Exciting Photo Ops PLUS a tiny tights tutorial!

We’re still all about bikes at the moment, and we are just so excited about the stuff we’ve made over the last couple of weeks!  (Ok, the 26 cups of coffee we drank while making it may have added somewhat to the excitement.)  In any case, here are some fancy photos courtesy of our very own photographer (and YouCanBike-erSarah Pledger, and thanks again to the guys at Outspoken for donating their old bike bits.

ring pull and bike chain bracelets

Making clocks

upcycled bike parts

Chain ring clock (I so love this photo!)

Chain ring clock (I so love this photo!)

Outside of the group, I’ve seized the opportunity for a little at-home-upcycling as well.

Question:  What do you do when your five-year-old manages to put holes in every pair of tights you buy, within an hour of putting them on?

Answer:  Turn them into funky fingerless gloves.

tights into fingerless gloves

Just cut off both legs below the hole and cut off the toes.  (of the tights. Not the child.  Just in case that wasn’t clear.)  Then cut a small hole in the heel for the thumb to poke through.  fingerless glovesNext, photograph your child wearing her new gloves.  Throw in some vintage photo effects to hide the fingerprints on your wall and Voila!  Instant Hipster.  We now have maybe 12 pairs of these gloves floating around the house, which is good.  Because after putting holes in her tights, losing gloves is my eldest’s next best talent.

DIY Craft fair display – some links, photos and tutorials

Phew!  Now that Wednesday’s event is complete, I can link back and give some credit to tutorials, ideas, and blogs that helped us get there.  As I mentioned in earlier posts, our goal was to create a craft fair display from mainly upcycled materials–with a rock bottom budget.  Luckily, lots of astute crafters have been there before us and have been willing to share their wisdom and ideas, which we’ll link to here.

This was our original display.  The group decided they wanted to add some shelf-type height, a mirror, proper necklace displays, leaflets, and make everything a uniform colour (blue). It was a pretty tall order on no budget!

Using the materials we had on hand, I started out by making shelves with a small set of drawers from an unused nightstand.  A quick coat of spray paint and some mirrored contact paper was all these needed.  The thing I love most about these is that you can tuck most of your display items away in the drawers and store them neatly for next time.

Next up, we needed something to hold leaflets and promotional  materials, and I found what we needed on a blog by Katydid and Kid.  She posted excellent instructions for making a stationary organizer from a cereal box!  (Although hers was much nicer than ours, which was covered in scraps of fabric from a ruined shirt)  It looks nice for a box of Fruit & Fibre!

For our jewellery displays, I searched far and wide for DIY tutorials on the net.  Two of the main ideas I built on were a Necklace display tutorial by Stella and Hodge and a bracelet display instructable by CH3.  I also wanted some peg boards with ribbon, like the hundreds you can find on Pinterest.  The main materials I had to work with was packaging from Amazon–cardboard and stiff-rolled paper.  To give everything a uniform finish, I picked up a super-value roll of textured wallpaper that would cover all the display materials.  Last Wednesday, the group set to work cutting out the cardboard and covering it with wallpaper.  Since they wanted it blue, I tried a couple of methods before settling on one that would work well with the vinyl wallpaper:  Crayon.  Just like leaf rubbings we used to do in school, the crayon picked up all the texture in the wallpaper for a really cool finish.

We attached ribbon to the boards with staples and reinforced with hot glue.  In total, we made 3 boards, 5 necklace stands, and two bracelet rolls for less than £7, and managed to upcycle lots of  waste materials in the process!  I mentioned that we wanted a mirror for the display and although I’ve already posted photos, I’m going to do it again–I’m just that pleased with how it turned out!

Since the event was an All-Ability Cycling Day, I wanted to stick with a bike theme.  Luckily, I had a waste tire from the lovely people at OWL.   In order to make the tire fit the mirror, a certain amount of surgery was needed.  The rim of most bike tires is supported by several steel wires to maintain rigidity.  These need to be exposed and cut through individually before the rest of the tire can be seperated.  Then I hammered steel eyelets along each side of the join, and wove a thick cord through them corset-style to hold the mirror in place. The white and gold paint was an attempt at bike-meets-shabby-chic, which may have been a little too effective since most people didn’t actually notice there was a tire there at all.  Ah, well.

The last thing we needed was some kind of upcycled packaging, in case people actually wanted to buy our stuff*. We found just what we needed for that here, at the I Do Have A Talent blog. Her tutorial for gift bags from calendars was perfect, since we’ve had several calendars donated to us over the past several months. The fact that it’s Easter, and we had a bunny calendar was an added bonus!  The tutorial is so great and they came out so sweet that I see no reason a gift bag from a shop again!

So in a very large nutshell, that’s how we created an upcycled craft fair display on a minimal budget. Thanks to all of you crafters out there who provided inspiration!  If you like any of the ideas we’ve posted, please do follow the links and check out the full tutorials–they’re great!

*Hooray–people really did want to buy our stuff and use our bunny bags!–Thanks to everybody who made purchases!

You Can– Have a Wet and Wild Day Out!

Well, there’s been a serious lack of blog posts from the Re-Creations project this week.  and it’s all because of these guys:

Just look at 'em! Standing there all empowered, and whatnot!

Led by Ruth Brannan, the You Can Hub spoke to the population of Cambridge this week and said,

“Oi!  You!  On your bike!  (and we mean all of you!)”

And thus, in the pouring rain at Milton Country Park, the YouCanBikeToo all-ability cycling project was launched.  On April 4th, well over a hundred people of all ages and abilities came from around Cambridge to have a go on a range of adapted bikes, many for the first time. This is our group member Rod, having a go on an adapted bike for two.

So what does all that have to do with us?  Well, Ruth asked if we’d be willing to come along and show off some of our bike-relevant, upcycled creations, which made it our very first market stall opportunity!  It was just the excuse we needed to hurl ourselves headlong into a pot of coffee and begin manic preparations for a display of upcycled materials.  The finished result looked like this:

It was a bit squished into a tiny space under the awning because the rain was absolutely tipping down on us–but a stonking first effort, I think!  Not only did the jewellery and accessories look great, but the shelves, display boards, jewellery rolls, display rack, mirror, and even the gift bags were all handmade from upcycled materials.  As an added bonus, we’ll have tutorials coming for those over the coming days and weeks.  I was especially proud of these:

Upcycled display boards and bike tire mirror.

(I also like the perplexed little poodle in the mirror-but he was not for sale.)

The Mayor--testing out some upcycled biking clips!

Despite the horrendous weather (and maybe in some ways because of it) we had a great day out!  We were really happy to support the launch and promote our project, but  we didn’t expect to sell much in the nasty weather.  Boy, were we surprised!  It may have helped that the Mayor was our first customer–after that we had a steady stream of visitors drop by to check out our stuff.  And let me tell you, watching the group members talk about their work, seeing their faces when someone bought one of their creations:  Unreal!  It was the best feeling in the world, and more than worth standing outside in a downpour for a day.  (Also, the YouCanHub guys had awesome cake–does it get any better than that?)

Sarah meets the mayor

The whole event pulsed with that special, feel-good energy (the YouCanHub guys call it “the buzz“) that you’ll find whenever people put their minds and energy together for social good.  From the tiny tots splashing around on their balance bikes, to the practiced cyclists using their pedal power to make smoothies, there were new experiences for everybody in what we hope will be the first of many YouCanBikeToo cycling events.  Congratulations, guys, on a job well done–and thanks so much for bringing us all along for the ride!

work in progress…

Phew! After a busy week playing catch-up (following several housebound weeks with contagious kiddies) I’m left with a lot of bits that are… not there yet!

The group’s main focus at present is getting ready for the All Ability Cycling Event at Milton Country Park, organized by You Can Bike Too.  (If you’re in Cambridge and have a bike, or would like to have a go at cycling, check it out!)  At the event, Re-Creations Cambridge group will showcase a number of our upcycled creations with bike-related origins.

With one week left to go, we’ve been working on our display.  The group wanted to add some height to the table, so we’ve made necklace stands from upcycled packaging and repurposed a set of night stand drawers as shelves.

We’ve also added a display rack from a pair of upcycled cot sides.  It feels as though it is starting to take shape, but we still have so much work to do!

OK, so we did add a couple of finished items to our repertoire:  A ribbon-stitched inner tube bracelet, and some cute fish bone inspired earrings.  But our main accomplishment today turned out to be:  (drumroll, please!)  a complete list of the things that we still need to do!  Sigh.