Mother Nature is My Home Girl

Happy Earth Day, y’all!   (And thanks, Google… you always come through with your clever home screens right when I think I might forget medium important holidays and random botanists’ birthdays.)

But seriously, I love the planet, I love DIY, and it’s no secret that I love saving the murnies, so logically I love upcycling like nobody’s business.

Bring on the Earth-Day-themed-upcycling-posts-throwback-round-up-trip-down-memory-lane-smorgasbord-of-April-twenty-second’s love!


(Click on the image or the link above the image to take you to the original post!)

Vinyl Record Bowl

free dog toy toilet paper roll

Nice Knobs!  (Salvaged Crystal Door Knobs)


Vintage Yardsticks and Rulers

{Source: Corner House Blog}

Wine Cork Crafts

{Source: ewehoo!}


Man Candles

Ever since I saw these candles at the Old City Market in Charleston, I’ve been wanting to make my own.

I already knew how to cut glass bottles (from this tutorial), so the plan was to follow this artisan’s lead and use these as the vessels for the poured wax (though she admitted she actually uses a glass cutter, not the fire/string/acetone method I use).

Josh and I spent the better part of an evening working on a large collection of empty bottles.  Without fail, the Brooklyn Lager bottles cut the first time, every single time.  However, some of the others were a bit fickle (different types of glass, slightly different shape, who knows?).

Eventually, we ended up with this:


And after ordering a plethora of soy wax, a roll of wick, wick tabs, and a bottle of vanilla scented oil,  we went to work.  Or, at least we planned on it.


That’s our plethora of soy wax.

See, while I love the glass cutting method I use as a way to make vases or containers for pens and other homey items, using the cut glass as a candle holder just doesn’t work.  Because despite my efforts to get the most precise cut, even the best bottles have a smidgen of a jagged or even sharp edge.  This didn’t sound too appealing, especially when I though about trying to get a match or lighter down in there once the wick was reaching the end of its life.

Imagine our disappointment when we set aside an entire night to do these candles, only to realize/decide we were going about it all wrong (especially my disappointment, seeing as Josh was wanting to do something crafty with me!).  The realization went like this:

ME:  (Surveying the bottles with disdain) I just DON’T think this is going to work anymore.

JOSH:  No?

ME:  No.


ME: I’m going to the dollar store.

JOSH:  Wha… Why?!

And then I was gone.

We actually have two dollar stores on our street (we are so fancy in Ditmas Park).  The first one… Meh.  Per usual.  The second always delivers and this time was no exception.

Honestly, I wasn’t gong in completely blind — I was looking for some kind of glass beer mug.  If I was going to make man candles, and the used beer bottles weren’t going to work, this was my solution.  (What’s manlier than a beer mug?)  What I found was… a glass beer mug.  (Yay second dollar store!) I bought three at a lovely $1.49 each, and not a moment too soon because as soon as I went to the counter, the holly jolly Christmas music shut off abruptly.  (Apparently it was closing time, and unlike the song, there wasn’t one last call for alcohol… mugs.  Stay with me, friends.)


So… I went home, Josh and I melted some wax, added a little bit o’ vanilla goodness, did the whole wick and tab thing, waited twenty four hours (after walking by the candles many times, desperately wanting to light them), and voila!

Well, not voila quite yet. It was actually a little more time-consuming than that.  First, I made a wick centering apparatus using two bamboo skewers and a rubber band:


Then I measured and cut the wick, then crimped it at the end with my wick tab (and pliers):


Then I added the vanilla oil to the melted wax (which we couldn’t stop sticking up to our noses — it is some goooood stuff).


After we melted the wax over the stove and added the fragrance…


…we poured it into the beer mugs, paying special attention to keep our wicks centered:


NOT centered. Boo. I had to play with this one a bit to get it back on track.

Here’s a progress shot:


Then a little later…


You can sort of see the bottoms of the mugs starting to harden and get foggy.

Then, the next morning, they had hardened until they were completely opaque (of course I got no pictures of this momentous occasion .  They were usable candles, but they were missing that extra something that makes them “gifts” as opposed to “this cool thing I made for us at home.”  It was high time for my B.F.F., PicMonkey and I to hang out. (I’m no stranger to PicMonkey.  You should check out all the good he has to offer here and here.)

Keeping with good ol’ gender stereotypes (yes!), I made this logo:


(Yes, PicMonkey has a WIDE ARRAY of mustachioed options.)

I borrowed that awesome image of a Victorian era boxer.  (I found it in a Google image search, and it’s from this website.  I do NOT own this image, nor am I using it for personal profit — it is merely for some gifts I’m giving family and nothing else.  Just covering all of my good blogging karma bases :)

I printed it out in black ink (what else?) on part of a leftover brown paper bag.  This turned of to be the perfect material, because not only was it printer friendly, but it adhered to the glass mug super well (I guess because it was so thin).  I used — believe it or not — a glue stick, which worked surprisingly well.  (And in case you’re wondering, it has passed the sitting-in-my-living-room-on-a-rainy-day-with-the-windows-open test, and it hasn’t peeled up a bit).

Ok, blah blah, blah…. Here’s the finished product:



I’m REALLY pleased with how it turned out, especially considering I was able to design and print the “label” myself using nothing but Paintbrush and PicMonkey:

2012-12-09 10.17.07-1

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I named the scent “Valiant Vanilla.”   (Yeah, sandalwood would probably make more sense as a manly scent, but… hindsight 20/20. Whatever.)   I briefly considered “Virile Vanilla,” but I can’t NOT think of the phrase “sperm count” when I hear the word virile, and that makes me really giggly.  Which is not a way to be when giving Christmas presents to your male family members.

Oh, and I have since burned our own man candle, and it smells delightful… er, valiant.  Yes.

In fact, we enjoyed the candle making experience so much, that we found two more fillable candle vessels:



Yay!  Perhaps this will become like my new spray paint.  You know?  Constantly looking for new things to stick a wick and wax in and call a candle?  The way I seek out any ugly metal surface for my spray paint addiction?  (And I don’t mean huffing).

Look out, dollar store #2.  I’m coming for you.

courtney gpp signature 2

Handmade Christmas Gifts (I have faith in you)

Hi blog reading friends (both old and new),

Even though I’ve been around for a little over a year and have a very loyal readership that’s been with me from the beginning, I’ve recently acquired quite a bunch of new readers.  (Is it the volume of posts and pins?  The recent return to writing week-daily?  The slow-release ginger magic?)

So, since we are in a gift-giving time of the year, and since I try to make gifts and save money when I can, I thought I’d share a few ideas I’ve had (in the past) that I think would work well as Christmas gifts (whether individually or with something else).

For the full scoop — including a tutorial bedecked with sarcastic, strange, and/or pithy comments, — just click on the image to be linked back.

Oh, and unlike most of my round-ups, which are complete with inspiration from the World Wide Web, these are actually all my own ideas, pics, and… again… sarcastic, strange, and/or pithy comments.  So if you’re going to link or pin anything here, please attach the permalink, not just the blog’s URL (I’d do the same for you, my little chickens!).

Glass etching

DIY Chalkboard

Painted spoons

Handmade Clipboards

Unique Christmas Trees

As you may member from this post, I am allergic to Christmas trees.  A bit sad, perhaps, but I’ve always made due with fake ones and been perfectly content (I mean, I don’t really know any different, so I guess I don’t really know what I’m missing, right?).

Aside from fake yet real-looking ones, I also love other non-traditional types of trees, too.  (I have a fantastic gold metal tree that currently resides at my parents’ house.)

So in the spirit of Charlie Brown, space age metallic trees, and sad little children with evergreen allergies, I thought I would do a round-up of unique, non-living tree alternatives.


{Source: Unknown, via Pinterest}

{Source: Fire and Ice}

{Source: Unknown, via Pinterest}

{Source: Unknown, via Pinterest}

{Source: Unknown, via Pinterest}

Christmas Tree Ornament Mobile

{Source: Not Martha}

Beer Cap Magnet Tutorial

Curiously, one of the things that brings the most traffic to my blog are Pins and links to the beer cap magnets I made back in December.

Curious because these were just something I threw together, literally with what I had laying around… plus a few glue sticks and a roll of magnetic tape.  And since the non-tutorial is just sort of grouped together with a post about a bunch of other things I made as Christmas presents, I thought it was high time I devoted a post to just the beer cap magnets.

To call it a tutorial would be silly, because they’re so easy to make and require no skill/creativity, but… yeah, this is a tutorial.

You’ll need:

  • Beer caps (or soda bottle caps or whatever)
  • Magnets (I recommend the magnetic tape rolls)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Washer or cork or some kind of spacer

Take the beer cap — which you undoubtedly obtained by giving it the ol’ college try — and glue the spacer to the bottom in the hollow of the beer cap.  Metal washers are great for this, but I actually used old wine corks for mine (in keeping with the libations theme).

I took each wine cork and cut it into small slices using a serrated kitchen knife.  Each cork yielded about three spacers.  And like the beer caps, they were free!

Then I took a small strip of magnetic tape — small, because the beer caps weigh nothing — and even though it’s tape, I put a dot of hot glue on the cork before pressing on the magnet.  That’s it!

The beer caps and cork were free, the pack of hot glue sticks was a whopping dollar (and I only used two to make a dozen), and the roll o magnetic tape was about four bucks (and I only used about one fourth of it).  That’s pretty darn penny-pinchery, if I do say so myself.

And he’s the finished product!

beer cap magnets

There.  All myths dispelled.  These things really are just that simple.

Nudge.  Nudge.  Hey — if you’ve Pinned this before, do ya mind re-Pinning it?  Then people will be directed to this helpful little post…. and I won’t get so many emails about how to make them and “are they really just beer caps and magnets?” and compliments about how cute my dogs are.  April Fool’s.  Keep the e-mails coming… Especially if they’re complimentary ones about my babies.

Free dog bed

See you tomorrow — we finnin’ to paint some spoons up in here!

Holla!   Bye!

E6000 Glue Don’t Play

As you may remember from Tuesday’s post, I was on my way to an audition — in the rain — and broke my favorite shoe.  That is to say one of my favorite pairs of shoes… not necessarily my one singular favorite shoe…  you get it.

Here’s the tragic picture:

Perhaps this means I don’t have my priorities in line, but whatever… I totally cried while walking to the train in Brooklyn.  Fortunately, Josh was with me and talked me down (which is a good thing, since I ended up getting cast in the show that I was auditioning for that day).

However, this left me with only one half of my favorite pair of shoes.

Enter his majesty, E6000 glue…

Now, if you’re not familiar with “the amazing” E6000 glue, you’re probably missing out.  It is basically a miracle worker in tube form (not to be confused with the Helen Keller play).  Obviously, I turned to E6000 in my hour of need.

I waited until the next day, just to make sure the shoe was reeeaaallllly dry (it had been raining, after all), then I used a plastic knife and spread it in between the separated part of the shoe… kinda like peanut butter… a fast-drying, slightly toxic peanut butter, that is.

Caution: If you use this stuff, be very careful.  It’s like a lot of strong glues in that it can actually fuse skin together.  Eek!  The urban legends are true in this case.

Then I squeezed the shoe together and held it like that for about two minutes.  It would have been a good time for a C-clamp if I owned one, but alas I did not, so I used my own kind of C-clamp (get it?  C is for Courtney? #lamejokesarethebest).

I didn’t even go near the shoe until the following day, but when I did, I put them both on and had my own private dance party to that new Usher song (the scream one?)… There are no pictures or video footage of said dance party.

But I do have some after pics of the shoes for you, just so you can see the magic of the glue.

Here’s the sad, Jonah before pic one more time:

Here’s the happy after pic:

Hooray!  Good as new.  No more crying in the middle of Ditmas Avenue for me!  Unless, of course, it happens again — with the other shoe.  (Maybe I should take preventative measures?)

Anyone else out there have a miracle worker crafty thing?  Or an even more superior super duper glue?  Or an amusing skin-fusing anecdote?!  Share :)

Ah, Plastic Utensils

About three weeks ago I did a round-up about upcycled silverware.

Here are some of my faves…

Rock On x Peace x Love Special Collector set 3 Silverware Coat Hooks

{Source: JJEverson Art}

{Source: Pretty Handy Girl}

Upcycled silverware got me thinking about upcycled plastic utensils, particularly spoons… (And by upcycled, I really just mean the utensils that you get from take-out that you might otherwise just throw away.  Or maybe you threw a party and now you find yourself with ten thousand spoons and all you need is a knife. Yeah, I just quoted Alanis Morisette.)

Regardless of how you got them (or get them), it turns out that they can do some handy dandy things aside from fill the farthest recess of your silverware drawer.

So… Here are my finds!

Click on the image or refer to the caption for the original source.  Please do the same if you choose to pin any of these lovelies — let’s give credit where credit is due!

recycled plastic spoons

Spoon Chandelier
{Source: Furniture Kue}

plastic spoons - what?

Chrysanthemum Plastic Spoon mirror
{Source: Addicted 2 Decorating}

Plastic spoons!!

Plastic spoon wreath
{Source: Nesting Place}

Melted plastic spoon flower
{Source: Indulgy}

spoon mirror via country living From Trash to Treasure

{Source: From Trash to Treasure}

Plastic spoon chandelier

{Source: blog.gecko}

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Don’t forget…

Blogs I Heart

With Saturday being my blog’s 8 month-iversary and all, I thought instead of being all “yay GPP!”  I would pass on the love to a few of my faves from the blogosphere.  My blog life would be a lot less exciting (and probably short-lived) without the constant inspiration and encouragement I get from these blogs.  I’ve provided the links below, as well as a description of each.  Check ’em out — perhaps you’ll enjoy them as much as I do!

Young House Love — Yeah, this is definitely at the top of my list for a reason.  I love this “pair of DIY dorks” (their description, not mine).  Their style is modern but comfortable and classic, and we happen to share a love for the same colors, so my attraction was instantaneous.  Not to mention they also have a penchant for penny pinching and crafty-ness — what’s not to love?

Bower Power — This is another home decor, general crafty-ness type of blog.  I especially like Katie’s writing for her goofiness, humor, and honesty.  Oh yeah, and she won Apartment Therapy’s The Homies 2012 for best home design blog, so she must be doing something right!
Better After

Better After — Everyone loves a make-over, so it’s no secret why I love a blog purely featuring the befores — and more importantly — the afters of everything from furniture to clothes.

Older And Wisor

Older and Wisor — This is a well-written and super funny blog overflowing with crafty goodness (and all of her projects are very budget-friendly).  She only writes when inspiration strikes her, which could be daily or monthly, so this is definitely one to subscribe to.

Confessions of a Cookbook Queen — This lady is crazy — and I mean that in the best way possible.  Though I love to cook, and I have no doubt her recipes are fabulous, I primarily read this one for her anecdotal intros which are always hilarious.  No, seriously.  Check her out.

Centsational Girl — This is a home decor blog that helps me get in touch with my muted-colors-and-white-can-be-beautiful-too side.  No, you will not find any flashes of orange or lime green, but you will find classic style and lovely ideas.  And of course, look at the name of her blog — obviously she’s a girl after my own heart.

Brokelyn — This webmag is all about budget Brooklyn, featuring deals on restaurants, nightlife, arts and culture, et al.  They also have a classifieds section and sometimes have job postings, with an emphasis on BK based stuff.  Above all, their writing style is tongue-in-cheek, quirky, and everything I fancy in a blog.

Regretsy — “Where DIY meets WTF.”  (Yeah, I’m pretty sure they have the market cornered on greatest blog tag line of all time.)  They curate works from Etsy and other websites, from which point Regretsy members may humorously (and often mercilessly) comment.  In fact, this sort of community commentary is one of the things that makes this blog so fun, so if you do check this one out, don’t forget to scroll down and participate.  Reactions vary from post to post, but I have experienced everything from I-can’t-see-straight-because-I’m-weeping funny to Oh-my-God-what-possessed-someone-do-that-with-a-glue-gun-and-human-hair horror (I wish I could say that I was exaggerating). So, if you need a funny fix or you’re prepared to scratch your head in bewilderment, check it out. (And for those dissenters of Regretsy, the writers are never cruel, they simply post items that they’ve found online and open up the floor for discussion.  Oh yeah, and they give A LOT of money to charity, so they’re A-OK by me.)

Apartment Therapy — Duh.  This one is hardly a secret, but I thought it worthy of note, especially since it occupies so much space on my Google Reader.  That said, if you do choose to subscribe to them, you will be inundated with a barrage of posts… like 5-10 a day… if not more  They’re not kidding around (thus the recommended Reader route and not an e-mail subscription — just my two cents).  Though the name of this blog is Apartment Therapy, they are by no means just about apartments (though they do host the ever popular Small, Cool Contest).  They are all about home decor — every budget and style — and feature before-and-afters, round-ups, house tours — a little bit of everything.  For me, I mainly use Apartment Therapy as a reference for ideas and inspiration when it comes to decorating my own space — their archives floweth over.

Ok, these are by no means the only blogs I subscribe to, but these are the ones that more often than not make me turn my head, slow my constantly scrolling mouse finger, and stop what I’m doing.  However, I’m continuously finding and falling in love with new blogs, and I encourage taking suggestions!

How about you folks?  Are there any blogs that inspire, amuse, bewilder, and befuddle you (but in a good way)?  Share!

Upcyclying Silverware

Ready to go on a journey with me?  Ok!

This month is National Salad Month… Which obviously got me thinking about salads… which also got me thinking about… Forks… which got me thinking about the various uses of a fork… you know, aside from shoveling food and combing mermaid hair.

And this thought process lead me to this week’s Things that (P)inspire Me post: Upcycled Silverware (I didn’t say this was a normal person’s thought process).


I have long coveted the crafty skills of those who make silverware wind chimes (a blow torch has been on my Christmas wish list for a few years now).  However, in my research I discovered a great many other things the can be done with old silverware.  And what I especially love about these projects, aside from the sheer upcycled crafty-ness involved, is the fact that you can get old silverware from thrift stores for pennies (well, maybe quarters).

Want to know where something came from or how to make it? Just click on the image and/or refer to the caption for its original source.  Remember that if you Pin, give credit where credit is due (in this case, not The Ginger Penny Pincher).

First, silverware wind chimes…

Repurposed Sterling Silver Goblet Cascading Silverware Chime Wind Chime Recycled Silverware Wind Chime

Source: Malinda Dickens Designs

fork twist wind chime with beads

{Source: Holyoke Studio}

silverware wind chimes

{Source: JJEvenson Art}

silver spoon fish wind chimes

{Source: Twisted Metals}

Silverware chandeliers…..

Hanging lamps #upcycled from silver spoons.

{Source: Reccashay}

Add some baubles and a pendant can easily become a chandelier. (Though, I have left ”chandeliers made from upcycled vintage treasures for another day.)  This Eat Drink Be Merry Chandelier by Jose Esteves for Anthropologie  turns vintage spoons and forks into a $4,800 work of art.

{Source: Anthropologie}

Fork chandelier

{Source: Matt Blatt}

Silverware Hooks and Hangers…

Rock On x Peace x Love Special Collector set 3 Silverware Coat Hooks

{Source: JJEvenson Art}


{Source: Recyclart}

Fork hooks

{Source: The World By Us}

Fork photo holders…

Fork Photo Holder

{Source: Pretty Handy Girl}

{Source: Pretty Handy Girl}

Silverware jewelry…

Fork Bracelet

{Source: Stars for Streetlights}

Fork bracelet

{Source: John Marchello via Use it Again}

John Marchello

{Source: John Marchello via Trend Hunter}

fork necklace!

{Source: McFlashpants Etsy shop via Collecting Vintage and Contemporary Jewelry}

Upcycled forks and spoons rings

{Source: More Design Please}

Grab a button if you were featured in this week’s round-up!

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No-Sew Scarf Tutorial


Look what I made!


Now ask me some questions.  Ok?  Go!

You:  Courtney, did you have to use a sewing machine to make that fringed scarf?

Me:  Nope.

You:  Did you use a needle and thread?

Me:  Nope!

You:  Did you use… the force?

Me:  Always.

Ok, thanks for humoring me.  You’re too good.

So… If you’re not attuned to magical Star Wars powers, that’s ok.  You can still make this.  Ready?

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • An old shirt that you’re willing to part with (I used a tank top that had been ruined in the wash)
  • Scissors (for fabric)
  • About an hour of your time (I recommend doing this while watching TV)

1.  Cut off the top, just under the armholes so you end up with a tube shape.

2.  Cut thin and even strips of fringe about a third of the way up the “tube.”  I recommend really taking your time on this.  The first few I did were a little haphazard, before I realized it was not going to turn out well if I didn’t slow down (story of my life).  Cut the fringe all the way around the tube.

3.  Once you are done cutting, twist and pull each piece of fringe (so it actually resembles fringe and not so much cookie cutter strips of fabric).

4.  To get an even more shabby chic, fringe-y look, I recommend hand washing it, then hanging it up and letting it air dry (I wouldn’t machine wash it because then all of the fringe will tangle up).

Then you can wear it!



This was my very first attempt, and the shirt I used was a ribbed tank.  I think here it’s a little more obvious that it’s a shirt turned into a scarf, but I think it would work even better if it was a thinner cotton material, like the kind that a lot of women’s graphic tees are made of.  In my case, I used a women’s size small, so I’m guessing anything much bigger might be too big (unless you have an extraordinarily long torso).

My favorite thing about this project is that it reuses a shirt that would have been otherwise destined for the thrift store or garbage can.  Or in my case, just another addition to an already large collection of painting shirts (I mean, it’s kind of out of control).

Not to mention, there’s a scarf involved.  I mean, can you have too many scarves?!?!

(No, Josh.  The answer is “no,” you cannot have too many scarves.)