Category Archives: home décor (recycle and upcycle)

Make Your Own Clipboards Out Of Scrap Boards To Display Children’s Artwork

To make your own clipboard, you will need to find a thin scrap board. If it isn’t the right size, you will have to cut it to fit standard office paper. If you don’t want to bother cutting your board, ask around until you find something approximately the right size. Paint it with spare paint from your shed or leave it natural. When it dries completely, attach a clip like the one in the photo. The clips can be found at office supply stores.

These clipboards make excellent frames for displaying artwork. The clips already have a hook which makes hanging up easy.

Also see: Adding pictures to clips, clipboards made from scrap wood, and salvaged laminate flooring clipboards.

Bringing The Garden Indoors: White Hydrangea Flowers

Happenings At Our House: July

This morning when I was outside checking for squash and zucchini to harvest, I took time to cut some flowers off my hydrangea bush nearby. This hydrangea that I planted a year or so ago is looking great. No shortage of blooms on it. I can’t locate the tag I got with it but I think I’ve identified it as Hydrangea paniculata. It is so nice to gather a bouquet of flowers that are as clean and fresh as a summer’s day. Corny but true. When landscaping, don’t overlook white flowering plants or underestimate the beauty they add.

Recycled Sweater and/or T-Shirt Pennant Swags

Front view

Back view

Pennant swags strung between poles.

Liven up a birthday party, beach party, or child’s room with these easy to make pennant swags!

How-to: Gather some thin sweaters and/or t-shirts in lively colors. Make yourself a triangle stencil out of an old cereal box or whatever. My triangles were 7 ¼ inches along the top edge and about 8 ¾ inches along the sides. You can make your triangles bigger if you prefer. The easiest way to make all your triangles is to use a rotary cutter. Using one is not necessary but sure is fast. Unlike the rotary cutter, when using scissors, you will need to trace your stencil before cutting. I liked to use the hemmed bottom edge of a shirt as the top edge of the pennants. I think it gives it a little bit more of a finished look to the swags. Work around any stains or worn places. Lay out your shirt flat on a cutting mat. You will be cutting two triangles at a time. After cutting out all the triangles, arrange them in the order you would like. You can be creative here. Next use a sewing machine to make one long running stitch attaching the pennants to the ribbon. Leave room at each end of your ribbon to make a loop or leave enough extra ribbon for trying.When using outside, I tie them to bamboo poles.

MYO Magazine Letter Magnets

Magazine letter magnets are perfect for teaching. Use with a child that needs to learn their ABC’s or with a beginner reader. He or she will have fun playing around with these tiles and showing you what words they can spell. Pretty soon they will be making whole sentences!

Use on the refrigerator or on a magnetic cookie sheet.

Note: not for the very young; tiles may be a choking hazard.

Teens and preteens will enjoy leaving messages or sayings for others to read. Or they can make sets of tiles with their friends’ names and gift them. Magazine letter magnets will personalize your friend’s locker.


A. Cut letters from magazines. You will find a great variety of fonts in all sorts of colors. Go searching for just the right ones. You may want to find all the letters in the same color or you might want the letters to be as varied as possible. Cut out the letters and make sure they fit on the tiles.

B. I used the tiles from a salvaged My First Rummikub game which was missing some of the pieces. Paste a letter on the front of each tile.

C. The magnets I used are promotional flat flexible magnets. (Promotional flat flexible magnets are often given out by businesses for promotional reasons, are ususally business card size and are easy to cut.) This is a perfect use for those unsolicited magnets. Use scissors to cut a piece large enough to cover the back of the tile and glue it there.

You might also be interested in seeing a related post: Special Valentine Message Magnets Made From Salvaged Materials.

Jeans Recycled Into Durable Pillow Covers

Fabric sewed together to form a long strip.

View of pillowcase inside-out.

Detail of the flap and the snaps.

These jean pillows also look good on my fading denim couch.

Casual comfort for your bed. If you are ambitious, a recycled jean duvet cover would look fantastic too! A duvet cover is just like an extra large pillow case.

Here is a quick guide to making durable recycled jean pillow covers.
First collect old jeans. Don’t worry if there are holes in the knees or frayed bottoms, you can work around those areas.

Second, you will need to cut the jeans into strips. I made a stencil four inches wide out of cardboard. It doesn’t matter how long. I traced the stencil on the jeans, making the strips as long as I could. Slide your stencil up or down to lengthen or shorten the strip.
You can choose to make your strips wider or narrower, whatever works for the jeans you are salvaging and the design you wish to make.

Next, sew the strips together end to end to form a long strip. This method results in a random pattern and allows you to get the most out of your fabric strips (reduces waste).

Then, figure out how big you would like your pillow cover. At this point you should consider whether to have the stripes go up and down or across. Cut the strips to length, remember to leave extra for seam-allowances- a half inch for each side is good (width) and add about 4 or so inches extra so you can fold the fabric over forming a flap (length). Sew your strips together to make two rectangles (the top and bottom of your pillow),

Last, simply sew your pillow pieces right sides together. Leave one side open. Finish that edge (fold over and sew). Try it on your pillow, use extra fabric to make a flap. Add snaps.
E-mail with your questions or comments.