Interview with Carolyn of cowgirlrosie and oldethings

Shop name: cowgirlrosie and oldethings
Shop and

What draws you to using trashion materials? Part of the reason is the challenge. Also I have a long background as an elementary school art teacher and of course stretching the budget was always part of the mix, so we learned to use all kinds of recycleable materials.

What trashion materials do you use? Mainly I use wool garments, but from time to time whatever I find that is interesting.

Do you remember the first thing you made using the trashion concept? Oh, a felted wool purse of course.

What are current projects and what is on the horizon? I am working with cotton now and sometimes use old linens to embellish denim jackets or vests, For the coil things I will recycle nice drapes. I want to use the many, many men's ties I have collected for something, so look for that.

Anything else you would like to add? Just that I try to keep my mind open to new uses for things in my two shops and in my home, I am an antiquer also and so furnish with many recycled things.


Trashion at Home - auclairdelalune

Here's a great idea from Adrienne of auclairdelalune.

If I weren’t vegetarian I would say that this is a way to kill two birds with one stone (maybe it’s a way to stun two tofurkies with one stone?) but a rain barrel is a great way to both reduce and reuse all at the same time.

Water is a limited resource, particularly at this time of year in Central Florida. There are lots of ways to reduce water consumption in the home, but one area that deserves attention and one of the most wasteful uses of fresh water is irrigation. Aside from choosing native plants for landscaping and reducing the need for irrigation through xeriscaping, rain barrels are very effective tools for catching and storing rainwater to use in the garden, thus reducing the need for city water.

I’m not the handiest of people in a carpentry sense, so I signed up for a class offered by my local county to get help in constructing my rain barrel. It took very little work and materials to construct the one I use. My food grade quality drum is recycled, and the other materials are easy to find at any hardware store. Easy instructions can be found on line (one to check out would be

Last year we connected the rain barrel to an extra soaker hose we had, but soon found that we didn’t have the water pressure to make this work well enough to distribute water through the garden. This weekend we upgraded the rain barrel irrigation by connecting damaged hoses (yet another way to recycle/re-use!) with holes drilled every six + inches. This proved to be a terrific project for older kids learning to use tools. We had to figure out how to use the hose repair/attachment kits to connect our damaged hoses and then we had all of those holes to drill.

The project was completed in very little time and is working great. Now all we have to do is wait for it to rain:-)!

Be sure to visit Adrienne's shop for awesome upcycled creations!

Have an idea for Trashion at Home? Submit it to Lori at


The Scavenger’s Eye: Letting the Materials Guide Your Work

by Johnny Damm of DammNation Reclamation

As a child, I viewed crafting as the occupation of an alien realm, one peopled nearly exclusively by women my grandparents’ age and most vividly represented by the goods of a church bazaar: felt finger puppets and crocheted everything—objects at most tangentially useful, the sad hobbies of those with too much time and not enough taste. This was a realm that I, as a preacher’s son perpetually on the lookout for pretty much anything to rebel against, wanted no part of.
To a certain extent, this hasn’t changed. I still find craft stores, particularly the chains with their rows of fake flowers and scrap booking kits, repellant, and when a local craft show’s aesthetic tends too closely towards those old church bazaars, an old childhood snobbishness rises up within me. It would seem nearly impossible, then, for me to have been lured towards crafting, that I of all people could have become—shudder—a crafter, but that’s exactly what happened after I came upon an unlikely muse: spent bullet casings.
These appeared in the basement of an old farmhouse owned by my wife’s family, which we’d moved into to clean out and make repairs, and they sat in a large blue jar.

Spotting them, I felt a sudden and palpable attraction, and it had nothing to do with guns (which I’d never owned), much less hunting or shooting of any kind (neither of which I’d ever done). Instead what attracted me was the objects themselves—how such striking arresting forms could be found in something which normally would be viewed as only having one (frankly ugly) purpose. These were forms I wanted to take advantage of, I wanted to create something with, and after a week or so of vague and poorly conceived ideas, I finally hit upon something. With wire from old lawn flag posts and links from a broken wallet chain, I swiftly used the bullet casings to make my first craft creation and was already well on my way to becoming (somehow) a crafter.

So from the beginning, crafting has been for me less about planned projects or designs than it has been about envisioning the possibilities in salvaged objects. It was to best exploit these objects that I taught myself to use a sewing machine and gradually, most often while looking around the farmhouse, began to see that anything, everything, can suggest a potential creation.
Let me offer one other example. For some time, I’ve been using placemats in my work, not featuring them but as a usefully stiff and sturdy core in the lining of purses and cases, and one day I came across a set of particularly striking 1970’s, avocado green ones.

Their oval shape, the light-reflecting shine coming off the slick vinyl, and most of all that perfect color: I immediately saw in the five mats a wealth of possibilities and, after grabbing them up, headed straight for the set of shelves where I keep other finds salvaged in this fashion. I quickly dug out a ripped 1980’s white pleather purse and a baby blue trench coat with a large brown stain across its back. By the next day, my line of mutant bags featuring the placemats had been begun.

What I’m trying to suggest here with my examples is a very basic tenet for the creation of trashion crafts: your work may be found through the materials. Try this for me: look around you. What bits and pieces do you see? What might be destined for a landfill if you don’t find another use for it? Start there, and you’ll begin to glimpse the myriad of potential creations that already exist around you. All it takes is a scavenger’s eye.

Be sure to visit our guest blogger's shop - DammNation.
Want to become a guest blogger? Contact Lori at


TRASHY KIDS~Trashion Fairies

This week's segment of Trashy Kids is a submission from one of our newest members, Sarah Stocking! Here is what she has to say about a child hood memory that can be relived through our kids!

"When I was maybe 13 or 14, my Grandma got all her grand girls together and had a fairy catching party. We caught them with nets, put a spell on them so they would become frozen in time, then displayed them in glass domes. I still have mine."

"This was an amazing experience that I will never forget. My amazing grandmother got together all of her crafting stuff that she had collected over the years, bought the domes and the porcelain figures, and sent us all packin' to the backyard. We had to do some "gardening" and "cleaning up", picking up sticks and rocks. When we got back into the house, miracles began to happen. This is the finished product."

What You'll Need: *Adult help and Supervision REQUIRED

A Glass dome with a matching wood base
Porcelain doll with plain body to attach silk petals for clothes
Some Faux Hair
Green Foam Base

Silk Flowers, Leaves, Ferns

Cloth, ribbon, feathers

Found Trinkets (jewelry, figurines, beads, marbles, etc.)
Sturdy Metal or wood stick (to attach to Fairy to keep her/him upright on foam bade)

Glitter Fabric Glue or plain old Glitter

Hot Glue Gun & Glue
Elmer's Glue
Spray Adhesive

Take the green foam, used for creating faux floral arrangements, and hot glue it to the wood base.

Cover the foam with a TON of Elmer's glue and stick on the Moss
Let Dry
Dress your Fairy using silk flower petal, cloth, beads, ribbon, feathers, etc.

Glue hair on with hot glue gun
Add flowers, leaves, ferns, and twigs to the moss bed when dry, just stick them right into the foam
Spray with a spray adhesive and add some glitter!
Put the finishing touches on fairy, give her some bling and add some glitter, then attach the metal or wooden rod to the back of her using the hot glue gun. If the figurine has a fabric and stuffing torso, wedge the rod into it then glue for extra hold.
Place your fairy in the center
Add rocks and other small found items
Make Dew Drops by using dollops of glitter fabric glue or plain old glitter glue
Let it all dry and then place dome over your fairy. Do not store close to a window, as the silk petals may become sun bleached

Thank you, Sarah for submitting this wonderful memory and fun activity! Please check out Sarah on etsy atThe Thrifty Sparrow!


Interview with Jennifer of Jupita

Shop name: Jupita (Upcycled)

Shop address:
What draws you to using trashion materials? Many reasons flood my mind when I am asked..WHY recycled/upcycled/repurposed materials? Well, eco-friendly is something I have always strived to be. I want to do what I can to reduce the amount of waste we produce. Secondly, I love love love the artsy look of the gift cards I use for jewelry / accessory / art making. They are lovely as stand alone pieces...and make even better upcycled art!

What trashion materials do you use? Redeemed plastic gift cards. Reclaimed beads, chains in many cases. I use recycled glass beads. Also, paper bags, boxes, and more!
Do you remember the first thing you made using the trashion concept? I was a young girl, in grade school. I would take paper bags and make drawing pads out of them.

What are your current projects and what is on the horizon? Currently, I am working on a dress/skirt combo made with redeemed plastic gift cards and coffee ground bags!!

Anything else you'd like to add? Well, in the true spirit of recycling.. Organ donation is the ultimate. You can't use them when you are gone, so become an organ donor. Help give a second chance to another family. ( is a site dedicated to my son who received a 5 organ transplant at age 9 months!)


Trashion at Home - vividtexture

Today's Trashion at Home submission comes from Melinda of

Our home is filled with furniture and items passed down from family members or otherwise second hand. Here are a few:

1. Future home décor: my grandparents bought these wing chairs from a consignment shop and used them for many years before they were passed on to my uncle, and then to me. Sadly, the original crewel upholstery needs replacing. I’m hoping to salvage enough to make pillows. I have a friend who recently started her own upholstery business and we are looking into eco-friendly fabrics for covering these cuties for their next stage of life.

2. This paper towel holder has escaped the trash three times that I know of. My in-laws had a tenant who collected junk and turned it into art (yay- upcycling!) and this had been part of his collection. They got it from him, hated it, and were going to throw it out when my hubby rescued it for me.

3. This butcher block came from My husband cut it to fit our counter, and sanded, scoured and oiled it. It gives us “built-in” workspace and an extra inch and ½ of counter height and depth.


Look for great upcycled items in Melinda's shop, like this charming tea cozy:

Show us your ideas for Trashion at Home.
Send submissions to Lori at



Trashy kids isn't just about recycling items into cool crafts! Its about teaching our children about the importance of recycling and learning how to keep the earth clean, too. For this segment of Trashy Kids, I wanted to share with you an opportunity that my family took to help the community and to help our kids learn the value of keeping our earth clean and the consequences that occur when we don't.

I encourage you and your children to look into your neighborhood and see what community service type projects are available to you or create your own!

Our family participated in the yearly clean up of Presque Isle State Park. We were assigned a particular beach where we gathered trash that had accumulated over the harsh winter months. It was an excellent opportunity for all of our children who range in age from 16 years all the way down to 3 years of age. There was a sense of pride and accomplishment when the job was all done. The kids can now reflect on the fact that they helped clean up the earth even just a little bit. After our beach was all clean they wanted to continue down to the other beaches however, the turn out was so large (YAY!) that the other beaches were finished up about the same time as ours.

Instead, we decided to appreciate the park by utilizing the lagoons and seeing a bit of nature!

And aferward? Ah, the joy of a relaxing ride home and some peace and quiet for mom!


Interview with Adrienne of auclairdelalune

Shop name: au clair de la lune

Shop address:

Other sites:

What draws you to using trashion materials?
I find so many things compelling about using trashion materials. There is of course the eco impact of not creating more. As a society we are so inundated by stuff and more stuff. I really like the idea of breaking that chain and trying to be as neutral as possible in my use of new materials. This cuts down not only on the creation of new stuff, but also the pesticides and fertilizers that would be used in creating new fabric, and it keeps old stuff out of landfills.

I also like the challenge of taking something that would otherwise be discarded and finding a way to make it beautiful and useful again. At times there seems to be such a folk art quality in trashion, particularly with the use of found objects that find new purpose.

What trashion materials do you use?
My etsy shop includes exclusively clothing, accessories, and household items made of recycled fabrics. I also use recycled buttons, guitar picks, and flatware. At home just about everything gets saved and reused eventually. Every broken dish turns up later as a mosaic somewhere, my kids and I have made stepping stones with tiny toys, broken costume jewelry, and bottle caps in them, all the corks I saved from my table waiting days are now a fabulous bulletin board. I think it’s kind of a compulsion. It seems like every little object is hanging out, waiting in the wings until its new identity presents itself.

Do you remember the first thing you made using the trashion concept?
When I was little I was lucky enough to spend lots of time at my grandparents' house. As people who had survived the Great Depression, they saved everything because you never know when you might need it. Jars of rubber bands, boxes of soap, a basement full of old books and clothes and furniture, but what I remember most was my grandmother’s sewing porch. Baskets of scraps from every outfit she had ever made for my mother and aunt, and tins full of buttons from clothing that had been worn out. I used to make doll clothes and she taught me to crochet rag rugs from strips of fabric. My son uses a crazy (and I mean crazy) quilt I made twenty five years ago with some of those scraps and I love the fact that now my daughters hang out in my workspace sorting buttons and turning fabric scraps in doll clothes.

What are your current projects and what is on the horizon?
Currently I’m working on finishing all of the half completed projects stacked around me, that is of course if I don’t get distracted by all of the other projects I can’t wait to get started on. I hope to make more clothing for adults and I’m going to continue experimenting with natural fabric dyes.

Anything else you'd like to add?
I’m so happy to be a part of such a terrifically talented group. I never cease to be amazed by the variety of beautiful and creative items that are posted on the different Trashion Team members' sites.


Trashion at Home - oddartist

Introducing a new series- Trashion at Home. We will focus on team members who have used trashion ideas in their home decor and functionality.
The first entry comes from Rhonda from oddartist.

Well, I have been remodeling my kitchen in spurts over the past year. I initially just painted my fugly cabinets white and made drawer pulls and cabinet handles from teaspoons. Then I ran across a box of tiles I had purchased at a yard sale and dragged through 4 moves and tiled the countertop. I then added an 'island' I found on Craigslist.

Now I have more fugly cabinets my neighbors ripped out when they remodeled (and spent $1500 on Ikea cabinets) that I will soon be painting white to match mine (they must have been made by the same cheepo-person who used the same plans and plywood for both homes), and more teaspoons to add as hardware.

The best part is yet to come! Once I have the 'new' fugly cabinets in and move the stove out of the corner, I will be using old wood flooring glued together and sanded for butcherblock countertops, and will be upcycling all the CDs I can get my hands on as a 'Melted Media' (see examples in my shop) mosaic backsplash.

Here are current before-and-after pics. I will send photos of updates as they are completed. And I'm accepting donations of used CDs too - I'll send a pair of Melted Media earrings for each lot of 100 donated CDs - I'm especially interested in home-recorded CDs that are either colored (blue, green, red, yellow, etc.) or the nice greenish tint - not silver. Memorex discs are usually that pale greenish color. Convo me at oddartist if you want to contribute CDs.
Be sure to visit oddartist.

Please consider sharing your Home Trashion stories - email to


Interview with Karen from ecogeneration

Shop name: ecogeneration

Shop address:

Other sites:
I’m also on facebook and twitter.

What draws you to using trashion materials?
Being eco-friendly and trying to reduce waste and reuse materials I already have are part of my motto – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. I think we have way too much resource that we don’t use. I think it’s our responsibility to use them up before buying new.

What trashion materials do you use?
Leftover yarn from when I was learning to knit and crochet 30 years ago. I stopped when I had kids and then, I picked it up again recently. So I have a stash of yarn that I didn’t throw out. I also have fabric remnants collected after making curtains, cushions, pillow covers, and album covers. I recently learned how to felt wool. I had a small, outdated ski sweater that I felted and I love the result. I made so many items from just one little wool sweater.

Do you remember the first thing you made using the trashion concept?
Kitchen scrubbies with acrylic yarn. They are so much better than the commercial ones I used to buy. They last longer and clean better. Albeit, they are made with acrylic but I had so many skeins leftover from when I was learning and I couldn’t throw them away. So I used it to make scrubbies. Initially, I gave them to friends and family and they suggested that I sell them. That’s how I started on Etsy.

What are your current projects and what is on the horizon?
My head is always working on concepts and designs. That’s my problem; I love to make so many different things. I don’t know how to consolidate my shop into one. I love to sew, crochet, knit, paint, you name it, I love to make anything. So these days, I’m preoccupied with streamlining my ideas. I feel like I have ADD sometimes but my current project is to find just a few to work on. It’s the hardest part about being a crafter/artist…focusing.

Anything else you'd like to add?
I love Etsy. That sounds like a cliché but really, it’s true. I sometimes just scroll and see what others are making, buying, selling, and doing on Etsy. I can spend hours on the site. It’s terrible for my time management but I can really digress on Etsy for hours. And I have to really control myself from buying everything I see. There are so many talented artists on Etsy. I’ve noticed the number of eco-friendly artists who reuse and upcycle materials has been increasing. I think that’s awesome. And I feel so lucky to be part of a such talented community.


Trash Becomes Art

My husband, son and I went to Scottsdale, AZ recently.
We went to the zoo, I went to the botanical gardens and we walked around old Scottsdale.
We also visited a few places where I noted that trash had become art.

Children's Museum of Phoenix

What a cool place! Teeming with tots, there's tons to take in.
Prior to opening, the museum issued several press releases.
One was for a "need for children's shoes....lots of them!"

I hope that most people pass on or donate used clothing to those who need them,
but I'm sure there are many items that unfortunately end up in the trash.
The museum used over 500 pairs of shoes to create "a one-of-a-kind art installation."

The shoes are all mounted on the wall just outside the baby play room.
They're covered in a white material which I couldn't really identify.
Some of the shoes sprout little stuffed birds made of old socks.
There are also several cubbies mounted to the wall at kid level:
Since it's the baby room, "No shoes allowed!"

Another press release "called upon businesses and individuals alike to donate 15,000 CDs and/or DVDs to use in their Wish Fish sculpture," another permanent exhibit.
Children and families wrote wishes on the CDs and DVDs which were then attached together to create a large wall sculpture. The CDs and DVDs represent fish, and the whole thing reminds me of a sparkly school of fish.

I'm going to try this in my son's room.
What a great way to use all those old CDs he's scratched up or we burned ages ago.

Scottsdale Public Art

We went for breakfast at a yummy place in the Scottsdale Mall called Orange Table.
In the bell tower of the mall, my son noticed robots!!! - one of his current fixations.
They were "flying" through the air using various modes of transport: wings, a rocket, a parachute. Created by Toby Fraley of Washington, PA, Robots in Flight are made of old stuff like shoe stretchers, vacuum cleaners and thermoses.

When no longer on display in the bell tower, the Scottsdale Public Art Program plans to buy the robots and display them somewhere else.

If you're interested in more recycled robots, check out our fellow Etsian - reclaim2fame!

links: (scroll to the bottom of the page)

By Guest Blogger - Alex