December 13, 2012

Upcycled Gifts

While I'm itching to share with you pictures of the upcycled gifts I'm making this year, I'm resisting the urge. Giving the intended recipients opportunity for a sneak peak just wouldn't do. Instead of my own handiwork, here's a couple of my favorite upcycled diy projects as spotted recently on facebook. Click on the links provided for tutorials. 

Curious about this word "upcycle?" It's thrown around a lot these days in crafty circles, applied to everything from the projects below to newly painted older furniture. Generally speaking, upcycling is transforming waste materials into new items with a purpose different than the original use of the raw materials themselves. Hmm, that's a mouthful. Upcycle Magazine explains upcycling as "taking an item that is no longer needed or wanted and giving it new life as something that is either useful or creative."

(For those of you without facebook accounts (and I congratulate you!), you CAN browse my postings at, if you are so inclined. Simply close the pop-up window that prompts you to sign-in and then browse away.)

CD Spindle Light by Kayte Terry
Photo © Kayte Terry. Source: Craft Stylish
Isn't this beautiful? I love the tree silhouettes and soft glow of the light. Once I use all the CDs in the spindle currently sitting on my desk, I plan to upgrade one of our standard night lights to a beauty like this. Not a crafty type yourself but want to spread the diy joy this gift giving season? I recommend Kayte Terry's book Paper Made! 101 Exceptional Projects Made Out of Everyday Paper. This book is chock-a-block full of inspiring ideas and easy to follow diagrams. I added a copy to my own craft library after renewing the local library's copy for months on end.

Photo © Joshua Zimmerman. Source: Instructables
Pure brilliance from Joshua Zimmerman, a middle school science teacher in Milwaukee, WI. (Something tells me Joshua shops at American Science & Surplus, a must visit for any diy-er in Milwaukee.) Can't get the parts you need to make your own USB charger or love the charger but have no interest in making it yourself? Complete chargers, kits to diy, and individual parts are available on Zimmerman's website Brown Dog Gadgets.

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