Concentric features upcycled denim and linen and a vintage mother-of-pearl button. The circular motif represents living an eco-friendly lifecycle by reducing, reusing, and recycling. The overlapping of some spheres and the ripple effect of others alludes to the power of our social circles to circulate new ideas and inspire change. This piece was created on a canvas painted with acrylic paint and embellished with pre-loved, distressed textiles and straight stitch, backstitch, and French knots.
Do over some pre-loved denim to make a patriotic sign decked out with stars and stripes that will take you from Memorial Day to Labor Day!
To make this project, you’ll need:
1. Stretch a piece of pre-loved denim over an 8” by 10” canvas. Click here to view a past blog post with step-by-step instructions on how to do so.
2. In the top left quarter of the canvas, add stars with the white Tulip Slick Dimensional Fabric Paint. Allow the paint to dry for at least 4 hours before continuing to the next step.
3. Use pieces of Scotch tape to cover where the red stripes will appear on the flag sign. In the open space, draw stripes that still let some of the denim show through with the white Tulip Slick Dimensional Fabric Paint. Allow the paint to dry for at least 4 hours before continuing to the next step.
4. Remove the Scotch tape from the denim. Draw the remaining stripes with Tulip Slick Dimensional Fabric Paint in deep red. Allow the paint to dry for at least 4 hours before continuing to the next step.
5. To create a hanger for the sign, cut a 15” length of 5/8” ribbon and staple it to the upper corners of the reverse side of the canvas.
Have a fun, safe Fourth of July, friends!
Think outside the box! The only thing that’s easier than making this decadent cake from scratch is eating it!
To make chocolate nut cake, you’ll need:
To make chocolate glaze, you’ll need:
Hands-down, I delight in destroying and transforming denim much more than I enjoy wearing it! When my jeans are on their last legs, that means the best is yet to come.
My interest in sustainability began in my college years. For a time, I was a janitor. I cleaned up messes that words don’t suffice to describe, wrangled with trash bags, and hauled away recyclables. At some point, my inner dialogue shifted from a stream of complaints to a realization that I was living in a laboratory with an opportunity to make observations about habits and attitudes related to consumption and waste. What stays with me to the present is the magnitude of waste that accumulated every day and my shock at how we waste resources without giving it a second thought. My least favorite job was an eye opener and a part of why I’m upcycling today.
With creativity, there’s infinite potential in anything. An item can have many uses beyond its original purpose just like how a person moves at a different tempo and has unique goals and dreams at every phase of life. Seeing the circularity and potential for change in an object reminds me of humanity’s capability to reimagine and reconfigure its future.
Reduce, reuse, upcycle!
When refrigerated properly, milk has a shelf life of just a few weeks. We quickly consume the servings in a bottle and it’s on to the next one. It’s a different story for the durable #2 high-density polyethylene container that milk is stored in.
Even if a plastic item is recycled, a lot of energy and resources are required to sort, sanitize, and break it down into a reusable form such as pellets. Many of the plastic items that we put in our recycling bins are ultimately disposed of. It can take up to 1,000 years for a #2 plastic item to fully decompose in a landfill. When plastics break down in waterways and oceans, the ecosystem becomes polluted with microplastics that are harmful to wildlife and people.
Instead of burdening recycling facilities or possibly adding waste to a landfill, tap into your creativity to upcycle #2 plastic. Make a milk container mansion to welcome back your feathered friends this spring. They’ll enjoy living in sustainable luxury. Nest sold separately!
To create this project, you’ll need:
1. Begin by sanitizing the empty milk container with a spray of all-purpose cleaner with bleach and hot water. Peel the label off the container with Goo Gone Adhesive Remover. Be sure to save the bottle’s cap so the resident bird family has a watertight roof!
2. Make an entryway for the birds by poking a hole into one of the jug’s indentations. Use a pair of scissors to cut out more plastic to form a door.
3. Decorate the container with Sharpie permanent markers. The quintessential bungalow homes of Milwaukee inspired me to design this project. I’m fascinated by their charming stained-glass windows, built-in cabinets, gable roofs, and brick exteriors. Let wherever you live inspire your design or choose your favorite places to visit!
4. After the marker has fully dried, paint the milk container with two coats of Sculpey Gloss Glaze for polymer clay to protect your design. Follow the instructions on the glaze container.
Your birdhouse is move-in ready! Securely attach it somewhere outside by threading a piece of floral wire through the container’s handle.
Instead of wearing your heart on your sleeve, boldly declare your sentiments right on your front door! Destroy some denim you love to hate and gain a sweet Valentine’s Day sign!
To make this project, you’ll need:
1. Iron the piece of denim you’ve chosen for this project. Stretch the fabric horizontally and vertically over the canvas, using a needle and thread to hold it taut from the back. Staple the denim to the reverse side of the canvas.
2. Cut and remove all the thread from the back of the canvas. Trim any excess denim. Then, use a hot glue gun to attach the denim to the frame.
3. Use the tracing template to outline a heart on the red felt.
4. Write a love message on the Magic Paper. Stick the Magic Paper inside the heart shape and put the felt in an embroidery hoop. Use three strands of DMC embroidery floss in white to sew the lettering with backstitching.
5. Remove the felt from the embroidery hoop. Soak the fabric in cold water to dissolve the Magic Paper. Let the fabric fully dry. Cut out the heart shape from the piece of felt.
6. Use three stands of DMC embroidery floss in #966 to appliqué the heart to the canvas with blanket stitch.
7. Glue small pompoms around the felt heart.
8. Glue medium sized pompoms along the edges of the canvas.
9. To create a hanger for the canvas, cut a 12-inch length of decorative trim and staple it to the upper corners of the reverse side of the canvas.
Enjoy your new sign, Valentine!
Warm up on even the coldest winter day with this retro cookie recipe. Golden ginger drops pack a punch with sugar, spice, and everything nice!
To make this recipe, you’ll need:
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ cup molasses
- One egg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in ½ cup boiling water
- 1 ½ cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- 1 tablespoon ginger
It’s cookie time!
Before the holidays pass us by, make a little time for this DIY project. Elevate a vintage holiday handkerchief to wall art status with deceptively simple techniques, metallic thread, and a handful of shiny seed beads.
To make this project, you’ll need:
1. Iron all the fabric before you begin. Secure a pretty part of a hankie in the embroidery hoop.
2. Embellish the fabric with straight stitches made with metallic thread to add sparkle and contrast.
3. Sew on a sprinkling of seed beads for texture and dimension.
4. Trim the excess fabric and gather it behind the hoop. Cut a circle of white felt. Use the hot glue gun to secure the felt to the reverse side of the hankie.
It’s time to deck the walls! Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all of you!
From the White House to your kitchen, this retro recipe has plenty of history and fall flavor!
Dolley Madison was the wife of James Madison, the fourth president of the United States. During her time as First Lady, she took on a highly public role supporting her favorite causes and was known for both her unique personal style and being a gracious hostess of countless social functions. This cake is one of her many famous recipes.
Surprisingly, Dolley Madison cakes were still being made in kitchens everywhere in the early 20th century. Maybe the World Wars piqued widespread interest in Americana and recipes from the past.
The original recipe doesn’t note what type of frosting to use. I found out that Dolley Madison cake calls for caramel icing. You can either purchase some or try out the homemade caramel icing recipe that I used for my cake.
Let’s get baking!
1. First, mix together the following:
2. Divide the mixture into two pans greased with butter.
3. To one pan, add:
4. Cook the cake layers for about 50 minutes at 350 °F. Remove the cake from the pan after it has cooled.
5. Add caramel icing between the spice cake and yellow cake layers. Drizzle icing all over the top of the cake.
It’s time to enjoy your sweet treat!
If you have no time to make it to the pumpkin patch this fall, that’s all right. In just an afternoon, create a paper mâché pumpkin that you’ll fall in love with year after year! This project explores the negative space and texture created by stamping a surface with found objects. I used a variety of vintage buttons to stamp my pumpkin, but you can use just about anything textured for stamping, including old, new, manufactured, or natural items. Pick your favorite crafting pumpkin and let’s begin!
For this project, you’ll need:
1. Using a foam brush, evenly paint the pumpkin with 3 coats of cream acrylic paint, allowing each coat to fully dry.
2. With the paintbrush, paint the pumpkin’s stem with brown paint and allow it to dry. Mix black and cream paint into the brown paint to create a lighter and a darker shade of brown. Paint fine lines onto the stem with the custom lighter and darker brown shades you mixed to add realistic variegation.
3. Use the foam brush to dab a thin layer of black paint onto the most raised parts of a found object. Stamp the design onto the pumpkin, starting with the part closest to the stem and working outward. Continue stamping with a variety of found objects to form a concentric design until you’ve decorated the top third of the pumpkin. Allow the paint to dry.
4. Spray the pumpkin with two coats of Mod Podge Matte Clear Acrylic Sealer to protect the paint job.
Your pumpkin is now ready for its big reveal! I hope you enjoy this beautiful season.
For more fall fun, please visit these previous posts:
-To make a driftwood boho wall hanging
- To create an upcycled driftwood pumpkin magnet
- To mix up pumpkin pie ice cream
- To fashion another fabulous faux pumpkin
- To warm up with retro potato soup or cheddar harvest squash soup
- To whip up coconut chai body balm
- To stitch a reversible upcycled fall mandala locket
- To curate a collection of cold weather essentials
Thanks for visiting!