Upcycled Projects – Part 1

Upcycled Projects – Part 1

I have been inspired by a few people to do some upcycle sewing.  My step-mom, Lynn, showed me a bunch of wool sweaters that she felted and talked about the things she was going to make with them.  I went home and started googling things like upcycling sweaters, felting sweaters and found tons of cool ideas in many different areas.

My favorite find was pallets for the garden.

I was also inspired by the Vaters at Christmas time.  Our art exchange theme was “container” and there were a few upcycled items – deck material made into a bird house and also a planter, a feed sack made into a tote bag and a watercolor painted container made from an oatmeal box.

Art exchange bird house from deck material Art exchange Planter from deck material Art exchange tote from feed sack Art exchange Watercolor decorated box from oatmeal box

Those ideas lead our family to decide to agree on  a “upcycle” theme for our 2013 art exchange.

My other inspirations came from  Prudent Baby, a blog I follow.

My first completed project:

I had this older style ring sling that I never used before because I couldn’t get  it to work for me.  The reason was that the design and baby position is unsafe and wrong!  For some reason I was saving it.  When I needed a pair of ring slings for a kid’s sling I cut this baby apart. I still have the fabric and may find something to make out of it.

old style ring sling   ring sling for Kale

Other projects:

I bought this sweater at Goodwill with the intention of making baby legs out of it.  The pattern was so cute on the sweater that I had to use the whole thing.

 kid's sweater    upcycled sweater to Nola Mae size

Another shirt I found at Goodwill.  I wanted to try to make pants out of the legs for Nola Mae.  After inspecting the collar and sewing the collar inward, the neckline would fit Nola Mae.  Which was perfect, I am not sure how I would alter a collar.

women's shirt

These pants turned out very easy to make and they look and seem comfortable to her.  I wish I could have a pair of my own.

Upcycled pants from arms of shirt  Upcycled outfit from a woman's shirt

I got the pattern/idea from here:  http://prudentbaby.com/2011/03/baby-kid/diy-recycled-sweater-pants-2/

and

http://www.greenkitchen.com/blog/2008/09/sweater-sleeve-kid-pants-tutorial.html

I found this awesome wool sweater early this winter at my favorite thrift store in Marion for $1!  My intention was to felt it and make some soft toy for Nola Mae.  I tried it on before felting and it fit me.  I wore it for skiing almost every day.  I always washed it in a cold and gentle cycle and laid it flat to dry.  The sweater slowly got smaller, you can see how much my tank top is showing at my waist.  Once skiing was over I felted it.  Last week I chopped the arm up and made these fingerless gloves.

wool skiing sweater  Upcycled sweater fingerless gloves

A friend posted on Facebook that she had some wool clothing that would be good for a repurposing project.  I jumped on it without knowing what they looked like.  I wasn’t sure what I would do with them.  At the time these things arrived at my house I had started to search for Christmas ornament ideas.

Plaid coat  plaid wool coat

plaid wool skirt

I made some heart-shaped ornaments.

upcylced heart ornament 1

upcylced heart ornament 3    upcylced heart ornament 2

And Christmas tree shaped ornaments.

Upcycled Christmas tree ornaments 1

And a liner for my egg basket.

     upcycled to egg basket  upcycled to egg basket filled

Technically the only upcycled item in these photos is Robbie’s red cape.  It was a curtain that I found at Goodwill.  The other two boys’ capes were made out of fabric I bought at St. Vincent de Paul’s (my second favorite thrift store).

Upcylced capes 2  upclcyled capes 1

What have you upcycled?

I have many other ideas for upcycling and hope to have a Part 2 post (maybe this summer).  I needed to post this shortly after my Winter of Sewing (2013) because these things were also completed during the winter.

April 2013 – Month 4

April 2013 – Month 4

Our last day of skiing was April 3rd!  A beautiful day for us, except both of us were low on patience and energy.  More pictures and the story are in my post Winter of Skiing.

last ski

Henry had a great wipe-out and was not happy that I was taking photos.  He went down the hill and around the corner first.  When I went down the hill I came to this pile of a boy.

last ski 2013 a Last ski b

last ski c

Grandma Hanna was here for her birthday.  Jack got the boys up earlier to have a birthday pancake with her before going to school on the bus.

B-day Helen

And then a few days later it was Henry’s birthday.

cake Henry birthday

Grandpa Rob brought a lantern for us to send off.  We watched it slowly blow over the barn (I held my breath until it was over the barn), slowly go higher and we saw where it went down about a half mile from our house.  The two older boys rode their bikes and found the darn thing.  Which meant they had to send it off again with a few minor repairs.

lantern send off

And then the next day it was Nola Mae’s birthday.  My three favorite photos of her this month.

Nola Mae born at home 1  Nola Mae in window Nola Mae door way

I made a few cupcakes from the batter of Henry’s cake so Nola Mae could have her own cake on her birthday.

cake Nola Mae cupcake

Around her birthday, Nola Mae, was taking about four steps at a time and two weeks later she was doing about 8 – 10 and almost a month later she is taking more steps than you can count.  Every time she would take a few steps Henry would say, “SHE TOOK FOUR STEPS!” in the most excited voice you ever heard.  I hope that he continues to be her encouraging brother.

b-day cupcake boys

Henry stopped nursing a week before his birthday and one of the things we started doing in the mornings to replace our nursing times is cuddle and read books.  On this morning he waited very patiently for me with his pile of books.  I always say, “Get your books ready while I get my coffee.”  This day I got distracted and he was quietly waiting and waiting.

Reading Henry waiting

Charlie and Robbie had long hair over the winter months.  Charlie came home one day from school and said he was ready for a hair cut and wanted it to be like his friend, Gavin’s.  I don’t go to school very often and didn’t really know what kind of hair-do Gavin had so I asked Charlie to draw a picture of him.  Just to be sure we were clear on what he wanted done.  Pretty simple hair cut!  And he is just as handsome as Gavin.

Charlie before  Charlie after

We had ice and snow come in April that caused a two-hour delay of school.  I went outside to take care of my animals and heard an odd sound coming from the woods.  Then I realized it was the ice coated branches clanking.

April ice & snow

My friend Kristin who is a runner and a skier told me about the Wood County Breastfeeding Coalition 5K run in Marshfield.  I took Nola Mae and pushed her in the stroller.  It was a great morning for a run and it felt good to be running after a long winter of skiing.   I was hanging out after the race getting us packed up and Nola Mae fed before we left so she could sleep in the car all the way home.  I was listening to the awards being announced expecting Kristin to have placed in her age group and to my great surprise I placed 3rd in my age group and got this awesome medal!

medal 5K

Iola Winter Sport Club had a trail run on April 14th, run by Great Lake Endurance which benefits my youth ski program.  There was a great turn out considering the weather was terrible for trail running, they should have worn snow shoes!  I made two nescos of Black Bean Veggie Soup for the race and had to take a photo of my ingredients and the veggies cooking in my big pot.

Black Bean soup ingredients  Black Bean soup veggies

Since I am talking about food this is a perfect place for me to put these egg photos.  I was frying some eggs for breakfast and grabbed the two biggest ones.

In this photo one of the yokes looked like it was supposed to be a shell.

egg double yolk w shell

Here is what a normal double yoke should look like!

egg double yolk healthy

These snow pictures are from the afternoon of April 14th.  Making a snowman!

Snowman Window  snowman Nola Mae wants to help

Actually three of them.

Snowman & boys

It is unbeliveable…Nola Mae is a crazy climber!  One morning I was in the kitchen and heard her laughing and giggling all by herself in the living room.  I grabbed the camera and ran in there to find her on top of the table with her legs dangling down.  At first I accused Henry of putting her up there and he denied it, whole heartedly.  Then I realized that he was playing in the toy room.

Game table Nola Mae

I put her back down on the floor and watched her.  She climbed onto the chair and then onto the table in a matter of three seconds.

Game table Nola Mae tops

Five days after the snowmen Nola Mae found icicles to eat.

Nola Mae icycles

Lately, I have been sewing a lot and Henry has been wanting to make a skeleton.  I had no idea what he was talking about.  We were in the sewing room and he started talking about a skeleton and finally I asked him if he could draw it for me.  He told me, “I ALREADY DID!” and ran upstairs to get his paper.  He picked out the right colors from my bag of felt pieces.  I cut out all the parts, the left legs are suppose to be shorter (just like the picture!) and they must have feet (not in the picture).  He helped me pin it together.  I called this thing a bug many times and was corrected that it is a skeleton.   I was confused and I have learned you don’t argue with a four-year old!   Now that I am writing this story I think he might be talking about a centipede.  I’ll have to ask him in the morning.

Henry's skelaton drawing  Henry's skelaton created

April 26th – crocuses blooming in my ditch.

Crocus in the ditch

We took a walk around town while Robbie was in piano lessons.

Zara Velvet Wrap walk around town

Nola Mae watching and learning or watching and thinking “my brothers do silly things”?

Nola Mae watching brothers

 Play house train

 I love this photo of Nola Mae’s blue eyes.

Nola Mae Blue eyes

I made these capes this month.  Charlie’s cape is made out of some fabric I found at a thrift store and Robbie’s is from a curtain from a thrift store (sneak peak at one of my upcycled sewing projects).

capes

I am starting to move out of my comfort zone in my soap making.  I was inspired to try something new when my friend Rhonda asked to purchase a variety of my soaps.  My newest soap has dried enough to be packaged up.  The cinnamon bars are pretty nice!  They have a little cinnamon smell to them and I can feel the cinnamon particles doing some scrubbing.

 soap small bars

I have used alpaca wool felted soap, my friend who is an awesome soap maker introduced me to her felted soap.  The bar that I got from her I used in the shower on my face.  The wool was soft and felt like it was a gentle scrubbie that cleaned my face very well.  It also lasted forever.  I have searched YouTube and read a few books on felting.  Originally, I wanted to felt some toys for Henry.  The toys never were made and I had some felting wool.   I used the wool for my little bars of soap.  I love it.

Soap felted

soap in basket

Thanks for reading my blog and putting up with some of my rambling!   I get a lot of pleasure out of putting these photos and stories together.  It helps me appreciate the good days, helps me feel like I do get things accomplished and helps me remember what we have done.

Winter of Sewing (2013)

Winter of Sewing (2013)

I took this photo on January 7, 2013 with the intention of sewing everything in this pile that week, documenting it and doing a blog post called something like a “Week of Sewing.”  That didn’t happen so it turned into a Winter of Sewing.

sewing projects

Completed projects from this pile:

Black coat on the left – I replaced a zipper on a ski jumper’s coat.

Pink fabric with flower print – a huge pool bag for my sister that fits three kids.

bag for Emily's pool

Green fabric with silver rings – a ring sling for my sister-in-law, BJ, and for a friend’s daughter.  Extra fabric was made into bags for me and BJ.

ring sling green w silver  bag to match ring sling

ring sling and bag

Blue fabric with snow flakes – an apron for a young lady who use to live and ski jump here.

Apron for snow princess

Not in the photo:  a patch job on a friend’s coat.

Not completed:

Top middle – old curtain from a thrift store to be made into a bag.

Purple fabric – maybe will become a skirt.

Brown fabric with “ICE” & “RWV” –  a sword holder designed by Robbie to hold his wooden sword that he received at Christmas time.  It has something to do with his Elemental Warrior game that he plays with his cousins.

Green peppers print – will be a fabric box.

Green and gold fabric – will be made into a star baby or a couple of them.

I am not sure exactly what happened that week.  Could it be the many distractions from my four children, the need to cook and feed my family, laundry and very minimal house cleaning?   Or maybe it was the skiing conditions were great that week and I went cross-country skiing.  Priorities, right?  My sewing will still be there but nobody knew how long the snow was going to last.  I recently wrote a post on my cross-country skiing  (Winter skiing 2013) because it was the best winter for cross-country skiing!

When I got into the mode of sewing and not thinking about skiing I was inspired or distracted, depending how you look at it, by other sewing projects that weren’t in this pile.  I hope to publish a “Upcycled Sewing” blog post soon.

While I was making the ring sling for BJ, I thought Kale, my nephew, could use one too.  I had this cool star print in my stash.

ring sling for Kale

My friend, Kristin, saw Kale’s ring sling and asked me to make one for her three kids.

ring slings for girls

Henry modeling Kristin’s son’s ring sling.

Ring sling for boy

I used BJ’s ring sling for a couple of weeks and fell in love with it.  I never tried one and was never interested in ring slings.  I always thought I needed to have both my hands free to do things and having a baby in a ring sling on my hip or on my front wouldn’t work, even if my hands were free.  Except when you need to run into the store or school quickly while holding a 3 year old’s hand. Or hold your baby while at a family function or event.  Or when you are in a public place and need to nurse the baby to sleep and keep the baby sleeping.  Too many uses to list.

I took these to photos to show that ring sling can be used with a baby and a three-year old, separately of course.  I have a friend who is a babywearing pro and has taught me everything I know.  She has an instructional YouTube video on how to put a newborn into one of these ring slings properly.  It is the best video out there!

ring sling w 10 mo old   ring sling w 3 yr old

I went back to the fabric store and bought more of the green fabric and some of this plum color.  I made this one with black rings for myself.

ring sling plum mine

I have been using a ring sling for three months and Nola Mae is slowly getting heavier.  The ring sling has been comfortable for long periods of time, but lately not so much.  I was having trouble with the shoulder riding up towards my neck.  I believe that is because I made the pleats on the shoulder too narrow.

This week I finished making two more ring slings (another green one and a second plum-colored ring sling) and I ripped out the seams in the shoulder and widened the pleats on mine.  Then I decided to add a pretty design to the tail.

ring sling plum mine new shoulder

Ring sling silver rings for sale ring sling plum w silver for sale

I made a seperate post for my upcycled sewing projects that I worked on this winter.