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)



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, / 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!

What’s Old Is New Again: Decoupage TV Trays Are Back!!!

The wooden TV tray.  A functional piece of furniture.  Although I think we can all agree these tables are useful, but they lack the design qualities seen in other pieces of furniture.

TV Tray before

Way back in 2013, I came up with an idea to turn these boring tables into something fun.  My first tutorial Decoupage Team Sports Trays explored the option of decoupaging these trays with Mod Podge.  It was a huge success and since then, It remains one of my most requested items.


They also make wonderful gifts for the sports fan in your life! Recently I made two new tables. Both were gifts, one for a friend’s birthday, and the other was presented as a Christmas present.   Nothing new here, but thought I would share the new additions so you know what I have been up too!


Philadelphia Flyers TV Tray


New York Giants TV Tray

Want to See more?  Check out these past blog entries on Decoupage TV Trays!

Have a special someone on your gift list that is a sports fan?  Then this is the table for you…

Sports Trays…Revisited!

Yankees Decoupage Sports TV Tray

Washington Redskins Decoupage TV Tray

Want to show off your school pride?  TV trays are great for doing homework too!

Smells Like Team Spirit! 


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Not a sports fan? No school spirit?  No Problem!  There are many other themes you can use to create a personalized tray table.  LP liner notes make great decoupage and are unique!

Rescued Vinyl TV Tray Decoupage


On The Upcycle Shop- Now Open On Etsy!


This Month, “On The Upcycle” has launched a small shop on Etsy!

On The Upcycle Shop will feature small decoupage items with additional items coming soon!  Each item is handmade and priced to sell!  Be sure and check us out and check back often!  Items will be featured as they become available. This month I am featuring various stained and painted wooden trinket boxes.


These lovely boxes have metal hinges and magnetic enclosures.  Sizes and styles vary.

Stay tuned: On The Upcycle has a few interesting projects on the horizon. I have picked up a couple of really nice chairs,  and a beautiful early century window with multi colored glass I am eager to start. Hope everyone is enjoying there summer so far!

To visit the OntheUpcycleShop on Etsy—-Click Here!


I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends: The Love/Hate Challenge

My friend Mark (Oh what will he write about next?) tagged me in a writing exercise called the Love/Hate challenge.  Be sure and check out Mark’s Love Hate List! I am instantly attracted to the word “challenge” so despite my tardy response, I was determined to defeat my persistent writer’s block and accept. It was also a welcome break. My goal is to open a shop on Etsy selling small decoupage trinket boxes. (More details to come!)  It has been fun, but time-consuming and taking longer than I expected!

I initially struggled with my choices for this list.  Love and Hate are strong words, but instead of over thinking it too much as I tend to do,  I decided to keep it simple and go with what quickly came to my mind.

The Rules:

10 things I love, 10 things I hate, and my 10 nominees for their own Love/Hate list.


My daughter’s smile

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The work day is often long, but when I walk through that door and see my daughter’s smile, it makes all of the hard work worth it!  Having a child is truly a life changing event in many ways….



When I think of how amazing the world is, and all the beauty within it, it is hard not to believe in a higher power.  For me closeness to nature keeps all of the little things in perspective.  We are all a part of a much bigger picture..

Eggplant Parmesan


MMMM… Eggplant Parmesan! The one food that I could eat for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner!  Not everyone’s taste, but that is fine. (more for me!)



For me, family past and present is important.  As someone who loves family history, nostalgia and genealogy, There is no way family could be left off this list.  I am after all the “Official Family Historian” for both sides of my family, and readily put my internet stalking skills to good use.

Game Of Thrones

It is rare for me to LOVE a TV show, but I have to admit I LOVE Game of Thrones.  A series that could manage to keep my interest after 5 seasons and remain as good as it was the first season is unusual.  It is one of the most beautifully shot shows on television, and the buzz created around this show is GENIUS.  The dialog is also done well and the actors are amazing (What is their not to love about Peter Dinklage?)  A breath of fresh air and superb writing, in a sea of reality shows, and reruns.  I tip my hat, I mean sword at you HBO (and don’t despair, Jon Snow will be back in one form or another, trust me on this one!)



Music has been an important escape for me through the years.  I still have my collection of mixed tapes, from a time long ago when it was still cool to record music off the radio.  Am I the only one that remembers what High Speed Dubbing is?  Rock N Roll is my favorite, but if you saw my collection you may be surprised.  I have a rather eclectic taste!

This Man


Of course the husband has to make this list!  He has put up with me for 14 years now and I couldn’t ask for a better partner to go through life with.  He is also an AMAZING Dad, which means the world to me.

Mod Podge

matte mod podge

How could any love list on this blog NOT have MOD PODGE on it!  Without it, this site would be for the most part BLANK.  My hats off to Jan Wetstone who created Mod Podge back in the 1960’s.  It truly is remarkable all the uses for such a simple substance.



Animals are always there when you need them.  For years, I worked in the animal healthcare field and loved every minute helping man’s best friend.  I still do all that I can to help abused, unwanted and injured animals whenever I can.

The Word Press Community


Their is no better community in the world of blogs better than WordPress.  I had to show the love because without all of you, this wouldn’t be possible!

Things I hate:

Intolerance Of Others

Nothing angers me more than others who think they know best at how to run your life. We should all learn to respect one another and instead of focusing on our differences, focus on what makes us the same.  It is all about the person inside this shell and to me the soul has no color.

Cruelty To People and Animals

To take advantage of those who are weaker than you is a reflection of someone’s true character.  I wish people would choose kindness over cruelty.  The world would be such a better place!

Aggressive Driving

An irritated young man driving a vehicle is expressing his road rage.

In the state that I live in, aggressive driving is the norm.  Have you ever had that moment when you thought to yourself “I so wish a cop could have been there to pull that person over?”  In my state, you have this thought at least once a day.

Lazy People

Those who would rather work at doing nothing instead of doing something constructive.

Lima Beans


Ew.  When I eat Lima beans I feel like a bug flew in my mouth and I am forced to chew it.  I can’t get over this mental block.  Yea…I know they are good for you!

My Morning Commute

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I can’t count how many times I almost had an express ticket to the afterlife.  My drive to work every day is treacherous!


The word pretty much speaks for itself.  More of this in the world than we would like to believe.

An Empty Coffee Pot


If you knew me you would understand.  I am not a morning person.

Mean Girls

Yup, we all know one or two.  I am all about building up the self-esteem of other women. As ladies,  we should empower each other instead of tearing each other down.  The world is a hard enough landscape to navigate.  Don’t you think?


I hate others who think that they are better than everyone else.  Money, social status, fame, and career do not make a person better or worse than you. Humans are so much more than meets the eye.  We all have something unique to contribute to the world.

So there it is, a quick exploration of what pops into ones head, and by no means a complete list one way or the other!

Here are some bloggy friends I would love to see take the challenge if they so choose. No pressure here!  I mostly want to share links to unique voices   and blogs that I would love for you to visit!