ShabbyShe

I like upcycling, repurposing and crafting with my kids

Archive for the category “Upcycled or Repurposed”

A bit of embroidery…

I adore my sewing machine and couldn’t live without it now, but I do love to go back to basics sometimes – slow down, hand-stitch and enjoy the change of pace and focus. Hand embroidery is such a lovely activity in the evenings when you want to relax but still somehow keep the hands busy! I must admit, though, I increasingly need good strong daylight for hand sewing, so I can see what I’m doing 😉

specs case made from felt and upcycled fabric

I made these glasses cases for my Etsy shop using soft felt and upcycled knit fabric – repurposed from girls’ clothing.

The teal/turquoise case was so popular I’ve recreated variations on it since for other customers. I used simple white embroidery silk thread on the teal felt to create a swirly flower pattern to mirror the curves and swirls of the interior fabric. I love the simplicity of this one and it remains one of my all-time favourite makes.

teal or turquoise glasses or phone pouch

The black glasses pouch below is again lined with recycled material and here I experimented with French knots using a beautiful variegated embroidery floss in pale pink through to almost red. I made two heart shapes purely from French knot stitches and I think the overall effect with the ombre-style thread is lovely!

heart embroidery in french knot stitch

I’m back busily using my machine currently as my Capri Sun lunchbags are all the rage – maybe people are getting organised for the return to school (in September here in England)!

What are you up? Do comment below & tell me about your makes/upcycles x

 

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Find your sparkle!

 

custom order blank - sparkly bag

I’ve been making a few blingy pieces recently which have proved very popular in my Etsy shop!

My Capri Sun lunchbags got a girly update with some hot pink handles, mauve zips and gorgeous sparkly glitter tape. You can’t beat a bit of spangly bling to cheer your day 🙂

Sparkly pink lunch bag made from Capri Sun juice pouches - by ShabbySheUK

 

Once I got hold of the glitter tape there was no stopping me, and I’ve made cosmetics pouches, pencil cases and phone sleeves with sparkly bits!

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Or how about this latest phone case, made for a lucky young lady getting her first iPhone this birthday! Her mum asked if I could add some glittery touches and I was only too happy to oblige ❤

 

 

I find ribbon a very versatile medium too and love using it to add a decorative trim to lunch bags, pencil pouches and phone sleeves. This beautiful magenta ribbon has a lovely sheen with reflects light so nicely and pretties up this make up bag.

Make up pouch made from upcycled Capri Suns and shiny ribbon

I hope you’re all having a sparkle-tastic week too! x

 

Upcycled Phone Cases from Capri Suns

Some of my flip phone cases, made from foil juice pouches!

ShabbyShe flip phone pouches magnetic closuresCapri Sonne orange upcycle

These are great fun to make if rather fiddly – the tricky part is shaping the hole for the camera on the back of the case. I took my inspiration from a phone case I bought online which started to fall to pieces after less than a year. I loved the design but surely they could be made to last longer, with more robust materials?

ShabbyShe UK flip phone case

Huawei phone case made from upcycled juice pouches

I had already made my phone pouches using Capri Sun packs and foil pouches from other juice drinks, but this required precision, the right type of gel phone cases to hold the device in place, and card to give it structure – in this case, a recycled cereal box (you know me, I love to reuse!)

Capri Sun phone pouch by ShabbyShe UK

Still one of my all time favourites!

I love the end result – I have one for my iPhone 5 and have made them for iPhone 7, 6, 4G, Nexus and even a Huawei phone.

Upcycled phone case for Huawei

Huawei phone case

iPhone 7 upcycled phone cover

For iPhone 7

These are available in my Etsy shop (see link above) – I’d love to know what you think! x

Pine Table Upcycle

I guess this is more of a furniture revamp than an upcycle: we bought a table, and it remains a table. Just now it is a fabulous, funky table!

Here she is in her original state, minus some varnish on the legs. A perfectly nice and functional pine table with a heavy, solid feel that tells you it’s a quality item. We acquired the table at a local charity shop for a very reasonable price. There’s nothing wrong with it as it is, but we wanted to add a bit of interest to go with our new kitchen.

Antique pine table ready for a redo

First we removed the legs, which luckily were attached with screws so were easy to disassemble

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Legs were then reattached after sanding down. We didn’t need to sand the top as we had other plans for that…

pine table with sanded legs

Next job is priming the wood ready for the final colour (I must admit I quite liked it in white too!).

priming pine table legs for repainting

Here’s a glimpse of the final colour – a bold sunshine yellow which sets off the dark top rather nicely! (Excuse the decrepit old laminate flooring).

table with repainted yellow legs

The final part of the process involved adding a zinc top to the table – basically a large sheet of zinc which is moulded around the wooden top and then soldered in and hammered in place. I sadly don’t have a picture of this process as my hubby got on with it quite quickly. He enjoys a new craft as much as I do…!

However I do have a detailed photo of some of the effects we tried out using cut lemons, scourers and sandpaper!

zinc table top with different effects

Zinc can be marked or stained with citrus fruit to produce different effects

Here’s another peek at the finished table…

beautiful pine table upcycle using zinc and yellow paint

I’ll show you more when we have a decent floor in place to show it off!

Meanwhile, we started on up-doing the chairs to match…! More in my next post. Have a great weekend everyone! x

 

Blogiversary!

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I have neglected my beloved blog since August! I had the urge to write today, logged on and find that it is 3 years to the day that I started this little project. I love coincidences like that 🙂

My only excuses are the usual: 1) work and family life taking over (happy with family doing that, but as for work…!) and 2) I’ve been busy with craft fairs and my Etsy shop.

Let me show you my latest upcycled makes, on a Christmas theme …

burlap hoop with rustic heart design

This embroidery hoop art is made using hessian (burlap) and scrap fabric, which I’ve upcycled from curtain fabric samples. I used free machine embroidery to applique the hearts to the hessian and make the strings. I love the cute rustic look of this piece, ideal for lovers of shabby chic decor.

embroidery hoop art using upcycled fabric

This green spotty fabric is the perfect backdrop for my cute birdcage hoop. Again, I sketched the birdcage design using the sewing machine without a presser foot. It’s quite hair-raising when you first try it, but I’m addicted to this technique now! The flower is a piece of scrap ribbon and a little bead, and a bead also makes the upcycled fabric bird’s eye!

Here are my most Christmassy designs, which I’m hoping will attract someone’s eye at my forthcoming craft fair next weekend (details here) or on my Etsy shop.

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To make these Christmas themed hoops, I used both free machine and hand embroidery and some felt. I love using felt as it’s such a versatile fabric and of course non-fraying.

So that’s what I’ve been up to, how about you? Promise I will be back soon, I’ve missed this! x

 

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 easy 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 😀

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 🙂

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