Recycled Plastic Bag Tote

Crafts ’n things Craft of the Day


Celebrate Earth Day! Instead of throwing out those old plastic grocery bags cluttering up your closet, “go green” and recycle them into a sturdy and handy tote. Mother Earth will appreciate your efforts.


  • Recycled plastic shopping bags: blue, white, grey


  • Size Q (or 19) crochet hook

Basic Supplies

scissors, ruler



To make “yarn”, cut handles from plastic grocery bag. Cut 3”-wide strip from bag. Continue cutting around bag creating one long strip. Repeat process to create multiple plastic strips.


Measure 4” from end on blue strip. Make loop on hook. Chain 16. Single crochet in second chain from hook. Make a single crochet in each of remaining chains (15 single crochets total). At end of plastic strip, overlap 6” at end of first strip with beginning 6” of second strip; crochet two together. At end of row, knot end of first plastic strip with beginning of second strip before chaining one to start next row.


Chain one. Turn crocheted piece. Single crochet in each single crochet already worked.


To change color, cut blue strip 4” from last single crochet. Tie white and blue strips into knot at end of last single crochet.


Repeat process to single crochet two rows with white strips.


Continue chaining one and working single crochets, alternating two rows of blue and two rows of white strips for 34 rows.


To end, cut blue strip 4” from last single crochet. Pull strip through loop on hook.


Fold crocheted rectangle in half so loose ends are at sides. Tuck loose ends inside. Using grey strips, single crochet sides of rectangle together forming rectangle shape.


For handle, attach grey strip to top of rectangle on one side. Chain 30. Attach chain to opposite side of rectangle. Make single crochet in each chain on handle.

Go Green!

  • Many grocery stores and retail shops provide the opportunity to recycle your plastic bags! Make the effort to bring a bunch back each time you go to the store. This helps keep bags out of landfills and cuts down on the energy used to make new bags!

by Mary Ayres

Upscale Your Dollar Store Finds

If you’re like me, the clearance aisle and the dollar aisle at any department or craft store is like being let loose in a candy store. I always manage to find something that takes my fancy and that I believe I can “do something with.” It’s typically a piece that I describe as having “good bones” – meaning it is smartly designed, robust, and useful but typically in need of a special “something extra.”

This frame is just that. It is a well-made plastic frame that takes three 2″x2″ photos. It stands up well and it has a certain charm – but that soccer ball at one end just didn’t do it for me. I don’t have kids who play soccer and I’m not a soccer player anymore – though I did play in school – so this frame needed a touch of magic to make it mine.

The photos are easy – whenever I do a photo project I always end up with lots more photos printed than I will actually use so I keep a stash of photos in my craft cabinet. These small images of my cat Molly are leftovers from recent projects so I chose three that would look good together – they have similar color schemes and they are varied in zoom – I find a mix of close-ups and longer shots usually works well in multi-photo frames like this.

Next up was some text to break up the very black area of the frame. I didn’t know if rub-ons would work on plastic but there are lots of things I don’t know will work until I try them. Turns out that rub-ons work really well!

Finally it was time to deal with the soccer ball – I wanted something big enough to cover it and to make the frame work- the answer was a huge fabric flower. I pulled it apart to remove the bit that pokes through all the pieces which is used to connect it to the flower stalk. I did this because I needed a relatively flat back to glue to the frame. Of course as soon as you pull a fabric flower apart like this, it is now in lots of pieces! I used Fabri-Tac  glue to glue the flower back together. Fabri-Tac is thick and grabs fast so it is ideal for gluing flowers.

Once the glue was set, I used E6000 to glue the plastic back on the flower to the frame – although Fabri-Tac would have done just as well.

So, an inexpensive frame now has place of pride in my home and I have a couple more of these frames ready for re-purposing when I’m in need of a fast, unique gift.

So now, what have you found recently that was inexpensive but had “good bones?” What did you do to make it your own?

  by Helen Bradley (

Tweed Pants Purse

Crafts ’n things Craft of the Day


Do you have an old pair of tweed pants that no longer fit? Don’t leave them in the closet! Instead, transform them into a fun and fashionable pants purse that’s quick and easy to sew.


  • Brown tweed pants
  • Lining fabric, 1/2 yd. for women’s size 8 (purchase additional fabric for larger size)
  • Assorted flat buttons
  • Brown ribbon: grosgrain, 1-1/2”; satin, 7/8”


  • Medium-weight interfacing
  • Sewing machine and coordinating thread
  • Needle

Basic Supplies

scissors, ruler, pencil, straight pins, iron and pressing surface


(Note: Sew all seams with right sides together, using 1/4” seam allowance, pinning and pressing as needed.)

1. Cut around pants the length from top of pants to crotch seam. (Note: Sample project was cut 10-1/2” from top of pants.) Stitching under zipper is rounded. Tear out stitching under zipper and sew a straight seam.

2. Fold lining fabric in half with right side facing in. Place cut pants shape with zipper at center front, on top of lining. Draw around edge of pants on lining with pencil. Remove pants from lining. Add 1/4” to top and side edges of drawn pants shape on lining. Cut out pants shape from folded fabric to make lining front and back. Cut two more pants shapes from interfacing. Baste interfacing shapes to wrong sides of lining shapes.

3. Turn pants inside out. With right sides facing, sew pants across bottom. Flatten one corner of pants to create a triangular point, aligning side seam with bottom corner seam. Mark a 5” line perpendicular to seam, 2-1/2” from point with pencil. Stitch along line. (See Figure 1) Trim triangle at corner, 1/4” from stitching. Repeat for remaining corner. Turn pants right side out.

Figure 1

4. Sew lining shapes together along the side and bottom edges, and finish corners in same way as pants. Do not turn lining right side out.

5. Cut two 2-1/2”x16” handles from pants fabric and interfacing. Baste interfacing to wrong side of fabric handles. Sew buttons in a line to center front of handles, beginning and ending 1-1/4” from ends. Sew buttons in a line to belt loops.

6. Fold and press one long edge of each handle over 3/4”. Fold and press opposite long edge of each handle over 1/4” to wrong side, then fold 1/2” more. Hand sew handles along 1/4” folded edge, using whipstitch. Securely sew assembled handles symmetrically to inside top front and back of bag, 1” from ends at placement of belt loops in front.

7. Fold and press top edge of lining over 1/2” to wrong side. With wrong sides of lining facing out, place lining in pants. Hand sew folded edge of lining to top edge of pants, using whipstitch.

8. Thread ribbons through belt loops on purse and tie bow in front. Sew center of bow to purse.

by Mary Ayres

Trash-To-Treasure Framed Chalkboard

Crafts ’n things Craft of the Day


Transform tired framed art into a fabulous chalkboard. The picture inside this frame was flipped over to provide a chalkboard painting surface.


  • Large frame with ornate and embossed details
  • Krylon Spray Paints: Interior/Exterior Gloss Satin Brown Boots, Ivory; General Purpose Metallic Gold; Black Chalkboard Paint


  • Krylon Interior/Exterior White Primer
  • Sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks

Basic Supplies

latex gloves, rag


(Note: Follow manufacturer’s instructions throughout.)


Remove picture from frame. Sand frame and wipe dust with tack cloth.


Wearing latex gloves to protect hands, spray paint smoothest side of picture with Black Chalkboard Paint; let dry.


Apply primer to frame; let dry. Spray Satin Brown Boots in swaths in random areas of frame; let dry. Spray embossed areas, such as corners, Metallic Gold; let dry.


Paint over frame with Ivory. While still wet, wipe some paint from detailed areas of frame with rag. Let dry.


Place chalkboard in frame; adhere on back with glue gun.

by Colette George for Krylon

Dyed Hemp Wrapped Bottles

Recycled crafting remains one of my favorite types of crafts to participate in. Ever since I was bitten by the bug a few years ago, I look at everything I might be throwing away with possibility. Glass items are one of my favorite things to salvage since there are so many ways they can be upcycled into something unique.

When I recently received an assortment of hemp products from Hemptique, I fell in love with the rustic nature of the assorted hemps and twine in different sizes and types. I love the look of hemp wrapped bottles turned into vases, so I pulled out my Rit Liquid Dyes and chose some of my favorite colors to dye the hemp with.

I prepared a dye bath using the low water immersion technique and dyed the hemp using Purple, Tangerine, Aquamarine, and Fuchsia.

Once the excess water was removed from the hemp using an old absorbent towel, I allowed the hemp to dry thoroughly and set about wrapping around some recycled bottles that had been thoroughly washed and dried.

To make your own dyed hemp wrapped bottles, tuck the frayed end under the first two or three wraps so that it will eventually be hidden.

Continue wrapping, using a little tacky glue here and there.

I chose to wrap three quarters of this bottle with Purple-colored hemp and the remaining third Tangerine. Also note how different sizes of hemp were used to add interest to the surface.

Additionally, consider dyeing some strips of cotton muslin to make some beautiful coordinating embellishments for your bottle.

Tear 2” strips of muslin and knife pleat the center using a sewing machine and contrasting thread. This strips can be used to wrap into a coil to create a beautiful floral embellishment.

As an added touch, I used metal numbers to add a personalized flair to the recycled dyed hemp bottles. The numbers can be anything of significance, birthdays, street address numbers, lucky numbers, etc.

The next time you get ready to toss that bottle, consider grabbing your Rit dyes and some hemp and create your own magnificent dyed hemp vases.

Live Life Creatively,

Melony Bradley (

Upcycled Pickle Jar Votive

How about recycling your old pickle jars into a beautiful seasonal votive? Suzanne Czosek with you today, sharing a recent upcycled home decor design. I started with a pickle jar that I soaked the label off of to create this:

1. Once the jar was clean and dry, I started a multi-layering technique with paint and inks to create the pretty texture and effect. Between each step, I let the surface dry.

2. To begin, paint the surface of the jar with white acrylic paint.

3. Using the Ranger Tim Holtz Metallic Distress Stains, in any order, streak colors down sides of painted jar. Repeat multiple times, varying colors to create a streaky effect.

4. Apply a thick coat of Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Crackle Paint in Clear Rock Candy over the entire jar.  Let dry until paint begins to dry and crackle; this may take awhile.

5. After the paint crackles, you are done on the outside. The surface of the glass will be exposed and the crackle paint is very delicate, so put it somewhere where it won’t be bumped.  An alternative to working directly on the glass is to use vellum paper cut to fit around the outside and follow the same steps.

6. Turn the jar on its side and pour clear embossing powder over surface. Heat from inside using heat gun to melt embossing powder.  Be careful as the glass will stay hot for awhile. I did this on my craft mat, which is heat resistant, and waited in between sides to let it cool off. Turn jar over and repeat embossing until entire surface is complete.

7. Finish the rim of the jar by applying gold Krylon Leafing Pen around the top. This adds a lovely gold finish.

8. I found the beautiful pearl trim at my local fabric store.  Use the Leafing Pen to add a touch of gold to the pearls to coordinate with the jar rim. Glue the pearl trim around the top edge of the jar.

The crackle effect allows the perfect amount of light to filter through and create a beautiful autumn or holiday glow.

Happy Crafting!

Suzanne Czosek from Suzz’s Stamping Spot (