Five Mini Projects from One Pair of Jeans

Five Mini Projects from One Pair of Jeans

Last week I challenged myself to see how many upcycled projects I could create from one pair of jeans.  Today, I have five completed items to share with you.

If I had the time, I’d eek out one or two more small projects (perhaps a few ornaments or gift tags).  Unfortunately, I’ve run out of time.  Got loads of laundry to finish, a tower of paper work to sort through, empty suitcases to pack and a plane to catch in just 14 hours.

So, let me show you what I did made:

Miniature drawstring bag.  I was playing around with french seams.  When I finished, I’d made a drawstring bag the perfect size for a pair of sunglasses.  This could also be used to hold a set of jacks, little plastic figurines, a deck of cards or any number of tchotchkes.

Zippered pencil pouch.  I have a thing for pencil cases.  Dates back to all my years stuck in the library studying for math and statistics exams.  My one treat to myself back then was the occasional pretty pencil case.  Not studying for exams anymore… but I still like pencil cases & pouches.  And now I know how to make them!

Embroidered decorative piece.  You can see my inspiration for this here.  I didn’t want to make an exact copy.  Decided I’d put my own spin on this idea & get a little more embroidery practice in as well.  I used stem and satin stitch for the design.  I used a smaller embroidery hoop while I was actually embroidery.  Then framed the picture in this larger wooden hoop.  I secured the fabric to the back of the hoop with e6000 glue.

Zippered Coin Purse with d-ring.  Ok, this idea I copied without making any changes (I think).  Here are the pouches I saw floating around on pinterest.  I thought they were adorable.  Since I had jean pockets, pretty cotton fabric to use as lining, zippers and d-rings on hand, I decided to attempt one myself.  And here it is.  Not bad, huh?

Book cover.  At the end of each school year, my kids bring home all their school work and extra supplies.  Included in their take home piles are always partially used composition books.  I claim a few of these for myself to use as doodle books.

The composition books are perfect for scribbling down project plans on.  But the covers are ugly.  Not to mention they are labeled with things like “Simon’s Reading Response Notebook.”  I decided one of the jean legs would make a good book cover.  I added a little needlework.  A line of fern stitch and a line of chain stitch.  Then used stem stitch to write “dream” on the front cover.  Then it was just a matter of making the folds and sewing a few straight seams with the sewing machine.

There you have it.  One pair of jeans.  Five upcycled projects from it.  I had a lot of fun making each of them.  I also discovered denim makes for beautiful embroidery “canvas.”

And now, I have many many chores to do & not enough time before we head out to the airport.  Much as I’d love to make & share a bit more, I suppose I better get going.

One last thought – do you think it’s obsessive if I pack my hand stitching supplies with me to go to Disneyland??!

The Sea of Monsters

The Sea of Monsters

Today was day 363 of our reading streak!  We are just 2 days away from our one year anniversary.  Very exciting to me.  I’m quite proud of us.  And frankly, a little amazed that we’re still reading. 

I had all sorts of grandiose plans for throwing a reading streak party with a cake and a candle and all our favorite books invited to attend…

…Unfortunately, things have been crazy busy around here.  So I’m pushing off celebrating until the next reading streak milestone.  Perhaps something special for day 500 or day 1,000 of the streak?

Of course, no matter how busy, we’re still reading everyday.  Right now, we’re midway through The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan. 

We continue to thoroughly enjoy this series.  Now that summer vacation is finally upon us, we’re planning to have longer reading sessions each day.  Looking forward to our Rick Riordan summer!

A Visit  with Steven Wine of ABYU

A Visit with Steven Wine of ABYU

Here’s a peak into the studio of artist Steven Wine of ABYU Lighting.

Steven made the nifty upcycled lamp, Schnappi, I shared with you a few weeks ago.  When I told him how much I admired his work, he invited me to his studio to see some of his other creations.  You know I was super excited to go!

Steven’s studio is smack in the center of NYC’s garment district.  To get there, I took the usual crowded subway, walked along a loud bustling street, entered an older building, went up a little elevator to an old school looking hallway and then…

..entered his delightfully inspired workspace.  Just walking into his studio put a big smile on my face.

High ceilings.  White walls.  Cement floors.  Various sitting areas and work stations set up throughout the space.  And everywhere, Steven’s amazing collection of lighting fixtures.

As you can see from the pictures above, much of Steven’s work features feathers.  This was something I’ve never seen before.  I was struck by how rich a feeling the feathers evoked.

The feathered lights were impressive.  But my favorite piece was this hanging light made from reflectors.  I want this. 

And then, there was Steven’s series of upcycled lamps – Schnappi & all his friends!  The bodies for these lamps were made from discarded detergent bottles and various other plastic containers.

Where most folks would just see trash, Steven saw ducks, pigs, cats, anteaters, alligators, bugs and more.  If you look closely, you’ll notice that each “guy” even has his own personality.

I really enjoyed my visit to ABYU Lighting (thank you, Steven!).  I think Steven’s work is beautiful.  If you continue visiting my blog, count on seeing more from Steven in the future!

From Jeans to … ?

From Jeans to … ?

No fresh set of handmade items to share just yet. 

But I wanted to let you know I’m hard at work on a little upcycling challenge I’ve set for myself.

A friend dropped off her worn out jeans for me to chop up and play with (Thanks Stacy!).  I’ve challenged myself to churn out as many different mini-projects from this one pair of jeans as possible.

For inspiration, I went searching on the internet to see what other folks have been making from their old jeans.  If you want to take a look, I’ve pinned my favorites to my Pinterest Upcycling Board.

So far, I’ve completed two items and am currently doing the embroidery for two other pieces.  The embellishments are turning out to be my favorite part of this experiment, but it’s slow going. 

Hope to be done within the week… stay tuned!



My brother is one of my best friends.
Love hanging out with him.
But, apparently, this wasn’t always the case.
Came across these old photos recently.
Too funny not to share.