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Posted by on Dec 12, 2013 | 2 comments

Savoring Christmas Trees All Year Long

Savoring Christmas Trees All Year Long

We get our Christmas tree at the beginning of December, enjoy it until the holiday season has passed and then put it out to be recycled. It’s a little sad to see the tree go, so I’ve found some ways to savor the rustic piney goodness all year long by upcycling parts of our tree. Every tree gets a clean trim along its stump when you buy it at the lot. And thin or thick, those slices make primo crafting supplies. I picked up an arm full of discarded slices after we bought our tree last week. They are free for the taking and the lot owners told me they will just burn whatever is left. This one’s fate was a candle holder. I used a 1 1/2 inch spade bit to drill a hole in the middle. And then snugly fit in a tea light. The cut was clean so I didn’t need to sand it and I wanted to keep it rustic. It’s still a little sappy...

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Posted by on Nov 11, 2013 | 1 comment

Making an Upcycled Rope Basket

Making an Upcycled Rope Basket

With about a skein or two of yarn and some rope, you can make a stylish and practical basket. I made one after learning how from Susan, one of the UpCycle Creative Reuse Center owners. She had made her basket from climbing rope that came in as a donation. (It’s not uncommon for rock climbers to have yards and yards of retired rope, too worn to be used safely on a climb, in their possession.) Susan used red wool yarn to make her gorgeous basket. She was kind enough to give me a private tutorial. I chose a length of rope to use. She said you can attach individual lengths of rope together if you want to make a bigger basket. I decided to work with a smaller piece. She got the project started by making a tight coil and securing it the best she could with an embroidery needle and some yarn. It’s okay to have a small hole in the very center of the basket. She showed me how to...

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Posted by on Sep 20, 2013 | 1 comment

Salvage with Style: Sue’s Old Oak Doors

Salvage with Style: Sue’s Old Oak Doors

Using salvaged hardware and materials in your home is a simple and cost-effective way to add character. When Sue and her husband designed their new home, they used eco-friendly materials throughout, like reclaimed wood flooring and petroleum-free insulation. And, after doing some research online on upcycled doors, they took a spontaneous road trip to New Jersey to check out some salvaged doors. The trek was worth it. They came home from Recycling the Past in Barnegat, N.J. with 10 solid oak interior doors that not only saved them a pretty penny, but look fantastic in their home as well. Here are two adjoining doors that the used for their kitchen pantry. Sue said the doors had layers of paint, but they chose to only have them sanded down by a professional. It’s a deliberate interior design choice to leave the doors looking distressed. The pantry doors don’t have knobs, but they don’t really need them to function. And they look pretty cool in their original state. They did have...

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Posted by on Sep 6, 2013 | 2 comments

My Upcycled Fall Sweater Wreath

My Upcycled Fall Sweater Wreath

I decided I needed a change from the hand-knitted wreath I’ve hung in the fall for the past couple of years. So, this week I made a new wreath from upcycled, felted sweaters. I got the idea from this blogger whose version has slightly different look, with more uneven edges. For my wreath, it took three sweaters, two adult and one baby, and a stash of felted sweater pieces from an Etsy vendor to complete the project. This was a size large wool sweater I found for $1 a second-hand store that I felted down to, I’d say, a child’s large size. To felt the sweater, I simply threw into a hot wash a few times and then straight into the dryer. These were the felted pieces I bought from Etsy. I wanted to add them to the project so I could control the color scheme a bit, having decided on warm fall colors. To make the wreath, I cut out a template in the shape of an approximately 3-inch...

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Posted by on Jul 29, 2013 | 1 comment

Welcome to Del Ray, UpCycle Creative Reuse Center

Welcome to Del Ray, UpCycle Creative Reuse Center

We are so lucky that UpCycle Creative Reuse Center (CRC) has opened their studio space in our neighborhood. UpCycle CRC is a nonprofit that collects reusable items to use for arts and crafts and learning purposes. They’re currently running summer camps and a weekly open studio time in their new space at 1712 Mt. Vernon Avenue. And they have a store in their space where they sell items at affordable prices. Both teachers by training, Susan Miranda and Kelley Organek are the brains behind the operation. The back wall of the store is packed to the brim with yarn, fabric, and sewing notions. I found some nice wool sweater pieces to felt at home for a wreath project in the works. I’m not sure if you can buy this thing of wonder, but it’s one of the many curiosities you’ll find wedged into the store shelves. I love that I know exactly where I can find a jar when I need one. Future Del Ray food swappers, take note. Yellow feathers, anyone? Crayons...

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