Eco Friendly

Make: Bird Nests


Make: Bird Nests

This week I wanted to continue with our theme of birds and share with you this totally cool bird nest craft. OMG, they were so fun!! The best part being the last step which is so satisfying and beautiful that we all gasped (I wish I knew how to type a gasp…anyone?).

There are bird nest tutorials all over the internet. I researched a ton about whether to use paper maché or glue, whether I wanted a full nest or a more delicate nest, and lastly….the nest materials. It was hard to make all of these decisions! After a rough start, we finally got the hang of it.

make bird nests from recycled paper | art bar

Materials:

~ Chopped paper – construction paper, newspaper, catalogs, magazines

~ Paper cutter or scissors (or a shredder would be best!)

~ Elmer’s glue + thick paint brush

~ One bowl of the size that you want your bird’s nest to be

~ Plastic wrap

make bird nests from recycled paper | art bar

How to:

Most of the tutorials online said to soak the paper strips in the glue or paper maché first, then spread them around the bowl. We tried this, but it became a goopy mess and the paper started ripping. So this is the technique we came up with. First, we cut our paper into strips about 1/4″ in thickness. The strips varied in length from 6″ to 12″. Next, we put plastic wrap on the inside of the bowl. We mixed glue with water (half and half), and brushed glue all on the inside of the bowl on top of the plastic wrap. We then took individual strips and arranged them criss-crossing around the bowl. After a while, we would paint on more glue which helped keep the layers down. We then added more paper strips, until about four layers were formed. Sometimes we would put the strips around, like a real nest. Other times just across so the pieces would stick out. When our fingers got too sticky, we wiped them on a wet paper towel.

We let the bowls dry overnight. Then….drumroll, please….we lifted the nests out of the bowl and pealed off the plastic. Voila! We had the most beautiful and delicate nests!

make bird nests from recycled paper | art bar

We played around with color, but loved the blues and browns most (with a hint of pink). I used a Paper Source catalog which is made from a really nice matte paper, and their use of color is muted and perfect. (If you don’t know about this catalog click here to get one for free! And definitely visit their online store.)

Have a crafty weekend!

xo, Bar

{nests inspired by this post}

 

 

Repurpose / Reuse / Retrash


Repurpose / Reuse / Retrash

What do all of the above have in common? They are all things that have been brilliantly repurposed! Or upcycled…reused…retrashed. Call it what you will, it is an idea as old as time. Although nowadays, the movement has a fresh face thanks to Pinterest!

As you know, I have a fondness for making things from what we have lying around the house. Many of my art projects on this blog are made from materials that everyone has at hand (click here to see them all). Part of it is that I dislike errands very much. Driving around to get this and that, it literally puts me in a bad mood. The other part is that it makes me feel bad to spend money on supplies when I have so much here. And thirdly, it just makes sense! Using what I have forces me to be creative, and it leaves me with a good feeling that I didn’t add to my garbage pile.

I hadn’t heard of the word “retrash” until recently, when I came across this Kickstarter campaign from Aussie Nathan Devine. He is funding his labor of love, a beautiful coffee table book named RETRASH. The idea spawned from his website. This book will feature artists from around the world who are inspiring change by working to reduce landfill waste and getting creative with what others view as trash. Check out his Kickstarter page and make a pledge if it moves you. I personally can’t wait to get my copy and share it with my kids (our most promising generation of recyclers)!

Above credits: globe pendants / hanger to TP holder / necktie zipper pouch / mouse beds from Altoid tins / yardstick boxes / tin cans for art supplies / egg carton sewing kit / bike sink / work shirt to little dress / tennis racquet mirrors / suitcase speakers / landfill-harmonic (you must click this link and see for yourself)

Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

xo, Bar

 

Goblin Garland {Halloween}


Goblin Garland {Halloween}

goblin garland ~ a collage craft made with recycled materials

goblin garland ~ a collage craft made with recycled materials

goblin garland ~ a collage craft made with recycled materials

Today on Art Bar monday on Small for Big, learn how to make these funny little goblins with recycled materials from your house, and a free goblin template. We had so much fun setting up our collage table and making these little guys because they reminded us of Yoda. A garland of Yodas for Halloween seemed just right for our family!

Happy Monday!

xo Bar

 

Paperbag Paintings


Paperbag Paintings

recycled art ~ paint on paper bags | art bar

recycled art ~ paint on paper bags | art bar

recycled art ~ paint on paper bags | art bar

Created with recycled grocery bags and some mixed-media art supplies, these paintings are perfect for the little ones. They even have a built-in picture hanger! Today on Art Bar Monday over at Small for Big, read more about how they were made.

Have a great week!

xo Bar

 

Crayon Holder {pencils, too}


Crayon Holder {pencils, too}

Don’t these look so professional? Believe me when I tell you that they were really simple to make. I promise! As long as you can drill, you can make these crayon holders.

Supplies:

~ Wood slices. I got mine from Etsy. They are maple slices, 2.75” in diameter and an inch thick.

~ Drill. I used a very thick bit, but not sure of the exact size. Just compare it to your crayon (or pencil).

~ Chalk Markers. We tried paint but the wood soaked up the color. The chalk markers worked perfectly because they are opaque!

How to:

Hold your wood piece with one hand, and then drill with the other. We didn’t mark the wood or anything, we just started and worked our way around the edge, then drilled a few in the middle. Then use your markers, or leave them plain. THAT IS IT!! See, I told you it was easy.

These did start out as pencil holders. But we had a little visitor over and she stuck crayons in her pencil holder, which was pure genius. My son now loves them because he can pick out his favorite colors and keep them separated from all of those other colors in the big crayon basket.

These holders make me want to draw with crayons. Hope you try these at home!

xo Bar

 

Poppy Art // Make


Poppy Art // Make

Today’s Art Bar Monday project over on Small for Big is quite possibly the coolest thing we’ve done in a while. Can you believe these are coffee filters? The finished piece is 100% framable. Make this with your kids, or perhaps all by yourself! Check out the DIY.

Have a great week!

xo Bar

 

Cardboard Creations // MacBook


Cardboard Creations // MacBook

My middle daughter is in love with technology. She is ten now, but this love of all things electronic started long ago. I dug up this photo of her from when she was about four years old. I remember this day – her dad and I decided that she needed a day out with just us. We gave her options: movie, lunch, skating, dog park. She chose to go to the Apple store. We tried to talk her out of it, but then we decided there was no point in that. She would be happy there and that’s all we wanted.

At the Apple Store

Now she is ten. This winter, she had a sick (ish) day at home. I told her no computer/iPad/TV. By 9:05 she was bored, and that was fine by me. I don’t mind when my kids are bored because it actually forces them to use their imagination. She was dyyyyinnngggg without her iPad and could she pllllleeeeaaaaase use it for just 10 minutes. No, no, no. (You have to be strong with this one, she will wear you down). All that was left to do was craft! I had to laugh when she said she was going to make a laptop. After all these years, she still loves those keyboards. Steve Jobs would be proud.

She set herself up with supplies: cardboard box, glue, paint, string, sharpie. I helped her cut the initial shape of the laptop, but after that she did everything 100% on her own. She asked to borrow my keyboard, which I was working on at the time…of course. (Her little way of taking technology away from me.) And then she set about creating. I watched her looking back and forth, counting the keys, writing all of the symbols. She was in her flow!

Cardboard Creations // MacBook

Cardboard Creations // MacBook

Later on, we both got back on the real computer and found a photo for her screen. After she was finished, she made some tea and helped herself to some dipping cookies, and then she played on her laptop. (Like mother, like daughter). I love the One Direction photo she found and how she drew in little pink mustaches. Ha! That girl makes me laugh.

Necessity is the mother of invention!

 

 

Paper Chain from Recycled Art


Paper Chain from Recycled Art

This project is super easy with beautiful results! Hop on over to You Are My Fave for my full post with instructions.

Happy Tuesday!

 

A Quilt for her 13th Birthday


A Quilt for her 13th Birthday

My oldest turned 13 right before Christmas. I have been saving her old clothes since 1st grade for this very day! I made her a quilt a long time ago from her baby-to-kindergarten clothes, but that one was a small little doll quilt. This one was going to be big enough for her bed! She and I revisited these clothes right before I started to cut them up. She picked out the things that she remembered as her favorites, and we had a good chuckle over her early sense of style (let’s just say matching was not a priority). It’s amazing to see how her personality has developed through her outfits.

Born a collicky baby, she basically wore pajamas for a year. Hand-me-downs from my nephew put her in blue stripes for the next year. By the time she was two, she began making her own choices. She spent the next 5 years in dresses. Only dresses. Having missed that lesson on coordinating, her outfits were very eye-catching. Right around 2nd grade, dresses were out and pants were in. Jeans and t-shirts became the new uniform. Nowadays, it’s all labels. She and her friends are like Abercrombie clones. Though lately, there are days when she throws caution to the wind and pulls out her glitter tights and gold boots. I love seeing glimpses of what her teenage style will be. Maybe we’ll even share!

I love these photos that show her personality: Determined – Belting out Annie at age 4 / Protective – Hugging her baby sister / Playful – Discovering that her sister is now a friend / Helpful – Feeding the new baby (in her fave heart sweater) / Responsible – Always ready for a photo op (in her fave plaid skirt) / Funny – Goofing around with her little sister.

Being the oldest is not always an easy role. But she carries herself with grace and poise and has an inner strength that is enviable. She’s a special girl, what a privilege it has been to grow with her!

{Tender Threads quilts}

 

Old Christmas Cards // Make a Book


Old Christmas Cards // Make a Book

I never feel right about throwing Christmas cards away. There is something about personal family photos that make it impossible to just put them in the trash (especially the awkward ones). A few years ago, I decided to bind them together with book rings and hang them up. On Christmas day, we love to flip through them and see how all of the kids have grown!

These are really simple to make, all you need is scissors, a hole punch, 2″ book rings, and some precious time.

Start by arranging them from smallest to biggest. Next, cut off any backs that don’t include photos. Sometimes, I will cut out the greeting and tape it to the back just so we remember ages and names. Next, punch two holes at the edge of the smallest card. Use this card as a template for all of the rest. Lastly, bind them together with the rings.

This project is so easy that I have now enlisted my kids to do it all for me! It’s great in many ways: They can see all of the photos of their friends, get to know some kids they’ve only heard about, punch holes, use the cool book rings mommy has been saving, and lastly…they can all fight about who does what!

Happy hole punching!