Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why Repurpose Glass Bottles? - by Deana Vail

There are millions of tons of reusable resources ending up in the landfill every day in this country - everything from metal, plastics, and paper to furniture, clothing, and even plant materials. So, being an eco-artist, why would I choose to work with just glass? The answer is really quite simple.

Out of all the resources that can be reclaimed, recycled, and repurposed, glass is the only material that never breaks down. A glass bottle will be a glass bottle until someone decides to do something with it. Its properties are never reabsorbed by the earth. Glass does not absorb water. It does not become brittle in the sun, and it doesn’t fade. In fact, it’s this durability that makes glass the safest vessel for our food and beverages as it does not leach harmful chemicals or dyes like plastics or aluminum cans. Plus, with so many local bars and restaurants, the access to this “unwanted material” is plentiful!

Then, there’s the versatility of repurposing a glass bottle. A glass bottle can be made into drinkware, lighting, jewelry… the only limit to repurposing a bottle is your imagination! Glass is perfectly at home whether on your dining room table or hanging around your neck. Plus, depending on your process, many different items can be made from a single bottle!

And finally, glass is just beautiful. Every element of a glass bottle adds to this beauty – from the varying thickness, to the shape, to the color – every bottle has its own personality and character. In fact, I often refer to a glass bottle as a snowflake. No two bottles are ever the same! Have you ever seen sunlight illuminating the curves of an empty green wine bottle? If you have, then you know what I am talking about. Glass has a beauty and a glow unlike anything else on earth.

Glass can be a tricky and fickle material to work with. Yes, you will get cut from time to time… and yes, you have to use safety procedures when working with glass, but the reward of creating a shiny, unique and safe product is worth all the frustrations you will encounter. Glass gives you the freedom to unbottle your creativity while, at the same time, do something good for the environment.

This was written by Deana Vail from GroovyGreenGlass and published on her behalf. All the photos shown are property of the author and not to be copied or reproduced in any way without her prior consent.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Make Your Own Packaging from Upcycled Material - by Susan Napper-LeDuc

Here’s an easy DIY packaging idea that is sure to please everyone. Made with upcycled material, it is not only pretty, but eco friendly too.

What you will need:
 fabric for bag (an old sheet works great)
 light coloured fabric for label (optional)
 pinking Shears or rotary mat ruler and rotary cutter with pinking attachment
sewing machine
stamp for labeling (optional)
sack needle

Figure out size of bag and then cut: When figuring out LENGTH = add the length you need plus 1/2” for seam allowance at bottom plus another 1 “ for pocket at top which will be for the drawstring When figuring the WIDTH = multiply the width you need by 2 then add 1” for two ½” seam allowances

Turn down top 1 “ of material and press. This will become the pocket for the drawstring

Make your labels to be inserted into the bag. Cut a label from the light coloured fabric and then stamp with your shop name

Sew down the top 1” to the inside of material. Fold material in half, right sides together, and insert label along the side seam. Sew together side seam and across the bottom seam, using ½” seam allowance

Using the sack needle and string, string the drawstring through the pocket and then knot together both ends of string

Turn inside out and you’re ready to go

Start packaging!!

 This was written by Susan Napper-LeDuc from SNLCreations and published on her behalf. All the photos shown are property of the author and not to be copied or reproduced in any way without her prior consent.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Susan Napper-LeDuc - SNLCreations

Susan Napper-LeDuc is a stained glass and bent wood artist behind the inspired items in her Etsy shop SNLCreations. In our interview, Susan shares how she got started, her passion for her art and her greatest accomplishments!

Q: What inspired you to try to make something with what would be considered 'trash'?

Susan: I come from a family of makers and menders, not as their occupation, but as a necessary part of their lives. My family was very resourceful and absolutely nothing was ever wasted. When something was beyond mending, it was taken apart and useful pieces were saved to be used again.

Q: How long have you been upcycling? How did you get started?

Susan: I’ve been “upcycling” since I can remember. We called it “making do”. I remember as a small child bringing home an armful of cattails and tall grasses that I wanted to display in our living room. We had nothing large enough to hold them so I made a large vessel out of a stacked bunch of old ice cream containers and paper mache, paint and varnish. I also turned tired old jeans into skirts and bags, unravelled old sweaters to make new sweaters, and refinished all my hand-me-down bedroom furniture, which is kind of an upcycling to me.
Today, I’m as passionate as ever to upcycle...I believe conservation is a must! My pet peeve is litter and I think waste is a bad word! I would much rather make something from “trash” than see it end up in a landfill.

Q: What type of upcycling do you do?
Susan : You can see some of the following examples of upcycled work I do today in my shop:
-used woollen rags (coats, skirts, blankets, etc.) are now warm hooked rugs
- barnboard and old window panes are now unique rustic frames to showcase a rare four leaf clover.
-hems and other alterations of cotton flannel clothing are now cozy flannel quilts.
-used marbles are now funky, colourful suncatchers and ornaments
- used pine boards from building sites are now table tops for rustic furniture

Q: Where do you find materials for your creations?

Hand Hooked Chakra Energy Rug
Susan: I generally don’t have to look far to find materials for these items I make. Most are already here in my home. I would like to mention that the first hooked rugs I made were inspired from a steamer trunk jammed full of woollen rags that I inherited from my Grandmother. She was going to make her own mats from this wool. Much of this wool I recognize from years gone by and it brings back wonderful memories. I always have at least a piece or two of it in every rug that I make.

Q: What have been some or your proudest moments and greatest accomplishments regarding your craft and/or shop?

Susan: Biggest accomplishment regarding my work – becoming a juried member of the NB Craft Council
Cedar Wood Garden Setee
Proudest moment regarding my work – First time as a vendor at Market - I actually sold out! An amazing feeling!

Q: What are your goals for your shop? Where do you see your business in the next few years?

Susan: I want to expand into two shops and keep SNL Creations as just glass work and then have another shop, Backyard Ventures, as all the rest of what I do. I also intend on offering plans/DIY workshops/patterns/kits as part of Backyard Ventures. In my “real” backyard, I also intend on having real workshops for anyone interested.


Q: Where to you get your inspiration for your art and for life in general?

Susan: My inspiration seems to come from out of the blue and it can come from anywhere. A song; a quote; a feeling; the raw material itself

Q: What do you do outside of working on your shop? Other hobbies, career, family?

Susan: Outside of the shop – I love to spend time with my family. We love to eat out.... Greek and Chinese foods are family favs. I love to be outside – walking, hiking, biking, gardening. I love to read and I love to practise Yoga.

Visit Susan's Etsy Shop to see the full range of her amazing creations!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

AP Team Treasury Challenge #22 Winners

Congratulations to the Winners of the AP Team Treasury Challenge #22!!! So many amazing entries again this week!

Theme #1 - It's Personal
by Mandy from BeadsMe

Theme #2 - Fire and Ice
by Lisa from TheEclecticInterior

Theme #3 - Summer Wedding
by Marta from CatnipJewelry

Theme #4 - Summer Garden Party
by Jeanne from BlingThingsOriginals

Theme #5 - Nature History
by katikamade from katikamade

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Why make vintage books into a purse? - by Linda Sienkiewicz

When I was a girl, a trip to the public library with my mother was a treat. I was taught not to write in the books or tear the pages. The smell of musty, yellow-paged books still fills me with fondness and nostalgia. I’m also a writer who has great reverence for the written word. So, why, someone once asked me, would I want to “destroy” an old book to make a purse? Aren’t I destroying something of value?

There is a misconception that rarity is always worth money, or that anything antique is rare, and therefore valuable. In the world of collectibles and antiques, value is determined by the item’s condition. Vintage books that have monetary value are usually first editions in pristine condition. It serves no purpose to recycle such a book into a purse because its value as a book would exceed its value as a purse or other object.
But the books that are falling apart, books where the fabric on the spine is worn through or the corners are bashed, where the pages are too brittle to turn or they have markings from previous readers, or the library books with pockets glued inside and numbers on the spine— these are the books worth upcycling.
It may surprise you to know that most books were not published with the intention of making a lasting product; otherwise, publishers wouldn’t have used cheap acidic board made from wood pulp for the covers because it actually causes the fabric cover to deteriorate. The spines of antique books were often lined with pages from other books. The pages yellow and turn brittle from high acidity of the paper they were printed on.

I’ve found food stains, rings from coffee cups, and water damage on book covers, but the worst is library stickers. Cleaning books isn’t easy, as often the dye on the fabric comes right out with certain cleaning agents. Sometimes I resort to repainting a portion of a book to match, which is difficult, considering the color of a book is affected by grime and fading from the sun, and the spine is often several shades lighter than the front or back.

The vintage look (I like to call it a patina) is part of what makes the books unique—there is history, a story beyond the written story. What better way to honor these books than by turning them into something useful that, at the same time, shows off their beauty?
About the story, people ask me what I do with the pages. I rebind some books and add them to my own library. With others, I make greeting cards and book markers. Anything else goes into my recycle bin, where it is eventually recycled into something useful. There’s no shame in a brown paper bag.

A book purse is something that shows the owner’s love of literature or vintage goods—a highly original and unique accessory that can be enjoyed for many years. I’ve climbed many ladders at used book stores and rummaged through boxes at used book sales to find my treasures. I like to think I give new life to the forgotten relics that I’ve rescued.

This was written by Linda Sienkiewicz and published on her behalf. All photos shown are prober of the author and not to be copied or reproduced in any manner without her prior consent.

To see more of Linda's work or to contact her please visit:
RokkiHandbags - Linda's Shop on Etsy
Her Web Site
Her Blog

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Making Paper Beads - by Roxanna Meyer

I really hate making garbage and try to make as little as possible. Not always an easy task with the way things we buy are packaged. I also don't like to waste things. I keep pasta sauce jars for storage, make compost out of all my kitchen scraps, keep toilet paper tubes for planting seeds. I love crafting and when I learned you can make beads out of paper I had to do it. Making something out of what used to be garbage seemed like a great idea. The reason I love making paper beads is because they always come out different. Different paper thickness, cutting the triangles into different widths and lengths, different paper patterns – you never know what you will end up with, but they are always beautiful. I have created beads with greeting cards, wrapping paper, junk mail and thin cardboard boxes – like the boxes butter is packaged in. It is also really easy and relaxing - I tend do make beads while sitting watching cartoons with the kids. I started selling them on etsy because I started running out of room and didn't want to stop making them! If you look hard enough, there is the always a way to make beauty out of garbage!

It is really a simple process. You start with your paper, a ruler, a pencil, fishing line, and something to roll your beads with. You can use anything you like, depending on what size you would like the hole in your bead to be. For a very narrow hole, you can use a toothpick or a needle. For a larger hole you can use a bamboo skewer.

Mark the top and bottom of the paper with a dot every ½ inch. Starting with the last dot on the bottom right, make straight line with your ruler to the top right corner and continue making triangles on your paper. Then simply cut along the lines.

Starting at the widest point of your triangle, start rolling it tightly around the needle. Using your nails to catch it in at first, ensuring to keep the paper centered. Put a dab of glue at the end and press down on it for a few seconds to hold the bead in place.

String your newly made beads on plastic fishing line and varnish them. You can use polycrylic, or even clear nail polish. Let dry between coats. You can coat it until you like the finish.

This was written by Roxanna Meyer and published on her behalf, all photos shown are property of the author and not to be reproduced without her prior consent.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Treasured Shop of the Week #19

Congratulations to Bill from BillsWoodenPleasures!! His shop has been selected as our next AP Team Treasured Shop of the Week!! His treasury from last week Football Stuff for Dads was the drawing winner!

Be sure to stop by his shop as well for a look at his amazing work!!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

AP Team Treasury Challenge #21 Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the AP Team Treasury Challenge #21!!!

Theme #1 - Summer Fashion
by Caitie and Jamie from NuitHiboux

Theme #2 - What's In Your Nature
by Ildi from Ceraminic

Theme #3 - Bright Summer
by Lisa from JewelrybyJakemi

Theme #4 - Summertime in the Garden
by Ellie from MyLittleChick

Theme #5 - Colors of Summer
by Dawn from DawnsCrochetShop

Friday, June 1, 2012

Jenelle Montilone - TrashN2Tees

Jenelle Montilone offers sustainable, custom, one-of-a-kind clothing & accessories with a funky twist in her Etsy shop TrashN2Tees. In her interview she tells us how one frustrated mom has created a 100% recycled clothing empire!

Q: What types of items do you make?, what materials do you use and where do you find these materials?

Jenelle: Each original design is hand cut and made using 100% reclaimed clothing. Materials used to create TrashN2Tees designs are hand picked and collected through TrashN2Cash, local collections, or purchased at thrift stores. TrashN2Cash is a clothing recycling program I established for my customers which offers both incentives and an outlet for recycling unwanted, worn out, and stained clothing. The program will be expanding to include local bin collections and pick up options in Central Kentucky.

Q: How long have you been doing this type of upcycling? What inspired you to try to make something with what would be considered ‘trash’?

Jenelle: As a mom, I became frustrated with the lack of "cool" clothing available for the boys. I really wanted to dress them in fashion that reflected their own quirky personalities- so over 3 years ago I pulled out an old sewing machine, gathered up stained & worn out clothing, and whipped up a monster truck design. Looking back now, it really wasn't that pretty... (as I shudder at the thought of wonky stitches.) Either way, that pin points my "ah-ha" moment. Little did I know, I was yearning for a creative outlet and a platform to raise awareness for a cause that I am passionate about, environmental protection. I spent a lot of time honing my craft & teaching myself many different aspects of sewing. I joke that I've found a way to combine all the loves of my life and call it a day job. But really its true.

Q: What have been some of your biggest accomplishments and proudest moments regarding your craft and/or shop?

Jenelle: TrashN2Tees has earned some amazing press & recognition on venues like Halogen TV, Practically Green, Green Child Magazine, Build A Little Biz, Etsy, and various other eco/crafty blogs. I was recently named A Leading Mom in Business according to They're all proud moments for me, but I get really geeked out by the genuine connections I am able to make within the community I've been able to build and be a part of. To hear that something I've done or been a part of directly inspired you to take action fills my heart with fireworks.

Q: What are your goals for your shop? Where do you see your business in the next few years?

Jenelle: I am currently working with an app developer to create an epic & revolutionary product that will change the way you recycle. A goal I have for 2012 is to become more involved locally. I hope to create some events this year that will give people a hands on opportunity to repurpose as well as establish drop off bins & locations for clothing recycling collections. My Etsy shop goals are for consistent sales & continual growth. Extended goals for TrashN2Tees- I would be ecstatic to be doing the very same thing I'm doing today... with the addition of some hired help (or minions as I like to call them) who will coordinate events, handle the nitty gritty of PR, and oooh! deal with the books. That would leave me plenty of time to focus on creating amazing products and delivering my customers an inspiring & delightful shopping experience. Can I add a personal chef to the list?

The Mustache Rainbow Clout Set
a collaboration between TrashN2Tees
and North Star Knits (also on Etsy)
Custom Order Original
Upcycled Tee
Rainbow Striped Hoop Earring

Q: Where do you get your inspiration for your work?

Jenelle: I gather inspiration everywhere- most often though I am inspired by things that make me smile, laugh, and just bring joy to my life. I noticed that many times my tshirt designs correlate to whatever is trending in my house- hiking, camping, nature or maybe monster truck, baking cookies, or a simple rainy day. I also pay very close attention to Etsy Merchandising Reports for "it" colors and themes.

Q: What do you do outside of working on your shop? Other hobbies, career, family?

Jenelle: I wake up everyday with the #1 thing on my to do list... be awesome! I spend as much time as I can exploring & admiring the world around me, digging in dirt, hiking, dancing like a maniac, and cuddling my boys. I fill in the rest of my days with doodles, scissors, recycling goodness, reading up on SEO and sometimes dirty dishes. (boo)

Q: Any additional information or parting thoughts you would like to share with us and your potential customers?

Jenelle: Though I make every effort to repurpose the materials I have on hand- often creating new products to utilize the scraps- I also work with a clothing recycling facility. I transport clothing and scraps that will possibly be processed into useful goods like rags, insulation, packaging and sound-proofing materials. I want to invite you to join my on my TrashN2Tees Blog where I share tips & tutorials on reusing anything from electrical wire (to make bracelets) and dryer lint (playdoh recipe included) to stylish remodeling of clothing.

You can also connect with Jenelle and TrashN2Tees here:
TrashN2Tees Website
TrashN2Tees Etsy Shop
TrashN2Tees Blog
TrashN2Tees Twitter
TrashN2Tees Facebook
TrashN2Tees Pinterest