Tag Archives: recycled

Gratitude Jar


Last year I started a weekly practice of writing things about the previous week for which I’m grateful. I decorated a jar so I would have a pretty location to deposit the slips of paper, and I put a reminder on my computer so when I forgot, the reminder would pop up (every Sunday) and I could scribble a few things down.


Yesterday I dumped all the crumpled slips of paper out and sorted them by date, than I read them all.  I missed a few weeks and have 50 little notes.


I don’t know about you, but I seem to be much better about thinking about, remembering and dwelling on the negative things in my life, and most often the negative things I see in myself:  mistakes I’ve made, poor decisions, petty arguments, real and imagined slights, bad food choices, lack of exercise, procrastination, etc.  Writing down things I’m grateful for hasn’t stopped be from thinking about negative stuff, but at least once a week I focused on the positive.

And, by writing it down, I’ve made a record of it.  I see Rem on many, if not most of the pages. A beautiful walk we took together around the Dominican campus.  His care and nurturing while I was healing from a dental procedure.  Cooking together (we made tamales yesterday).  Jumping out of an airplane together!


Time doing things with friends and family members is another theme. Crafting appears often. Even a calm day at work is worthy of mention and certainly a good conversation with a colleague.

When my brother was in the hospital in the spring, it was a terribly stressful time.  On April 13 I wrote “Beau is alive and seems to be improving. He has a long road ahead of him but today I have hope that he can survive.” Wow. That was worth writing down and saving.  I remember a blur of days of anxiety and worry but that is what I wrote down. Beau is doing really, really well now.

Keeping this practice up is an easy decision.  I also went one step further and put together a “notepad” of all different papers, bits of old calendars, junk mail, maps, sheet music, etc., and embellishments, all dated and numbered, ready to write on.  It was a fun little craft project and I thought it would be further encouragement to pulling out the paper and writing down a thing or two about what I’m grateful for.



Today I’m grateful for the loan of Rem’s computer while mine is being repaired, and for the people who read my posts – thanks for stopping by.


Filed under Crafts, Life

Day 27: Image Journal

This is a two page spread I did tonight in my image journal.  I’ve been keeping it for years though I don’t sit down with it as often as I’d like.  My sister also keeps one and very occasionally we’ll sit down together for a relaxing afternoon or evening of journaling.

Tonight I reorganized all the pictures or images that I collect for the journal.  If I see something in a magazine or want to save a greeting card, bookmark, postcard or other visual piece, I tuck it into a translucent plastic box.  When I’m ready to spend some time working on a page or two, I pull out the box.

Quite simply the only thing it is for is my own pleasure.  It has no deadline and the only theme is things that I like.  When I sort through the torn pages from magazines  I’ve saved, I put like things together.  Than I paste them in the book.

Following are close ups of the two pages I put together tonight.  I used some Washi tape, a first for my Image Journal.

Creativity isn’t far away.

On Day 27 last year, I created Photo Cards.

Thanks for stopping by.


Filed under 30DOC, Crafts

Day 25: DIY Blue Glass Jars


I’m a Pisces.  I like water and colors of the ocean.

I saw colored or tinted glass jars and put them on my 30 Days of Creativity “To Do” list.  I saw them on Momtastic and also on Homework.

I wanted to make color me some  blue jars.  First step: collect jars.

I saved some at home, took some out of mom’s recycling bin and picked up a few more at the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse.  I also picked up a fried chicken sandwich and lemonade slushy at Bakesale Betty’s. Oh, my!  If you go to one, don’t miss the other.

Rem, my hero, used some elbow grease, Goo Gone and love to get the labels and glue off the jars today.  What a nice surprise and big time saver.  Thank you.

One the jars are clean and dry, mix up three or so tablespoons of Mod Podge, (I was using the Satin finish), and about a tablespoon of water. Add food coloring: I used a combination of Neon and Regular food color.  In fact, I went to Not Martha‘s post on dying eggs to follow her blue recipe: 6 drops neon blue and one of regular blue.  Just the food color, not the vinegar!

Stir those together in the first jar you want to tint.  I used a chopstick to stir the mixture.

You want a fairly rich, opaque color.  Once it has dried it will be translucent and much lighter .

This is a good time to turn the oven on to 300 degrees.

Tip the jar around to coat the inside of the glass with the colored Mod Podge.  For the best effect, the mixture should be thick enough to coat the inside and be fairly opaque.  I did a few with a thinner mixture but by the time I was done the color on those ones was very sheer.  A pair of gloves would help to protect your fingertips from being dyed blue.  I rarely use gloves which is why my finger tips are stained blue.

Pour the excess Mod Podge into another jar and set the coated one upside down on some newspaper, paper towel or (as I saw suggested) wax paper.  Tip the next jar around in the same manner, coating the inside.  Continue with all the jar you want to color.

I moved the draining jars a few times and wiped off the edge that was face down.

You can see on the two jars in the picture above one had more color and more Mod Podge.  Once it is dry it looks very different.  The one on the right was very subtle when it was done.

Once you’ve finished all the jars, pour any excess Mod Podge down the drain with some water.

Put a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and arrange the jars upside down on the parchment paper. Put jars on baking sheet into the oven.  I had to move a shelf to fit the jars and even then the tallest one had to lie on it’s side.

Bake for about 15 minutes.  I had some excess Mod Podge on the parchment paper and needed to use a scrubby sponge to get it off the rims of the jars. If inside of jars seem wet or even damp, bake for 10 more minutes.  The finished color shouldn’t look white or milky, if so, it needs more time in the oven.

After jars are cool you can take your thumbnail or a damp scrubby sponge and start working on that excess gunk around the edge.  A few also had stuff that stuck on the inside of the jar at the bottom, like this one:

I decided to ignore it.

This project was better suited to an afternoon with more time, but it wasn’t really difficult.  One of the jars has a long drip down the inside and two that that had a thinner, lighter coast of color will probably get a second coat.  Or I’ll saok it and start over. Some day. AFTER 30DoC!

I think they will look even better in the sunlight, but I’m very happy with the results.  The color is very watery and speaks to the fish in me. Now that I’ve done it once I have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t.  Tall, narrow jars are kind of tricky.  A small brush helps distribute the Mod Podge on jars with embossed details.

These are decorative and not meant to hold water as the Mod Podge is water soluble.  They look beautiful empty or with a candle inside.

Pickled Carrot Sticks were my project last year on Day 25.  They were delicious.

As always, thank you so much for coming by!


Filed under 30DOC, Crafts

Day 12: String Jar

This nifty string jar has a jumbo eyelet in the lid so the string is easy to use, stays clean (it tended to get linty in the craft drawer) and it looks cute on your craft desk or shelf.  I am pleased to finally do a project that follows the theme for the day on the 30DoC calendar.  I saw it here in a blog written by Cathe Holden of Just Something I Made.  Her site is loaded with great ideas, lots of DIY, and beautiful vintage stuff.  Oh, and lots of freebies too, so check it out!

I used a Mason jar from Kerr and the jumbo eyelet (1/2 inch) is from Stampin’ Up, but I’m not sure if they are in the current catalog.  I’ve seen them in craft and fabric stores and a smaller size will work too.

I used my Crop-a-Dile Big Bite to punch the hole in the lid and to set the eyelet.  Cathe used an eyelet kit you can get at the fabric store, plus a hammer and nail.  I’m probably not the only one who has a fancy tool she hardly ever uses, but if you don’t have a Crop-A-Dile tool, you can get an eyelet kit. Then punch the hole using a nail with a block of wood behind it.  Push the nail through the hole to enlarge it enough for the eyelet to fit.  Put the eyelet in the hole so the back of the eyelet is on the bottom of the lid, use the eyelet tool and hammer to spread open and flatten the back.

I have Aluminum Duct Tape that I used in several projects last year during 30DoC and it was great for a label on my jar. I punched out the label shape, stamped on it using StazOn Ink, (great for non-porous surfaces), let the ink dry, peeled the backing off the tape and put it on the jar.  A Sharpie would work too, and a paper label would be great.  Or no label.

I made a Needle Felted Placemat last year on Day 12.

I hope you are enjoying 30 Days of Creativity, thanks for stopping by.


Filed under 30DOC, Crafts

Day 11: Button Rings

Today I wanted fast and easy.  This was a little fussier than I’d hoped, but it was fairly fast and pretty easy.

I have two button rings that I enjoy wearing .  Sometimes just one little ring can make me feel as if my whole outfit is pulled together.

Both are made from unique, old buttons.  The black button ring was made for my big fingers with a wrapped wire base and the white button is on a bendable size-to-fit base.  But because my fingers are not a size 7 or 8, the white one doesn’t get worn as often because…well, it doesn’t really fit!  After awhile it starts to pinch.

Last summer I did a project with wire.  The memory of that project was enough to convince me that I didn’t want to attempt a wire button ring.  So I found some ring bases to try.  They’re different that the bendable one on the white button ring but I have a feeling I’ll have the same problem.   I think they will make cute gifts or maybe I’ll do a Button Ring giveaway!

I ordered the ring blanks of Etsy and raided my moms button box for interesting buttons.  That was so fun, I went to Jo-ann Fabric and Crafts and bought some more buttons.

Some of the buttons have shanks on the back but I just snipped them off with some trusty nippers.

I also had to adapt some of the ring bases to work with the different buttons.  They had a little rim around the disc on the top of the ring.  For some buttons that was fine but others didn’t fit inside the rim so I cut it off,  cutting through the edge with the nippers than using sturdy scissors to cut it all the way off.  I use a sanding block to smooth the cut edge and than sanded the top of the ring base to rough it up a little, all the better for gluing.

Finally, it was a matter of my good ol’ E6000 adhesive.  It’s a little stinky so be sure to work in a well-ventilated space. I squeeze out a small pea-sized dab on a piece of scrap paper because it starts to set up and I don’t want to waste it.  Then I use a toothpick to apply it to the top of the ring base and the back of the button.  I found it worked best if I let them set up a bit before pressing together.  Any smaller buttons were added in the same way.

The picture of this turquoise Flower Power ring didn’t quite capture the pink color of the center button, but it does show how cute a button ring can be.

This heavy coat button with pearl beads is a true knuckle duster.  I think it would even fit the trendy title of “statement ring”.

These three started as pretty buttons but really look finished when second button is added.

Now if only I didn’t have such large fingers, I would have a whole new wardrobe of rings.  Once the adhesive has cured, I’ll see if I can adjust the size enough to squeeze one on and give it a test wearing.

Last year I did a project using buttons on cards.  My Day 11 project was not quick or easy, but it was pretty awesome: a Miniature Paper Dress.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.


Filed under 30DOC, Crafts

Day 26: Fused-Plastic-Bag Pouches and Tote Bag

OK, I read about this technique early on in my 30Days of Creativity project research, and I knew I wanted to do it!  You take flimsy plastic shopping bags and fuse them together with an iron to create a thicker, more sturdy plastic.  Once you’ve got your fused-plastic material you can make any number of things but I loved the idea of these small, zippered pouches and tote bags.

There was only one problem.  I don’t sew.  But lucky for me I have my pick of people who DO sew right in my family and when I asked my sister Kathleen, she agreed to help me out.  Which is why these turned out so well!

First I needed to create the fused-plastic material we would be working with.  I scavenged some great plastic bags (a variety of sized and weights, from the flimsiest produce bag to a really sturdy, heavier plastic, large sized shopping tote bag).

Here is a great tutorial by Anda Lewis.  She has more experience doing this.  Check it out.

Fused Plastic Bags:

Open a window or door so your work space is well-ventilated.

Cut off the handles and bottom seams of the bags.

Cover your ironing board with parchment paper.

If your bags have any design on them, turn them inside out so the ink is on the inside.  When it is heated, the ink tends to run and make a mess.

Layer between 6 and 8 single layers of plastic with your prize pieces of plastic on the top.

Cover the plastic with parchment paper

With iron set at medium high, start pressing,  moving it constantly.  Be sure and go to all the edges.  Flip it over, and iron again.  Now, careful, because it is hot, check and see if your plastic is all fused or needs a little more heat.  If it is bubbled or has places that seem to still be in layers, iron it some more.  The bags have different thicknesses, so you may need to do a couple of trail runs.  My first try was too thick but I got the hang of it.

I can’t give you the specifics on the sewing.  But Kathleen assured me that if you DO sew and have a sewing machine that can handle heavy-duty sewing tasks, this is an easy sewing project.  She put both the zippers in and let me do a few straight seams (well, they were supposed to be straight) but after I sewed one whole pouch the wrong way out, I handed over the sewing side of things with relief.

But I really DID some of the sewing.  See photographic proof:

While she was sewing, I kept her dog, Ruby, company.

Kathleen suggests putting in the zipper first to make it easier.  Like this:

I love how these turned out!

The outside layer of the pencil pouch was a bag from Flax and if you take a close look at the photo you can see the bags are “80% recycled material”!  So we’re re-recycling them!  The zippers and thread are new so these pouches are probably 80% or more recycled.

I scavenged the plastic bags, fused the plastic and trimmed the pieces, but Kathleen did all the sewing on this great little tote bag.  Thank you, Kathleen and Ruby for helping me see this project come to fruition.

When I went to see my folks and show off the project for Day 26, I also got to see their dog, Molly, and I couldn’t resist a picture.

Thanks for stopping by.


Filed under 30DOC, Crafts

Day 14: Rolled Page Picture Frame

1. Cheap picture frame with wide edges ($1 at Michaels. Rah.)

2. Magazine pages

3. Decoupage medium (I couldn’t get the lid open on the Paper Source Bookbinding Glue jar and used Mod Podge instead)

4. Round chopsticks to roll pieces of pages around (tried straws, didn’t work).  Push chopstick out of paper tube with a second chopstick.  Make a bunch.

5. Scissors

6. Creation: A big mess!

7. Just kidding! Creation: Great Father’s Day Gift.

Manek Phiroz Enty born May 8, 2011 (Mother’s Day)

HAPPY FIRST FATHER’S DAY to his dad, Aftab.

More Father’s Day Creations to come…


Filed under 30DOC, Crafts