Monday, December 19, 2011

Repurposed Project #7 - Thank You Cards

Two years ago when I ran out of the manufactured thank you cards that I put into the packages for customers, I made a decision to make my own.  Coming up with the paper, printing and design for these cards was a challenge and proved to be more expensive than purchasing the store bought cards.  In addition, it was a waste of resources.  This made me rethink the whole handmade card process and helped me invent the old book, thank you cards that I send today.

Using old books that are missing pages and falling apart is the best option for making these cards.  For the price of an used, old book (about $2-$3) you get at least 50 to 100 cards depending on the number of pages.  I do not recommend using books in good condition because as we know, book stores and books themselves are barely surviving in this technology savvy world.  Some wonderful book ideas for these cards are used coloring books and dot-to-dot books, used children's work books and magazines.  I have included the instructions below for these easy, inexpensive, eco-friendly cards.

You will need:
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick or Glue Bottle
  • Used Book that is at least 8"x10"
  • 2 Junk Mail Envelopes
  • Black Permanent Marker
  • A flat table or workspace

Let's Begin!

1. Start by gently removing the pages from the book. First, tear the cover off the book, this makes it easier to access the pages. Don't be scared, you can rip the cover off the book as long as you don't destroy too many pages. It may take some force, but you can do it. Once the cover is removed, you should be able to find the middle of the book and cut the string that holds the pages together. If the pages are glued together then you can start by separating the pages one by one. Find the center of the book and bend the pages back in the opposite direction. This will help to loosen the glue and make it easier to separate the pages. It gets easier the farther along you get. If the book is in bad condition, then it may be an easy task.

2. Once the pages are separated and removed from the book, make sure to cut all the pages into single sheet if you have double sheets. Now you should have several single pages or sheets to work with.

3. Cut each sheet in half. To make it easier to find the middle, fold the page in half and then cut along the fold.

4. Now take one half of the page and fold it in half again to create the body of the card.
5. Gather all the junk mail envelopes you can find. To make one card, it may only take two envelopes depending on the type.

6. Cut one envelope into 3/4" or 1" inch strips, length wise. I prefer to cut jagged lines for my cards, but you may prefer straight lines.

7. Then cut the strips into 2" or 2.5" length pieces trying to work around logos, words and graphics to get as many blank strips as possible. Even if a strip has graphics on it, the backside might be usable if there isn't a heavy security design on the inside.
8. Write THANKS on each piece of paper, remembering to use as many pieces as you can to save on waste. Check the back of each piece for possible writing space. The graphics on the back won't be noticeable once the THANKS tags are glued to the card.
9. Glue a THANKS tag to the front of a card. It is up to you whether you want it straight, upside down or at an angle. I usually put the tags at an angle.

10. Use the second envelope for the blank area inside the card. I use any possible blank space I can find on the envelope. Sometimes it is oddly shaped or has some sort of graphics on it, but I think that adds to its character. Cut a piece large enough to write a message on and small enough to fit into the card when folded. Don't forget that the security printed side can sometimes be used if it isn't too invasive and a black marker or pen can be seen on it.
11. Glue the piece of paper into the card. I usually only glue the top of the paper to the inside of the card to conserve on glue and allow the recipient the option to lift up the paper to see the book graphics underneath. Also, you can glue the paper on the right or left depending on the graphics of the book page. I hate to cover up really cute graphics, so I sometimes put the paper on the left.
The card is now ready for a message and to send out. Since I put the cards in a package, no envelope is needed. If you need an envelope, you can create one from a full book page from the same book.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mannequin Heads

It seems like I am always coming across Styrofoam heads while I am searching for treasures. So for years I have been collecting them and slowly transforming them into unique individuals. Here are four heads that I have recently completed for the Craft Show on Saturday. So if you are in the neighborhood, stop by the craft show on Saturday, November 12th from 9am to 4pm. I'll be at the Ft. Worth First Church of the Nazarene at 2001 E. Main St., Crowley, Texas.

Purple Steampunk Head
Cotton Candy Kisses

This head reminds me of snow and winter

Gothic Head

Friday, October 28, 2011

Simple Last Minute Halloween Party Decoration Ideas

1. Halloween Banner

Instead of stuffing treat bags with candy for the kiddos, use them to make a Halloween banner that can spruce up any area in minutes. I made this one with only six paper treat bags, some string, and hung it along the top of the piano. If you don't have treat bags, you can also use decorative Halloween napkins or empty candy wrappers that have fun and colorful graphics.

2. Creepy Crawly Food

Many stores carry plastic bugs and spiders this time of year. They aren't edible, but so easy to pop on top of snacks to give them that creepy look. I picked up a pack of 30 creatures for under $2.00.

3. Haunted Crackers

Usually only seen around Christmas time, party crackers are a good idea any time of year. I made these party crackers from empty toilet paper rolls and the extra paper napkins I had. I stuffed them with candy, a halloween skull ring, and a small skeleton. Directions on how to make these simple treasures can be found on the internet.  

4. Spooky Branches

This time of year you can pretty much find empty and dead branches in the yard or in a nearby wooded area.  They make instant Halloween decorations and look wonderful in the corner of the room or against a wall. They can help fill in a blank spot, just like this one above, and it's free.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

1970's Halloween Memories

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. Maybe it is because my parents enjoyed it just as much as any kid, so their passion for a good costume and holiday fun rubbed off on me. For the most part, family costumes were handmade or the parts were gathered from here and there and assembled into a complete look. The best handmade costume ever had to be the Darth Vader costume my dad made back in 1977, long before Darth Vader masks had ever been sold on the market by a major company. He spent hours handcrafting the mask out of cardboard, plastic milk jugs, and random pieces around the house. He also made the cape and circuit board on his chest. I had fun watching him. The finished product looked so convincing, that even a 6 year old didn't want to stand near him. I guess I was scared??
Scared of Daddy Darth?
Of course, if dad was Darth, then mom had to be Princess Leia. The two made a great match.  

Mom and Dad in 1977

Me dressed in Mom's costume

Some fun Handmade Star Wars accessories for this Halloween Season.

Princess Leia Knitted Hair Buns - by RoyalKane - $99.99

Star Wars Hat R2D2 - by BodyUpholstery - $40

Star Wars Anakin Ep 3 Tunic Costume - by EvaVanecek - $399
Space Princess Baby Costume - by TheGreenHedgeHog - $58
Star Wars ESB Luke Hoth Hat - by MagicWardrobe - $450 
Yoda, This Hat Is - by MaryOriginals - $20

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Summer of Upcycling

Though the Recycled Wares store specializes in vintage, I also love to make crafts that upcycle and recycle vintage items. This summer I focused on using some vintage fabric scraps that I had collected over the years. The fabric scraps seemed too small to use, but I didn't want to throw them away, so from much brain storming and designing, these objects were born.

Pinback Button Covered in 1970's Fabric

Upcycled Puzzle Piece Brooch from 1940's Fabric

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Upcycled People

Talk about major recycling and upcycling, this three person family is made of 1000's of everyday objects, including toys, clock parts, wooden dowels, trinkets and electronics. I visited he Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum this weekend and this sculpture greeted me at the door. I just had to share it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Inexpensive Ribbon Spool Holder

I am all for using everyday items and repurposing them. Taking a preowned item and reusing it makes me happy. So here is my idea for a ribbon spool holder that I think anyone can afford. I used a vintage paper towel rack that I picked up for a few dollars at my local thrift store. You can find these in just about any thrift store and you don't have to buy them new. Now if you have more than 10 spools of ribbon, this may not be the option for you, but if you only have a few, it's a great idea.

Use a pin to keep the ribbons from unraveling when you are unwinding the ribbon you need. The spools turn easily on my holder, so I am able to pull ribbon from a spool quickly and efficiently. Now some of my spools have really small holes and won't fit over the rod on the holder, so I just cut them to make them fit. Just cut notches all the way around the hole to make it larger, until if fits on the holder.

Earth Keepers


- to alter or adapt for new use without changing the essential form or nature of.
- to use again in the original form or with minimal alteration.
- to help to pass through a cycle again.

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