Archive for the ‘Repurpose’ Category
There will definitely be a theme of “the dissertation is done, so Debbie is starting to play ‘catch-up’ with projects” with my upcoming posts. It has been so nice to sew/cook/craft again. Not that I worked on the dissertation/school work ALL of the time, but I found myself feeling so guilty about doing anything else, that instead, I would just sit and do nothing or web-surf looking for new projects that I didn’t have time to do!
A while ago, Jen came across in a catalog this creative way to store stuffed animals. Did she order a couple? Oh no, she said, “I bet Mom could make those a lot cheaper!” (I think they were about $75 in this speciality catalog). I did manage to make one for Little S (who had the stuffed-animals-reaching-the-point-of-room-takeover situation going on!) and she received it for her birthday over a year ago. Both of the girls loved the project and requested I make them for the rest of the “grands” — I bought the fabric, even cut it out, but didn’t get them made until just in time for this Christmas. And, they were a hit!
This “storage solution” would also work great for a dorm room or small apartment (to store extra linens, winter jackets, etc.).
Start out with any bean bag chair pattern.. I used “D” of Simplicity Pattern #5105 (which I can guarantee was purchased during one of JoAnn’s any-pattern-for-$1.99 sales — I do NOT pay full price for patterns!).
Heavy fabric, such as duck or denim (you do not want it to be stretchy!), according to pattern requirements
22″ long zipper (closed at one end)
1/2 yard mesh fabric (like what is used for laundry bags)
Cut out the fabric pieces according to the pattern directions. Begin sewing pieces together, again, according to the pattern directions; however, instead of just a simple seam between two of the pieces, insert the zipper.
For the piece which will be opposite where the zipper has been inserted, cut out some of the heavy fabric and insert a “window” of the mesh fabric. In the “sample” Jen found in the catalog, this window was made of vinyl … so that was how I made the first bean bag — not a good idea! Little S almost immediately zipped herself (we should have known!) into the bag and couldn’t get out. Luckily, a little friend was over playing and we were alerted to her predicament! So, before making anymore, I did a bit of fabric “research” and came up with the mesh idea. If you’re making one of these for an older child or teen, or even a young adult, the “window” isn’t really necessary — mainly just allows for the furry friends to be remembered!
Continue to follow pattern directions to complete the “bean bag chair”, simply using your “modified” panels.
Since these “chairs” are likely to get heavy use (Little S drags hers all over the house so she can sit wherever the action is happening!), I double stitched all seams and top-stitched through the seam allowances which I pressed to one side.
Marshmallow Shooters & Shields
My dissertation was submitted and I had nothing better to do than sit and wait (right, and if you believe that I have an entire “to-do” list you can complete for me!). So, over Thanksgiving I decided to start working on some Christmas gifts – many of which I had purchased supplies for LAST year! This year’s “fun” gift was family sets of marshmallow shooters with shields!
Supplies (for one shooter):
12-inch length of 1/2 inch PVC pipe (sprinkler/plumping pipe)
One – 1/2 inch end cap
Two – 1/2 inch elbows
One – 1/2 inch T joint
Craft glue (I like Tacky Glue)
Cut the PVC pipe into three pieces 2” long, and two pieces 3” long. My original intent was to cut these by hand with a small saw…luckily, I ran into my neighbor at Lowe’s and when she found out what I was up to, she volunteered her husband and his nice, FAST table saw (we bartered 3 shooters in the deal!). What was I thinking??? I did cut one piece by hand, and it took me as long to make one cut as it did for T.H. to do about 20!
It is also important to get two smooth edges (one for each end, since invariably big and little people pick them up and “shoot” out of either end). Even though the table saw made pretty smooth cuts, I still used the sand paper to “finish” off the edges a bit.
Lay out as shown in the picture below.
Starting with the mouthpiece end (top right in picture), use a paint brush, Q-tip, or foam applicator, to brush a SMALL amount of craft glue around the edge of the connecting end (of course, if you put the glue on the wrong end, just flip it around – if it is smooth enough!). You may need to add a few drops of water to the glue to get it to be “brushing” consistency. Insert the PVC piece into the elbow and wipe away any excess glue. Repeat process for each PVC piece and connector. I let the shooters dry overnight before putting them away to start on the next project – the body armor.
*The PVC pipe comes in 5’ lengths – with careful measuring/cutting, I was able to get enough “little” pieces to make 5 shooters out of each length – if your pieces aren’t exactly 2” or 3” it is no big deal!
*You do not want to do the pipe cutting inside – we made a real mess on my neighbors’ patio!
*I made 18 of these shooters for less than $20, including a new bottle of Tacky Glue
*Play rules include “No aiming at heads” – Marshmallows travel at high speeds when shot!
*After the initial gift giving/opening, these shooters have been consigned to outside play only (see picture below – marshmallow stuck on INSIDE of living room window, found FIVE days after Christmas!)
*I think these would be fabulous fun for a sleepover, couples wedding shower, family reunion, etc. You would certainly “break the ice” quickly!
Supplies for One Shield:
½ yard fabric (all one color, or assorted scraps – I used flannel, mainly because that was the only pink camouflage I could find)
½ yard of 3/8” wide grosgrain ribbon
12” of 7/8” wide grosgrain ribbon
1/2 yard of Heavy-duty interfacing
Embellishments – optional (e.g., buttons, silk flowers)
Since I made enough of these to outfit an army (or at least a large squad!), I started by cutting out a number of solid color pieces for the backing. Then after cutting out an assortment of full pieces from the coordinating fabrics, I cut them into smaller pieces and did some mixing-matching – this means your finished front piece will be a bit smaller than the backing (because of the seams) – just trim to match (I’m all about making these projects fun and easy – not precise and perfect!).
All seams were about ¼” (give or take!). Sew the two small pieces together – iron the seam and sew on a piece of the 3/8” ribbon (I used a zigzag stitch for this). Sew the top piece to the bottom and repeat ironing and ribbon. If you’re going to add buttons, an initial, or any other embellishment, now is the time!
Baste the interfacing to the inside of the solid back piece (or, if you were smart and actually bought iron-on interfacing, iron that stuff on!). Flip it over and on the outside, place 7/8”
ribbon for “grips”. See picture below for placement (I forgot to take the picture of the back as I was making these, so just used an extra piece of the interfacing … do NOT sew your grips onto the interfacing – because then they would be INSIDE the finished shield!).
Stitch ribbon in place on each end (where the pins are in place).
Now, placing right sides together (after trimming the back piece to match the front piece), stitch the two pieces together, leaving a small opening so that you can stuff the pillow “shield”. Trim the seam, and then turn inside out. Stuff the shield and then top stitch to finish (and close the opening).
Once the “battle” got heated, we were laughing so hard I had tears running down my face! Too bad I forgot to make myself one!
Wishing you and yours a healthy, safe, and Happy New Year!
As my girls can attest, I do not have a lot of clutter around the house (and am getting even more “minimalist” the older I get). I collect two things (three, if you count friends!) – cookbooks/recipes and magnets/pins. Both of which are usually purchased during my travels. I enjoy looking at them, but got tired of my refrigerator looking like this (found this picture on some realtor’s website — how your refrigerator should NOT look if you are trying to sell your house!):
So, a couple of years ago I purchased some small sheets of metal at the local “big box” home improvement store and nailed them up on a bare wall out in the garage by the washer/dryer – make sure you have a magnet with you when shopping for the sheet metal … not all metal will hold a magnet (a lesson learned the hard way). Luckily on this last trip I had a work nametag in my purse!
This idea would also work if you have a laundry room with bare walls. I just had to buy another sheet and decided to share this idea to “de-clutter” something you have to look at multiple times every single day (the refrigerator), yet allows you to still keep these memory reminders somewhere where you can enjoy looking at them every single day! Hmmm…I guess when I get every single other home improvement project done around here–after I finish my dissertation–I may think about painting the interior of the garage, the walls are pretty dingy looking! Good thing I have those colorful mementos to look at to take the focus off of the dirty walls! :-)
And, if there are no magnets available at whatever “tacky” tourist trap we’re visiting, I will purchase a pin — and since I don’t wear ball caps, these get repurposed to become “tacks” on the bulletin board in my guest room!
Happy Summer Souvenir Shopping!
I know, I know, I have been such a horrible blog mom. I have neglected our little blog here and feel so guilty about it. It had been so long since I visited the administration page of this website, that it wasn’t even in my history anymore! I will only make a brief apology (done) and then totally pass the blame. :) I got a job. That’s right. I am no longer a stay at home mommy blogger. I went and did the unthinkable and applied for a position. I am back to the good ole daily routine of teaching high school math again. I am so tired, exhausted, have a sore throat from talking all day, and have gotten little done around the house excited to start this new adventure at a new high school (the third one I have worked at now)! The kids are fantastic and the admistration and other teachers are welcoming me with open arms. There is a lot to be done as this is the last nine weeks of school now, but we’ll get there!
I guess it would be wrong to say I haven’t accomplished anything around the house. I have accomplished one VERY big thing, but you probably wouldn’t notice it if you walked in my front door. I painted ALL the base boards, doors, and trim in the entire downstairs and going up the stairs themselves. There is not a single part left unpainted. It is all glorious, beautiful, smooth, clean bright white! I LOVE IT! It is definitely feeding my clean disease. I walk by and just stop and stare at a clean corner that doesn’t have any dust, spider webs, scuff marks from the vacuum or dog slobber. Oh the pure blissfulness of white paint!
So, seeing as how there isn’t much of a “how to” to write on painting base boards, I thought I would post about something I did a couple weeks ago. I re-fashioned my first lamp.
I was out buying fun new cake plates browsing some of our local thrift stores and came across this lamp.
I really liked the shape of it and to be honest, the green color wasn’t even really that bad. It was incredibly dirty, not just dusty, and the entire lighting mechanism was probably a minimum of 20 years old. Wires fraying, covered in years of grossness, and totally rusted all around the metal parts. It was only 3.98 though, so I decided to go for it.
Of course, I thought “surely those other parts can’t cost too much to replace since I am doing it by myself.” I was so wrong. They weren’t terribly expensive either, but I definitely ended up spending more money creating my own lamp then I would have going out and buying a new one. A nice new one (ssh, don’t tell my husband). However, I am chalking it up to the fact that I now have a lamp that looks exactly the way I wanted and I can look at it every day and say “I DID THAT.”
That goes a long way in my book.
Here are all the supplies I used. You’ll notice that is not the lampshade in the final product – I didn’t like the way the square one looked. I needed everything brand new for this project since the originals were in such bad (fire hazard) shape. Now, going back to the COST of this project…you can often buy most of these items in kits, however, none of the kits had exactly what I wanted. They weren’t in silver, or contained the wrong color cord, or something else. So this did contribute to the increase in what I spent.
First I removed all the old parts and pieces…this should just be a matter of cutting the cord and unscrewing the light mechanism from the lamp base. I then spray painted the lamp base with a metallic looking spray paint – several coats. Then it was time to get to work on the new mechanism. Tie a knot through the cord (I am not sure entirely why, because if the cord is pulling in the wrong direction, I think you have bigger things to worry about!). Then thread the non plug end of the cord through the lamp base. It should only take a second took FOREVER with the long skinny base I have.
Now, DON’T do what I did…see this beautiful picture of my newly finished light bulb holder? Notice what is NOT there??? The stinking thing that holds the lamp shade up! That’s right, it has to go on the screw BEFORE the new light holder. Oops. This also means it has to go on before you attach any of the wires, etc. Which of course means, I had to take the entire thing apart and start over fresh. Let me tell you…that sucker does not pull back apart easily…
I will begin the next step by saying, “now connect the wires as per the directions in the light mechanism.” EXCEPT, that the directions are unclear and don’t make any sense to people who know nothing about putting together lamps. I have installed a BILLION light fixtures in my ceiling, but still could not figure this darn thing out. A flipped circuit breaker and several attempts in which I told my son, “be ready to go get daddy if I electricute myself,” (and I wasn’t just being funny) I finally got it right!
Put the lamp shade on and voila! A brand new lamp! This was certainly a learning experience, but I feel like I could knock the next one out in literally a quarter of the amount of time. I am kind of looking forward to making another in my future. Something more fun and with a creative base maybe instead of just a normal lamp base. What do you think?!
Are you tired of rummaging through a tangled up mess in a drawer or box to find just the right piece of jewelry to wear with an outfit? This wooden thread spool holder served its intended purpose for several years in my sewing room/office – I’m sure that I got more than my money’s worth out of it. When I reorganized and moved my sewing thread to stacking see-thru plastic boxes, I couldn’t bring myself to throw the wooden organizer away and shoved it under the sewing table, only to be forgotten. I redecorated my master bathroom a while ago and was actually on the lookout for a method to organize my costume jewelry when I saw something in a catalog, which reminded me of the wooden thread spool holder – and it now has a new purpose. It fits perfectly in the space and holds all of the pieces that I wear on a regular basis. A small decorative plate sitting on the counter holds post earrings. Everything is handy, especially for those early morning rushes to get out the door for work. The raw wood look works with my “beach-y” decorating theme, but it could be easily spray painted any color to match your décor. If you don’t have a wooden thread spool holder stashed under your sewing table, you can pick one up at JoAnn’s for less than $10 (with a coupon!).
I was SO proud of myself for completing my first three days of 30D30B. I don’t think I have ever even managed to write in a journal for three consecutive days any time in my life. Alas, at day four, life has already gotten in the way! Instead of sitting at home and coming up with brilliant baking ideas, I spent 20 + hours at the hospital in labor and delievery. A great friend of mine gave birth to her first son who’s daddy is deployed on a ship. I was lucky enough to be chosen as coach to share this wonderful time with her and her parents. So maybe I didn’t manage to create a masterful confection, but boy…things don’t come any sweeter than Baby R! So though I had to skip a day of baking, I thought I would post something that I have been meaning to do for a while.
My brilliant mother, that’s right, you read right mom. My brilliant mother is the craft czar when it comes to re-purposing things in life. One such idea, I use to tease her about profusely and it involves a hairnet. A plain plastic hairnet. The traveling woman that she is, my mother stays in a lot of hotels. While in these hotels she collects the specialty soaps and shampoos and other what nots (like hairnets) that hotels leave in the room for your convenience. First off, always thinking of other people first, she saves up the soaps and shampoos and donates them to her local Ronald McDonald House. They are always in need of things like toiletries and other personal care items for the moms, families and children that they help at their charity locations.
Of course, I digress and I should probably get to the key point of this post. She uses the hairnets that she gets from the hotels as a sort of saran wrap. Remember the Glad plastic bowl covers they sold for a little while? It is the same idea. But WAY cheaper. The hairnets fit over all size bowls, even huge ones, and are fantastic when you are trying to cover awkward items that just won’t take saran wrap easily.
Unfortunately, I am not the traveling woman my mom is, so I have to buy my hairnets. My dollar store sells them in packages of 15 (look in the sections with the wigs and curlers) for, you guessed it! A dollar! So here is a picture of my hairnetted cookie dough from last night’s cookies. Just don’t wear them before you use them!