Crafty Manolo » Recycling/Upcycling

Archive for the 'Recycling/Upcycling' Category

Cone On In

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
By Twistie

It’s that time of the year when people who wouldn’t put a wreath on their door at any other time… put one up. There’s something about the winter holidays that does that to people.

But of course the thing I like about it is that it’s easy to get creative and come up with something rather fabulous with a minimum of funding, time, and even effort.

For instance, that gorgeous pinecone wreath up there? Made with found pinecones, an oven,  a glue gun, some spray paint, and a ribbon fashioned out of burlap. Chances are that if you’re crafty, you’ve already got at least a couple of those things lying around your home. The rest? Won’t cost much and are easy to find.

To get the skinny on how to do it, head on over to Twigg Studios and simply follow the simple instructions. Start in the morning, and I’m betting it could be on your door or hanging over your mantelpiece either in the evening, or the following morning.

Oh, and keep in mind that the oven setting of 180C comes out to roughly 350F.

Pumpkins Without Knives

Monday, October 8th, 2012
By Twistie

I love Halloween. I love jack o lanterns. Unfortunately, they’re kind of a mess to make what with the cutting and the disposing of the pumpkin guts and all of that. Plus I’ve never gotten very good at carving, so most of them turn out looking like that first one I did by myself when I was eight… which looks like most of the jack o lanterns down the block.

On the other hand, I always have a ready supply of odd, ends, and general detritus I figure will be useful for something someday, and plenty of imagination.

That’s why I love the inspiration  of this article at Better Homes and Gardens on using that random junk to decorate your pumpkins.

Upholstery tacks, keys, gears, washers, bits of chain and wire… whatever you can think of has the potential to make a unique statement on your porch this Halloween.

Check out the gallery, gather up your goodies, get a pumpkin, and go to town!

Whole Lotta Natural Beauty

Monday, October 1st, 2012
By Twistie

The instant I saw this piece, I needed to know more. I wanted to know more about the artist, the technique, the materials, the inspiration. I wanted to see more of the work.

The artist is Lotta Helleberg. She was born in Sweden and relocated to Virginia in the 80’s. She now lives with her husband and children in Charlottesville, making art and loving nature.

The art and the nature go hand in hand at all times. Whether she’s creating wall hangings, pillows, handmade artist’s books, table runners, or sachets filled with organic lavender, Helleberg’s work combines a spare elegance with a profound respect for nature. The result, as you can see, is tremendously beautiful.

The materials she works in most include: antique/vintage linen fabric, natural dyes created from local plants, recycled/handmade paper, and silk. Her dye processes are eco-friendly, and many of the motifs are created with the help of local flora.

If you’re in the Virginia area, you’ll be able to see Helleberg’s work up close and personal from October 12 – December 5 at Over the Moon Bookstore in Crozet, VA and in the Artisans Studio Tour in Charlottesville, VA on November 10&11. Helleberg is studio #8.

Or, if you’re up in the Ontario, Canada area (As opposed to Ontario, California), Helleberg’s work will be on display at the Joshua Creek Heritage Art Center in Oakville, Ontario from November 2 – 18 as part of the show De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things).

As for the rest of us, well, we’ll just have to get by on browsing her website and her online store.

You know, I really could use a spiffy new purse….

What’s a Broke Crafter to Do?

Thursday, September 27th, 2012
By Twistie

Let’s face it. Nearly everyone has a time in life when they have more creativity and will to decorate than they have cold, hard cash with which to buy supplies (not even from Viking Direct). Sometimes we just have an urge to see how little we can spend on a project.

What to do? What to do?

I, for one, would go browse the projects at Dollar Store Crafts. After all, that’s where I found instructions for making this cool origami crane tree out of junk mail and fallen twigs. It was in the One Dollar and Free section.

There’s also a Five Dollar and Under category, and one for Ten Dollars and Beyond.

Whether you’re looking for a fast, inexpensive way to spruce up your home, a project to keep the kids quiet that won’t bust your budget, or some general inspiration for what you can do with your latest craft store find, Dollar Store Crafts probably has something for you to play with.

Getting Around In Style… By Robot

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
By Twistie

We all have passions that drive us, but some do it more efficiently than others. The gentleman in the rickshaw is Wu Yulu who resides just outside Beijing, China. The gentleman pulling said rickshaw is one of his robots. In point of fact, this is the second rickshaw-pulling robot Wu Yulu has made. The first one just pulled the rickshaw, but this one also tells everyone in earshot: “Wu Yulu is my dad. I take him out on the town.

The whole thing started back in 1986 when Wu Yulu made his very first robot out of pieces from a sewing machine and bits of scrap metal. Today he has robots for such varied tasks as pouring his tea, lighting his cigarettes, and writing messages.

As a child, I sometimes dreamed of having a robot army to clean my home and do my chores. It’s kind of gratifying in a weird way to think that someone in the world has made that dream come true.

Bet She’s a Hero to Her Kids!

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
By Twistie

It’s a bedroom! It’s a playroom! Well, yeah, it used to be a bedroom and now it’s a playroom.

You see, Lori at Head Above Water has two sons. When the family moved to a new home, she assumed the boys would love each having their own room and their own space. Turns out not so much. And so the boys now share a bedroom.

That left Lori with an entire room sitting around doing nothing. But wait! what’s that, up in the spare room? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s Supermom to the rescue!

Taking a variety of things already around the house, a few cheap finds she could tart up, and a few cool DIY projects, she created this fabulous super hero-themed playroom for the kids.

Here are a couple of my personal fave touches:

Aren’t they cool? And so ridiculously simple. Money is great for helping create a cool space, but imagination goes further.

Smoke Gets In Your Fridge

Thursday, July 19th, 2012
By Twistie

Today’s article is a bit of a quickie.

You see, disaster struck Casa Twistie earlier this week. Our refrigerator bit the dust big time.

So Mr. Twistie and I took a ride to a Great Place to Get New Appliances, pointed at a new one, said ‘we’ll take it’ and opted for the extended warranty. When the new one gets delivered this morning, we’ve arranged to have the old one hauled off and recycled.

Turns out, we didn’t realize we could recycle it ourselves… into a smoker.

If you’ve got a fridge on it’s last legs, and it’s not a side by side (freezer on the bottoms apparently works best), and you like smoked meat, this might just be your answer.

After all, as it says in the article,

Abandoned fridges come in handy for more than just smothering wayward pre-schoolers to death


What To Do When the Washer Eats One Sock

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
By Twistie

It’s a well-known fact that washers and dryers eat socks. It’s equally well-known that they typically eat only one from each pair they attack. I don’t know about you, but after years of dealing with voracious laundry rooms and laundromats, I’ve wound up with dozens of unmatched socks I don’t know quite what to do with.

I’m thinking what I might do is pick up a copy of  Sockology by Brenna Maloney.

In this, her second book of crafty instructions for what to do with leftover socks, Maloney gives us another sixteen adorable stuffed critters to delight folks from three to three hundred. Whether your taste is more toward the super cute ducks pictured on the cover, the wacky toe sock rooster, or the cool aliens in jumpsuits (because in old sci fi movies, astronauts from Earth wear jumpsuits but aliens are often completely naked and Maloney felt it was time for the tables to be turned… though she mercifully does not give us patterns for naked astronauts) and gloriously deranged robots (she manages to make socks into cubes!) you’re sure to find a fun, easy way to upcycle those mismatched socks into something to amuse you or someone you love.

The patterns aren’t difficult, either. They’re sewn by hand using only running, back, blanket, and satin stitch. If you’re an experienced sewer, one of these should take roughly an afternoon to do.

Even if you never make a single pattern from the book, Maloney’s breezy prose will amuse you enough to make the cost worth it. Oh, and the cost? If you order it through Amazon, that would be just $12.08 (retail price $17.95!) plus it qualifies for free Super Saver Shipping on orders of $25.00 or more. At that price, you can afford some socks just to make into monsters from under your bed or big-mouthed frogs.

Time to Gear Up

Monday, July 9th, 2012
By Twistie

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I love a good upcycle project. What you may not know is that I have a thing for weird clocks. The more unusual, the more I like it.

And so it was that when I was walking the Temescal Street Fair in Oakland yesterday, I happened across something that pairs these two loves, I knew I had to tell you about it.

See these super funky clocks? They’re made from worn bicycle chain rings and reclaimed fabrics. The clock movements are quartz and American made. Each clock is unique, but Liz is open to doing custom work, if you have a specific color or gear in mind.

Best of all, you don’t have to wait until she does a fair in your fair city to get one, because she has an Etsy shop. Both of these clocks and a whole lot more are available from $36.00 – $52.00 each. Think of the years of timekeeping and conversation starting you’ll get out of them, and it works out pretty darn reasonable!

Bead Week: Roll, Blow, or Craft Your Own

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012
By Twistie

Welcome to day three of Bead Week at Crafty Manolo! Set a spell and see if something appeals.

Sure, it’s fun to buy beads. That’s something I enjoy doing on a fairly regular basis, often with no clue what I’ll do with them later. I just like having lots of beads to choose from when I decide on a project.

But what about making the beads themselves? Most of us never do that. And why not? I can’t think of a good reason. Maybe if we all take a look at ways beads can be produced, some of us will find a way that appeals to our crafting genes. Even if we don’t, we’ll certainly have more appreciation for those who do the job!

Over at Shermo Beads, Ann Sherm Baldwin has a great visual tutorial on making lampwork glass beads. She recommends (and I heartily second this advice!) that if you want to try it yourself, it’s probably better to take a proper class. Still, this tutorial will not only help you see whether this is a craft for you, it will also give you a better appreciation of the work involved in making those gorgeous beads. So put on the pretty, sparkly safety goggles she has thoughtfully set out, and take a look.

Art Trader Magazine Online has a good tutorial on using polymer clay to make Pandora style beads. Wendy, this is for you. Wouldn’t this be a great way to come up with beads with big enough holes to use for your knitting?

I’m just sayin’….

Paper has a terrific blog on techniques and projects for paper beads. I found myself kind of intrigued with the idea of using posterboard, which is how these beads were made. Learn how here.

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make wooden beads? eHow has a clear set of instructions for free. Oh, and if you’re looking for wood and carry your own saw, I’ve got a tree out back that could really use a good pruning. No, really, I do.

You can even make beads from beads. Somehow I’d never really thought about using seed beads to make bigger, more elaborate beads, but the results can be amazing. Check out how with this peyote-stitch bead tutorial on Beading Arts.

Happy beading, everyone!

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
Copyright © 2004-2009; Manolo the Shoeblogger, All Rights Reserved

  • Recent Comments:

  • Subscribe!



    Manolo the Shoeblogger

    Quirks of Art - Scrapbook & Rubber Stamping Supplies


  • Archives:

  • August 2013
  • December 2012
  • November 2012
  • October 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • May 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • December 2011
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • July 2011
  • June 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • February 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • October 2010