Category Archives: Art

the squidgiest, the plushiest, the softest of recycled loveliness

I love soft things.  Toys.  Cuddlesomes.  Here is Blueue:

Oz and Blueue

Oz the cat and Blueue the teddy

with my cat.  I was 4 when Blueue came into my life, I found him at my school jumble sale and he’s been by my side ever since.  See – I was a second-hand shopper even then!  He’s had his foot eaten off by a hamster, been held over a candle by a very mental ex-boyfriend and accompanied me on many trips into hospital.  So as you can see, I’m a fan of the cuddly things.

So today I’m going to be blogging about plushes and softies made out of recycled materials – and believe me – there are a LOT out there.

Firstly the wonderful work of melbangel – the reason why I love her plushes is because they are so obviously made out of recycled materials.  The bold patterns and weird shapes make these creatures marvellous to behold – and I LOVE their names. Weirdoo Megan and Weirdoo Moochie are by far my faves – I LOVE Weirdoo Moochie so much!  SO CUTE!

Weirdoo Moochie

Weirdoo Megan

I really hope that melbangel makes some more of these as they really are so original and so adorable.

Leah Riley is a true inspiration – and is mostly the inspiration for this blog.  She’s apparently ’embarrassed’ by the amount of t-shirt material she has built up, so she’s been creating a plush-a-day.  They range from skeletons to birds and each one is highly original and a great use of leftover bits of material.

Abigail the goth bunny

I guess I love this one because of the hidden goth within me.  LOVE the stripes (I love nothing more than stripes and polka dots) and bunnies just do it for me (although Anya may disagree – I’m SUCH a Buffy geek!)

I can’t wait to see what else she comes up with in her desire to use up all that material.  Leah – you are truly an inspiration to this hoarder of material!

Lucy Kate Crafts creates beautifully crafted and unique pieces.  I’m in total awe of her photostream and virtually drool over the plushy wonderfulness that abounds.  This little fox is one of my favourites.

Fox Softie

It’s unusual to see a fox – and I think that’s why I love it so much.

However – there is one of her softies that I would LOVE to have on my shelf.  As some of you know I LOVE peacocks, in fact I have an art deco style one tattooed on my back.  She has created this beautiful upcycled softie:

Peacock

How beautiful is this? I love it so much.   So gorgeous.

What I love about Loopy Dolls is that you know one of their pieces as soon as you see it.  I think that’s the strength of their design and imagination.  The faces are so cute – I could imagine a whole range of Loopy Dolls postcards, t-shirts etc.  They could take over the world!

Octopus

So there you go – some truly inspiring plushes/ softies that will hopefully inspire us all to go out and use up those scraps of material and create cuteness.  You can see my gallery of other cuties here – and I promise – that I am going to try this right now.  I have these two books (one I was given by my old school library when they were chucking out a load of books and one I got from Deptford Market for 50p):

Toy making books

and they have some great patterns in them so I’m going to try now to create some wonderful plushness.  In the meantime I’ll leave you with a family of plushes I created a long time ago called OOOOkies:

La Famille OOOOkie

created using upcycled velvet, buttons and t-shirts – however the felt and hearts were bought 😦

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Filed under Art, Plushes and softies, Upcycling

scourge of the letter boxes

Really, this isn’t a ground breaking comment to make to say that we ALL must hate junk mail. Don’t we? Please say we do. The whole idea of junk mail is vile and intrusive. The amount of times I’ve actually caught someone about to post a pizza menu through my letter box and I’ve taken it from them and posted it straight into my recycling bin.

I do have a confession to make however. As a teenager I used to deliver junk mail to raise money for my summer holidays. My aunty used to do it as a living, and over the summer holidays I’d be given my own round to do. It was back-breaking work for very little money. And now I feel very bad for filling peoples’ boxes with these pieces of trash – however – when one is a teenager one needs to make money!

Recently we’ve had a marked increase in the amount of menus we get through our box – pizza menus generally make me feel quite unwell (the photographs are most unappetising) and I think we’ve tried every Indian and Chinese menu with little excitement or impression. Thankfully one of our cats thinks he’s a dog and tends to ‘collect’ the junk mail, acting as our own personal shredder 🙂

So in my usual manner I’ve been looking for things to do with junk mail. For myself, I’ve only managed collages:

Unfortunately I can’t post a lot of the photos of what people have done with junk mail – which I understand ENTIRELY.  So go to Gallery 1 on Flickr – for wonderful ideas on what to do with junk – including obligatory jewellery as well as journals, a quilt and bowls 🙂

I intend to add to this – however I’m still feeling pretty rough with flu – haven’t slept properly for 4 nights now.  So I’ll finish this later 🙂

EDIT:

Ok … it’s now a much more reasonable time and although I’m in bed feeling like poo I thought I’d finish this entry properly as there are too many talented people out there who need their junk repurposing pimped 🙂

I’ve never thought of recycling paper to create a paper product designed to be written/ drawn on – however now – I can see the joy of using recycled junk mail to create journals, tags, envelopes and other stationary.

Junk mail to satisfy your stationary desires

This is a beautifully designed journal – simple yet clean and minimal.  This recycler has a whole set of journals created from upcycled materials and is a real inspiration to this lady sitting at her laptop typing this.  You really have NO IDEA how many journals and notebooks I have – and to know that there is a way of creating my own notebooks out of all that crap that gets shoved through my letter box is an awesome idea.

I’m going to hunt out the materials needed and start creating my own journals – oh dear – another idea!

You can also see Lootsvele’s upcycled journals here – I love the use of envelopes to create spaces to stash your tickets etc.  I think these would make fantastic presents.

eco-monster seems to be a real star of recycling materials – I’m in love with so many of her ideas – they’re very pretty and pastel-coloured – not very

much like me but I can still appreciate.

This ‘address box’ is especially creative – so country-cottage yet such a simple idea.

Madhatrk’s packaging is very special – takes a bit of energy to make by the looks of things (see the tutorial here) however the final result is REALLY effective.

Junk mail = style

Of course junk mail can be turned into clothes and jewellery – what made you think that it couldn’t?:

Origami star earrings from upcycled junk mail etc.

Origami star earrings from upcycled junk mail etc.

home ECOnomics - paper jewellery

home ECOnomics - paper jewellery

Quilling can be turned into jewellery

Quilling can be turned into jewellery

cute and simple

cute and simple

As you can see from this very small selection – junk mail can be used for some wonderful accessories – when with shops like Accessorize actually start using recycled products rather than creating jewellery that LOOKS as though it’s recycled?

Finally – for now (there will be more to come – I’m quite aware that with every blog post – the more I search – the more I find worth mentioning and pimping 🙂 ) I wanted to leave you with an amazing piece of wearable art that an ex-student of mine created for a Metro Newspaper competition.  However I can’t find the image of the dress anywhere on the internet.  She created it from many copies of Metros (a free newspaper that tends to fill train carriages), folding hundreds of origami cranes for the skirt.

When I find the image I will post it here – until then here’s her profile on Untold. Believe me – she will be a force to be reckoned with – winning Young Designer of the Year aged just 14!

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Filed under Art, jewellery, junk mail, Life, origami

What to do with books – #1

A home without books is a body without soul.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

BOOK SHELVES

BOOK SHELVES

However – I sometimes wonder if the time comes when you have TOO many books.  There are days when I virtually salivate over the sight of peoples’ libraries, their shelves stocked floor to ceiling with books, and there are other days I want to take all my books and throw them out, because I don’t know when I’ll ever get round to reading every single book I’ve ever wanted to read and re-read every book I’ve loved reading.

Next to my bed right now

Next to my bed right now

Not that you can really see them – however for some reason the Stephanie Meyer ones are standing out!  Yes, I’ve read all of the Twilights – I bought The Host – however my better half says it’s rubbish.  So whether I get round to watching it is debatable. Suffice to say that’s a pile of books next to my bed.  We have 4 shelves in the bedroom full of books, 6 in the study and 9 in the living room.  That doesn’t include all of the books in the loft that still haven’t been unpacked in the 7 years we’ve been here.

Ok – so I decided to look around to see what to do with all of these books, apart from the obvious.  As I’ve blogged before – I’ve started Bookcrossing – I’m yet to see what happens there.  And of course I give books to charity shops etc.  However I do have a lot of books that are in a SHIT condition.  So decided to search around this wonderful thing we call the world wide web to see what other people do with books – upcycling wonderfulness abounds:

Turning books into purses/bags

Book Bag

Book Bag

If you click on the photo you will be taken to a video tutorial that looks pretty easy to follow – so I recommend trying this out.  I’m yet to find a book that I think will work well for this – but as soon as I do I will post it here so you can see my efforts.

SO cute

SO cute

Cute star bags

Cute star bags

These are some cute examples of books turned into purses.  There are SO many on the internet now – just search and see what you can find.

Turn books into art

Click on the photo to take you to a whole set by a school.

Click on the photo to take you to a whole set by a school.

Books of course, are art. However – to turn this form of art into more art looks so much fun.  I saw a wonderful exhibition at Fulham Palace last month entitled ‘Butterfly’ about the obsessiveness of a butterfly collector – using copies of The Collector by John Fowles (one of my favourite books).  The exhibition was very interesting and really made me want to try something similar in my purse designs.  I’ll post them when I’ve created my final design 😉

Here are some other links showcasing books into art:

Rag and Bone Blog – some collected examples of beautiful paper art – I LOVE the octopus

Books into vases

Reversing vandalism – San Francisco public library’s exhibition on old books turned into art

Fun Forever – another blog that collects some wonderful examples of books into art

{part #2 – coming up}

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Filed under Art, books, Uncategorized