Friday, June 29, 2012

Under the Recycled Baobab Tree

Oh recycled fabric baobab tree... how I adore thee!

And just to give you an idea of the size of this tree, have a look at the guy on the ladder!

Sculpture by Pirate Technics, via Inhabitat

Wouldn't something like this, on a somewhat smaller scale of course, be just divine as indoor decor? Any suggestions as to what could be used as the base of the rings?

Until next time...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Try or Die Vintage Notebook DIY

I know that there are book loyalists out there that cringe at the thought of dissecting a book - any book. But I cringe at the thought of the millions of books that end up in dumps and landfills around the world each year. That also helps to explain why I'm particularly partial to projects that give books a second chance.

I recently checked off another 'try or die' project from my ever-growing board over at Pinterest. Sometimes I'll try them 'as is', and sometimes I try to add my own little twist. My last 'try or die' project was one of Lucy's dragonflies and a butterfly. My twist included butterfly wings covered with bits and bobs.

This time around I made my own adorable notebooks from vintage books inspired by these I saw on Pinterest. Some of the books were actually left with our house when we bought it and others were picked up from from thrift stores.

What do you need to make your own vintage notebooks?  Start with a few of these. Mine are Swedish (which makes sense given that I live in Sweden).

I choose my books based on the covers and sometimes even the subject, like these above that translate to "Proper Swedish", "Carnival in Alvnas", and "Story and Truths". I'm also quite partial to vintage kid's books - they have the best covers, and sometimes the best titles.

Grab your handy exacto knife and splice along the seam where the inside covers meet the book spine.

And don't forget to stop and enjoy the hidden goodness you'll find every now and then when you cut away the body of the book.

I also love to think about the occassion when the original recipients received these books - this one was given for Christmas in 1942 to Rolf in Sweden (the previous owner of our house).

Take the exacto knife and slice directly down the center of the spine (not pictured) and then take a good all-purpose glue (I used Tacky glue) and glue the half spine around to the inside cover. This one was linen, so you'll see it looks pretty beat up - but as long as it covers the very edge and goes inside somewhat, it will all work out fine.

While going through the same process on another book, I stop again to think about the original owners. This one is from Buster to Britt-Mari for Christmas in 1945. And it had a special little bookmark still left inside.

Grab some book rings and grommets. With smaller books, I actually preferred using 2 book rings. I tried one with 3 rings, but it seemed a bit extreme compared to the book size.

I also used some scrap wallpaper.

I used some recycled cardboard to make a template to cut out the wallpaper scraps that would then be glued to the inside cover of the books. Just make sure cover the edges where the spine wraps around and is glued.

I also like to pay homage to the story of the book by incuding a page as part of the new book creation.

This one is finished. After using a drill to drill holes in the book for the book rings (be careful for the glued wallpaper on the opposite side. Sometimes the drilling created a little extra tear on the backside where the drill exited). Just be slow and steady. We added some recycled notebook paper on the inside, cut with a paper guillotine and had measured the 2 holes drilled in the book covers to match a 2-hole paper punch. My friend is a doctor and she's going to use it at her office.

I liked the colors in these vintage Swedish children's books.

My friend M made one with me and she's using some of the pages from the book that have limited text on them as the notebook pages. Love!

I'm already planning on making more of these little cuties. Just think of all the possibilities. Vintage notepads that quietly make a statment, a brag book of photos to send to Grandma, gifts for friends, and more! Gotta get ready for Christmas!

Until next time...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Summer Lovin' - Recycled Sewing Experiments

I've said it before, I'll say it again. I'm a sewing hacker - so if you can sew...really may want to divert your eyes here. Or at the very least be forgiving of my experiments.

This time it involved taking a button-down shirt no longer wanted in my husband's closet and a glittery little Hello Kitty tshirt with a hole in the bottom - but was still loved by my little one. So I decided the two pieces were perfect for a little summer lovin' dress experiment for my divine little miss M.

And with a little switcheroo, we ended up with three different ways to wear the same dress.

1.  Wide white belt
2.  A thrift store silk scarf and hot pink leggings
3.  A cardigan casually tied around the waist

I think the pics might be a little self explanatory, so let's get on with the show.

This is where I sewed two straight seams around the to join the Tshirt to the shirt (skirt). I didn't worry too much about them since I knew they wouldn't show once we added the accessories.

Mia does her best Mad Men impersonation.

Nice part was there was no need to hem a seam at the bottom because it's the bottom of daddy's button-down shirt. I'm quite happy with it. And more importantly, my client is happy!

We even had a bonus experiment by adding a thrift store crocheted kitchen dishcloth (after a nice high temp sanitizing wash) to another one of my divine little miss M's summer dresses. Darn pleased with the extra little pop it gives. It was a good reminder for me that recycled fashion experimentation can also include little steps and additions and doesn't always have to be so intimidating - although nearly everything that involves a sewing machine or even a  needle and thread becomes instantly intimidating for me. But I keep pushing past it and I really do get a kick out of the try.

We left the top side open so she has a sweet little pocket to put her found treasures in.

Next up? We're taking our recycled sewing experiments on a jet plane for summer vacation! See you again in a few days when we land and get our wits about us again.

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Artizen Magazine and Interviews

Check out the latest issue of Artizen Magazine - I've got two articles that gives us a peek into the creative minds of Cornelia Konrads in Germany and Lucy Faoutas with Lucy Designs in the United States.

Of course the magazine is packed with interesting artists and artisans so you'll want to read it cover to cover. Find Lucy's interview on page 42 and you'll find out more about Cornelia on page 14.

If you like this free digital magazine, make sure to let Cindy know. She puts a lot of time and effort in on this one.

All the best,

Monday, June 11, 2012

Before & After - A Day's Worth of Inspiration

There's just nothing like a day's worth of  before & after DIY inspiration, wouldn't you agree?

Seeing a completed DIY project is always fun, but doesn't your level of appreciation skyrocket when you see that 'before' pic?  That's why I thought it would be fun to give you a day's worth of inspiration that features not only the after, but also the before. 

Interested to see more of these before & after posts?

Until next time...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Recycled Mini Magazine Mirrors entire week of quiet here at the Blue Velvet Chair blog.

But quiet in blog-land doesn't mean quiet in home-land! We've been enjoying the company of our friends who were over for a visit from England, the kids are finishing up their dance and Capoeira activities before the summer, there was crafting, dinners together, a celebration for Sweden's national day (similar to an independence day), and the regular everyday obligations of work and school. It's been a good week!

If you're a regular here at Blue Velvet Chair, you've seen my oversized mirror frame covered with recycled magazine page rolls...about 750 of them. And I've got that disease where I can't think about certain projects without songs popping into my head... every single time without fail. Does it happen to you? I literally cannot talk about how much magazine page rolling it took for that mirror without spontaneously breaking out into this song. Makes me smile every time!

The girl's wanted to try a magazine roll frame for themselves, so we grabbed some small IKEA mirrors with thick frames and set them free to create. See how their own personal flare shines through with different patterns.

And they were well pleased with the results!

If you haven't tried a rolled magazine page project for yourself yet, it's time! It's one of those crafting and creative projects that you just can't go wrong with. And the combo of colors always delights! Need a quick tutorial to get you started?

Or want to try something else with recycled magazines or paper? I've collected over 75 ideas on this Pinterest board.

DIY Projects for Recycled Magazines and Paper

Let me know if you've tried one for yourself yet. I'd love to have a peek!

Until next time...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Recycled Button Bouquet

Last year I made myself a small bunch of recycled button flowers after seeing some on Home Sweet Homemade's blog banner (Hi, Diane). They made me so ridiculously happy. So small, but so full of joy.

I figured if I got that much joy out of a few of them, imagine what would happen if I created a full bouquet! So I made a few here and there over these past months, and next thing ya know I've got myself a bouquet. About 65 of them now.

I really encourage you to try this little DIY for yourself. Why? You'll get little bundles of joy that never wilt and stay in season year 'round.

They also make the perfect gift if you have a friend who needs a smile today.

Check out the super simple recycled button bouquet tutorial here - and send me pics when your flowers bloom!

Until next time...
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