Re-purposed Wood Pallet Turned Into Kitchen Artwork

Earth Day is today and it came so quickly.   Usually I try to find some new way to “be more green,” but I just hadn’t had the time due to the craziness at work so instead, I thought I would reflect on the things that I have done to become a more earth friendly inhabitant and maybe a few things I can do better.

Earth Day happens during the best part of the year, SPRING!  I love when trees bloom, grass turns green and the temperature improves.    It allows me to get out my bike and get it ready for my work commute.  I do pride myself on how little I drive in the summer.  Biking actually takes less time than driving, but I mostly bike because  I don’t like adding pollution to the air.  It is also great exercise and saves me a bunch of money!  Not only in gas but also maintenance costs.

My husband and I have cut back the amount of meat that we consume.  I just finished reading the book “Eating Animals,” by Jonathan Safran.  This book provided research on what factory farming has become and I don’t want to associate with that.  We have cut out almost entirely all factory farm meats and actually found some soy products that are actually great replacements.  Beyond Meat has a great chicken for stir fry and a beef crumble for spaghetti or any similar recipes.  I actually prefer these over the real thing.  On occasion we will find clearance meat at the grocery store that we will buy.  It’s better than it getting thrown away.

We have composted nearly 100% of our food scraps.  Only meat bone and fat are thrown in the garbage.  I have an awesome compost pile that I actually have lots of fun mixing and seeing it turn into black gold.

I have started making a bunch of homemade food goods like ketchup and peanut butter for example.  Also been buying a lot of things in bulk.  Much of our food purchases usually come from the produce section which means a lot less plastic waste.

One of our biggest trash component, is our cat litter box waste.  I have tried using the World’s Best Cat Litter (which can be flushed) but my cats have refused it.  They had decided to not use the litter box so I had to go back to the clay.  They are old and set in their ways.

A couple of other things I can work on it cutting back on TV time and shower time.  There is so much more to do than watch TV, but some days, you just need to veg and unwind; like after a long hectic day at work.  We ended up getting in a rut where that’s all we did so this week we cut it back to one show.  This is a massive cut back for us!  Shower time, this will be more difficult to cut back on.

That is enough reflection for now.  On to my most recent re-purposed art project.

Every spring our city allows you to put anything on the boulevard for trash pick up during the first week of May.  During this same week you will find all of the metal scrappers coming out to pull out any metal they can sell.  I will randomly find things that I really like too.  In the past I have pulled out a desk chair, laundry baskets and old wood and have been able to put to use for years.

One thing that was destined for the boulevard was a couple of wood pallets.  However, I found a use for one that I just adore.  When I start a project that I plan end up blogging on, I usually forget to take pictures until I am half way done.  So I don’t have a beginning picture of the pallet, only an after it was taken apart.

Reused Wooden Pallet

The were cut without measuring so they would have an uneven look.  This is the look I was going for.  I picked the side that looked a bit dusty because I liked the gray tones.  Once the boards were cut, I sanded down the sides and pulled any splintered edges.

In order to attach them together, I flipped them over to the backside, and nailed in a couple of strips of plywood pieces.  This looked pretty hodge-podge so I won’t share a photo of it.

Originally I wanted something that I could hang in my kitchen/living room area because we have bare walls.  I decided to paint a pear, so it would fit in with the kitchen, but when I hung it up, it actually looked so out of place.  I will need to find a new place for it.

I actually had a lot of fun painting it.  I had a set of acrylic paints I had for years but hadn’t opened yet.  I like acrylics because you can use water to thin it out instead of turpentine.  It got me motivated to get back into painting and art.

Below is the final project.

Repurposed Pallet Art

I think we will end up hanging it in our remodeled garage area; we have a 2nd story to our garage that we only use for storage.  Please see ugly before picture below.  We have just started the demolition part.

Garage Remodel

I would love to hear what changes you are making in order to be more green.  Please leave me a comment; I need more ideas!

 

DIY Butterfly Greeting Card Art

I went through all of my greeting cards this past weekend.  I sorted into piles of crafting and piles of keep and piles for garbage.  The kept more than I probably should have but they had sentimental value.  The crafting ones I am using for this art project.  The cost of this project was minimal.  The cards were free.  The butterfly paper punch was maybe $2.99, clearance at a stationary store.  The frame I had laying around, and I couldn’t find anything to do with it.  I bought a double mat at 40% off.  The rest was stuff I already had.

I went to work cutting out a whole lot of butterflies.  I selected the portion of the card I thought was the most colorful or decorative.  Some had sparkles, some had pattern and some had embossing.  I wanted to get an assortment of colors as well.

butterflies for blog

The next thing I did was get a scrap piece of paper that I drew my grid on.  I measured the opening of the mat board, then measured rows and columns to my liking.  After that, I transferred the cross marks using a needle so what was left were little holes where I was going to glue my butterflies.

PicMonkey Collage20I wanted my butterflies to pop up a little.  I made sure I had enough room in the frame, that is why I chose a double mat.   Everywhere I had a hole, I glued down a small bead.  I’ve had these beads since I was in elementary school.  I am glad I am finally finding a use for them.

beads

Once the glue was dry I started gluing my butterflies to the beads.  I assorted my colors so they would be mixed in the finished art.  I first glued all of the blue, then the green, then magenta and so on.

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Once everything is glued on and dried, assemble the frame and you are done!

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Ta-da!  Nice, eh?  I love this so much I might make a couple more.

Reuse Birthday/Christmas Cards

When I need to do some cleaning in my house, I first put on an episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive for a bit of motivation.   I find it works great.  After an episode this past week, I decided to put all of my cards together and store them.  I figured one photo-box would suffice.  Nope.  Maybe two or three would have done better.   I have some when I was a kid from my grandma so those hold some sentimental value.   There are so many cool cards that I have saved but I was thinking what else I could do with them in order to re-purpose them more thoughtfully than sticking them in a box.  Here are a couple of ways to reuse your hoarded cards:

1.   Cut of the front and use as a postcard.

2.  Use patterns for scrap-booking.

3.  Use a circle punch and make gift tags.

4.  Make bookmarks.

5.  Make into coasters or place mat. -> here.  My grandma had these.  Brings back wonderful memories.

6.  Canning jar toppers.  -> here.  I like this idea.

7.  Make garland.  ->  here.  Very creative idea and chic.

8.  Artwork.  ->  here.   I am going to try the butterfly one.  Love it.  Include the personal messages if you want to showcase in your artwork.

9.  Frame your favorites.

10.  Pine cone ornament for next Christmas. -> here.

Do you have additional ideas?  I would love to hear about them.  I am looking to do a couple of these soon!

DIY Covered Bulletin Board

When I shop at our local thrift stores, I will often find really cheap artwork that either has no glass or damaged somehow.  Mostly really ugly artwork.  But, the frames can really be in good shape, and that’s what I look for.  I bought one for $4.99 maybe and it’s approximately 2 foot by 3 foot.

You can really do a lot with these.   I decided to make a bulletin board covered in a cool funky fabric.  Chevron is in style so I picked some up at Hobby Lobby, and used a 40% off coupon, maybe costing $4.00 in the end.  The rest is just a bit of labor and assembly.

I first pulled off the paper backing to reveal the staples that held it all together.  Usually you will find some cardboard that fills the frame, behind the artwork.  This is what I glued the cork to (also purchased the cork at the craft store).  There are different thicknesses, I went with the 3/8th inch thickness.  I glued the cork directly to the cardboard backing.

I had to iron the fabric because it had creases.  I wrapped it around the cork and left about a 1.5 inch margin, enough to glue it to the back.   I don’t have a glue gun yet, so I used Aleenes Craft glue and used the paperclips to hold it down until dries.

chevron

Then, just fold the corners so they look nice, this is optional.   Assemble  the cork inside the frame, and push back the staples so it’s secure.  I will need to mount some hooks to the back, then all done.

Probably a total cost of $15 tops, I got a cool inspirational board.  Now I have a tough decision on where to put it.

Green Christmas Wrapping

I vow to not use any new wrapping paper for this Christmas.   I still have some used wrapping paper from last year that I saved.  I also saved a lot of bags that I have reused for many years.  But you don’t have to stop there.  There are a whole bunch of ways to “wrap” your Christmas presents without wrapping paper.

1.  Christmas tins.

Christnas tims

2.  Photo box.

3.  Wicker basket.

4.  Scarf.

5.  Magazine pages.

6.  Comics.

newsprint wrap

7.  Small gifts in a coffee mug.

8.  Wrap just in tissue paper.

9.  Towels.

10.  Tupperwear.

11. Egg cartons.

 

Reuse Bed Linen Zippered Pouch

Use these little clear zippered pouches that you get when you purchase bedding for your craft supplies.

I use one from pillow cases to store all of my stamps and ink pads.

Other things you can store in these things:

  1. sewing supplies (needles, thimbles, zippers, string, buttons, etc.)
  2. scrapbook stuff (rub on stickers, ribbon, scissors, pictures, glue, etc.)
  3. hair accessories (hair ties, combs, brushes, curling irons, straighteners, etc.)
  4. make up and nail polishes
  5. kids craft stuff (markers, crayons, paints, etc.)

All of these ideas you won’t have to throw them away again!

 

One Mans Trash is My Treasure

Spring cleaning is next week and people are loading up there boulevards with as much crap as they have been collecting up until this time of the year.   I end up seeing a lot of stuff that can be repurposed, if the right person comes along.  Enter me.  I found this!

box 1

I am not sure what I will do with it yet, but for now I absolutely love the texture of the wood, and the old look of the brackets.  I am pretty sure I can put it to use somewhere.  I am looking forward to finding some other cool things this week.  I spied a saw horse in a neighbors lawn and I was thinking about carrying it home to see if it could be of use for me, or my dad.  The City of Fargo suddenly changed back the Spring Cleaning week to this week so I won’t have much  time to search for treasures.

We also see a lot of people collect metals of all sorts to trade in for cash.  I honestly love seeing this, because some people make a ton of money from this, and it also prevents a lot of metal from going to the landfill.  An article I had read recently in our local paper stated that our landfill has about 11 more years left before it’s at capacity.  This is happening in a lot of more cities than Fargo.  If we can all be a bit more mindful of what we throw away we can extend the life of the landfill.   The city collects food scraps with it’s yard waste during the warm months, Fargo has electronic recycling day where we can turn in computers and TV’s and also has free curbside recycling.  There should be no reason why we have to put our trash can on the boulevard filled to the brim each week.

10 Things to Do With Toilet Paper Rolls

Last week I found out that the spring cleanup week will be postponed until September because of the Fargo Moorhead flood fight.  The flood crest prediction has been lowered and cleanup of the city afterwards will start sooner than we all predicted so the city announced spring cleanup will resume as the first week of May.  This is great news because I like to garbage pick for reusable items and things I can blog about.  I am hoping I can find some old wood to make furniture with.  In the mean time…while people are loading their boulevards with other people’s treasures, I am going to compile a list of things you can do with toilet paper rolls.

1.  Hamsters/Gerbils love them.  See: picture of hamster loving toilet paper rolls.

2.  Make Fire Starters.

3.  DIY compostable peat pots.

4.  Artwork: Creativity 1, Creativity 2, Creativity 3 (and my favorite)

5.  Add to your compost pile.

6.  Make bird house mobile.

7.  Crafts for children.

8.  Chic Christmas Ornaments.

9.  Use as a stencil.

10.  Christmas garland.

Paper Pulp Planters

Do you a simple project to use all of that junk mail, newspapers or wrapping paper?  These planters are easy and you can repurpose waste that is otherwise destined for the trash or recycling into planters that you can plant right in the ground once it thaws.

All you need is:

Newspaper/Paper or Wrapping paper

Water

Blender

Cupcake tin

Flour sack or wax paper

Colander

1.  Put half a blender full of torn up paper shreds into the blender and add enough water to saturate it.  Blend until it looks like paper pulp and you can’t see much of what the paper used to look like.

2.  Strain the pulp in the colander and let drain until much of the water is out.  You can wring it out a bit to get more of the water out.

3.  I applied the pulp to the cupcake tins without anything between the pulp and the tin and most of then got stuck.  Next time I will try a flour sack and wedge it down into the groves before I apply the pulp.  Or you can try wax paper or even butter to grease the sides.

4.  Allow to dry for a couple of days.  Once fully dry, lift the flour sack off the tin.

5.  Plant seeds in each cup using soil and some homemade compost.  Plant in garden once ready and water accordingly.

If you are like me and can’t wait for spring, these will be a nice way to start early.

Blog Spotlight: Refashionista

I absolutely love the idea of this blog.  She buys the really ugly clothes at thrift stores for mere dollars if that, then turns them into beautiful outfits.  A lot of times she has a inspiration outfit she likes, then cuts, pins and sews the “ugly” garment into the magnificent new one.

refasiIf I knew anything about making clothes I would try some of these redesigns.  This is re-purposing at its finest.  You definitely need to check out this blog.

T-Shirt Yarn

What can you do with a crap ton of holy (hole-y) t-shirts that you can’t wear anymore without looking like a hobo?  You make t-shirt yarn!!  And it is so easy.  Here are the steps on making your own t-shirt yarn.

What you will need:

T-shirts

X-acto knife or scissors

Straight edge

Hard surface that you can cut on (I cut over card stock)

1.  Find t-shirts.  I found that shirts with a silk screen print doesn’t curl as easy in the final step.

2.  Fold the shirt like below.  The top half is about an inch shorter at the top than the bottom half.

a

3.  Cut the bottom inch off the shirt (actually the right side) – but it is really the bottom of the t-shirt.  A scissors worked better than a x-acto knife I found out.

4.  Next you will cut 1 inch or 1.5 inch slits starting from the right, moving to the left.  Cut only up to the top edge, leaving that 1 inch gap uncut.  (see below)

b

5.  You will end right below the sleeve/arm pit.  You will cut all the way across here.

c

6.  Lift up the side of the shirt that was left uncut.  Spread it open over your forearm.

d

7.  You will start cutting into one long strand of yarn now.  Starting on the right side, closest to your fingers.  Place the scissors on the outer side and you will cut a diagonal slice to the first cut.

e

8.  Then you will continue to cut diagonal, the most right bottom cut, to the next top cut.  Stay parallel to your first cut.

a1

9.  Continue all the way to the left.  The last bottom slit on the left side you will have to end the cut on the outermost edge. Similar to how you started, just reverse.

a2

10.  That was your final snip.  You have one long strand of yarn now.  You will have to stretch it so it curls.  Start on one edge and lightly stretch it so the fabric naturally curls.

a3

11.  Finally, just roll it into a ball until you are ready to knit with it.  A scarf made out if this yarn would be super soft and warm!  If you do not have t-shirts laying around, check out a thrift store.  They probably receive a lot of shirts they cannot sell because of bleach stains or maybe some small holes.

Repurposed Organizer

My husband and I are planning on moving from Fargo ND to Southern California within the next year.  We don’t know exactly where yet, but somewhere between San Francisco and San Diego.  A lot can happen until then, but we are starting the planning process.

We went through our closets this last weekend.  Actually my husband started, then I thought it would be a good idea to go through those dark corners of my closet that never see the light of day.

In our planning of moving we intend to rid our lives of LOTS of stuff.  We will end up living in half the square footage so having just the things that are most important to us will come with.  I am eager to start going through our stuff and prepare for a massive rummage sale even though we don’t know if it is 100% sure we are going.  The thought on living with less or living a simpler life intrigues me so much.

I noticed in my closet I had a stack of scarf that looked like a cluttered mess.  I found a re-use for my husbands slack stacker (not sure what they are called).  It hangs my scarves nicely so I will be able to grab and go without the closet mess.   I am looking for more ways to organize and would love to hear of your tips on containing the clutter.

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Things To Do With Used Wrapping Paper

It is that time of year again…the time to buy Christmas wrapping paper only for it to end up in the garbage.  But that doesn’t have to happen.  Save some money this year by saving the good pieces for reuse.  I may get teased by my family members a little bit, but I am just trying to save a little bit of trash from ending up in our already large land fill.  Here are some tip on reusing wrapping paper:

1.  Be careful as you unwrap presents.  Especially the large packages.  These make good sheets of wrapping paper to reuse.

2.  Tissue paper can ALWAYS be reused.  I always take all of it home with me, even if it’s torn up a bit.

3.  Use torn up pieces of wrapping or tissue paper to fill boxes that you are shipping.

4.  Shred up wrapping paper to use a filler in gift bags.

5.  Make homemade paper.

6.  Get a circle cutter at a craft store and make gift tags.

7.  Get a half inch circle cutter and create garland with it.  Sew them together end to end.  Having different size circles give it interest.

8.  Use scraps for card making.

9.  Use the back side as scrap paper.

10.  Make homemade gift bows…like here.

No matter what you do with your Christmas wrapping paper, do something to prevent it from ending up in the trash.  And by doing this, you will save a bit of money.  What do you have to lose?