Tuesday, December 18, 2012

ReMake the holidays at NYSci!

Hi friends! If any of you are going to be in the NY area between Christmas and New Years, then a visit to the NY Hall of Science is a must!

We'll be there from noon to 4 on December 28, 29, and 30th helping them ReMake the holidays!

On December 28th we'll help you set your new year to the perfect tune by helping you create a recycled rockband. We'll provide the tissue box, some rubber bands and you reply a little bit of crafty power!

Then, on December 29, we'll help you frame your holiday with a picture perfect project made from scrap paper.

And we'll finish up on December 30th helping you create your very own soda tab bracelet. If you can't make it to the NYSci over the holidays, we created a video together to show you how to ReMake It on your own.

Happy holiday ReMaking!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Create your own minty fresh ornament!

Hi friends! Looking for a fresh idea for your holiday tree? Look no further than that toothpaste tube in your bathroom. Tomorrow I'll be showing you how to transform that tube into a one-of-a-kind holiday ornament.

You can join the Google+ event or tune in to the livestream on YouTube. And if you just can't wait until the Google Hangout session, you can always view the step-by-step PDF from TerraCycle's website.

Happy holiday upcycling!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wine cork coasters! New for the holidays!

Hi there RePlay readers - I'm excited to announce that we have a new wine cork ReMake It kit in the house! Based on the overwhelming success of the wine cork trivet, we put the same twist on recycling and created this new coaster set. Each coaster requires 5 wine corks that you collect and add yourself. Plus these are perfectly paired with 2 in each pack. Each piece also works great as a mini trivet.

Pick up a set at your favorite local eco-store, or online at KarmaKiss.com. It makes the perfect Christmas party memento or stocking stuffer. Happy holiday upcycling!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mosaic everything!

I was exploring the Magic Gardens with some friends in Philadelphia this weekend and when I left I had this amazing urge to mosaic everything in sight! The artist, Isaiah Zagar, is a true inspiration, maker, and artist.

I feel like I already have a pretty open mind when it comes to transforming found objects, but Isaiah opened it even further... and filled with glass bottles, toy animals, ceramic remnants, bicycle wheels, and just about anything else that others might consider scrap, but is actually wonderful in its new life.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Playing the same tune

I was just visiting family for the holidays and my 11 year old niece game me my own mini-concert showing off her flute playing skills. To me the most noteable thing about the flute was that it's the same flute that I had in middle school X number of years ago, and it's still perfectly fine. It always makes me happy to see good quality products having a chance to replay again.

I think the only new addition is the rainbow colored smiley face stickers on the keypads. :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Recycle your leftovers!

A friend of mine is hosting a day-after-Thanksgiving party, a Friendsgiving if you will. And what is everyone required to bring? Leftovers from the big day of eating remade into a new dish. And alcohol. Because that makes everything just a little bit better.

Rather than reluctantly toss them in the microwave, give 'em a little of leftover love and turn them in to twice baked mashed potatoes, a turkey tamale pie, sweet potato cinnamon rolls, and much more.

It's the food holiday that you can keep celebrating, long after the gravy is gone.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Photo courtesy Joseph Yoon at Yummy Eats

It's been about 2 weeks since Hurricane Sandy swept through the East Coast and those affected have been trying to get their lives back to normal. It's amazing how you think a disaster like this can't happen to you or people you know... until it does. A few people in New Jersey that I know have lost their entire homes. A few others are still without power (and it's getting cold)!

It's always amazing to see people in times of crisis pull together and redirect the focus from their busy lives to helping others. Several friends of mine volunteered with the cleanup effort and I think Molly's essay summed it up well.

When I first signed up to volunteer, the obvious places noted that they were primarily looking for people with medical skills. I've been known to faint at the doctors office when I've gotten a shot, so I started to look around for ways I could help that were more specific to my skills. There are loads of opportunities out there lying just under the first level of obvious. For those of you who have extra room or a summer home to donate, you can look to Air B-n-B and other services to host displaced victims. And if you think that everyone has now found housing after the storm, think again. Many of these homes will take months to rebuild. A good friend of mine has taken in her parents after their Ocean City, NJ home was devastated. It'll most likely be 2013 before their house is back to being livable. For those tech geeks out there looking to lend a helping hand (or router), there's a NY Tech Meetup to get NYC area small businesses back in action. For those with extra food to donate there are plenty of places looking to help provide a hot meal, like our friends at Yummy Eats.

I've been living in Philadelphia for the past month, so I narrowly missed the transportation chaos of NYC. Life without an L train? A small silver lining in this tragedy is, perhaps, that we'll all consider alternative modes of transportation like biking and walking instead of driving. Finding alternatives like these can positively impact climate change, which contributed to this mess in the first place.

My own internet in my new Philly home has been down for the past two weeks. Hardly an inconvenience when others have lost entire homes, but I mention it because of another kind act of community. A large pine tree in my new backyard was blown down the night of the hurricane and the only casualties were an exterior glass window and my internet (and that pine tree). Yesterday my neighbor and I were talking about the tree which is still down and he offered up his internet until mine is back online. Perhaps we'll all start talking to our neighbors more. Although now that I have internet again, it is enticing to read about the hurricane effects rather than live it and help with it. But I hope to take a lesson from my 2 weeks of purged internet and get out there and do something.

Photo courtesy of StreetsBlog by Elizabeth Press

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sewing in the rain

With "Frankenstorm" Sandy heading towards the east coast and expecting to hit early this week, there's going to be a lot of rain and heavy winds -- not exactly umbrella friendly weather. We do hope everyone stays safe and damage is minimal. If you're simply waiting out the storm, then it's the perfect season for scavenging broken umbrellas just waiting to be rescued and repurposed.

We have a few old favorite umbrella creations on our website, like transforming them into a skirt or purse. I even have a purse video tutorial from ages ago (please ignore the poor sound quality). And if the frame is salvageable you can turn it into a jewelry and scarf holder like project number 80 in my book ReMake It.

What else can be done with broken umbrellas? These waterproof beauties are the perfect craft material for that rainy day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Uncommonly Good studio tour!

Uncommon Goods featured a studio tour of me at my workshop at TerraCycle. There's a Q&A of design essentials on their blog and you can read the whole article here.

If you're in the New York City area, be sure to catch me speaking on the panel of their design event at Powerhouse Arena on October 29. I'll be alongside Rebecca Krauss from Eco Biz NYC and the evening will be moderated by the lovely Yuka Yoneda from Inhabitat and Clossette. See you there!

UPDATE: This event was postponed due to Hurricane Sandy. We hope everyone out there is safe and we'll let you know as soon as it's rescheduled.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Putting a new spin on Maker Faire!

We’re ReMaking it at Maker Faire in New York City again this year! It’s coming up this weekend from September 29 – 30th and being hosted by the nice people at the New York Hall of Science.

This year’s RePlayGround project is a DIY pinwheel made from scrap materials (what else would be use?) attached to a straw. It’s one of my favorite new projects and definitely takes upcycling for a spin.

If you’re there on Saturday be sure to check out my soda tab bracelet demo at the Maker Square Stage from 1 – 1:30. Bring your own soda tabs or be one of the first 20 people at the demo and get free supplies to make your own bracelet. If you can’t make it to the event, you can always check out this easy how-to video.

Hurray for ReMakers and Faires!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A light fixture that has “pop”!

Shine a new light on your empty soda (pop) bottles and combine them to create this fancy fixture. I was at the New York Hall of Science and we teamed up to create a video to show you how. What you need to get started are soda bottles, twist ties, a permanent marker, a 1/16” hole punch (or drill bit and drill) and a strand of Christmas lights.

Grab your bottles and start popping!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Turn your tabs into jewelry that's fab!

I recently visited the NY Hall of Science, showing them how to ReMake soda tabs into wearable accessories. And we felt we had so much recycling goodness going on, we wanted to get the message out to all of you! Catch this video which takes you through the step-by-step of creating your very own soda tab bracelet. Grab a pile of soda tabs, some stretchy cording, and start ReMaking!

Mix up your bracelet with different colored tabs and cord. They'll look great on your own wrist and make great gifts, too!

If this bracelet project left you thirsty for more do-it-yourself goodness, visit us at the NYSci during Maker Faire, September 29-30. It will blow your crafty mind!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Grandma Threadgould's craft book

My mom was recently cleaning out some relics from the past and came across a notebook from my Grandma Threadgould. It was full of crafts and recipes and all sorts of do-it-yourself goodness so she passed it on to me. I recognized patterns for ornaments that my mother still has - one of an angel and another of a mailbox that she still hangs on her Christmas tree.

I always remembered this grandma being crafty. And flipping through her book I realized there was no choice but for me to have crafting in my blood. In fact, my father once traced our lineage of the "Threadgould" name back to tailors of generations ago who lived in England.

I think Grandma Threadgould said it best from the entry she wrote over 40 years ago:
Spring Craftshop - 1966 "He who acquires a hobby has started on a glorious adventure - he has thrown boredom overboard and contracted an incurable disease."

This entry was right over top instructions for a do-it-yourself shadow box from Reynolds aluminum foil. Go Grandma Threadgould! Hurray for passing on glorious adventures!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

You've got upcycled mail!

The latest upcycling project at TerraCycle has been turning these super sweet, super vintage mail bags into products. We created them in partnership with the USPS. You can choose from a tote bag, ipad case, or coin pouch. Or get one of each! You're certain to have a first class look when you're carrying one of these items. Buy them online at Uncommon Goods.

images courtesy Uncommon Goods

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Create a cereal box cyborg! This weekend!

Make it to the last weekend of summer Maker Days at the NY Hall of Science! In honor of Make's iconic robot, RePlayGround will be on site helping museum goers reate their own upcycled version. We'll have super-crafty super-friendly instructors help you customize robot from cereal boxes and other upcycled materials. You can find us at the NYSci from 11 – 4pm this Saturday and Sunday, August 25-26. This project is free with museum admission. Making stuff doesn't get any better than that!

Then, be sure to put Maker Faire on your calendar - September 29-30. It's two jam-packed days of making, crafting, hacking, deconstructing, reconstructing, building, and just bout anything you can add -ing to. Whew. It will blow your crafty mind!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Go to camp without leaving home!

It's the last week of Maker Camp so tune in this week for DIY bookbinding, creating your own marshmallow cannon, and more.

The great thing about Maker Camp is that if you miss a session you can always tune in on Make Magazine's YouTube channel. If you missed my session last week, you can still catch the complete video on how to make your own woven basket from scrap paper and weave as you watch.

The basket pictured above is the one I wove during the session. It took me over an hour to make, so I finished it up at my Brooklyn studio, then took it up to my roof for a glamour shot. Make your own upcycled fun before summer is over!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Got a bug to make stuff? Come to the NYSCI this weekend!

This weekend we'll be at the New York Hall of Science for Maker Days! Can I hear you say woo hoo?!?

We had loads of fun at the last event creating art just for the NYSCI from keyboard keys. See a few highlights below and you can view more pics on our photo album.

This weekend's projects include cereal box rockets and bottle cap bugs. Sure to be loaded with do-it-yourself fun! We'll be there from this Saturday and Sunday, August 11-12 from 11am to 4pm. Meet up and make stuff with us again on August 25-26. Same time, same place. See you there!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Weave your way to Maker Camp!

Can't get away to camp this summer, but still have that bug to make cute and crafty things? Maker Camp is virtually the best camp for you! It's hosted on Google Plus so you can tune in from your own home.

There are tons of projects like making your own junk art robots with with Joe Szuecs, and creating marbled paper with Dale Dougherty. And I'll be on hand Monday August 13 doing a do-it-yourself woven scrap paper basket. Check out the schedule for what you want to make. Material lists and instructions are posted just before the project week starts.

Come to Camp and Make stuff!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Upcycled fashion design!

There's no better way to explain ReMaking than to wear it on your sleeve. So that's what we've done here! Here are a few of my favorite upcycled fashion items that I've created from something almost trashed. Can you guess each scrapped material?

The design of this dress started out a little baggy, but I transformed it into a dress with a little upcycling magic... and some help from my iron and sewing machine.

This dress fits Kathy to a T.

Perfect for a rainy day, you can even find instructions for this skirt on our website. If that isn't enough of a hint, then our clues are all dried up.

Guesses? Ideas? Have you made your own upcycled fashions?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

MAKE it to the New York Hall of Science this weekend!

Looking for ways to beat the summer heat? We have loads of cool new projects for The New York Hall of Science Maker Days!

This weekend well be getting crafty with CD suncatchers that you can make and take with you. We were also inspired to create a one-of-a-kind art piece from a pile of computer keyboard keys we’ve had just waiting for a special project. Then it finally clicked that the Maker Days were perfect place for them to debut.

You can find us at the NYSci from 11 – 4pm this Saturday and Sunday, July 28-29. We will also be at upcoming Maker Day weekends August 11-12, and August 25-26.

We have some new, fun projects up our vintage sleeves for those events - like upcycled robots (it's not a Maker Faire without a robot), bottle cap bugs and more!

The goodness doesn’t end there. The NYC Maker Faire is at NYSci once again from September 29 - 30. Don’t miss it! Make it!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Significant Objects

When I first read about the Significant Objects project several years ago, I was instantly drawn in. It's a literary and economic experiment taking inexpensive thrift store objects and seeing how much their value can increase when paired with a fictional work.

Our friend Rob Walker and his collaborator Joshua Glenn began this experiment by purchasing cheap items and passing them out to authors who were asked to write a short story associated with the piece. Each object was then placed on Ebay for auction. About 250 objects were purchased for an average of $1.25 apiece and sold for a combined total of almost $8,000 in the end. The editors stated that the interest generated from the project was well beyond their expectations and the result of this work can now be purchased in the form of a wonderful new book by the same name.

I had the pleasure of attending their book signing last week and hearing the evolution of the project and some of the stories in person. Several of the authors read their own short story contribution. Ben Greenman's shared his tale of the one-eared smiling mug that once served as a movie prop. Luc Sante's spoke of the wrapped flannel ball that was given to him on his friend's death bed and the curious decrease in the weight of the ball throughout his years of ownership.

In a way, each piece has been upcycled. But rather than changing the shape of the object and repurposing it, the original form and function remain the same. Additional value is given to each piece in the form of a short story. Simply brilliant. Sometimes objects don't need changing. They just need to be looked at in a different way.

You can get your hands on your own copy over at Amazon.com and perhaps at your favorite local bookstore. Maybe one day you can even find a copy of the book auctioned off on Ebay paired with a fictional story.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A berry fun summer project!

Recently, RePlayGround offered a series of upcycling projects for a "farm to table" style evening hosted by Time Out NY Kids.  We offered do-it-yourself recycling projects made from food packaging, and our big hit of the day was this woven berry basket, as pictured below.  These berry baskets can be found at grocery stores and farmer's markets, and are easy to upcycle!  Simply cut up strips of colorful plastic bags, t-shirts or ribbon, and weave the strips in and out around the berry basket frame.  Once you're done, you'll have a candy dish or organizer basket that will wow your friends!  You can also see this project in the book ReMake It! Recycling Projects from the Stuff You Usually Scrap.

images courtesy of Time Out NY Kids

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Alley Recycling Exhibition

Ashley, one of our RePlayGround instructors, was recently on a trip to Europe and saw Alley Recycling exhibition space at Design Pack gallery.  The space is located at 24 rue de Richelieu and is devoted solely to the art of packaging design.  Alley recycling states its aim is to "encourage sorting and recycling of packaging and the development of best practices for prevention and waste reduction."  Here are a few pics she took for RePlayGround readers to see!