Tag Archives: recycling

Up-cycled pantry containers

I inherited a love of re-used glass jars from my dad. If you go into his garage, the workbench is rife with all sorts of mis-matched jars and containers filled with nails, screws, pencils, hardware, this and that. Despite the noble cause of recycling (and we love to recycled in the Northwest), we must also remember to reduce and reuse!

Glass jars are beautifully functional; they don’t stop being great containers once all the jam is used up or the pickles all eaten! Over the last year I’ve amassed an eclectic set of glass and plastic lidded containers. With just a tiny bit of effort, I’ve turned them into a set of pantry containers for all my dry bulk food stuffs!

Here’s a great example:

coffee bean jar

I had this fantastically huge glass jar (from Costco – marinated artichoke hearts-yumm!) and I just couldn’t bear to toss it in the recycle bin. After getting the label off with warm water, patience, and a little GooGone, all I needed to do was make it match my other containers. In order to keep the contents from being a mystery, I give the lids a chalkboard surface. Then I just chalk on what’s inside!

chalkboard lid

I’ve written about making things into chalkboards before, in this post. But my lovely fiance found something even better than what I had been using. Instead of a brush-applied chalkboard paint, he found a spray-paint version! (He found this for his own project – making a chalkboard surfaced guitar body. Aren’t we a creative bunch??)

Krylon Chalkboard spray paint

Now, having this stuff in spray-form is so much better, because you get a beautifully even and flat surface. No brush marks. No need to sand between coats. And it’s so much quicker to apply. Two thumbs up to M for finding this ^_^

So all I needed to do to make my lid a chalkboard surface was to tape off the edge of the lid (because I like the gold with the stripes, haha), leaving the top of the lid exposed.
Then, going outside where it’s nice and ventilated, and using lots of newspaper as a backdrop, I just sprayed on a nice even (and not-to-thick) coating of paint. After about an hour I went back out and did another coat. Two was all I needed.

After letting it dry for a day (just to be sure), it was ready to go!

So I can feel good for reusing a perfectly good storage container, and I actually really like my mis-matched set of chalkboard-topped jars. My dad would be so proud 🙂

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Custom Picture Frames

You can pick up picture frames at your local thrift store for a fraction of what they cost new, and therefore can be a major budget saver – either for your home decor or…as wedding decor. But finding coordinating frames as-is is not so easy. The solution? A couple quick coats of inexpensive paint in whatever color you desire!

Using color to tie together mis-matched items is really very simple. (Check out this post on Style Me Pretty – a mish-mash of items look seamlessly matched when they share a common color!) The paint department at any home-improvement store is a great place to search for just the right shade. Once you have your pot of paint, anything is fair game!

In my experience, after collecting various thrift store frames, the prep-work to paint is minimal – just make sure the frame is clean; or if the frame is very glossy, lightly sand it down with fine-grit sandpaper, and then make sure all the dust is wiped away.

It’s easiest to paint the frames with the glass and backing removed. If you can’t remove the glass, use masking tape to line the edges so you avoid getting paint on the glass.

Then, paint away! I found that I needed a few coats of paint for good coverage. Make sure you wait for the paint to dry between coats.

If you want to make your picture frame into a blackboard, this is also very simple!


You can get blackboard paint at most fabric/craft stores. You can paint directly onto the glass, or any other surface (cardboard, wood, etc). I recommend several coats with a really fine-bristle paintbrush; let each coat dry thoroughly, and sand lightly with a really fine-grit paper. This will ensure your chalkboard surface is smooth (a rough surface isn’t as nice when you’re writing on it).

It feels good to update old items to make them new! And for me, after they’ve done their job displaying info at my wedding, I’ll probably be painting them again to put in my home! Gotta love recycling and re-recycling. 🙂

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Fun DIY wedding bunting

For several months now I have been slowly planning my wedding (M and I got engaged in April). We ended up choosing a long engagement – we knew we wanted an outdoor (and therefore) summer wedding, but we weren’t sure we wanted to rush the planning and get married that summer. A year-plus engagement seemed very long to me (and sometimes still does), but it has meant that I have lots of time to plan, do craft projects, search thrift stores, etc for all the ideas that have developed for the special day.

festive bunting!

festive bunting!

Here is a project that is so simple to do, it just takes a bit of time. After seeing many examples of weddings (via my favorite wedding blogs) that incorporated bunting flags into the decor, I got my heart set on using the idea as well. It’s the kind of thing that literally makes me clap my hands and squeal with glee. ^_^

So here’s how I went about doing this project:

I wanted the flags to incorporate our wedding colors – navy blue and light-light green, and also some coordinating patterned fabric. Instead of going to the fabric store, I hit up Goodwill (recycling? check; right price? check). I found 4-5 nice pillowcases in the right colors – just 99 cents each! Sweet!

I also found 3 big spools of 1.5″ ribbon (a cool vintage lace!) for only $2.99. (I also found some double bias tape, which I didn’t end up using).

The first step, now that I had my supplies, was to make an isosceles triangle template for the flags. All you need to do is get a piece of paper, fold it in half, and cut out a diagonal line – corner to top. Unfold your paper to see your triangle. You can continue to tweak the shape (cutting while folded) until you get the triangle you like.

Lay your template on your fabric and cut out as many triangles as you need. My 5 pillowcases actually gave me plenty of flags to work with.

flags all ready to go

flags all ready to go

I decided not to use the bias tape, since it turned out I didn’t have enough length. Instead, I took my ribbon, and ironed the full length in half (so it was like I had a 3/4″ bias tape – plus the ribbon is much more decorative).

I decided I wanted 6″ of space between each flag, so I pinned each flag into the fold of the ribbon at 6″ apart, alternating the colors of the flags as I went. I also made sure to leave some extra length of ribbon at each end so they could be tied up.

Then, I simply went to the sewing machine and made a clean line from one end to the other!

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sewing the flags to ribbon

You can also see I did a zig-zag stitch in contrasting thread to outline the flags – it’s up to you if you want to add this detail!

So that’s it! Hang it up and enjoy!

P1010688web

so festive!

Strings of bunting are simple to assemble, but they do take some time to do. I made three 22-foot-long strands for my project, but I did it in phases (I found my materials one day, cut the triangles another day, and assembled it all on yet another day).

Bunting is so cheerful, fun, and festive! I’m looking forward to seeing them hung up on my wedding day. ^_^

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