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Archive for the ‘Sewing’ Category

Halloween and the thrift store

If you’ve never stepped foot in a thrift store, now’s the time of year to do so. Why? Because Halloween costumes, decorations and accessories abound. Why pay for a brand new costume off the rack (either for yourself or your kids) when you can get a majorly discounted costume at a thrift store? I just stopped into my local shop today and there were several racks stuffed full of Halloween costumes.

 

Photo by epsos.de.3767729028_6278b420ea

 

And if you can’t find the pre-made costume you’re looking for, a thrift store is also a great place to find the various pieces to make your own costume. For example, I found a red and gold Christmas table runner in the thrift store today ($4), which is going to make the perfect royal robe for my son’s king costume — his idea, not mine. I plan on going back (without children in tow — thrift store shopping is NOT fun with two kids under 3) to search for a gold belt, material for a white fur collar, a crown and something that would make a good tunic.

 

I encourage you to make this Halloween repurposeful! Sift through your own closets first and then hit the thrift stores!

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Have you caught wind of the hype on upcycling adult t-shirts into shirts, dresses, onesies and pants for kids? I just love this idea! Now, if I was more skilled at sewing, I would attempt this project. But in reality, I’m not and currently, I don’t have the time to try. Thank goodness for the crafty folks over at Etsy!

 

il_430xN_70249550

smarTEE pants baby wear makes and sells the cutest pants from old t-shirts. And for those of you who are more adept at sewing, she also sells patterns!

 

 

 

 

 

 

il_430xN_81328252TheJumpOff makes onesies, pants and cute little dresses out of recycled t-shirts and t-shirt scraps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And again, for those of you who want to try your hand at sewing your own, one of my favorite blogs, Lil Blue Boo, has a pattern shop for her adorable tee dresses and outfits on Etsy. il_430xN_83204097

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My kitchen drawer contains a couple of pot holders that I’ve held onto for a few years too long. I really should throw them out. Really. But I can’t turn my back on repurposing!

 

After searching the ‘Net far and wide, I could find nothing on alternate uses for old pot holders. I did find one set of instructions for revamping old pot holders by stitching on new outer fabric. I also found a TON of ideas for creating pot holders out of recycled, repurposed and reused materials. Check it out:

 

Repurposed materials turned pot holders

 

Old sweater into a pot holder.

 

Old stockings/tights/panty hose into a pot holder.

 

Old socks into a pot holder.

 

Old jeans into a pot holder.

 

Old t-shirts into a pot holder.

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If you’re not yet on the reusable bag bandwagon, you should be. Plastic bag litter creates immeasurable harm to the environment. And don’t think you’re off the hook because you recycle plastic bags. Since it costs more to recycle a bag than it does to produce a new plastic bag, plastic bags typically are “downcycled” into items that can never be recycled.

 

Like anything new, switching to reusable bags will take a little effort to become routine, but byobjeantotethe payoff is immense — and not just for the environment! A reusable bags carries more, is sturdier and the fabric handles make it easier to throw over your shoulder and carry heavy groceries to your car and your home. Best of all, you can make a bag FOR FREE from things you already own!

 

There are lots of reusable bag tutorials flying around the ‘net right now. Here are a few of the best: 

 

 

  • Make a tote bag from an old t-shirt (by instructables). We all have way too many t-shirts, right? Now you can put some of them to better use.

 

 

 

You can also make reusable bags from old sheets or curtains and pillow cases. Happy sewing!

Photo by Crafting a Green World.

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You might be thinking, “Really? Dryer sheets? I didn’t even know there was a top 5!” If you use dryer sheets (there are several natureal and cheap alternatives to using dryer sheets), pay close attention to the following list. These ideas show you how to make your dryer sheet do double duty while saving money on items like pricey cleaning supplies.

    1. Freshen up. (scented) Used dryer sheets have enough fragrance left to keep working for other purposes. Place them in drawers, closets, at the bottom of a trash bin, in shoes. They can also get rid of the old musty book smell. Place the book in a Ziploc-type bag with a used dryer sheet, let it sit for a couple of days and the smell will be gone. Has Fido made your car smell funky? Place a handful of used dryer sheets under your seats to remove stale vehicle odors. 
    2. Repellant. (scented) Most pests, mice and insects, hate the smell of dryer sheets. To keep the mice out, figure out where they’re coming into your house and stuff the hole with a few used sheets. Same goes for bees, wasps and spiders. Repel mosquitos by sticking a used sheet through your belt loop, under your collar or in your pocket.
    3. Dusting. The anti-static chemicals in dryer sheets actually help to repel dust. Use an old dryer sheet for dusting off your TV, computer screen, wooden furniture, window blinds or eyeglass lenses (NOT recommended for plastic lenses).
    4. Polishing. An old dryer sheet works wonders with chrome. Use to polish up faucets and the chrome on your vehicle.
    5. Gardening. When potting a plant, line the bottom of your pot with a dryer sheet to prevent the soil from falling through. 
    6. Cleaning. Reuse a dryer sheet to wipe clean a pair of scissor blades, clean soap scum off of a shower door (wet it first) remove stuck-on bugs from your car’s windshield, or soak a couple of dryer sheets in a dirty pot/pan filled with water to remove the gunk.
    7.Removing pet hair. Similar to a sticky lint brush, an old dryer sheet will remove pet hair from clothing and furniture.
    8. Laundry. When you pull your clothes out of the dryer, pull the used sheet out and clean the lint trap in your dryer.
    9. Sewing. Run your needle through a used dryer sheet so that the thread won’t tangle when you sew.
    10. Crafts. The writers at Blissfully Domestic suggest using old dryer sheets to stuff handmade pillows (they say it works very well!). Flipflops and Applesauce gives us an awesome craft for kids to make butterflies from used dryer sheets.

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Whenever I buy a new comforter, blanket, curtains and the like, I always love the clear plastic zippered case they come packaged in. I’ve always thought to myself, “I could use this for something!” Then, I hang onto the case for a few 007months (sometimes a year goes by), never use it, rediscover where I actually stored it, then chuck it into the bin for recycling. 

Until now.

I recently stumbled onto a tip for reusing these plastic cases by storing an ongoing craft project. During Christmas, there were several of these in my house, and it just so happened that I had several plastic cases in which to store them. Voilà, a tidy solution for the straggling pieces of my latest project, and a useful repurpose for the charming plastic case.

Plastic cases are see-through, come in several different sizes and either button or zip closed, making them useful for a plethora of storage and organizing ideas:

  • Kids’ markers, crayons, or other art supplies. (makes it easy for them to find a specific color or item)
  • Craft projects. Sewing, scrapbooking, needlepoint–endless possibilities. I don’t knit, but I imagine these 013would be great to bag up your latest knitting or crochet project.
  • Toys. Think Legos. Or Barbies. Or anything with multiple pieces. Also great to store a “sometimes toy”–the one that you only pull out on a rainy or “I’m so booored” day.
  • Coupons. Use the smaller, more flat cases to stash your coupons. Throw the case in your purse when you’re ready to go shopping.
  • Travel. Use a larger case for dirty clothes while on vacation or a smaller case to store wet swimsuits.
  • Seasonal clothes. Use the larger plastic cases to store sweaters during the summer and shorts during the winter.
  • Table and bed linens. Duh! This is what they were used for to begin with! Now you can use them to store additional sheets and blankets, heirloom quilts, seasonal table cloths and so on.
  • Items for future repurposing. Want to save an item for future reuse (purpose TBD), but don’t know where to stash it? Use a plastic case!
  • Cords and chargers. Wrangle your electronics drawer by storing like items in different plastic cases.

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Photo by Nezemnaya.
Photo by Nezemnaya.

Some time ago I came across a “household hint” to keep a plastic bag in the laundry room for mismatched socks. At the end of every few weeks, you’re supposed to empty the bag, search for matching pairs and toss the rest. It’s a good tip, but I’m going to make it even better with some suggestions for repurposing those orphaned socks.

Around the house

  • Dusting, polishing, shining, washing. Socks are great dust rags, shoe polishers, car washers, etc. because you can slip them over your hand.
  • Slippery soap holder. Slip a bar of soap into a sock and knot the loose end. This is especially helpful for children–it prevents dropping a slippery bar of soap onto tender toes. It’s also helpful for yardwork; keep a “soap sock” tied to an outdoor faucet to clean up before going inside. 
  • Cord organizer. This tip comes from Real Simple. Wrangle straggling cords (you know, the ones behind your tv stand and computer desk) with a trouser or knee sock. Cut off the toe end of the sock and slip the cords through. 
  • Draft “snake.” Got a drafty door or window sill? Fill a knee sock with beans, rice or sand and either sew or knot the loose end. Lay your snake across the drafty spot and start saving on your heating bill!
  • Cat toy. This works best with baby or toddler socks. Fill a sock with catnip and sew shut the loose end.
  • Packing, shipping, storing. Socks can protect a variety of items you want to pack, send or store. They may not stop a delicate vase from being broken, but they will protect shoes and sunglasses from being scratched, knick knacks (like Christmas ornaments) from getting nicked and they can keep items with several small pieces all in one spot. If you’re storing something in a sock, attach a label to the outside to remind you of its contents. 

For the kids

  • Sock doll. Ok, so this may not be the simplest of projects, but if you’re even remotely handy with the sewing machine, you can do it.
  • Hacky sack or bean bag toss. Cut off the toe end of a sock, fill with small dried beans or rice and sew the opening shut so that it makes a circle shape. For a game of outside bean bag toss, use sidewalk chalk to draw targets (or a tick-tack-toe board) for your child to hit. For indoor bean bag toss, draw targets on a sheet of easel paper and tape it to your floor. 
  • Marble bag. (Do kids still play with marbles??) I remember having a small marble collection as a child and always hunting for new and unique marbles. A child’s sock or adult ankle sock would make a great marble bag. If you’re extra crafty, sew a zipper on the open end and a few buttons or sequins to dress it up.
  • Doll clothes. The possibilities are endless here–from sheath dresses to knit hats. Very little or no sewing required.
  • Hand puppet. This simple kids’ craft has been around for ages. All you really need is a sock and some markers (think Sharpie), but you can also go all out and use buttons for eyes, yarn for hair and felt for a tongue. Part of the fun is coming up with ideas to decorate the puppet. Then, have your child[ren] put on a puppet show with their new cast of characters!

Artsy-crafty

Of course, these are just a few of the bazillion ideas out there for repurposing socks. You can find more herehere and here…oh yeah, and here.

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