March 31, 2011

The Lesson of the Cherry Blossom...

You have to savor life while you can...Memoirs of a Geisha.

As the cherry blossoms prepare for their delicate descent from the trees, one must pause to ponder the fleeting beauty of one of nature's most breathtaking creations. And such is the philosophy of 'Hakanasa'. It is difficult to translate this Japanese word, but the meaning is closest to evanescence~ the frailty of Life.
In recognition of that, we are dedicating our Team Challenge this month to the theme, 'Hakanasa', to bring more awareness to the plight of the Japanese people and their enduring strength and dedication to each other and their country.

Upcyclers, an Etsy team of artists, are bonded by a common appreciation of what our planet offers, abundance of life. We thrive upon not wasting it's gifts and finding new from what may have been discarded~ thereby perpetuating it's existence and value. Our entries will be posted on the team's Flickr group during the next two weeks and can be viewed by the public.

We also want to take this opportunity to tell everyone that this year's National Cherry Blossom Festival is asking for donations for the victims of the Japanese disasters. You can donate to their Red Cross Online Donation Site to help.

Finally, last weekend we had a giveaway as part of our series, Love 2 DIY on the Weekend. We are thrilled to announce our very first giveaway's winner was Mary! We hope she will contact us before Monday, April 4th at noon to claim her prize otherwise we will have to draw another winner. So congrats, Mary~ and hurry! We loved your idea of adding them to your cigar box creations! Be sure to check out our new DIY project tomorrow!

March 30, 2011

It's a Wacky Wednesday!

Valerie from Additions Style, our weekly contributor for Meet and Greet, is away this week. So since things are a bit wacky for me without her (miss ya, Val!) ~ why not a fill-in post about some of the wackiest upcycled things I could find out there in virtual space!

Amy Winehouse, she's not~ Amy NUThouse, she is!

How about a hand for these hands? or two...

Bad Hair Day? Try this for a fix...

And if that doesn't work, try covering it up with this...

Maybe if you wear these, no one will pay attention to your hair?

But let's not forget the guys~ Isn't Father's Day coming up in a few months?

And if you don't like to WEAR your undies, you could always CARRY them...

Well, this has been fun~ and you know what they say: Time Flies~ When you're havin' Fun!

All kidding aside, these creations show the ingenuity and imagination it takes to create something so wacky but clever! The vision of these artists is what keeps us intrigued and helps bring attention to the upcycling movement~ and for that we love them!

Have a favorite? Tell us which one you thought was the wackiest, or share a link to one of your own favorites with us. Valerie will be back next week with a new interview with a member of Upcyclers~ and Tune in tomorrow to find out what our Team Challenge for April will be. We'll also tell you who won this week's DIY Giveaway!

March 29, 2011

Tuesday's Treasuries: April Showers!

Some fresh new treasuries to celebrate the newness of Spring~ and all that Spring brings!

It's comforting to know that April Showers bring May Flowers, Thanks for reminding us, ChickadeyChick!

And this is a time when everyone is Cycled Up! From Stagnant Gypsy:

LoverCraft reminds us to appreciate life with 'Another Lovely Day on Earth'

Finally, MyKastalia brings us 'Earth's Hour in Pink- Upcyclers Unite!'

Want to see more treasuries from Upcyclers? Be sure to check out our Treasured page!

March 25, 2011

Love 2 DIY on the Weekend: And Enter Giveaways!

Wanna have some fun? Wanna have the chance to win 5 upcycled prizes??
 I decided to let you guys have the chance to win what I make this week! At the end of the tutorial you can comment to enter.

Today I'm going to teach you how to make fabric flowers that can be used 100's of ways. It only takes about 10 minutes to make one (less if you have no children distracting you) and they are a fantastic way to use up all of those scraps you just can't throw out.

These are the materials I started with - a vintage pillowcase, a sleeve from a jersey knit shirt, and a pant leg from a pair of satiny polyester pants. Later, I decided to add a flower made from yarn because it's too difficult to roll and twist and glue a flower while taking pictures. Yarn just lays there.

Any scrap material will work!

These directions are for smallish flowers - adjust according to the size you would like.

Cut a 2 to 3 inch circle for the base of your flower out of a heavy duty muslin or other scrap material. It doesn't have to perfect, just a quick snip of the scissors.

Next, Cut a strip of fabric to make your flower approx 2 1/2" wide and 8 inches long.
Put a stripe of glue on an 8 " edge on the wrong side of the fabric.
Roll the fabric starting with the 8" edge that does not have glue until it is completely rolled. Press the tube so the glue adheres from the top to bottom of the tube.

Play with all sorts of materials

With a yarn flower, the yarn should be approx 12-14" in length, it wraps tighter and is narrower.

Cover your muslin circle with glue. Press one end of the tube of fabric or yarn to the center of the circle. Twist the tube and you lay it in a circular motion starting in the center.

With fabric be sure to twist the tube AND lay it in a circular motion

It takes a minute for even the tackiest glue to dry, so I pinned the tube of fabric to itself with a straight pin and let it dry overnight to make sure it was sturdy.

Not a sewer? A safety pin or clothespin would work too

For the center of the flower your choices are limitless. You can use buttons, beads, a circle of another fabric, or even vintage earrings as I did.

I filled the center with glue and pressed the earring rather firmly.

Lastly, I trimmed any muslin that could be seen from above.

Four unique flowers

I love the way these turned out - and you can see with the different materials how you could play around and make them uniquely yours.

Thanks so much for reading that tutorial even though you really only came for the giveaway! It's finally time for the fun stuff! Not only will one lucky winner get the 4 flowers I made for this tutorial, but the flowers will be inside the Ribbon Spool I made last week! 5 prizes and 6 chances to win! Please read the rules carefully and get to entering!

Yes! This could all be yours!

Each comment only counts as one entry, so if you are entering multiple times you must comment separately.

FIRST entry: In the comments below, tell me how you would use these flowers.

+1 Follow - must be a new follow.
+1 Follow Love2Upcycle on facebook - must be a new follow.
+1 Post on YOUR facebook about this giveaway - please leave a link to the post.
+1 Follow @Teamupcyclers on twitter - must be a new follow.
+1 Tweet about this giveaway - please leave a link to the post.

Copy and paste this sample, or write your own, but be sure to include the link to this post!
@Teamupcyclers is having their 1st giveaway! Comment on the blog post to enter! #upcycled #giveaway #etsy

Good luck! The winner will be announced March 30th - Just in time for an Easter treat!

March 23, 2011

Meet & Greet: Satrngrl

Lexan loves items that are used in ways that were not their intended use.

Her favorite material is Plarn. What is "plarn", you ask? It is yarn that is created from plastic shopping bags (also old VHS tape or cassette tape). The vast majority of her creations are one-of-a-kind and totally unique.

The main mission of her shop is to repurpose and upcycle/recycle items that most people just throw away.

Peachy Salmon and Cream Plarn and Yarn Clutch

I asked Lexan a few question about herself and her business and here is what she had to say:

Tell us a little about yourself and what you sell
My name is Lexan, and I am The Lime Grasshopper (my shop is named after my 14ft. lime green sea kayak, Lime Grasshopper). By day, I run a silk flower facility. By night, I craft little ditties of upcycled goodness. Most of the items in my shop are created from upcycled and repurposed goods, like plastic grocery bags, computer parts, and yarn that may have otherwise been thrown out.

Fun Blue Pair of Ploozies Koozies

Why did you decide to work with upcycled/recycled/repurposed/vintage materials?
I honestly don't remember why I originally started using plarn. I still have the first Ploozie I made, completely out of plarn, and it fits over a typical koozie. My friends thought it was a hoot, and I saw a way to recycle all those grocery bags that always pile up. So, my little industry was born.

Cracked HeckerBling Necklace

What is your favorite thing about running your Etsy shop?
My Etsy shop allows me to keep creating, and creating helps reduce my stress level. I have also met so many wonderful and creative people through my Etsy shop who help inspire me.

Deep Turquoise and Tan Plarn and Yarn Wallet

What inspires you to create/sell what you do?
My inspiration comes from keeping some "trash" from clogging up our landfills, and keeping our beaches clean. I love to see the looks of wonder and awe when people find out something used to be a plastic grocery bag, or the motherboard of a computer, or a shell I found while kayaking. I don't necessarily create to sell for the money. It is such fun to introduce people to the wonders of upcycling and repurposing.

Share links to where we can find you on the web
website / Blog -
Facebook -

Thanks for sharing Lexan!

See your next week,
Everyday Inspired Blog

March 22, 2011

Tuesday's Treasuries! Spring has Sprung~ Time for FUN!

It brings out the best in us, the youth in us, and it revives our spirit: It's Spring!

Re-FUN-ished by Walter Silva~

Spring Cycle by Plucking Pendants~

abcdefgreen...exploring Teamupcyclers by bottlecrop~

a Spring in my SteP by collagical~

March 21, 2011

Monday's Makeover!

Mary, Mary, quite contrary~ How does Your garden grow? With the first official full day of Spring in bloom, it's time to finally head outdoors and enjoy the sunshine. But what if your space isn't so inviting...Neither were these, until a little makeover magic took place~

From, this "Peaceful" space was featured in their Amazing Home Makeover Series~

And here's an upcycling DIY makeover project from Studio G~

If you really feel like taking on a DIY doozie~ try upcycling some pallets into an outdoor seating area! Upcycling guru, Wendy Tremayne will walk you through it in her tutorial~

Have a great idea for a garden makeover or upcycling project? Share it with us here or check out our Facebook page and share there!

March 18, 2011

Love 2 DIY on the Weekend: Upcycled Ribbon Spool

So my daughter and I are officially hooked on finding cute, fun, easy projects to share with you guys. When I first made this commitment to guest post on Love2Upcycle I honestly didn't imagine it would become a mother daughter adventure. Luckily it has - and she found this cute upcycle project in a magazine so we had to do it. I decided we would each do our own to show two alternate styles, and to hopefully show you how it easy it is to make one of my tutorials into your own personal project.

First we separated the top and bottom from the spool. We tried to cut it, use a knife - nothing was working. Then Vanessa just said, "why don't we just pull it?" and ta-da, it worked!

This ribbon was 1.5" but any size will work!

Next we measured and cut our coverings. Vanessa chose lightweight fabric scraps and I cut a few black and white pictures from an old art book I've been using for projects just like this. We actually used fabric glue which didn't work so well on the paper and it bled through a little bit on the fabric. I would recommend a heavier fabric so you don't have that problem.

These are pretty cute as they are, I think!

This is the part we go crazy. I bought some jewelry making pieces (clasps, etc) at a local antique mall and they threw in these crazy rhinestones. I didn't have the slightest clue as to why I would ever use them. Vanessa found a way.

Easy enough for an 8 year old but fun enough for grown-ups!
I am a little less into the bling and more into understated elegance. Okay, well that's a lie. I'm more into cheap and cute with muted colors. But my spool turned out very nice. Simple, understated, elegant.

I'm in love with this! 
Just imagine 3 or 5 or 7 of these on your craft room shelf. Everyone will ask where you got them! You don't even have to tell them an 8 year old could do it!

Perfect for buttons! 


March 16, 2011

Meet & Greet - BreatheCouture

Jennifer from BreatheCouture collected vintage lace, ribbon, and jewellery, since she was a little girl and loves mixing these components with new materials for a modern twist.

Her one of a kind pieces are all about fantasy and fairy tails.  Her jewelry and accessories are created from at least 50% recycled/repurposed vintage materials.

Vintage Reversible Floral Fabric Shabby Chic
I asked Jennifer a few questions about herself and her business, here's what she had to say:

Tell us a little about yourself and what you sell.
I'm Jennifer and my jewelry and accessories (and soon clothing) is inspired by my love of vintage, antique items. I am particularly drawn to the Victorian, Gothic and Medieval style. My items are mainly One of a Kind and made with vintage materials such as rare Swarovski crystals, antique laces and trims, recycled vintage fabrics. Fantasy and Fairy Tales are also a huge inspiration to my work.

Sunset Rare Vintage Swarovski Color Changing 
Why did you decide to work with upcycled/recycled/repurposed/vintage materials?
I've been fond of vintage fabrics and trim since I was a young girl searching through my grandmothers closets. Both my grandmothers did hand sewing and needle point. One worked as a seamstress for many years. I've collected vintage materials over the years as well as saved used clothing/materials to re-use and repurpose. I love creating something unique with old materials that simply can't be found anymore. Customers get something unique and one of a kind. This is rare in a world full of so much mass produced items and waste.

Vintage Silk Cream Headband with Aurora Borealis
What is your favorite thing about running your etsy shop?
Getting wonderful feedback from happy customers. That makes my day! I also really love meeting other sellers and being part of supportive teams in the Etsy community.

Vintage Crystal Rhinestone and Pearl Bracelet 
What inspires you to create/sell what you do?
I get a lot of my inspiration from movies, books, researching vintage garments and costume design. I also keep track of fashion trends, and watch what people are wearing, weather it's celebrity style, or people on the street.

Where we can find you on the web?
Jennifer Koning, Designer, Breathe Couture

Thanks for sharing Jennifer!

See you next week,
Everyday Inspired

March 15, 2011

Tuesday's Treasuries: It's Easy Being Green In Spring!

There's lots of reasons for being GREEN right now! It's the theme for our Team Challenge this month (the deadline to enter is today!), St. Patrick's Day, the coming of Spring and, of course, because we are Upcyclers! So today's treasuries are going GREEN!

First up: some Rustic Upcycled Treasures chosen by Dinglewear~

These Little Sprouts were nurtured by RushCreekMosaics~

TigersEyeCrafts gave a nod to those of us with a little Irish in us~

And, last, Haveuhurd? The circle of life goes round. And so do our found, repurposed and recycled treasures~

March 14, 2011

Monday's Makeover!

Where am I gonna put all this stuff?!

If you upcycle, you know the biggest issue is where to put all the stuff you save. Here are some great storage ideas that might help you find your way out of the mess!

Country Living has several ideas for organizing your space, here are a couple:

They also featured a fantastic DIY for turning a medicine cabinet and painting into the perfect hideaway storage area.

One of the most common pieces of advice from professional organizers is to minimize and maximize. Minimize the clutter by maximizing your available space. Categorize your supplies or inventory into manageable sections, then based on their size, find the container that suits most everything. Having all one size container, such as a shoebox size, makes it easier to stack them for storage. If you have mostly oversized items, maybe bins will work best. Tiny objects? Sectioned storage containers or mason jars might do the trick. One thing that helps is to use clear containers, making it easier to see what you have inside. It helps your budget if you get creative, a recent post by Sammi for our weekend DIY is a perfect example. You don't have to order high end custom cabinets or shelving to get organized, just think outside the box~ or maybe I should say 'inside' the box! Cottage Home Decorating lists dozens of creative storage solutions in their recent article.

Have some great solutions of your own? Leave a comment and share them with us!

Check back with us tomorrow for Tuesday's Treasuries!

March 11, 2011

Love 2 DIY on the Weekend: Upcycled Children's Book into Photo Album

I have three kids at home. They are super big and all grown up and don't want any of their baby board books anymore. So when I was surfing the net (as I do on occasion) I found a fun site where the blogger would buy things from the $1 store and make something crafty! One of her projects was to make a photo album/journal from 2 for $1 board books!
Guess what I have 327 of??? BOARD BOOKS! And most of them are so yucky they aren't even donatable! For some reason my children liked to eat their books.

It's difficult to believe, looking at the picture but the one I used for this project is the least yucky of the bunch!

You will find my tutorials are very general. Mostly because this isn't like a cake baking tutorial where you should duplicate my steps exactly! I mean, the likelihood of you having the same size old chewed on board book in your home is probably pretty low.

So use this as a guide; An inspiration if you prefer. Hopefully I can spark those creative juices to make your own wildly creative crafty whats-a-whose-it. But for today - read about ours!

Once again, my 8 year old daughter and I did this project together. (I told you she was all big and grown-up)
We started by cutting the pages out of the book. Our book is relatively small - about 4 1/2 inches tall so we chose to only use 6 of the pages. Meaning we can get 3 photo albums from one book!

Next my very helpful 15 year old son sanded the edges just a tiny bit so the flappy paper edges weren't in our way. He used a little hand held sander but there is no reason you couldn't hand sand them or trim them very closely with an Exacto knife. 

Before we started making the album we discussed a theme. I thought for sure my daughter would choose to make a soccer album. But she surprised me and wanted to do a Rock-n-Roll theme. So we picked out paper from a pile in my craft room and trimmed it up and glued it to the boards.

To spread the glue and help the paper lay flat to the edge, we layed the paper on the board and then pressed with the handle of a butter knife from the center of the paper to the edge all the way around.

Next my handy dandy son drilled 3 holes through the boards. I'm not exactly sure how you could do this step without a power tool? Maybe nail through the boards one at a time? If you don't have a small drill, maybe now is the time to get one.(I know Habitat for Humanity has a small store in my town where they sell supplies and surplus!) Back to the drilling....

The next part was so fun. First we went through all of my scraps and goodies. I get tons of freebies when I order from Etsy. I try to pass them on to my customers but I tend to order a lot more than I sell. So I have lots of leftovers. We tried to find items that looked Rock-n-Roll to us.

Mostly we did not take pictures of the next couple of hours. There was a lot of pasting and cutting. I altered pictures at and printed them off. There is a lot of crafting going on at my house. Do you know we didn't turn the TV on once? My kids are 6, 8 and 15 and no one even mentioned it. I know this isn't a post on TV and how it can disconnect families, but I think it's worth mentioning. ;-) 

Here are a few pictures from our Rock-N-Roll photo album:

I must say, I think it turned out super cute! Please let me know if you agree and don't be shy about commenting with suggestions or ideas for future tutorials! I'm all ears! 


March 9, 2011

Meet & Greet: StressTheSeams

Dominique uses her art as a way to find things that she loves, express her inner thoughts, and realizes her dreams. Most of her work comes from flashes of ideas or dreams, so her art can be very eclectic.

Dominique's shop is full of her new nostalgic plate jewelry, steampunk accessories, custom clothing, and edgy gifts.
Drama Pieced License Plate Bracelet
I asked Dominique a few questions about herself and her business, here is what she had to say:

Tell us a little about yourself and what you sell.
StressTheSeams is a husband and wife team. We like to say that we specialize in Recycled and Repurposed handmade art, but really that doesn't begin to describe what we do. Really, Jake and I suffer from what we like to call Artistic ADD, so we do a little of a lot of things. Our shop and art really got into full swing when we both got disgusted at how much was thrown away as "garbage" when it just needed a second chance to be beautiful and useful. So I started taking old garments and unwanted textiles to create bags, quilts, and new garments while Jake tends to utilize old gears, tools, and metal bits to make sculptures. Somewhere along the way we decided that license plates were the metal version of my pretty discarded fabric prints and that they could be patchworked just like the fabrics! So he turned me into Rosie the Riveter and I taught him the basics of quilting composition and we ended up with StressTheSeams and our unique metal fabric creations designed and created by both of us!

New Mexico Front Porch Style Birdhouse 
Why did you decide to work with upcycled/recycled/repurposed/vintage materials?
We both grew up in the shadows of the Appalachian mountains, Jake in North Georgia and myself in Gatlinburg. Neither of these areas are exactly known for their wealth but instead that resourcefulness you can only learn through working with what you have. Jake's parents have always had an appreciation for vintage and reusing what you've got while I was regularly exposed to found art by my public school art teacher grandmother who can do amazing things with toilet paper tubes, egg cartons, and a little homemade paste. Jake grew up to be a welder, so metal is natural to him, while I became a public school teacher myself. But neither career path allowed for the creativity we both had. So we both played in a lot of mediums, but eventually we both found the most joy in surprising others by making something beautiful out of things that weren't. There is no greater joy than having someone fall in love with the beauty of a piece then realizing what it is made out of, like discarded car parts, unloved merchandise packaging, worn out clothing, and our personal favorite.... printed metal labels made behind jail walls found on destroyed vehicles after enduring years of wear and abuse-- other wise known as license plates! :)

Orange Triangle License Plate Inlay Belt Buckle
What is your favorite thing about running your etsy shop?
I love my Etsy shop as it adds so much freedom to our art. We do a pop up shop many weekends throughout the year at festivals, artist markets, farmers coops, and unique art shows. Those take a lot of work, a lot of patience, and a ton of logistics. Etsy allows us to reach many of the same markets but all over the world, 24 hours a day. While we also have our pieces in shops and boutiques, there is nothing more awesome than the one-on-one conversations between the artist and their patron, which is how we view each owner of our pieces. And while face to face is just wonderful, Etsy allows you to still get to know your patron and thank them for supporting your art, even when you are on opposite sides of the globe! Plus, back in college I stumbled upon an ad (for what I cannot remember) that looks like a road sign and says "You don't have to be awake to be productive". Etsy really makes that true!!!

Mocha Flower Vintage Material Zipper Bag
What inspires you to create/sell what you do?
Our inspiration is very simple. Jake and I have the most wonderful children ever. Our twin boys that just recently turned two never fail to show us new viewpoints, challenge us to improve the world, and inspire us to look for the beauty in things. Their wonderment at all things small and normal makes it easy to see, experience, and enjoy the world in new ways. We also had a beautiful daughter who truly was our inspiration to find the silver lining in the world. She would be almost three and a half now, if only the world could have handled her. She was born extremely premature, but at only a pound she changed the world. Everyone who came to know her in the 18 days she shared with the world was forever changed. So when we lost her, both Jake and I became determined to make the world a more beautiful place deserving of the amazing sacrifices Claire had made. She really pushed us to look at the little things, appreciate the details, and push the envelope of beauty.
License Plate Number 6 Key Chain
Share links to where we can find you on the web
Most of the time, you can find us online via our etsy shop, StressTheSeams.

We are also available at our facebook page (, which is also the keeper of our opop-up schedule if you want to come visit us in person.

Then there is our blog (, though I've been HORRIBLE about updating it over the winter. Honestly, the cold weather makes me want to create, not code!! :)

Thanks Dominique!

See you next week,
Everyday Inspired Blog