Friday, May 29, 2009

Paper Goods and Recycling

I save everything, especially if I find it attractive. I have a huge stack of wall and desk calendar dating back years. So I began transforming them into gift bags. I first started making them for family gifts, but now have made a few for my shop. I look for two pages that coordinate nicely, usually from the same calendar, but not always necessary. If I have a gift I need a particular size bag for, then I work from there. When needed I add other pages, paper or cardboard to form the sides and bottom. Sometimes I just fold the calendar page over to form the sides. I tape them together and then look for ribbon, yarn, string or even twisted paper to form handles. I also collect a lot of old books, mostly from thrifting or garage sales. I turn them into lovely little pillow boxes. You can find instructions and patterns on the net for how to construct the boxes. I don’t use a set template, but size the boxes so that I can work a particular photo or illustration into the front of the boxes. I especially like the ones I made from “The Big Book of Pets”, I allowed the text from the story to wrap around the boxes. They can also be embellished with ribbon, buttons and other decorations. My sister-in-law and niece have made some lovely ones with embellishments. The lighter the weight of the pages, the less sturdy the box, so they need to be used for lighter gifts, or you need to reinforce them by double the thickness or adding cardboard.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pillows and Patchwork

I like making pillows. I have many small remnants and pieces of designer decorator fabric samples. Most are not large enough for one pillow on their own, therefore I have fun trying to find new ways of combining coordinating fabrics into one pillow. I also enjoy using up my yarn and fringe collections to make trims. Here are some examples.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Button Ponytail Holders

I often see pontytail holders made with new fabric covered buttons, I prefer to use old and vintage buttons. Old buttons are easy to come by, especially large ones and you can layer buttons together, add fabric and yoyo’s or add beads, each having a unique style.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Upcycled Bathroom Heater

We recently renovated our main bathroom. I chose not to demolish the existing tile (unlike most major renovators would recommend). First of all, I liked the tile, secondly most of it was still in great condition and thirdly, I prefer to add as little as possible to the waste stream. The problem with preserving 60 year old tile is the fact that they no longer make it and new tiles are not available.
We had an old recessed wall heater just below the window. It was no longer working and with new central air and heat, it was no longer needed. But since it was recessed into the wall removing it would have left a hole that would have required new tiles to cover. Since it was located on the wall right next to the toilet and the center opening provided a good size, I decided to convert it to a magazine rack. I removed it from the wall and unscrewed the face from the part that held the heater coil. I then cut some pieces of craft wood to line the rear and sides of the recess in the wall. I stained them to match the dark wood color we were using for our sink vanity. I then built a wedge shape out of some more wood and stained & polyurethaned it. I screwed it on through the same holes that had held the rear part of the heater on. I also stain some strips of wood to go behind the beautiful cut outs, because the edges of my inside frame now showed through . I chose to leave the original label and toggle switch on the face to give it some character. It works great and I didn’t have to add any more problems to my tile renovation (more on the subject in a future blog).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Welcome to The ReFORMatory
I am setting up this blog to share design, crafting and renovating ideas. I hope to also feature ideas from other creative artisans too. I am new to blogging and hope you will enjoy my posts. Lets hope I can learn the ins and outs of blogging quickly to keep my readers interested.


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