Posts Tagged ‘reuse’

This post was originally slated to appear as part of Janice’s series of three guest posts while I was overseas. Unfortunately, however, life happened and Janice fell ill so we were unable to schedule it as planned. It’s too good not to share, so here it is!

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Two of my favourite things about the internet: meeting lovely likeminded people and awesome creative tools like Pinterest. Today’s guest post combines the two, as my blog buddy Janice Bear shows us the real side of Pinterest-inspired projects with, uh, varying degrees of success. – Alicia

Hello again Atypical darlings! It has been a bit since we last talked, but I have one last pinned project to share with you before dear Alicia returns from summer vacation.

I turned my focus once again to my downstairs powder room. This time, instead of covering the walls with paint I covered the floor with rags. Sort of.

I recently read Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash, detailing the change in social mindset from “reuse” to “throw out,” and have since been dying to try my hand at a rag rug. I had previously pinned four different rag rug-esque tutorials so I let me Emily girl choose the final DIY.

Braided rag rug tutorial via Moda Bake Shop

I made some changes right off the bat. First, I didn’t buy any “honey buns” of quilting fabric. I’m sure my final rug would have looked a lot better if I had, but I just couldn’t find the sense buying something new when I had so many scraps lying about.  I’m not actually sure how long a jelly roll is, nor do I know how many strips of fabric one can get from a four-yard cut. Here’s what I do know. I used a total of 107.3 yards (96.5 meters) of 1.5-inch (3.81 cm) fabric strips. Some strips are from old t-shirts, the lightest grey is an acetate-based lining fabric, a fair bit comes from a curtain valance, and a pair of silk trousers made their way into my rug as well.

If I could do it all over again, I think I’d stick with the cotton jersey (t-shirt) scraps. They don’t fray and they make for much neater braids.

Here’s where I made another change. Instead of cutting all my strips, then braiding, then spiraling, I sort of did it all at once. Vanessa’s tutorial is really well done, but it left me in the dark when it came to corresponding braid length to rug circumference. I was going for an ombre effect and I didn’t want my color sections to be too wide or too narrow. In the end, I think my white section is much too wide (10in/25.4cm) and my darkest grey far too narrow (.25in/.63cm), but I’m going to blame that on the nature of crafting.

To make a long story short; I cut strips, I joined strips, I braided, I rolled, and I sewed. Repeat. I really recommend joining your fabric strips the way Vanessa demonstrates in her tutorial. Her way is so much better than just using a square knot.

Oh, I also had a lot of help.

And a fair amount of beta testing.

In the end, I had an acceptable rag rug. Not lovely, but acceptable.

But, of course, there was a problem. The rug, designed to math my (unfinished) bathroom, doesn’t work in the intended space. It is too big to fit in front of the toilet, and obstructs the door if laid in front of the vanity. I suppose it would work as a kitty mat, though… In all, I declare this pin plausible for all skill levels, and one that will improve with practice.

The End

It seems as though I just said “hello,” and I must already say goodbye. For now, anyway.  Thank you all for suffering my dribble for the past several weeks. I have very much enjoyed being here, but I will be delighted to soon be reading sweet Alicia’s posts once again. If, however, you miss me, feel free to stop by the blog or my many, many pinboards.

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About the guest poster:

I’m just a girl with glitter in my veins, a song in my heart, and hot shoes on my mind. When I grow up I want to be just like Mr. Floyd, the crossing guard at my daughter’s school – always smiling, often biking, and loved by so very many. Sometimes I remember to blog about life, but sometimes I’m too busy living. Catch me when you can at Never a Plain Jane.

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bud vase crate before

After cracking open a bottle of yummy fortified wine recently, we were left with the fancy display crate it came in. It was a really sturdy, well-made box with a nice grain so it seemed such a pity to throw out. I concluded it would make a great flower box of some sort.

Meanwhile, I was clearing out some kitchen cupboards and came across this shot glass set I’d been given many years ago. It was fun at the time, but these days I prefer to savour my drinks (that’s a nice way of saying I just can’t handle shots anymore).

Goodbye, reminder of my partying days, hello cute bud vases!

bud vase crate after

I borrowed a tin of wood stain from my Dad and set to work. I was initially planning to sand back the timber to get rid of the engraved text, but I decided that I quite liked it. The stain obscures the text so it doesn’t stand out too much, but it’s still readable as a memory of the winery we visited (on the day The Man proposed, no less).

bud vase crate after 2

I’d been trying to think of some way to disguise (but obviously not affect the use of) the ugly black speakers on our entertainment unit. I may yet find a more permanent solution to hide them better, but for now this is provides a useful distraction.

Since all the materials I already owned or was able to borrow, all it cost was a couple of dollars for some poppies. Faux, admittedly, but still much prettier than a row of chunky black speakers.

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changing table as bar cart
Curbly via Honey & Fitz

Babies seem to require an awful lot of stuff that is only needed for a short time. Here is a clever way to repurpose your growing child’s change table. Give it a coat of paint, add some castors and liberate your spirits and cocktail glasses from the cabinet to set up your very own bar cart. No one would ever guess its original use.

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frame as tray
100 Layer Cake

There are loads of ways to reuse an old frame, but this has to be my favourite. It’s so versatile: use your new tray on your dresser for jewellery or perfume, in the bathroom for your lotions or in living areas for decorative displays.

I’ve actually been on the hunt for a tray for my own home and am not having much luck, perhaps I should keep my eyes open for frames instead.


Hope you all have a lovely evening tonight, I’m off to celebrate The Man’s birthday.

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I’ve decided to do a semi-regular series on how to reuse your wedding decorations in your home decor – I hope you like it!

After the big day - Oil lamps

I collected various oil lamps to use as centrepieces at our wedding reception. I’ve now got an instant collection that looks so pretty catching the light on a window ledge.

First image by Luke Simon Photography

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mattress springs as pinboard
Via La Maison Dannag

I don’t know about you, but it wouldn’t have occurred to me in a million years to use an old mattress spring frame as a pinboard. Doesn’t it add a wonderfully dramatic industrial edge to this Scandanavian style office? If you don’t have that much room to spare, try using a spring base from a cot instead of a full-size bed.

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Better Homes & Gardens

Hang a shower caddy on an unused spot behind a door or on the side of a bookcase to create extra space for those stationery odds and ends that always get lost in drawers.

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Alicia & Ryan wedding

Today’s Rethink & Reuse is somewhat selfish. You see, I have a type drawer that I bought to display some family photos at our wedding. I absolutely love it, but apart from a brief stint as an advent calendar two Christmases ago, I’m actually at a bit of a loss as to what to do with it now.

type drawer advent calendar

Here are what some clever folks are repurposing theirs for:

Jewellery rack | Tonya Staab

Apartment Therapy type drawer
Shadow box | Apartment Therapy

Justina's type drawer on DesignSponge
Shadow box | Design*Sponge

Justina's type drawer on DesignSponge
Craft supply storage | 26 Letters

type drawer coffee table
Memento coffee table | Zween

These are all great ideas, but I already have jewellery storage and a coffee table, prefer my craft supplies to be kept out of sight and I don’t really have many tiny mementos for a memory box. I would LOVE to hear your suggestions of what I could do with my cool – but currently useless – type drawer.

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ceiling medallion wreath

There are so many beautiful and creative wreaths out there these days, either made by a crafty pro for you to buy or tutorials for you to make yourself. But as much as I love them, after a while it becomes a sea of twigs, wool and felt. Which is why I stopped in my tracks when I came across this truly unique idea (albeit featuring an ugly ribbon).

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White frame before

This framed art came free with my issue of Real Living a couple of months ago, but I was immediately told in no uncertain terms that such a girly item would never see the light of day in our home. I figured the frame and the print would pass The Man’s test if used invidually but it was the combination of both that was unacceptable.

White frame after

I removed the sweet print and gave the wooden backing a few coats of blackboard paint that I already had on hand. Now I have a cute mini message board that cost me a grand total of zero dollars.

Does anyone else have to pass the man test when bringing home new decor?

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A collection of pretty meets practical ideas to inspire a happier home

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