Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Recycled Manger

Although she won't admit it to herself or anyone else for that matter, my mom is an artist.  She learned to knit at a young age, and has mastered the skill well into her old age.  This is a manger she knit for me one year for Christmas, and to me it's a masterpiece.  All it took was some yarn, old pieces of cardboard, and some scraps of jewelry she had laying around the house.  And of course, plenty of time.  But don't all masterpieces?

I decided to post this because it is the quintessential example of what upcycling is about.  It's about recycling common materials headed for the trash, yes.  But even more, it's about having a vision.  Nothing is trash. Everything has a purpose.  And everything has a re-purpose.  You might have to add a little here and there to make your vision a reality, but with a little time and sense of direction you can turn anything into something to be appreciated. 

She used cardboard boxes cut into strips to make the background and then simply wrapped them with yarn and glued them together.  

She knit the figures using a pattern and used old cardboard to build the bases for them to stand.  The halos are made from plastic water bottles and the "jewels" are made from old jewelry.  A true masterpiece.

Friday, November 15, 2013

What To Do With All Those Old Photo Negatives

Since the digital age has taken over, photo negatives and slides have pretty much become extinct.  Good for the environment, but of course, we all have old negatives lying around from the "old days" when 35mm film was king.  And as most of us would agree, there isn't much use for them anymore, but for some reason, we just can't seem to part with them.  So why don't we put them to use, satisfying our need to hold onto old memories while creating something new from them.  Here are some ideas for what to do with all those old negatives.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

How To Make A Toilet Paper Roll Advent Calendar

This is a great idea for Christmas, especially if you have kids.  It's a good way to get their hands involved in a creative activity while also teaching them the value of recycling.  After they're done, fill the rolls with anything from candy to bouncy balls.

You will need:
25 toilet paper rolls (without the toilet paper!)
cereal boxes
computer printer and paper

First, you will need to glue the toilet paper rolls together, like so:

Until you have 24 glued together:

Cut and glue the cereal boxes so they resemble a roof.  Glue the 25th toilet paper roll on top for the chimney and put a piece of tissue paper coming out to resemble smoke.  Now glue the 24 toilet paper rolls to the roof, print and cut out circles of numbers 1-24 and glue onto each roll.  Fill each roll from the back with whatever goodies your heart desires and let your little ones at it!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

13 Ways to Reuse Wood Pallets

Wood pallets are so abundant that you can pretty much find them for free anywhere in the country.  Look on Craigslist under the free section, or drive by some companies and you'll find them stacked on the road with a "free" sign attached.  I've even heard of some businesses paying people to take them away!  While all that free wood might not be the highest quality, with a little imagination and hard work, you can take those pallets and make them into something worthwhile.


Arctic Plank is a company that designs high quality flooring and furniture using 100% recycled wood pallets that would otherwise be destined for demolition.

Find out how to make your own Potting Bench from Better Homes & Gardens

Pallet Table by French Canadian designer 

Another amazing design from French Canadian Designer Steph

Here are some fairly basic instructions for a  DIY Wooden Pallet Shed

wooden home theatre
If you have enough space in your home you can build a Home Theatre

garden furniture
Save money and trees by building your own Outdoor Furniture

Make a cute Doggie House  for Fido

Make this Vintage looking Door from old pallets and an old door frame

This bed is a more refined way to reuse pallet wood

64 Creative Ways To Recycle A Pallet_44
I love this simple idea for a Bottle rack 

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Here's another one a bit more complicated, but so cool for the wine lover!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Using Recycled Shipping Containers as Housing

I've been seeing a lot lately about recycling old shipping containers into living spaces. It's hard to imagine living in what is essentially the back of a truck, but with some architectural engineering and interior design, what once was just a steel box, becomes a sustainable home.  This one is an orphanage in New Jerusalem.   Stack a few on top of each other, at different angles to create depth and complexity, and you almost forget you're looking at containers.

This Student Housing complex solves the problem of housing many students in close proximity to each other.
green design, shipping container housing, shipping container prefab, shipping container architecture, student container housing, sustainable design, eco design, container housing, student housing, green architecture, green container housing, sustainable housing, eco housing, green design, green architecture, eco architecture

Build a Costa Rican Home for under $40,000.
Containers of Hope, Benjamin Garcia Saxe, shipping containers, cargotecture, low cost housing, affordable housing, costa rica

 Container City in London.
The greatest homes made from shipping containers around the world

When the employees are done working for the day, they can close up this Coffee Shop...literally!
Shipping Container Houses (Follow Up)Shipping Container Houses (Follow Up)

SEED  is a project that aims to provide emergency housing to people that have been devastated by natural disasters.