Posts Tagged ‘upcycle’

Reuse Tues: Shower Caps & Tupperware Racks

Posted on July 26th, 2011 by Tonia 1 Comment

During our Atlanta trip I found myself wishing I had a way to keep my grubby shoes away from my clothes in the suitcase. I found this solution upon returning home. It’s a great way to reuse old shower caps!

When I had dreadlocks back in high school I used shower caps to keep them dry, but I obviously don’t rock the dreads anymore, so we don’t have shower caps laying around the house. I’ll probably just bring a produce bag for my shoes on the next trip, but I wanted to share the idea in case any of you have been looking for a way to reuse shower caps.

Something we do have laying around the house is an old CD rack. Since the invention of iTunes and Pandora, we don’t buy CD’s anymore unless we go to a concert. This is a perfect way to use the rack in a new way.

I have a set of glass containers for leftovers that I love, but they don’t stack very well because they’re all different sizes. Organizing them this way will take up way less room in the drawer and I won’t have to search everywhere for the matching lid.

What household things have you been reusing in a creative way? Tweet the #ReuseTues hash-tag with your ideas every Tuesday and I’ll post the most original and helpful ones!

Ruese Tues: Making Second-Hand Clothes Look Fresh

Posted on March 15th, 2011 by Tonia No Comments

This whole 30 for 30 Challenge has got me thinking about clothes like crazy. Making clothes, wearing clothes, swapping clothes, reusing old clothes in new ways, and giving away clothes I don’t wear anymore. When I started the challenge, I boxed up a huge amount of my clothes and sent them away with a close friend of mine who volunteers at a house for women and children who have lost their homes- helping them to get back on their feet. It’s nice to think about my clothes being enjoyed by those folks.

I have an outrageously cool girl-cousin who lives in Brooklyn. When we were kids, she would bring me huge boxes of her clothes when she would come visit in the summer. I got to pick through them and keep whatever I wanted. We didn’t have a shopping-mall closer than three hours from our house, so this was the closest I ever got to a shopping spree, and it made my little-girl heart skip a happy beat.

Aren’t second-hand clothes great? Whether you get them handed down to you, or you like to shop at thrift-stores, the thrill of acquiring something really cool for really cheap is a wonderful feeling.

My favorite secret spot to shop for second-hand clothes is Mike’s side of the closet. Shhhh! Don’t tell him! Ok actually he already knows about this habit of mine…I repeatedly get in trouble for wearing his flannel shirts and wool socks, and even sometimes his tighty-whites, which are huge on me and I have to fold them over like five times. He knew what he was getting into when he married me, though. I have a history of wearing boy clothes.

The tragedy here is that I never had a sister. I never had anyone to share clothes with growing up. My best friends were {and still are} three sisters, all with names starting with “C”. I would see the Three C’s sharing clothes with each other all the time, and it made me enormously jealous. The fact that they had each others’ closets to go searching in for something fun to wear when their own clothes seemed blah……but all I had was my little brother.

Photo credit:

{Sorry brother, you know I love you. And I’m pretty sure you know the next part of this story…}

So what did I do? I took clothes from my little brother’s closet. He would catch me wearing an entire outfit comprised from his closet, and it drove him absolutely crazy. I told him fair’s fair and that he could wear my clothes if he wanted to….but he never wanted to….Oh, what the boys in my life have to put up with! But that’s the story of how I developed my tomboy-ish style.

One of my most favorite blogs, Tomboy Style, has a new series called Q&A in which real-life tomboys are interviewed. I love the questions and the answers. These are wildly independent and unique women to look up to and admire. In a world where it seems like all the worst human qualities are glorified and deemed as “cool”, it’s wonderful to see real, intelligent, brave women lifted up. They make me proud to be a woman. Also a great place to get outfit inspiration. Check it out!

Sometimes second-hand clothes need a little freshening up, though. I love this post with some really easy ways to alter clothes and make them fresh again. For example, this gingham blouse used to be red and white before a good dye-job. Much prettier now, and any stains from its previous life were covered up.

Check out the full post for more tips like this. And I thought of one on my own, too. Screen-printing! You could make a boring old shirt look awesome by screen-printing an original design on it. This is a pretty ambitious project if you don’t already have a screen, but there are several good videos online, like this one showing how to make a screen, and this one talking about the right ink to use, this one showing how to cut out your design, and this one showing how to actually get your design onto the shirt.

I did a lot of screen-printing in college, and it was really, really fun. There is something so rewarding about seeing your artwork on your own clothing. Once you get the hang of it, you will be hooked, and you will probably want to screen-print everything in your house- pillows, towels, clothing, table linens…

An old tea-towel is given new life by Etsy seller ohlittlerabbit

If you like J Crew as much as I do, you already know that the cool thing right now is screen-printed shirts. They have whole tables of screen-printed shirts in their stores. But you can have way more fun and spend way less money and end up with something way more unique and special by doing it yourself. And if you start with second-hand clothing, you’re reusing instead of buying something new. Win-win-win!

Please do a little homework before starting this project, and try to find inks that are eco-friendly. This article is very helpful in that regard. Save leftover ink in mason jars when you’re done- they keep for a long time- and wash your screen thoroughly so you can use it to screen again and again. Happy screening!

He Sowed She Sewed

Posted on February 24th, 2011 by Tonia No Comments

Two of my very best friends, Caitlyn and Jared, have started blogging together about their two passions: gardening and sewing. We’re all familiar with Jared around here because he has written a couple great posts for me about composting {here and here} and I’m sure we’ll see more of him when the spring comes around. But now his wife Caitlyn has joined the blogging world to share her innovative sewing projects.

Caitlyn challenged herself to make clothing for their two little girls for a whole year instead of buying anything. Children grow fast, and outgrow clothing quickly. They also wear them out quickly, being the active little beings that they are. It’s a hefty challenge even for an experienced seamstress, but Caitlyn has tackled it full-on and He Sowed She Sewed is quickly filling up with great posts about her projects.

The really extra neat part is that Caitlyn is trying to reuse old clothes to make the new clothes whenever possible. So far her projects include one that turns an old mens’ shirt into a cute skirt for her oldest daughter. You guys really gotta check out this great husband-wife-blog, if for nothing else than to peak at pictures of their adorable, happy little family, but especially if you have little kiddos of your own and need some inspiration on how to get them involved and excited about gardening, and how to sew cute clothes for them!

Keep up the great work, Caitlyn and Jared!!

Reuse Tues: Holy Tutorial, Batman!

Posted on February 9th, 2011 by Tonia 3 Comments

ReuseTues is happening on a Wednesday, again. I’d just rename it ReuseWed but that doesn’t sound cute.

First off, thanks to my mommy for bringing the supplies for this project to my house, and for hanging out with me all week! I had a great time sewing with you.

You’re going to love this really quick and easy way to make reusable grocery bags, you guys! And this is a great follow up post to my previous rant about how many t-shirts Mike is in possession of. It’s a great way to reuse old T’s that you no longer wear.

The Supplies

Fabric pencil/marker

Sewing machine


Round object {bowl, pot, lid, etc.}

The Process

Turn the shirt inside out now.

*allowance {oops…}

It’s time to make the opening of your bag!

It should look like this now…

Do both sleeves!

And now, turn it right-side-out and stand back and admire your creation…

An optional thing to do, to make it look even snazzier: give it a square bottom.

To make the square bottom, turn the bag inside out again and pull one of the bottom corners out to a point.

Pin it in place.

Measure an inch and a half down from the tip, and draw a line across.

Sew along the line.

Repeat on the other corner, and turn the bag right-side-out again.

Nice, neat, square corners!!