ShabbyShe

I like upcycling, repurposing and making stuff

Back to School Craft: Pencil cases and more!

Some more fun makes using one of my favourite materials – juice pouches!

Juice pouch upcycles by ShabbyShe

Clockwise from top left: Apple flavour mobile phone sleeve; small pencil case; shoulder bag with red straps; Tropical & Orange pencil case; Autumn fruits pencil case with red zip; Safari Animals juice pouch pencil case; Orange Fruit Splash mobile case; Sun Shots & Capri Sun pencil pouch with yellow zip.

I love using these foil juice drink packs for several reasons:-

  1. It’s saving them from going into landfill – sadly, Capri Sun pouches are not currently recyclable and as they contain both foil and plastic will take a long time to degrade
  2. They are brightly coloured and fun, appealing to adults and kids alike. I find it’s always a talking point when I use my juice pouch lunch bag!
  3. They are great fun to work with as a material as they are already cut to a standard size (at least most brands are, more on that in a moment) but also they can easily be cut and manipulated to use for other purposes.

The only down side to using them is firstly sourcing them (as I don’t allow my children to drink these kinds of drinks every day) and secondly the cleaning and preparation before use. They are easily enough to slit open and clean but take an age to dry. That’s the only tedious part of the process! As for sourcing them, I have a great supply at the school where I work with a couple of dedicated dinner ladies who get the children to collect up used packs during the lunch break :)

These pencil cases are a fun Back to School item, I really enjoy making these and they’re a popular item in my shop

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I even made one which is four juice pouches wide (so 8 in total) for a friend’s son, who wanted to fit his 30cm ruler inside. I will definitely be making more of those!

These Fruit Splash mobile phone sleeves are a new adventure in juice pouch upcycling! At first I was a bit miffed that they are bigger than the standard sized Capri Sun et al packs and therefore I couldn’t use them with other brands. However, I realised they are virtually the same exact size as my felt mobile phone sleeves. So I lined them with soft felt, added some velcro and hey presto, mobile phone cases made from juice pouches :D

bag made from upcycled foil juice packs

Finally, I got around to completing a shoulder bag – a bit of a longer task, but very satisfying when I see it all come together. My other tote bags sold a while ago and I kept meaning to make more but life got in the way! I’ve also stitched the front and back for another tote bag, this one featuring Orange and Tropical juices with a yellow strap.

Can you tell it’s the Summer Holidays and I’m not at work..? ;)

 

I made a skirt!

I achieved something this summer I’ve never done before: I made a skirt, which actually fits!

It all started with this lovely yellow cotton a-line skirt from SeaSalt. I love the fit and the fabric, and it’s the perfect length and weight to wear on a warm summer’s day just about anyway – work, home or play!

drafting a pattern using existing skirt

The problem is shop-bought quality clothes don’t come cheap. And anyway I can sew, so why not copy the shape and make my own? Encouraged by my (far superior seamstress) friend, I decided to simply lay it over my chosen fabric and draw around, allowing for some seams when cutting out.

Don’t you just love this cute fabric? It’s little patterned birds in pinks, oranges, yellows, blues and greens.

pretty bird print fabric being ironed - making a skirt

I chose it in part because I thought it would be fun to make a matching skirt for my daughter (she’s 6, so yes it would be cute – although a friend pointed out she will hate me later when she sees the pictures! Let’s hope not!)

I’ll be making her a more simplified version soon, probably with an elasticated waist as, let’s face it, kids outgrow their clothes so quickly!

I don’t have step by step photos sadly as I was in a hurry to get on and do it, but I would say it was fairly easy apart from inserting the zip (which I found tricky as I attached it to the lining at the same time) and making the yoked waistband was a challenge as I had to partly “guess” the shape in places as I couldn’t draw round it all in one go.

I got to use some sewing machine accessories I’ve never used before: there’s a brilliant button foot which you can use to do the buttonholes, and I even used the machine to sew the buttons themselves on!

repurposed wooden buttons used on newly handmade skirt

Admittedly, the buttons are the only repurposed items in this make – they were from a lovely dress which was too small for my daughter. They look great but sewing bods amongst you will notice they are very close to the edge of the fabric and therefore pull out a bit when it’s worn. Hey ho! It’s still a great fit and I have decided the imperfections make it more special ;) (Let’s not even go there with the bumpy seam when inserting the zip…!)

Cotton a line skirt with bird print fabric

Here I am wearing said skirt for the first time (excuse “Shabby chic” flooring – the bedroom, much like most of our house, is a work in progress!!)

I’m thrilled with my first proper wearable make (if you don’t count numerous slightly botched refashions in my youth!!)

handmade cotton skirt with yoked waistband

Now for some good weather please, it’s torrential rain here today! x

Teacher Gifts – Upcycled Shirt Cuff Pouches

It’s come around quickly again this year – end of Summer term, which means the end of the school year here in the UK. I like to give my children’s teachers a little token to say Thank You for all their hard work & care over the school year. My children are always bereft to be leaving their favourite teacher!

Red shirt tissue pouch with cat buttons upcycled shirt cuff made into tissue pouch

I made these little tissue pouches from preloved shirt cuffs! My son’s teacher likes purple and my daughter’s teacher is a fan of red – perfect! They were quite quick and easy to put together as I had already made some purple and mauve scrap binding by following this excellent post by Heather at The Sewing Loft and some red bias binding – again, there’s a brilliant tutorial by Deb at Sew So Easy on bias binding.

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The red pouch is the largest of the two: the red checked shirt I used had large cuffs for cufflinks. I made a feature of the button holes by leaving them in place and simply stitching the cuff into a purse shape using the red bias binding tape. I then added the cute little cat buttons which add a feminine (or feline??) touch to the finished pouch. I’m really happy with how this one turned out – it is the perfect size to hold a pack of pocket tissues but can also be used as a little purse or make up pouch.

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The mauve pouch is more of a mini pocket pouch as it was a standard size shirt cuff. I kept the orginal buttons for this pouch as I like the mauve stitching. I think the scrap binding goes perfectly with it! Scrap binding is so fun to make and is a great way to use up little pieces of fabric which are too small for other projects. The fabric in this binding was all pre-cut into quite small squares before they were given to me: I presume they were originally going to be part of a quilt. Anyway they look great as binding and give more colour and texture to a simple project like this teacher gift. As this pouch is smaller I could only include a few tissues and I folded them to fit!

The children made cards and wrote their own special messages in them, then we wrapped the pouches with a little bar of soap (one teacher had already begged the class not to give her chocolate, as she’s on a diet!)

Do you give or make your own teacher gifts? I would love to see a link or photos! x

Kids’ craft: Milk bottle boats

This was a fun afternoon in the school holidays – making boats from recycling scraps! This craft is easy for children of any age and a great rainy day boredom-buster – plus when it brightens up you can go and float your boats in a stream!

For this project we used the following (washed!) items from the recycling bin:-

  • plastic milk cartons
  • lids from liquid laundry detergent
  • lolly sticks
  • fabric scraps (from my huge mountain of scraps, including some old shirts!)

From our craft supplies, we used:-

  • PVA glue
  • hot glue (to glue plastic and wood)
  • pom poms
  • pipe cleaners
  • scissors
  • sellotape
  • felt tip pens

plastic milk cartons repurposed as boatsAs you can see, the larger milk cartons (in this case, 4 pints) make an excellent “hull” if you cut them lengthways. A responsible adult really needs to do this part, but as none was available I did it ;)

decorating milk carton boats

We had three children for this activity (my two plus a friend) and it was great to see 3 different approaches to decoration. Here, pipe cleaners were attached to the hull to make a mast and flag pole.

milk carton boat with scrap fabric carpet

My daughter decided hers needed a purple carpet, pink pennant flag and several pompoms!

making sails for milk bottle boats using lolly sticks and scrap fabric

This upcycled shirt fabric made a great sail, along with some lolly sticks :)

Scrap recycling toy boats

I particularly love the ingenuity that went into this craft – the main boat was a plastic detergent bottle cap, extended with pieces of milk carton, lolly sticks, pipe cleaners and a milk lid for the crow’s nest.

milk carton and detergent bottle lid repurposed as a boat

Don’t you just love it when kids really get into an idea and make it their own? A great way to spend a rainy day, which we followed up with a sailing contest in the stream!

What ingenious uses do you put your recyclables to? Comment below or tweet me @ShabbySheUK :)

 

Flash Sale – Grab a bargain!

juice pouch pencil case

Special offer – 20% discount for my social media followers now until Sunday 28th June! Lots of fun gifts for Dads, teachers & kids :)

Click here or on the picture to visit my Etsy shop :)

Juice Pouch Party Food Box or Favour Bag

You know when you go to a children’s party and for their tea they each have a party food box? Such a great idea – each child is given their own food, with no bun-fight involved! There is less food wasted and everyone can eat a balanced and sensible amount (within reason!) I hate to see all those cartons thrown away at the end of the meal. It’s obviously easy and convenient to dispose of everything, but what a waste!

Here’s my solution: a mini Capri Sun bag with handle – 100% recycled apart from the thread that holds it together and the ribbon trim.

party favor bag made from juice pouches

What I think is nice about my latest juice pouch upcycle is that it can be used and reused – these bags are easy to wipe clean or can be washed up with the dishes and left to air dry. Now, the party food box can easily be emptied, even given a quick wipe, and used as the party favour bag too, for each child to take home his or her goodies at the end of the party.

reusable party lunch bag made from capri sun juice pouches

I’m thinking maybe even treasure hunt bags or Easter egg baskets too? The possibilities are endless…!

I’m popping this little number in my Etsy shop, do take a look at this and my other juice pouch upcycles if you’re into eco-friendly bags. I’m trying to get to a stage where I have one for every occasion ;)  I’m currently working on a zippered lunch box for picnics or long journeys, when the insulated pouches can really come into their own and keep food cool and fresh.

bags made from recycled juice drink pouches

What’s everyone else recycling? Leave me a comment, or if you Tweet join in #makedoandmendhour hosted by Jen on Twitter, Thursdays from 8-9pm UK time – I drop by when I can :)

Upcycled Lovelies – Tissue pouches and Sunglasses cases

How about a basket of springy cheer in the form of these tissue pouches and sunglasses cases? Both of these makes are fantastic scrap buster projects and also nice beginner sewing projects to use just a small amount of fabric and test your skills (and your sewing machine!)

Tissue pouches and sunglass cases made from scrap fabric

The tissue pouches are made from fabric remnants from previous projects; this supersoft knit fabric pouch is mostly upcycled clothing – made from one of my daughter’s outgrown tops…

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I love the print on this fabric and the little sequins!

These spotty and flowery fabric ones incorporate one of her cotton tops which was so pretty but only worn a handful of times, as it was sleeveless and rather a chilly summer that year!

Flower print pretty tissue pouch from recycled clothes Tissue pouches using upcycled fabric in pretty coordinating fabrics Tissue pouch - spotty green fabric with upcycled clothing Tissue pouch reverse - pretty cotton top upcycle

This is a rather addictive craft as it’s quick and easy and great practice for sewing straight lines on your machine, something I’ve had to work at myself! There are some great tutorials and patterns online but my favourite is this one from Notes from the Patch

The sunglasses cases are made using flex-frames – I spent ages googling to find out the name of these pinch-open pouch closures!!

flex frames - used to make pinch-open pouches

Flex frames – picture courtesy of artfire.com

Again there are stacks of great tutorials online – I used this one from Fabric Yard (where you can also buy sewing supplies) as it’s got great step-by-step pictures and instructions. By the way, this tutorial says to spray baste the wadding to the fabric – I used a light smattering of fabric glue which seemed to do the trick. Always use what you have to hand, I say!

The glasses cases are also good practice for quilting – a technique that’s quite new to me. It was a fun way to try out different styles of quilting on a small area of fabric before trying a bigger project.

Most of the glasses cases pictured here were made with repurposed fabric from clothing – there are pieces from two men’s shirts, a little girl’s dress and a couple of tops in use here, plus some gorgeous stripy turquoise fabric from a sample book.

What are your favourite scrap-buster sewing projects? I’d love to see your ideas too :)

Tissue pouches made from scrap fabric

Hello April – News Blackout is over!

Is this what Being An Adult feels like? I’ve just upgraded my website to ShabbyShe.com (no more clunky .wordpress. gubbins). I’m feeling very Official now!

The prolonged News Blackout for most of March is at an end, as I was focussing my efforts on producing some items for a new local craft market and my Etsy shop. Now the craft fair is done I can breathe a sigh of relief, and maybe even start making some bits for myself & my family again! I had rather limited sales at the market despite it being well-attended – possibly March / Easter is more a time to browse for pleasure rather than buy. I’m hoping to do more markets and fairs around Christmas and put my efforts for now into online sales and updating my blog (my first love!)

On the Easter theme, I made some cute egg cosies to keep the world’s best breakfast warm on these cold Spring mornings…

Basket of egg cosies made from felt

The Happy Easter cosies are for my children – they begged me for these and I promised they could have them if they didn’t sell on Saturday :D

I can’t decide which is my favourite – I like the cute chicks but I’m also really pleased with how this bunting design turned out – these were literally tiny scraps of fabric. This is why it’s so hard to part with even small off-cuts!

Felt egg cosy with scrap fabric bunting

I also added my new-style shoulder bag totes to my Etsy shop. I’m really pleased with this design, I think the ribbon trim sets off the colour nicely, don’t you?

Shoulder bag totes from upcycled juice pouches

Happy Easter everyone, see you soon! x

Capri Sun Shopper – Juice pouch upcycle

Meet the latest addition to the Capri Sun Upcycle family…

Juice pouches repurposed into large bag

… the large shopper tote!

This beauty uses 27 recycled juice pouches in its construction and I designed it to carry the heavy shopping in the War on Plastic Bags!

Large tote made from recycled Capri Sun pouches

I made the straps from red webbing strap of a thicker, more durable variety than the smaller lunchbag totes and stitched two lengths together before attaching to the inside and outside of the bag for extra strength.  The “leather effect” finish on the ends of the straps are actually brown electrical tape, squirrelled from the Shabby garage ;)

Double strength handles - recycled juice pouch shopper

I’m really pleased with the result. This one is not going in my Etsy shop (at least for now!) as I am doing my first “proper” craft fair at the end of this month.  If you’re in the Camberley area, do pop along to Market Mall in High Cross Church on 28th March and say hello!

Back to making now – next up will be a smaller Capri Sun shoulder bag!  See you soon x

Crafts with Kids: Weaving with CD looms

We’ve been up to a bit of crafty recycling fun recently with some old CDs and wool scraps. The inspiration came from this beautiful post on Make it a Wonderful Life – this lady is a teacher and has had her students weaving an amazing wall hanging with this clever green craft!

Woven CD looms displayed on wall hanging

Beautiful hanging display – Courtesy of Makeitawonderfullife.blogspot.co.uk

Recycled CDs made into art using wool

CD weaving inspiration – from Makeitawonderfullife.blogspot.co.uk

For this easy-peasy craft you will need:-

  • old CDs or DVDs
  • wool scraps (you can use fabric but this sounded more complicated)
  • a plastic lid (from yoghurt, houmous pot etc)
  • a hole punch

The plastic lid is to make some needles to help the children weave the wool through their loom. I discovered (through my daughter accidentally unthreading it once or twice) that the needle is actually essential – it’s just too fiddly without. You will need to knot the thread onto the needle though, especially for younger children.

We started off by finding some old CDs which were no longer wanted. My kids were very quick to find some song collections we’d had free with something or other and a Peppa Pig DVD. (Please don’t pelt me with eggs, parents of younger children – my two are suddenly Too Grown Up for Peppa! It will come to them all…!)

Use old CDs to make looms

Unwanted DVD and CDs, ripe for recycling

Don’t you just <3 my tablecloth?? 

Next we made some plastic needles…

Needles for a loom made from a plastic lid

This is fun! I cut a sort of narrow fish-shape from the lid of a large pot and used a holepunch to create an ‘eye’. As the originator of this idea said, it’s a good idea to round off the needle’s point as it will prevent snagging.

Hole punch used to make eye in plastic lid needle

If you don’t have a hole punch you could pop it over some plasticine or Blue Tac and pierce a hole with a skewer – definitely a job for Adult Helper though.

I made quite a few as little fingers tend to drop them on the floor and lose them! They’re quite sturdy though and should see us through a few projects like this.

Creating a CD loom using wool

We knotted a length of wool onto the CD and began making the ‘spokes’ to create a loom. The instructions on Make it a Wonderful Life said to make sure you have an odd number of spokes (in this way, as you come back your starting point, the wool passes under instead of over and vice versa, making a tight pattern). I would add that more is more – the more spokes you have, the tighter the weave. The first two CD looms we made had only 7 and 9 spokes which made the weave very open and loose.

Use wool to create a simple loom from a CD

Once your spokes are in place, you can start weaving! We tied our first piece of wool onto the back of the loom but this made things a bit fiddly, so it may be best to glue the first strand to the disk or just weave around the first spoke a couple of times to secure it.

Making a CD and wool loom

Trial and error are part of the fun!

We all had a great time with our individual looms! Surprisingly (to me) – my 5 year old daughter was the most into it and actually completed hers (albeit a mini one – she just thought it looked nice like that!) My 7 year old boy is usually more focussed on crafts but he declared his “Done for now” and said he’d return to it at a later date. My own one is the fullest but due to only having a few spokes it has quite a loose fluffy look.

My plan is to make a few more and hang them vertically in a single line – a great boredom buster for kids and adult alike, don’t you think? x

CD looms - woven with wool

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