Friday Favorites–Recycling and Repurposing

I’m never quite sure what to say about Earth Day.  It feels similar to what we all tell our children when they ask why there’s no Kids’ Day.  Say it with me – every day is Kids’ Day.  Isn’t every day Earth Day?  Do you only recycle on April 22nd?  Probably not, and I found a bunch of creative people who do it year-round too.

I just bought some shrinkable plastic sheets to play with.  I wish I would have found these DIY Shrinky Dinks from Curbly first.

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If someone comes up with some creative way this thing will water itself (I’m sure it’s out there) I’ll be all over this Vertical Vegetable Garden from Instructables user pippa5, because I’m pretty sure I have this shoe organizer somewhere.

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I’m sure if you’ve even dipped your foot into Pinterest, you’ve experienced the frustration of trying to track down the original source of a pin.  I saw this photo and loved it, but finding where it came from took a LONG time.  Turns out, it’s an entry in a photo contest on Dave’s Garden.  The photo, taken by Elfishone, is lovely and the idea is a brilliant way to reuse an old purse.

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Who hasn’t found themselves with old, empty DVD cases and wondered how they could be repurposed?  This DVD Coloring Case from Handmade by Stacy Vaughn is the perfect answer.

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I’m not sure how difficult it would be to find the hardware for this Book Page Bracelet from Happy Hour Projects, but I think it’s definitely worth looking.

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Start collecting those pop tops, because you’ll need a lot of them to make this Pop Top Lamp Shade from Make.

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This Buckle Up Key Holder from Uncommon Goods is a ready-made item, but with a little ingenuity and access to an old seatbelt, I’m sure you crafters out there could make one. 

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Something about this Corner Door Shelf from Craftaholics Anonymous feels like Alice in Wonderland.

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This braided belt from Instructables user hammer9876 uses ties from yoga pants, but the possibilities for reusing other string-shaped items are endless.

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I’m going to start stashing away colorful magazine pages so I can make these gift bows from How About Orange.  As if I need another excuse.

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Friday Favorites–Earth Day

I had grand intentions this week.  I have a pair of jeans with a broken zipper that I was going to use to create some sort of Easter basket/container, covering my Easter and Earth Day projects in one fell swoop.  Didn’t happen.  Honestly, there was just too much going on this week.  But it’s Friday, so instead I’m going to let you in on some great recycling projects other people have done.  Don’t worry – that denim thing will turn up here at some point.

I’ve been seeing these homemade play kitchens for a while and every one of them is more clever than the last.  They are usually made from a piece of old furniture, like a night stand.  The details on this version from My Little Gems really put it over the top.

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I don’t think it would be especially difficult to get a kid to empty a candy bag for me so I could make this Sweet Tooth Pouch from Punkin Patterns.

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And I think there’s someone else in the house willing to empty the dog food bag for the Upcycled Garden Tote from Garden of Eden Goods.

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I really like this Braided T-Shirt Yarn Headwrap from Sew Homegrown, but I also think it would make a great belt.

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I’ve worried that bags made from old t-shirts might stretch and sag, but I think She Wears Flowers has solved the problem by lining hers.

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We have loads of Pez dispensers floating around this house.  I seriously love this Toy Story Wall Art by Under the Table and Dreaming and might have to make one for myself.

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This Ribbon Sling Bag by My Recycled Bags is an ingenious use of old store shopping bags.

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Primitive Living Skills shows you how to make your own Tire Sandals.

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This Treasure Chest Gift Box, made from recycled plastic containers, by Creative Jewish Mom is a present all by itself.

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This is one of the most unique recycling projects I’ve seen.  UrbanWoodsWalker on Our Everyday Earth made this plastic coat by fusing plastic shopping bags together with an iron and using it as fabric.  Pretty amazing!

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Happy Earth Day…now go recycle something!

Creamer Bottle Snowman

I couldn’t let Christmas go by without sharing this tutorial with you because it has special meaning to me.  This little guy is the project that planted the seed for this blog years ago.

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I’m a complete and total coffee addict.  Coffee house lattes are my favorite, but when I’m at home it’s vanilla flavored coffee with vanilla creamer.  I kept looking at the creamer bottles and thinking how easy they would be to make into a snowman.  I know there are others out there now, but at the time I hadn’t seen any.

Finally, I saved bottles until I had enough for friends and family.  I came up with a powdered drink recipe and the snowman army was born.   After I made them, I thought it would be nice if I could share how I did it with other crafty people.  And then I let that thought go.

Here I am, several years and creamer bottles later, with a tutorial to show you how they’re made.  I feel like I just completed some sort of loop.

You will need:

an empty 32 ounce liquid creamer bottle

5” by 1 1/2” flannel (cotton will work too)

18” by 1 1/2” flannel (again, cotton is ok)

12” by 4” felt

8” by 1 1/2” felt

18” of wire

embellishments (buttons, felt scraps, etc.)

Print the pattern here.  If you have the capability, you’ll want to print it borderless because it barely fits on a piece of paper.  Cut the larger piece for the vest from the 12” piece of felt.  Cut out 4 of the mittens from the smaller piece of felt.  You can also cut little squares for embellishing the mittens from a contrasting color of felt.

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Wrap the vest tightly around the empty creamer bottle.  Glue the edge down to the vest in the front using a hot glue gun.

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Using a pencil or pen, mark a dot on each side for the arms.  Slide the vest off the top of the bottle.  Using a toothpick, poke a hole on each side at the mark.  Feed the end of the wire out each hole, bending it slightly so it conforms to the back of the vest.

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Slide the vest back onto the bottle.  Glue the edges down using tacky glue.  Secure with a rubber band until it’s dry.  I used hot glue, but I don’t necessarily recommend that.  You have to be very careful not to melt your bottle and the edge doesn’t end up looking as neat.

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If you’re adding the contrasting piece, sew them on with embroidery floss before sewing the two mitten pieces together.  Stitch two mittens together using a blanket or straight stitch.  Repeat with the other set of mittens.

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Curl the wire around a pencil, leaving about an inch at the end straight.

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Squirt some hot glue into the bottom of the mitten and, working quickly, slide the wire in between the two pieces of felt.  If you’re me, carefully pry the finger loose that you glued to the back of the mitten.

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Fringe both short ends about 1” up on the 18” piece of flannel.  Tie it around the snowman’s neck, pushing the knot to one side.

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Fold the 5” piece of flannel in half lengthwise.  Press.  Fringe, clipping close to, but not through the fold.

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Unfold.  Roll up from one end, wrong side in.

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Hot glue to the top of the bottle with the edge in the glue.  After the glue is cool, fluff.

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Glue a button or other embellishment onto the vest on the side opposite the scarf.

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Let me apologize for his nose.  I know, it’s cute.  It’s a carrot button I’ve had for a thousand or so years.  I don’t know if you can still get them.  A piece of orange felt cut into a carrot shape would be a good substitute.  You could even add a little black stitching.

For his eyes, I used a Sharpie.  You could also paint them on or glue on a little button.  When I made these the first time, I used fabric puffy paint.  It gave them nice shine and dimension.

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Somewhere in the years since I first made these, they changed the bottles from white to clear.  I hadn’t even realized it until I washed a bottle to make this one.  I have an easy solution to that though.  Here’s the recipe for the drink mix I put in mine.

Cinnamon Vanilla Warmer Mix

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cup powdered vanilla flavored coffee creamer

1 1/2 cup dry milk

6 tablespoons cinnamon imperials (known as red hots around here)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Add 3 tablespoons of mix to a mug of boiling water.

This recipe will fill the snowman with some left over.  I will warn you, when you add it to the hot water, it turns pink.  Tasty, but definitely pink.

The smaller snowman shown here is a stripped-down, quick version, using a smaller creamer bottle.  The buttons are glued on the front.  I now realize I forgot to fluff the pom-pom on the top of his hat. Don’t worry, I fixed it.

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It seems fitting that this would be my last tutorial before Christmas.  This chilly guy and I have come a long way together.

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