Upcycled Recycled

Sustainable Souls Project: Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle

The Sustainable Souls Project is a monthly artist collaboration inspired by sustainability issues, concerns, ideas, and thoughts.  Each month, they pick a sustainability topic and create awareness through art, using the monthly theme as inspiration.  Projects may include art-journaling, mixed media, assemblage and more. The idea is to create awareness around Sustainability through art, one paint stroke at a time! As this is a topic close to my heart I am happy to participate this month.

This month’s theme is: Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle

I repurposed an old canvas of mine for this theme

I didn’t like the acrylic painting that was originally underneath but I decided to “recycle” parts of the painting and cover other parts with trash and other texture making materials up.

My neighborhood is pretty much recycled – it was brand new and nice at some point, then people lost interest and treated it badly and now it is up and coming again. I am glad it wasn’t totally destroyed and wasted before it was discovered as love able again.

 

I stamped with some of my Stroll Through the Hood Stamp Sets onto painted cardboard and colored in some of the images with water color.

Can you imagine that this is how the area – about 10 minutes from my house –  that is now Liberty State Park looked like pre 1976 ?

(Photo from the Archives of the Friends of Liberty State Park)

We have come a long way – and then we haven’t. 

Recycling has always been a big topic during my upbringing in Germany. I learned about bringing bags to shops and not littering in the 80s in school and it has become such a norm to recycle everything, from glass – divided by brown and white glass, paper, cork, batteries, plastic garbage, compost. You are pretty much a frowned upon person if you do not recycle or do not bring bags to a shop. But then you have news and pictures like this:

Read about garbage patches in the ocean and what happens with our plastic garbage, how long it takes to “disappear” and the effects on the ocean life.

I think we need to make more choices in what we buy and how we buy  and then how we recycle/reuse/repurpose. I am not perfect myself and I am constantly catching myself not being responsible enough but here some small steps – I hope I don’t sound too preachy :

  • I bring bags and boxes when I do grocery shopping -instead of having someone stuff my shopping in double- or triple layered plastic bags – hey good reason to make some handmade cool looking artsy grocery bags ;)
  • I avoid buying plastic bottles – I don’t buy six packs which are held together by plastic rings – it is hard here to avoid it totally but keeping an eye open helps.
  • I have a fancy water glass bottle for the gym – it looks pretty cool and I can put it in the dishwasher when I need to
  • I try to buy as much at a farmer’s market or non packaged fruit and vegetables as possible – I mean – come on those bananas- they are protected already
  • Make your coffee at home – put it in a nice travel mug- it is cheaper but hey- do not use those single cup plastic coffee makers – then I’d rather suggest take you travel mug and buy your coffee at a coffee place to go.
  • Bring some fun silverware to work for lunch, instead of getting a pack of plastic flatware – it looks so much more classy anyway  ;)
  • Come on- you have a dishwasher and on a special occasion just put out the normal plates and silver flatware for a party and then throw them into the dishwasher. Or wash them by hand – nothing better then some bonding/gossiping time with a friend/spouse/sibling while doing some dishes – and if you do not wanna do that- put your kids to work …didn’t hurt us ;)
  • there is so much more- but this is a good start

Ahhh- there- I got preachy…sorry…but you know what….I feel so strongly about this – it should be something we all take care of …I hope you will understand: There is only Planet A !

Comments (10)

  • Sandra L.

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    Love your recycled project. No apology needed for being preachy….nothing wrong with speaking your mind for a cause. I am the queen of recycling in my family. I always think twice before I put something in the trash or the recycling bins. Much to the dismay of my family I have even picked up discarded items to bring home for a project. For example bottle caps….have a jar of those. I use glass spaghetti sauce jars in my cupboards and in my craft room. I paint the lids and you have a free glass jar instead of going out any buying something.
    I hate plastic anything and wish companies would go back to glass jars for juices and soda (though I rarely drink soda). I recycle tea bags…the tea goes in the flowers on my balcony and the coffee grounds goes in the garbage disposer and the filers are air dried for projects. Love “recycle shame”….I am guilty of that and on more than one occasion but then again maybe it’s the German in me. lol.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      totally agree with you- and yes to the plastic containers- I hate them too. LOL- maybe since I am German I have a bit of the recycle shame in me too ;)

      Reply

  • Tina Walker

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    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for sharing your art with us again this month! I love your recycled piece – I personally think the recycled projects always turn out better than the originals…so many more layers, stories, and history. Interesting facts and images too – such an important topic and one I will definitely be focusing on more in the future. ♥

    Reply

  • Sue Clarke

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    Thanks for the post. I take items home from work to recycle but I can’t take it all. I work in a school kitchen and my recycle bin is only picked up every other week here. The school only recycles cardboard. Drives me nuts to throw large cans away.
    Hard to believe that pic of the park with the dignified Lady.
    We do have one of those filters for the Keurig and then you can use any coffee that you want to without throwing away tons of little pods. I was told that they were planning a pod that can be recylced but my guess is that folks won’t want to rinse it out (the convenience of the Keurig is key).

    Reply

  • Stephanie

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    Hi Nat – you are not preachy at all. I am such a green freak that I pick out cans and glass from the office trash and put them in the recycling container, the same with paper from the trash into the recycling bin. However, I do not “recycle shame” my co-workers, that would be preachy – lol!

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      LOL- recycle-shame- I loooove that. Germans do that a lot btw- LOL.

      Reply

  • karen

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    Very good read. We were on vacay in Germany a few years ago & read that it is one of the greenest countries in the world. I do pretty well but realize from reading this I can tweek a few things & do better. Although I love my Keurig. We have a filter for it & will start using that instead of the pods.

    The painting is also really great!!!

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      oh that is so cool that they do have a filter for the Keurig! I didn’t know that. As said Karen- I can do a lot better myself- I have to constantly remind myself on some things.

      Reply

  • Tracy Krueger

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    I love it Nathalie! The texture is amazing

    Reply

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DIY: Flower Pot Madness

My friend Kim and I decided a while ago that we would stamp and stencil some flower pots and even create some as an upcoming Mother’s Day gift. I also think that Kim can’t bare seeing my really badly neglected plants on the terrace ;) (I do have a brown thumb for sure!)

We left some pots in their natural color and painted others with golden gesso and black gesso.

On some pots we used my ArtFoamies Foam stamps. We used a brayer to apply acrylic paint to the foam stamps and then used them on the pots. Especially the border stamps worked well since they can easily and carefully wrapped around the pots.

We both really loved how the colors popped off the black and golden gesso-ed pots.

For some pots we used Stencils – we secured the stencils with masking tape and it was so fun and quick.

On one pot I got a bit wild and layered all kinds of stencil designs.

While Kim took a more “less is more” approach and used one stencil with variations of color – I like that very much :)

We loved being outside and it was such an easy and colorful project – I could do this all day long- no kidding.

And then we added some herbs and dirt and voila

Don’t you think this rosemary should be happy in this new home? Well…I promised to also water it ;)

Mother’s Day can come now and …summer – Cannot wait to sit outside and enjoy my new funky colorful pots on the terrace!

Here are some of the supplies we used – some links are affiliate links:


Hope you have a wonderful day and enjoyed this little project!!!

Comments (4)

  • Sherri Scott

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    Nat, they’re beautiful! I might try to brighten my flower pots

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Sherri, so glad you like them and yeahhhh – brighten yours too :)

      Reply

  • Sue Clarke

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    Looks like you and Kim had fun and what a nice collection of pots you ended up with as well.
    Will you put any kind of protection over the paint to help the design last longer Nat?

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      thank you Sue :) You can seal those with Matt Medium of course.

      Reply

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Upcycled , Recycled: Stenciled Coasters Project

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These coasters were so much fun to make. A couple years ago, someone had given me those coasters, which were pretty, but not quite my taste. Time to upcylce and recylce!

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I painted all coasters in the same color  mix of two different blues with acrylic paint and let them dry.

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Then I grabbed the Buenos Aires, Santiago and Toledo 4×4 stencils which fit exactly onto the coaster. For some coasters I simply placed the stencil on top of the surface and stenciled with a different acrylic paint color through.

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For some I layered some color directly on top of my blue background and then placed the stencil in the wet paint surface and removed paint through the stencil with a baby wipe.

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Once all the stenciling was done and the paint was dry, I coated the coasters with Pouring Medium. I let everything dry overnight and gave them another coating with Pouring Medium to seal the surface off and also to give the coasters some depth and sheen.

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And here you go – the different coasters

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I gave those to my sister in law and she really loved them as they are in her favorite colors. Now …time to make some for myself…maybe for Thanksgiving .

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Here are the supplies I used to make those coasters – some are affiliate links:

supplies



What have you put aside to upcylce or recylcle, but haven’t gotten around to do it yet?

Comments (2)

  • Joi@RR

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    These turned out so much more YOU Nat! Perfect way to showcase your stencils. Xj.

    Reply

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Upcycled, Recycled or … Easy Peasy Gift Bag

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My sister-in-law’s birthday was a big event last month and so I wanted to have a special and colorful the gift bag. I had this fun bag, which I had gotten as an advertisment gift laying around and decided to oomph it up Nat-style

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I started by loading up some acrylic paint onto a fan brush and flicking it onto the bag.

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Cleaning the brush in between I flicked one color after the other on top.

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After the paint drops dried, I rolled out some pink color and applied it with a rubber brayer to the solid side of my Elephant Foam Stamp (which is part of my Elephant Foam and Rubber Stamp and Stencil Set) and stamped the pink elephant on top of the bag and let the image dry completely.

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In a final step I stamped the rubber elephant stamp using Archival ink over the pink elephant silhouette.

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And voila – a festive and fun gift bag was done. Now…what was in the gift bag? ….welllllllll – LOL- that is a different post because it was also something hand made but I used something I cannot show you yet. I promise to show it to you later *wink!

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Here are the supplies I have used for the gift bag – some links are affiliate links:

SuppliesCJS

Do you like to make your own gift bags and what have you used?

Comments (4)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Love the gift bag and you are a tease about your new supplies to be announced at a later date!

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      LOL- sorry ;) It is coming any day now – promised!

      Reply

  • stephanie

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    Nice! Great re-use and upcycle.

    Reply

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DIY Gift Wrapping Paper

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I love making my own gift wrapping paper and it is a really quick thing to do . I needed some paper for the Suburbia Painting I made for my brother in law and laid out some kraft paper.

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As you can tell Niles really wanted to help – if you want to have your cat help you, add half an hour of time for your DIY gift wrapping paper though – the clean up will keep you occupied *wink. I basically cleaned off my brush onto the kraft paper when I was doing an art journal spread.

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I added some circles with a brush to add some pattern and used a white acrylic marker to write Happy Birthday all over.

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I made a small tag, used some twine in a similar blue as I had used in the background and BAM – done .

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Of course you can also use stamps and stencils -but in any event this is a super quick, easy and cheap way to make some personalized gift wrapping paper.

Here are the supplies I used for my DIY Gift Wrapping paper- some links are affiliate links.

SuppliesCJS


Have a wonderful day!

Comments (12)

  • Dee Spillane

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    Love the kit! Haven’t seen him in a while. Are you going to do jumpstart for 2017? I love it so much.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      glad you liked seeing Niles, Dee :) As for JumpStart ….wink wink …yes :)

      Reply

  • Sue Clarke

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    Love this gift wrap and even better that Niles “helped” you out!
    I may have to do this project with my dear doggie.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Yeah- I think Niles should help me more often :) I cannot wait to hear about your doggie helper ;)

      Reply

  • Joi@RR

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    Oh so fun – both the great gift wrap for Dave and your darling baby!! Smiling!! Xj.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      thank you Joi – Niles is very proud of his accomplishment- LOL

      Reply

  • Muriel

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    Making my own wrapping paper is exactly what I did last week. It adds a supplément to the gift itself.

    Reply

  • stephanie

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    Your kitty is so cute. The paper is great. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      thank you – I will tell Niles- he likes compliments ;)

      Reply

  • Brenda

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    What a cute helper. Love the colors on the wrapping paper and the vessel in your photo.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      thank you Brenda! The vessel is an old ice cube container – which my friends gave me. I love the colors on it very much :)

      Reply

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Hipster Wall Decor or Upcycled Embroidery Hoop

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When I was looking at my new Fiesta Stamp Set I all of a sudden was thinking of those paper cut silhouette wall decors of the 18th century and I started thinking about how this could be translated into a modern form.

Here is how the stencil and the masks look like :

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And the idea was born for this Hipster Version ;) I mono printed the background by placing the two masks that are included in my Fiesta Stamp Set on top of the Mono Printing Plate and then rolled different colors on top and printed several times also imprinting the stamps themselves to give some texture.

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using Liquitex Iridescence Gold Acrylic Paint I stamped the Fiesta Stamps over the masks.

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I spray painted the embroidery hoop in black – which was easy peasy and fast and then cut out the paper so it would fit to the back of the hoop. Using a Journaling Pen I started loosely writing text into the silhouette figures. To make sure that I would really write loosely but not overwrite the edges I placed the stencil for the men and the woman on top to protect the background.

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I adhered the Paper to the hoop with double sided tape and voila ….done :) That was fun.

 

Here are the supplies I used

nSupplies


hope you like the Hipster Wall Decor :) 

Have a gorgeous day

Comments (8)

  • susan salyer

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    so many wonderful goodies went into the make of this . truly fabulous

    Reply

  • Mary Holshouser

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    I love silhouettes and your take on them is so unique.
    Using the embroidery hoop was a nice idea.
    The stamps made a great background.
    thanks for sharing a wonderful project.
    Illinois

    Reply

  • Viki B

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    This is such an awesome look! I love your designs.

    Reply

  • Sue D

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    Very cool hipster version!
    Sue in Ohio

    Reply

  • D.Ann C

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    What a cool silhouette variant and I’m in LOVE with that sumptuous background!! Sunny greetings from FL

    Reply

  • beverly

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    We like to get messy in Mississippi. Love the background paper.

    Reply

  • Win

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    Love the fun and modern take with these stencils – it’s a beaut!

    Reply

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No Elevator…or…Stair Decor

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Our new apartment is spread out on two floors and my studio is actually located on the second floor. The stairs itself are not that bad – given the fact we used to live on the 6th floor in Hamburg with no elevator but those stairs are pretty step and remind me a bit of Amsterdam.

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I do love this saying ” There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs” and I think it is also a very fitting one to be on our stairs climbing up to my studio. And it makes the very clean and a bit boring stairs more ours. Here are some tips in case you want to try this yourself on your stairs:

1. don’t be scared – keep in mind the worst thing that can happen is that you have to paint white over it again. We will have to paint this when we move out- so what…in the meantime we have something we like as a decor.

2. Use a cosmetic sponge to apply the paint. Less is more – dab on…dab off…so that not too much goes underneath your stencil. I used acrylic paint.

3. It is ok if it doesn’t look perfect – it is hand stenciled!

4. here is how you can do the spacing easily:

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Prepare each word you want to apply – I used the spacing that the stencils provided. I applied a piece of masking tape throughout the whole length of the word on the bottom and on the top.

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Prepare and measure how much spacing you want from the bottom of the stair to the letters – and prepare a cardboard piece or sturdy panel that has that height. I was lucky and the green ruler in the picture was exactly what I needed. Flip the stencil word over and apply the spacer to the bottom masking tape making sure it lines up right to the edge of the letters.

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Put the spacing tool centered onto the bottom of your stair and apply the top masking tap – make sure it is nicely and evenly pressed down. Then you can easily remove the space-helper and press down the bottom masking tape- and voila an even and right spacing :)

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Then apply masking tape to the left and the right of the word- so that everything is nicely and flat attached to the wall. And then you can start. :) The taping work takes the most time for this project- take your time with it.

5. Have fun and enjoy your new stair decoration

Cannot wait to see how our visitors will like it :)

Here are the supplies I used

nSupplies

Have an amazing day
hugs

Nat

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Comments (12)

  • Minna

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    Wau! I would love to do something like this to our home!

    Reply

  • muriel

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    I love your stairs; more generally I love decorated or customized stairs. I have stairs in my house and I have been wanting to customize them for…….years! But I know the day will come.

    Reply

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Heel Porsche or…Put an Elephant on it

Let me introduce you to my newest little helper…my Heel Porsche :)
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That is actually the nickname of those shopping bags literally translated from German. I love my new Heel Porsche. We don’t own a car and the next bigger supermarket is a couple blocks away- close enough to walk but for bigger shopping trips long enough to make my arms feel miserable carrying stuff. I did a lot of research on these rolling shopping bags and finally I fell in love with this Rolser Bag because it folds easily and you can carry it on your shoulder and it also unfolds like a charm. It comes in all kinds of patterns and colors but I chose it so that I could add my own little twist to it.

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I used Liquitex Professional Markers and Liquitex Professional Spraypaints with my Arabesque and Elephant March Stencil on the flap and on the bottom. Here you see it folded together.

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and from the other side- which is the bottom

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It was such a fun and quick project and it also works like perfect – 6 big bottles of Water, a Gallon of Milk, 2 Gallons of Orange juice, and a lot of other stuff…and I had no problem rolling this thing back home on uneven pavement.

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In Germany a Heel Porsche is really uncool- but hey…I think even in Germany that one would work – and actually …I guess with 40 I am kind of over that being uncool-problem anyway ;)

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What image would you put on a Heel Porsche?

Have a wonderful day!

Huge hugs

nat

 

Comments (26)

  • fran

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    Love this Nat. and love your personalisation of it. Mmm not sure what I would put on mine, perhaps just a lot of writing in a bold colour and font. Thanks for sharing. Glad you’re enjoying your new ‘hood’

    Reply

  • Nurse Ratchet

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    Now there is a workshop!!

    Reply

  • Jackie

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    love your special touch you added! Have you been able to unload the cargo yet? hope you are enjoying the states! hugs “)

    Reply

  • lily

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    Gorgeous and so cool! :-)

    Reply

  • Cuchy

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    Beautiful. I love that colour. You’ll be the “star” of the supermarket :)

    Reply

  • Corrine

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    Looks fantastic. What a great use of your stencils and how fashionable you will be doing your marketing. xox

    Reply

  • Denise

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    I love reading your posts and hearing how you are doing. No car? Good for you. Love the elephant and the cart. I looked at your link and I may get one.
    How is your cute kitty doing. I was wondering if he will gain weight with the US food.

    Reply

  • Suzy Gray

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    I’ve been a longtime fan of rolling carts. I love going to flea markets and community outdoor farmers markets so a cart of somesort is a must. Even getting the groceries out of the car in driveway I pull it out and it saves me many trips getting bags in the house. I think they are getting cool here in the states and your painted one is beautiful

    Reply

  • Amante del Papel

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    Wow, is really amazing and so beautiful!!! fantastic, I love your stencils!!!

    Reply

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Map it Or…Simple Gift Wrapping Idea

Love using old maps for accents on gifts.

Hearts for Birthday presents, stars for a Thank you Gift or just a little flower showing the home town city on a Souvenir from home present.

 

Some Craft Paper, Stamping and Twine is needed too. 1, 2, 3 …Done. Easy Peasy :)

Have a gorgeous day

Nat

 

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