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Posts Tagged ‘upcycling’

Romeo Small tufts of hair sticking out over his eyes resemble the white bushy eyebrows of an old man. Only a thin isthmus of hair prevents two bald spots on his face from becoming one large one and deep wrinkles that were once hidden by hair are exposed and reveal his age. There is no doubt that radiation treatment for a cancerous nasal tumor has made my dog Romeo look older. Yet, despite his post-radiation appearance, my playful and mischievous dog of the past is slowly returning. As I watch him naughtily shred paper, I smile. Before, such an act would have been met with a frown, but now it brings me joy.

#1 – New Uses for Old Things

Foil Cupcake Liners as Candleholders

Foil cupcake liners as candleholders

I got excited when I found an article on Real Simple’s site called 700+ New Uses For Old Things. With the aid of photos, the article offers many unconventional ways to use everyday items. You can bet I’ll be taking notes as I check out all of these ideas!

#2 – Making Rainbows

Gabriel Dawe Art Installation

Plexus No. 5 by Gabriel Dawe

Gabriel Dawe Art Installation

Plexus No. 19 by Gabriel Dawe

Artist Gabriel Dawe installs rainbows. Using colorful thread, Mr. Dawe transforms large areas of space into rainbow-like art installations. Check out more of his work on his Facebook page.

#3 – Handwriting 101
Ever wonder what your handwriting reveals about your personality? Take a look at the infographic below to see what your handwriting says about you:

What Does Your Handwriting Say About You?

#4 – Summer Reading
If you or your kids are looking for interesting books to read this summer, NPR has you covered with their Summer 2013 Critics’ Lists. You’re bound to find a title that catches your fancy!

#5 – Dare to Be

When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.

When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.

When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.

When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.

When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.

When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.

When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.

When times are tough, dare to be tougher.

When love hurts you, dare to love again.

When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.

When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.

When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.

When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.

When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.

When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.

Dare to be the best you can –

At all times, Dare to be!

Steve Maraboli

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Gardenia The scent of gardenias wafts through an open window and lingers in the room. I inhale slowly and let the intoxicating fragrance permeate my soul. I feel drugged and I can no longer focus on the task at hand. As a Marcel Proust-moment transports me from the present back to my past, I begin to hear the clanging of trolley cars and the hissing of bus doors opening and closing. In my mind, I see my mother bending over a very young version of me and asking, “Would you like to pick out a flower?” People push past us on the crowded street as I examine the buckets of flowers at a corner flower stand. My small hands reach for a large creamy-white swirl of petals. The sweet fragrance is nothing like I’d ever smelled before and I repeatedly sniff the blossom. “That’s a gardenia,” my mother says. I nod and guard my treasure as we board a bus for the ride home. My reverie ends with the ringing of my cell phone and I return to the present. Gardenias will forever remind me of my mother and of that time in my life, but even more than that, they are reminders to me of how little seeds can be planted deep.

#1 – Remember Fathers
With Father’s Day coming up, here’s a video tribute that triggers memories of all that fathers do:

#2 – Eat Your Words
Harry Potter Cake Books and birthday cakes can each be a source of fond memories. What if the two entities joined forces and became “book-cakes” or “cake-books”? If you love books and you love eating cakes, you’ll enjoy scrolling through the photos of 24 Incredible Cakes Inspired By Books.

#3 – Best-Value Destinations
One of my favorite travel memories happened while I was in Italy with my husband, my kids, and three of their friends. We had just finished touring the Galleria Borghese and were slowly walking back to our hotel. Somehow our conversation turned to skipping and how some people in the family couldn’t skip. Before I knew it my adult children and their friends were having a skipping relay race on the dirt paths outside the villa. I still laugh when I watch the video of the race! Create your own travel memories, but before you decide where to go, check out Lonely Planet’s Best-Value Destinations in Europe for 2013.

#4 – Make Gift Bows From Magazine Pages
Make gift bows using magazine pages to decorate Father’s Day and graduation gifts. How cute, colorful, and clever! Click here for the complete instructions. Make Bows From Magazines

#5 – Words of Wisdom
I hope that my achievements in life shall be these:
that I will have fought for what was right and fair,
that I will have risked for that which mattered,
that I will have given help to those who were in need,
and that I will have left the earth a better place
for what I’ve done and who I’ve been.
C. Hoppe

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all fathers and CONGRATULATIONS to all graduates!

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Bartlett Pears

Photos by Linnell Chang

“No two are alike,” I think to myself as I study a trio of Bartlett pears sitting on my kitchen counter. Their rosy-hued coloration, their skin texture, and even their stems are all a bit different. Wanting to capture their unique beauty, I get my camera out. Some 50 photographs or so later, I remind myself how thankful I am for the invention of the digital camera. To be able to shoot photo after photo, without concern for cost, helps this amateur photographer fulfill her desire to capture the beauty found in simple things. Looking at objects through the camera lens provides me with perspectives that I might not normally have. There’s an honesty in what the camera lens reveals as it frames the art existing in everyday objects.

#1 – A Few More Ideas
Colander as a planter Simple objects can be transformed into wonderful gifts. In these economically-depressed days, it is more important than ever to be creative. With the holidays right around the corner, here are a few more creative ways to reuse things. From Earth911 comes this article on 100+ Ways to Reuse Thrift Store Finds. Remember, it’s the thought behind the gift that matters.

#2 – Free Thanksgiving Printables
Decorate your your home and Thanksgiving table with homemade decorations and special touches. It’s easy with the help of FREE printables. Here are just a few that I found:

Cupcake holders and toppers at Fleece Fun
Thanksgiving free cupcake printables

“Thankful” dessert flags from Pizzazzerie
Thanksgiving Dessert Flags

Large and small place cards at Gwenny Penny
Thanksgiving place cards Small thanksgiving place cards

Turkey place card and treat boxes at Spoonful
Thanksgiving place card and treat boxes

#3 – Don’t Forget . . .
While thinking about all that you are thankful for, don’t forget to thank yourself. Everyone’s list of self-thanks is different, but here are a few examples: thank yourself for all of your accomplishments – whether great or small; for staying true to yourself no matter what; for having a kind heart; for taking care of your body; for nurturing your spirit; for staying positive in difficult situations, etc. Along that line, Pick The Brain: Grow Yourself  has a read-worthy article titled, “7 Steps to Positive Self Talk.”

#4 – Learn
Watching this video whet my appetite and made me think of the words from young Oliver Twist, “Please, sir, I want some more.” In this case, I’m not literally referencing food, but the hunger to learn and to do more. Watch it and see if you don’t have the urge to go out and learn something new!

#5 – No Two Alike
“There are something like eighteen billion cells in the brain alone. There are no two brains alike; there are no two hands alike; there are no two human beings alike. You can take your guidance and instruction from others, but you must find your own path.”
– Joseph Campbell

Make this weekend unlike all others!

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Pasadena, CA

Photo by Linnell Chang

Like clockwork, my hip started to ache as soon as the weather grew colder. The saying goes, “You’re only as OLD as you feel.” Or is it, “You’re only as YOUNG as you feel”? Let me think about this: My hip hurts, so I feel old OR my hip hurts, so I don’t feel young. Really, I think the sayings are one and the same. However, if I disregard my cranky hip and listen to my mind instead, I am young. My mind is my fountain of youth – like the fountain I photographed one warm summer day, my mind “bubbles” with energy and activity.

#1 – New Life for Old Bottles
glass bottle Christmas Tree What to do with old bottles? The obvious answer is to find ways to reuse them! Check out this post Impressive DIY Ideas With Empty Bottles for more creative ways to reuse bottles.

#2 – It’s Okay
Orca Bookstore sign This sign from the Orca Bookstore in Olympia, Washington, gives you permission, as an adult, to read young adult books (YA). It’s not like you need anyone’s permission to read these books, you just need to get over the self-limiting-stigma you impose on yourself. Besides popular series such as Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, good books with great story lines exist in the young adult categories. If you’re too embarrassed to purchase a YA book in person, order one online. After reading the comments to the 22 Words post and taking notes on particular authors, my “Must Read!” list is now longer.

#3 – Under the Sea
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Moby Dick, The Little Mermaid, and Finding Nemo reflect the interest of both the old and the young in sea creatures and the ocean. Oceanographer David Gallo said, “Today we’ve only explored about 3 percent of what’s out there in the ocean. Already we’ve found the world’s highest mountains, the world’s deepest valleys, underwater lakes, underwater waterfalls . . . . There’s still 97 percent, and either that 97 percent is empty or just full of surprises.” Watch this TED presentation and be prepared to be astonished at the amazing sea creatures captured on film.

#4 – Autumn Leaves
poplar leaves If the youthful side of you enjoys identifying familiar shapes in clouds, you might like New York Time’s illustrator and graphic designer Christoph Niemann’s Bio-Diversity collection of leaves.

#5 – As Young as You Feel
“You are as young as you feel. If you begin to feel the warmth of your soul, there will be a youthfulness in you that no one will be able to take away from you.”
― John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Go ahead and feel young this weekend!

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Sycamore tree bark

Photo by Linnell Chang

Giant leaves crunched under our feet as we walked along a pathway. “You should see these trees,” my mom said as we approached a grassy common area in her neighborhood. A row of tall sycamore trees dominated the landscape. Incredible patches of bark, resembling camouflage, covered their large trunks. They looked like an artist splashed paint on them. Taking my camera out of my pocket, I focused on the bark of one tree and while looking through the viewfinder, I spotted something interesting. A profile of a face and a neck, complete with an Adam’s apple, sat in the middle of my LCD screen. Blotches of reddish hair, a round eye, and a curve of a smile further defined the face. “Art within art,” I said to myself as I snapped the photo. Can you see the face?

#1 – Oh, the Possibilities!
Seeing the possibilities in things is a talent upcyclers possess. Awhile back on this blog I mentioned that I shred empty toilet paper tubes and add them to my compost bin. Well, there are more creative ways to reuse those toilet paper tubes! Check out these upcycling ideas from other bloggers:

Toilet Paper Roll Wall Art

Paint With Toilet Paper Rolls

Painting with toilet paper tubes

Toilet Tube Gift Boxes

Toilet paper roll gift boxes

Toilet Paper Jewelry Tray

toilet paper jewelry box

Seed Starter Pots

tolilet paper seed pots

#2 – Strength Training
Don’t see any reason why you should lift weights? Take a look at the 10 Reasons to Strength Train infograph and you’ll discover more than one reason why it’s important. strength training infograph

#3 – Clever Science
Science World Museum clever ad To reinforce the notion that science is interesting and exists everywhere and to entice more people to visit their museum, the people at Science World in British Columbia presented a clever series of billboards. Which billboard catches your attention?

#4 – Pumpkin Beverage Dispenser
DIY pumpkin beer keg Seeing is believing. Picture apple cider streaming out of a spigot stuck into a pumpkin. Sounds pretty fun. Although the directions Carve Your Pumpkin Into a Beer Keg mention beer as the beverage of choice, I think serving any beverage in your “pumpkin keg” will make fall entertaining more festive!

#5 – Seeing the Distance
“Always concentrate on how far you have come, rather than how far you have left to go. The difference in how easy it seems will amaze you.”
― Heidi Johnson

Have a lovely autumn weekend!

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giving an old chair new life
If you’ve got the urge to spruce up your place and don’t want to spend a lot of money, go shopping in your own home first. Odds are you already have something in your home or garage that can be upcycled into something fabulous. Two weeks ago the decorating bug bit me and I’ve been busy transforming my oldest son’s former bedroom into a guest room. Gone into storage are his Pez collection and other bric-a-brac that he hasn’t looked at for over a decade. A new bedspread and throw pillows turn a formerly male-feeling room into a much brighter space. By hanging a painting taken from another room and placing one of my chintz teacups on the nightstand, the room instantly becomes inviting and cozy. “A small chair for guests to sit on or to put their luggage on would be a nice addition,” I think to myself. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on it, though. That’s when I remember an old chair in the garage. Buried under a pile of crap and with water-stained legs and a flat sticky seat, I’d almost forgotten about the chair I purchased over 20 years ago for my first furniture refinishing project. Time flies while you’re raising three kids.

I wanted to give the chair a shabby chic feel, so I did a little research on glazing furniture and then went off shopping for supplies. It was a relatively easy process and I’m really pleased with the chair’s transformation. It’s the perfect addition to my updated guest room!

Paint Supplies:
paint supplies for glazing furniture Kilz Primer
Satin or gloss spray paint
Glaze
Test-size flat paint, tinted to desired color
Wood glue, if necessary
supplies for glazing furnitureSmall paint brush
Rags, old ripped up tee-shirts worked great
Plastic container
Measuring cup
Paint stick
Bucket of water

Supplies for reupholstering:
batting for reupholsteringThick batting for cushion and thin batting to wrap around the seat

fabric for reupholsteringUpholstery fabric for seat cover and black fabric for underneath the seat
Large piece of paper, pen, and ruler for seat cover pattern
Supplies for reupholsteringStaple gun, hammer, and safety goggles

Instructions on Glazing the Chair:
1. Remove seat.
2. If the chair is wobbly, remove braces, gently knock apart the chair frame just enough to apply wood glue into the spaces. Screw back on the braces or use a vise grip to hold the parts together. Let glue set.
3. Minimal sanding is required, because the chair is meant to have an aged look and slight defects and imperfections are desired.
4. Spray one to two coats of primer, letting each coat dry thoroughly.
chair after priming
5. Spray with base paint as many times as necessary to get even coverage, letting each layer dry sufficiently.
6. Watch instructional videos Glazing Furniture 101 at All Things Thrifty.
7. Mix together 1 cup glaze with 1/4 cup paint in plastic container.
8. Brush on some of the tinted glaze and wipe off with a damp rag. Repeat process until all areas of the piece have been glazed. Rinse off rags in water as you go along. Layers of glaze can be reapplied for a darker look. Chair after glazing

Instructions on Reupholstering the Seat:
1. Remove tacks or staples from the seat cover underneath the seat.
2. Make the fabric pattern: using the seat as a template, trace around it on a large piece of paper. Determine the thickness of the batting you are using for the seat. Add this amount to the perimeter of the seat tracing. Add another inch or so to allow for stretching and tacking the fabric onto the back. Seat cover pattern
3. Cut out the seat fabric using the outer line. Cut the thin wrap-around batting using the second line in from the edge. Cut out the black fabric (for underneath the chair) using the third line from the edge. And finally cut the dense batting the size of the seat tracing.
4. On a clean surface with the right side of the seat fabric facing down, place the thin batting over the fabric. Next add the thick foam batting and then the seat itself.
5. Staple through the layers along one side first and then pull the layers taut on the opposite side and staple them down. Repeat with the other two sides. Adjust the corners and staple them down.
6. With seat cushion facing down, place the black fabric on top of the seat. Tuck under the raw edges and staple all the way around the seat.
7. Screw the seat bottom back on the chair and stand back and admire your fabulous creation!
Completed glazed chair

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