The Oakland Bag King

22 Jul

SFGate has an interesting story about Bobby Glasser an entrepreneur in Oakland who saved classic car seat covers from the landfill and turns them into bags. For decades King Kovers produced vinyl seat covers for cars of the 1940s and 50s. In 2007 they closed their doors and Bobby Glasser was there. He noticed nearly 100 boxes of seat covers that were going to be left behind and like a true entrepreneur he saw an opportunity. Glasser took those seat covers off the hands of the people at King, who were just going to leave them behind to be taken to the landfill, and started to make handbags.

This is a great story of seizing an opportunity to upcycle what many would look at as junk and turn it into something useful and desirable again. Take a look at my Etsy store for more examples of upcycled products.

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Upcycling Old Ties

16 Jul

Father’s Day, birthdays, Christmas, or Chanukah are all days when a man may receive that go to gift. The gift the kids go for at the last minute when they can’t think of anything else. The gift the wife or girlfriend may give, because she’s tired of him dragging out that same ratty old one when they go to visit her parent. The tie. Any man who wears a tie on a regular basis has probably gotten one as a gift and most who never wear them have or will some day. So many of these ties will never be worn. They sit in the closet collecting dust until discarded or sold in a Yard Sale.The ties are being collected and sewn together into any number of new configuration. Chairs, handbags, lampshades, and skirts are being made out of ties by various people.

chair from recycled ties

purse from upcycled ties

dress from upcycled ties For some examples of other upcycled fabric head over to my Etsy store.

Strawberry Pecan Salad

15 Jul

I hope you didn’t mash all your Strawberries into yesterday’s Jam recipe.

Add fruit to bagged greens. It’s a welcome change from the plain Ranch/French/Italian dinner salad.   Consider adding bacon for a bit of additional protein and this salad is a cool meal on a hot summer’s day.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) bag mixed salad greens (arugula, red oak leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, etc.)
  • 8 large strawberries, sliced
  • 8 grapes, seedless and cut in half
  • 1 (7 ounce) can mandarin orange segments, drained
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup candied pecans (or glazed)
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Raspberry Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  • 1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar


Cardboard Stool

15 Jul

Today’s  project comes to us from Dangerously Fun. Although they mention buying fresh cardboard from an art supply store, this is a great use for large pieces that line wooden pallets, or breakaway boxes you can pick up from your local grocery store.

This near-danger free, easy to make stool is a beautiful, functional use for cardboard.  View my Etsy for more beautiful, functional recycle/upcycle products.

Cardboard Stool

Materials

  • A. 3/8″ cardboard, 30″ x 40″
  • B. 3/8″ cardboard, 23.5″ x 48″
  • C. 3/8″ cardboard, 24″ x 72″
  • D. White Glue

Tools

  • E. Compass
  • F. Box Cutter
  • G. Straight Edge
Directions

  1. Cut and fold part A, which will form the seat. It is made of multiple 11.5″ diameter circles folded over each other to make a strong sitting surface. The narrow strip is folded around the circumferance of all of the circles to hide the edges.
  2. Cut and fold part B, which is the weight-bearing element in the stool. It is just a large sheet that is rolled into a tight cylinder. You can make folding easier and more precise by using a straight edge and a blunt instrument to score parallel lines into one side of the cardboard. The cardboard will then fold nicely along these lines.
  3. Cut and fold part C, which is mainly decorative. This piece has thin diamonds cut out of it, allowing the middle to be pressed in when it is rolled up. The result is an hour glass shape.
  4. Test fit the parts, and then start gluing things together. It will look most impressive if none of the glue is visible.
  5. Let the glue dry fully before you sit on the stool. If you have built the stool well it will be quite sturdy, but you should sit fairly still. Tilting or leaning will wear it out quickly.

Cardboard Stool

Easy Strawberry Jam

14 Jul

Strawberry Jam

3 3/4 cups crushed strawberries
1/4 cup lemon juice
7 cups sugar
1 package Certo Liquid Pectin

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F.  Wash and rinse 8 one cup jam jars. Drain the jars of excess water and place them upright on a cookie sheet.  Place the cookie sheet in the 225 degree oven for a minimum of 10 minutes. This will sterilize the jars. You can keep the jars in the oven until the jam is ready to be poured into the jars.

Place the washed lids and seals in a medium saucepan filled with water along with a set of metal tongs, which will be used to place the lids on the jars.  Boil them for at least ten minutes.

Use a potato masher to crush the berries, one layer at a time. With liquid measuring cup measure out the 3 3/4 cups of berries. Pour the berries into a large saucepan. Add the sugar and lemon juice. Do not reduce the amount of sugar, the full amount must be used for the jam to set. Turn the heat to high and bring to a full rolling boil. Let boil for one full minute.

Remove from heat and stir in the package of liquid pectin. Skim the foam from the top with a large flat metal spoon and stir the jam for 5 minutes to distribute the fruit evenly.

Remove the cookie sheet with the jam jars from the oven. With a small ladle, fill the jars with jam, leaving 1/4 inch of space from the rim. Using the tongs (cover your hand as the tong handle may be hot from being in the boiling water) remove the seals from the water, one at a time. Shake excess water from the seal and place on the jar. Then, still using the tongs, remove the rings. Again, shake off excess water and place the rings over the seals and tighten firmly.

The jam will take about 12-24 hours to set. The seals should pull down as the jars cool and you may hear clicking sounds as the seals form. If the fruit has settled to the top, turn the jars over to redistribute as they cool.

Jars may be kept unopened up to one year on the shelf.

from Radishes and Rhubarb

Speedo Summer Pavilion

14 Jul

Tree Hugger has a really interesting article featuring recycled Speedos. The Chelsea College of Art & Design in London was given 600 Speedo swimsuits that Speedo was no longer going to be able to sell due to competition rule changes. The students at the school took that swimsuits and and built a structure reminiscent of some spider webs to provide shade in the summer.

It’s a really interesting looking structure and the students at Chelsea College are clearly an innovative bunch. Speedo should be commended for recycling the suits they couldn’t sell and the college should be commended for encouraging students to innovate with recycled materials. Take a look at my Etsy store for some more examples of recycled fabric turned into something useful.

Blackberry Lemonade

13 Jul

Summer in your mouth from Taste of Home
Ingredients

  • 4 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 cup blackberries

Directions

  • In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups water and sugar to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon peel and remaining water; cool slightly.
  • In a blender, combine 1 cup of lemon mixture and the blackberries; cover and process until blended. Strain and discard seeds. Pour blackberry mixture and remaining lemon mixture into a pitcher; stir well.  Refrigerate until chilled. Serve over ice. Yield: about 1-1/2 quarts.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 cup) equals 152 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 1 mg sodium, 40 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, trace protein.