Sunday, April 3, 2011

DIY- Adventures of Upcycling

Upcycling is a coming back trend hitting homes around the world. My grandmother use to do this out of necessity - for example, tearing old t-shirts up to make 'rag rugs' - Now we are doing it as a way to be creative AND to help keep the environment clean. I discovered the 'art of upcycling' when exploring for photography props. Some items I have seen are purses, suitcases, jewelry, clothing, and so much more. Here are a few recent examples:

In search for how to make something from my plastic Target bags, I came across a blog that shows step by step instructions for sewing together plastic bags to make a tote or a wallet. I also have a wonderful book that shows even more projects and techniques for creating totes and purses from our plastic shopping bags! The blog I am referencing for this project, though, is:

In addition, I found at the Better Homes and Garden site an interesting and useful idea for the spring and summer months - turning your orphan socks into something more beautiful and very useful -

Thus, I will attempt to create a flower pot decorated with an orphan sock and sew a tote from my plastic bags! I will be tweaking the tote directions a bit - this blog shows how to take a feed bag (already fused plastic) and converting it to a useful tote - I will be fusing the plastic shopping bags and then creating a tote. An extra step, but well worth it - after all, what in the world will I do with all of these plastic shopping bags I continue to shove into my pantry? Now maybe, I will make enough totes to take with me to the store as my future grocery bags! And these totes will make great beach bags for the summer picnics at Monroe Reservoir.

Discussion questions:
What is the future of new media”? In short, I think the future holds great potential for new media - we are already surrounded by it (whether we know it or not) - thus I believe it will be a part of our daily lives from waking to an iPad alarm to mapping our route to school using our GPS devises to our children learning in a paperless environment during the day. We will not escape the up and coming changes already in the works. New media is the future for living, learning, and creating a greener environment - by eliminating the use of paper in books, newspapers, and magazines - our children will be publishing their works before they can write with a pencil and our relatives will be eternally remembered via digital videos saved on the cloud. This type of world leads us to a type of learning that relies upon the fundamentals of constructionism - where children will create their spaces through the arts, sciences, or mathematics - online for the world to see and explore. I found the following TED talk that shares how people can make their own music - regardless of your abilities to understand how to read it or write it! MIT has created Brain Opera, Toy Symphony, and Hyperscore. MIT has taken this to another level - to help individuals not only learn to read and write music, but to use it to better their lives holistically. MIT aims to use new technologies to make new music which affects the mind and health of all. In this presentation, you will see Dan Ellsey perform using the software, Hyperscore. Dan is a quadriplegic and uses sensors that he controls with his movements to choreograph and perform his music. Please take time to watch this TED talk! To me - this is a mind blowing example of where new media is taking us!


  1. Upcycle orphan socks?!?!?! Would you like to do this project together? I am in the process of planting out the garden and need to start herb pots. My husband and I are going to go through our sock pile this weekend and get new ones, since so many are worn through or do not match. I have some cute socks I could use but it sounds like something that would totally be fun to do.

    I think that the MIT project is also wonderful because it helps bring the music to everyone. Before I was comfortable performing, I needed to become practice and feel comfortable in my skills. I needed to understand the ways to become a good play, spend a crazy amount of time mastering it, and then get all scared leading up to the performance! I was such a spaz. This really lowers the anxiety level - everyone can access it and you do not have to worry about all of the above - you can just focus on creating. You can get lost in the art of it.

  2. Awesome! I can't wait to see your final product, Kate!

    Are the girls going to help?

  3. Great -- the term upcycling is new to me but it's a good one. I've bought countless numbers of these goods for friends through the years and they're so great -- things made from bottle tops, juice box cartons, license plates, etc. Recently, I saw an educational conference that recylced all of the donated old conference bags and had an artist reinvent them for the conference -- love that! I would love a one-of-a-kind! Love the examples here on how new media makes things even more accesible to a wider audience!

    BTW -- I think an older comment of mine was deleted from your previous post :( Just so you know I wasn't ignoring you... Glitches in the upload I suspect...

  4. Hello! Yes, I think the girls will help - they are my wingmen! :)

    Charlene, I'd love to make orphan sock planters with you - and anyone else who would like to join me! It's that time of year to plant flowers!!! Hurray!

    I can't wait to get started on this project. I thought I would have had time this week -but no such luck. This week and weekend have been and will be increedibly busy - - so cross your fingers I get all done on time! ;0 Thanks for all the great feedback, Kate

  5. When is good for you? I need to start planters for some peas, peppers, and a few other things. If we dare wait a few weeks, I will have more freedom in my scheduling!

    Looking forward to some crafting with you =)

  6. Definitely in a few weeks!!! ;0 It is too crazy the next week and a half for me! Thanks!!