Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Repurpose Those Bamboo Easter Baskets

Even though I made repurposed milk jug Easter baskets to reuse each year we ended up with several bamboo baskets from other family members.  In fact, Lucy received a whopping 9 Easter baskets...way too much stuff!  Two came in traditional bamboo baskets with plastic grass, two in gift bags, two in smaller handled totes, one in a felt basket, one in a plastic toy pail with shovel and one in the milk jug basket.  Most of these vessels can easily be reused but I had no idea how I would reuse the bamboo baskets until I remembered all the toys on the floor in almost every room of the house.

I recently sanded and painted an old bookshelf for Lucy's room and had been trying to come up with a way to make or buy some sort of container to hold all the small toys and display on the shelves.  Why buy baskets when we have a few leftover from Easter?

Cutting the handles off proved to be difficult until I tried the hedge trimmers in the garage.  They worked great but left rough edges so I trimmed them up with kitchen shears.  So, after 5 minutes I had free, repurposed baskets!

Here is the whole bookcase full of Lucy's books, toys and a few knickknacks:

The colors of these baskets go perfectly with Lucy's room.  However, if your baskets do not match the room I think you could very easily spray paint them to match your decor.  Happy repurposing!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Repurposed Spring Etsy Finds

It finally looks and sort of feels like spring around here!  One day last week I walked onto the driveway and noticed our whole street was in bloom.  Crazy how it can happen overnight!  Check out these spring Etsy finds inspired by this colorful season.

The Boots N Gus Etsy shop is full of ordinary vintage items upcycled into fun light fixtures and planters.  They also sell vintage housewares and vintage children's books.

Upcycled Bright Orange and Red Bundt Cake Wall Flower Lights $30

I am not a fan of Peeps candy but I love these little guys made from recycled wool sweaters by The Lavendar Tree.  Also included in the shop are pincushions, coasters and pillows all made from wool sweaters.
Felted Wool Peeps - Recycled Felted Wool Sweaters $15

Strand Redesign takes used fabrics, handprints on them and creates usable objects like totes, pincushions, lanyards and these lavender sachets.
Hand Printed Lavender Bags with Spring Lambs $15

On Foot makes eco-friendly shoes and moccasins for little ones out of repurposed leather coats.  These veggie shoes are perfect for spring!

Soft Sole Baby Shoes with Vegetables 0-6 months $25

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Repurposed Milk Jug Easter Baskets

About a week ago I posted about Easter baskets made from repurposed materials including how to make one out of recycled plastic bottles.  Inspired by the recycled plastic bottle Easter baskets from sycamore stirrings I created my own out of recycled milk jugs for Lucy and Baby Sister.

The milk jugs I chose to use are these unusually shaped ones from Costco.  They were perfect for this particular craft for two reasons.  First, there is a seam in the plastic about halfway up the jug that is a perfect guideline for cutting out the bottom of the basket.  Also, if you plan ahead and cut very carefully it is possible to cut out a handle while cutting out the basket.  This prevents having to attach a separate piece of plastic with staples or glue.


Unfortunately, as I cut the first jug I completely forgot this plan and cut through one side of the handle.  I stapled it together and made sure to remember when cutting the second and then went through my random ribbons (mostly from gift packages we have received) for decorations.


 I used my hot glue gun to attach the ribbons to the plastic jugs and Elmer's No-Wrinkle glue for the card stock letters and flowers.  The hot glue really heats up the plastic so be careful if you choose this method. 


This was such an easy and quick project.  I left room for the girls to personalize their baskets when they are older but if they destroy them in the meantime I will not be sad....they were free and completely repurposed from items around the house!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Recycled Cardboard Wall Flowers

A few months ago Lucy began sleeping in a big girl bed.  She is at the right age and we needed her crib for the baby's room.  We have put up some of her own art on the walls but the room still needed something to go with her new bedding.  A fantastic sale at Michaels a few weeks ago inspired me to make these wall decorations from recycled cardboard (we have tons of boxes from our recent move), craft paint and glue.

After cutting apart several corrugated cardboard boxes, I traced around my stainless steel mixing bowls and various plastic lids to cut out circles to work with.


Based on the flower shapes on her bedding I then doodled different petal shapes and sizes onto each circle and cut them out.  I decided to stack two of each size together for extra strength.  For added texture and interest I also peeled the paper from the corrugated layer on one layer of each flower.


That sale at Michaels I mentioned earlier included craft paint for $.29 so I picked up several colors found in the bedding and got to work!  Cardboard really soaks up the paint so I had to apply 2-3 coats to maintain the vibrant colors.


After arranging each piece so that the colors and shapes in each flower looked right, I started gluing the layers together.  The only glue I could find was Elmer's gel glue but I'm sure white glue, any craft glue or rubber cement would work. 

Once the glue dried I had to come up with a way to hang these on the wall.  I went through my craft stash and came up with wire, E-6000 and a plastic envelope I had saved.  I cut the plastic into squares (2 for each flower) and bent hangers from the wire.  Using E-6000 and plenty of air ventilation I glued the wire to the cardboard and adhered the plastic to hold it in place.  The plastic kept rolling up on the edges so I stacked a few books on top of each flower to hold it all in place until dry.


For $1.45 and a little bit of time I was able to make four flowers for Lucy's room and I think they look great!  When she has outgrown the bedding and/or flowers I can pass them on to someone else or just toss them into the recycling bin without feeling like I am out a bunch of money.

 Lucy found my leftover cardboard and made her own art!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Be Green This Easter!

Easter is another holiday full of plastic nonsense.  Easter baskets, fillable eggs, cheap bunny and chick toys and the "grass" used to fill the baskets are all typically tossed after all the fun is over and people run to buy more the next year.

This is the first year we will do a true Easter basket for Lucy.  However, we I will be making the basket out of repurposed materials (of course!) and we will reuse it every year like a Christmas stocking.  Also, there will be no "grass."  I have never understood the messy, plastic grass anyway since all kids just toss is aside to find all the treats.  If you must have grass shred some paper from the recycling bin and then when the baskets have been emptied return it to the and green!

Here's a few tutorials for Easter baskets made from recycled materials for inspiration:

Recycled Fabric Box made from an old sweater from crafty blog of Tried and True

Woven Recycled Wool Easter Basket from Resweater

Recycled plastic bottle Easter baskets from sycamore stirrings

I love the recycled fabric box with bunny ears but fear my sewing skills are not at that level yet.  Maybe I will tackle that one next year when I have 2 little ones to make baskets for!  I think this year I make a basket from the crazy milk jugs we saved from Costco and let maybe let Lucy decorate it herself.  Look for the results soon!