A Summer of Making Stuff from Other Stuff

This summer, I’ve felt more creative than I have for a long time, and one of my favorite features in this new house of ours is a gorgeous workshop that Ben has graciously agreed to let me use for whatever happens to strike my fancy. I thought I would take this month’s post to show you a few of the fruits of my labors. A lot of these come from the fact that I’m trying to live more sustainably, which means doing away with plastic as much as possible, using salvaged or reused materials rather than buying new, and making items myself rather than purchasing them whenever I can.

Clockwise from left, these are ginger beer, ginger-turmeric Kombucha, rose-infused grapeseed oil, rhubarb-ginger jam, and oregano-infused olive oil. Fermentation is definitely one of my favorite things to do these days. I love the way flavors and scents develop over time.

I made this leash for Marji out of some scrap fabric and scrap interfacing I had lying around. The clip is from a leash Marji chewed through a few months ago.

Totes are definitely one of my favorite things to make. The one with the batik pocket was the first tote I made; since then, I’ve learned how to make the straps so that no edges are showing (and, hence, the fabric doesn’t fray to nothing before your eyes). The handles from the large floral tote actually come from an old pair of blue jeans; the green tote is just a nifty size for lunches or whatever else you want to throw in there. All are made from fabric I got from Goodwill or yard sales.

When I do craft shows or book signings, in the past I’ve had dog biscuits that I give away to anyone who buys a book. To date, I’ve kept the biscuits in little plastic bags decorated with dog stickers…which are actually super cute. However, as mentioned before, I’m trying to do away with as much plastic as possible in my life, so I wanted to find a more sustainable way to do things. This is a little drawstring baggie made from scrap fabric; the tag is made with images from old postcards on top of tags cut from old manila folders I had lying around. I’m kind of in love with these, to be honest.

Please forgive the background on this one – I was trying to do something with the fabric in back, but it just wasn’t working and I ran out of time. At any rate, this is Marji’s new dog bed. The inside is an old cushion I got for $3 from Goodwill. I salvaged the zipper from the cushion cover, and sewed it into a cover made from more Goodwill fabric. The top is a super-soft blue fabric that Marji loves.

So… Those are just a few of the things I’ve made lately. I had never considered myself particularly crafty before this year, but I’ve been having a blast with the sewing machine Ben got me for Christmas, and don’t foresee a time when I’ll run out of projects I’m eager to try. Are there things that you make yourself, or have made in the past? Whether it’s jams or jellies, plant holders or pot stickers, I’d love to hear what you make with your own two hands.


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2 Responses to A Summer of Making Stuff from Other Stuff

  1. Wow, Jen. Green with envy, and inspired to go get my sewing machine fixed so I can be creative, too. But when do you have time to write?


    • jenbloodauthor says:

      That’s the eternal question, isn’t it? I’ve been pretty strict about getting 3,000 words per day done on this latest book over the past couple of months – all the fun play stuff comes afterward. Luckily, it seems like this book is just kind of writing itself. I’m just along for the ride! If only it were always that easy.

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