Thursday, September 30, 2010

Birthday Week Giveaway!

My birthday was this week so what better way to celebrate than give a gift to someone else!?  The winner will get their choice of $20 worth of repurposed goodies from my Etsy shop.
The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada and ends Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 10pm MST.  The winner will be picked randomly out of a hat by Lucy (she will love this!) and announced in another blog post. 

You have up to 4 chances to win!

Methods of Entry:
1. Go to my Etsy shop and take a look around.  Come back to this blog and leave a comment with a link to the item(s) you would love to have.  Be sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you win (Etsy name, your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

2. Follow me on Facebook and leave a comment on my page to let me know you entered.  If you already follow me on Facebook leave a comment mentioning the giveaway.

3. Follow me on Twitter and tweet about the giveaway (be sure to mention @brandyfishetsy).  Already follow?  Just tweet about the giveaway and mention @brandyfishetsy.

4. Follow this blog.  If you already follow just leave comment telling me so.

Good Luck!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Etsy Finds

These cloth napkins by OnceAgain are the ultimate in eco-friendliness!  They are handmade from reclaimed vintage fabrics.  They also make reusable shopping bags, dresses, scarves and place mat rolls all from reclaimed fabric.

Cloth Napkins $14

These tumblers are made from recycled wine bottles and hand etched with a lotus flower design by Carroll Creek Glass.  They also have a great selection of beer bottle tumblers and wall vases.

Lotus Flower Set of 4 Recycled Wine Bottle Tumblers $60

I did not know I needed a jewelry box robot by reclaim2fame until I saw one.  These things are made of recycled vintage parts and are absolutely hilarious!  They also make robot dogs, sculptures and cookie jars.

Sam the Pear Shaped Jewelry Box Robot $169
Laddy a Perfectly Plaid Robot Dog $295

Saturday, September 25, 2010


While walking to my studio I noticed a strange smudge on the door.

Apparently a rather large bird flew into the storm door and left his mark!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Projects in Progress

I am always in the middle of several projects.  Some are for my Etsy shop, a few for Christmas and Halloween and some for Lucy (of course!).  Here's a sneak peek at projects coming soon to the blog.

Stocking Holders
Our new house has a fireplace so we obviously need stocking hangers for the mantle.  The ones I like go for $20 - $40 each so I am making them from repurposed materials found around the house.  Below you will find my inspiration and my supplies.

Yes, those are tuna cans.  Inside them are random nuts and bolts found in my studio and in front are hooks I removed from various walls and ceilings in our house (both left by the previous owner...and free!).  Not pictured are pine cones we found at the park, spray paint I purchased for $1 and resin.  Tutorial coming soon!

What about stockings for those awesome DIY stocking hangers?  Those are in progress too.  My inspiration comes from the Etsy shop of handmade pretties

I love the skirt and stockings and only wish I had $275 to spend on them.  However, I am attempting to make my own version with remnant fabric and scraps from my family's old clothes.

Play Kitchen
About a year ago Lucy starting pulling up on everything and cruising all over the house.  I really wanted to buy her a play kitchen but found that the ones made for her age (then 9 months) were very small and she would soon outgrow it and the ones for older toddlers were expensive.  When my Mom came for a visit she saw the giant, oddly shaped box from Lucy's new car seat and suggested I make a kitchen out of it.  Brilliant!

It has been a work in progress for about a year now.  I want to trim the cabinet doors and add knobs so that they open and close like real cabinets.  I also want to add a sink and cook top and either make or buy some felt "food."  Several Etsy sellers make great stuff like pizza, sushi, fruits and veggies.

Happy crafting!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Relove Old Clothes - Dye Them!

I have a brown cardigan that I love.  It completed many outfits until recently when I realized it was horribly faded.  My sister gave me a white shirt that did not fit her well.  I like the shape, but not the white color.

So, I decided to try a little experiment: dye old clothes to try to squeeze more wearable life out of them.  I decided to dye them together with the same shade of brown to see if it was possible to save a fading, old garment and completely change a newer garment.

I googled the process and found many existing tutorials and threads involving all sorts of chemicals and instructions but I wanted to do this the cheapest and quickest way possible.  This should be accessible to everyone.

Off I went to Hobby Lobby with my 40% off coupon to buy Rit (never shop there without checking their website for coupons first!).  This is the only supply I had to buy and it cost less than $2 after the coupon.

The instructions inside the box give several methods for dyeing garments including in the washing machine, on the stove with a large pot, in the sink or in a bucket.  I opted for the sink method because I thought it would use less water than the washing machine and be easier to clean up than the bucket.  I read on several threads that the stove is the best but I use all my pots for cooking and you need to have dedicated dyeing pot because of the chemicals.

I gathered my tools (stainless steel tongs and spoon, rubber gloves), cleaned my sink and filled it with 3 gallons of very hot water (heated in the microwave).  I dunked both shirts into the sink, wrung out the excess and set them aside (this helps them soak up the dye evenly).  Then I added the 1 cup of salt suggested by the Rit instructions to help the garments retain the dye.  Next, I heated 2 cups of water and added the dye powder and stirred well to combine.

I then poured the dye mixture into the sink, stirred to combine and added the shirts.  The instructions recommended stirring constantly for 10-30 minutes or until the desired color is achieved.

After about 20 minutes I was satisfied, drained the sink and started to rinse the shirts.  The instructions said to rinse with warm water until the water runs clear.  It was obvious that this would take gallons of water and tons of time at the sink so I ran them through the washing machine a few times and then in the dryer.  Here is the end result:

In the first photo they are still wet after the rinse and the lighter shirt looked a little splotchy.  The second photo shows them looking very wrinkly after their trip in the dryer (should have added an old towel to fluff them up!).  The faded brown cardigan looks slightly better than it did and the white shirt now looks like a giant purplish fudgesicle.  If I decide to do this again I want to do it on the stove as suggested on many threads, use 2 boxes of dye and a dye fixative to help fight further fading. 

After both garments have been washed a few times I will post an update!  In the meantime, if you would like to try it I suggest you start at this very helpful thread started by a professional fabric dyer: Dyeing tips and tricks.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Repurposed on Etsy

More great repurposed items on Etsy:

I think this necklace by dustDesignCo was made for me, or anyone else named Brandy.  I love the no fluff design and cocktail recipe included in the description.

Vintage Saucy Sue Cocktail Necklace - Brandy $32 

The fish in this amazing recycled lightbulb fishbowl by StarRedesigns looks very happy.

Large Lightbulb Fishbowl $18

This little upcycled t-shirt dress by Brava Boutique is adorable....Lucy might need this!  What a great idea for a girly and funny little dress.

Upcycled T-Shirt Dress Gotta Have More Cowbell $38

I happen to love cats but unfortunately I am very allergic to them (and my husband hates them!).  However, if I had one he/she would sleep in this cozy repurposed bed by Love Nostalgic Whimsy.

Luvable Luggage Red Pet Bed $65

Buy handmade and buy repurposed!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Saying Goodbye to the 1970s

I have light fixtures on the brain.  You would understand why if you caught a glimpse of the lovely circa 1970s light fixtures in my house.  I love retro decor, especially mid-century modern or even a touch of swinging 60s.  I just cannot live with the 1970s or at least the ones in my house. 

Here are the aforementioned fixtures along with their repurposed, fantabulous possible replacements I found on Etsy:

On the left is the light in our entry.  Many folks have banged their head on this as they walked in the door.  On the right is Bottle Up Recycled Wine Bottle Pendant Light by bentbottle which I think would make a great replacement.

How about this out of date track lighting in my dining room?  Shouldn't it be replaced with something dramatic?  I think this Custom Created Camellia Chandelier by Khalima would be perfect.  It may not be repurposed, but it is made from handmade paper and each pendant is unique.

The sconce on the left is in my hallway (it has a twin at the other end of the hall) and the light fixture on the right is in the extra bathroom.  Both have paint on them from the previous owner and both just look odd where they are.

This Vintage Blue Ball Canning Jar Sconce created by LampGoods is not really my style but I love the look and the idea of using old jars as light fixtures.  It would work well in a hallway, bathroom or even outside by the front door.

This HUGE pendant light is in our master bathroom.  There is one on either side of the very long vanity.  Actually, I kind of like these.  Maybe it's the rest of the horribly out of date bathroom that I hate (baby blue double sinks, shower & toilet, wood grain laminate countertops, plastic mini blinds).  Someday, when we have the funds and the time to remodel I think we should leave these light fixtures until everything else has been replaced.  They might look pretty cool in updated surroundings.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Leftovers Repurposed...and Reloved!

My family has been enjoying leftovers the past week.  My husband had an especially grand time creating "sloppy chili" and "sloppy burritos" this weekend.  Repurposing leftovers into something new not only keeps mealtime interesting but it also saves us money.  I prepared a great repurposed lunch for my toddler and I today with leftover pancakes, spicy oven fries and country gravy.

Cube and heat up the oven fries in a skillet then add beaten eggs.  Scramble the eggs and melt cheese on top, pop the pancakes in the toaster, heat up the gravy and plate!

Even little Lucy enjoyed lunch!

We will be reloving this trifle I made yesterday too...dessert leftovers are the best!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Etsy Favorites

Some of my favorite repurposed Etsy items:

Stil Novo Design's shop is full of handcrafted home decor and gift items made from recycled oak wine barrels. Other items include key chains, platters, menorahs, and trunks.

The Green Chair $395

This bird feeder by red yellow and blue ink is made from repurposed plastic traffic signal lenses and new and used hardware.  They also donate some of their proceeds to the Nature Conservancy.

Bird Feeder Repurposed Recycled Street Lights $55

This bracelet from Coleraine Creations is made from a recycled and very rare green record.

Green Colored Vinyl Record Wrist Cuff $14.95

This cute little zippered pouch by carolinasquirrell uses every scrap of fabric.  She also makes ornaments, pillows, quilts and table runners from selvages.

Selvage Zippered Boxy Pouch $15

Happy shopping!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bow Hanger & Organizer

My toddler is all of a sudden into bows.  She has a nice collection that I had previously kept in the master bathroom tucked away in a cabinet.  I knew I wanted to display them for her but I have so many projects I need to tackle in our new house that I forgot about it.

Yesterday, I googled "horizontal stripes on wall" looking for ideas for her room which still needs to be painted.  During my search I discovered a great blog called infarrantly creative full of crafty DIY tutorials including Bow Holder Tutorial.  I loved the idea and wanted to repurpose random items around the house instead of buying the exact supplies she used.

My supplies:  2 pieces of green ribbon from my stash and 2 washers I found in the workshop.  The washers are not the same size and the ribbons are different lengths but it does not matter. 

I simply looped one end of the ribbon through the washer and clipped one of the bows on it to secure it. 

I want to be able to reuse the green ribbon for another purpose someday.  However, if you want a more permanent solution you could hot glue the end of the ribbon on the back, safety pin it or even sew it secure. 

Next, I added her bow collection and put in her bathroom.  I simply hooked the washers on small nails since this is temporary and I can hopefully remodel the entire bathroom.

I think the ribbon I found matches quite nicely with the "medicine cabinet" and shower curtain. 

She loves it so much she randomly runs down the hall yelling "Bows! Bows!" and then points to her hair. Then we get to play dress up!