Upcycling Plastics and the Fish Sculptures in Rio

I discovered these amazing fish sculptures when a Facebook friend posted a photo of them.  Created out of plastic bottles, they were installed on Botafogo Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,  in time for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development last week.  The conference was a follow up to the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development, also held in Rio.  A sign near the sculptures said (in Portuguese) 'recycle your attitude'.

Image ©  Reuters

We on the Etsy Trashion Team are familiar with recycling our attitude.  It's about thinking of the impact of what we buy and consume.  It's about looking at trash and seeing the possibilities.  Here are a few terrific examples...

Spalted Maple Pendant with Upcycled Plastic Bottle
Image © Tangora Designs
REcap Bracelet from Upcycled Marker Caps
Image © Twitch and Whiskers

Upcycled Plastic Phone Card
Image © Junck

Here's to a sustainable future!



Feature Me Friday:
Resurrected Soul

This week we'd like you to meet Amy Franklin of Resurrected Soul.
Amy comes to us from sunny Oceanside, California.

Who is Resurrected Soul?
Resurrected soul is a unique jewelry line created by me, Amy Franklin, that is made for those who are not afraid to stand out a little or be the center of attention. It's not for trend followers but rather trend setters. Those who aren't afraid to be individuals and express there own style. 

What’s the first thing you remember making?
I used to go into my grandfathers garage and make jewelry out of all the things I could find in there like nuts and bolts and wire. He owned a construction company so I had a lot of materials to play with. I guess even then I was into trashion.

Why work with recycled materials?
For one it makes for a more unique piece, I like the fact that some of my materials I can't just go buy more of there's just that piece that I found somewhere. I also think its a great way to preserve history, for example my cassette tape purses, every time someone sees one they're transported back to jr. high listening to there favorite mix tape. Same with my vinyl record cuffs. I love also how each piece evokes a different memory for each person.

Where do you work?
I have a studio in my house, although I find that even though all my tools are conveniently set in this one room I like to use the whole house as my work space so often you will find a sewing machine on my kitchen table and power tools on my patio set. I love to work outside because then I don't feel cooped up so I tend to utilize my patio a lot. When I had a garage I always used that as my space and I gotta say garages are my favorite!

What are your favorite tools?
I love my dremel! I seriously don't know how I did anything before I got it. I love that I can do almost everything I need for one project with one simple tool.

How do you get from A to Z?
I'm still trying to figure that one out. I just made the decision 2 months ago to leave my full time waitressing job and pursue this as a full time career so it's very much a work in progress. I have learned that I really have to stay on top of myself with a schedule because otherwise it's to easy to get lost on pinterest for hours or playing with my doggies.

What music do you listen to while you’re working?
It really depends on my mood, I've been kind of addicted to the Santigold station on pandora lately however. I like music that evokes a lot of emotion because I want that to come through in my work as well.

What are the five best things you’ve purchased on etsy and where did you find them?
I got my first metal stamping kit from metalshop and it's been a great starter kit for me. I loved that it had everything I needed to get started, it completely took the guess work out! I also got the cutest leopard print rockabilly ballet slippers for my friends baby from rockkandykids, they had cute little pink bows on them. I like steampunk supply because they specialize in all things steam punk and have unique industrial type charms. I get a lot of my charms from jewelrystoreusa, they're cheap and they ship fast.  For really unique fabric selection I go to rainbow fabrics, I recently purchased some cute pinup girl fabric from them that I wanna use in some handbags I might start to carry.

Who inspires you?
So many people, I get a lot of inspiration from music and musicians. I love people that are over the top and edgy like Lady gaga, Rhianna and Gwen Stefani. I think these women have there own style and they don't care what anyone else says that's what they're gonna wear because they think it rocks. I love people who wear things just because they love it not because they think they should. I also am obsessed with the silver screen era and pinup girls like Marilyn Monroe, whom I am often told I look like, Jane Mansfield and Betty Page. My favorite designer of all time is Betsey Johnson, I love her over the top girly clothing and accessories, and the fact that her pieces are as vibrant and full of life as she is. Her line is so unique and unlike many other top designers, there's no mistaking her piece for someone else, I can spot a Betsey from a mile away. I think that's really important as a designer and it's something I strive for, to have my pieces be unmistakably me.

What do you do for fun?
I love to take my 2 dogs Jameson and Wiley to the beach. Now that I live within walking distance I want to get back into surfing on a regular basis too because its such great exercise and a wonderful way to just free your mind for a little while which is really important. When you're someone who is creative there can be a lot of stuff going on up there. Also I am addicted to Estate sales! I actually map them out the night before and then get up super early and hit them all up. Garage sale are great to but I love estate sales because I'm somewhat nosey and I love that I can go into peoples homes and go thru all there stuff. I try to imagine who the people were and what they did, it's kind of fun to imagine a whole backstory for them just based on what they left behind. Plus you can score some amazing vintage and antique goods for next to nothing.

Been to any great exhibits?
The latest exhibit I went to was the Titanic Exhibit that just so happened to be at the Natural Science Museum in San Diego where I took my boyfriend for his birthday. I had heard great things about it so we decided to see it for ourselves and I gotta say it's a really cool exhibit especially if you like history, which I do. You even get a boarding pass in the beginning of the exhibit which has a name a class and that persons back story about who they were, who they were traveling with and why they were on the ship. At the end there's a bunch of names on these boards under survivors and deceased. I had the luck of getting a first class passenger so my person made it out just fine but my poor boyfriend didn't get so lucky.

Read any good books lately?
I hate to admit it but I'm not much of a reader. I blame it on my very overactive imagination, I find myself starting to make up sub plots for the characters in the books and then can't concentrate on the real story. Haha, I'm a little weird like that, but it does make me a good writer! I love to write poetry and short stories in fact if I hadn't gone to school for fashion I would have went for writing. I won a lot of awards in high school for my writing and was even a writer for a surf magazine for a short while.

How do you promote your work?
I use pinterest a lot, I love that site! I also put all my new pieces on facebook and twitter and my blog, Blond Brilliant and Broke. I also try and take advantage of every other person who is willing to promote my work on their websites and blogs. Social media is such a cheap and easy way to promote that you'd have to be a fool not to take advantage of it. Most importantly, I wear my stuff out everywhere which gives me a great opportunity to talk to people one on one and make them even more excited about my line and who I am as a designer. When people meet you and actually like you as a person they wanna buy from you even more because they want to see you succeed.

Besides Etsy, where can we find your work?
I am also on Copious and Shop Envy and will soon be in a few local boutiques throughout southern california. I also will be doing the Hillcrest Hoedown and the Carlsbad Street Fair this fall.

What’s in your future?
I don't have any idea and that's the most exciting part. Right now I'm just focusing on getting my line out there as much as possible and exposing it to as many people as I can. I would love to see my work on a celebrity and especially on the red carpet one day. Until then I'm just gonna keep on creating because that's what makes me happy.

Have any words of wisdom?
You just really have to believe in yourself and what you are doing. Surround yourself with positive people and don't let the negative ones drag you down because most likely they're just jealous that you have the guts to do what you love and they don't. Don't focus on the negative it's easy to let that one bad comment ruin your day even though a thousand other people said your great. I have always had the luck of being a very strong willed person ever since I was a child so if someone told me I can't or I won't I was gonna die trying just to prove them wrong and this has gotten me to the place I am today and is what will get me to the place I am meant to be.


What's Up Wednesday: The Creative Block & Tangora Designs

Check out the latest team news.  
Visit Leslie Sirag of The Creative Block this coming weekend at the Olympia Ballroom, Olympia, WA.  Leslie is participating in the South Sound Spectacular Spring Show on Saturday, May 26 from 11 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.  The show is sponsored by the Olympia Etsy Team.  There will be free music, kids' crafts, face painting and an amazing diversity of artists and craftspeople.   Good luck Leslie!

Steampunk mixed media pendant © Leslie Sirag

Mary Tangora of Tangora Designs has been in the local news lately!  She was interviewed by The News-Gazette (an East Central Illinois paper), and discusses her latest venture into upcycled plastic jewelry.  For the full article, see The News-Gazette.  Mary was also interviewed on WAND TV on May 18th, talking about how being on Pinterest is helping her business.  Way to go, Mary!

Upcycled Pretty Plastix Earrings © Tangora Designs


Feature Me Friday:
Tangora Designs

Spring green and turqquoise glass ear rings 14/20 gold filled wire wrapped

This week we'd like to introduce you to Mary Tangora of Tangora Designs. Mary hails from Champaign Urbana, IL, but if you're from Urbana then it is Urbanaq Champaign, Sister cities!

Where can we find your work?
My jewelry company is named Tangora Designs, on Etsy it's TangoraDesigns. I have a brick & mortar gallery called Wind Water & Light, which is located in Urbana, IL at Lincoln Square. If you ever find yourself in Urbana please drop by 300 S. Broadway and say "Hi" !

Illinois has a program called Illinois Artisan Program. It is a very nice program and has given me the ego burst I needed when I started my business. I am a juried IL Artisan so I have works in Springfield IL, Rend Lake IL and Chicago IL. I sell at a gallery called Catiri’s in Amana, IA, So Unique in Stuart FL. Wind Water & Light Gallery in Urbana, IL Tang Gallery at Skidmore College museum gallery, NY State. Glen Arbor MI a place called Ruth Conklin Gallery. I have been in the business for 20+yrs so I have sold to a good many galleries.

Light blue triangle pendant gold filled wire wrapped Glass beads accent

What’s the first thing you remember making?
Candles When is was in 6th grade I used to make candles and go door to door selling them.

Why work with recycled materials?
Too much trash in this world. The materials I use cut the waste, and it is such fun making something lovely out of discarded items.
What are your favorite tools?
I have red needle nose pliers that I just love and it was my first tool I ever got. You can often hear me say “where are my red pliers?”
What do you do for fun?
Make things. And when I get a chance I love to swim in the ocean. Cook, I like to cook.
Who inspires you?
I get inspiration from within. It is a great feeling when I come up with a stellar new item that I have never seen before. I do look at the net a bit but no one in particular.
Trashion up-cycled Pretty Plastix ear rings in yellow and green Niobium ear wire

How do you promote your work?
On the net, Etsy and Facebook. Get on the phone. Get in the car. This year I placed an ad I Niche Magazine and in American Style. Still waitng for any leads from spending $500.00 dollars...

What music do you listen to while you’re working?
We listen to everything from World beat, jazz to pop, a little Celtic, and more jazz, oh yes I LOVE the accordion too. So I am always on the lookout for any accordion music.

Read any good books lately?
The Four Agreements All about self help!! We represent a few authors and publishers in our gallery. There is a fun fun book called Minding Mama that is a fun read. Mostly I make things, and make more things, and read about making things, and write about making things and make more things.

Been to any great exhibits?
We went to Chicago Museum of Modern Art and a coule of galleries in Chicago a couple of weeks ago.

Sterling wire wrapped glass triangle pendant Russian serpentine bead

What’s in your future?
A glass of wine, No really. No one knows what’s in their future. My Mom is 98 and has Alzheimer’s to the point she doesn’t know me anymore. I want to be able to keep making things. I would love a new house. I have traveled and wish could do so again but with a gallery I am stuck where I am 7 days a week. Most the time that is just fine with me.

Have any words of wisdom?
Don’t undercut the galleries with your pricing EVER. It is important to keep small galleries open and healthy. Communities NEED nice places to shop in the real world.

Well that’s it.
Thanks for being interested,
Mary Tangora
Tangora Designs

Images & Text © Mary Tangora



What's Up Wednesday: The Creative Block & Junksmith

With spring in the air, members of the etsy trashion team are busy!

Look for Leslie Sirag of TheCreativeBlock at the Olympia, WA,
citywide annual Artists' Garage Sale this weekend.

Hummingbird Necklace ©Leslie Sirag
The sale is sponsored by POSSCA, Patrons of South Sound Cultural Arts, a local arts organization that gives music scholarships and provides and/or repairs instruments for students who can't afford them.
Leslie will be taking vintage "junque", finds from her supply shop FindingsbyLeslietsy, and maybe some older work at bargain prices. Plus magazines, sewing supplies, & who knows what else!  Leslie says it's a "great place to sell and/or buy." The sale will be held at the Olympia Armory, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Nancy Kingsbury, of Junksmith, will be talking about the connection between making upcycled jewelry and her spiritual life this Saturday, May 19,  at St. John Lutheran Church Women's Brunch, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.  She will be giving a talk entitled " From Trash to Treasure: Finding Hope and Healing through God's Creative Heart".  Nancy says, "Turning trash to treasure ties in so well to my own life experiences, that it has been a natural evolution, from being broken, to being made whole".  She explains, "I was headed for a career in music but was unable to continue when I developed a medical condition and was no longer able to play my instrument.  It has been a process, but God has used jewelry making and art to help me recover and find joy in my daily life.  My parents were also raised during the Depression, and we saved everything growing up.  Whenever our clothes wore out, we always cut out the zippers and buttons before turning them into rags. It's only natural for me to use upcycled trash in my work now."  

Pull Tab and Zipper Earrings ©Junksmith
St. John Lutheran Church is located at  305 Circle Ave.,  Forest Park, IL.  
Admission is free and open to the public.  
Call the church office 708-366-3226 to register. 


Upcycled Charm Swap:
Vintage Redoux

Shanna, of Vintage Redoux, sent not one,
but two charms for our Upcycled Charm Swap!

The first is made from little brass bullet casings Shanna found in the desert. She strung a little amber saucer bead through a headpin, added a pretty bead cap and wire wrapped the end to make a charm.

I found the second charm tucked inside the small brown paper bag.
What a fun surprise! 

The second charm is upcycled from a vintage pearl necklace. The tiny pearls hang from a distressed brass jump ring and are joined by a little brass finished leaf. Good things do come in small packages!

I love the way Shanna packaged her charms. 
The small brown paper bag is stamped on the front with her shop name and address, logo and tag line. The back is thoughtfully stamped with her Thanks.

The smaller charm is slipped inside the paper bag. The bullet charm is secured to a length of black tulle that's been wrapped and tied around the paper bag. It's a sweet little present.

All Rights reserved


Cast A Vote for Metamorphosi!

You have one more day to head on over to the lovely rikrak blog and vote for our very own trashionista Metamorphosi!

Chandelier - Ecological - Recycled wine bottles - Eco friendly

It's easy!
and scroll to the bottom of the post!

© 2012
All rights reserved.


Earth Day Sale

Be on the look-out for this avatar!

Starting today and running through Earth Day
the etsy Trashion Team is having a sale to celebrate!

Simply check out each shop for the details!

Click here for an updated list!

Image © junck


Upcycled Charm Swap: Miss Courageous

Upcycled LP Charms by Miss Courageous

Imagine my delight when I opened the package from Miss Courageous and found lots of little LP Charms in a rainbow of colors!

Each charm is cut from a vintage vinyl record.
Who knew they were made in so many super cool colors?!

Miss Courageous has also made little
packaging pouches from her folded business card.
Very clever!

It's not too late to enter our Upcycled Charm Swap

Images © Miss Courageous
All rights reserved.


What's Up Wednesday: re-maker

Roller printed Copper & Tin Cuffs

If you happen to be near Newburyport, MA this Easter Sunday
hop on over to the Newburyport Farmers Market
and say hello to Trashion Team Captain re-maker!

She'll be the one with all of the awesome upcycled stuff!

Newburyport Indoor Winter Market
The Tannery, 50 Water St., Newburyport MA
10:00am ~ 2:00pm

Image © re-maker
2012 All rights reserved


How2: Enter the Handmade Olymipics!

(sew) FASTER.
(paint) HIGHER.
(metalsmith) STRONGER!

ladies + gentlemen!

welcome to the 3rd annual 2012 handmade olympics: where the handmade world comes together to celebrate making things!

think downhill sewing.
100-metre silk screening.
pairs cooking on ice!

and all of the other amazing things folks in the handmade world do + make + create every day!
oh what a wonderful handmade world we live in!

now's your chance to show the world your own creative creations, AND send some handmaking love out to other nicies who inspire you in the handmaking + handpicked world!

now.. welcome to event 3: please leave comments here nominating:
your favourite handmade eco-friendly item!
one you love by another maker & one you've made yourself!

for this event  think beautifully recycled, repurposed, sustainably-minded creations.
think organic or eco-forward.
think of an eco-friendly handmade item that you just love!

you can nominate yourself + another in EACH event! PLUS get bonus ballots for twittering, blogging, facebooking & more about the #handmadeolympics! yay!

the amazing PRIZES
the handmade olympics prize packs are just gosh-darn fantastical!
this EVENT will award the following prizes!

including $150 worth of handmade goodness:
a $50 gift certificate to jake + cleo
a $50 gift certificate to remaker
a $50 gift certificate to rikrak

+ an *i WON GOLD* handmade olympics badge to use on your site/blog/shop
+ an artist/crafter feature on the rikrak studio blog

with $60 worth of handmade goodness:
2 months of advertising {may & june} on the rikrak studio blog : value $60
+ an *i WON SILVER* handmade olympics badge to use on your site/blog/shop

+ one FREE month of may 2012 advertising on the rikrak studio blog! yay!
+ an *i WON bronze* handmade olympics badge to use on your site/blog/shop

PLUS, there will be ONE overall random nomination selected from all handmade olympics entries ( & extra ballots!) to WIN the FAN PRIZE PACK (a $50.00 shopping spree in the rikrak shop!)

now check out the other events + nominate more fun folks!

Images & Text © 2012
All Rights Reserved By Individual Artists


Upcycled Charm Swap: Marketing

upcycled cash register charms by re-maker©

Merriam Webster defines marketing as:

Mar·ket·ing, n. \ˈmär-kə-tiŋ\
1: a : the act or process of selling or purchasing in a market
    b : the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service

2: an aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer

Although the goal of most blog challenges is to have fun and connect with new people, if you are an artisan business owner an added benefit can be that of exposure. By participating in challenges or swaps you 'll have the opportunity to introduce your work to a new audience.

The beauty of blog challenges, swaps and hops is synergy.

syn·er·gy, n. \ˈsi-nər-jē\

1: combined action or operation
2: a mutually advantageous conjunction or compatibility of distinct business participants or elements (as resources or efforts)

Your work will find it's way into new hands and on to new blogs to be view by an even larger group. It's like the Faberge Shampoo commercial in the 80's...



Okay all you Trashionistas... I know you stash buttons!
Time for a little spring cleaning, or better yet, swapping!

Deadline to enter is Sunday March 25th, so don't wait!


What's Up Wednesday:
Team Upcycled Charm Swap

To celebrate International Charm Day, April 28th
the Trashion Team is having a charm swap.  

Here's the challenge:

~ Create 10 upcycled charms (no larger than 1.5" x 1.5") from upcycled, recycled, thrifted and/or found materials.  Be sure to package or secure your contact info to each charm if you want recipients to know who made the charms.

~ Send them to remaker by April 21st.  Please include $4.00/First Class or $5.25/Priority Mail in the U.S., or $5.00/International First Class for return postage.

~ In return, each participant will receive a random selection of awesome upcycled charms!

~ remaker will post photos of the charms to the team blog as they arrive.  

~ On April 28 we will announce a winner, courtesy of randomizer, from all eligible participants. One lucky someone will Win 50 Custom Made 1" Buttons from pinOmatic.

If you're interested in participating, send remaker a convo via her etsy shop for more information.


What's Up Wednesday: Junksmith in Illinois!

Electric Blue Pull-tab Earrings

If you happen to be near Elk Grove Village Illinois on Saturday March 10th you may want to stop by the Lutheran Child and Family Services Luncheon and Fashion Show which benefit's Chicago's Uptown Ministry. Our very own Nancy Kingsbury of
junksmith will be there from 10:30 'til 2!

Lutheran Child and Family Services Luncheon and Fashion Show
Saturday March 10th from 10:30 am 'til 2:00pm
The Avalon Banquets Hall in Elk Grove Village, IL.

The event looks to be a very good time and
Nancy's one-of-a-kind works are not to be missed!
Image © junksmith


What's Up Wednesday: Twitch and Whiskers Contest Winner

We are pleased to announce the winner of Twitch and Whiskers February contest, "Design Your Own" Thimblism Necklace. The lucky winner is our own trashionteam member Shanna, of Vintage Redoux.  Shanna chose the elements in the necklace from Mei-Ling's (Twitch and Whiskers) large selection of supplies, and this beautiful creation was the result. 

Congratulations, Shanna, and beautiful work, Mei-Ling!

One of a kind Thimbilism Necklace

 Image © Twitch and Whiskers


What's Up Wednesday: Mardi Gras Goes Greener

Yesterday was Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, traditionally a day of excess prior to the beginning of Lent.  The festivities in New Orleans have generated tons of garbage, most of which has ended up in landfills.  However, efforts to reduce the waste and usher in a greener Mardi Gras are being made by groups such as Verdi Gras, (, whose mission is to create and support a "cleaner, greener" Mardi Gras, and Arc of Greater New Orleans (, a center making efforts to recycle Mardi Gras beads.  Reena Kazman, author of Eco-Artware Notes Blog writes in an article titled "Where Mardi Gras Beads Go For Lent":

 Handwrapped Wire Upcycled Necklace
Image © funkybutchic

"An estimated 22 million pounds of cheap plastic beads, most of them imported from China, are tossed to crowds lined up for the pre-Lenten parades. Only about 2 percent of those are recycled, but Arc Enterprises in New Orleans is working to increase that ratio. It places recycling bins along the parade routes and its “Catch and Release” trailer follows some of the floats."

"To reduce waste, Arc Enterprises devises places for Mardi Gras revelers to pitch their beads and baubles for reuse.  Revelers are also encouraged to toss their throws back in to the trailer for recycling and resale to nexty year's float riders.  Last year the organization, which employs the disabled, sorted through 100,000 pounds of reclaimed beads."

Spiral Sun Bookmarker
© naturemadescents

To learn more about the recycled Mardi Gras bead efforts, and to see how one New Orleans artist is using them, see the entire article at: 

On the home front, etsy trashionteam artists recycle beads and baubles every day.  Check out these recycled creations with a Mardi Gras flair.

 See You Later Alligator Upcycled Faucet Handle Necklace 


Twitch and Whiskers February Contest

Love is in the air!
In honor of Valentines Day, Twitch and Whiskers February Contest has everything to do with hearts. The prize is a FREE
"Design Your Own" Thimblism Necklace. Yikes!

This customizing service is a fun twist on her popular Thimblism line, and her newest offering for the New Year. Customers ordering this service (as well as the winner of this contest), will be able to create a truly unique charm necklace. Simply select your favorite thimble, charm, bead cap, bead and chain from her large collection of fun supplies and
she'll build the necklace of your dreams!

Check out the Twitch and Whiskers blog for details, but hurry!
The contest ends on February 8th at midnight!

Images & Text © Twitch and Whiskers


Enter: The Year of the Dragon

Dragon Chinese Zodiac Print by Chet Art

Check out the amazing shop of Chet Phillips Illustration.
His "collection of foolishness is created using the natural media painting software Painter"
Each print is signed on archival ultra premium matte paper.

His work will bring a smile to your face!

Visit Chet Art to sign up for email announcements and specials.

Read his interview on "It's Art" and check out
his "Now infused with vitamins blog!"

 All content copyright ⓒ Chet Phillips


Scavenger Hunt with Twitch and Whiskers

Ring in the New Year by winning a $25 gift certificate
from one of our fabulous Trashion Team members...
Twitch and Whiskers!

You don't have to be a genius to win.
Here is how you can enter to win the gift certificate:

1) There are 12 questions (for 2012...get it?). They can be found on the Scavenger Hunt Form. Comb through the Twitch and Whiskers Blog to find the answer to all 12 questions. Hint: use the labels on the side of the page to guide you.

2) Want to be entered twice? Share this contest on Facebook or Twitter. Indicate that you have shared it on the Scavenger Hunt Form.

3) Make sure you submit your name and email address on the form. Twitch and Whiskers will not place you on a mailing list or share your address with any one. This information will just be used to contact the winner.

The last day to enter this contest is January 8th at midnight. The winner will be randomly chosen from all entries using on January 9th.

Twitch and Whiskers will contact the winner via email on the same day. You can use the gift certificate towards any item in their Etsy Shop, for a customized piece, or in person at an upcoming show!

You can DIY (or get help from a friend).

Find the questions in this Scavenger Hunt Form
Find the answers on the Twitch and Whiskers Blog
Good luck and thanks for playing!

Images and text © Twitch and Whiskers