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One of the things I love about Etsy is always stumbling across great finds! While the weather is decidedly dreary at the moment, here are some things to brighten up what’s been a rather cloudy, blustery Friday:

1. Just came across this adorable green bow bag when I clicked onto a bag treasury. How perfect is this? It makes me want to actually get out of my PJ’s and go somewhere…almost 🙂

2. How about this gorgeous garden collage necklace? I love the way everything seems to come together even if it wasn’t initially made for that purpose. Upcycling rules!

3. Check out these sweetly upcycled ankle boots from DivineRagz. Off for a jaunt in the forest now, with that green bag!

4. Dandy up your patio with these mood-setting mason jar solar lights . Moonlight dinner on the patio anyone? If it ever stops raining that is…

5. Add some flutter to your step with these fun butterfly hairclips . In another life they were old magazines!

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Ok, ok…long hiatus from the blog, BUT, my dissertation is in!!!! And now I get to spend a bit more time on craftiness without feeling guilty. So, last time I left off with a post about wedding season, and I promise I have more to say, but for now I just want to share some of my favorite springtime Etsy picks because there is oh so much beautiful springtime craftiness going on.

(Pause typing for sweetly meowing kitten who needs some lap-time cuddles. Kitten on lap, resume typing :)).

So, here are a few of my recent favs:

1. These sweet crocheted wrist cuffs are just begging for a spring tea party or something equally romantic in the warmer weather!

2. This wonderful vintage garden frock would look lovely with the cuffs!

3. Make your rooms bloom with these daffodil light switch plates made from recycled plates. Cute!

4. Add some more wearable art with this reclaimed cotton peony brooch — I love peonies. And daffodils. And ranunculus. I suppose this list never ends really…

5. And finally, you can’t do without this Peter Rabbit purse ! It’s been upcycled from a vintage copy of Beatrix Potter’s classic tale. I adore this green cover 🙂

There are so many cool and crafty people out there making neat eco friendly things that I’d like to take some time to appreciate what they are doing to make the world a little greener. Here are a few of my favorite picks for the month of February:

Check out these adorable clutches from Elegant Green — a mother-daughter team that uses upcycled fabrics like old blouses and pillow shams to make their wares. Cute!!

Or how about these awesome bottle glasses made by bottle crop. In an earlier life they were blue sky vodka bottles, and now they are totally cool kitchenware for you!

Need something comfy to tide you over until spring? Snuggle up in this beautiful butterfly coat made from recycled sweaters , so you’re ready to dash out the door whenever the snow finally melts (I wish, I wish, I wish!!).

Finally, my last favorite pick at the moment: Get your garden tools ready and add a little upcycled whimsy this year with these hand-stamped garden markers made out of vintage silver spoons, by Vintage Garden. (LOVE these!!).

What are your February Favorites? 🙂

So as you know, my mission for the next year is to explore the terrain of eco-possibilities in crafting! I am slowly realizing all of the different things that can go into this (supplies, packaging, shipping, gifting, etc, etc). For this post I’m going to focus on beads and sparkly bits that make for oh-so-pretty craftiness.

Where do our beads ‘n things come from and how can we make sure we are sourcing them fairly and sustainably? I know that I use a lot of beads and crystals and other accents when I craft, so this can be a major aspect of crafting to think about in terms of eco-options and human/animal friendliness. I imagine that a lot of beads can be sourced back to factories that don’t have fair or quality working conditions for laborers and companies that don’t necessarily have eco-friendly policies. So what is a crafter to do? Here are a few tips for making your craft-habit a bit more green and friendly:

1. Hunt through the thriftstore for great vintage finds or use items that have been salvaged from vintage treasures, like these great finds from Etsy supply sellers:

Beautiful golden freshwater pearls salvaged from vintage jewelry.

Amazing pistachio vintage beads salvaged from a broken necklace. These make me hungry!

An awesome butterfly pendant reclaimed for a second life. There are some really great possibilities through salvaging!!

2. Find a crafting supplier that makes or upcycles their own beads or other pretties, like this delicious beach seaglass (these make me think of spring jellybeans…), or these funky rolled paper beads. I’m pretty sure the paper beads I made in Girl sScouts forever ago did NOT look this cool!

3. Try your own hand at making beads.

See here for a great tutorial on making beads from plastic bottles. Ok, that’s pretty ingenious…

This blogpost by Blisstree has all sorts of neat-o links for DIY bead-making.

Finally, if you’re brave or more experienced (and a grown-up!!!), there are also tutorials on making your own glass beads. P would NOT like this – he gets very nervous when my crafting involves fire…or blowtorches…

Happy eco-crafting! I’m waiting for all my salvaged treasures to come in the mail :).

If you sew or are crafty in any way then you probably end up with LOADS of scraps lying around staring at you. I have bags and bags and bags of scraps sitting around waiting for some inspiring use. I just discovered a bag recently that I haven’t opened since P and I moved in together (unusual for me since I love opening all of my boxes after moving – it’s like Christmas!!!).

I always keep my scraps because they just seem so useful! But…you know you have a problem when half your fabric supplies are itty bitty scraps. So what can you do? Well, my first thought with super small scraps is to use them as stuffing for other projects. I recently stuffed a small pillow for the chair in my office.

*WARNING: this is not the best idea unless you are fond of lumpy and slightly weird pillows…

If you are not fond of lumpy, weird pillows and other lumpy things, what else is a girl to do?

Well, if you have time, patience, and skill, there seem to plenty of ideas out there. Or if you know someone else who has time, patience, and skill, donate your scraps to them! Here are some of my favorites that I am SO doing…right after I finish writing my lecture and revising that dissertation chapter…

You can use your little bitty scraps and make them into cute embellishments to jazz up your throw pillows .

Or make a whole pillow cover piecing together larger scraps, like this sweet vintage scrap one.

You can turn them into little fabric flowers, and put them on EVERYTHING!!! Well, maybe not everything, P might not be so pleased with that idea…

You can turn them into something like this super cute wreath to fill your house with a bit of cheer all year round (LOVE this!).

Or zip them up into a sweet patchwork bag.

Got any more fun ideas for little scraps and big scraps and scraps of every color? Let me know! Or, I can always fill the world with lumpy weird pillows…:)

Shoes, shoes, shoes! I love shoes! But, in the effort to creatively re-use things, foot wear is one of those categories where ideas are definitely hard to come by.  Shoes get smelly, dirty, faded, fall apart, broken down…how on earth do you magically transform them like some of these other crafty ideas we’ve seen?

Well, if you are totally lacking in ideas but feel the genuine eco spirit, you can recycle some types of old shoes by sending them to various shoe companies, check out this link for more info.

**I sent my old tennis shoes in to recycle because I thought maybe that was better than throwing them away or trying to donate them – they were GROSS! Hopefully they are on their second life as part of a jungle gym or cool playground slide! But, for those of you who are looking for a bit more inspiration than mailing them away, how can we reuse our shoes? See the rhyming skills there? Eh? 🙂

Well, for starters, we can be less wasteful about how much life is actually left in a shoe and RE-ENERGIZE it! Check out some of these neat-o footwear makeovers from crafty people:

Some handpainted vintage boots!

Some chic vegan spats !

Maybe add some beautiful shoe clips !

For the city girl who broke her fabulous heels, maybe try turning one into a …. stiletto planter !

For the country girl, try turning your old cowboy boots into… a fun purse ! Also gotta love the store name: PurseinBoots, heehee!!

For the bookish crafter,  use your old boots to make these teeny tiny book earrings !! Even though I’m a vegan, these were definitely calling my name…  🙂

OK, so once you start looking, there are so many cool ways to re-imagine your old footwear. Got any neat ideas? Let me know!

Note: Do not be confused, the picture attached to this post has NOTHING to do with the content. I am not writing about cool re-uses for funny street signs :), but pictures of t-shirts are a bit boring…

If you’re like me, you probably amass t-shirts without really meaning to. I’ve managed to pick up free t-shirts from buying textbooks, opening a bank account, going to summer camp (loads of t-shirts there), and, of course, being a former girl scout (yikes, you get a t-shirt for just breathing in girl scouts). I even have some old t-shirts from grade school read-ins.  Ok, we are a t-shirt happy nation!

T-shirts are great for tossing on when you go to the gym, dink around the house, chop firewood, and play in the mud, no argument there. My problem is more what to do when I have too many to fit in the dresser drawers, or, if you’re P, when you have too many with holes in them…

So, following the theme I started in my previous post, this entry will focus on creative projects to make (or buy if you have two left crafting hands) from old t-shirts that still have some life in them. My first thought when my t-shirts are too old is to make them into rags to use around the house (thanks Dad!). But, what other fun possibilities are there?

Well, you could make your old tees into yarn
for crochet and knitting projects. This is pretty cool, I have NO idea how to do this.

If you have little ones at home, you can send your tees into this Etsy shop and they’ll be crafty for you. Can I get this made for furry little things too? 🙂

You could turn them into cute little pouches and use them for gift-giving and such (hey now, that’s a good budget-friendly idea!):

If you need something a bit snugglier, you could turn your old tees into… a cute scarf!

Or check out this neat pencil skirt to spice it up a bit.

And, for the finale, drumroll please….You have to love this rainbow hoodie dress, made with an upcycled Carebears t-shirt.

So if you have loads of old t-shirts stockpiled in your house, like Yours Truly, maybe try your hand at one of these cool project ideas. Or donate your fun old tees to the thriftstore so crafty people can make them into fun things on Etsy :).

My major, fun, eco/budget-friendly crafting approach is “re-ware-ing,” so for the next few posts, I’ll be concentrating on creative re-ware uses for particular items that you have in your household. Today, we will contemplate…the sweater. Deep breath in…and out. Move into downward facing dog – ok, on second thought, that’s a terrible position to read a laptop or to try and craft from, so maybe not :).

The sweater – what can you do with your old, worn out, perhaps slightly hole-y (yes P, I’m talking ’bout you), sweaters? I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with creative re-uses because I frequently come across poor misshapen sweaters at the thriftstore from people who apparently are illiterate or impatient when it comes to garment care tags. HELLO, buy a bottle of wool wash and do it in your bathroom sink, don’t ruin that beautiful purple merino cardigan…

Regardless, when these incidents do happen, or you just wear out your old sweaters, here are some neat things to try (or buy if you are so inclined):

Turn that frown upside down and make yourself a new pair of…slippers! Cute, cute, cute!

http://www.etsy.com/listing/64349313/hand-appliqued-felted-wool-slippers-warm?ref=tre-4d28dbc9043b6d91154ff10f-2

Or make some cute little pouches for carrying around little fun things:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/65456766/trio-of-valentines-pouches?ref=v1_other_2

How about this amazing jewelry tray?

http://www.etsy.com/listing/51191798/jewelry-tray-container-wool-felted?ref=sr_list_19&ga_search_query=felted+upcycled&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_page=&order=&includes[0]=tags&includes[1]=title&filter[0]=handmade

Or these happy heart mittens?

http://www.etsy.com/listing/65518056/happy-heart-mittens-for-her-fully-lined?ref=sr_list_24&ga_search_query=felted+upcycled&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_page=&order=&includes[0]=tags&includes[1]=title&filter[0]=handmade

This cozy pillow?

http://www.etsy.com/listing/25491782/upcycled-sweater-pillow-with-needle?ref=sr_list_29&ga_search_query=felted+upcycled&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_page=&order=&includes[0]=tags&includes[1]=title&filter[0]=handmade

Or this lovely festive felted garland?

http://www.etsy.com/listing/65510310/felt-garland-with-super-bright?ref=sr_list_3&ga_search_query=felted+upcycled&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_page=2&order=&includes[0]=tags&includes[1]=title&filter[0]=handmade

I am so inspired, I want to make one of each RIGHT NOW!!! But first I need a good thriftstoring trip to find me some old sweaters. Dang it, I just hate when I have to go to the thriftstore :).

Hopefully these cute and creative crafts inspire you to salvage your old sweaters, or give them to someone crafty who might make you something neat and sweet. If you want to try your own hand at felting old sweaters, check out this handy dandy tutorial:

http://www.craftstylish.com/item/2259/how-to-felt-sweaters

Crafts away! Got any other neat ideas for what you can with old sweaters? Let me know!

So-ho-ho, I know that when I hear the word “craft,” I often think of fun or pretty objects that are sweet to own, but don’t necessarily have much function for your daily life.  Au contraire! My mission today is to find an assortment of crafty goods that can be put to regular use, but are far from mundane.

Ok, let me start with something so totally obvious. No one goes through the day without eating at least once. I regularly have not two or three, but sometimes five good meals a day – yes, I’m an eater…

So here’s a cute, functional, eco-friendly, AND budget-friendly way to jazz up your meal. One might, perhaps use one of these adorable little lemons and polka dots cloth napkins to wipe one’s mouth with:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/57642273/napkin-set-of-6-lemons-and-polka-dots?ref=sr_list_11&ga_search_query=napkins&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_page=&order=&includes[0]=tags&includes[1]=title&filter[0]=handmade

I adore cloth napkins because they cut down on waste and make you feel a little bit fancy when you set them on the table. Another fun budget friendly way to find these babies is to check out your local thriftstore. Lots of vintage goodies come through one of my local favorites. I snap them up for 25 cents, dye them or bleach them, and toss them in the drawer with friends. I like mine to mix and match, but if you favor a matching set, check out the many Etsy sellers that make cute, fun, cloth napkins.

Eating your lunch on the go? Try one of these cute lunch bags:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/62650649/ollie-eco-friendly-insulated-lunch-bag?ref=sr_list_11&ga_search_query=lunch+bags&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_page=2&order=&includes[0]=tags&includes[1]=title&filter[0]=handmade

Or these re-usable,sandwich bags:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/65400635/pink-urban-zoologie-owls-reusable-eco

Ok, now that you’ve got your eatin’ done, what else can you do with your daily crafts? Well, if you’re like me, you likely run to the grocery store on a daily basis (what can I say? I’m an eater). Of course, most people are getting on board now with the grocery/market tote. Most stores have them for $1 at checkout to guilt you into not using plastic or paper. If you have not joined the tote bandwagon, check out this cute one:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/59997006/reusable-bag-i-heart-trees-comes-in

If you have joined the bandwagon and are looking for something else cool to one-up your eco-er-than-thou friends, yeah, you know who I’m talkin’ about, try to think inside the cart by using one of these cute produce bags:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/52965323/4-large-reusable-produce-bags-in-egg?ref=sr_list_2&ga_search_query=produce+bags&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_page=&order=&includes[0]=tags&includes[1]=title&filter[0]=handmade

Then you can stop feeling guilty about bringing your produce home in those little plastic bags. And it’s a better solution than (like Yours Truly does)  just trying to toss all your bagless produce into the shopping cart. *Warning: This may irk cashiers if you have >5 fruits or veggies.

Got any more ideas for crafts to live with? Let me know!

Ok, so I am always looking for new ways to turn trash into treasure. It seems like we have so many things that we encounter on a daily basis that get discarded or downcycled because of one major thing: lack of imagination. So I went in search of some inspiration for crafty-crafts to make out of all the products I (or P) used today. Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking: “You can’t possibly a) remember everything you used today and b) make something super-cool out of everything you used today!!!” Ok, so you’re probably right, but here’s the inspirational collection of items I did manage to find. Maybe try your hand at these or maybe order them from a creative crafty person on Etsy or somewhere:

1. Instead of sitting in our recycle bin, that can of ginger ale P drank (because his tummy hurt) could be…a pair of EARRINGS! Wow – so did not see that one coming:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/49675708/recycled-soda-can-art-dr-pepper-sun?ref=sr_list_4&ga_search_query=eco&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_page=&order=&includes[0]=tags&includes[1]=title&filter[0]=handmade

2. Instead of throwing away that old seed corn sack (ok, I am slightly embellishing the truth regarding the products I used today), it could be…a cool market tote!

http://www.etsy.com/listing/55845997/large-grainsack-market-tote-bag-purse?ref=sr_list_13&ga_search_query=recycled&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_page=&order=&includes[0]=tags&includes[1]=title&filter[0]=handmade

3. Instead of tossing that old bike tire into the dumpster it could be…a neat-o clock!

http://www.etsy.com/listing/64537709/clock-made-from-a-recycled-bike-wheel?ref=sr_list_3&ga_search_query=recycled&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_page=2&order=&includes[0]=tags&includes[1]=title&filter[0]=handmade

4. Instead of putting that old wine bottle out for collection, it could be…an awesomely engraved sign! I do like my glass of red wine at night…

http://www.etsy.com/listing/65277442/man-cave-sign-engraved-recycled-melted?ref=sr_list_8&ga_search_query=recycled&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_page=2&order=&includes[0]=tags&includes[1]=title&filter[0]=handmade

5. Instead of littering the world with old Scrabble tiles, they could be a…cool pendant! This one is really cute, I think. But, for the record, I will NEVER be rid of my Scrabble game–NEVER.

http://www.etsy.com/listing/62627651/sale-recycled-scrabble-tile-pendant?ref=sr_list_14&ga_search_query=recycled&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_page=4&order=&includes[0]=tags&includes[1]=title&filter[0]=handmade

Ok, I’m thinking you get the drift by now. Crafty creative power –> less trash and waste in the world, and cool new things that we can feel good about.

My big contribution to the vision is the simple tin can. What can you do with it? Let me count the possibilities:

1. Poke holes in them (after freezing some water in them) and string them up as mini lanterns. Mine came out horribly ugly, but I’m sure yours will be beautiful…

2. Remove the tops and bottoms and make them into pretty little ornaments like Yours Truly did last Christmas and gave away to everyone. Isn’t that clever? Hmmm

3. Make the tops and bottoms into nifty button pins to go on your market tote – this I have not yet tried, but am still contemplating.

4. Use the ones that have pretty gold coloring on the inside, like mini green chili and olive cans, as fun tea-light holders. OK, pretty idea, but these also get really HOT. Just beware. But they did sparkle oh so nicely on top of the stove at P’s birthday party.

5. ???

Your turn, what else can you do with an old tin can? Actually, are they aluminum now? Got a neat idea? Let me know!

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