Upcycled garden sheds

 

garden shed, made from two old sheds and fence panel

My very clever husband has spent the last few days building four sheds for our garden. Like our house, our garden is very small (we only have one garden as the back of our house is joined onto another). With three growing children we really need to maximise the space we have and so this summer we have lots of plans.

First of all we/he removed the three old sheds that were taking up too much space in the garden. We had a good sort out and recycled, freecycled and threw away stuff that we no longer needed (a liberating experience). He then made use of the old sheds, as well as an old fence panel from a friend, and made these four storage areas:

upcycled garden sheds

(l-r: garden shed for tools etc, wood store, closed bin shed, lift up storage chest for outdoor games and chairs)

The doors on the left hand and two far right sheds were taken from our old sheds. Some of the panelling was reconstructed from the old fence panel. We did buy some new material from B&Q, but found that we didn’t need as much of it after all.

I’m really pleased with the shed for the bin.

bin shed

Having only one garden we struggle with where to store our bins. In fact, this venture has forced me to contact the council and get rid of our large plastic & cardboard recycling bin. We only put it out for collection once a month/every six weeks so we have asked for a replacement canvas bag that will be a lot easier to store.

I have also discovered that I quite like organising sheds (?!) and have enjoyed decluttering and then re-ordering the tool shed.

shed

The location of the sheds against the house wall has freed up some much needed space. We now have a pleasant area in which to sit and the sheds have been relocated to a far more practical location.

 

upcycled sheds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Upcycling Denim Part Two: Jeans to Skirt

upcycled denim skirt

Since buying my denim sewing needles I have gone a bit mad with the denim upcycling! I mended – and then remade – some children’s jeans into shorts here.

I also embarked on a rather long, but fulfilling, project to turn an old pair of jeans into a skirt.

I started with this old pair of jeans which had been mended quite a few times, before being replaced by my second-hand Toast pair.

mended jeans

I started by chopping them off at the knees. Then I unpicked the inner leg seams on both the front and back:

upcycling jeans

However because I wasn’t paying attention when unpicking I accidentally unpicked an outer seam too on one side:

jeans to skirt

Still I decided to turn this ‘accident’ into a feature. I took an old (second-hand) skirt which I loved but which was far too tight:

skirt upcycle

So far, so good (ish). Because I wasn’t following a pattern and rather making the instructions up as I went along I then sewed the two back seams together (that had been previously unpicked from the trouser legs). This involved having to sew over some thick layers of denim. It also left a little triangle at the bottom which I patched with some of the green skirt:

denim skirt refashion

I also sewed some of the green skirt fabric down the side, which I had accidentally unpicked, but I didn’t add a patch to the front.

You can kind off see they were jeans and there is a fair amount of bad sewing in the project, but I like that it’s not perfect.

 

denim skirt made from jeans

 

Tomorrow is our quarterly Repair Cafe and I intend to wear this skirt!

Corsham Repair Cafe poster June 2016(If you like this post please follow me on facebook , twitter or instagram)

Another tale of denim: 20 minute upcycled shorts

upcycled denim shorts

 

There must be some sort of denim theme going on at the moment. I bought a £5 bargain denim dress the other week and at the weekend I upcycled a pair of children’s denim shorts.

You may remember a couple of months ago I attempted to mend the cheap Primark jeans I’d bought my daughter here.

Mending children's jeans

Unfortunately the mend didn’t last very long. So we decided to turn them into shorts and add a fabric cuff. I’d done something similar here a couple of years ago:

upcycling children's jeans

This time we used some spare cartoon style material that I had used to make a cushion cover with.

cushion cover

Following the excellent tutorial below it only took 20 minutes to cut jeans, cut then hem fabric, and then sew it onto the jeans.

 

My daughter was really pleased with the results – and now she has another pair of shorts to wear this summer. I’m also still using my denim needles for the sewing machine so my £4.66 denim sewing kit is still going well…

Easy no sew Christmas card bunting

easy no sew upcycled bunting

I recently posted about the challenges of trying to recycle over 160 Christmas cards. I know that I can put them in the cardboard recycling box (or at special collection boxes in supermarkets) but I wanted to create something with them.

Having taken part in last Thursday’s #makedoandmendhour on Twitter and from a trawl of pinterest I picked up a few useful tips.

I had already turned some of the cards into gift labels for next Christmas, and adapted some of the rectangular ones into thank you cards from my daughters:

However I’d also heard about upcycling cards into festive bunting, so here is my guide to ‘no sew Christmas Card Bunting’:

no sew bunting

  1. Select about 20-30 Christmas Cards of complimentary colours. I made two piles: red & green and blue & white (if you like to ring the changes with different colour schemes every Christmas this is a cheap and green way of doing it).

 

red themed cards for bunting

2) Using scissors – or a small paper guillotine – cut off the back and then slice the front into a triangle:

making Christmas card bunting

3) Remember that the bunting flags will hang from the widest part so bear this in mind if you have writing or particular images on them. I don’t have great spacial awareness so got a couple of them wrong so they will now hang ‘upside down’:

upside down bunting flags

oops! Wrong way round 😦

4) When you have a collection take a hole punch and punch one or two holes into the top:

5) Then take the ribbon, wool or string (perhaps saved from Christmas wrapping?) and thread through the holes:

christmas card bunting

And, here we go – easy peasey no sew upcycled bunting!

no sew Christmas card bunting

Don’t forget you could also use this for birthdays or other occasions (perhaps if you get loads of Valentine cards?!). Now I will just have to remember where I’ve stored this bunting for next Christmas!

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Upcycling candles for Christmas

upcycled Christmas candle

You know how sometimes you have the best intentions to take on a project but, somehow, you never get round to it? Last Christmas I pinned a load of tips on my pinterest boards on how to upcycle old candles. I have some beautiful scented candles but, unfortunately, the wicks have all but disappeared, leaving me with gorgeous smelling wax that I can no longer burn.

 

upcycling old candles

So last year I decided I was going to re-make these candles using tips from here and here. I dutifully ordered some new wicks from the web and then left them in my sewing box for a whole year.

So this Christmas I decided to spend a pleasant afternoon re-making new candles from old.

All of my candles came in heat proof glasses. I gently boiled a saucepan of water and placed the candle in it.

 

upcycling old candles

The wax took about 20 minutes to melt (depends on how much wax you have left). I was able to scrape out the old wick before melting it.

When the wax had become liquid I poured it into a new glass container, with the new wick standing in the middle. Some instructions suggest wrapping the excess wick around a pencil to keep it in position but I found I only needed to hold the wick upright with my finger and thumb for a couple of minutes.

upcycling old candles

I then let the wax cool down and, voila, new candles from old! I used a white chalkboard pen to write the names on the glass jars.

new candles from old

I used jars and old candle holders for the new candles. Some recipes I had seen suggested layering different scented candle wax to create new perfumes. However I had enough wax left from each individual candle to re-make them on their own.

I also found a good use for some of the older candle jars and – after a scrub – turned them into drinking glasses. (Pictured here alongside another upcycled tumbler which was originally a Nutella jar from Italy)

re-used candle jar

The plus side of melting scented candles all afternoon was that my house smelt of a gorgeous mix of vanilla, berries and rose perfumes. These upcycled candles make a great gift idea and I’ve seen some clever tips using old teacups. However I’m far too selfish to let these candles go …. I’m just cross with myself that they have been sitting around gathering dust all year when I could have re-made them with such little effort!

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Upcycling childrens’ jeans

You may remember a little while ago I posted here about buying very cheap jeans from Primark. The jeans were for my little girls who had recently outgrown their other pairs. After the Primark post I tried to ease my green conscience a little by patching some existing jeans of mine. I was also determined to do something with the girls’ old jeans.

With summer around the corner I thought it would be perfect to upcycle the old jeans and turn them into shorts. But I wanted to do something more than just cut them off and leave them with frayed edges. After a quick search through my upcycling board on pinterest I came across some very cute fabric cuffed shorts. Again I followed the tutorial below from tlc inspirations (I find their youtube videos really useful – I posted here about following one to mend my jeans):

 

Bearing in mind I have a very old sewing machine and have very limited sewing skills I was able to refashion two pairs of shorts in just one morning. I used some old scraps of fabric to add the cuffs. This week has seen really warm weather and so it was great for the girls to come home from school and change into their new shorts:

 

 

How to make a t-shirt bag

Having finally repaired my sewing machine I have set about upcycling some of the things I picked up at April’s clothes swap. For ages I have wanted to turn a t-shirt into a bag, having seen this tutorial on pinterest.

So I took an old t-shirt:

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Cut off the arms and cut out the neckline a little:

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Sewed the bottom edges together and voila – a bag!

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I also used some of the leftover fabric to make a couple of scrunchies for the girls (not pictured).

While in the ‘upcycling’ mood I also adapted a red scarf to take on holiday later this year. I had a beautiful rectangular red scarf but it was too long to wear.

So I turned it into a square (with some very bad cutting and sewing as I am quite a lazy sewer):

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And here is a shorter and more practical scarf to take away to brighten my outfits while on hols:

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All of this sewing brings to mind a fantastic term I came across at Jen’s blog, mymakedoandmendyear, entitled ‘wonk’. That is handmade work that is, shall we say, less than perfect. This has really inspired me to have a go – and even photograph- my sewing work which is always wonky. This is partly due to the fact that, as I said, I am a lazy sewer and can’t be bothered to follow instructions. I have many more sewing and upcyling projects in mind now that the sewing machine is working again. I am also determined to work my way through my pinterest board rather than just pinning mindlessly. So plenty more wonk coming your way…