Tag Archives: 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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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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Upcycled fabric jewellery

Like a lot of people who work with fabric I have a lot of bits left over.  And being the woman that I am I obviously don’t throw them away.  Some find their way onto my ever growing ‘crazy patchwork’ bag – other stay sitting in a bag waiting to be turned into something.

Recently when I couldn’t sleep one morning I found a tutorial on making fabric beads – and started playing.  I’m not very good at following tutorials and started kind of making up my own fabric bead design.  The final result was this:

old dressing gown becomes upcycled necklace

old dressing gown becomes upcycled necklace

I’m not entirely satisfied with it – I think it might need a lot more work – however I have a lot of other beads that I’ve made some I’m going to try some different designs.  I also think that I should add some more beads to the top right hand side (where I’ve already started adding beads) as a focus.

In the meantime, here are some wonderfully exciting upcycled/ repurposed/ recycled fabric jewellery pieces that really inspire me to be more creative.

Fabric bracelet by Little Miss Crafty

Fabric bracelet by Little Miss Crafty

This little bracelet seems so simple yet so cute and fluffy. I love the colours (although they’re not the type I’d wear) and it just is SO yummy.  Makes me want to go out and make my own cute little fluffy bracelet.

Read more of Little Miss Crafty’s adventures here:

http://www.littlemisscrafty.blogspot.com/

Hand Made jewellery by Medusa - http://www.labottegadimedusa.com/

Hand Made jewellery by Medusa - http://www.labottegadimedusa.com/

I’m in love with this wonderful piece.  It has its roots in vintage style and is a real focus piece.

Absinthe and Orange

Absinthe and Orange

Absinthe and Orange creates such beauty out of repurposed material and clothing.  Again, like a lot of things I love, the colours aren’t something I ever really wear, however to own a piece like this and have an excuse to build an outfit around them would be something too good to miss! With fabric jewellery like this you KNOW that everyone will keep looking at it and noticing new things that make up this beautiful design.

Sonya's Boutique

Sonya's Boutique

Sonya’s fabric necklaces are real focus pieces that combine strong colour palettes and inspired designs.  Check out her etsy store – I cannot believe how cheaply she sells her work! Honestly – it’s worth more than this! Once I can get properly onto Etsy (it’s playing up for me at the moment) I’m going to purchase one of her pieces before prices sky rocket!

Finally I’m in love with the unusual work of Beehive Girl

I love her combinations of bones and lace – and I love the way in which her pieces aren’t just ‘focus’ pieces – they make you sit up and stare! You can’t stop looking and if you’re me – you can’t stop wanting!

Really – how can you NOT be inspired by these wonderful women’s designs?

Here are some tutorials – often showing you the steps for building up your designs:

How to make a necklace from fabric scraps

What to do with all those scraps

Ruffle necklace

Fabric Flower Necklace

These are just very basic instructions – I figure you can adapt each tutorial to add more and more to make a wonderful statement piece.

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What to do with books #2

Back again – thought I’d continue the blog (curtailed this morning because I really felt awful – was awake at 3:30am with my cold playing up).

So far, we have bags and art.  Of COURSE there is way more that you can do with books.

Turn books into jewellery

I LOVE jewellery – as a girlie – I really don’t think one can have too many accessories.  Especially if they aren’t from Primarni (!) or Claire’s Accessories – but are made from sustainable sources – and if possible – using your own fair hands.  However, if you don’t feel that you have the ability to create your own beautiful jewellery – I’m sure that these wonderful women would be willing to sell you some of their work:

Effemeral Life

Effemeral Life

Liz Hamman is a mixed media artist from Manchester – and I am in total awe of her work. She doesn’t appear to have a store although you can contact her here

Her work is a mixture of origami and a vivid imagination.  Obviously with paper – it has ephemeral nature – is it really meant to last? It’s fragile and so delicate.

I find it hard to actually pick a piece of her work to choose as my favourite – so I’m going to link to her slideshow here. Goggle her innovation and let your imagination FLY!

Betty Pepper

Betty Pepper

Betty Pepper’s designs are stunning – I would love to be able to buy just one piece of this beautiful work.  I think what makes her jewellery even more special is the way that she presents it.  Showing the necklaces simply falling from the books they were made from.

“Betty calls the books orphans and she finds them in charity shops already carrying their own secret stories, looking for new homes. The jewellery finds solace in the books as it too has a story attached to it, who it belonged to, when it was given, why… Betty likes to use second hand textile in her work as she says it has a tactile, human quality and, like the books, it carries scents and stories, wears and fades like memories.”

Ann Martin is a quilling expert – and she creates some beautiful pieces.  She essentially uses quilling paper – however I wonder to myself whether it’s possible to use paper from books.  The results may not be as delicate or as uniform as hers but it could be worth trying. You can find the tutorial here.

And finally Frucci Designs.  I can’t post the images here but I urge you to visit her blog and LOVE her designs.  They are truly truly beautiful.

Hopefully this has been interesting.  There are more ideas coming up but I don’t want to overload you!

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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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Billy Bargains #2

Yesterday I went on my usual lunchtime wander.  I’m starting to tire of the shops we have in Lewisham – the only thing that seems to change are the books.  And there are only so many books one can own!

So I bought two more:

books books and more books

books books and more books

I’ve wanted to read Mr Toppit for a while and I’m sure that M will love it.  He’s always looking for new books to read.  He’s trying to get through The Host at the moment and hates it.

The other book, Blek Le Rat is a book about stencil art.  Literally it looks like it’s never been opened.  So it’s going to form part of M’s birthday present.  I’m taking him out for the rest of it so don’t think I’m being uber tight with my husband.  It’s just that although we always buy each other trips or holidays for our birthdays, it IS always nice to have a little something to open.

These books were bought from the Cancer Research shop in Lewisham – 75p a book 🙂  So I think these are bargains 😉

To be upcycled

To be upcycled

I found this t-shirt in the British Red Cross shop – I think I’m going to upcycle it into a halter shirt – it’s so cute – however I might dye it first.  Yellow really isn’t my colour.

Finally the records I bought on Monday:

To be upcycled

To be upcycled

Dontcha just LOVE Engelbert? I can’t believe he actually chose to be called that.  Anyway – these are to be some bags.  However my first attempt at making a vinyl record bag fell flat on its face:

First attempt at a vinyl record bag

First attempt at a vinyl record bag

I didn’t actually make the ‘bag’ big enough for the album – and too big for a single.  So I’ve had to kind of ‘shove’ the single into the middle of the bag – and sew around it.  It really doesn’t look very good does it?  I started sewing around it to try and make it look better but I really think it looks a bit poo.  Any ideas so that my couple of hours of work isn’t completely wasted?

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We’re off to button moon …

A few months ago one of my favourite markets closed down.  Greenwich is renowned for it’s craft market – however I was fonder of the second hand stalls that occupied the less ‘pretty’ part of the market.  Then the area was closed down – probably to make way for flats or office blocks knowing this current climate.  My husband and I went to the market on the last day – we hadn’t been there for ages.  I was at the beginning of my obsession with crafting and sewing.  One of the stalls was almost giving their stuff away – and I asked how much their buttons would be.  Instead of me going through them to find my faves, he offered me the whole lot for £10.  I jumped at the chance and have ended up with boxes full of buttons (as well as various other trinkets that were hidden in with them):

(if you so desire to see more – there are more photos here )

However – once you own that many buttons you realise you need to make something with them.  I’ve used them to decorate my bags and various bits and bobs.  I then thought about jewelry after seeing a colleague’s necklace.  So I started looking up button jewellery.  I’m still to make something of any worth – but I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite upcycled button beauties 🙂

First up is Lorimarsha – honestly – I think this talented woman will appear in many of my blog posts.  I love the boldness and brightness of her colourful designs.  She truly is an amazing crafter –  click on the photos to take you to her etsy store.

Lorimarsha - original bakelite jewelry

Lorimarsha - original bakelite jewelry

How cute are these bracelets? Wonderfully bright colours and I love the addition of the beads at the end.

Lorimarsha original bakelite designs

Lorimarsha original bakelite designs

I’m in love with these rings too – so bold and exciting.  If only I didn’t have such horrible stubby fingers (I’m not a huge fan of my hands) I’d be buying these straight away!

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH … I have totally fallen in love with the beautiful vintage buttons used by Buttonz – honestly – the Blondie is the most beautiful button bracelet I’ve ever seen:

Blondie

Blondie

I want want want want! 🙂

Upcycling at its best I think – to make buttons look this classy is so awesome.  Most of the time when you use buttons they can look quirky and kitschy – and there is NOTHING wrong with that – however I believe that Buttonz produces jewellery that is classy and classic – in keeping with their vintage feel.

As we get classier – let’s look at Grandmother’s Buttons:

Stunning vintage buttons set into stunning pieces of jewellery:

Grandmother's Buttons

Grandmother's Buttons

Grandmother's Buttons

Grandmother's Buttons

And now for those all important tutorials:

Shank Button Designs
Simple button bracelet tutorial
Crafty Suzanne’s tutorial

If you have any others you’d like to share there’s space here to add them 🙂

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