Free Pattern :: Recycled Magazine Door Decoration for Earth Day

 When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. —John Muir

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.
—John Muir

I love to celebrate Earth Day honoring mother nature. I designed this hydrangea-inspired recycled magazine door decoration  as both a tribute to spring and a means for recycling some old magazines. 

You will need:

8″ Smoothfoam disc
Mod Podge
Sponge brush
Flower punch
7/8″ wide Offray ribbon (5 yards)
Straight pins, paper clip
Scissors

Punch out several dozen flowers. I worked with interior design magazines, so I chose pages that were primarily blue or rust. I glued the flowers into place with a little Mod Podge, working from the outside inward, overlapping the petals slightly as I worked. This gives both a visual and slight physical texture to your collage. Be sure to coat the surface with a layer or two of Mod Podge. Allow to dry thoroughly.

©2015Lindsay-Obermeyer-Hydrangea.jpg

Cut twenty 3″ lengths of ribbon. Roll each ribbon into a circle and pin it to the edge of the disc with two pins. Repeat this process until the entire circumference of the disc has been covered. They end up looking like fluffy petals to a flower.

Cut a 15″ length of ribbon and pin to the back of the disc, allowing the majority to show below the flower as a stem.

Open a paper clip and push it into the back of the Styrofoam to make a hanger. Hang it on a wall as decoration or adorn your door with it.

HINT:  If you have no ribbon, then cut 1″ wide strips of magazine pages and use them in same manner around the edge!

For more fun and ideas with Smoothfoam, go to there website. 

Free Pattern :: Upcycling a CD into a Woven Coaster

 We live in a disposable society. It's easier to throw things out than to fix them. We even give it a name - we call it recycling. - Neil LaBute

We live in a disposable society. It's easier to throw things out than to fix them. We even give it a name - we call it recycling. - Neil LaBute

I don't know about you, but I have dozens of used cd's hanging around my office collecting dust. I used them quite a bit before I bought a flash drive.  Make one mistake with burning your CD and you are left with this shiny plastic circle for what seems an infinity. They have to be shipped off to recycling plants that specialize in recycling cd's.  Well, rather than recycle. Let's upcycle.  The cd makes the perfect base for a woven project.  Teachers - this project will help you to teach fractions and geometry in a fun, hands on way.They also make a great bellringer.  Just pack up each student's weaving in an individual ziplock to grab on their way into the classroom while everyones gets settled and the next lesson begins. It keeps them busy and out of mischief.  Parents - this is a great road trip project!  Just think, the kids could get all their holiday gifts made while quietly working in the car on the family vacation. Win-win!

All you need:

1 used cd
Tapestry needle
Cotton yarn ( I used leftover sugar 'n cream cotton)
Leftover bits of yarn from other projects ( Don't knit or crochet, so you don't have leftover yarn, Lion Brand makes little yarn balls of color called Bonbons.  You could also use embroidery floss, though the weaving will take yarn as floss is finer.)
Scissors
Ruler

Start by threading the yarn through the hole and tying it onto the cd, by making a knot. be sure the knot is tied firmly.   Trim off the tail, leaving only about 1/4 inch.

©2016Lindsay-Obermeyer-Ucpcyle-CD-Woven-Coaster.png

Now you are going to warp your cd loom by wrapping thread over the circle.  

©2016Lindsay-Obermeyer-Upcycled-Woven-Coaster-CD.png

Once you have wound the warp around the the cd enough times to cover the center hole, but not so much that the line overlap, you will be ready to start weaving.

Cut a piece of yarn no longer than 18". Thread it through the needle.  Tie the yarn to the back of the cid.  Attaching it to one of the cotton warp threads.

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Bring your needle up through the hole to the front and proceed to weave yarn over and under each thread.  Once you've gone full circle, you will continue weaving until you run out of color. 

©2016Lindsay-Obermeyr-Woven-Coaster.png

Bring your needle up through the hole to the front and proceed to weave yarn over and under each thread.  Once you've gone full circle, you will continue weaving until you run out of color. 

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Continue weaving until you reach the outer edge.  Slide your needle under all your weaving and bring it to the back and tie off.

©2016Lindsay-Obermeyer-Woven-Coaster.png

Weaving was one of my first passions and I actually received a bachelor's degree in weaving. I am so glad to see a resurgence of interest in it.  A few other bloggers to inspire you into weaving at least one cd. 

Great school display of children's work.

Make them as dream catchers to decorate a bedroom.

Weaving becomes a project about unity and variety in terms of art and people.

Free Pattern :: DIY Dog Toy

  I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love.    For me they are the role model for being alive. --- Gilda Radner

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love.

For me they are the role model for being alive. --- Gilda Radner

Toony loves to play.  When we first adopted her from the Humane Society, she was nervous and chewed through all our other dogs toys in quick order until she got to what we call the mop which is essentially just a rope with knots on either end.

As I had some leftover shirt materials from making a t-shirt yarn rag rug, I thought I'd make a few dog toys, based on the rope model. So I took the top bits and cut off the arms.

I took one piece of the fabric and cut three parallel lines in it, stopping my cuts one inch from the edge.

I then proceeded to braid the strips together.  

Once finished braiding.  I created large overhand knots at each end, to keep it from unraveling.

Once finished, Toony seemed to know it was for her and couldn't wait to play fetch with it. For

more DIY upcycle projects take a look at these great projects from Cotopaxi -   View this photo

Free Pattern :: Crocheted T-shirt Yarn Rag Rug

 My little dog — a heartbeat at my feet. ~Edith Wharton

My little dog — a heartbeat at my feet. ~Edith Wharton

I love my dogs.  They protect me, watch over me, and provide an endless amount of joy and amusement.  Their favorite perch in the house is in the bench window seat of my studio on the second floor of our house.  They love to watch all the action on the street, barking their warning of approaching dogs and humans.  The bench seat was getting a bit torn up by their claws, so I need to add some protection and with my ever growing stash of t shirts, I decided to upcycle them into t-shirt yarn that I could crochet into a rag rug.  I wanted the rug to be substantial, machine washable and yet a  soft spot for my dogs to hang out.  As you can see above, Josie loves her new spot.  Miss Toony was jealous and decided to move in on Josie's territory.  Missing from the pic was their ensuing dog spat of snarling and snapping at each other.  Josie wanted the rug to herself.  

©2016Lindsay-Obermeyer-DIY-Rag_Rug

Want to make one for your dogs?  This is what you will need to make a rug 14" x 36".  

6 adult t-shirts
6 balls of worsted cotton (I used a variegated Sugar and Cream.)
Scissors
Ruler
Tapestry needle
H crochet hook

First, you need to cut your t-shirts into yarn. Save all the extra bits for a dog toy following in my next blog post.

Here is a great video on how to make the yarn from Upcycled Stuff.

Now to get started, you chain the width you want the project to be.  So I initially chained 14 inches.

Insert your hook into the second stitch from the hook and work a single crochet while wrapping the yarn up an around the t-shirt yarn.

Work your way along single crocheting as you go, pulling and catching the t-shirt yarn as you go. If you run out of T-shirt yarn, add more by simply overlapping the ends and working right over both.  

You will bend the t-shirt yarn as you turn to work your way across the row. Insert your hook into the last stitch of teh first row to begin.

Work your way along single crocheting as you go, pulling and catching the t-shirt yarn as you go. If you run out of T-shirt yarn, add more by simply overlapping the ends and working right over both.  

That all there is to it.  Work until you get to the desired length of your project.  To finish off, crochet one row without the t-shirt yarn to give it a nice finished edge.  Sew in all ends.  Trim off all dangling t-shirt yarn.  I know there are projects out there to crochet with the actual t-shirt yarn, but I found this process was easier on my arthritic hands and I like the extra dash of color from the cotton yarn.  Think of how cute this would be in a little girls bedroom?!   Or as a rug in the bathroom. If you are a marathon runner and have collected t-shirts from your runs, this is a fun way to repurpose them.  I do advise that you use a non-slip mat underneath it to keep it in place or if for a bench seat.  I staple gunned mine into place, so my dogs wouldn't constantly knock it off the bench when jumping up.

I've been working with the young company Cotopaxi on developing this blog post.  Their mission is sustainability and the repurposing of materials into great outdoor gear and hiking backpacks  They are a public benefit corporation based in Delaware, which means part of their corporate mission is not only sustainability but poverty alleviation.   I love it when companies take on positive change in the world as their mission!!  They've offered additional projects for you to make by upcycling your clothes into new projects. 

That all there is to it.  Work until you get to the desired length of your project.  To finish off, crochet one row without the t-shirt yarn to give it a nice finished edge.  Sew in all ends.  Trim off all dangling t-shirt yarn.  I know there are projects out there to crochet with the actual t-shirt yarn, but I found this process was easier on my arthritic hands and I like the extra dash of color from the cotton yarn.  Think of how cute this would be in a little girls bedroom?!   Or as a rug in the bathroom. If you are a marathon runner and have collected t-shirts from your runs, this is a fun way to repurpose them.  I do advise that you use a non-slip mat underneath it to keep it in place or if for a bench seat.  I staple gunned mine into place, so my dogs wouldn't constantly knock it off the bench when jumping up.

I've been working with the young company Cotopaxi on developing this blog post.  Their mission is sustainability and the repurposing of materials into great outdoor gear and hiking backpacks  They are a public benefit corporation based in Delaware, which means part of their corporate mission is not only sustainability but poverty alleviation.   I love it when companies take on positive change in the world as their mission!!  They've offered additional projects  for you to make by upcycling your clothes into new projects. 
  

   

Frugal Times / Recipe :: Homemade Gluten Free Dog Biscuits

 “Hounds follow those who feed them.” --  Otto    von Bismarck    (1st Chancellor of Germany)

“Hounds follow those who feed them.”
-- Otto von Bismarck (1st Chancellor of Germany)

My Papillons aren't at all spoiled.  Not one wit.  Toony the black and white Papillon we adopted from the Humane Society has a sensitive tummy and various allergies, so all of her dog food and treats come from a small pet food shop.  The treats get expensive, so I was looking at an alternative that I could make at home using basic ingredients and fairly low in cost. The ingredients are a tad expensive initially but may be used to make many batches.  The following is for 28 dog cookies.

Initially, I wanted something very Martha Stewart, nicely rolled out and using a heart cookie cutter to make them for their Valentine's Day treats ( remember, I told you that my dogs aren't spoiled.) This dough is too sticky to be rolled out.

Preheat oven to 350

1/2 can of canned pumpkin

2 tablespoons of organic peanut butter

2 eggs

2.5 cups of rice flour

Total cost, approximately 8 cents a cookie.  With enough ingredients left over to make at least another batch.  ( I did purchase the canned pumpkin on sale.  I tend to buy a number of cans when on sale after Thanksgiving.)

Whisk the eggs, pumpkin and peanut butter until smooth. Stir in the flour.  The dough will be stiff and slightly sticky which is why I didn't roll it out and use cookie cutters.  Instead, I used a small ice cream scoop to make equal size balls of dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I dipped a fork into the flour and pressed the dough flat. They are a bit rough looking, but no less tasty to dogs. Bake in a 350 oven for 40 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool.  The cookies will be delightfully crisp and chewy.  Place in an airtight container and refrigerate as these treats do not contain any preservatives.

Toony LOVES these cookies.  I couldn't get a good picture of her eating one as she would grab it from my hand and run off at full speed to her favorite corner of the house.  But as you can see in the above picture, she is no nonsense when it comes to begging. Josie our other Papillon thinks she has just found her way into heaven with these cookies.   They are people -style treats just for dogs. Some recipes call for salt and spices.  The dogs don't need the salt or the spices.  As Toony is gluten sensitive, I used brown rice flour rather than wheat flour.  If you do use wheat flour, please use an organic product as many flours have been contaminated with potassium bromate.  Pumpkin helps keep your dogs regular, plus they love its flavor.

So show your 4-legged friends a little love and make them some cookies just for them. 

 

Frugality :: What my Grandmother taught me about saving money

  If saving money is wrong, I don't want to be right! --William Shatner

If saving money is wrong, I don't want to be right! --William Shatner

It was drilled into my head at a young age to save money by both of my grandmothers.  Grandma grew up during the depression.  Gammy married the day before the banks crashed and closed.   With the Depression a large part of their lives, it was inevitable that their tricks and tips rubbed off on me. I'm glad it did as I struggle to pay off large medical debt on an artist's income, these tips make it feel less difficult.

  • Gam's favorite tip was to make all your own meals.
    She's right.  It is far cheaper to make mini meals and freeze them for lunch at work than to buy Lean Cuisine.  You are also guaranteed the quality of the product and can adjust what you make based on dietary concerns.  For example, I am on a low salt diet and many frozen meals are high in sodium.  She would let nothing go to waste. If a veggie was turning, she'd chop out the bad bit and throw the rest in a stockpot to make a veggie stock.  Chicken bones also went in.  I don't eat meat, but I do make a lot of bean-based dishes, so I make a big pot of beans and then freeze what I don't need.  Dried beans are far cheaper (especially when bought in bulk) than canned beans, bonus is that I make them low in sodium.  I also freeze homemade muffins as then I always have a quick snack or breakfast ready to go, microwave and you are done. The convenience cuts down on me buying a snack on the road and I eat healthier.  
  • When's the last time you hosted a potluck?
    Potlucks are fun for get togethers among friends.  You can assign dishes or make it a true pot luck and end up with 10 salads. With everyone sharing in the cost of the food and it is home cooked, it is cheaper than going out to a restaurant and you may learn of a new recipe.
  • This brings me to another of Gam's and Mom's tricks:
    They would  get-together with friends and make food for the freezer and then trade dishes.  I works a bit like a cookie exchange. Everyone makes something and freezes in single serving batches and then trades.  You can make it together and save on entertainment bills.
  • Both Grandmothers were avid card players. 
    Entertainment these days means going out, like to the movies or shopping or an amusement park, but you don't have to leave home to have fun.  You can invite friends over for a game of Gin Rummy or Bridge.  Invite the kids for board games and save on baby sitting.  I copied this method and hosted knit nights at my home.  So friends would come over with their knitting and we would have a potluck dinner and enjoy each others company while knitting.
  • Gam said to know your farmers.
    It's interesting that the trend to shop local rose again with the recession, but it also makes sense.  By getting to know your farmer, you know what you are buying.  Gam would get calls from different area farmers about what was in season and send me off to buy what she wanted usually by the bushel or two. She'd spend all summer freezing and canning for the winter.  I frequent a local farmer's market.  They see me coming and yell out what seconds they have available knowing that I will probably buy up most of it.  Seconds are the veggies that aren't as pretty and may have a bad spot, but are actually just as full of flavor, so you can get freshly grown veggies at a fraction of the cost at the markets. Want to know how to preserve food?  Contact your local university extension program for the Master Preserver' Program.  You will learn all you need to know and then some.  I learned from my grandmother, but I know folks who've taken the programs.  They are usually free or very low in cost and well worth it.  Don't have time teach yourself by checking out books on the subject from your library.
  • Grandma  swapped and shared - the barter economy.
    Grandma loved to bake.  She couldn't eat a whole cheesecake by herself, but she loved making them and having a slice or two, so a local shop owner she knew would trade her the rest of the cake for some of his dried tea.  Yep, BARTER is the name of the game.  I bartered dental work for an artwork. A professor I had bartered legal fees for a divorce for one of her artworks.  Many cities offer barter exchanges and registries are popping up online, such as Hudson Barter Exchange.
  • Make your favorite clothes.
    Grandma sewed all her sons clothing until they were teens.  Today I don't think that makes much sense with how cheap some fashion is, but I do believe in making many of my own sweaters.  I have the pleasure of making them and then the fun of wearing a custom fit item.  This is a bonus for us ladies with awkward figures.  I am built like a stick so clothes tend to just hang on me.  I only develop curves when I custom fit my sweaters.  Woman will large breasts whose sweaters hike up in the front can knit with short row darts in the front to ease this problem.
  • Buy what fits you and is well made rather than what is in fashion, even if it isn't on sale.
    Both grandmothers lived by this credo.  Flash fashion is meant to be worn a few times before it wears out or fades. What's the point of buying a shirt that looks horrible in just a few washings.  Buy what you like,that fits well and is well made-even if it isn't on sale, you will wear it so many more times and always feel like a million bucks.  A shirt that cost $20 but is only worn 4 times, costs $5 a wearing.  Whereas a shirt that cost 40, but is worn 20 times costs only $2 a wearing.  See, breaking it down into units helps you see the savings.