April 29, 2012

Sustainable Sundays: MOM

Each Sunday we search and highlight upcycled creations made from over 2,000 sustainable shops on our Upcyclers Etsy Team!!! Shops that are actively upcycling and participating in our community are available for selections.

Since Mother's Day is Sunday, May 13th, this week we selected three sustainable shops offering something special for Mom:

Add a splash of color to your mom's life with this Mosaic Stained Glass Recycled Mirror

Give mom a stylish gift, like these pretty Arizona Tea Pop Can Cherry Blossom Earrings

Don't get to see Mom this year? Send her this adorable 100% Recycled Paper Card which can be personalized, by Elodie's Shop!

You can find more handmade, upcycled creations from our team by using our team's search tag: teamupcyclers when shopping Etsy.

Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.
~Marion C. Garretty, quoted in A Little Spoonful of Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul

Enjoy your Sunday!

The Wooden Bee

April 28, 2012

Love 2 DIY on the Weekend~ Look What We've Pinned!

We've been pinning away
on our new Upcyclers' boards! Like everyone says, Pinterest is addictive~ and consumes more time than most of us can afford, but wow, what fantastic stuff you can find! We actually have a board called: Love 2 DIY~ it's full of inspiring ideas for you. There's another we call, of course, Love 2 Upcycle and we've pinned our favorite upcycling ideas there. So today, I thought it would be fun to share a few with you! You can DIY to your hearts content this weekend, as long as you don't start pinning!

25 Fabric Scrap Tutorials from The New Home Ec

Saved by Love Creations

Some of these are inspirations you'll have to figure out from the photos, but others are linked to the original post from our boards! We always try to give credit to the original author or owner of the material, that's one of the complaints about Pinterest. If you are concerned about what you pin, be sure to follow the link back to see where it came from. I followed the DIY Chair photo back to several pinners and still didn't find the source, but then I couldn't resist sharing the idea with you! It's such a great way to upcycle an old chair~

What will you upcycle this weekend?

April 27, 2012

Upcyclers UPDATE!

Since April is winding down, so quickly I might add, it's a great opportunity to announce some of our terrific news so far this year!

First and foremost~ We now have over 2000 members on our Etsy team of Upcyclers! That is the foundation of our entire effort and most important aspect of what we do. We upcycle and sell on Etsy. Our mission of course is to further the upcycling movement around the planet and support the concept of handmade, vintage and small, enterprised-based businesses. Yes, we use a worldwide venue like Etsy, and some of us use others as well like Artfire, Bonanza, Meylah and many others, but the concept is still to support artists and home based businesses. We are so proud of our members, they work tirelessly to spread the word about upcycling, our team, environmental awareness, charitable efforts and to present themselves as a united community of Upcyclers!

Go Green!
Our fanbase is huge! Thanks to you, our readers, we are rocking the Social Media networks with over 1500 fans on Facebook, but that said, we have the potential to reach over 500,000 of your friends also! There's close to 1500 of you that follow our tweets, too. We have over 700 followers on our blog, but we also have over 8000 views each month on our blog! Now we even have a Pinterest account and everyday at least a dozen new followers there too. We also publish a paper now via Paper.Li and even that fanbase is growing by leaps and bounds.

We've added to our staff! You can check them out on our 'Take Me To Your Leaders' page and get to know them by checking out their links. It's a 'page in progress' like our staff, so keep checking back for more info and additions! So far we've added Stephanie, Marcy and Luci, all enthusiastic members dedicated to taking Upcyclers to the next level!

What does all this mean? Besides the fact that we feel sooooo loved, lol! It means that upcycling is here to stay. It's not a trend. It's a necessity. And we are doing our part: members, fans, readers, tweeters, pinners, you name it. We are doing it! And all of us should be proud of it.

April 25, 2012

Wasteless Wednesday: Eat Your Leftovers!

It always amazes me when someone says they don't eat leftovers. I mean, if you ate it the first time, what's wrong with the second time? To me the argument is pretty lame. They tell me, I just don't want to eat the same thing twice in a row. Okay, fine. So change it up~ Upcycle your leftovers! You'll save money and waste less...

I know that it's important to eat healthy foods. Pinterest is full of recipe ideas that would make our moms and grandmothers ask 'What in the world is that?'. We've come a long way, baby! Most of us don't have meatloaf night anymore, and canned tuna and soup recipes are something we joke about. But I love my comfort food! I live in the south and learned to love grits a long time ago. We eat gator, frog legs and a lot more things that would make some people cringe and horrify a vegan. My sweetie wants a t-shirt that says PETA, but this one stands for People Eating Tasty Animals. I know, that's awful. But you can't help but snicker just a little, can you?

Okay, some of you might not. Anyway, my point is that no matter what your personal food choices are, you can find a way to eat your leftovers if you use some imagination and throw in a few new ingredients. I can throw together hundreds of variations of stir-fry from just about anything left from the night before. So that's my first tip:

1. Stir-Fry! Anything goes in a stir-fry. Whatever meat (or meat substitute) you have left can be thinly sliced or cut into chunks, mixed with fresh or leftover veggies and a bit of seasoning to become a new dish. If I have leftover sides like baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, pasta or rice, it goes in too! Or put the stir-fry on top of it. Yum.

2. Real Men Eat Quiche! Okay, we've heard that joke, but it's true. And kids will too. We're not talking Quiche Lorraine or fancy schmancy (is that a real word?) quiche. But a variation of something more like what I ate when I was a kid. My uncle would take leftover hamburger, onions, potatoes and scrambled eggs, throw it all in a skillet and that was supper. We lived off food like that, and many loaves of white bread from the Piggly Wiggly. But you could take it up a notch by not scrambling the eggs ahead and adding cheese, whatever leftovers you have, then pour it into a pie crust, bake it and voila! Quiche! Or you can tell your kids it's Scrambled Egg Pie. Whatever.

3. Speaking of Pie~ Shepherd's Pie. Another of my all-time favorite comfort foods. And the old-fashioned beef style is just one version. Try it with anything! Just start with a layer of cut-up chicken, turkey, pork or even fish, add gravy, white sauce, cheese sauce, etc., put it in a casserole dish, add a layer of leftover veggies and then some fresh or leftover mashed white or sweet potatoes on top. Then a layer of cheese, or if you used sweet potatoes, try some crushed pecans with cinnamon and brown sugar. Bake it in the oven. Now that's some seriously good pie. Nom, nom.

4. Everyone loves a good casserole dish. I can't imagine anyone that doesn't have a favorite recipe for at least one. But to me a recipe is just an idea I can run with. It's like when we see a DIY we like. You say, yeah, that's really cool, but if it were me I'd do it like this. Recipes should be the same way. Don't be afraid to substitute ingredients. It's not like a chemistry experiment that might blow up if you put the wrong thing or amount in. Usually anyway.

Here in the south, every event is an excuse to bring a "dish". And I don't mean a date. I attended one recently and there were ten different styles of macaroni and cheese! Some with broccoli, peas, some with ham, bacon and even spam (I know some of you are freaking out just at the mention). Some had toppings like onions, french onions, bread crumbs, bacon bits and more cheese. I tried them all (yes, even the one with spam) and couldn't decide which was my favorite (the spam one wasn't a contender). Point is: Experiment!

5. Toss a salad together. Just about anything can be put in a salad. Leftover meat can be the topping of Caesar, Cobb or Taco salad. Leftover steamed veggies can be tossed with pasta and hardboiled eggs. Leftover spaghetti or any noodles can also be used for a pasta salad!

6. Soup. Who doesn't remember one of the all time favorite episodes of Seinfeld? Yes, you know the one..."The Soup Nazi". "No soup for you!" Too funny.

Soup has to be one of the easiest things to make from leftovers! You can make your own broth if you have meat left with the bone in. Or use canned or packaged broth. Add leftover veggies, potatoes, noodles, rice, etc. Season it to taste. Homemade soup. If you have leftover bread, make your own garlic bread to go with it, or try cubing it and making your own croutons. Simple and delicious!

7. Freeze it! This has to be the best solution to your finicky leftover eaters. Save it for another time! One way is to make a casserole from them and then freeze it. Another is to follow a tip from About.com and put a "Scrap Soup" container in your freezer. Add ingredients to it whenever you have a little something, something left. When it's full, throw it in a pot and make soup!

I've added links to a variety of sites for leftover ideas, so look closely! They're not all the same, so you can find lots of ideas and the sites themselves have hundreds, if not thousands, more! Food is a terrible thing to waste, so many have none, do your part to Waste Less!

Remember the poor and hungry, especially during holidays and either donate items or time to food kitchens or pantries. Help in community gardens or donate surplus from your own garden.

Have a great Wasteless Wednesday and week!

April 22, 2012

Sustainable Sundays: 24 HOUR Earth Day SALE

Happy Earth Day!

Team Upcyclers is celebrating Earth Day with these 21 eco-friendly shops! Each amazing shop is offering their favorite Earth Day Tip AND an Earth Day coupon! These special savings are ONLY for TODAY! Yep, that's right! 24 hours of UPCYCLED SAVINGS just to celebrate Earth Day 2012!

Our shops have joined together to offer you the SAME COUPON CODE for easy shopping: UpcycleEarthDay 

Lower case, capital, it doesn't matter this special coupon will work at ALL participating Upcyclers shops. Coupon will work differently at each shop though. Check out the shops' specific savings (and their Earth Day tips) below:

Offering fine art crafts made from recycled materials including memory boxes, steampunk design wind chimes, votive holders, and much more for your home and garden. 

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for 20% off!
Earth Love's Green Living Tip:
Cardboard paper rolls (toilet paper, paper towels, wrapping paper) make excellent packing materials.  They amount to 160 million tons of trash yearly when thrown into regular trash.

Offing hand dyed and upcycled accessories such as this Upcycled Bottle Cap Bookmarks! Ten percent of their sales are donated to Animal Rescue.

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for 10% off!

ArtAgain's Earth Day Tip:
The fronts and backs of cereal boxes make GREAT mailing envelopes for smaller items. Cut the box apart, fold the panel in half, tape the long and one short side with packing tape. Slip in your item and seal. Tape shipping label to package and ship!

Offering jewelry made from re-purposed antique and vintage finds.  Each piece is full of history and one of a kind, like this pretty field necklace!

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for 20% off!

Channing Taylor's Earth Day Tip:
I keep the glass jars, plastic containers and cardboard boxes from food products I buy to store jewelry supplies, protect things I'm shipping and leftovers!

Offering eco-friendly creations for you, your home and your children! They have a large section of eco supplies and we love their upcycled record bowls!

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for 30% off everything except the Didgeridoo's!

Our Children's Earth Earth Day Tip:
One of the best ways to help the Earth is to Reuse items. So instead of throwing clothing away create a Clothing Swap. Then your friends, neighbors and coworkers can come and swap clothes for themselves and their kids.

Offering recycled T-shirt yarn and items upcycled from T-shirts. Mike selects beautiful colors, like this bulk lot of minty green yarn!

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for 10% off!

Mike's T Shirt Yarn Earth Day Tip:
Save Water. When I shower I run the water long enough to get all wet. Then I turn the water off while I get all soapy. Turn the water back on and rinse. Saves water, saves energy heating the water and reduces my water heating costs.

Offering ecofriendly home decor and upcycled craft supplies, like these DIY wine cork coasters.

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for 10% off!

The Wooden Bee's Earth Day Tip:
Lower your thermostat, or buy a programmable thermostat. We purchased one last year and have had lower electric bills since we installed it!

Offering Scrabble tile pendants and other upcycled creations. Check out this lovely tile necklace!

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for 20% off!

k5art's Earth Day Tip:
Change all your billing statements to paperless and make your payments online to cut down on paper cost and waste

Offering reincarnated wares for you, your home and the earth! Check out this cell phone case made from a men's tie.

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for 20% off!

Rain from remainewicked gave several Earth Day tips:
buy local
buy organic
grow your own
be a friend :)

Offering a large variety of recycled yarn, t-shirt yarn, and other upcycled fabric finds.

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for 20% off!

Idle Hands Yarn Supply's Earth Day Tip:
So my new passion is clothing that is upcycled from unwanted clothing. I know shops on Etsy that makes the cutest women's undies from unwanted t-shirts, dresses from fabric taken from unwanted clothing, purses made from unwanted leather bomber jackets, and more. Upcycled clothes have more personality and are always one of a kind. :)

Offering handmade upcycled vintage jewelry, like this classy necklace!

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for 15% off!

This N That's Earth Day Tip:
Buy recycled products, that way there is more of an incentive for people to recycle.

Offering uncommon paper mache sculptures and upcycled jewelry, like this pretty earrings made from a bicycle inner tube.

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for 15% off!

Gloomstopper Studio's Earth Day Tips:
Know what your recycling company accepts and recycle everything you can, look at local programs that recycle less common products (electronics, Styrofoam, etc). If possible, buy long lasting products instead of more disposable products. Keep reusable bags in an easy to remember place for trips to the store.  

Offering one of a kind art yarn, handspun yarns, and other unique creations, like this upcycled yarn called Aruba

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for 10% off!

Coolclimates' Earth Day Tip:
I use old clothes, bedsheets and linens and recycle them into ribbon yarn to knit or crochet! 

Offering handmade accessories, sewn, crocheted, embroidered...and upcycled! Like this beautiful upcycled pincushion!

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for 10% off!

RoseMauve Earth Day Tip:
Make compost! It is so simple and reduces a lot your garbage volume. Plus, you can grow your own wonderful vegetables!

Offering upcycled jewelry from recycled plastic and paper beads, like this beautiful necklace!

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for 30% off!

D'Ekoprokects Earth Day Tip is:
Don't throw it away - think what else can you do with it.

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for 20% off!

Collagical's Earth Day Tip:
Read Love 2 Upcycle's daily online newspaper for environmental tips and news! 

Offerings useful items sewn from repurposed wool sweaters, like these fun wine glass collars!

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for FREE shipping on dosmetic orders!

ReWoolables Earth Day Tip:
We cut up paper that we incorrectly printed on, or junk mail that isn't printed on the back side, and staple them as a pad of paper for jotting down notes.

Offering one of a kind creations for your one of a kind child! Like these adorable dresses!

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for 10% off!

Love in Everything's Earth Day Tip:
If you haven't started, try growing your own food. It can be a few pots of veggies, but it will make a big difference. It will give you an appreciation and connection to your food that has been lost.

Offering repurposed home decor treasures, like license plate birdhouses!

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for 10% off!

SweetSomeday's Earth Day Tip:
Use re-usable water bottles whenever possible. Although the stores are now offering water bottles that use less plastic, you are using no plastic at all if you just bring your own water bottle and refill at a sink, water fountain, or water cooler.

Offering vintage sewing patterns, vintage linens, vintage clothing, vintage accessories and more!

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for 20% off!

I'm Sew Pretty's Earth Day Tip:
Follow Team Upcyclers boards on Pinterest for tons of upcycled ideas and creations. One of our favorite boards: LOVE 2 DIY 

Offering prints, digital sheets and JPEG's of my original photo art, vintage and antique photos, greeting cards, postcards, and more!

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for 20% off!

Photo Art by cnicely Earth Day Tip:
Subscribe to Team Upcyclers Facebook feed for weekly upcycled updates, handmade treasuries, eco giveaways, and other reusable news.

Offering Glass art with a new focus on Recycled Glass.

Enter coupon code UpcycleEarthDay at checkout for 15% off!

Flower 7 Earth Day Tip:
Start an herb garden. If you live in a condo, you can get other people to grow gardens and trade herbs.

WOW! Amazing right? So many green shops offering upcycled savings!  Enjoy these coupons TODAY only!

Happy Earth Day!

The Wooden Bee

April 21, 2012

Love 2 DIY~ Earth Day Edition!

Upcyclers believe EVERY day should be Earth Day~ and we try to practice sustainable lifestyles and craft methods that enforce that. We Love 2 DIY and we know our readers do to~ so this weekend we hope you'll try a project that involves upcycling a common object you might be thinking of tossing away! We've shared lots of project ideas on this blog which you can find in our archives or in our tag cloud. Today we'll share more, as well as a new Giveaway:
A handmade stamp by Terbear Collectibles that says 'Make Everyday Earth Day'! Perfect, right?

Terbear Collectibles Custom Stamp $16.99

But first we want to announce the winner of CHunks Of WOod's Giveaway! Who says number 13 is bad luck? It turned out very lucky for 'AlessandraVeg'! She's the winner of the Upcycled Reclaimed Wooden Earrings from Jason! Congrats, Alessandra~ and thanks again Jason for sponsoring our giveaway!

Don't Forget: Tomorrow is our Awesome 24 Hour Upcyclers Earth Day Sale~ be sure to stop by here for more details from Bee!

So now back to some DIY love! Stamping projects are hugely popular~ Terbear can tell you first hand with thousands of custom stamp sales, in fact they are the #1 seller of custom made rubber stamps according to EtsyWiki! So I was amazed that after we featured her PIF item recently as part of our T.G.I.Free series, she offered to sponsor our team with a giveaway~ talk about Paying It Forward! All you need for stamping projects is something to stamp on and stamps. Simple. Well, there's all kinds of companies out there selling fancy papers to stamp on, but Upcyclers love to find 'scrap' paper, junk mail and all kinds of other odd things to stamp on!

Like Paint Swatches!

& Recycled Cardboard!

On Brown Paper Bags~

and Vintage Newspaper!!

The list of 'throw-aways' you can stamp on goes on and on! So next time you think you have to have some expensive designer papers, think outside the box~ big box craft store, that is! Look around the house for old magazines, envelopes, old books and sheet music. Anything goes!

So now you've got some free paper you can use, you can afford some cool stamps, right? Especially since Terbear is offering an exclusive discount coupon code to our readers! Woohoo! Just use the code: love2upcycle for 10% off your purchase! Here's a peek at Terbear's rubber stamps from her Etsy shop! (Of course, I picked the Recycled Theme ones, lol!)

If you're like me, (addicted 2 stamps) you are so loving these~ and there's thousands more to choose from, not to mention the variations of custom made stamps you can order! But you can try to win the one we're giving away too! It's easy as can be to enter~

First be sure you are a follower of our blog~ But that doesn't count as an entry!

You can enter up to 4 times, but each entry must be left in a SEPARATE comment!
I wrote that really BIG cuz so many don't do that! boo. Also be sure to leave your email in at least one of your entries so we can contact you if you win. We promise not to bug you any other way, unless you sign up for email updates from our blog- hint, hint.

Okay, here's your choices:

1. Check out Terbear Collectibles on Etsy, favorite the shop and tell us here which stamp is your favorite!

2. Become a fan of Terbear Collectibles on Facebook!

3. Follow Terbear on Twitter @terbearco!

4. Pin an item from Terbear's shop on Pinterest!

5. Share this giveaway on Facebook or Tweet about it on Twitter~ we make that easy for you, just use our widgets above or below this article!

So that's it, just be sure to enter before Midnight on Sunday, April 29, 2012! And remember, four entries only, and each one in a separate comment.

Good Luck and Remember: 
Make Everyday Earth Day!

April 20, 2012

T.G.I.Free~ The Picnik is Over!

Today we bid a fond farewell to one of my personal favorite free photo-editing sites~ Picnik!
Google+ has taken over like little ants at a real picnic...They call it Creative Kit now.

Actually, many of the Upcyclers' team images have been edited on that site, as well as my own shop banners! So I've already set out looking for substitutes, not wanting to buckle under to the new owners. Plus (no pun intended) the new 'Kit' is confusing to me~ I liked the simplicity of Picnik! But they did recommend two others: PicMonkey.com and Aviary. Aviary is for your smartphone or iPhone, not actually an app, but photo editing software that works really well with Instagram or without it. There are more editing choices with Aviary, but I still like the final upload thru Instagram.

Anyway, I've checked out PicMonkey and I'm feeling much better after my initial Picnik withdrawals. It's pretty cool and yes, most everything I liked is there and still FREE. Of course, they have premium stuff you have to pay for, but more options than used to be on Picnik before they started giving everything away. Here's the sample photo they let me play with~



Pretty cool, eh? So PicMonkey is definitely part of my arsenal now. I've always had Picasa on my computer, not that I really love it, but it's handy. I mostly use Photoshop for my photography, but for products in my shop, I tend to keep it simple and real. I also use Photoscape for making banners and collages, it's pretty simple and FREE!

I load images to PhotoBucket when I need to so I can link from the web instead of my files, but I haven't gotten into their editing tools. And there's a ton more... Geeksugar.com just posted a great article about them: 9 FREE Online Photo Editing Websites and like it says in the article, we've come a long way from "dropping a load of cash down to buy into software like Photoshop."

So whether you're a seller on Etsy where pictures are worth a thousand sales, a budding photographer or photojournalist, a blogger or just snapping happily at your family, you'll find lots of choices out there to make you (or at least your photos) look good!

Now before I sign off to play some more on PicMonkey, a couple of updates!

1. We publish a daily paper on Paper.li now~ we call it Love 2 Upcycle: What's News!
And check this out~ It's FREE!

2. We had a giveaway from CHunks Of WOod this past week or so, and we've got a winner! We'll tell you who and announce a couple more giveaways (FREE stuff, lol) along with some great ideas for DIY's for this Earth Day Weekend!

3. Best of all! We will be having our Awesome 24 Hour Upcyclers' Earth Day Sale on Sunday! Don't miss Bee's post on Earth Day!

So Thank God It's Friday and there's still something in this world for FREE!