February 28, 2011

Monday Makeover with Upcyclers!

from Isa & Lucy~ From Waste to Luxury Paper

Very often I get asked how my workshop looks like. The area where I work is like my products in constant change and evolution. There was this place behind the kitchen leading down to my workshop. In desperate need of love and tenderness.

I had plenty of old and broken tiles that I had found when moving to the property. Passionate about giving things a second life - that is also the mantra of my business - I started a project of patience and perseverance.

I have always loved mosaic and can not look often enough at the work of Gaudi. The movement and dynamics that the broken pieces reflect forming a complete new unity has fascinated me ever since.

Originally posted by Isabella on Lucy & Isa ~ From Waste to Luxury Paper...

Isabella is a member of Upcyclers, please browse her shops:

February 25, 2011

Love 2 DIY on the Weekend: Everything has a Place

I would post a picture of my craft desk, but we would all just be embarrassed of the mess. So you can imagine I'm always on the look out for cute, cheap, upcycled storage solutions. This little tote is perfect because you can carry it room to room or even take it with you to craft night at someone else's house.
Honestly there is no reason you can't just use a little 6-pack tote as is. But I decided to decorate it so you wouldn't necessarily recognize it on my craft table.

Any six pack cardboard container will do. I found this one in a neighbor's trash. Not really.
I used some craft paint I had left over from another project and my 8 year old daughter helped me put on a coat.

It didn't seem quite enough coverage so we decided two coats would be better. 

Much better! Next, we chose 3 fabric samples from my huge supply a friend of mine sent me. My daughter loved the floral and green, and i decided the orange and yellow were a perfect compliment. 

I cut out some of the flowers and glued the other pieces of fabric directly onto the tote. If you don't have fabric, you can paint directly onto the tote, or use paper to decorate. Make it your own! 

I can't wait to show you what other easy, fun DIY upcycle projects I have to share with you, but feel free to leave a comment if there is something in particular you would love to see a step-by-step tutorial on. 


February 23, 2011

Meet & Greet: Tatterdamelion

Sasha says "anthropomorphism is one of my favorite concepts", she loves creating objects that have a personality and life all there own but also provide the service of function in human lives.  Sasha is driven by the idea of "rebirth" and "re purpose" and draws inspiration from animals and plants.

Knee length folk kilt from vintage neckties Made to Order
I asked Sasha a few questions about what she designs and here is what she had to say:

Tell us a little about yourself and what you sell.
I am an artmaker and scavenger. I live in a schoolbus with my partner and our pup. I make lots of different types of things and am often learning/exploring new ideas and techniques depending upon what materials may find their way into my studio/ bus.

I make lots of clothing from recycled materials, dresses from neckties, skirts from towels...etc.

Fairy Folk Dress from vintage neckties Made to order
Why did you decide to work with upcycled/recycled/repurposed/vintage materials?
I am driven by the idea of "rebirth" and "re purpose". I feel strongly that what the world needs now is less "stuff", but that does not mean we have to stop creating...there are so many materials waiting in thrift stores and junkyards to have new life breathed into them, just waiting to be assigned a new purpose. I want to be a part of a movement towards helping the masses recognize that recycling is not only "the right thing to do", but that it is also fun, fancy and fashionable!

Necklace made from marbles and leather
What is your favorite thing about running your etsy shop?
Hmmmm...well I love making things, I have a lot of fun taking photos of my work and modeling it. I enjoy writing about my work and naming it....uhmmm...I guess I also really love making sales...don't love being on the computer too much...but I do like meeting other crafters online:)

Daisy Chain by the yard crocheted from Rags
What inspires you to create/sell what you do?
I am inspired by living, even things that make me sad inspire me.

Find Tatterdamelion online:

Thanks Sasha!

See you next week,
Everyday Inspired Blog

February 22, 2011

The 5 Best Tips We've Ever Been Given, Period.

Here at the Mistle and Toe camp, we love all things eco and upcycled! But how do we share that with others, and be successful in doing so? Well we are still learning as we near our 6 month mark, but here are the best tips we have been given throughout this experience. We hope they come in handy for you too!

1. Tell your story. We love a good story, and as upcyclers we find it critical to helping people understand just what "it" is and why "it" is something unique, creative, and a small piece of world-saving wonder. Telling your story isn't just about relating to people virtually, it's about helping them understand the who, what, where, and most importantly the 'why' behind you and your creations. We know all the big marketers are talking about storytelling as a "tool", but we think it something more like a necessity to the handmade, and especially the upcycling, World.

2. Photos That Shine. We admit, we have not yet mastered this, but boy when we started improving our photos did we see a difference! We were in a LOT more treasuries, and even got more pageviews of our new and improved look. There are some great tips out there for creating reflective surfaces with aluminum foil, and making your own "studio" out of poster board. This is one simple and almost no cost improvement, and if you have multiples of products it will save you a ton of time to photograph them once the right way. So consider your products and if they would do best on their own with the white-on-white combo or if colors and context settings will help, like props or "showroom" style photos.

3. With Love. People buy handmade for a great many reasons, but one of the top reasons is because the items are made with lots of love and care by the artisans themselves. So make sure when it arrives that there is a little Thank You note and it is wrapped in a way that reflects your store. We like to use 100% recycled kraft paper with found pieces of yarn to keep the impact low, reusable, and to reflect what we are all about. Some of our favorite Etsy purchases rose above the rest because of this simple act. Make them feel appreciated and they will return the favor.

4. Stay Positive. These past few years the global economy has seen the best of times and the worst of times, but staying positive and upbeat about the future and the positive difference your creations are making is really important. From Forums to Product Descriptions, there is a large and public community out there that is eager to get to know you, make sure you don't turn them away. Sales may be slow, or they may be skyrocketing, but either way you have one incredibly special thing that most other people don't. Your own little slice of heaven aka your store. Where you make the rules, you make the products, and you create the inspiration for personal decor, fashion and gifts. So keep in mind that you are sharing a piece of yourself, make sure you are putting your best foot forward, every time.

5. There Is No Such Thing As Failure. Just learnings. If something doesn't sell...at all... then you have just learned something. The "what have I learned" can be a little trickier. Is my product not "pretty" enough? Is it overpriced? Is the market saturated with similar items? Are people finding my site? Make sure you start asking questions, before you start getting down on yourself. There is so much to learn throughout this experience, and being open to learning is key in creating a successful shop. We recommend some of the forums that offers shop critiques to see things from an outsider's perspective. So stay positive and stay open!

One extra tip: Sign up for google analytics. You will not be sorry! You can see what search terms are used to find you, what products people visit the most (we know, this is on Etsy too...but wouldn't it be great to know if after you posted something on Facebook and Twitter how many people went and looked at it?), and how many unique visitors your site has every day. It may seem overwhelming at first, but there are plenty of help guides out there to get over this hump and start to really get to know your potential customers!

Best of luck and Happy Upcycling!
Tiff & Sarah at Mistle and Toe

February 21, 2011

Monday Makeover with Upcyclers!

upcycled t-shirt pillows 

from things i Green and do not Green 

         a.k.a. thevicagirl on Etsy!

I have collected a lot of t-shirts over the years, shirts that I can't get rid of because I love them so much. A lot of them do not fit me anymore. Most are not in style. It is a bit odd to be wearing my high school choir shirts in my 20's. Some people can pull the look off, but I am not one of them. So what did I decide to do with them? Pillows.

Step 1) Gather the shirts to be transformed.

Step 2) Choose what part of the shirt will be saved, and cut a square out of both the front and the back.

Step 3) Put the 'wrong' sides together (aka: the front and back outside of the shirt) and sew around the edge. Make sure to save a few inches to turn inside out and stuff.

Step 4) Turn inside out, and stuff.

Step 5) Sew up the hole. And enjoy!

Another fun idea is a bag instead of a pillow. Just don't close one end, hem that side up, and add handles.

thevicagirl is a member of Upcyclers and you can check out her blog:
things i Green and do not Green and her shop on Etsy!

February 18, 2011

Love 2 DIY on the Weekend: Anatomy 101 from Inside Utopia

Anatomy of a Custom Sign

Recently I stumbled across a beautiful piece of antique furniture and was so impressed with the amount of work that had gone into creating it I wished I could strip back all of the layers to see how all of the different techniques and skills of the artist had come together to create the finished product.

Then it got me wondering...if I was thinking this about the work of someone else, had any of my customers ever wondered this about my products and an idea was born...to create a demonstration piece to show anyone who had bought or was thinking of buying one of my signs just what goes into making them.

Another bonus of doing this was that it allowed me to see if there was any way I could streamline the process or improve things.

I can highly recommend giving this a shot with your own products, it brought back all the memories of when I was working all of these techniques out, the frustration of not getting it right and the pure joy of figuring it out and seeing the end product and knowing all of those long long nights had been worth it.

Check out the processes involved in making one of my custom signs on MY BLOG!

UtopiaUF is a member of Upcyclers! You can see more of his upcycled furniture, housewares and signs on Etsy!

February 16, 2011

Meet & Greet: Pumpkingirl

Tracy grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. Growing up she didn't have much money, so her family did lots of things to make do, like plant their whole backyard full of pumpkins to sell. Tracy says it taught her a ton about working hard and good customer service.  She learned to sew from her Mom, who also has a shop on Etsy called Granny's Closet.

Pumpkin Girl makes hip, vintage inspired eco-friendly clothing for kids, babies and moms! Her products are made using repurposed, organic and sustainable materials.

6 - 12 Month Tiesie Organic Cotton Long Sleeve
I asked Tracy a few questions and here is what she had to say:

Tell us a little about yourself and what you sell.
My name is Tracy and I am from Wisconsin. I am a mom and I work full time besides running my Etsy shop, so I am BUSY! I use organic cotton onesies and vintage materials to make cute clothes for kids. My most popular item is my boys tiesies which feature real ties — great for church, coming home from the hospital, weddings and other formal events.

Nautical Vintage Baby Bib
Why did you decide to work with upcycled/recycled/repurposed materials?
I don't like to see things get wasted, and I have an obsession with all things vintage. I think it's much more challenging to use vintage and recycled materials because you have to work with what you can find, rather than simply "order more" when you run out of something. When I take something I think might end up in a landfill somewhere and make something cute and functional out of it, it makes me feel like I'm doing something good for the world our kids will inherit.

Chocolate and jewel Tone Upcycled Teacup
What is your favorite thing about running your Etsy shop?
My favorite thing, hands down, is when people write to me and tell me how much they loved my product. I can't tell you how great it feels to know that some mama dressed her precious little one in something I made, especially for an important occasion, like coming home from the hospital. I couldn't feel more honored.

6 - 12 Month Clothsline Organic Cotton Long Sleeve
What inspires you to create/sell what you do?
I'm inspired by my own kids and what they react to. I always try my designs on them, and if they love it, I know it's a hit. It's funny though — I created this shirt for my son with breakfast foods on it, like eggs, toast and bacon (I know, who isn't inspired by bacon?!) and he wears it constantly...so much so that's it's pretty worn out already. But I tried to sell one in my shop with no luck. So maybe I need some new sources of inspiration! I am always inspired by other Etsy artists — such a talented bunch of people!

Find Tracy on the web at:
I also have a vintage shop I share with my mom: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ilovevintagestuff

Thanks Tracy for sharing!

See you next week,
Everyday Inspired Blog

February 14, 2011

Happy V-Day, With Love From Upcyclers!


No matter who you celebrate with- it's the how we love 2 talk about here! How will you celebrate your love for the planet today? Show a little Love 2 Earth on Valentine's day! Some of our members did, when they created these upcycled treasures, you'll find on Etsy

Want to see more Upcycler's Valentines?
They're just a click away!

February 11, 2011

Love 2 DIY on the Weekend: Originally Posted on 'katiebyrd'

Oh, What CAN You Do With An Old Tin CAN? 

Ok, so I am always looking for new ways to turn trash into treasure. It seems like we have so many things that we encounter on a daily basis that get discarded or downcycled because of one major thing: lack of imagination. So I went in search of some inspiration for crafty-crafts to make out of all the products we used today. Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking: “You can’t possibly a) remember everything you used today and b) make something super-cool out of everything you used today!!!” Ok, so you’re probably right, but here’s the inspirational collection of items I did manage to find. Maybe try your hand at these or maybe order them from a creative crafty person on Etsy or somewhere:

1. Instead of sitting in our recycle bin, that can of ginger ale P drank (because his tummy hurt) could be…a pair of EARRINGS! Wow – so did not see that one coming:

2. Instead of throwing away that old seed corn sack (ok, I am slightly embellishing the truth regarding the products I used today), it could be…a cool market tote!

3. Instead of tossing that old bike tire into the dumpster it could be…a neat-o clock!

4. Instead of putting that old wine bottle out for collection, it could be…an awesomely engraved sign! I do like my glass of red wine at night…

5. Instead of littering the world with old Scrabble tiles, they could be a…cool pendant! This one is really cute, I think. But, for the record, I will NEVER be rid of my Scrabble game–NEVER.

Ok, I’m thinking you get the drift by now. Crafty creative power –> less trash and waste in the world, and cool new things that we can feel good about.

My big contribution to the vision is the simple tin can. What can you do with it? Let me count the possibilities:

1. Poke holes in them (after freezing some water in them) and string them up as mini lanterns. Mine came out horribly ugly, but I’m sure yours will be beautiful…
2. Remove the tops and bottoms and make them into pretty little ornaments like Yours Truly did last Christmas and gave away to everyone. Isn’t that clever? Hmmm
3. Make the tops and bottoms into nifty button pins to go on your market tote – this I have not yet tried, but am still contemplating.
4. Use the ones that have pretty gold coloring on the inside, like mini green chili and olive cans, as fun tea-light holders. OK, pretty idea, but these also get really HOT. Just beware. But they did sparkle oh so nicely on top of the stove at P’s birthday party.
5. ???

Your turn, what else can you do with an old tin can? Actually, are they aluminum now? Got a neat idea? Turn it into a DIY for the weekend!!

katiebyrd is a member of Upcyclers,
an Etsy team whose members Love 2 Upcycle! 
See what she Upcycles in her shops on Etsy: 

February 9, 2011

Meet & Greet : DARNEDideas

After years of only partially giving into her artistic voice, Stephanie gave into it fully and started to create again. Sketch, paint, sew, crochet, knit. Stephanie is a jill of many trades, master of...working on it! She loves learning new things and using all sorts of materials.

Woven Rag Rug Pale Yellow Pink Black Flora
I asked Stephanie a few questions and here is what she had to share with us:

Tell us a little about yourself and what you sell
Three years ago I graduated college and was unable to find quality work—fair pay, safe conditions, simulating activities, healthy relationships, and so on. All the work I was able to find was intolerably exploitative, degrading, humiliating, and prohibitive of my own creativity and intellect. I started to think critically about the world, reconsidering my place, my impact, my needs and how I satisfied them. It started simple, with food and basic needs, then became an ongoing reconsideration of all my economic dealings. I found that in order to be happy, I don’t need very much. I’ve replaced my mindless consumption with a minimalist lifestyle of using everything and wasting nothing. Crafting is my answer to the rude salute I’ve received from my home society’s work economy. It is also my therapy, allowing me to create function and beauty while confronting and answering the ugliness of the world’s truths.

Working in multi-media, from fiber to paper, I sell products made from “waste stream” materials and/or local and sustainably produced materials. My products reflect a synergy between techniques that interest me and whatever materials I happen to find.

Knit Hat Bright Red with Black Mother of Pearl 
Why did you decide to work with upcycled/recycled/repurposed materials?
I find myself surrounded by material abundance and gross overproduction that come at a cost we, humanity, cannot sustainably pay: destruction of the planet and its living systems that enable human survival. Most available materials are reliant upon a system that consumes limited, non-replaceable resources as though we created them ourselves, by hand, from scratch. Raw natural resources are used one time, then become problematic “waste”. The effect of so managing natural resources is in the long term suicidal. Regarding crafting, conflict ensued between my newly-adopted values and the contrary values I’d adhered to for a lifetime. I started to rethink the origin of my supplies. I saw potential in things conventionally considered “garbage”, from a well-loved bed sheet to a stained t-shirt to beer packaging. I slowly developed a new discipline of buying as little as possible; I would buy only what I needed and even that, as much as possible, would come from the “waste stream”. There is so much that can be made from these materials when you look at them in a different way. Tilting your head sometimes helps.

Upcycled Men's Tie Purse Green MultiColor Print
What is your favorite thing about running your etsy shop?
Community is an important part of healthy economic relationships. Having my etsy shop is giving me the opportunity to work closely with shoppers and crafters in a personal and meaningful way.

GROW FOOD Screened Tote
What inspires you to create/sell what you do?
I am inspired to create because I feel that it sharpens my skills, nurtures my creativity, and develops my capacity and flexibility for problem-solving, enabling me to live my life so as to leave the world an improved place. There is so much beauty in the world, often in forms very simple. It’s hard sometimes to see the radiant sky beyond the strip-malls. But, I think taking time to breath, relax and eat a good meal with people you love, inspiration follows.

You can check me out:

Thanks Stephanie for sharing!

See you next week,
Everyday Inspired Blog

February 7, 2011

Year of the Rabbit by Bibliobags

Yesterday marked the beginning of the Chinese New Year. 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit. Even though I was born in a Dog year, I've always been partial to rabbits. As a child, I collected rabbit everything. At one point, I remember having over 40 different rabbit dolls!

I had a baby shower to attend last weekend and what better theme for my gift than a rabbit for a baby being born in the year of the rabbit? I put this little bag together with things I already had around the house.

For the gift bag, I used a brown craft bag. I got out an old rabbit cookie cutter and traced it onto a piece of pink felt. I cut it out and cut out a little heart in the middle. Then I hot glued it to the bag.

Even though this was a simple project I really liked how it came out. I tend to go overboard so this was a nice reminder to keep it simple. The bag and card were a hit a hit at the shower.

For more details about this project and exciting news from Bibliobags, Check out her blog! 

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea Book Purse by Bibliobags

February 4, 2011

Love 2 DIY on the Weekend: Literally!! from Additions Style

Plan the Perfect Evening Alone

Have an evening all to yourself? Why not turn it into the perfect evening alone.

All you will need:

Pajamas to cozy up in

Your favorite music

Your favorite drink - Take out the good glassware and enjoy your drink in style.

All your favorite junk food (guilt free)

Any movie you want to watch

Add these extras depending on what kind of evening you want:

Relaxed  - a fun and easy to read book.  Something you normally don't have time to read.

Reflective - use your journal and read things you have written in the past and write what inspires you now.

Party - dance around your room in you pajamas enjoying all your favorite music.

Chatty - Grab your phone and a headset and call all your friend and spend the evening gossiping.

This is your night, make it fun, loose, and relaxed. Remember its all about you!

Follow me on Additions Style, where you can be Everyday Inspired! 


February 2, 2011

Meet & Greet: Dent*de*lion

Darya Gardecki owner Dent*de*lion (a french word dandelion which means lion's tooth)  is a stay-at-home mom who's creates toys that are as earth friendly as possible.  She uses recycled sweaters, vintage fabrics, soy paints, and ingio fiberfill which is derived from corn for stuffing, and considers herself well rooted in Mother Earth.

Tomato Harvest pretend felt food

To get to know Darya I asked her a few questions about herself and her business, here is what she had to say:

Tell us a little about yourself and what you sell
My name is Dasha. My loving family and I live in a little urban town surrounded by woods, mountains, and farmland. I am a stay at home mom, spending my days taking care of my family and sewing toys in my spare time. As a little girl, I lived in Russia. In those days, my family grew their food and lived very simple lives. Now that I have my own family we try to take responsibility for our indispensable Earth and do our share to not only recycle waste, but also to reduce the amount of waste we produce to begin with.


Why did you decide to work with upcycled/recycled/repurposed materials?
Learning of the increasing amount of textiles disposed of in landfills or incinerated played a role in my decision on material selection.
An amazing fact from www.youthxchange.net
- If everyone bought one reclaimed, woolen garment each year, it would save an average of 300 million gallons (about 1,135 litres) of water and 400 tones of chemical dyes.
All my toys are made as earth friendly as possible. I upcycle sweaters and vintage fabric into new items. I focus on using sustainable and recycled material.

Echinachea Flower bobby Pin

What is your favorite thing about running your etsy shop?
Being a part of the vast network of talented people.

What inspires you to create/sell what you do?
My inspirations comes from my children, nature, and my surroundings.

“ Everything and everyone around you is your teacher.” – Ken Keyes

Marine Life Fishing Game 6 piece set

Share with us where we can find you on the web

shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/dentdelion
facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/Dentdelion/120886067970323
blog: http://dentdelion-dentdelion.blogspot.com/
flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/toothoflion

Thanks for sharing with us, Darya!

See you next week,
Everyday Inspired Blog