Monday, November 15, 2010

Playing card purse

Want to be the talk of the party?? Show up with this purse.

We all have a board game that is missing pieces, or a deck of cards that is missing a 4 of hearts. Instead of throwing them away ( or recycling them!!!) why not make this cool upcycled card purse!

Here is what you will need.

1 deck of cards, they can be anything, Poker, Uno, Monopoly property, etc. (We had a set of Uno that seems to be missing about 20 cards.)
X-acto blade
Duct tape
Clear tape ( we used the clear tape on this project, however after finishing it we thought that contact paper or self stick laminate would work better. Not that the clear tape didn't work, we just thought it would be easier to cut out the shape in one large piece then several pieces.  You can find contact paper and self stick laminate usually in near kitchen items.)
Something to trace out the handle
A cutting surface
A ruler

First you want to cut out the pattern for your purse.  We used two old purses Mrs. Awesome had lying around to make our template.  There is no right or wrong here.  We found this metal thing in our catch all drawer and used it to trace out the opening for the handle.

When you are happy with your template cut it out.

Next you need to make Duct Tape fabric.  If you have never done it, don't stress, it is super easy. First cut off a piece of Tape longer the your template. Lay it sticky side down.  Next cut another piece of tape the same length and over lap it on to the first piece of tape.

Keep adding a strip of Duct Tape until the fabric is larger then your template.

Now, carefully, pull the Duct Tape up and flip it over so the sticky side is facing up.

It is time to add the cards.  Start on the bottom row first.  Add cards one by one, lining up the edges. Add them any way you want. There is no right or wrong to this. 

Now move to the next row. Because of the size of our template the middle row is turned on its side.  However you might find that your purse is bigger so you will not have to do this. ( Another note. The Uno cards we used did not have square corners, as you can see in the top picture with the red 6 and green 7. This is not a problem. The card are protected when you add the clear tape or contact paper.

Add the last row and you are finished.
Now put your template on top of the cards just to make sure you have enough cards on the Duct Tape fabric. Add more if you need it. We had plenty so we trimmed off the extra Duct tap on the edges.

Now you have one card sheet.  Take your clear tape and just like the duct tape, over lap the strips only this time on the front of the play cards. This will protect the cards and make the whole sheet stronger. 

(This is the point we thought the contact paper or laminate would work better. This way you can cut one big sheet instead of the 6 or 7 strips of the clear tape.  Either way go slow and smooth out so you don't have any bubbles)

Now repeat the same steps as above so you end up with two sheets of playing cards.

Next take your template lay it on top of your cards and with the X-acto blade cut out your purse shape on the card sheet.

Now you have the front and the back panels cut out.  Time to work on the side. 

Start again by making Duct Tape fabric. Place one card down vertically and cut a piece of Duct tape just longer then the length of the card. We suggest you over lap the cards by at least an inch. This over lap of tape is what will connect the sides with the front and back pieces you just made.

Add the next card on top of the first card to make one single card sheet.  Add the next piece of Duct Tape and so on.  Keep going until you have all the cards to need. Our side strip contained 13 cards.

Once you have the card sheet set, turn it over so the sticky part is facing up, and trim the duct tape. Remember to leave a little over hang to attach this strip to the front and back panel pieces.

When you are done trimming,cut the duct tape, towards the playing cards, into little tabs about a half an inch to an inch wide.  This will help the tape fold around the edges of the front and back panels and the tape won't bunch up on you.

Now it is time to attach the front and back pieces.  We used 13 cards in the side strip and we used 5 cards on the bottom row of the front and back of the bag, so finding the middle was easy.  We lined up the 3rd card (yellow 2) on the front sheet, to the 7th card on the middle strip.

Did the exact same thing with the back sheet. Lined up the 3rd card ( blue 5) with the 7th card on the middle strip.

This next step is going to take a little time and patients.  You are going to fold the edges around so the sides line up.  Start with the front and work only one side at a time. 

Slowly bend the side around the edge and attach the Duct tape to the inside. If you make a mistake don't stress, you can still pull the duct tape up without to much trouble.  Just go slow.

Once you have one side done, move on to the next side. When it is all finished press down on the duct tape and smooth it out. Make sure it is stuck well.  When you are done, flip it over and do it again for the back side.

Again when you are all finished, the the sides line up the way you want them, press down and smooth out the Duct Tape to make sure it is sealed.
Cut off any extra cards and trim up the opening at the top.

Then add the clear tape to the sides, the same way you added them to the front and the back panel of cards.
Again we think the contact paper would be easier, just because you can cut one strip. Go slow, and smooth out so there are no air bubbles.

And there you have it a playing card purse.

Now go party!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

More and More Plastic!

We hate plastic.  It took us a while, but after reading the facts on plastic bags it really opened up our eyes. We realized that we needed to change our ways.  Let us drop some knowledge on you.

Since 1977, our consumption rate of plastic bags has grown from nothing, zip, zero, to almost 500 billion plastic bags annually.
Americans use 4 million plastic bottles every hour-Yet only 1 bottle out of 4 is recycled.
A plastic milk jug takes 1 million years to decompose
Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1 million sea creatures every year.
An estimated 14 billion pounds of trash, most of it plastic, is dumped in the world's oceans every year.
Approx. 380 billion plastic bags are used in the United States every year. Approx. 100 billion of the 380 billion are plastic shopping bags
According to MSN, the production of plastic bags creates enough solid waste per year to fill the Empire State Building two and a half times.
The petroleum used to make only 14 plastic bags could drive a car 1 mile.
Almost 1/3 of the waste generated the U.S. is plastic packaging.
Every year we fill enough garbage trucks, most of it plastic, to form a line that would stretch from the earth, halfway to the moon.
Today, Americans generate 10.5 million tons of plastic waste a year but recycle only 1 or 2 % of it.
Recycling one ton of plastic bags would save 11 barrels of oil.
The first plastic shopping bag produced, used and thrown away in 1977 is still sitting in a landfill.
It takes up to 1000 years for plastic bags to biodegrade in our landfills.
As polyethylene breaks down, toxic substances leach into the soil and enter the food chain.

Sick to your stomach yet?  There is one more. In the amount of time it takes you to read this sentence 60,000 plastic bags will be used here in the United States. I will give you a second to vomit.

The average family of four uses 1460 plastic bags a year.  So what is a person to do? Well unless you are living under a rock, you have seen the reusable canvas bags everywhere. Most stores sell them for about a dollar. And some retailers like Target, while still ordering 1.8 billion plastic bags a year-(WJS), do give a 5 cent discount if you use a reusable bag. 

While our family is into the canvas shopping bags, (we have a couple cool versions we will show you down the road), when we get done shopping, we still brought home plastic.  The cheese is wrapped in plastic,  the chicken is in plastic, the plastic around the plastic the crackers are in, the plastic bag the candy is in and the plastic we used to put all the fruit and veggies in.    UGH!!

This leads us to our cool project. The reusable produce bag!  This is easy. We were laughing at the fact we had not done this earlier. (seemed almost like a no brainer, we use canvas bags, why not reusable produce bags.)

We did not use a canvas material, but found a really cool (and good strength) green fish net material.  This way you could see what produce you have, when you are checking out, without opening the bag. Plus it was neon green, we couldn't resist.

Here is what you need.

Fishnet type of material
String (we had a roll of ribbon laying around, but any string will work)
Pencil or chop stick
Sewing machine.

We cut the material into a rectangle, 22 inches by 13 inches. However the measurements of this can be any size you want.  If you buy a lot of corn, you will need a bigger bag, or maybe you want a smaller bag , there is no right or wrong here.

After cutting out your rectangle, lay it flat in front of you and fold down the top edge. This is where your draw string will go through. Again depending on what string you have will depend on your fold. We folded our top down a half an inch.

Then sew it.

Cut your string  about two inches longer then the length of your material. Example: our material length is 22 inches so we cut the ribbon 24 inches.

Take your pencil, tape the string to one end and pull it through the fold you just made. This is the draw string that will close up the bag.

Tie the ends together into a knot.

Flip the bag inside out, then fold in half so the sides and bottom line up. Then, again, sew up the bottom and the open side.
Trim off any extra material. Flip the bag right side out and WA-LA... a reusable produce bag.

This bag can hold 7 good size onions with plenty of room to spare.  Pull the draw string closed so the onions don’t roll away and you are all set.

We use these bags for everything, from green peppers to apples, even tried a pineapple.

We told you this was easy.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Every year Mrs. Awesome and I have a booth at a craft show.  We sell Upcycled items, from record bowls to bottle top bracelets and everything in between.  This year, while we were talking to customers about living life a little greener and the cool things we had made, we got a lot of requests for business cards or our website.  Since this is the only show we do, and we do it mainly for fun, we don’t have a business card, let alone a web site.  That night we talked about starting a blog. We wanted something easy, where we could share our projects; talk about going green; ideas to live a little simpler and above all saving money.  So…..Drum roll please…DA DUM...DA DUM!    Here it is!!    We wanted this blog to be a little bit of info, a lot of DIY and above all else get your mind turning.  Most of the projects we do come from an idea we had, then googled, or a project we found.  We just added a little of our awesomeness touch to it. We are far from perfect, but we do our best to be green and keep it simple. Most of what we do in the end, saves money; and I have yet to meet someone who hates saving money.  For some of you, there will be nothing new, and that is cool. It means like us, you are looking for a simpler and, if you can, a greener way of living.  We would love to hear how you did it.  For others there will be things in here you have never seen or always wanted to try. That is also cool, if we can make your creative juices flow; we want to hear about that too.  We are going to post all kinds of awesome things, like our adventure in making homemade Twinkies; or Mrs. Awesome’s candy wrapper belts.  There will be food (home made hot sauce), gardening (DIY Rain Barrel), crafts (Vacation Coasters), Christmas (Recycled ornaments), green (Water bottle green house) and simple living ideas.  We will post pictures, hopefully some video, and as many instructions as we can. We will have links for you to follow and a comment section below;  so you can tell us what twist you put into a project.  We hope you enjoy this blog, share your awesome projects with us, and share our projects with your friends!!