Please pardon my mess I am doing a little blog makeover.
Hello from cold and snowy Colorado. I have a quick post, a few days early this week. We are heading to Phoenix a little later today where we plan to enjoy some warmer temperatures and relaxation.
You may recall that I went to the Recycle Santa Fe Arts Festival with my sister in December, she uses this little train case as a cash register when she is at shows.
The inside is pretty plain.
So she asked me to make it a little more useful with some pockets to hold a few things.
You may already know that she makes purses and women's accessories out of post consumer plastic bags if you haven't seen her stuff watch this video or check out her website. Anyway I thought that I should use some of her "fabric" for this project.
This is what I came up with.
The fused plastic was so great to work with much easier than working with fabric that frays. I just cut out the shapes I needed, sewed the pockets in place and then I used some duct tape and E6000 glue to hold everything in place.
Well I had better get going. I still have to pack and take care of a few things before heading to the airport. I am excited to take my tiny make up tin on this trip. If you missed the tutorial you can check it out here.
Wishing you all a lovely week and as always....
Have you heard of the tiny house movement? I have become a little infatuated with the idea myself. Not that I have any hope of fitting all my junk into a 200 or less square foot home. Still, I love to see how they have used the small spaces so efficiently and I am mildly envious of their clutter free lives. If you are curious, or already have a little of the tiny house bug, like I do, you might want to check out these free video's on Hulu.
Tiny House Nation and the Film Documentary Tiny.
Even if you aren't ready to get ride of all your worldly possessions it is inspiring to think about using the space that you have in a more useful way. Case in point my night stand drawer which I will be cleaning out some time later today.
Any-whoo on with today's tutorial.
I had so much fun with this project. I love all the DIY health and beauty tutorials out there. Last year I made some lip balm and I was hooked. I don't think I will ever buy lip balm again.
So when I stumbled on to some make up tutorials I had to give them a try. I don't know which part I am more excited about. The fact that I made my own make up or the part were it all fits into an Alotid tin.
These are the things I gathered.
Make up mirror (removed from old compact)
Small pencil sharpener
Emery board - cut down to fit in tin
Plastic gift card with duct tape tabs (for divider)
Lip liner (cut to fit in tin)
Eyeliner brush (cut to fit in tin)
Eyebrow pencil (already almost too short to use :-)
These are the things I made.
Lip Balm in a bottle cap
Colored lip gloss in a bottle cap
Powered foundation in a bottle cap
Blush in a bottle cap
Mascara brush from old mascara
Mascara / Eyeliner in a ball point pen case
Read on if you are curious.
Lip balm - I love this stuff! It is really easy to make with just two ingredients. 1 part beeswax to 2 parts almond oil melted together and poured into a bottle cap to cool. I am assuming that anyone doing this will have cleaned and sterilized to what ever degree they feel is necessary. So onward. Here is a more detailed tutorial from Family Home and Life. It is for hand lotion bars but the process and ingredients are the same.
Colored Lip Gloss - I did this as an experiment but I am happy with how it turned out. Use the lip balm instruction above but add a few drops of red food coloring to the melted beeswax and oil. Then pour into a small container and stir until the wax cools enough to hold the color. If desired move to a smaller container while mixture is still soft and before cooling is complete.
Blush and Foundation - For these items I made my own combination from these two tutorials. Homemade bronzer from Thank your body and DIY Homemade blush from One good thing. Once I had a color I liked I pressed the mixture in the bottle cap and let it dry out over night.
The mascara brush was cut from an old mascara bottle which is harder than you might think. Use wire cutters not scissors. Wrap a little tape or something else to make a better grip. Protect the brush end with a small piece of ball point pen tube left over from Mascara / Eyeliner bottle below.
First the "bottle" and then some thoughts on homemade mascara / eyeliner. Remove the ink portion from a ball point pen. Cut tube to fit in the tin with the cap on. Cover the holes in the cap with small piece of duct tape and your tiny container is ready.
Some thoughts on home made mascara. First I tried this tutorial. It was weird because the aloe vera gel doesn't stay mixed in, but I was experimenting so I use the goop that was left and it didn't really stick to my lashes which was disappointing.
Then I tried this tutorial. It was better. This mixture actually put some color on my lashes but it didn't do much to thicken my lashes and it didn't stay on very well. So I thought what the heck and I mixed the two concoctions together in a 50 50ish manner. There was some improvement but still no real thickening of the lashes.
So I did a little research on mascara which some how lead me to try this. Starting with a clean mascara brush I applied my lip balm (love that stuff even more now) to my eyelashes and then I applied the mixture of the two mascara recipes to my eyelashes and it was remarkable how much fuller (thicker) my lashes were after the lip bam under coat. It still doesn't wear quite as well as my store bought mascara but it is a huge improvement.
As far as the eyeliner goes my mixture of two mascara's seems to work quite well.
So while I am not quite ready to move into a tiny home at least I know I have some make-up that will fit in it. :-)
Actually I made it as a travel kit.
If you have been following this blog for a while you may be aware that I broke my foot last August and was non weight bearing for 2 and a half months. One of the consequences of being fairly immobile, is sadly, in my case anyway, weight gain. I am happy to report that I have lost 8 pounds by just being ambulatory again but that leaves me with several pounds to go. As it is the beginning of a new year it seems appropriate to set some personal goals, but so far in my life I have made a pitiful showing of keeping my weight loss goal every new year. The problem is the consistency factor. It isn't about finding something that works, it is about finding something that works for you. Or in my case me. And for me that means sometihng that I don't have to think too much about, put too much energy toward and most of all it better not make me hungry. :-)
At any rate my only resolution at this point is to keep periodically posting on my progress here. Sorry if that is super uninteresting to you folks but I am hoping it will help keep me a little more accountable.
But lets get on with today's project.
It all started with this watch bracelet that I made a couple of years ago. I have had a lot of folks comment on it when I wear it so I thought that I would make a few more to give as gifts and sell in my Etsy shop and Ebay store. But if you are here I know you want to know how to make your own. So scroll down to the bottom for the video tutorial.
I don't know about you but I am a day planner person and a list maker. So every December I buy or make myself a new day planner. There is something wonderful about all of the dated empty pages and the promise of days to be filled with both routine and unexpected activities. I don't know if I would say that I am big on making New Years Resolutions but as I thumb through the pages of my empty day planner I do like to think about the things I would like to accomplish in the coming year.
Following are my goals for upcycling and this blog for 2015. I share them here in the hope of being made more accountable. It is a short list in order of difficulty. In all honesty the last two scare me a little.
1) To reorganize my blog to make the content easier to access.
2) To continue to post new projects every Friday.
3) To participate in two Recycling Craft Shows (Pallet Fest in Denver CO August and Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival in November)
4) To design and write a rough draft of a Recycle / Upcycle T-shirt Book.
I do hope you all had a lovely holiday season. The hubby and I attended a murder mystery party on New Years Eve which gave us the chance to use these masks that I made a couple of years ago.
Here is the video tutorial.
Wishing you a happy and healty
We were meeting some friends for dinner when there was unexpectedly a third couple whom we had never met invited to join us. I was informed just prior to the official introductions that this new couple was quite well off. The husband hand inherited a family business and they were quote unquote "well to do."
So of course when asked by the wife "What do you do?" I completely froze. In some previous private moment I had determined to describe my profession as a crafter, blogger, ebay seller, waitress, but faced with these real life muckity mucks I buckled under the weight of my ridicules and shameful, made up job description and resorted to the non answer of "well I don't do anything because I recently broke my foot and........awkward silence... pause......and then the blessed subject change.
I am 51 and I should be mature enough to own up to my life and the way I live it but I am still not always able to be openly and authentically me. I joke that I will some day have purple hair and not care a wink what other people think but perhaps I will never really be that eccentric. Which is why later that night I stealth-fully tucked my drinking straws away in my purse careful not to draw any attention to my strange behavior. Just what kind of crazy would it make me if I were caught stuffing the trash from the table into my purse? Imagine the awkward silence that followed my non answer to what do you do, and quadruple it with stupefied looks as I announce that I need the straws for a dress I am making. (see dress here)
I could be wrong but something makes me think that folks that drive BMW's, live in big fancy houses and travel the world might not understand my propensity for playing with trash. Of course I don't know anything about these new people, the house they live in or where they have traveled. I just made certain assumptions about them based on the little information I had been given. It is actually possible that they would have been interested to hear about my dress made from trash. I guess I will never know.
I am happy to let you know that since that evening I have been able to unashamedly ask my friends to save their straws for me because I needed them for a dress. Most of them complied without even giving me any weird looks. I am also planning to bestow on some of my girlfriends, my little made from trash gift baskets as Christmas gifts. I guess it is time to let a little more of my closeted blogging and crafting life out into the real world, especially if this is true......
My Trashy Christmas Tree and Upcycled Wine Cork Ornament DIY
I guess the idea to decorate my Christmas tree with trash started as a challenge to see if I could come up with anything remotely attractive. It ended with the added benefit of being a cat friendly tree. I haven't put up a tree for the last several years mainly because of our feline house mates. But this year none of the made from trash ornaments are breakable and therefore they are quite safe and double as great cat toys.
Here is the re-cap of my "Trashy Tree"
6) And today's project painted wine cork ornaments.
To make cork ornaments
Step 1 - Cut corks into slices (I cut mine into four sections)
Step 2 - Use E6000 glue to make desired shape
Step 3 - Paint and embellish as desired
Step 4 - Screw eye bolt into the top of ornament and hang
Last weekend my sister and I participated in the Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival. It turned out to be a wonderful experience and I am hoping I can tag along again next year.
On the first night of the event they sponsor a trash fashion show. I was excited about the prospect of making a dress out of trash and worked on my design diligently for weeks before the event. It was fun to meet the other designers and chat back stage but I was pretty nervous about the runway walk. Somehow I managed it, but I am not going to go so far as to say it was fun. At 51 and many pounds over weight it wasn't the best time to make my runway debut but at least I can say I have done it now. :-)
Here I am back stage. I made my dress from a torn garment bag, dryer sheets and many many drinking straws.
I used many dryer sheet sewn together and layered for the top of the dress, the garment bag had a zipper that I just left in and it fit me for the skirt. The cat was the funest part as it is made from straws cut into "beads" and then sewn on. Here is a picture of the artwork in progress.
Here is the first place winner. Her amazing dress was made from New Mexico license plates and old movie banners.
Second place was this lovely gown made from leftover pool covering.
My sister made this dress out of her fused plastic trash bags. It was worn by the lovely coordinator of the show Sarah. My sister had to man her booth during the show so she wasn't able to wear her own dress. I am not going to lie. I wish I had some lovely young woman wear my dress. (Note to self for next year :-)
There was so much creativity there it was pretty amazing and a times a little overwhelming.
I believe that there were 80+ vendors at the show which is a lot considering that everything is made from recycled materials.
There were a lot of vendors selling metal sculptures and lamps and lots of jewelry vendors. Some of my favorites were.
Leftovers - This artist makes lovely solar powered art lamps.
Candelaria's Art - Art made from metal cast-offs.
Screen Door Studios - Wearable recycled art.
Joseph and Bridget Farmer - Whimsical metal art sculptures.
And of course my sisters booth.
HFR Designs - Handbags, Totes and Accessories made from post consumer plastic bags.
That's all for now. To tell the truth I think I am still worn out from all the activity.
Anatomy of a trash fashion dress.
Hi all I am posting a day early this week, because tomorrow morning I am heading to the Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival with my sister. It should be a fun trip and I am hoping to get lots of inspiration. I will be posting some pictures of the show on my FB page if you want to follow along.
Last week I wrote about recognizing joy in my life and I am happy to report that I have in fact located it sprinkled here and there through out my days. One of my recent examples is this.........
Drum roll please.
You may be thinking what on earth are social media button sets? Or if you already know what they are you may be thinking that is a crazy thing to be joyful about.
All I can say is that I felt and still feel pretty joyful about the fact that I was able to design them and code them as clickable links for my blog. If you are still wondering what I earth I am taking about you will find this little set of buttons on the side bar at the top of my blog.
I am in the middle of reorganizing a few things on my blog and the main thing about these little buttons is that they save space. So over the next few weeks I hope to get rid of the duplicate links at the the top of my page and insert more useful navagation information.
But let's get on with the crafting and upcycling.
Upcycled Tin Can Christmas Nesting Dolls
Today's project is perfect to make with your kids. When you are finished you will have 4 cute little nesting dolls, Santa, Mrs Claus, A reindeer and and elf.
Supplies you will need
Printer and printer paper
Free Template below
4 Cotton Balls
1 Empty 24oz can
1 Empty 15oz can
1 Empty 10oz can
1 Empty 6oz can
Safety can opener
Step 1 - Cook some tasty dinners, wash, remove labels and save your empty cans. Be sure to use the safety can opener that allows you to put the can lid back on top of the can.
Step 2 - Print out the templates below.
Step 3 - Carefully cut out template pieces and assemble according to template instructions.
Step 4 - To finish Santa Hat unroll one cotton ball almost to the end. Cut off small end piece and glue to tip of hat. Gently pull on the remaining piece of cotton until it reaches around the bottom of the hat. Attach with glue. Make two folds in hat and glue to 24oz can lid.
Step 5 - To finish Mrs. Claus. Glue one cotton ball to center of 15oz can lid. Take a second cotton ball and gently pull it into a circular shape to cover the entire lid of the can. Secure it in place with glue. Glue one more cotton ball on top to make a hair bun.
Step 6 - To finish Reindeer. Glue circular cut out to top of 10 oz can lid. Attach the antlers so that they will lay down inside the can lid when the cans are nested.
Step 7 - To finish the Elf. Do not attach the elf's hat to the 6oz can lid as it fits inside the can when the dolls are nested.
As Christmas approaches I find myself pondering the word Joy and what it means to me. I hope this doesn't sound depressing but I would not describe my life as joyful. I would say that I have lived a mostly happy life but there is something that keeps me from defining my happy feelings as joy.
Maybe some folks think that the two words are so close in meaning and therefore they are interchangeable. But I think most people would agree that joy is more like happiness super sized.
So why don't I use the word joy to describe things in my life? I think part of it is awareness, part of it is laziness and part of it is choice. The awareness part, for the time being isn't an issue, as I am currently writing about the differences between the two words. Tomorrow who knows. :-)
It might not be exactly fair to call the second part laziness but in our human effort to simplify our lives how many emotions do we really allow ourselves to process on a regular basis? Happy? Sad? Mad? Frustrated? Comfortable? Fearful? Content? Hopeful? Envious? Those nine words cover most of my emotional experiences.
Our abbreviated list of emotions may make it easier to figure out how we are feeling, but this short list also commits us to a life of emotional confinement. What about feeling serene, or wonder or amazement. How about being engrossed, energized, blissful or joyful?
Which brings us to the third part, that it is a choice. If we are aware that we can feel happy or joyful and we are willing to work at defining the difference in our own lives then we can choose between the two words and therefore broaden our experiences on this earth. I wrote in a previous post about being enchanted. It is a lovely but under used word in our society like so many others. For example, when is the last time you asked someone how they were feeling and they said, "Captivated."
So this holiday season, when the word joy is tossed around more readily than the rest of the year, I will make a concentrated effort to use this term and to notice it's subtle difference from it's little sister happiness. Even if I am only reminded to think about it when I am eating my super sized French fries. Which if you read my last post you know I am not allowed to have anymore. :-)
Upcycled Tuna Tin Gift "Baskets"
I am trying to get a jump on some Christmas gifts this year. So I made these little gift tins for some of my girlfriends. They are made from some empty tuna cans. I don't really have a tutorial but the first thing you need is a special can opener that cuts around the outside lip of the can instead of the top. This allows you to put the lid back on. They are called safety or smooth cut can openers and they aren't much more expensive than regular can openers.
I made the earrings from some junk mail paper beads and the lip balm from beeswax and almond oil. There are lots of tutorials out there if you are interested in making your own. The tins are stuffed with confetti book paper. I am estimating the cost at around two dollars since I already had everything on hand but really that might be high.
The tins were the most fun. I tried to use some standard things (book paper and red cording) to cover them, as well as some experimental things (egg shells and coffee grounds.) It was a fun little experiment.
Decorative Tin 1
Supplies used - Red cording, Wooden drawer pull, E6000 glue, Red fingernail polish
Technique - Attach the drawer pull to the tin lid with E6000 glue. Start on the bottom of the can. Use E6000 glue to adhere the cording to the can. Use E6000 glue to adhere cording to the lid
Decorative Tin 2
Supplies used - Coffee dyed book paper. White glue, Wooden drawer pull, minwax polycrylic clear gloss, gold and black acrylic paint.
Technique - Attach the drawer pull to the tin lid with E6000 glue. Use white glue to decoupage book paper to can and can lid. Paint with desired decoration. Finish with top coat of polycrylic.
Decorative Tin 3
Supplies used - Wood glue, white glue, used and dried coffee grounds, red fingernail polish, minwax polycrylic clear gloss.
Technique - Attach the drawer pull to the tin lid with E6000 glue. Paint handle and bottom of tin with fingernail polish. Coat sides and top of tin with wood glue. Sprinkle coffee grounds over glue areas and allow to dry. Brush a coat of white glue over the coffee grounds allow to dry. Finish with top coat of polycrylic
Decorative Tin 4
Supplies used - Black straws small and large, E6000 glue, empty spool, silver button, needle nose pliers, candle, black and silver paint.
Technique - Attach empty spool to the tin lid with E6000 glue. Paint bottom of can black and allow to dry. Cut small straws to the height of the can. Glue straws around can with E6000 glue. Cut larger straws to fit the distance between the spool and the lip of the lid. Use the needle nose pliers and candle to fuse one end of the straw. Fuse the opposite end in the sour cream shape. Glue cut and fused straws to the lid with the wide side out and the narrow side in. Finish the spool handle with some silver paint and glue silver button to top.
Decorative Tin 5
Supplies used - E6000 glue, eggshells, bottle cap, wine cork, hot glue gun, minwax polycrylic clear gloss.
Technique - Attach the handle to tin lid with E6000 glue. I used a bottle cap, a wine cork and the hot glue for my handle. Working in small patches glue eggshell to side and top of tin using E6000 glue. Crushing the egg shells on to the can until covered. Finish with top coat of polycrlyic
Decorative Tin 6
Supplies used - E6000 glue, small sticks, needle nose pliers
Technique - Attach the handle to tin lid with E6000 glue. Use pliers to cut / brake sticks to desired length. Attach to side and top of tin with E6000 glue.
I don't know if I will have time but I also want to try making a tin with bottle caps and bottle tabs, spaghetti noodles and maybe even pine needles.
It's not something I am proud of, I was actually caviler enough to joke about it. Before it happened of course. Now it is no laughing matter. But one of the cold hard facts of being pretty immobile for several months,
"Oh dear god is she going to mention that stupid broken foot thing again?"
"Yes. I am afraid she is."
I am sorry. Where was I? Ah yes, I was saying that one of the cold hard facts about being immobile for several months is...........
If you read my Chip Bag Christmas Decorations Post, (the irony of that title now seems a bit too obvious) you may have noticed the first image. That is actually me hiking Longs Peak only last year. I am currently and officially plus 20 pounds from the woman who was able to hike for 19 hours and reach the summit of one of Colorado's most spectacular 14er's. And to be completely honest at that time I was carrying an extra 10 pounds from the weight that I have been most of my adult life. A weight that I always thought was too high.
As I write this I have no idea how it will go. I have lost weight in my life but never very successfully when I was trying. My successes in weight loss have been mostly due to drastic life changes ie: divorce, career change.
Still I am hopeful that I will have some success. And for this moment at least I am at peace with the situation. It will be a long road back to fit-ish but I truly hope that I have more 14er's ahead of me and I know my healing foot, and the rest of my joints for that matter, would appreciate it if there were less of me to haul up to the mountain top.
Of course as luck would have it we are heading into the eating time of year. I guess fortunately for me, I would rather craft than make cookies. :-)
Upcycled Plastic Bag Christmas Decorations
I know that some folks think plastic bags should be outlawed but I think of them as crafting supplies so they are never single use to me. If you missed my post about the amazing things my sister can do with plastic bags you can see a short video here.
I seem to have gone straight from Halloween to Christmas mode. Sorry Thanksgiving I am looking forward to your turkey and cranberry sauce (more than I should be no doubt) but I don't see any crafty inspiration for you this year.
So here is what I have been up to with some of my plastic bags.
You have probably seen these plastic bag wreaths before. I made mine a mini version. The ring part is made from a plastic Folgers coffee can lid. Then I decorated it with a pine cone, some pine needles, fountain grass and an upcycled chip bag christmas ball.
These grocery bag pom pom balls are really simple to make. I think they will make lovely Christmas tree ball decorations. I used one grocery bag per pom pom and a 2 inch wide ruler to wrap the plarn around. Don't know what plarn is? Well it is plastic yarn of course. There are a couple of different ways to cut plarn. Here is the method I used to quickly cut a plastic bag into plarn.
For my last project, I confess that I stole some of my sister fused plastic. I found some patterns on line and then just stitched a couple of layers together to make these little ornaments. You could also use the fused plastic like craft foam and glue some embellishments on for decoration instead of the stitching.
When you think about the differences between adulthood and childhood the most common things that come to mind might be, maturity vs. immaturity, wisdom vs. naïveté, responsible vs. carefree.
But it occurs to me now that one of the biggest differences between children and adults might be their ability to move out of their comfort zones. For children, so many experiences are new and different. The start of every new school year brings adjustments. Often they don't get to choose many of their new experiences. Swimming lessons come to mind from my childhood. Even their clothing and I dare say their own skin isn't comfortable for any length of time. This seasons favorite pants are next seasons hand me downs. And yet for all the constant readjustments children fare pretty well through the endless flow of change to uncharted and uncomfortable new places. Are they better at it because they are young and more resilient or simply because they do it so much?
I don't know exactly what happens as we become adults but part of it is the application of caution. A worthy skill to have. But, in my case I could stand to focus a little less on the what could go wrong scenarios and think about what could go right a little more often.. I like being comfortable and feeling safe. But I also know the quote above is true. I have on occasion experienced the exhilaration of stepping outside of my comfort zone. I wrote about one such occasion here.
So here is to trying something new. Venturing out into uncharted waters or whatever you wish to call it. Last week I posted a video of myself. I was a little nervous and uncomfortable. But remarkably I survived the experience and now it seems easier. I will probably make my next video without feeling nearly so far out of my comfort zone. I know that is how it works. The minute you do a thing you are uncomforatble with, you become more comforatble with it. Yet I still have difficulty leaving my comfy space.
Case in point below.
Upcycled Fused Plastic Coin Purses
I have been helping my sister with her business the last couple of weeks by sewing some small coin purses for her. She makes purses and bags from recycled / upcycled plastic. She creates the "fabric" for all her designs mostly from single use plastic bags. Here are just a few of the recent materials she has made.
She does it useing this simple process of fusing but the designs she comes up with are really an art form all of their own. I made this video for her a while back which gives a brief overview of her range of talent. Now I know I might be biased but check it out and see if you don't agree.
Here are a few of the coins purses that I sewed for her.
We are getting ready for a big recycling / upcycling show in Santa Fe at the beginning of December. I say we because I get to go along for the ride. :-)
My sister has sold her designs at a lot of different shows over the last few years but I have never participated in a show before. Of course I am not really participating in this one either but I will be sitting on a side of the table that I have not been on before.
I have always told myself that one of the big reasons I have never participated in a craft show is because I never have enough of anything to sell. While this is true, it is only part of the reason, the rest is fear of rejection. I don't want to see face to face what people think of my work. I like to share it, but the buffer of the internet is comfortable and safe for me. Perhaps someday I will brake out of this comfort zone.
There is always more work to do, isn't there? :-)
I also made some promo bracelets for my sister from some of the scraps.