Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Upcycled Dinosaurs???

 No, I don't mean real dinosaurs, I mean plastic ones. I found these wonderful planters on Etsy, but I think I'll let the shop owner tell you the rest.

 Here at The PDF Files I sell a mixture of PDF printables for everyday use and recycled dinosaur planters made from children's toys. I came up with the idea about a year ago, when I was moving into my dorm room at school for the first time. It was a stressful time and I wanted something unique and fun to put in my room. My brother had some dinosaur toys that he was just going to throw out and I love plants so I came out with my first dinosaur planter.
 My planter was such a hit with all of my friends and roommates that I decided to try selling them in my shop and they took off. Now I offer all types of dinosaurs as well as Lions, Tigers, Elephants and other animals with over 20 colors you can choose from. They look great in dorm rooms or any room for that matter. You also can use these guys as other things besides planters. I have had teachers purchase them and tell me that they use them as pencil and pen holders on their desks and that the kids love them.

 I recommend succulents or air plants for these guys as they are awesome plants and thrive in these guys, but you can grow what ever you like in them. They even have a small drainage hole on their tails for excess water. The Dinosaurs make great gifts and I even have a mystery dinosaur option for those who are a little more adventurous or who cant decide on just one dinosaur planter.

If you want to see what all the buzz is about, check out my store on Etsy: PDFfiles

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Playing with (Sewing) Patterns

 I started my Deb's Patterns shop because the patterns were starting to overwhelm the fabric and supplies on Deb's Crafts. At that time I had over 200 sewing patterns and numerous booklets and patterns for other crafts. With the patterns I'll be listing today I will have over 700 items in my store with about 600 of them being sewing patterns, mostly women's clothing but men's, children's and craft patterns too.

 Some patterns are newer, like this evening gown from 2006, which would make an awesome bridesmaids dress.

 Some are much older like this men's pullover shirt pattern. I love finding the older patterns. I try to only buy and sell patterns that are uncut so finding an unused older pattern is sometimes difficult. I think I may have one pattern in my shop that's been cut.
 I've found some really awesome craft patterns on my search, I would love to keep a lot of them, like the one on the right. But I can't, I have to be realistic, I'm probably never going to actually use them and I want them to get into the hands of someone who would.
 I've also found a lot of costume patterns recently and sold a few. Halloween is in a couple months so I guess people are getting ready. This one will allow your child to be turned into a crayon or tube of toothpaste. I would have loved it when my kids were little.
Like I said earlier, most of what I have is women's dresses and separates. These patterns languish in thrift shops waiting for the person the right size with the right tastes in clothing to take them home.

I feel like I'm doing them and their eventual owners a service by taking the time to buy, scan, write and list them on Etsy.

Use the coupon code BUY15GET2 in my Deb's Patterns shop for you to get $2 off any $15 purchase or more. For readers of this blog I also have the coupon code BLOG4 to get $4 off a $25 purchase until August 31, 2013.

You can also win $25 off any of my shops by entering my Birthday Contest!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

An Unexpected Bounty

   My neighbor called yesterday and asked if I could use some vegetables out of her garden, she wasn't going to be able to use them and didn't want them to go to waste.
   Figuring there was just going to be a little bit I said yes, even though I have my own garden, we don't grow a lot of the same stuff. We've "traded" before for veggies the other didn't grow.
   This morning she brought them over. You can't see everything in the picture but there was a huge bag of swiss chard and beet greens. Another bag of sweet potato greens which I had never had before, a very large bag of yard long green beans, an eggplant, a tomato and about 8 pickling cucumbers.  So, although I had a bunch of patterns and fabric to list in my shops, today was turned into a cooking day.

So here's the game plan, pesto with the greens because I love it and it freezes so well.
Washing Greens for Pesto
 Washed the greens and added a large handful of basil leaves from my garden. Yellow split pea and greens soup. I added some barley and yard long green beans and it's cooking in the crock pot as I type. I have a potluck Saturday so a pasta salad with veggies and greens. Freezer pickles for the cucumbers, I don't have time for canning right now. And when all else fails, just blanch and freeze.

Oh, as a side note, I scrambled some of the sweet potato greens up with my eggs this morning and I am a new believer! They're really good. I usually use kale, spinach or collards but I like the sweet potato greens better!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My Weekly Thrift Shop Run

 I find my "second chance" craft supplies, fabric and patterns, as well as my clothing and linens to upcycle in all kinds of places. Thrift shops, yard sales, estate sales, auctions, friends and family and more. The thrift shop pictured above, though, is a weekly stop. They have patterns and fabric for sale on a very regular basis. They bag up their fabric, yarn and other craft supplies in large bags and it's often a guessing game as to what is in the bag. I can spend several minutes per bag trying to determine if the bag is worth buying.

They have a system of coding everything by color. After a number of weeks they start reducing the items. I don't wait for the fabric and patterns to be reduced or I would miss out on a lot of good stuff but when I'm looking for items to upcycle, I look for the items that are 75% off for two reasons. One, because it's a lot cheaper and two because it's had awhile to sell and hasn't. These are usually the items that are worn, stained, have buttons missing or other problems and this makes it a prime candidate for upcycling!
And this is the haul for this week, lots of patterns that I'm listing now on Deb's Patterns. A bag of fabric and another bag of buttons that I still have to go through and take pics and list on Deb's Crafts. A couple shirts for pillows or whatever, a beach wrap with messed up fringe and a stained damask tablecloth, all candidates for upcycling, watch Deb Upcycles for the results once I figure out what I'm going to make.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Works in Progress and Other Sad Tales

I have a problem with a pile up of works in progress, it's not that I start a bunch of stuff that I never finish. Everything eventually gets finished. The problem is I start working on more projects than I finish in any given week.
So I made a vow to only work on those projects that were already started. Most of them were gift bags and plain pillow covers from decorator fabric. Those are just so easy to cut, I cut a lot of them.

The problem with this is;
A - I'm easily bored.
B - I keep coming up with new ideas

 The pillow cover above was one of those ideas. I finally decided that I needed to work on my ideas before they get stale. I was losing too many of them to trying to finish the "pile" of work. I know everything will eventually get done. I had several of these potholders in the pile

Finished the ones on the right the other day and posted them this morning.
This is actually a pile of  pillow covers I finished yesterday, all they need is to be turned right side out, ironed, put in the insert and take the pics.

So I do get things done, I need to stop "waiting" to start on new ideas and just do them.

What's the other sad news? Well, I need to give Fuuko her medicine and she hates it. Poor kitty.

Happy news is my birthday contest is still on, tell me about your works in progress on this post to be entered and see the contest post for other ways to enter.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Planting for Healthy Bees

Keep this in mind when planning your garden and landscaping.

Upcycled Pet Beds - Brand New Etsy Shop - Dizzypets

 Look what I found when I was cruising around Etsy today! Pet beds made from sweaters! Now there is some serious upcycling. They're all different of course, this is one of the great things about upcycling.
 This is a brand new Etsy shop called DizzyPets, she only opened three days ago so she doesn't have a whole lot in there yet but I think she's going to do well.

The beds are made out of old but carefully selected sweaters and stuffed with poly-fil.
 Fuuko could probably use one, since she's taken to sleeping in the one place I really don't want her to be.
But Horatio is the one really having problems. He seems to have outgrown his bed. You think he would like one?

Tweet this blog post for a chance to win my Birthday Contest! Check out this post for other ways to enter! Please leave a comment on the contest post if you do, not here. (You can still comment here of course)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Time for My Birthday Contest!

Last year I ran a contest all through the month of August for people to guess which day in August was my birthday. Since the answer is right out there for all to see now I can't exactly do that again.

So I was thinking about doing something a little different this time.
Gift Tie-Ons from Deb Upcycles

The prize will once again be a $20 gift certificate to any of my Etsy shops. I have three, Deb's Crafts for fabric and other sewing and craft supplies, Deb's Patterns for sewing patterns and craft books and of course Deb Upcycles for my handmade, upcycled crafts. If I get over 58 people entering (not 58 entries because there will be multiple ways to enter, but 58 different people) I will give away another $10 gift certificate.

Ways to enter will be changing through the month so keep coming back to see what you can do next for more entries:

Leave a separate comment in the comment section for each entry.

1 entry: Why 58 you say? I think it's pretty easy to figure out, so why don't we make that the first way to enter, just comment on the blog and tell me why 58. Just one "guess" per person.

5 entries: Blog about the contest of course!

1 entry per day:  Tweet about this contest: One tweet per day per person unless I change this, use #debupcycles.

Up to 3 entries:  Pin any item from Deb Upcycles to your Pinterest boards, leave the link to the pin in the comments.

2 Entries for the sewers (and even if you don't sew) What pattern from Deb's Patterns would you like to make for someone and who? Post the link to the pattern in comments.

Horatio the blind kitty may help me pick the winner, but then I might use a random number generator. I'm not sure yet.

Contest ends August 31, 2013 at midnight Central Time.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Upcycling Men's Shirts

Let's face it, except for Hawaiian shirts, (which make great pillow covers) and the ilk, mens' shirts can be pretty boring. I have a bunch of them and need to do something with them. Most of them are missing buttons or stained, pretty much unusable as shirts. I had bought them at a thrift shop steeply discounted, even by thrift shop terms, because nobody was buying them

 I was (and am still considering it) going to try to make a skirt out of a bunch of coordinated shirts. Then the idea struck me that I could use some of the scraps to make my Christmas Gift Tie-ons in the shape of a tree.  That wasn't going to use up very much and then it hit me. (It hurt, too).

I could cut out tree shapes and applique them onto the front and backs of other shirts and make these great looking pillow covers. They're not just for Christmas either, they can be used year round if you want!

I have a ton of other ideas, too. I'm working on some fish swimming across the pillow, flowers (I have one with tulips cut out) other tree "styles" and more. I'm also thinking of making some gift bags like these so I can use up some of the smaller pieces.

What else can I do with these shirts? What other applique shapes should I try? What else can I applique trees on? Leave comments below if you have any ideas!