The Shirt That Didn’t Fit: Clothing Repurpose

I was up late shopping one night when I came across a lovely shirt on Ebay.  I usually don’t purchase clothes unless I can try them on first, but I had recently ordered something and it worked out perfectly, so I was feeling braver than usual.

I received the item, and to my dismay it did not fit.  The seller had a no refund policy, so I attempted to relist the item for sale. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any luck reselling the item,  so I decided to utilize the shirt in a different way.  I loved the pattern and material, so I decided to re-purpose the item and use the fabric for decoupage.


I carefully cut out the gold star pattern, and used a little Mod Podge to apply these to my kitchen back splash.  This added a much needed “pop” of color, and matched the kitchen decor perfectly.


DIY Kitchen Back Splash



I had some fabric left over, so I decided to use it to make an accent lamp for my office.  I had an empty spaghetti jar which would work perfectly for this project.  I applied Mod Podge to the exterior of the jar and used some twine to add a decorative quality to the base. I applied the twine with hot glue.



For more details on how to create a decoupage jar lamp, check out some previous On The Upcycle decorative lighting projects…

Spaghetti Jar Lamp

Pickle Jar Lamp



A Blizzard of Ideas: Basket Makeover

Getting snowed in has its privileges.  The family and I had a great weekend, despite being completely snowed in, during the East Coast blizzard of 2016. When mother nature gives you lemons, what else can you do but make some lemonade?  It was a perfect time for cooking, baking, and crafting, and the toddler apprentice and I did just that!

I picked up a lovely wooden basket at Goodwill about two weeks ago.  When I made my purchase, I was unsure on what I was going to do with it.  Some items I pick up are best left alone, while others benefit from a bit of “sprucing up.”

I decided to find a middle ground.  The lid needed quite a bit of TLC, but the inter woven wood on the basket looked great, so I did not want to alter this part in anyway, only try and compliment it.


I decided to decoupage the lid, and accent the handles with black paint.  I struggled a bit with choosing a fabric that I thought would go well with the caramel colored wood.  I finally decided on a swatch of fabric that I purchased some time ago at a thrift shop.  It had earthy tones that I felt would mesh well with the original design elements on the basket.

I turned the basket upside down and used a black, fine tipped market to trace the lid on to the back of the fabric.  I then cut fabric tracing out with a pair of scissors. I painted the lid with white paint.  Once dry,  I generously applied the Mod Podge to the lid surface with a paint brush.  I applied the fabric, and smoothed it out with both hands.  This helps minimize wrinkles and air bubbles.  Once dry, I applied three more layers of Mod Podge on the top of the piece, and allowed it to dry between coats.

Once the lid was dry, I lightly sanded the areas I planned on painting.

I took a narrow bristled paint brush and painted the handles, and some of the detailing with black acrylic paint.  I applied three coats of paint total.  Once the paint was dry, I applied a layer of Mod Podge to the painted areas to seal it.


In the winter, this basket will be a perfect place to store hats, scarves and gloves, and in summer it will be the perfect picinic basket or an accent piece with storage.


Wooden Basket

White and Black Acrylic Paint

Mod Podge

Fabric of choice

Scissors/Sharpie marker/Paint Brushes (various)



Featured Image -- 4692

Decoupage I Must: Star Wars Inspired Laptop Made With Mod Podge

In the spirit of the recent release of Star Wars, The Force Awakens, I thought it would be fun to share a craft for those of you obsessed with the force as of late. Due to the movies recent release there is a HUGE amount of merchandise in stores these days . The fabric used in this project is courtesy of Joann Fabric, but their are MANY images, decals out there to choose from. Be sure and check out some other Star Wars projects I have done in the past, including Star Wars Kids Chair and Star Wars Decoupage Candles. Have a great weekend and may the force be with all of you!!

On The Upcycle~

With the new Star Wars Episode VII set to be released in 2015, the franchise is more popular than ever. I am sure not even George Lucas himself, could have imagined just how big Star Wars would become. The wise Yoda said it best, “Impossible to see, the future is.”


The husband and I are children of the 70’s and 80’s and remember a time before CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) and digital effects came of age. For it’s time the original Star Wars was innovative and visually impressive compared to other science fiction movies.  It touched many aspects of pop culture, and was heavily marketed toward children with action figures and tons of merchandise.  It is the third most popular movie franchise in history according to The Numbers.com.  Is it any wonder that when I came across Star Wars Fabric at Jo-ann Fabric, I couldn’t resist buying…

View original post 258 more words

Help Me To Help Joe: A Families Story Of Life With ALS

I struggled a bit with the words on such an emotional subject, so please bear with me…

In 2014, The Ice Bucket Challenge invaded every aspect of the World Wide Web particularly in the realm of social media.  Everyone was inspired to raise awareness and more importantly money for ALS. (Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. As of today even with all the money and awareness raised we are still without a cure.  While much funding was raised through such an effort, in reality many people with ALS struggle with the overwhelming financial burden placed on themselves and their families because of their illness everyday.

Just imagine little bits of your life being chipped away and the body which once carried you through life’s journeys begins to betray you.  You require constant care and help from others.  That is the reality of ALS.


This wicked disease slowly deprives a person of the things that reap quality of life.  The arms you hug with, the hands you write, and create with, the legs that carry you through your life.  Even the lungs you breathe the air with.  To have just one of these things taken from you is hard to accept.

2015, proved to be a difficult year for me.  I suffered a severe shoulder injury and loss the use of my right hand, and arm for a period of about 4 weeks.   I had just a small taste of what it was like to lose just one of those things.  I am a fiercely independent person and I struggled emotionally with the fact that I had to depend on others to do certain tasks.  My life and daily routine became severely disrupted.  I was in a state of constant anxiety and worry.  I didn’t handle things as well as I should have.  It was a lesson I had to learn.  In life things don’t always go as planned.  It really is about how you react to all those curve balls.  It’s about the spirit in which you carry yourself and fight on and face the challenges.  No one has done that with more strength and courage then my friend and colleague Donna and her husband Joe.    Joe was diagnosed with ALS in 2012.  The disease progressed fairly rapidly and as of today, he has very little use of his body from the neck down.  It severely affected his lungs and early on he required a ventilator to breathe.  This requires around the clock nursing and care.  Despite the most severe of challenges Joe and Donna continue to create a life with what has been dealt to them.  Always pleasant and kind Donna approached everything with a smile despite all that she was going through.   Joe is thankful he got to see his 11th grandchild even though he couldn’t reach out his arms to hold her, He was still there in the moment with his family.  His mind is still vibrant and alive.  He is able to communicate with his loved ones.   Appreciating every moment despite the tragedies he could have allowed to break him.  I wish I had a just a morsel of that kind of strength.   For Donna and Joe the everyday challenges are overwhelming.

Just when it seemed it couldn’t get any worse….it did.  In 2013 the union that Joe worked for and received his benefits from decided to change its plan.  Despite promising Joe that his 27 year career would be enough to guarantee a lifetime of healthcare they cut his benefits for his nursing which would require him to go into hospice.  Donna and Joe fought hard and had their case go before a federal court, and lost.  The judge agreed this was deplorable, and promises were clearly violated, but the union broke no laws and subsequently there was nothing that could be done.

But that is where he was wrong.  There is something we can do.  Just like the Ice Bucket challenge, the internet has proved to bring people together in large numbers and sometimes even for the greater good.  I am hoping this can happen here for my friend, even if writing this can generate just one more dollar to help Joe reach his goals, or one person willing to share his story with others through social media it is all worth it.  In his own words, he just wants the opportunity to make more memories.  It’s also important to fight against the unfair elements of his story and so many others faced with life changing health issues.  No family should have to be forced to give up their life even more imprtant quality of life.

No one expresses this better than Joe himself.  For that reason, I urge you to watch this video.  In it Joe tells you in his own words what his life is worth to him as it is to all of us.  It means EVERYTHING.

Because where there is life, there is still hope.

If you can help, there is a Go Fund Me  site set up on behalf of Joe. Even if you cannot donate at this time, I ask that you spread the word.  A lot of good things can happen when things go viral.  Please help me help Joe to reach his goals.   He deserves to bask in what we all tend to take for granted everyday our memories.

2015 in review

While it has been a challenging year in 2015, I am still very thankful and blessed.  Wordpress has quite an interesting year end feature that puts the entire year in perspective.

On The Upcycle would like to wish everyone out there a very safe and Happy New Year in 2016!



The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 27,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


The Opposite Of Spring: Halloween And The Day Of The Dead- My Fascination With Sugar Skulls

Autumn has always been one of my favorite times of year.  Although you may not agree, In my world everything tastes better when mixed with pumpkin.  There is nothing more refreshing than a cool breeze after months of summer heat and most of all it is host to one of my favorite holidays: Halloween.  As much as I hate to admit it I have a macabre side. (Many of us do or holidays like Halloween wouldn’t exist) Halloween hosts many ghouls and goblins and makes fantasy come to life for a day.  It’s a fun time but an even more interesting cultural tradition that coincides with Halloween is The Day of The Dead.  For those of you who may not be familiar it is a Mexican Holiday celebrated all across the world. It was originally celebrated in Summer but was moved to Autumn in more modern times and coincides with the Roman Catholic triduum festival of Allhallowtide: All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day. A three-day celebration beginning on October 31st, It is celebrated as a tribute to departed souls and to show respect and remembrance for deceased family and loved ones. According to Frances Ann Day, Latina and Latino Voices in Literature author

” On October 31, All Hallows Eve, the children make a children’s altar to invite the angelitos (spirits of dead children) to come back for a visit. November 1 is All Saints Day, and the adult spirits will come to visit. November 2 is All Souls Day, when families go to the cemetery to decorate the graves and tombs of their relatives. The three-day fiesta filled with marigolds, the flowers of the dead; muertos (the bread of the dead); sugar skulls; cardboard skeletons; tissue paper decorations; fruit and nuts; incense, and other traditional foods and decorations”


Representations of Catrina, one of the most popular figures of the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico

© Tomas Castelazo,www.tomascastelazo.com / Wikimedia Commons

One such decoration placed on these alters are called Sugar Skulls.  I have always been fascinated with the sugar skull image.  Each are unique much like the soul itself.  An image of a skull adorned with colorful flowers and hypnotic eyes instantly fascinated me.

In the spirit of Fall and the Halloween/Day Of The Dead tradition.  Here are three fun sugar skull decoupage projects:

Sugar Skull Mini jewelry Tray


I picked up this miniature wood jewelry tray (unfinished ) at AC Moore.  I hand painted the piece with acrylics and matched the primary color to the greenish-blue color on the print. (yellow, pink or black would work also) It looks great for Halloween or keep it out all year-long on your dresser. Great for holding various jewelry, rings or change.  Cut print to size, apply Mod Podge and then the print. Carefully smooth out with your hands.  Once dry  seal with a few layers of Mod Podge allowing to dry between coats.

Day Of The Dead Miniature Wooden Suitcase Trinket Box



This adorable wooden mini suitcase also purchased unfinished at AC Moore follows the same decoupage process as above. I used the suitcase to trace the image on both sides of the piece to assure it was cut to proper size and shape.  Hand painted inside and out, this would sit beautifully on a day of the dead alter filled with flowers or trinkets. The bright color captures the spirit of both Halloween and The Day Of The Dead.

Sugar Skulls Light Switch Cover


I am a firm believer in the fun a decorated light switch cover can bring to a room.  I like to think of them as “little canvases”  It can be fun switching them to reflect the holidays as well.  Decoupage light switch covers are both easy and fun to create.  First ,you trace the cover with a pencil, including the area that the switch passes through.(You can use prints, scrapbook paper, napkins, old gift bags just to name a few) Using an X-Acto knife carefully follow the tracing.  Apply Mod Podge to the plain light switch cover carefully smooth out the image you want to use.  Apply multiple layers of mod Podge and allow to dry thoroughly between layers.

Decorative, and full of color Sugar Skulls are full of life certainly Ironic considering it is a celebration of the dead.

Stay Safe and Have a Happy Halloween!


Gone But Hopefully Not Forgotten: On The Upcycle on brief hiatus

You may or may have not noticed that I have been on hiatus.  I suffered a serious shoulder injury about a month ago which had sidelined me from crafting and blogging for a while.  I had several bigger projects lined up (Stay Tuned) that have been delayed for the moment while I recover.  That being said, even an injured crafting hand cannot remain dormant for long!  That means I have been concentrating on smaller projects to keep busy, and aid me in my therapy.  The injury afforded me the opportunity to focus on my new On the Upcycle Etsy shop.  I created several new trinket boxes, and decorative decoupage light switch covers.  Be sure to stop in to my Etsy Shop and check out these reasonably priced handmade items!

Click below to visit my page on Etsy


New Items Added:


Whimsical Celestial Trinket Box


Bichon Frise Decorative Outlet Cover


And Much More….

Thank you for your continued support and readership!