Tag Archives: upcycle

DIY: Bedazzle Your Cargos

Once upon a time, a long time ago, a young girl bought a new pair of cargo boots. It wasn’t that she really needed them, but she just couldn’t pass up the very affordable price of this particular pair. She wore cargo boots every single day because they were incredibly comfortable, incredibly durable, went well with jeans and leggings, and were easy to slip on and off. The new, very affordable pair were black but because she already owned a pair of black cargo boots, she decided that she would save them for a very special project that she had in mind.

Time passed. More time passed. And eventually the young girl realized that the (not so) new, very affordable black cargo boots were still sitting under her desk, untouched. So the young girl pulled out her supplies, got to work, re-fashioned the boots, and came out with a beautiful (and quite practical) pair of black cargo boots that had a touch of floral. The young girl loved her pair of new, very affordable, partially recycled, black with a touch of floral cargo boots and she lived happily ever after (okay, so it’s only been one day, but she’s been happy for that one day).

Okay, so the fairytale isn’t really that magical. But I must say that I was pretty excited when I finally got around to re-fashioning my inexpensive boots. This may, perhaps, be my favourite DIY project to date. In case you haven’t realized from some of the designs on my blog, I love floral. And in case you didn’t clue in, the “young girl” in the fairytale above is, in fact, me. I love cargo boots. So what results, you may ask? Well take a little gander at the picture above and then you will understand. Hence my excitement.

Want to know the best part about this project? It is so incredibly easy! The original idea came from A Beautiful Mess, and so I hereby take no credit for developing this DIY project (head over that way to check out the boots they created–it may give you a little more inspiration)! The project requires only a few materials that you will most likely find around your home (minus the boots…unless you want to re-fashion an old pair of yours–all the power to you!). They are also partially recycled through the use of thrifted or scrap fabric.

  • a pair of cargo boots
  • thrifted, recycled, or scrap fabric (it does not need to be floral–try stripes, polka dots, paisleys, etc.)
  • scissors
  • white glue
  • a paint brush
  • a cup or container
  • a small amount of water
  • scrap papers or newspaper
  • an exacto or japanese paper knife
ONE: Gather all of your materials. Remove the laces from your boots and mark the sections that you would like to cover. Cut your scraps of fabric large enough to generously cover these areas. In your cup or container, mix equal parts of white glue with water. Lay down scrap papers or newspapers to prevent any mess. TWO: Working in small sections at a time, glue the fabric to the boot. Use the pure glue for the first attachement of the fabric. This may require you to cut the more general shape of the area you are covering out of your fabric as you work. Ensure that you don’t cut too much though, as the excess can be removed later. Once the fabric is glued to the boot, allow it to dry completely. This may take most of the day or even through the night, but be patient. The better it is stuck on the more durable it will be. Repeat for the second boot. THREE: When the first glue layer is completely dried, cover the entire fabric area with the glue-water mixture. Allow it to dry solid. FOUR: Once that layer is dried, using the exacto-knife cut around the edges, trimming off the excess fabric so that it fits nicely into the desired area. This may take a bit of patience and effort. If the edges aren’t glued down completely, you may be able to indent the fabric and then use the scissors to cut the line. Either way, ensure that the fabric fits into the desired area. FIVE: Cover the entire fabric area, especially the fresh-cut edges with the glue-water mixture. Allow to dry and then repeat. Continuously add more glue-water layers until you are satisfied (I did 4-5 coats). Allow to dry over night. Re-lace your boots and take ’em for a spin!
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There you go! Sure, it takes a little bit of time with all the glue-applying-and-drying required, but all in all it is a very simple project! I hope you are inspired to take it on and bedazzle your old or new boots (minus the cheesy bling, of course). Thanks for stopping by and reading. I’m off to break these bad boys in with a lovely little walk around the block!
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RE-FASHION: Bow Backed Shirt

I don’t know about you, but by the time the end of April comes around I get really really sick of my wardrobe. Perhaps this feeling is due to the beautiful weather or just a craving for something as fresh and crisp as the Spring breeze. In years past, this feeling would result in a nice little Spring shopping spree on my part, but since I will not be buying any new clothing for the entire year I needed to find a different solution. That solution, my friends, is a dandy little re-fashion!

My personal style is very comfortable and plain. I wear a lot of neutrals and greys, jeans and leggings, and love to accessorize with scarves and special details. This shirt is the perfect fit for that! It is a very standard long-sleeve with a touch of something special in the back. For some reason, I have recently been obsessed with adding special details to the backs of shirts. I think it is so under-rated and special. It’s like a good mullet–all orderly in the front but a party in the back. Classy.

The inspiration and idea for this re-fashion came from Donatella from inspiration & realisation. She has a beautiful blog about her sewing and fashion adventures. She finds a lot of great inspirations from some of the biggest (and most expensive) designers and then re-creates their pieces in her own way. This shirt was inspired by a t-shirt design by Red Valentino. Sure, it may not have the designer label but it is oodles and oodles of dollars cheaper and can be completely recycled (depending on where you get your supplies). I’ll admit that I re-fashioned this shirt three-or-so months ago so I will do my best to reiterate the steps. If anything is unclear, feel free to reference Donatella’s post for further clarification or ask below.

As mentioned above, my version of this shirt was made of completely recycled materials. The grey long-sleeved shirt came straight from my closet and the black meshy back panel came from a thrifted shirt. You could also use fabric scraps from projects past. If you decide to head to the thrift store to find some workable pieces, look for large pieces of fabric that are suited to your needs. You may perhaps consider using different colours or types of materials.

  • a t-shirt or long-sleeved shirt that fits you
  • meshy fabric (large enough to create both a large back panel and a bow)
  • scissors
  • tape measurer
  • pen
  • pins
  • thread (that matches your t-shirt colour)
  • sewing machine
Let me first note that this will require the use of a sewing machine. My mother’s sewing machine and I do not get along (at all) so I opted to have my Mama help me with the actual sewing part. If you are unexperienced with a sewing machine, just note that this may be a bit of a challenge. But do your best and persevere because I’m sure it will turn out great!
ONE: Gather your materials. TWO: Lay out your t-shirt or long-sleeved shirt so that the back is facing up. Using a tape measurer or ruler, find the centre of the back. From the centre point, measure 4-6 inches down from the top (depending on the size of your shirt) and place a mark. Cut a straight line up the back, ensuring to leave the 4-6 inches at the top un-touched. THREE: Using your pins, pin the edges under creating a symmetrical triangle. FOUR: Turn the shirt inside out and cut out a triangle of the black meshy fabric that is slightly larger than the triangle of the t-shirt or long-sleeve shirt. Pin the black meshy fabric in place. FIVE: Turn your shirt the right way out again. Using your sewing machine, sew the black fabric into place on the t-shirt or long-sleeve shirt. Once it is sewn on, cut out any additional scraps from the inside. Creating the Bow: I can’t really give you step-by-step instructions for creating the bow. I personally used the sleeve of my black meshy shirt. I randomly scrunched the centre, sewed, wrapped fabric here and there and somehow came out with this bow. I then safety pinned the bow onto the back of the shirt and tried on the shirt to ensure that it was placed in an appropriate position. When I was satisfied, I hand sewed the bow onto the back of the shirt and voila!
There you have it! As I said before, this shirt can be customized in a variety of ways. Perhaps you could make the back panel out of a floral fabric or a bright colour. It can be dressed up (with a pair of skinny jeans and black boots) or could be worn very casually (with some leggings and cargo boots). It really is a fun and practical piece to create and have!
Always remember that there are ways to update your style and be economically and environmentally friendly. Thanks for stopping by!
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UPCYCLE: Heart Lace Cardigan

Cardi-a-holic. Yep, that would be an accurate term to describe myself. Nothing beats throwing on a comfy cardigan, fluffy scarf, and a pair of jeans. But who said that cardigans have to be frumpy? Be-dazzle (without the fake bling) an old cardigan with a little bit of delicate lace and you will have a whole new sweater in a breeze.

I found this charming maroon cardigan at my local thrift store. To make matters even better, it only cost a couple of dollars. Maroon is definitely one of my favourite colours, so I couldn’t pass it by. But I didn’t want just another cardigan to fill up my closet–I wanted a cardigan that was special. So I took on the “mullet mentality” (all business in the front but a party in the back, anyone?) and added a little something special.

I was inspired by a DIY tutorial by Kinsey on Sincerely Kinsey for this project. When I began the refashion, I totally intended on following Kinsey’s instructions completely. But in the end, I strayed a bit and did what worked best for me. Her tutorial is a fantastic step-by-step process, though, and I strongly suggest referencing it if you intend on taking on this project.

I won’t go into too much detail about using thrifted materials, but when possible, do your best to do this. It makes this project way more cost efficient and sustainable.

  • an old or thrifted cardigan
  • a large piece of lace (could be from a thrifted table cloth, curtain, or simply a found scrap)
  • scissors
  • a fairly large piece of cardboard
  • pen
  • sewing machine
  • needle
  • thread (in an appropriate colour to match either your lace or your sweater colour)
  • pins

My cardigan came from my local thrift store and the lace was an old curtain that my mom has saved for the past 10 years.

ONE: Gather your materials. Lay your cardigan out flat so the back is facing up. Lay your piece of cardboard on the cardigan and draw a heart that is appropriately sized to fill most of the back of the cardigan. When you are content with the size of your heart, cut it out.

TWO: Lay the cardboard heart on the lace fabric. Trace around the cardboard heart onto the lace. Cut out the lace heart. Lay it on the back of the cardigan to ensure it is the right size. When you are happy with it, pin the lace heart into place on the back of the cardigan. Once it is pinned, carefully try on the cardigan and look in the mirror to ensure that the heart is centered and in the perfect place relative to the way the cardigan sits on your body.

THREE: When you are happy with the placement, very loosly (and in large stitches) hand sew the heart into place. This ensures that the lace heart stays in place when you run it through the sewing machine. The next part allows you a few options: Using your sewing machine, you can either sew a seam very close to the edge of the lace or you can sew the seam half an inch in and then hand-sew the edges after tucking them under. I personally did the second option, making the lace heart appear a little bit neater. Whichever way you choose to do it, sew the heart on and then cut out the very loose hand stitches that you did earlier.

FOUR: This is where my version and Kinsey’s version differ. If you would like the back to be open through the lace, you can turn your cardigan inside out and cut away the cardigan within the seam of heart. However, on my version, I decided to leave the cardigan underneath the lace heart. The choice is yours–after all, both versions look adorable.

There you have it. It’s easy to do and can definitely be unique-ified and customized. Be creative with the shape of your lace (flowers anyone!?) or the colour and/or pattern of your cardigan. Whether you want to spice up one of your old cardigans or remake a thrifted one, this project is easy, fun, and creatively fulfilling.

There you have it, team. Stay posted for a very special Sustainable Living post coming your way. Happy Tuesday!

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DIY: Recycled Candle Holders

When the day is cold and the mood is lazy, something about candles just helps to warm the soul. But who says that your candles have to lack style? I completed this DIY project a few months ago, but I finally decided to post it in celebration of my appreciation for candles on this cold and lazy Saturday…

My Mom is a candle enthusiast. I like to think that my love of candles comes from her. I light candles whenever I can…in the bath, on my desk (I choose to believe that lit candles help you get those gruelling essays done in a more efficient manner), when company comes over–and the list goes on. They create such a wonderful warmth and ambiance!

I came across this DIY project while scanning the web. It was inspired by a post on Fellow Fellow (the original post can be found by CLICKING HERE) that used old glass jars. Instead of using up all of my Mama’s jam jars, I took a trip to my local thrift store instead. The glass pieces I picked out had unique shapes and were the perfect size for a little tea-light candle. The best part is that they were only $0.50 each!

While at the thrift store, I also scanned the clothing section. I won’t go into too much detail about thrifting fabrics (you can expect a post exclusively about that soon), but I will just say that by doing this you can find some awesome cost-efficient fabrics. “Grandma Shirts” (as I prefer to call them) often possess delicate floral prints and fun bright colours. I scanned through the racks and came across a few shirts that I knew would be perfect for this project. If you decide to thrift old fabrics for this project, look for light fabrics that aren’t too thick.

Now let’s do some crafting!

  • Glass jars or thrifted pieces (pictured above)
  • Thin, recycled fabric of choice (whether it be thrifted or scraps)
  • Scissors
  • White glue
  • Water
  • Cup or plastic container
  • Old paintbrush
  • Tea-light candle

ONE: Start by preparing your materials. Wash out your jars or thrifted glassware with warm water and soap. Dry the glass really well. Measure the approximate height of your jars/glass so you know how long to cut your fabric strips. After laying your fabric out flat, cut strips about 1″ wide and the appropriate height for your glass. Mix about one part white glue with two parts water in your cup or container. The mixture should be fairly watery.

TWO: Dip a fabric strip into the glue-water mixture so that it is covered with glue. Ring out all of the excess glue by squeezing the fabric strip between your fingers. Lay the strip vertically on the inside of the jar so the pattern of the fabric faces out. Using the paintbrush, push out any air bubbles that are trapped between the glass and the fabric. Repeat until the entire surface is covered.

THREE: Double-check that all of the air bubbles are out of the fabric. Allow the glue to dry over a couple of days. The thicker your fabric, the longer it will take to dry. Ensure that the glue is completely dried before you use the candle holder.

FOUR: If desired, add any additional details to your candle holder, such as a ribbon bow tied around the outside. Pop in your tealights and you have a completely customized (and recycled!) candle holder!

There you have it, bloggers–a completely adorable way to upcycle some old candle holders, jars, or other glassware! I would just like to conclude with a couple of thoughts. First of all, be logical when lighting your candles. If the tea-light candles are too close to the edge, consider using a battery operated candle instead. Secondly, if you didn’t check out the Fellow Fellow post that was linked above, you should consider clicking over that way! She has some adorable examples and the photos are stunning. It may inspire a little more creativity in you when you take on this project. And finally, these make awesome gifts! Do a few at a time. They are great to have on hand or to show someone a little appreciation and love. With that said, I’m off to conclude my lazy Saturday with a few candles, my knitting, and good a movie (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, anyone?)

As always, my friends, many blessings on your crafting endeavours. Check back for more posts coming your way. I hope you are inspired to find your smile today!

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