Archive for the ‘recycling’ Category

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It has been far too long since I’ve restocked my etsy shop, but I finally had a chance to update it, and now it’s filled with some soft and cozy goodies!

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I made a large batch of upcycled scarves last year for craft shows, and I had a few left, ready to be listed for purchase! All scarves are made from sweaters containing only natural fibers that felt when washed (i.e., lambswool, merino, cashmere, etc.), and I always chose sweaters that were both soft and colorful for these projects!

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My prism scarves were always a top seller at the craft fair, I think because people just can’t resist all of that color!

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My latest twist on this last year was when I started working with JUST cashmere– and let me tell you, I am in love with the results! I made a test scarf that I wear nearly every day because it is so so soft and warm. My skin is sensitive to scratchy or itchy fibers, and I never have any problem with the cashmere. Cashmere can be a bit stretchy and slippery when sewing it, so to keep things sturdy and stable I made these scarves double-sided, with all raw seams enclosed on the inside. This makes for a reversible (and extra warm!) color blocked scarf. I try to keep similar colors together, as they tend to blend well and look nice no matter which way the scarf is tied.

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I have a handful of these listed now, so get them while you can! I also have a few new baby quilts listed, which I’ll post about soon!

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And through the end of the month I’m offering a 15% discount for Greenleaf Goods readers– just enter the coupon code GreenleafFan when you check out!

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Liv's jewelry holder

Yesterday I revealed the framed jewelry holder I made for my little sis. I thought I’d share how I went about making this so that anyone else who wants one can make one, too!

1 frame (this can be any size you want)
Poster board or cardboard the size of the frame (if the frame has a cardboard insert that fits into the frame, generally to hold photos or art in place, great! You can use that. If not, you’ll need to cut one that will fit in the frame)
Cork board (enough to cover the cardboard that fits in the frame)
Screw-in hooks (the number of hooks you need will vary based on the size of your frame)
Fabric or linen to cover the cork backing (I used an upcycled linen tablecloth, but any basic fabric would work)
Fabric scraps to create the distinct areas for hooks (again, how much you need will depend on how big your frame is and how you want to lay things out)
Appliqué material (I used Heat n’ Bond)
Spraypaint (optional, for repainting hooks or frame)
Pencil (for marking)
Hot glue gun (for holding things in place)
Newspaper (for covering and protecting your work surface, particularly from the hot glue)

This project can vary depending on the size and type of frame you use, and how you decide to lay things out. I chose a fairly large and square frame, because I wanted necklaces to be able to hang but not surpass the bottom edge of the frame, and I wanted to create smaller sections for bracelets, rings, and anything else. I bought my frame from Home Goods (it originally framed some shiny seashell art), though this would be a great project to use as motivation to refinish an old frame you already have or to hit the flea market to find a cool vintage frame to rehab.

1. The first step is to take your frame apart. You don’t need the glass from the front of the frame (it’d be a good idea to recycle this if you don’t have another use for it). If your frame has a cardboard or card stock insert, be sure to save this– we’ll use it in the next step. If it doesn’t have this layer, you’ll want to make one out of cardboard or poster board. Make sure it fits into the frame– after we cover it with the cork board and fabric, we’ll stick it in the frame.

Outlining the section of the jewelry holder

2. Next, lay your frame over your card board or cardstock and sketch out where you’ll want your fabric scraps to be lined up. I decided to do a longer, wider piece of fabric on the left side (for necklaces), with a short strip above it (for rings or smaller jewelry), and 3 medium sized sections on the right size for bracelets or medium sized jewelry. Figuring out the layout at this step helps, because it allows you to decide on how many hooks you want and where you want them. It also lets you know how large to cut each of those scraps of fabric that will define the sections within the frame.

3. Cut a piece of your background fabric, making sure it will cover your card board backing and will have a few extra inches on each side (which we’ll use to secure to the back once everything is sewn). I used a linen from a tablecloth I upcycled. I found the tablecloth for a very good price at an estate sale, but it wasn’t in great condition, so I washed it and then strategically cut it up to use the parts that looked like new. Next, cut your fabric scraps to be the size you sketched out in the last step, and appliqué them to your piece of linen or background fabric. I used my see-through, gridded ruler to make sure I had things straight and the correct distances apart. After ironing the fabric scraps to the linen, I used a zigzag stitch around all the edges to keep them secured and give them a finished look.
*Note: I decided to appliqué the fabrics rather than piecing the linen and fabric scraps together because I wanted it to have a smooth finished look, and didn’t want to have to worry about the bulkiness of seams.*

4. Next, you want to take your card board backing and glue your cork board to it. I bought cork squares, and cut them down to size and used the hot glue gun to get them right up next to each other and secured into place.

Assembling the background for the jewelry holder

I was worried about the gaps between the pieces being noticeable, but I was careful to hold them very close together when gluing them, and once the fabric was covering this piece you couldn’t tell where I had joined them.

5. Next, you want to take your fabric and position it over your cork covered background so that the fabric scraps are positioned where you originally laid them out. You have to eyeball this part, and I found that holding the empty frame over the fabric helped me make sure I had the fabric positioned correctly. Once you have this in place, carefully flip everything over and use the hot glue gun to secure all of the edges of the linen to the back of the cardboard. Be careful not to pull on the linen too much, because you don’t want the front to shift. However, you do want it to be taut. There’s a little trial and error in this step, so just take your time to make sure things are still lined up on the front, and secured on the back.
*Note: to give the back a finished look once I had these edges all glued down, I cut brown craft paper and glued a square of that over the back. If I were making this for myself, I may have skipped this step, since this side will be facing the wall. But, as this was a gift I wanted it to have a finished look, and I liked that this kept all raw edges concealed.*

6. Carefully fit the fabric covered cork into the frame. Mine just popped back in like it would as if I were changing out a photo in a frame. However, once I fit it back into place, I used a dab of hot glue on each of the corners to make sure it wasn’t going anywhere. This will be frame specific, because if your fabric-cork square fits snugly into the frame, you can probably skip this step.

7. Last, you need to screw in your screw hooks! I will say, finding the right hooks was probably the most challenging part of this project, so I’ll share how I found mine– and the key is trial and error, so again, see what works for your frame and aesthetic.

I went to the local hardware store, and found the section of small screw hooks (they were all meant to be screwed into wood). I bought one of each kind and brought them home, so I could test them all out and see which one worked best. Some were larger than others, and some had longer threads to screw into wood. I took a scrap piece of cork and cardboard, so I’d get the same effect as screwing them into the finished framed board, and I screwed them all in. I was looking to see how far they would stick out the back of the frame (if at all), how far they would stick out in the front, and how firmly they seemed to hold in the cork. I wanted them to be really steady and firm, without sticking out in the back. Luckily, one little hook (one of the smallest ones I tried) fit the bill, so I calculated how many I wanted for each section of my jewelry holder, I went back to the hardware store and returned all the rest, and bought all the small ones I needed. I also picked up a can of satin white krylon spray paint to change the color of the hooks. Originally, the hooks I chose were gold, but that didn’t fit with my vision for the project, so I applied 2 coats of spray paint (waiting for it to dry after each coat). It would be really fun to paint these bright colors, too!

Closeup of Liv's jewelry holder

8. Last, screw each hook directly through the fabric and cork until it is secure. On mine, they just barely poked through the cardboard, and I knew they were completely screwed in. I also would give each one a test “wiggle” to make sure it was secure.

That’s it! Now, hang it on your wall, fill with gorgeous jewelry, and enjoy! Happy weekend everyone!

Jewelry Holder

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Liv's jewelry holder

I made this jewelry holder for my little sister for Christmas this year. I know she had been looking for a way to organize her jewelry, so I cooked up this idea to make a scrappy, framed holder for her that could go right on the wall.

Closeup of Liv's jewelry holder

I used some recycled materials and fabric scraps to pull this together, and I plan on posting a tutorial soon to explain the steps it took to make this. I’m so happy with how it came out (it looks just like it did in my head when I thought of it, and sometimes that can be hard to accomplish!), I have plans to have a craft weekend with my mom soon so we can both make them for ourselves.

I also have to send a thanks out to Jolene from Blue Elephant Stitches for the shout out on her blog today– I love seeing what she’s working on (she has some gorgeous quilts I have been known to drool over), and I really appreciate her kind words about greenleaf goods! She totally made my day, and if you haven’t seen her blog you should check it out!

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Nicey Jane Chair

Before Thanksgiving, I wrote a post about a chair I had refinished. I had chosen one of my favorite Nicey Jane fabrics from Heather Bailey for the cushion (the lindy leaf in red), and I was so happy with how bright and crisp the chair turned out. It definitely brightens up my work area! I added some pictures of the chair to a group of Nicey Jane projects on flickr, and I was so surprised a few days later to see that I had a comment on the photo– from THE Heather Bailey!! I couldn’t believe that SHE had looked at and commented on MY photo! It was such a little bright spot in my week, I was so excited knowing that she had liked what I had done with the fabric she designed.

Here’s the picture, and you can click on it to go to flickr to see Heather’s comment or more photos of the chair and other projects!

Nicey Jane recovered chair

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Nicey Jane Chair

A few months ago, I decided it was time to upgrade my desk chair. I had been using a folding chair with a cushion squished on the top, and it worked ok, but it wasn’t the most comfortable after sitting for a while. In an effort to be both environmentally friendly and frugal, I decided to find an old chair to give a make-over. I had seen similar furniture transformations on a few of the home decor blogs I read, and I felt I could handle this sort of project.

The "before" pic

I found this chair at University property disposition, where all office-related furniture and equipment go to be sold when the University is done with it. The chair cost me around $10, and I chose it for two reasons: The wood frame looked like it would be easy to sand and spray paint, and the large cushion area would be perfect for recovering with one of my favorite fabrics. It’s very important to me to reuse or recycle items when possible, and furniture seems to be one area where it’s easy to find a piece in decent shape and spiff it up with a little work.

Nicey Jane Chair

For the chair cover, I used one of my favorite prints from Heather Bailey’s line of Nicey Jane fabrics– the lindy leaf in red. I loved the way the vertical lines of leaves looked running down the chair. I removed the cushion from the chair, and then sanded all the exposed wood. I spray painted it with 2 coats of white spray paint, and I recovered the cushion in the lindy leaf fabric. Once the chair had plenty of time to dry, I screwed the cushion back into the chair frame, and it was ready to go!

Simon and my chair
(Simon likes to keep an eye on things)

It’s often easy, fun, and cost effective to think about repurposing or upcycling an item rather than buying new. For this project, I spent $10 on the chair, about $10 on a yard of fabric, and $5 on paint. A $25 total isn’t too bad for a “new” chair!

Nicey Jane Chair

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***Mid-November sale at Greenleaf Goods on Etsy!***

Take advantage of the Mid-November 3 day sale! Friday through Sunday, November 19-21, all scarves in the shop have been marked down 30% off! Give one as a holiday gift, or treat yourself to the warmth and color of an environmentally friendly Greenleaf Goods scarf.

You can find the shop here.

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Weekend Plans

Whimsical Wares Show, November 10-14 2010

This weekend I’m off to a conference, so it will be a few days before I can get back to my regular sewing and blogging. While I’m at the conference, my scarves are making their craft show debut! If you’re in the Atlanta area this weekend, check out the show– you can find more information about it here. It’s too bad my conference isn’t in Atlanta, or I’d be stopping by, too!

I’m also planning to update the etsy shop once I’m back in town next week, and I’m thinking of having a sale in the near future, in case anyone wants to stock up on holiday gifts!

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vintage wedding cake topper

J and I weren’t originally planning to have a wedding cake– our caterer made a really wonderful fresh blueberry peach crisp and gelato, so we didn’t think we needed a cake, too. But then a few months before the wedding, my mom found my grandparents wedding cake topper in their attic. I’m all about using vintage and reused items, and this cake topper was pretty amazing. The only part that didn’t seem to hold up as well was the bottom part, which appeared to be made of sugar (that was now really, really old brown sugar). In order to spruce the cake topper up without dismantling it at all, we whipped up the little pleated skirt for the bottom of the cake topper. It hid the aged sugar, and gave it a touch of whimsy. I am so happy with how it turned out, and that we were able to incorporate something so meaningful into the wedding.
(Plus, it gave us an excuse to get that chocolate mousse cake, which was delicious!)

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One thing I didn’t mention in the last post about the birdie sling bag was what fabrics I chose to use for the interior. I think picking out the fabric is one of the best parts of starting a new project (and probably explains why I have so MUCH fabric in my house!), and it was so fun to put together these fabrics. I used the lemon print, as I liked the brightness it brought to the bags. I also used more light blue nicey jane, as it tied in with both of the bags.

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One of the things I was most excited about, though, was a special little pocket I added to the interior of my sister Lindsay’s bag. Lindsay got married last summer, and when I began planning my wedding with an eye towards keeping things eco-friendly and affordable, she offered me her wedding dress to cut up and to use as I’d like. I had the dress tailored to fit me, and had some significant changes made to it so it didn’t look quite the same. I had it shortened to a tea length, and added straps and a green sash. In shortening the dress, the tailor had a small bit of fabric left over, and I took it home with me, thinking about how I could re-purpose it and return it to my sister in a new form. It was such a small piece (only about 5 inches tall by 12 inches wide), so it couldn’t really stand alone as it’s own little project. While piecing the pockets of the bags, though, I realized I could easily turn it into a little reinforced square pocket inside her bag. It would be a private little touch that only she would know about, and I love returning goods to their original owners in a different form. Here’s the little pocket, all sewn into the finished bag:

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I love when stuff comes full circle.

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