Category Archives: Recycle and Upcycle

Recycle and Upcycle

Tutorial: Spice Jar Mini Terrariums

Tutorial: Spice Jar Mini Terrariums | The Zen of Making

Turn your empty spice jars into mini moss terrariums with this fun, simple Earth Week project. Tiny terrariums are the perfect way to green up your home decor, and they also make great recycled gifts!

Supplies:
* Spice jars, cleaned and dried
* Fresh moss or Dehydrated live terrarium moss, soaked per package instructions
* Dried moss
* Polished gravel
* Terrarium soil

Tools:
* Bamboo skewer or chopstick
* Plant mister

★ Please note that the links provided above are affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you choose to make a purchase after clicking through. ★

Tutorial: Spice Jar Mini Terrariums | The Zen of Making

Step 1
Gather your terrarium supplies, then assemble the gravel, dried moss, and soil layers as shown above. Lightly spray the soil with the plant mister to dampen. (You will add the top moss layer in the next step.)

Important: Before you start your terrarium, make sure you allow enough time to soak and rehydrate any dry materials, including dehydrated moss, dried moss, and compressed soil. The soaking process generally takes about 3 hours.

Step 2
Once your layers are in place, use a bamboo skewer or a chopstick to artfully arrange your moss, pressing it firmly into the soil. When you’re done, place a few pebbles on top of the moss to add some color and finish off the landscape.

Step 3
Mist the moss lightly, then secure the lid. Place your finished terrarium in a shady spot where it will receive only filtered light.

To keep your terrarium healthy, spray it every 3-4 weeks (or more often if it’s hot/dry) with a plant mister. The moss should be damp, but never wet.

Terrarium tips:

• If your water is very hard or contains chlorine, you’ll want to use bottled water to rehydrate your materials and water your terrarium. Chemicals in water can burn moss and cause it to turn brown and die.

• Most mosses like filtered light or shade. Avoid putting your terrarium in a window or any location where it will be exposed to direct sunlight.

• Build moss terrariums in containers with lids. Open containers dry out quickly and require daily attention.

• If you’ve over-watered or notice a ton of condensation on the glass, open the top for a few hours to allow some of the extra moisture to evaporate.

In the mood for something a little fancier? Check out my Twig Terrariums Terrarium Kits review. (You’ll love them!)

Ready for more upcycling projects? Earth Week Roundup: Top 5 Upcycling Tutorials

Tutorial: Canvas Shoe Kitty Patch

Tutorial: Canvas Shoe Kitty Patch | The Zen of Making

Last Wednesday, I was crossing the street and didn’t notice that a misshapen piece of metal was lying in the crosswalk ahead of me. Of course, I stepped on it, causing it to swing around and slice a clean, angular hole in the top of one of my brand new TOMS. (Ugh.) So, since I hadn’t even had them long enough to get them dirty—and since canvas shoes are notorious for developing unsightly holes ahead of their time anyway—I decided to look at the accident as a great opportunity to try my hand at making patches.

So, if you’ve got a hole-y pair of canvas shoes, don’t toss them in the trash, fix them up! In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to make a quick custom kitty cat patch that will repair your shoes and look super-cute doing it!

Supplies:
* Canvas shoes with a hole in them
* Wool felt sheet, brown (sized to fit the hole in your shoe)
* Wool felt scraps, pink
* Embroidery floss, pink, cream, brown, and black
* Fray Check
* Fabric adhesive
* Cardstock, 1 sheet

Tools:
* Fabric scissors with detail tip
* Paper scissors with detail tip
* Embroidery needle
* Pencil

★Please note that the links provided above are affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you choose to make a purchase after clicking through.★

Step 1
Using fabric scissors, trim away any loose strings or fraying around the hole or tear.

Step 2
To prevent the hole from getting bigger, use an anti-fraying product like Fraycheck to seal the cut edges. Allow it to dry completely before applying the patch.

Step 3
While your shoe is drying, make a cat-shaped template out of cardstock. To do this, draw an oval that is large enough to completely cover the hole, then add two triangles on top for ears. Once you’re happy with the shape, cut out your pattern with paper scissors.

Step 4
Place the paper kitty template on top of your brown felt, then cut around the edges with fabric scissors to make the felt patch.

Step 5
Place a few small dots of permanent fabric adhesive on the back of the patch, then press it into place over the hole in your shoe. Allow the glue to dry completely before sewing the patch in place.

Step 6
Thread your embroidery needle with 2-ply brown embroidery floss, then straight stitch around the edge of the patch.

Note: If your patch is in a tight, hard to reach spot like mine, you’ll want to leave extra long tails on your floss so you can knot off more easily when you’re finished with each color.

Step 7
Cut two small triangles out of the pink felt scraps, then straight stitch them inside each ear.

Step 8
Make two large french knots using 3-ply black embroidery floss for the eyes, then make a rounded nose in 2-ply pink embroidery floss using satin stitch.

Step 9
To finish the face, make three large straight stitches on each side that begin just below each eye, then fan out evenly across the cheeks.

Step 10
Make sure your knots are secure, then trim any extra floss ends.

If you’re worried about your toes snagging or pulling on the stitches, you can use your fabric adhesive to glue a piece of wool felt over the knots on the inside of the shoe. It’s also a good idea to dab a drop of Fraycheck on each eye to make sure that they maintain their shape.

I think they actually look better now than before they were ripped. What do you think?

Shared on Skip to My Lou!

Tutorial: Upcycled Keyboard Embroidery Hoop Sleeve for FaveCrafts

Tutorial: Upcycled Keyboard Embroidery Hoop Sleeve | The Zen of Making

Are you crafty and on the move? Protect your stitches from stains and snags with an upcycled keyboard embroidery hoop sleeve. Check out my tutorial in this week’s Geek Crafts column on FaveCrafts!

Geek Crafts: Keyboard Embroidery Hoop Sleeve

Welcome to the Geek Crafts column, your weekly dose of geeky goodness with Haley Pierson-Cox from The Zen of Making!

I’ll admit it: I’m the kind of girl who will fish a dead keyboard out of the trash for purely crafty purposes—there are just so many awesome ways to reuse and repurpose the parts! In addition to the ever-popular keyboard jewelry options, I love the idea of using old keys to geek up projects in unexpected ways. So, with that in mind, I decided to add a quirky keyboard message to my travel embroidery hoop sleeve, ensuring that all of my needlework projects stay both clean and extra-sassy while I’m stitching on the go. If you’re not jazzed about the Beastie Boys, feel free to change up the words to better fit your style!

Step 1
Fold the large piece of felt in half, then trim the top and sides so that they fit the size of your embroidery hoop, adding an extra inch to the top and both sides.

Step 2
Using the felt rectangle from step 1 as a template, cut the piece of fabric to the same size

Tutorial: Upcycled Keyboard Embroidery Hoop Sleeve | The Zen of Making

Ready to make your own? Head over to FaveCrafts to see the complete how-to!

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making
Check it out, ladies: a pillowcase that you can totally wear to the office!

Supplies:
* 1 pillowcase
* 1 zipper (7″ or 9″)

Tools:
* Sewing machine (You can also sew by hand.)
* Seam ripper
* Straight pins
* Fabric scissors or rotary cutter
* Fabric pencil/tailor chalk
* Measuring tape/ruler
* Iron

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

1. Iron your pillowcase flat. Cut off the finished (open) end just below the seam. You will use this piece to create the waistband later.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

2. Center the seam at the back, and press the pillowcase. Open the back seam from the top, creating a space long enough to fit your zipper.

At this point, to avoid unraveling the rest of the back seam, you should stitch a few times back and forth over the bottom of the opening you just made to secure any loose threads. (You can see my stitches in the photo below.)

Note: If your pillowcase has two side seams, you can insert the zipper in either of the sides instead of the back.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

3. Before laying the zipper in place, turn skirt inside out and fold back the unfinished edges of the opening about ¼” and press.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

4. Lay the zipper in place, taking care to center it in the opening. (Please excuse the magical color-changing zipper. I was working on 2 skirts at the same time.)

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

5. Pin the zipper into place.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

6. Stitch around the edge of the zipper, securing it in place.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

7. Turn skirt right side out, centering the zipper in the back, and press.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

8. Find the center of the top of the skirt and mark it.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

9. Either using a dress form or yourself (with a steady-handed friend to help pin), dart the front and the back of the skirt to make the waist the correct size and the skirt the correct shape.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making
Back Dart Placement

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making
Front Dart Placement

Take care that the darts are evenly spaced from the center, and that they are angled slightly out to follow the natural curve of your body. In the front, place the darts farther from the center, towards your hips. In the back, place them closer to the zipper. For a flattering fit, the dart placement is very important, so start over again if you don’t get it right the first time (it took me more than a few tries).

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

10. Remove the skirt from the dress form and turn it inside out. Place a vertical pin at the top of each dart, then use a ruler to draw a line about 8″ long from the pin to the folded edge of the dart. (Don’t let them intimidate you—darts are nothing more than pinched together flaps of material.) Repeat this process for all 4 darts.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

11. Pin along the line for each dart.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

12. Sew each dart in place along the line you drew in step 10.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

13. With the darts in place, it’s time to add the waistband. Cut the finished seam off of the material that you set aside in step 1, creating a long strip of fabric. Cut the bottom off of the strip, leaving ¾” of fabric. (Remember, the strip is folded in half at the center, so you really have a 1½” wide strip of fabric.)

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

14. Fold the unfinished edges in ¼” towards the center fold, and press into place.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

15. Measure around the waist of the skirt. Cut the waistband strip to size, leaving an extra ¼” on each side to finish the ends. Fold each end under ¼”, then fold in half and press.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

16. Starting on one side of the zipper, line up the folded end of the waistband with the edge of the zipper opening and pin into place.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

17. Pin the rest of the waistband into place around the skirt.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

18. Stitch down the edges and around the waistband to secure it in place.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

19. Hem the bottom to length, folding the unfinished edges under and pressing into place.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making
Hemmed Skirt: Back View
Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making
Hemmed Skirt: Front View

20. Stitch around the top fold of the hem, finishing the edges.

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making
Finished Skirt: Front

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making
Finished Skirt: Back

You’re done!

Tutorial: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt | The Zen of Making

Press the skirt to get rid of any remaining wrinkles, then hit the town. Or, you know, the library.

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