Monday, September 19, 2011

Guest Post :: My Cousin Upcycles

Thank you to my cousin, Sarah Rosen, for this lovely guest post on her upcycling passion and adventures!

When my cousin asked me to write something about re-purposing I thought it ironic since she’s the one who first inspired me. I mean I’ve always tried to be “green” but she showed me how easily I can take it to the next level.   I have always love crafting but when I took stock of all the “stuff” I had to buy to make the projects it was overwhelming. First of all there was so much waste, then the expense! So I started reading a few blogs for inspiration, which helped, then I found the mother load…Pinterest. Let me tell you this is pure eye candy.  Even the most uninspired can find inspiration there!
So armed with inspiration I then had to train my mind to let go of a things true purpose.  For instance a beautiful but broken picture frame didn’t have to head to the dump, with a scrap of plywood & a little chalkboard paint viola you have a picture perfect chalk board to match your décor!  You can’t even begin to imagine the things you can do with toilet paper rolls-snack packs, gift boxes, Wild Things figures, traffic signs for kiddos etc…

So I set out to my favorite store Tiffany’s (aka the Goodwill) looking for a microwave cart to re-purpose into a play kitchen. No such luck but I did come across a beautiful, if a bit beat up wood table with a shelf underneath (storage-bonus!) for $15! What are they crazy!?! So I scrapped the kitchen idea and started looking for ideas on a train table. I’m telling you just type something into the Internet and instant inspiration! I splurged a little on the soy-based paint, which is 10,000 times better for the planet/people/peace of mind than the traditional stuff. I made the stencils from a guide online. My total cost was just about $40. I don’t think I could have gotten this table originally for less than $140! My kids love it. I love knowing that I created something for them. Best of all it matches my décor!
OK that was a biggie but there’s lots of small stuff you can upcycle too. I’ve had a utensil caddy that I used once. A little spray paint to make it match (have you figured out I’m a matchy matchy gal yet?) and a little chalkboard paint to make it fun and now the kids have an art caddy.
I’m sure my kids are like most and love to paint/draw/create. Although we try to use the backs of mail ect. Sometimes they are a bit picky and want real paper. Now I save it all. I use if for giftwrap. I get more compliments, ohhs & ahhs then any costly paper I could buy. And the best part is people usually try to unwrap carefully so they can save it for themselves.  Oh and the bows and jazzy things you can make from holey t-shirts, junk mail, and plastic bags are endless.
So now that I have rambled on and on to sum up my favorite new pastime upcycling-have an open mind.  Forget what you are supposed to be seeing and imagine the possibilities.  Get inspiration. I always joke when people tell me I’m creative that I outsource my creativity but it’s true. Sometimes I make something exactly as explained sometimes it’s just the first seed that turns into something else entirely.  Then save your treasures. Keep a box in the garage for empty jars, toilet paper rolls, art, ect. You never known what you might need. Hit garage sales, Goodwill, your sisters closet!  And finally don’t not start because you don’t want to mess up. Most of the materials are cheap/free anyway so go for it!!!

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