Category Archives: Upcycling

You can make furniture from anything!

I’ve been too sick to do any thrifting lately.  Yesterday I started to feel better, got myself together and left the house.  Only to return about 10 minutes later with just a pint of a milk.  However this morning I have woken up and not coughed once.  My chest is starting to feel clearer – there’s no bronchial wheeze on it – has this infection finally flown and left me alone?

So while I’ve been laid up in bed trying to sleep through the wheezing, I’ve been stumbling and looking for amazing upcycling/ reusing/ remaking  ideas.  Today I thought I’d collect together a few of my favourite furniture from upcycled items.  In our flat we have some amazing bookshelves that are upcycled goodiness – however I’m not sharing photos with you yet until the flat is sorted and I’m happy with them enough to take photographs 😉  That’s to say – I’m stupidly happy with the shelves, I’m just not happy with how untidy I am and how messy they are.  I’m embarrassed to show them to you!

So here are some of my favourite furniture upcycled projects:

Repurposed drawers:

schubLaden

schubLaden

These wonderful designs are from a German shop called schubLaden {meaning drawers in German}.

This image was found on Flickr – however I’m not sure who actually designed these:

repurposed drawers

I would happily make Mr Second-Hand spend his spring evenings sawing away at old cabinets so I could have something this splendid in the flat 🙂

I have a real love for Vespas – in fact I still think that one day I will own one.  So these seats made out of old Vespas by Italian company Bel&Bel make me very happy indeed {although I’d rather have the bike than the chair!}:

Bel&Bel

Bel&Bel

Katie Thomspon from Recreate is an absolute genius.  These beautifully created pieces of furniture made from repurposed cases are simply divine:

Recreate

Recreate

Recreate

Not surprisingly all of the seats I’ve chosen to feature are now sold however her website states that she does do custom orders – if only she wasn’t in South Africa!

Finally I’m going to feature the wonderful work of Dallas welder, Joel Hester.  His furniture made from repurposed car hoods are simply inspired.  All of the projects are ‘handmade to order’ which means that you truly get one off pieces especially for you!

Firstly – the beds:

Aren’t these gorgeous?  Unfortunately I can’t post larger pics but if you click on them they’ll take you right to the page.  They are all designed around the shape of your mattress, the size you want etc.  What more could you want? If I had the money and the space I would be purchasing one of these.  However, Mr Second-Hand is creating our bed this Spring so I’ll be posting photographs of that 🙂

I’m just going to post the coffee table too that I love because of the unique pattern on it caused by the original paint and rust:

Coffee Table

This is from their website about the standard coffee table specifications:

straight or modern oval leg design

30+ year old relcaimed sheetmetal top

MIG/TIG welded steel frame

gloss clear coat

stainless steel hardware

leveling feet

original VIN badge���

tables weigh 60+ pounds, the real deal …

 

Oh yes – they certainly do look the real deal 🙂 LOVE ‘EM!

I promise that very soon I will be posting photographs of our own repurposed furniture once the flat is sorted!

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Filed under Furniture, House and Home, Life

Magazines

I’ve already created one post about what to do with old books – here and here –  however this one is about what to do with old magazines.  We are very lucky to be where we live; we have an awesome junk market that operates three days a week where often you can find some wicked ephemera buys.

This weekend I happened upon 6 magazines from the 1920s for £3!

Atlantic Monthly - 1920s Atlantic Monthly - 1920s

As you can see they’re falling apart quite badly so I’m thinking that I’m going to have to remove some pages for different things.  I don’t like cutting up old magazines but as these are disintegrating anyway it might have to be done.

I’m really loving the adverts in them and I’m considering framing some of these for our kitchen:

Atlantic Monthly - 1920s Atlantic Monthly - 1920s Atlantic Monthly - 1920s

And I’m going to scan them in for Archive.org just to keep them complete for prosperity.

However I’m not sure what to do when I’ve finished all the hacking.  Any ideas?  Here are some that I’ve found in my stumblings:

 

National Geographic Shelf

Book/ Magazine Beads

Paper Flowers

Tutorial here

 

I could make a mini-album/ book like these [click on the photograph to take you to the original image]:

Mini Album from Upcycled Paper
upcycled fabric and paper sewn journal
Recycled paper journal detail
Scrap Journal recycled pages

I could make rossettes, bows etc.:
Christmas Origami Text Wreath
Bows & Buttons
upcycled book jacket flower bows

I think I’d really like to try to make a little journal – but I’m not sure.  I’m not very good with all these choices and just a few magazines to play with – including magazines I’m not really sure I want to cut up!

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Filed under Deptford Junk Market Finds, Magazines, Upcycling

Slides slides slides

No – not the ones you fly down and break your arm on at the bottom. Instead I’m talking about photographic slides.
Many months ago we bought a load of photographic slides from Deptford Market and Ebay to turn into either this:
Kodachrome curtains

[<a href=”http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=338100.0″>tutorial on Craftster here</A>]

or this:


[tutorial on Craftster here]

However life took over and we still haven’t got around to creating these wonderful things. At the moment we are brassic so I’m hoping that we can start putting one or both of these together while we’re trying not to leave the flat and have our usual adventures, which often involve trips to one or two pubs on the way.  And some eatery of some sort.
In preparation for this I’ve been scanning in the ones I find interesting/ unusual – if you click on the wind-swept doggy below you’ll find some that I’ve scanned in:

Thrifty Boy also found an awesome box of photographic slides in a junk shop in Greenwich. They weren’t cheap, however they ARE amazing – Novosti Press Agency slides of Russia in 1975. You can see some of the set here:

Novosti Press Agency - Found slide - I couldn't edit it like this even if I'd tried!

These ones we don’t really want to turn into anything so we’re hoping to make a light box to display them in. We saw this one in SuckUK:

SuckUK Slide Light

But it’s about £150 – £200!  As Thrifty Boy is very clever he’s currently designing a slide box for our slides.  Hopefully it means that we can have an ever-changing wall display of our collection 🙂

I’ve found a couple tutorials to share here for light boxes:

ehow

steampunk workshop – not a slide display but you can follow the same principles

Instructables – again not a slide display but a great tutorial – very expensive though – I’m sure it can be done a lot cheaper than this!

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Filed under Deptford Junk Market Finds, House and Home, Life, Photographic Slides, Upcycling

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

upcoming posts:

I thought I’d let you know what I’m going to be blogging about over the next few days to give you a heads up if you wanted to send me your links etc:

discarded

discarded

Plastic Bottles

We all use them, they are everywhere, some people don’t bother to even recycle them.  Plastic really has been the scourge of modern-day life; it doesn’t biodegrade, it releases toxins and recycling plastics are very labour intensive due to the different standards.  So upcycling plastic bottles should make things a bit easier on the environment (or trying not to use them in the first place would make things even easier – something I really really must do).

I’m going to therefore blog about my own plastic bottle upcycling as well as featuring the work and tutorials of other plastic bottle upcyclers.

rummaging

rummaging

CLOTHING

I love fashion – I’m not fashionable in the slightest and I don’t buy fashion mags.  However I see fashion as an art form and am fascinated by people who are walking art pieces.  Unfortunately this dominance of fashion in our lives has created a clothes mountain.  There are piles of poor textiles, that don’t biodegrade, that are made badly and more and more are being made.  We are all aware of the sweat shops that employ people working on a pittance to create these pieces for us to wear once then throw away.

So as you know, the whole premise of this blog is to buy second-hand, and I don’t buy new clothing any more.  There are other people who go one step further and take existing pieces of clothing and create new pieces out of them.  This blog will be about upcycled clothing – people who have the imagination and creativity to see something in something else!

doll parts

doll parts

DOLLS

And finally a blog about what you can create from those sadly rejected dolls.

So there you go – do you have anything you can add to these blogs? If so, get in touch.  If I like what you do I’ll feature it 🙂

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Filed under Upcycling

C30 C60 C90 GO!

I’m a child of the 80s.  I’m a child who sat next to the radio waiting to press ‘record’ when my favourite tracks came on the Chart Countdown.  I’m a child who sat with her microphone and recorded her own radio stations much to her elder self’s disturbance.

As I progressed into the 90s, tapes took on a whole different meaning.  I remember becoming friends with the ‘coolest’ girls in school because one of them had Cupid & Psyche (Scritti Politti) and Songs From The Big Chair (Tears for Fears) on tape and she dubbed them for me (as you can probably tell – the cool kids in my school weren’t the ‘rich and trendy’ ones). As your collection grew you started making mix-tapes for your friends.  Or ‘taped letters’ for your pen-friends.

Fast forward to discovering the opposite sex.  I was kind of a late bloomer – I didn’t get my first ‘proper’ boyfriend until I was 16 (believe me, that was late amongst my friends!) and I remember making him mix-tapes.  He never liked the ones I made – and a mix-tape I made him as I went off to Uni and he stayed at home ended up sparking the argument that eventually caused our break-up.

The end of mix-tapes occurred for me a few years after I’d finished uni.  I was working in a video shop and we used to listen to music in there – often the staff would make mix-tapes to listen to – mine never got played as my music was a bit too ‘alternative’ – however – one special day a colleague of mine made me a mix-tape.  I had to go and have an endoscopy and I was going alone.  My friend felt bad he couldn’t come with me and posted a mix-tape through my letterbox that morning to cheer me up. My boyfriend at the time wasn’t happy about that and started to read things into the lyrics of the songs on the tape.   Apparently ‘Things Change’ by The Bluetones was a message for us to split up.  Eventually my bf’s paranoia and obsession drove my colleague and I into each other’s arms – we’ve been there ever since – some 12 years later!

So as you can see, the mix-tape means a lot to me.  I have so many more memories of creating tapes for my sister, my pen-friends, the pain at a tape getting eaten in the cassette deck … I love tapes and so I’m loving this whole 80s revival.

You can see where this is going can’t you?  Yup – my love of tapes made me look into what you can turn the humble tape into if you don’t want to keep it in its original form.  I wasn’t prepared for how diverse the tape has become – it can be turned into almost anything – and here are just a few of those things:

Art

ifi5 has produced some amazing art from recycled cassette tapes:

I really fell in love with her art and found it difficult to feature only a couple of pieces. She states on her website that:

“I am a self-taught artist who works with non-traditional media. Most of my materials have been discarded or donated at some point.

I try to express an idea, through the arrangement of very common things, with the hope that some message is conveyed without words.

I love the nostalgia of the archaic and I hope that not everything which has outlived its use goes to waste.”

HEAR HEAR 🙂  That’s what we like to hear! One day I hope to be able to afford one of her pieces – I think it would look awesome decorating our walls.

More wonderful art incorporating cassette tapes and other media.

I love the imagination behind this work – and the colours ROCK.

Household goods:

Obviously because of their shape and size cassette tapes make excellent frames as this shows.

I need a new jewelry box – I like this idea – though it’s made me think of another way of doing it – just need those tape cases without the poky bits!

This is by far my favourite invention of what to do with cassette tapes (although I do think that perhaps these are mini-tapes as this lamp would be freakin’ HUGE if they were normal sized ones)  The light it reflects is beautiful and the design is so simple.  Obviously there are many impersonators around trying to create the same thing however I’ve not seen one that is entirely successful.  Well definitely not as successful as this one.

I’m intrigued as to how they find a bulb that won’t melt the tapes – most tutorials I’ve seen suggest fitting it around an existing cheap Ikea lamp, however that doesn’t really sit with my ‘second-hand life’ ethos.  So I’ll have to think into this more about how I might try and make one of these.

JEWELLERY (of course!)

I think almost everything can be upcycled into jewellery. And cassette tapes are no exception.  Here are three of my favourites:

I especially like the first example of crotcheting the tape to create that beautiful neckpiece.  The other two designs have given me ideas (oh dear) of how to create some wicked earrings and cuff using cassettes.  Such great imagination though!

Journals and Note-books

This is the final section (for now) – as always I have found NUMEROUS examples of how to upcycled your cassettes however I just think I could overload you (and myself) with ideas – so I’ll save them for a later post!

I’m fascinated by the idea of creating my own journals and notebooks, I think I’ve previously mentioned my obsession with buying stationary – so it’s natural that I should think of upcycling paper to create my own.  I especially liked the idea of a tape sized note-book:

I especially like this one – it’s simple and streamlined design really makes me think of Muji products.  So … I thought I’d give it a go.

Polly’s Craft A Week – Week1 – Making my own journals:

In my usual way I don’t make things simple and streamlined – I tend to go overboard.  Also I find tutorials very difficult to follow – I’m a kinaesthetic learner through and through, I need to learn by either doing or being shown.  Reading how to do something doesn’t really help.  So I just botched this one together and I think it’s alright actually.  It’s a tribute to the mix tapes of old with loads of the magazine cuttings we still have from a collection we were going to use for mix-tapes (how sad are we?).  So it’s a bit rude (which is my way sometimes) – however I’ve got other ideas about how I’m going to create another one using my collages:

As you can see I didn’t finish it off very well and there IS a reason for that.  This was just the trial run.  I’m going to give it a go with one of my old Marc Almond tapes.  I’ve got the album on CD so I don’t need the tape any more – we’ll see what I come up with eh?

If you want to try and follow a tutorial on how to do this you can find a couple here:

Cassette Case Note-book

Cassette Tape mini-journal

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Filed under Cassettes, Craft a Week, Uncategorized

my thrifty living is going to get thriftier

hurumph … I lost my temporary job yesterday – apparently being off sick with flu is no excuse for not going in, despite the fact that there were signs all over the centre saying ‘don’t come in if you have a temperature etc.’  So I am now unemployed again.

What really sucks is that I liked that job.  I liked the other members of staff, I liked the clients.  I was good at the job.  Bollox to it.

So today I start again.  I fired off a few CVs yesterday to agencies and had 2 call backs within the hour – so I’ve just got to go and have interviews there.  I’ve also found a few jobs I’m going to apply for – including one at the House of Commons! Oh my … that would be funny.  There are quite a few posts in education for charities and museums still – so I’m sticking to that tack.  However, I’ve also asked someone if I can intern for them – they’re the Head of Development and Communications for a theatre and it would be great experience for me.  So … I’m not going to rest on my laurels, no siree bob.  Today though … could be nice to rest on laurels!

I just have to recount what happened last night – that ties in with yesterday’s post.  After losing my job I was relieved to see that I had a bottle of wine in the fridge – so out it came and down my neck it went.  Not the best thing to do when you’re full of flu meds.  So I got drunk quite quickly.  Our living room basically is very odd, we have the staircase and the front door in it – and as we were sitting there discussing democracy (true) the poor paper-boy tried to put the local free newspaper through our letter box.  Being sick of having so much paper around I shouted ‘take it back!’ – and he did!  I did think it was quite funny!  So now I have a response to junk mail – just shout at them.

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Filed under junk mail, Life