Tag Archives: reuse

turning wine into water (bottles, that is)

I was inspired by this cute couple’s two ideas (reusing wine bottles as carafes + thanks glassing) to make my own little glass etched wine water bottles. Then, motivated by seeing their great Salvation Army find, I swung into Goodwill during my grocery run. There I saw two pint glasses, which sparked another idea to use up my new bottle of Armor Etch. After making my $1.71 purchase I was ready to turn a PB product into a DIY project. Unfortunately, I did not have the finesse to turn the Cubs logo into a usable stencil. Many failed attempts later, heartbroken and dejected, I decided to change the logo and make the perfect gift for my brother’s birthday today. Happy ending!

I used this helpful how-to, plus the instructions of their inspiration as my number one guide. Despite their wisdom, this whole crafting thing does not come naturally to me, and it took a bit of fumbling, frustration and angst to get me to my end products.

I’m sure the following are kind of obvious to those more in tune with their inner Martha Stewart, but for the equally ungifted out there, let me share some helpful snippets.

  1. To get the wine bottle all pretty, just put it in a sink of boiling hot water. The labels come right off!
  2. Use a pair of tweezers to help you get out the design in your homemade stencil.
  3. When pulling your homemade stencil off your base, work from the outside in – this will save a lot of headache from having to redo the design again, and again…and again.
  4. Intricate stencil designs are impossible. At least they were for me. Stick to something simple unless you’re a surgeon with super steady hands.
  5. Finally, I only got the pretty finished etched look after I washed the glass with soap and water, in addition to the initial rinse.

Now you too should be able to take old bottles, jars, and thrift store finds and turn them into something snazzy!


Refurbish (v.): to make neat, clean, or complete, as by renovating, re-equipping, or restoring (World English Dictionary)

I am not much of a DIY crafter, but I did muster enough courage to refurbish my old bulletin board from high school.

And made this nifty wall decor for my kitchen nook.

It was one of those things I’ve been meaning to do forever. With no job and an excess of boredom I finally got it done. It only took me a few ridiculously simple steps.

1. Clean border.

2. Tape off edges.

3. Paint. Let dry. Paint. Let dry. Paint. Let dry.

4. Arrange little recipe cards from Real Simple. Add ribbon.

5. Pin in place.

All done. I ended up with a bit of space on the end, but all in all I’m pretty happy with it. I would love to tell you that it was totally free, but I did splurge on $13 worth of supplies.

Paint ($3.99)
Brushes ($4.19)
Bird ribbon ($2)
Thumb tacks ($2.78)

    Thankfully I have plenty of brushes and paint and tacks to spare for whatever creative inspiration comes next!

    the “less is more fun” approach to souvenirs

    Ben & I were fortunate enough to meet an interesting Canadian couple during the Rwandan leg of their yearlong tour around the world. While sharing about their light packing strategies, they happened to mention they were collecting beer labels from all the places they visited. Flat, and virtually weightless, beer labels were a little souvenir they could sustainably carry across three continents. We thought it was pretty clever and so the collecting began.

    Our label collection remained tucked away for almost ten months before I finally got around to putting them to use. I am not much of a crafter. I am reluctant to experiment with making anything that might end up as clutter. Plus, I find it intimidating. However, with nothing but time on my hands, I managed to venture into Michael’s eleven days ago. In the interest of full disclosure, I want to be honest that a craft that could easily be finished in a day or two took me almost two weeks. Nevertheless, I did finish.

    It was pretty simple. I just purchased a plain, unfinished wood frame ($4.99), some Mod Podge ($7.99) and a sponge brush ($0.39).

    I glued labels on the front. Waited. Glued labels on the back. Waited. Shellacked the front. Waited. Shellacked the back. Done.

    I have no idea how long this little frame will last, but it looks pretty good for now.