Penny Project Update

As we were writing our book, Recycled Crafts, there was a project we coined “The Penny Project”.  I knew wouldn’t be *completely* finished in time for the book release, but that was alright. Instructions for making “Penny letters” was complete, and up to the reader to decide what comes next. Here’s the expert from the book on the penny project….

 Step 3 – Attach Pennies

We used sparkle Mod Podge, so that it would add a bit more bling to the letters. It acted like a sealer and glue for the pennies.

Here’s the finished letters: Penny Letters

This project is far from finished, as we plan to make a large sign for the living room. However, we hope this tutorial gives you an idea or two on phrases for your wall, using cardboard as a background.

(Exert from Recycled Crafts: Crafts Made from Recycled Items)

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Repurposing Household Items: Recycled Crafts (Kindle)

The day has finally come! Recycled Crafts is now available on Kindle….
Recycled Crafts

 

Tackling projects with the “reuse, reduce, recycle” motto in mind, this book features basic step-by-step instruction using common recyclable items as the “canvas” for simple craft projects. 16 core ideas and instructions serve as the platform for hundreds of crafts and activities. Projects are family friendly, encouraging creativity and individuality in a group setting. Great book for families crafting looking for earth-friendly crafting projects on a budget.

———> CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD <———

Suggestions? Comments? Additions for the next version? ALL reviews will be taken into consideration for updates and future projects, so be sure to “rate and review” after you’ve finished, either here or on Amazon.

4th of July Decorations from Recycled Water Bottles

Over the last few years, we’ve made it a point to reuse and repurpose recycled materials.  Containers, bottles, and cans all make for fantastic craft projects. Making fun projects for the 4th of July only seemed natural. This is a GREAT idea for parties, especially because you make containers for functional party uses PLUS decoration at the same time……

Set of recycled water bottles in red, white, and blue.

Set of recycled water bottles in red, white, and blue.

—-> See Tutorial for Water Bottle Flowers to learn how to make these! <—-

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Recycled Water Bottle Flowers

Recycled Crafts: Water Bottle FlowersWhile I don’t like destroying the earth with my plastic water bottles, I seem to be addicted to them. Thus why when I saw this idea a few years ago, I completely fell in love.

The original video used spray paint, which in it’s way looks beautiful. Since painting is one of my favorite “lazy” activities, painting bottles with acrylic paint has been a normal monthly activity for the past two years. In fact, the family made a Poinsettia chain for a Christmas present to my step mother. She loved it, especially because it was homemade.  We have used variations of flowers by using different water bottles, cutting patterns, and colors.

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Recycled Blue Jeans Project: Cat Toy

Toy Mouse Tutorial

The best part about this project is it uses all scrap materials or recycled blue jeans. Personally, I like using recycled jeans because the cats can’t tear them up nearly as fast as other weaker fabrics. We have a few in perfect condition floating around the house, and some with just normal kitty ware-and-tear. Out of all the cat toys we’ve made over the years, I’m pretty sure only one or two became subject to total destruction.

This summer, my daughter and I are planning to create a Kindle book together. I figured this would be a fabulous “bonding” activity for us to do, plus help her earn some money while she’s away at camp. One of the projects to be included is the blue jean cat toys we have made for our cats in the past.

Please note that I really dislike sewing machines, so this tutorial involves all hand sewing. If you prefer to use a machine, I’m sure it is possible. However, with the tiny stitches and pieces involved, I do recommend it be hand stitched, at least in some places.

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Repurposing T-Shirts

Once upon a time, there was a girl who had tons of ideas. She loved to make unique items, and come up with business plans. Sadly, though, this girl had little time or motivation to actually carry out most of the ventures, and thus was left with a virtual mess of blogs, websites, and profiles.

Sound familiar at all? Yup, that’s me. The “Idea Queen” who still has yet to find her kingdom to rule, or what she plans to be when she grows up. With Pinterest now a fabulous distraction, I’ve given up any hope that I will EVER stick with just one project at a time.

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Recycling Clothing

Did you know the average American throws out 68 pounds of clothing per year?

Recently I took a class in Global Change, and the emphasis was on how much we pollute our Earth. This sparked me to look up that scary titbit of info mentioned. How wasteful we are!

Since I have a passion for sewing and ability to wear out blue jeans, the only natural thing to do was “Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle”.

It started with the discovery of my worn-out favorite jeans. Wanting to keep them in my clutches forever, I decided to make a blue jean purse out of them. It got my creative juices flowing and I couldn’t wait to make more of them. I began digging for other jeans once deemed “favorite” long ago worn out, and found quite a few. Fabric at Joanne’s started jumping out at me too, as “perfect” for a jean purse.

It wouldn’t be long before other projects and ideas would come to mind. For example, over the summer we adopted a new kitten, so naturally he needed a few toys. A quick scan of the cat toy aisle in various stores had me saying “I could make that”, or at the very least, something like it. I’ve always done better creating my own patterns and instructions (I don’t do well following orders!), so I made one for a cat nip mouse. Planing every detail of the toy was so much fun! My creativity jumped several notches after a trip to Hobby Lobby in search of cat-toy parts.

El Senior Mousey

A few useful items had to be worked in, such as my daughter’s lunch bag and a organizer made of scraps (still being completed, piece by piece!). After finding a fantastical fuzzy fabric at Joann’s, I got carried away making pillows for anyone that wanted them.

While my hobby will never be more than just that, I can at least feel good about saving money and taking pride in items I make myself. Isn’t that kind of the point? I do hope you’ve gotten a few ideas on ways to recycle clothing and a jump start on your current projects. Please feel free to share! I’m always curious to see what others are making themselves. 🙂

Sewing Jean Purses – Blue Jeans Recycling

A few years back, I became flat-out too busy to sew. Plus I never did get the hang of using a sewing machine (didn’t help my only two sewing machines are older than I am!), and my attempts at clothing weren’t so great.

But a few weeks ago I was cleaning closets and sorting clothes, when I came across an old pair of jeans I deemed my favorite ever. Sadly, they are torn to the point they just aren’t wearable anymore. I’ve never been able to find a suitable replacement for them, so for the last several years I’ve hung on to them for some unknown reason. I’m so glad I did. Since these were my favorite jeans, I decided to give them a second life by making a purse.

I made one long ago for my mom, which she used for years and got a ton of compliments on. I figured it was time to make myself one, especially since I’ve been on the hunt for a perfect purse to fit my netbook.

I started by cutting the legs off the jeans like so:

Now you can see, I don’t cut as straight as I could. The jeans were torn in weird places, too, so this was about as good as I can do.

Next, I cut a piece of fabric that will be used as the lining. Again, I did the best I could cutting it, even though the jeans were an odd shape….

The fabric my daughter found at Wal-Mart one day, with a request for a pillow, that I figured I’d get to someday. She’s a little mad I made my purse out of it first instead of her pillow, but I’ll make up for it soon (more on that project in a bit).

Very carefully I folded the edges back and pinned them to the inside of the purse. Then I sewed the fabric to the jeans by hand, followed by the edges. For a strap, I used a piece of the legs from the jeans. I still have a few embellishments left to do, but here’s the mostly finished purse…

These are so super easy, it makes me want to make more. We have no shortage of worn jeans around here what with two kids, that’s for sure, so why not make something useful with them?

This project has made me want to sew more, too, and I’ve come to realize there is nothing wrong with hand-sewing everything. It gives me a greater sense of accomplishment when I don’t use a sewing machine, and I don’t have to fight when the machine gets jammed. Also, my significant other and I have a new habit of watching instant-play TV shows on Netflix in the evening, so I’ve got the perfect time to sit and sew.

Right now I’m working on a pillow-case of sorts, made using the zipper bag a new pillow came in. Next up will be a few pillows made with regular cotton prints (including the fabric I made the purse with) and really cool fuzzy and snuggly black fabric I found at Joann’s over the weekend.

I absolutely love Joann’s, and it’s a miracle I made it out of there only spending $25. The upside was we got a yard of the expensive-ish black fabric, and a yard each of 4 cotton flannel prints for a blanket my daughter requested. That’s less per yard than we spent at Wal-Mart, and most likely better quality. Hurray Joann’s!

What projects are you working on? What else have you made with old blue jeans?