Blog: Upcycling

A Look Back – Cool Stuff You May Have Missed 14

A Look Back – This time I’m looking at Upcycled or Recycled Stuff – giving old things or maybe something you aren’t that keen on, a new life! I am a big fan or making use of things and not sending them to the landfill, and sometimes it can be a great creative exercise to give something a new look or purpose. Here are some projects that do just that :)

A Look Back is a blog series to show you some projects and posts that you may have missed – sometimes going WAY back in the archive. I think it will be fun to revisit a few ideas that we haven’t seen for a while. I’m excited to see how a little look back might inspire something new in the future :)

First up is this recycled embroidery loop that I dressed up in this 2015 blog post. I used some stencils and stamps and created something that was a bit more my style as a wall piece.

Next is a series of coasters that I upcycled in this 2016 blog post. They were originally a set of not so great looking coasters with a floral motif on them. Using some acrylic paint and my Santiago, Buenos Aires, and Toledo stencils I gave them new life and even gifted them to a family member who loves them.

Here is a fun and whimsical project that Kim and I did back in 2017 that made use of a bunch of collage papers that I had on hand, as well as some scrap embroidery thread and driftwood sticks that were lying around: leaf mobiles! These were relaxing to put together and would definitely be a good kid-friendly activity too.

Here is a sweet upcycled birdhouse from Creative Squad alum Tania Ahmed. She gussied up the wood piece that was languishing in her stash with my Clam Hex and Exchange Place foam stamps. 

Finally here is a memory game created using my foam stamps and just a cheap memory set bought on amazon. Pretty easy to transform a really cheesy set into something unique and personalized.

I hope you enjoyed A Look Back through my archive and maybe you are inspired to try some different things now too.

Here are some of the supplies I used in these posts:

Join me tomorrow, Friday March 20th on Facebook for a new little thing I’m calling Kaffeeklatsch Get Together! I’ll be doing a live broadcast at 2pm EST, sharing what I’ve been working on, saying hi to all of you, and just taking some time to have a little get together. Let’s chat about what artsy stuff we are working on and have some fun hanging out.

Leave a comment

Hex Marks the Spot – Tania Ahmed

Welcome to a post from my Creative Squad! This week we have an upcycling project from Tania Ahmed using my Hex Set Large rubber stamps. She dresses up a storage container, drawing inspiration from this month’s new theme: Hex Marks the Spot –In the days of pirates and lost treasure, a map would lead you to gold and jewels. Today we treasure all sorts of things – our family, friends, experiences, meaningful objects, accomplishments, etc. Think about what you treasure and how you found your way there.

My project for the day is a quick and easy project that I made to house my mini Distress Archival Inks which I love but keep losing! I stashed them in a cigar box that I had rescued from being thrown away which I have upcycled many times over the years. I decided it was time to revamp it to keep my inks in! 

I scraped off as much of the paint and paste that I could off the box first and covered the whole thing with black gesso to give it a matt black finish. 

On a piece of cards stock I stamped my Hex pattern with Distress Archival Inks, inspired by the Instagram hashtag #ihavethisthingwithtiles and added some shading with Walnut Stain Distress Oxide. 

I then added some additional details with my Gold Molotow Acrylic Marker and some sketchy lines with a fine sharpie marker. I glued the cardstock panel to my dried cigar case and added my Mini ink pads to the box! 

This was a quick project to put together and it gives me great joy knowing that my inks have somewhere to “live” :) 

Thank you so much for stopping by and have a great day!

Thank you Tania – love your box of treasure :) You can find all of my rubber stamps in my online shop. Here are some of the other supplies Tania used:

Feel inspired? Working on something yourself that you’d like to share?  I love to see how you interpret our monthly themes. Email me how you used my stencils and stamps with the theme and email me an image – I would love to share your projects in my next  “n*Spiration From Around the Globe“.

Leave a comment

Raiders of the Lost Stash – Josefine Fouarge


Happy Tuesday from the Creative Squad! Today we have a cool upcycled jewelry box – something I know we all have in a drawer or closet somewhere just waiting for a new life – from Josefine Fouarge. Josefine is using my Beacon and Mini Toledo foam stamps, my Love Tag rubber stamp, and this month’s theme: Raiders of the Lost Stash – It’s time to raid your stash of art making stuff. Pick a few things you’ve tucked away for later and use them NOW. Maybe you have some leftover scraps or deli papers that you couldn’t bear to part with. Maybe you’ve squirreled away a new product that you’ve been meaning to try. The time is now! Raid your stash and try it :)

Wow, what a topic. I knew that I have a lot of “lost stash” but because we are renovating our house, there is even more that has come back to the surface. So, over the last weeks, I put aside a some of those lost items, thinking that they would be perfect for this theme – and I’m telling you, that stash was a hodge podge of stuff ;)

I really like this topic though. It gets you digging and you find some really neat things. For my project for the “Raiders of the lost stash” theme, I decorated a jewelry box. My idea was to do some paint pouring and then add a few of the little items all over it. Because paint pouring is so fun to watch and because I already knew that the decorating part would be a hot mess, I recorded everything. That probably makes it a lot easier to follow the process.

You might have seen more than two hands during the pouring process. These were my husband’s hands. He got into paint pouring a few months backs and we wanted to try the new Ranger pouring medium together. Everything afterwards is just me :)

As you can see in the close ups, the embossing powder melted beautifully and helped with creating a fuzzy outline of Nathalie’s Mini Toledo stamp. This way it looks old, as if this box has been through a tough time.

I also like the subtle pattern that the Toledo stamp left on the wood pieces. It looks like there is something going on, but only with a close look you get an idea of the pattern.

The “lost” gel print perfectly fits as a centerpiece in the middle of the jewelry box. It’s the right amount of contrast and different patterns to add to the entire look. I love contrasts and the entire box is a big contrast of everything.

I kept the bottom part simple though. At the end, you don’t see it as much and because of the pouring medium, it was already difficult to close the lids. So, I simply stamped the negative Beacon stamp all over it using a contrasting color.

I hope you enjoyed my little experiment. Don’t forget to look through your own drawers and boxes, I bet you have some amazing decorative pieces, leftover scraps, paints, pens and more laying around that just want to be tested and played with.

Thank you Josefine – I love watching you play in your video (and hubby too – so cool he was interested in trying out the pouring medium)! Here are some supplies that Josefine used and for my foam stamps and rubber stamps, be sure to stop by my online shop.

Feel inspired? Working on something yourself that you’d like to share?  I love to see how you interpret our monthly themes. Email me how you used my stencils and stamps with the theme and email me an image – I would love to share your projects in my next  “n*Spiration From Around the Globe“.

Leave a comment

Currently Digging – August 2018 AIT

Once in a while I thought I would share with you some nifty finds – like an Artist who’s work caught my eye…, some Inspiration or the what, when and where that caught my eye and got my creative juices flowing, and Tools & Techniques I am currently digging like a new way to use a material or an application that I’m taking away. Hope you enjoy this.

I am taking a watercolor class and my teacher told us in the first lesson to check out John Singer Sargent’s watercolor paintings.

John Singer Sargent, The Bridge of Sighs, c. 1903–04

I loved his work before but looking closer of his works with watercolors just made me swoon. Look at the wonderful light and the movement in his figures. Check out his watercolors – Gorgeous!

YOU :) I love showing some old finds on my instagram story while decluttering my studio and asking you what I should do with certain things I have been storing forever. Recently I showed an old silver cigarette case and you came up with so many fun ideas.

A lot of them were art supply storing ideas and I will show you soon which art supply I will actually store in it. Tip…it won’t be what is in the picture- LOL

As I am working on different Pattern Books for my stencils I have rediscovered my love for spray paints yet again.

I do have some low odor acrylic spray paints and it is such an easy and fast way to create patterns with stencils. Now that I have a bit more space again on my workbench and right in front of the window it is the perfect time to get those yummie spray cans out again.

What are you currently digging? See you soon again with some new finds!


Comments (2)

  • Robin S


    I love it when you post this kind of info; it opens new areas for us to explore. Thank you!!


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Robin, I am so glad you enjoy this series. thank you!!!


Leave a comment