Friday, April 27, 2012

Fingers and Friends and DIY

Remember several weeks ago when I mentioned on Facebook that I electrocuted myself? Just found this photo that I took...shows the entry and exit point of my shocked little finger. I know, I looks pitifully small and insignificant. But I promise you it gave me a real jolt and throbbed for the rest of the day!

Well, that's the end of the story about my finger. Now on to the 'Friends and DIY' part of this post. My friend, Marie, is the real creative type...but like many of the moms out there with small kids, she struggles to find the time to fully explore that side of her that just screams to get out. So when she does experiment, it's great fun!

On a recent visit, she showed me how she was recycling and folding magazine pages for a project. What she ended up with were tiny little 2 inch x 2 inch squares. That's definitely a project to sit with while watching the TV. And I shivered as I had memories of doing the same with my rolled magazine pages for the mirror. When her project was done, she showed us this board. Those are thumbtacks in the center of each square holding the folded magazine page together.

Well I thought that was destined straight for the wall for a solid dose of color happiness! And then she dropped a bombshell. "I'm thinking of using it for something else," she said. But she wouldn't say what until she was done. What could it be? A headboard was my best guess. No, that wasn't it.

A tabletop! She turned it into a tabletop for a ratty old table that she picked up at the thrift store for about $5, painted dark gray, laid her magazine art on top and covered with a piece of glass. Voila! Happy colors to sit beside and snuggle up on her sofa. 

Well done, Marie. Well done!

Until next time...

Recycled and Repurposed Garden

Although it's raining cats and dogs here today, I can't seem to get my mind off of all the possibilities of a recycled and repurposed garden. And thank goodness there are so many creative people out there to satisfy my inspiration needs! Here's some ideas that are screaming to be shared!

vintage wash basin and sewing machine stand from unknown source

painted wash basin garden via Facebook

Have you started working in your garden yet? I'm itching's just so gosh darn wet!

Until  next time...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lego Street Art

I've seen knit bombing, sweater bombing, plastic cap bombing, and I've even been thinking about organizing my own hubcap flower bombing in my town. Now there's Lego street art - aka Lego bombing!

It seems to be popping up around the world, and after searching through tons of websites that all listed source after source, I finally landed on with an interactive map of the world - just click the country of choice to find the lego bombs in action.

lego in Arnsberg, Germany

lego in Barcelona, Spain

Lego in Lausanne, France

Lego in Nabeul, Tunisia

Lego in New York, New York

Lego in Venice, Italy

There are plenty more examples to see at Dispatchwork. Are you  inspired to go out and lego bomb in your area? If you do, make sure to send Dispatchwork your photos and location!

Until next time...

How to Recycle Bedsheets

It all started when I got hooked watching the video showing how to recycled bedsheets into an adorable maxi dress. Then of course I had to go looking around for more. And I've bedsheets are boring!

Don't miss this fabulous maxi dress made from a recycled sheet. 

What do your sheets look like?

Until next time...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Upcycle vs. Repurpose

Do you know "what's what" with the DIY terms upcycle vs. repurpose? I see these words used interchangeably over and over again, and often in the wrong context. So I thought I would share a quick lesson to help you distinguish your own DIY projects.

Upcycle, in very simple terms, is taking something and making it better. It's the reuse of an item that will still be used in the same way - but it looks new and improved. Upcycling can be achieved through paint, add-ons, new upholstery, etc. Here's a great example with upcycled side tables from Running with Scissors (includes a tutorial).

Repurpose, quite simply, is taking one thing and reusing it as something else. Like this fun example below of a footboard repurposed as a chalkboard sign from My Salvaged Treasures.

And guess what? Both of these examples are Recycled - which simply means that they aren't ending up in a landfill somewhere on the planet. They have been given a second life and another chance to be loved again.

Hope that helps! So what is your current project? Upcycled or repurposed?

Until next time...

Friday, April 20, 2012

1 Top, 16 Ways to Wear it

Today has really been a day of 'how to see things differently'. And in the process, I landed on some great videos that really have me rethinking how to use my wardrobe. And there's a bonus - no sewing!!!

In this first video, the super cute video host shows 1 sweater and 16 ways to wear it! But I'm quite sure this could work with a nice long top as well - at least I'm gonna give it a try!

She also shows 30 ways to wear a button down shirt. I'm more keen to try the sweater, but what's more important here is that she really has me thinking about what's possible in a new way.

I absolutely loved seeing this example from a young lady who inherited a top from her dad. When I see someone this young that is willing to experiment with repurposing, I have great hope for the future!

There are so many examples out there - now I just need to get some pieces out and experiment! How about you? Would you wear any of these styles?

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Recycled Road Sign Sculptural Fence

The latest edition of Artizen Magazine is published - turn to page 32 for my article featuring an unbelievable sculptural fence made from recycled road signs in Pennsylvania (United States).

artizen magazine

You won't want to miss this project that took nearly 10 years to build, is as long as four (4) football field lengths, and represents a true commitment to community art and sustainability.

recycled road sign sculptural fence

recycled road sign sculptural fence

recycled road sign sculptural fence

I would be so happy driving past something like this every day in my own community. Hmmm...maybe it's time to schedule a meeting with the city council! Do I dare? Do you?

Until next time,

Monday, April 16, 2012 Reveal

It's official! Let my 15 minutes begin.

My DIY projects made it on the pages of - both of them!  I was approached and asked if I had any unique storage ideas for the garage. Guess what? I didn't! My first chance to be featured by a major DIY big shot and I didn't have a single thing to share for the garage. I barely have any finished projects in my house...let alone the garage! So I whipped up a couple of things and sent them to the journalist and crossed my fingers. They used them both!

See slideshow here.

Of course when you release your stuff to the editors, they get to pick and choose what they want. And let me tell you, taking photos inside my dark little garage didn't give the best results. But let me share with you all the pics that I shared with them.

Hanging Hubcap Shelf
Made from my growing collection of abandoned hubcaps (I have plans to make more recycled hubcap flowers)

Garden Tool Grab
Made from a scrap piece of wood, 2 pieces of driftwood, an old wire basket, and a couple of little glass plates with recycled magazine pages mod podged to the back for an extra dose of happy for the garage.

You can probably just look at them and figure out how to DIY your own, but I'll share some before and after pics later this week so you can see the various parts I pulled together.

There was an extra bonus in all of this as well. One of my favorite artisans out there is Brian Carlisle with GadgetSponge. He makes the most wonderfully whimsical bird houses. The journalist who approached me also saw one of Brian's cool license plate clocks on one of my blog posts and I introduced the two of them - and Brian's clock made the cut as well. Congrats, Brian!

I love several of the other unique garage storage solutions, especially the file cabinet turned on its side as a tool holder. But you won't be seeing any more garage DIY from me for a while. I have a LONG list of things to play and experiment with on the inside of our home and in the garden!

OK. 15 minutes are over. 

Until next time...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

10 Ways to Recycle Plastic Bags

Are you planning to go shopping this weekend? Don't throw out those plastic bags - I've got some fun DIY ideas from around the world that will get the "I need to try this" juices flowing!

During my (neverending) quest to find recycled arts and crafts inspiration the world over to share with you, I've recently stumbled on some seriously fun and funky ideas coming out of South Africa. There are some fabulous artisans being developed down this colorful chicken made from recycled plastic bags from WOW Imports.

I'd have no problem being caught carrying around one of these little recycled plastic handbags of joy (also made in South Africa at African Home).

The South Africans are well recognized for their wrapping technique of recycled plastic bags, which inspired this limited edition Inkuku chair available at Ryan Frank, also made with recycled plastic bags.

Did you know that the United Nations Environment Programme estimates that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic litter, including plastic bags, floating in every square mile of ocean? That's why it's so important to support the creative individuals that are helping us all by reusing this 'nearly impossible to kill' material - individuals like Camila Labra in Chile who's boots are mostly made from fused plastic bags. They come in almost every color imaginable!

I keep staring at these bracelets to see if I can figure out how they are wrapped - these thrifted bracelets wound with recycled plastic bags are available from BTC Elements.

One of my dreams is to work with a company like rag-bag, a partnership between India and Holland to make these fabulous products made from recycled plastic bags, fused and repurposed. These are some of the best examples I've seen! And...if you have an extra 4 minutes to watch their motivational video, please do have a look. It's 4 minutes well spent.

It might not be breathable material, but this dress made from fused plastic bags at ThreadBanger is helping to reduce toxic plastic particles that enter our food chain via unsuspecting animals that accidently digest scrap plastic in landfills or on the streets.

I find the color combo in these recycled plastic bag trash cans to be as exciting as those found in recycled magazine page projects (like that mirror frame I made last year). Find these and LOTS of other recycled plastic products at The SPIRAL Foundation.

These massive mandalas on the wall by Virginia Fleck in the United States? That's right...recycled plastic bags fused together. Could you imagine such beauty from something that is destined for the trash each and every day?

And finally, our last showcase of the day is this fantastic recycled plastic bag carry-all from Smateria in Cambodia.

I don't want to bring down the party, but it's important to educate ourselves while we're having fun. When this little guy chews on scrap plastic found on our beaches and in our oceans, the sad fact is that he'll most likely die by starvation when the plastic clogs his intestines (info via Envirosax).

If you're not ready to DIY recycled plastic bags into a little something for yourself, make sure to find a plastic bag recycler near you - like Plastic Bag Recycling organization in the United States. Let's work towards keeping the plastic in our hands and out of the nature.

Until next time...
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