Monday, December 12, 2011

My Recycled Trivet Rug

If you are an avid reader, you may remember this post from over a year ago of a cool rug made from old trivets.  I've been collecting trivets at thrift stores and garage sales since then, and finally finished my own trivet rug!

 I incorporated a couple placemats and little coasters in there as well, which are made of the same material as the trivets.  I laid them out on the floor, then stitched them together with fishing line.  I was a little worried that these could scratch up the wood floor over time, so I glued a non-slip rug pad/mat thing on the back and then trimmed around the edges with a scissors.

It's not quite perfect but I still like it.  :-)  We'll see how it stands the test of time with two little boys and two big dogs!

 Speaking of dogs, here's Amos.  He thinks I should post about his awesome doggy self instead of that stupid rug.  He'll have to settle for a photo of himself AND the rug.  ;-)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ethnotek Bags: Celebrating and promoting world culture one bag at a time.

It's been far too long since I've posted again...sorry!  I'm being sucked into the Thanksgiving-Christmas-Kids'-Birthdays vortex that is fall & winter around here!  But, today's post is just in time if you are still looking for a fabulous Christmas gift for, well, anybody who is cool or wants to look cool...

It's about time I finally do a post on Ethnotek Bags, a company started by a fabulous fellow designer friend who served in our local chapter of IDSA (Industrial Designers' Society of America) with me years ago!  Ethnotek makes high-quality backpacks and messenger bags that incorporate hand-made ethnic textiles purchased directly from the artisans from around the globe. 

The main front panel of each bag (below) is removeable so that you can change and customize your bag on a whim.  Ethnotek calls these unique textile pieces "threads," and for just $29 you can support another artisan and swap out your thread, transforming your backpack or messenger bag into a whole new look. 

Check out the Ethnotek website , find them on Facebook, and be sure to check out their adventures on their blog!  It's really cool to watch their videos and see photos of their adventures as they scour the globe in search of awesome textiles! (And by the way, Jake, sorry it took me SO long to finally post your suh-weeeeet products!!)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Amazing recycled ball gowns

I know, it's been forever since I've posted!!  Life sure is getting busy these days!  I came across this blog post today and just had to share these ball gowns made from recycled materials.  Check out the link to see more.

Also, here are a few other posts you may enjoy from my other blog:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Junk Bonanza Vendor Spotlight: MakeShift Accessories

 Alright, I got a little bit of a late start this week but here's the first of a few Junk Bonanza vendor spotlights I promised!

Today's vendor spotlight is on artist Devin Johnson of Makeshift Accessories

Love the signage!

Devin Johnson, the creative engine behind MakeShift Accessories
 Devin turns a very interesting selection of recycled, antique, salvaged, and other found objects into real things of beauty...

I was really drawn to his amazing metal cuffs, which showcase some unique illustrations and typography from various found metal objects:

As an industrial and graphic designer who has both engineered things and illustrated their components and use instructions, these really caught my eye, especially this one above with assembly instructions.  

 These are just way cool...are they gears?  They seem too pretty to be!

Cool money clip embellished with a key...I love the little exposed hardware details.

Rings...super cool...

Colorful array of rings made from street signs!
Cuffs made from street signs...check out the reflecting flash! I think I need some of these, you know, for safety reasons while walking out at night.  Yeah, that's it...good justification!!

Devin makes some awesome leather cuffs too.  I have a thing for keys!

Sweet curly fork and leather cuff
Devin gets the bragging rights of being the one and only vendor at the Junk Bonanza to have inspired me to whip out my wallet and buy something! :-)

Here's the little beauty I picked up at this year's Junk Bonanza from MakeShift Accessories:

Isn't it cool?!  It was the last blue one left...and according to Devin, it is made from an antique metal ruler from Italy, and he hasn't been able to find anymore since.

He had a bunch of silver rulers with black letters, but this one jumped out at me for the contrast.  Some upcycled objects I love for how subtle they are about what they're made of....this one I love for how much it screams "RULER!"  Plus it's one of those tools I use a lot as a designer so it was very "me."

So, be sure to stop on over to Devin's website, as well as his Etsy shop, and check out his Facebook Page!  Thanks for the awesome conversation piece, Devin!  :-)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Junk Bonanza 2011 - a sneak peek

Hey Twin Citians!  Did you know that the 2011 Junk Bonanza is going on as we speak in Shakopee, Minnesota? I didn't, at least not until yesterday when my mom, who saw news coverage of it, reminded me!  So, we made some last second plans, which were set in stone late last night, to attend this morning.

We came...we saw...we left just in time for my boys' naps.  (Which left us with maybe an hour or a little more of actually looking at stuff, after you subtract the time we spent letting them burn energy on the playground.)  But, I did manage to take lots of photos again this year and made my one purchase, which I'll share with you next week! 

In the meantime, here are a few photos to whet your appetites....

I love that this show not only sells really awesome upcycled items, but it also caters to people like me who are looking for interesting found objects to upcycle myself....

...all over the Junk Bonanza are bins and bins of little objects just begging to be used in some cool project...

...vintage and retro and antique, oh my!

Are 'ya drooling yet?  I always have to limit the amount of cash in my pocket at this because it doesn't last long. Next week I'll post some of the cool recycled and upcycled finds as well as my own personal purchase!  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What to Do with Doilies?

Woah, it's been a crazy busy summer and fall for my face painting business, so I blame that on my absence from blogging!  However, I recently got addicted to Pinterest and have found some really fun things.  This post is all Pinterest finds!

I bought a few a couple years back from a fund raiser for an animal rescue place...really beautiful hand made doilies for just $1 each.  Being a crocheter, I can really appreciate the work that goes into them. But, people just don't put them around their house much anymore.  So, what to do to bring 'em out of the attic and into the 21st century?  Here are some fun ideas!

Check out this gorgeous doily lamp!

This cute baby mobile uses paper doilies, although you could put some fabric stiffener in real doilies and make a better lasting one.

Another idea for paper doilies, unless you want to dye your real ones...but a fun idea for the fall season!

These luminaries are really pretty, and you can re-use some mason jars at the same time!

I always find these embroidery hoops at thrift's a great idea to pair them with doilies for some pretty wall art!

I think this table runner is a great way to showcase special doilies that may have been passed down or hand made from your grandparents or great grandparents!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Drop-Side Cribs: Immobilize? Repurpose? Recycle?

I held a garage sale last week, and two days before our sale, it was declared officially illegal to re-sell or even donate a drop-sided crib.  Of course, this being our "done having babies" sale, I had a nice drop-side crib all ready to sell.  It now leans against the side of our garage, awaiting it's fate.  Let's just say I'm glad I only paid $30 for it at a garage sale, so I'm not out much cash.

If you have a drop-sided crib that you'd like to keep using, you can get an immobilizer kit that does just that...immobilizes the sides, making it safe to keep using.  For cribs manufactured from 2000-2009, many manufacturers are offering these kits for free.  If your crib manufacturer is not on the list, you can purchase one online as well for $10.

However, if you're like me and you're done having babies (unless God has other plans), and can't sell your crib or donate it, what do you do with it? 

The first thoughts that came to my mind were to make some kind of giant tomato cage or trellis for vines. My husband's idea was to chop it to bits and roast marshmallows over it in one of our outdoor fire pits. My neighbor suggested I see if a local antique shop would like to use it to display antique dolls in.

I did a little web surfing and came across this great post at "Easy Frugal Living" full of ideas to repurpose old cribs into useful items like benches, photo display boards, and even wall art...

"Vintage No. 35" has a great idea to use the springs as a jewelry display stand:

"Upcycle" also posted many great ideas, including a really cool craft station, a cart, a work bench, and a hutch to name just a few...

You can Google "repurpose crib" and find many other great ideas out there, but these are the first few that caught my eye.  I'd love to hear your ideas if you can think of anything else...we really don't have room for our big, white, drop-side crib in our house but if I can find some cool way to re-use it before my hubby takes his chainsaw to it, it would make a fun tutorial post!!  ;-)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Recycled Planter Roundup!

What's greener than upcycling something? Why, planting something green IN that something, of course!!

It's that time of year when plants are springing up all over the place.  Well, we're lagging behind a bit here in MN after a winter of record breaking snowfall, but that makes us appreciate the greener things in life all the more. 

Since moving into our new home, which is landscaped with beautiful perennials everywhere I look, I have LOVED watching our new yard reveal itself.  I'm also excited to plant some stuff, now that our yard isn't all shade. With so much landscaping already done though, it's hard to find places to plant things. So, I have been inspiring myself with some fun recycled planter ideas online, as a way that I can still plant things elsewhere...on the deck, the patio, along the sidewalk, etc.  Here are a few fun recycled planter ideas that caught my eye! 

Check out this cool recycled barrel planter over at Design Sponge. Makes me wish I had a barrel to recycle!

Here's a cool little urban garden in London, where they've turned old 55 gallon drums and plywood into planters with built in seating.

Even old tires can be turned into pretty cool giant planters.

This recycled chandelier is just WAY too cool.  That's it...I'm putting old chandeliers on my garage sale and thrift store shopping list!!

How about an old book?  This is super cool.  I'm thinking, if you used a book about gardening, all the better.  I wonder if you couldn't stack several of these to make a larger "pot."  This would be such a neat gift for a teacher, or a housewarming gift for a book lover.

And, of course, I have to end with a link back to one of my old posts where I turned a bbq grill into a planter!

Happy [creative] planting! :-)
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What's going on in the world of Junk Mail Gems, along with other cool, hand-made "green" products, DIY projects, and more!