Archive for October, 2009

Happy Halloween

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Whatever your celebratory beliefs concerning Halloween, of all the holidays, it is arguably the high holy day of upcycling.

I have personal knowledge of a single hot pink bed sheet purchased from Goodwill that was upcycled into a glam-ghost costume? which was accidently turned into more of a hot pink burka? then upcycled a third time into a super heroine cape for *use your announcer voice* Glam Girl!

? and all this in just one night!

Turning Tape Dispensers into Tape Dispensers

Monday, October 26th, 2009

I read an article by Tom Szaky proposing another option to the traditional ideas of upcycling.

The idea is brilliant: Collect Scotch Tape dispensers from the public and give them back to 3M to use for the exact same use they were before?tape dispensers.

Ok, so I?m inspired.

I don?t have a personal collection of tape dispensers laying about, but I?ve got a stack of PG&E return envelopes since I pay my bills online – I?m off to return them to PG&E. 

Admittedly billing envelopes are not as heady as tape dispensers, but we all do what we can.

Read the whole brilliant article at

ETSY for Inspiration… and Coolness

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Ever come across an item destined for upcycled greatness only to find that you?re running low on inspiration?

Check out ETSY.

This site is made up of amazingly creative handcrafters ? a community of unending inspiration and a major source of cool.

One of my favorite features of this site is that you can search by geographic location, making it easy to support your local community. Just click the ?shop local? tab ? and get inspired!

Here are a couple of shops to get you started:

And because I can’t help myself… REGRETSY

Goodwill Ambassador

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

 I hate to shop, but…

? if you could find all manner of stuff you needed – everything from the brand name classic to the completely funky, and it was all arranged by item and color, in an immaculately clean shop and every time you bought something it helped people, you’d have to do it, right?

This my friends is the Goodwill store in Santa Rosa.

I got an amazingly cool new purse that I would have never purchased while it was on the rack in Macy’s and some equally fab shoes. And I came this close to rocking a pair of shoes i can only describe by tossing around words like; plastic coated, red, high heeled loafer and alligator.

And when I?m done using them, I?ll donate them. It?s the circle of life my friends.


so nice it?s posted twice: taken from

Yard Clippings Turned Bath Tea

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

I?ve lived in the wine country my whole life ? but it wasn?t until I actually moved out to the country, and conquered my fear of spiders, that I started to see potential spa products masquerading as heaps of yard clippings around my property.

Lavender, chamomile, rose petals, *calendula, mint and rosemary are among the many ingredients that can be used in creating a soothing bath tea.

Here is one of my favorite recipes:

Mix these ingredients together and store in a container.  When you’re ready to use them, add  ½ cup of the mixture to 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and allow to steep for 15 minutes.  Strain and add to your bath water

1 cup rosemary
1 cup lavender
1 cup rose petals
1 cup mint

*note: pronounced kulen?jula ? not kalen?doola, the latter will result in some serious mocking.   Heed the voice of experience.

What Is Upcycling?

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

The term “upcycling” was coined by William McDonaugh and Michael Braugart in their book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. 

It’s also a much cooler way of saying, ??finding a way to use it again – preferably before recycling it.?

Most of us have been upcycling our whole lives. Ever scribble a shopping list on the back of an old AT&T envelope before tossing it in the recycle bin?  Or maybe your kids have made rainy day art projects with odds and ends from the craft drawer.  The point is, if you look around you?ll start to see it everywhere – and that’s important.

But it?s more than that.

There?s a larger definition, a bigger human picture ? we upcycle every time take something that has been used up and turn it into something that is useful; something that appeared valueless and give it a renewed purpose.

And sometimes we recreate a treasure.

Reusable Shopping Bag

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

It?s easy to find a reusable shopping bag these days; seems like every store from Safeway to Kohls has a branded bag for you to purchase.  Or maybe you plan to dig your way to the back of your closet and unearth that faded-out canvas number ? Either way, Well Done.

But, have you considered taking it a step up? I have an upcycled shopping bag, and it sincerely rocks.

Originally part of a three-piece set (small/medium/large) it is made from a 50lb Riceland Foods, Inc. bag. It has reinforced seams and handles and is made from a plastic-type material that insures it will last almost forever either upcycled as a grocery bag ? or in a landfill.

Proceeds benefited Asia?s Hope. You can read more about them here:

I eventually wrote the website on my shopping bag with a sharpie, because people are always asking about the bag. 

Yes, it rocks that loud.

Rethink Recycle

Monday, October 12th, 2009

An address debacle at the printers yielded a couple of reams of high end letterhead that I rescued en route to the recycle bin. Zipped into 3.5 inch squares and clipped together with a surplus of small binder clips they become handy little notepads.

I used a stamp to give it a little bit of cool ? but only every third page, because there is such a thing as too much coolness.

Rubbish! Reuse Your Refuse

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Check out Amazon reviews for Rubbish! Reuse Your Refuse by Kate Shoup.


Refashioned Bags:Upcycle Anything into High-Style Handbags

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Check out Amazon reviews for Refashioned Bags: Upcycle Anything into High-Style Handbags by Faith Blakeney and Justine Blakeney.



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