Last Minute Halloween Upcycling

Posted on October 30, 2015 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

A friend called me yesterday evening for last minute Halloween ideas. As a working mom she had little time to whip up a costume and no time to hit the shops for something her child would like. And, oh, yes, Sylvie needed a trick or treat container as there was nothing suitable in the house.

Little Sylvie is a bigtime magic fan so I thought that a magician costume would be perfect. Luckily she's got the cape and the magician's wand- all that was needed were a few accessories, including a moustache and bowtie which Sylvie insisted every proper magician could not do without. 

Fortunately, Sylvie and her mom had almost everything we needed in their recycling bin. I alsow brought along a few items from my own bin. When I arrived, we set to work. We made the little top hat using a cardboard paper towel roll and cardboard from a cereal box. The hat band is actually a paper straw cut open and flattened. The paper bowtie and glasses (instead of a mask) were made using templates I found online and the moustache was cut out freehand from a bit of fuzzy fabric and backed with double-sided tape. 

Next up was the trick or treat pail for Sylvie to use when she and Mom went trick and treating tomorrow evening. This is the before and after shot. The pail is actually a plastic coffee container and the handle is a wire coat hanger (of course!). 

While we were waiting for the paint to dry on the pail, Sylvie's mom asked if I had any ideas for some decorations we could make. I thought that a rosette garland using pages from a discarded paperback and cutouts from some wrapping paper I brought. The garland would decorate their windows and the front door. Sylvie cut out the skull illustrations out of wrapping paper while we adults folded. Then we all assembled the rosettes, attaching each one to length of a jute twine. 

Except for the paint, glue, and tape, everything we made came from discards in the recycling bin. All you need is a bit of imagination (or desperation!).

TIP: The trick to making rosettes quickly is to stack several pages together - 3 or 4 depending upon paper thickness - and fold all together. Easy-peasy! By the way, once Halloween is over, the garland can be reused for Christmas by simply removing the skull images.

DIY Milk & Juice Carton Recycling - Part 1

Posted on April 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (1)

I know that I promised you a bunch of Easter recycling ideas but I thought I'd take a little break and focus on the real intent of this blog: i.e., recycling stuff. A few days ago, a friend brought over a few milk cartons (the kind with cap and spout) and asked me how she could go about these as she has several kids and ends up with dozens of these cartons from both milk and juice in her recycling bin. 'Are there any ways', she asked, 'I can recycle these?'  'Well, yeah', says I, 'maybe, perhaps - let me think about it.'

So here goes. Let's start with the cap and spout first. You know those pesky packages that stuff like salt, sugar breadcrumbs, or baking soda come in? Whenever I poured anything out of them, they either would just dribble and stop pouring or pour out too quickly. So I decided that if I reused the cap and spout part of a milk or juice carton, I could solve that pesky problem. Here's what I did.



Now I know this is something others have thought of, so I'm not claiming it as my own idea, but if it works, it works. To start, of course, you will need mason or canning jars - new or vintage - for this to work. You can pick up vintage mason jars at  charity shops or flea markets - I collected a zillion of them at the Sally Ann over the years. Or you can buy new ones at hardware or kitchen supply stores. To replace the glass jar lids with those from the cartons, cut out the cap and spout part of the milk or juice carton and then, using the metal ring of the jar as a guide, trim with scissors to fit the jar.

Lastly, pour whatever contents you want into the jar, top with the new lid, and replace the metal ring.

You do know the jar should be clean and dry first, right?  

Valentine's Day Treats - Use What You've Got

Posted on February 6, 2014 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Let’s face it, finding the perfect Valentine to give can be stressful for anyone. For kids, getting it right can cause a little more anxiety, especially when funds are a little low. Fortunately, there are ways that you can help, by making a great Valentine gift without breaking the piggy bank. How? By recycling (or upcycling) what you already have. 

Hit the recycling bin for small jars, wash and dry and fill with little treats - they don’t have to be candy – a single perfect chocolate goodie, little trinkets, even messages are fun, too. Use cupcake liners to cover the lids and whatever ribbons you have on hand. No cupcake liners? Just cut out rounds of any colourful paper you have on hand instead.

And why not dress up that Valentine gift with a cute gift tag to make it that much more special. No need to buy any, use plastic and paper tags you get at the grocery store instead (from bread and fruit produce). Just cut out and glue pieces of colourful paper to cover the tags and you’ve got the perfect, easy gift label.

For more Valentine's Day crafts, ideas and projects, just enter Valentine in the search box. 

The SodaBIB Projects - Upcycling Soda Bottles

Posted on November 13, 2012 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Jason Van Nest, an architecture professor at the New York Institution of Technology (NYIT) contacted me recently about an exciting upcycling project, called The SodaBIB Project, that will help people create shelter using discarded materials. Professor Van Nest along with some of his students have launched a Kickstarter Campaign to fund this building project. The idea is to redesign shipping pallets to reuse as building materials to create a system that upcycles soda bottles as a roofing material. 


All the information regarding this exciting project can be found at links below:

Kickstarter Campaign 


There is also a description and a video of the project at the Daily Dose of Architecture blog.