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It seems that at this time of year; everyone is preparing for back to school; all the closets get cleaned out and a huge amount gets heaved. Whoa, before you ditch it consider a few ideas! Trust me; you will be amazed at these trash to treasure ideas.

Ask yourself:

What can I do with this?

  • Can it be sewn into something else?
  • Can it be Dyed another colour?
  • Can it have paint embellishment?
  • Can it take on another form?
  • Can it be cut and adjusted?
  • Can it be something completely new?
  • Can it be a mold for concrete?
  • Can it be refinished?

Oh so many jeans:

I admit that I see so much potential in denim and it takes a huge amount of energy to make denim so let’s rethink how it can get a second life. Let me show you how to make this Bowler Bag with your old jeans.

Not only are there so many lovely blues but also the opportunity to bleach dye denim. Darling little feathers come together quickly with my pattern to make Birds that actually open their wings

These sweet birds need so little fabric and you probably already have everything else needed. It’s been a tough year and keeping those hands and minds busy is a good thing. I always felt good to accomplishment after some ‘making’ and didn’t realize I was actually practicing ‘Art therapy’.

Make Unique Apparel:

Denim can be pieced in a million ways and all are quite acceptable. Think outside the usual; what do you have to lose!? Rather than throwing all the jeans away it is now my Designer Jean Jacket!

Feel free to add embellishments to existing denim; it’s an open canvas. I have tested different paints and techniques. It’s a wild trend right now and anything goes!

Reinvent the fabric – dye or bleach it to be unique. Reverse Bleach dye is fun to watch & design.

Shibori never gets old in my mind. Take an old Bamboo sheet to the next level with some Shibori Ice dyeing! It’s on of my favourite blouses to wear Old sheets/duvet can get a new life with some Fibre reactive dye. I have been using this dye for years now and see no fading.

Linen Up-cycling:

Sheets and Curtains have much yardage so they are a great way to make new. Don’t forget that you can also make rugs from up-cycled fabric.

Sewing strips together has some strange soothing quality, just like sewing rope to make bowls. So much fabric ends up in landfill and could become something new and precious.

Don’t forget the concrete:

Strange as it may be, I love to design with casting concrete in odd vessels. Look past the obvious and imagine the potentials.

Soda cans make great molds to cast wrinkled concrete Vessels. These are charming & cheap to make, but can also be adapted to go even further with whatever you take a close look at. Once you ‘allow’ yourself to dream up ideas you will become more creative.

Precious Wool:

.I bet in the future it will be very difficult to find the old vintage virgin wool blankets. Take advantage of the precious vintage wool blankets now – those sheep worked hard.

Such amazing qualities and pretty simple process for cozy toes in these Up-cycled wool slippers.

‘And you do know how much I like to inject some nature into the ‘making’; Eco Printed Wool slippers. The older I get the more I make sure my feet are happy!

I will show you how to make great slippers from old Uggs. There’s a lot of sheepskin to repurpose.

One of the best luxuries; sheepskin for your toes and it is naturally antibacterial.

Anything White is at risk:

Maybe it has a stain, or too dull for your liking… ‘Paint it’! Dye-Na-Flow is one of the most versatile paint/dyes I’ve discovered and I keep pushing the limits.

Any design, simple or complex can be such a great way to keep that garment! What do you have to lose?! Squiggly easy roses on rayon – marvelous!

Flowers may not be your ‘thing’, but anything goes. I am really getting tired of all the predictable patterns after so many years of sewing.

This is another Dye-Na-Flow project that was so easy and felt like playing with paint.

A well washed sheet can give so much yardage when I Ice-Dye it with Fibre reactive Dye. Then it can become whatever you like.

Such variety of colour and tones you won’t find elsewhere.

Take out the Colour:

Yes, even a black cotton T can become something new with some department store product. Designs don’t always need to be crazy, keep it simple with this Colour removing Tie Dye project

I bet you know where I got this piece since I am always checking out what is at the side of the road;

What trash to treasure doesn’t look better with a bit of paint?! Easy home printed fabric made this a special gift; Always my Baby Custom Chair.

I'm an artist & I make things... all kinds of things.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Absolute awesome round up of your amazing creative ideas.

    I love working with denim and grabbing it from the 50 cent rack at our local thrift store.

    1. Me too! As soon as people know that you like it, you’ll get them given to you. My problem; trying to make the design decisions as there are just so many options!!!

  2. Barb,
    So glad it’s not Covid. And I am sure you would recognize Monkey Pox. Prayers, anyway.
    Thank you for years and years of creative ideas so generously shared.
    I was unaware that wool is antibacterial. Wish I had a closet full of it. Is it just the furry part, or the hide and all? Would it be safer than artificial fur for teddy bears? At the rate that utility bills are rising, it would make sense to recycle it. Wondered if you have a quick search engine for your projects using wool?

    1. Thanks! I know many who wait for the email so I did not want to disappoint. I would think the hair of the wool has most of those properties. Wool has natural UV protection, Wool has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, Wool is stain resistant, Keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer, Insulates even when wet, Wool is durable. Use the search tool 🔎 on the upper right to find posts…

  3. Sooo cute! I looked at the feathers and thought “What a great hair ornament those would make!”. Unfortunately, I now have a short haircut and fine, straight, slippery hair, so I’d have to figure out how to keep it on my head. Maybe a hat? Thank you for your willingness to share your creative life with us. I love your newsletters!

  4. Thank you for sharing. Makes my head spin! Right now I live vicariously thru your posts. I need to get my maker space set up – I have no where to work at the moment – and get started. The dilemma will be what to choose!

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