Thursday, March 31, 2011

DIY Recycled Dollhouses

I want to teach my children to consume less by being creative.  Babies and toddlers grow out of clothes and toys so quickly it seems ridiculous to purchase everything new.  Both can be purchased secondhand in excellent condition at consignment shops and sales, garage sales and craigslist and even ebay.  Others we can create together from items in the recycle bin and in turn spend time together, save money and consume less!


I saw this dollhouse and furniture made from recycled cardboard boxes and egg cartons in the April 2011 issue of Disney Family Fun magazine.  I cannot wait to make this in a few years when Lucy is ready for smaller more detailed toys.  The tutorial for the dollhouse can be found here and the tutorial for the dollhouse furniture is here.

The rest of the dollhouse ideas come from Made by Joel.  He is full of innovative yet simple DIY toys and frequently includes templates with his tutorials.

Cheerios Box Dollhouse tutorial includes a how-to video as well as several photos to help you create your own portable dollhouse.

Paper Dollhouses are made cut from recycled magazine covers and completely designed to fold up and fit inside a recycled Altoids tin.  Templates are included for one of the house designs, a chair, lounge chair, bed and side table.

Modern Doll House is not completely made of repurposed materials but is way too cool to not share!  His post has many more detailed photos of the furniture, rugs, trees and art in this house.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Update: Projects in Progress

Back in September I posted about several projects I was working on at the time.  My intentions were to finish each project and highlight them in separate blog posts.  That is until things changed.

The stocking holder idea was scrapped and most of the supplies were recycled or left behind.  I did keep the huge pine cones for another project or in case we buy another house with a mantle someday.

I continued to work on the upcycled stockings a few times early in the pregnancy but did not finish them in time for Christmas.  I have 5 stockings in the final stages (with fabric to make 6.....I doubt we will ever need 5 or 6!).  They all need loops to hang them from and our names on them.  Hopefully this will be a post all it's own close to Christmas 2011 when they are complete.  Here's a sneak peek:

Sadly, Lucy's cardboard kitchen had to be recycled during our move.  It just would not fit in the moving truck.  I was very sad at first but soon realized that she had lost interest in it anyway.  Now that we are expecting another little girl soon I think Santa would love to get the girls a nice, shiny kitchen to share for Christmas anyway!

Look for more projects soon!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Repurposing with the Crafting in Color Street Team

The Crafting in Color Etsy Street Team is a group dedicated to keeping Etsy bright and colorful.  To find items made by team members simply use the search term "cic team" on the Etsy page.  You may even find some fantastic repurposed items (aside from those in my shop...I'm a member!).

Here are a few of my favorite repurposed finds by members of the Crafting in Color Team:

This small wallet by sewZinski was repurposed from an out-dated leather skirt and hand embroidered and lined with cotton.

Wallet Leather Black Colorful Embroidery $40

The Etsy shop of loranscruggs is full of eco-friendly whistles, toys and sculptures all made from recycled tin cans and bottle caps.  Here is a fun truck sculpture from her shop.

Recycled Handmade Red Tin Truck $300

Repurposed leftover fabrics were used by karibombari to create this limited edition cuff bracelet.

SUPERCUFF limited edition 'Sorbet' $26.95

Frank613's Etsy shop features paintings on refurbished, antique framed windows he finds in his native Chicago.

Painted Glass Multicolor One Liner $100

Friday, March 18, 2011

Old T-Shirts Become Play Necklaces!

A stack of my husband's old fraternity shirts, wooden beads and an old packet of Kool-Aid mix all came together to create dress up accessories for my two year old last week.  I decided to make two sets of necklaces while I had the sewing machine out.  Hopefully this will eliminate or at least lessen the fights between the sisters in a year or so.  (Baby Sister is due in June!)

The old t-shirts were gray, white and navy so I decided to dye the white with an old packet of Kool-Aid mix.  After some internet research I learned that Kool-Aid as a dye does not work on cotton and is only recommended to dye protein fibers like wool.  I decided to try it anyway since this was for a toy and not an item of clothing that would be washed often.

I simply used really hot water with a splash of vinegar and let the strips soak for 15-20 minutes.  I then rinsed in cool tap water until the water ran clear.  It seemed to work fine although I didn't put them through a wash cycle.  They did take a spin in the dryer on low with a dry towel so I could make the necklaces sooner.

I cut strips about 1" wide and between 24" and 30" long from the bottom of each shirt.  One end of each strip had to be cut at an angle so the wooden beads could be threaded through.


I then overlapped the ends, folded them over and used the sewing machine to attach them.  I also decided to fold the whole strip in half and sew along the middle for strength and to minimize fraying. 


The end result is not pretty since I was having bobbin issues, I am a novice sewer and I really wasn't concerned with the aesthetics of the back (these are for 2-4 year olds after all!). 


All my sewing issues aside, Lucy loves her new necklaces and was happy to model them.  She was also very excited that Baby Sister gets her very own set too!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Repurposed BINGO!

I spent much of yesterday afternoon creating jewelry and hair accessories featuring upcyled vintage Bingo markers.  New items include rings and a hinge bracelet.  These are colorful and funky pieces that would make great gifts for Bingo lovers.  They will all be added to my Etsy shop over the next couple weeks.  For Bingo items already added check here.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ready for Spring Giveaway Winner!

And the winner is...

Misty!  I have emailed Misty and she has 48 hours to respond.  Otherwise we will pick another winner from the pink cowgirl hat!  Congrats Misty!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Jane Austen Repurposed on Etsy

I recently watched my copy of the Pride and Prejudice BBC/A&E miniseries and just discovered the series Lost in Austen (caught it on Ovation).  Needless to say I have had all things Elizabeth Bennet & Mr. Darcy on my mind!  Also, it has been several years since I read a Jane Austen novel so maybe a trip to the library is in order.

Random Prefect hand cuts various silhouettes from old vinyl records to make necklaces and earrings.

Jane Austen Recycled Record Silhouette $12

Rebound Designs creates handmade purses, wallets and pins from repurposed books.  From her shop: "Bibliophiles, don't fret! All of my wallets and purses are made from damaged or discarded books, 90% were being thrown out by libraries. All care is taken to never use valuable or rare books. Have a favorite book that is falling apart? Send it to me and I will turn it into a one of a kind purse or wallet for you!"

Custom Pride and Prejudice Book Purse $165

MaisyandAlice creates Heart Strings Mobiles from the pages of old, worn books.  Here is one made from a vintage copy of Sense and Sensibility she "saved from almost certain death whilst on one of my fossicking trips!"

Heart Strings- Jane Austen- Sense and Sensibility Mobile $15