Dad's Canisters

This is an easy and quick gift idea if you have a few empty food cans or coffee containers - check your recycling bin. Find some leftover gift wrap or use pages from a magazine that feature something your dad is interested in. Measure and cut to fit the container and glue on. Just make sure the container is clean inside before starting this. Fill with desk accessories or, if the container has a lid, with some of dad's favourite candies or chocolates. Easy!

I've posted a few ideas in the past that you might like to make. Here are the links to these: 

Scrap Paper Key or Change Catcher Bowl

Make this key or spare change bowl from scrap paper. It's easy and needs only some paper, pencil, ruler and scissors to make.

Wine Box Cutting Boards

An easy to make cutting board you can make from old wine boxes. You can buy used wine boxes at the LCBO for about $4.00 (they give the money to charity). Check in case the price has gone up. Sometimes, they'll give you the broken up ones for free. Just ask.

Wine Label Coasters

If you have some cork placemats lying around, you can cut these into coaster size pieces, glue on some wine labels and pretty up with a nice ribbon for dad.

Last Minute Idea for Fishing Gear

If Dad has no place for his fishing gear why not construct this one? All you need is an old garden rake and Mom's permission to hang it up.

6 Ways to Upcycle Your Easter Eggs

Posted on April 1, 2015 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Real or faux - you’ve dyed them, decoupaged a few, painted some, dipped even more so do you really want even more ideas for decorating Easter eggs? Well, I ask "Why not?" Scouring the internet I’ve found a few egg-citing (get it??) projects that tickled my fancy and might even tickle yours (fancy, that is).

Easter egg decorating is always a great way to entertain your little ones but these ideas might even be fun for older kids or teens who may be getting a tad old to be excited about this festive holiday.  So here we go.

1. Brownies in an (egg)shell

A delightful way to creating edible Easter eggs without the yolk (that's a joke!). The blog is in Spanish but a click on the English icon provides you with a good translation for these yummie treats. For sure, I will be attempting to make these using a favourite family brownie recipe - but with my baking skills ...

2. Clever disguise!

Cute as a button (or an egg), this is a very doable project. You can create your own little egg characters. I make these as little witches every Halloween topped with little witchy hats and filled with ghastly goodies!

3. Help, there's a (gummy) bear in my egg!

Let your little ones think that all they're getting this Easter are hard-boiled eggs then, surprise - once they're cracked, the little ones will forgive you. This post (also in Spanish but with great photos to follow along), shows the eggs filled with confetti if you're not partial to sweets. You can also fill them with little toys and stickers.

4. Emoji me!

Bright as can be. You don't have to be a Picasso to make these. This post provides you with easy step by step instructions for drawing emoji images on your eggs. 

5. Grow your own

This blog post shows you how to grow wheatgrass in your emptied eggshells. TIP: Once the wheatgrass is ready for transplanting to larger pots, remember to gently squeeze the eggshells to crack the shells as this makes it easier for the roots to get out into new soil.

6. Hipsters

In this blog post, Autumn uses tattoo paper to transfer the image onto the egg. If you can draw, you can create your own characters - maybe family members?? 

So - Happy Easter to all. Happy eating and playing. Don't forget to empty and rinse out the eggshells before using!