Posts Tagged Redux Reuse Recycle

Don’t Throw Away your Magazines!


You don’t have to save the entire magazine, necessarily. Just go through it and tear out the pages that have lots of nice colors and good images on them, then throw the rest of the magazine into the recycle bin. Make gift bows with the pages you saved! It’ll save you tons of money during the holidays, especially. Bags of gift bows at Xmas time cost a few dollars each, but these bows are $0! You already pay for the magazine subscriptions, right? Well, get your money out of them twice! Or you could just mail the pages you tear out to me… I’ll use ’em :)


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More Uses for Cereal Boxes (and old playing cards)!





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Decoupaged Keepsake Boxes












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Art + Animals = Artimals

This is one of my favorite forms of upcycling! Taking an old, unwanted toy and transforming it into a work of art!

Monsieur Brachiosaur - decoupaged with pages from a French/English dictionary

You can find them all over the place at yard sales and thrift stores, even in the trash- plastic animal toys or little ceramic animal figurines that have served their purpose in a kid’s room or the kitchen window sill, and then given or thrown away. They still have a use! Art!

Gotta buncha extra tissue paper lying around? Well, viola! You have yourself a Lap Giraffe!

They’re like little sculptures. I have them all over my computer desk and china sideboard like a bunch of little sentinels. My husband has one on his desk at work. My daughter has them on her dresser in her room. They’re fun :) All I do is decoupage them with cut-up magazine pages, paperback book pages, used tissue paper, even map pages from an old atlas!

Unfinished Traveler Elephant - sorry little guy, this is what happens when you have way too many projects going on at once...

I have several of these guys in my Etsy shop right now, plus a cardboard box full of dinosaurs, etc., just waiting to be arted! They seem to be pretty popular! I just have so many things going on at once right now… I’ll work on more soon I hope!


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What to do with all Those Empty Cereal Boxes? Upcycled Greeting Card Tutorial:

… and Rice-a-Roni and mac & cheese and crackers and pasta boxes and granola bars and fruit snack boxes and StoveTop Stuffing and Little Debbie and candy boxes from the movie theater… the list goes on forever.


I recycle everything. We have a huge plastic bin under the counter in our kitchen that we fill almost weekly with glass jars, aluminum cans, plastic jars and bags, various cardboards, etc (we have a separate box for various papers, envelopes, and junk mail).  If a box has nice images and colors on it, I save it. First step, I undo the tops and bottoms of the boxes so they lie flat:

And then I cut off all the flaps from the top and the bottom and the sides, you know, where all the nutritional information is and stuff. These pieces go right back into the recycle bin in the kitchen.

As you can see, the bottom piece of cardboard in the picture above is the light brown reverse side from a cereal box. Some boxes are different on the inside (like that Welch’s fruit snack box, the inside of it is white).

After a little measuring and trial and error, I made myself a template with a piece of plexiglass to trace out the size of the cereal box picture that will go on the front of my greeting card. Before, I was using just a piece of thin plastic, like that from the front of the packaging one of Guacamolly’s toys came in at Xmas, but it ended up being too flimsy and the edges I was tracing weren’t coming out uniformly straight. The plexiglass is way thicker but only about 1/16″ thick. It totally does the trick.

I wrote an “F” on the glass to denote the front of it, just so my tracing would always be uniform on every card I make. Even though the cuts I made in the plexiglass are straight, there’s still a little variation on the front and back.

The reason why I use clear plexiglass is so I can see through it to the box I’m cutting so I can be sure what the design is I’m using for the card. I can move it around to get just the right image I want before I trace it out. Once I decide I like it, I don’t trace it with a pencil or pen- I don’t want to leave markings on the box if I don’t cut straight enough with my scissors later. I use a pointy metal thingy (yes, that *is* the technical term for the instrument, thank you!) that came out of a set of clay-working tools. It leaves a nice little indentation in the cardboard that my scissors follow nicely.

If you have one of those desktop paper-cutter things, it might be a lot easier. In fact, I know it would. I don’t have one, so I just work with what I have. I enjoy doing absolutely everything literally by hand so using scissors to cut them is fine for me. It takes a little longer, and everyone might not have the steadiest hands for doing this kind of work, so by all means use a paper cutter if you have one!

Next I take the neat little rectangle I’ve cut out from the cereal box, attach 4 simple photo corners to it that you can get from any store, craft or otherwise, and glue them down on pre-cut cards. The cards I use are just heavy stock paper that I measure and cut down to the right size to fit whatever envelopes I’m using. I usually measure out the paper to be somewhere around 7 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ and then fold in half to use as a card. I have a huge stack of papers, all different thicknesses, that I’ve accrued over the years from who knows where. I don’t ever throw away anything because I know I’ll use it eventually. So see? I’m totally recycling that way too. It’s in my blood. Or maybe I’m just a hoarder in denial. Whatevs.

Anyway, sometimes I do go to Michaels or the nearest craft store and buy card stock, but I usually have tons laying around the house.

Here’s the finished product:

You don’t just have to use cereal boxes to make upcycled greeting cards. I’ve made them using pages and images from books too. I’ve rescued lots of  books from yard sales and recycle bins. You could use tons of other things too- scrapbook paper, newspaper, magazine pages, old wrapping paper, even old postcards or old greeting cards that have been used but you still love the image on the front. Just cut it up and use it again!

I’ll post another little step by step tutorial one of these days about how to make the envelopes you see in the first few photos of this post. In the meantime, comment on here or email me ( if you have any questions or if I didn’t make anything clear enough here. *I* know what I’m talking about, but sometimes what makes sense to me doesn’t make sense to others :D


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My Dining Room Art Studio or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Mess.

I haven’t had a dedicated studio space since I graduated college 3 years ago. And it’s killing me.

For a while there, I had an extra large bedroom space in my apartment before Chuck and I got married, and I had everything spread out there within about an 8′ x 11′ space. It was managable, but oh so NOT a studio. Since this past January, I’ve taken over about a third of the living area and most of the dining area in our current apartment with boxes and books and paper and glue and paint and canvases and mostly just my “stuff and junk and crap.” My family has been so awesome about having to live around the chaos. They patiently help me clear off the dining room table and all the floor space around it (where the chairs are supposed to go) every single night in order for us to eat supper. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive husband and daughter.

Every once in a while when I ask Guacamolly to clean her room because it’s so messy you can barely see the floor, she comes back with, “But I’m an artist just like you, Mommy!” My heart fills with pride and embarrassment all at the same time. Will I ever have a dedicated studio space with room for all my mess (that won’t interrupt our family meal times) again? Sigh…

Our poor dining room...

And then I stop and think about how lucky I have it. I’m able to work on my art as my (fledgling) career from my home in the first place. Chuck works all week, sometimes from the office, sometimes from home, to pay the rent and bills and buy the gas and groceries. He not only supports me following my dream of making and selling art, he WANTS me to follow my dream.  So it may not be the perfect set-up (i.e. a dedicated studio), but at least I’ve got it set up at all, know what I mean?

I do make a little money here and there. I pay at least one bill every other month or so, and I can usually pay for my own gas, and sometimes even groceries! And every time I make even $5, Chuck and Guacamolly get so excited and proud of me.

In short, artists, embrace whatever mess you may have turned your surroundings into. I’ve learned that following your dreams can get messy and moving forward in your life is not usually a neat and clean experience. Keep fighting through what you have at the moment and working towards your goal (of your own studio eventually!) and it’ll pay off in the end.


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Found Objects are my Friends

I’ve been having fun making new jewelry recently! When I first started making earrings and necklaces, I focused a lot on reclaiming old jewelry and using things like keys and metal washers, etc., to give my stuff sort of a modern steampunk kind of look. These new pieces I’ve made are kind of a little different- more off the wall, I guess. The found objects I’ve used in some of these are kinda funky. Here, just have a look at a few:



And then there’s the paper earrings that I’m experimenting with! These are some of my favorites. I use heavy stock paper (like postcard thickness so it isn’t all bendy and not quite as fragile as it sounds) combined with found objects. The ones I’ve made so far are really big and dangly so they really make a statement! But because they’re made with mainly paper, they weigh practically nothing, it’s so cool:


Only about half of these earrings have been posted in my Etsy shop so far. If you click on the thumbnail pictures above, it’ll lead you to the listing on Etsy if they’re for sale. If you love one of the pairs above but don’t see it listed in my shop, let me know! I’ll post it for ya :)





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