Mother's Day crafts upcycling ideas

Posted on May 4, 2013 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

I've been doing a lot of cleaning out the cupboards lately and came across a pile of cereal boxes and leftover wrapping paper so I thought I would see what I could find to reuse or upcycle these two items for Mother's Day. If you and the kids are still stuck for ideas, here are a few I found to recycle those empty cereal boxes and wrapping paper (or any kind of paper you have on hand). Any of these projects would be perfect for Mom and can be made without breaking the bank (she doesn't have to know about the recycling bit). All of these were designed and made by some very talented gals. Your Mom is sure to love any one of these.

Cereal Box Mini Notebooks

From Natalie over at Crème de la craft, here’s a easy-to-make, eco-friendly idea that kids can make (with a little help from an adult) for Mom made from (ta-dah!) empty cereal boxes. For complete (and easy-to-follow) instructions, go here.

Mini Magazine Notebook DIY

On the other hand, Else and Emma at their A Beautiful Mess blog recycle magazines into covers for cute little notebooks. They show you how here.

No-sew Desk Organizer

If you’re looking to help Mom bet more organized, here’s a project from Katy, at The Non Consumer Advocate, also made from recycling cereal boxes, and left-over wrapping paper. Here's where to go for instructions.

Cereal Box Drawer Organizer

Jen at I Heart Organizing has another version of a DIY cereal box organizer also reusing cereal boxes and various types of paper (use your own leftover wrapping paper instead of buying any paper stock). Here are her instructions.

Over at my Why wait for life blog, I have a link to our lady Martha's kids's crafts for Mothers Day, which shows you how to use kids' artwork to decorate Mom's store-bought gifts. 

Note: For any of these projects, a responsible adult needs to be supervising the little ones.

More Christmas Advent Calendars to Make

Posted on November 18, 2012 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Here are a few more Christmas Advent calendars you might enjoy looking at (maybe, even making!). The nicest ones I've come across seem to alll be from Europe - Germany, Spain, Netherlands. Anyway, here they are.




Each of these 24 little boxes measures 6 x 6 cm. They are shown hanging on a tree branch. You can easily cluster them on a table or dresser top instead. Instructions to make are in German but the photos should make it easy enough to follow. You can download a pdf patternto make these from the German Raumdinge blog. Use whatever cardboard you have on hand.  


From a Dutch blog, Stipje  - these are small boxes simply wrapped with a wooden number label attached. No instructions are needed. If you can't find similar labels, use what you have including cutting numbers from an old calendar. I found these here.


I love this one from Holomama because it uses whatever is on hand to create a tree-shaped advent calendar (see first photo). Instructions are in Spanish but the photos are clear enough to follow. And, hey, you can always use Google Translate - NOT! 

Have beaucoup de fun with these.

Recycling broken skateboard

Posted on July 15, 2012 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

A couple of days ago, I spotted a broken skateboard in someone's trash bin. I looked at it for a minute or two and then walked away. I couldn't think of any use for it. Well, let me tell you, was I wrong (or maybe the heat got to me - it's hot, hot, hot here) because the folks over at Project Little Smith did come up for a reuse for an old skateboard. This nifty and sophisticated little storage unit.

I love any piece of furniture on wheels and this fits the bill big time. Perfect for any room in the house - kids will love it because they can push it around from room to room. I would love it as a bedside table to hold my reading, etc. You could use any wooden crate or if you are handy you could make the box. Here's how.

Pardon me while I run out to see if that skateboard is still in the trash bin!!

Cardboard box recycling and kids

Posted on April 3, 2012 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (1)

A cardboard box is easily the most versatile recycling material (and I love it because it's almost always free). This was brought home to me when, at his 2nd birthday party, the little guy played with the boxes his gifts came in. In fact, any cardboard box seems to stoke his imagination, especially if he can climb inside. A box becomes a plane, a train, storage for his stuffed toys, a drawing table, a stool (with the bottom reinforced with more cardboard), and anything else he can dream up. 

So it comes as no surprise to me that some clever folks out there in internet land have great ideas to continue this tradition. Here are a few that I found. Visit the sites for instructions.

Cardboard Green Grocer Store

Lier of Ikat Bag made this adorable green grocery store – something every little kid I know would love to have. I love that she included fruit and veggies in the boxes in front of the little store.

Cardboard Suitcases

Don't you just love these little nesting suitcases, also from Lier of Ikat Bag. She's even added little buckle closures and handles to each one and included little passports for each of her little travelers. I like these suitcases so much that I plan on making some for myself for storage!!

Cardboard Kitchen and Bedroom

Leni  Chan and her son created this kitchen and bedroom from cardboard boxes. They also have plans to add on a bathroom.

Cardboard Castle

Who wouldn’t want a castle of their own? Christiane Lemieux, the founder and creative director of DwellStudio shares this one that was designed and built by her two young children. Complete instructions and photos over at Built by kids.

Cardboard Parking Garage

Something  from La Factoria Plastica I will definitely make for the little guy. He's got a collection of little cars that will fit neatly inside this cute little garage

Need more storage?

Posted on March 31, 2011 at 11:11 AM Comments comments (0)

Here's a great idea from Ikea. If you need more storage and that storage has to be in view (because you live in a second-storey basement flat like I do), you can attach boxes together in a nice display using only large office binder clips.

The Ikea idea, of course, is to use their wooden storage boxes but I think this can be done with sturdy recycled cardboard boxes too. Great idea as you can dismantle and rearrange storage as you like. Wish I'd thought of it!!

Images via Ikea

The Life Box or how to turn a cardboard box into a forest

Posted on June 27, 2010 at 5:09 AM Comments comments (0)

What if the box you sent in the mail was more amazing than whatever present you put inside? The Life Box is a new type of cardboard box that's filled with hundreds of tree seeds that you can easily grow. The seeds are interlaced with beneficial fungi to help them grow better. The Life Box was invented by Paul Stamets, mycologist, author and founder of Fungi Perfecti®, LLC

To start your own forest, you tear off the cardboard and soak it to start the seedlings; you'll have baby trees ready to plant in a couple of years. The tree species were carefully selected to be native all across the U.S. and Canada, and include birches, alders, pines, hemlocks, and cedars.

Once the trees are planted, go to the company's website to enter the GPS locations of each tree so they can be tracked.

Image The Life Box