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41  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Re: Cotton Gingham and dress shirts. Please help! on: December 11, 2011 08:46:52 PM
If the body of the shirt is intact, you can make a cute slipcover for a throw pillow in just a few minutes.  Measure the pillow you want to cover.  Make yourself a paper pattern that is the size of the pillow, plus about .5" seam allowance on each side.  (So if your pillow is 20" square, make a pattern that is 21" square.)  Button your shirt and turn it inside out.  Lay it flat with the front of the shirt facing up.  Place your pattern on top, positioning it so that the buttons run down the center of the pattern.  Make sure that none of the buttons will be too close to the seam allowance or you will have trouble stitching your seams.  When you have it positioned the way you want, pin the pattern down (or draw around it if you prefer) and cut it out, cutting through both the front and back of the shirt.  Next remove the pattern and stitch your seams all around using a .5" seam allowance.  You don't need to leave a gap for turning, because you can unbutton the shirt to turn it right side out.  Then just put your pillow inside and button it up.  This is a fun way to cover old pillows that have faded or gotten dingy or just don't match the rest of your stuff.  I have made a bunch of these Stuffed Shirt pillows out of old denim shirts and blue dress shirts, and they get tons of use in my living room.  When they get dirty (and in my house, everything gets dirty), I just throw them in with the laundry and they are good as new.  If your shirts are loosely woven and you expect to wash the pillow covers a lot, you might want to pink the raw edges or apply a seam sealer to prevent fraying in the washer.
42  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Re: Upcycled Holiday Wrapping! on: December 07, 2011 03:43:26 PM
That's really cute.  Much cuter than I would have thought, based on the description!

Another fun thing to use for making bows is the plastic mesh stuff some fruit is packaged in.  I recently bought clementines and the top of the package was covered with a rectangle of red plastic mesh.  My 4-year old, whose motto is "we can do a project with that (so don't throw it out)" had to keep it.  We tied it in a knot and it ended up looking like a bow tie.  I just put a small piece of double sided tape on it and stuck it to a package we had wrapped in brown paper (grocery store bag) and decorated with dot markers (or bingo daubers).  It was festive and free and made me feel virtuous for reusing the mesh.  Saving the planet, one craft project at a time...
43  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Re: recycled food gift bags mini tutorial on: December 07, 2011 03:05:25 PM
I make these too, but haven't bothered to wrap them.  Depending on the food box you use, it can be part of your gift's theme.  For example, you could use a microwave popcorn box and fill it with DVDs and movie theater candy.  You could use a popsicle box (the Edy's Fruit Bars boxes are pretty) to make a bag for a pair of sunglasses and a trashy novel for a friend taking a beach vacation.  I have used the tiny boxes that conversation hearts (valentine's candy) come in to make a tiny bag for a gift card.  And so on.

For handles, I have re-used the handles from old gift bags that had worn out.  I have also used worn out shoe laces (after a trip through the washer) and the curling ribbon that comes on balloons to make handles.  I have also seen the same idea on the Family Fun magazine website where they just cut an oval shape the width of a hand instead of adding handles.
44  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Re: Jars on: June 06, 2011 09:09:02 AM
Another vote for Goo Gone.  That stuff is awesome.  I used to work in a library and we used it all the time to remove tape residue from shelves, desks, etc,  and labels.  It works great, but sometimes you need to just let it sit for a while before you wipe it off.  In addition, it is also good at removing crayon from white boards (dry erase boards) and probably from other surfaces as well.
45  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Re: "5" Gum Packages on: April 01, 2011 08:45:36 PM
You could make a little first aid kit to keep in your bag.  Put in a couple of those individually wrapped antibacterial wipes and a few bandaids.  And maybe some tweezers, if you get a lot of splinters.

Similarly, you could make a little sewing kit with a needle and spare buttons, and several colors of thread wrapped around a piece of cardboard.
46  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Re: blow up christmas yard decoration? on: January 06, 2011 09:03:49 PM
If it's a really sturdy vinyl, you could make a tote or messenger bag from it.  I've never done it, but I've seen photos of bags made from billboard vinyl which seem pretty cool.  I have made bags from the heavy plastic bags that some pet foods and bird seed comes in.  If you have a sturdy needle and use a roller foot (or maybe  a teflon foot or a walking foot if you have one) you shouldn't have much trouble stitching it.
47  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Re: Baby Wipe Boxes on: September 26, 2010 08:40:19 PM
When my son was learning to use the potty, we used an empty wipes container as a potty for some of his stuffed animals.  When you open the lid, the hole in the top looks vaguely like a toilet seat.  We would put Duck or Lamby on the potty and cheer like crazy at their potty success. 

Also if you enlarge the hole so it's big enough that your child can reach a hand inside without getting stuck, you can use the container to play a guessing game with your child once he starts talking.  You put a small object inside and have the child reach inside (without peaking) to feel the item and try to guess what it is.
48  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Re: Packing paper on: September 26, 2010 08:27:49 PM
My 3 year old son would want to live with you.  He loves to play birthday party, in which we have a party for one of his stuffed animals, complete with pretend food and presents.  He chooses random toys for us to wrap, but I refuse to use new wrapping paper or tape so we reuse old wrapping paper as well as some really worn brown paper that was originally packing material.  I use and reuse pieces of yarn and curling ribbon salvaged from old balloons to tie up the packages.  And even aside from playing with it, your paper could make a neat distressed-looking wrapping paper, assuming the pieces are big enough.  It is probably sort of rumpled already, so just crumple it up and then smooth it out again.  Wrap up your package and tie it with twine for a rustic look.

As for the boxes, if you don't have kids who love to play with them, some might be the right size for storing magazines or files.  I recently read a book where they sewed a fabric slipcover to cover a box and it actually didn't look cheesy.  And if you are in need of furniture, you can find instructions for making your own chairs and tables from corrugated cardboard.
49  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Re: Sample blocks of Fabrics? Whaaa....? on: August 08, 2010 04:50:31 AM
If you give wine as a gift, you could use your fabric samples to stitch up simple wine bottle bags and tie them up with coordinating ribbon or twine.  You could also use the bags for other gifts like jar candles, perfumes, or anything else you could fit in them.  One year I stitched up a whole bunch of these bags, included a bunch of coordinating ribbons, and gave them as a gift to a friend who was always spending way too much money on gift bags she bought at the last minute.  She got a lot of use out of them.  Alternatively, you could make cute little tote bags with them.
50  CLOTHING / Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects / Re: Plus Sized Ruffled "Salsa" Skirt from a Sheet. on: August 08, 2010 04:38:23 AM
What a clever project.  Nice use of finished edges.  In the absence of a chihuahua, would a flabby tabby be an acceptable substitute?
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