Category Archives: Upcycling

“Your Style is Just…Ecospired.”

Hi there! It’s been a few days! In my excuse, it was a national holiday (4th of July!) and I was busy buying furniture. So the little break is completely justified, right?

I was talking with my mom and she was trying to explain my furniture style to me–which sounds weird in retrospect–but she made a good point. It’s going to seem super obvious. She said: “You’re style is just… ecospired.” First of all, it’s adorable and sweet of my mom to use the word I made up, (#1 fan, thanks Mom) and second of all, she’s totally right, although I’m afraid that my ecospiration may result in my place looking like the inside of a Goodwill. I seriously hope not. But, I have a few DIYs coming up, and some new furniture, in which case the fact that I am “ecospired” will become glaringly obvious. Get excited!

This is my newest beauty in my apartment. If this doesn’t scream “ecospired,” then I don’t know what does:

It’s a driftwood coffee table that I bought off of craigslist!

Driftwood Table on Ecospired.com

Driftwood Table on Ecospired.com

Driftwood Table on Ecospired.com

Driftwood Table on Ecospired.com

My best friend (the one who endured high school with me) came with me to buy it. I’m always too chicken to go to random people’s houses via craigslist by myself. It was 25 “LA” miles away (which is the equivalent of at least 2 hours) and extremely heavy. But as my best friend said– “We’re women, we can lift this”–which was inspiring enough to sacrifice potentially throwing out our backs and bringing it into my apartment. But as you can see, we are women because it is now sitting comfortably in my living room. 😉

Love it!

Love it!

Um. Gorgeous, huh? I’m getting a bunch of new furniture because I need to love to (my roommate’s moving out). I was fishing for compliments on the table and asked my roommate, “isn’t it prettttyyy?” to which she seriously responded: “Mmhm, my grandma used to have one too.”  Thanks for that, roomie!  Apparently all the stuff I buy was once owned by someone’s grandma, so no hurt feelings here.

I also bought a chest/armoir/desk/I’m-not-really-sure-what-it’s-called a couple days before the coffee table. I’m like 107% sure that someone’s grandma owned this. I bought this at a thrift store, the second someone donated it. I literally followed the worker as they wheeled it into the store and claimed it as mine as the rest of the thrift store jealously glared at my new purchase (or something). I took it to my parents’ house because I’m considering painting it a grey/black or grey/taupe color. Or burnt orange. The white paint of the shabby-chic isn’t really my thing, but it’s growing on me. That might be the laziness in me talking. What color do you think I should paint it? Should I leave it white? Please leave me a comment and let me know!

Here’s an extremely unflattering photo of the “thing” while I was at the thrift store, which is evidently the only photo that I have of it:

ecospired.com

The theme of this post is: thrifting!

Buying used is buying green.

I know that I say this all the time, but it’s really true. The more you can imagine different possibilities with a piece of used furniture, the better off you (and the environment, and your wallet!) are. Buying used ensures less production of precious renewable and inefficient nonrenewable resources, and cultivates the mentality that you don’t always need to buy NEW things to have nice things. I’m really into home decor, but I firmly believe that it’s important to recognize your carbon footprint in all that you do, and to do something about it. A huge proponent of sustainability is simply buying used. Try it out!

By the way, am I the only person whose home decor resembles the jungle? If you’re out there, holler!

-D

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DIY Sea Glass Chandelier!

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

This is by far my favorite DIY that I’ve ever done. I made it by upcycling and using renewable materials, which is how we do it here at Ecospired! I originally saw a sea glass chandelier at none other than Anthropologie (surprise.)but it was about 10 times my budget and not exactly my style. When I find the original picture, I will definitely post it. It’s been a couple of years since then!

I first made a smaller version which you’ll see later on the in post. I like it, but it doesn’t have the BAM and grandeur as the larger chandelier. I’ve kept the small chandelier in my balcony and kept the large one inside.

Warning: This project is very time consuming, but definitely worth it!

Materials:

  • Sea glass! If you don’t have access to get it from the beach, check out Target. They have a bag of sea glass for about 5 dollars. I’d suspect that you’d need 1 of their bags to make the small chandelier, but more for the larger one.
  • Wire: I bought 24 gauge steel galvanized wire from Home Depot. 24 gauge is sturdy yet easily maleable.
  • Pliers: not completely necessary, but will make your life easier.
  • Wire cutters
  • Metal hoops (1 or 2, depending on size of project- look for picture below)
  • Beads, fake crystals, real crystals, whatever!
  • twine, rope or yarn–whatever you prefer.
  • mason jar
  • candle to fit in mason jar
  • Optional: hot glue gun
  • **If you plan to hang it, make sure to get a sturdy, appropriate ceiling hook.  If you go to your local hardware store, they can help you find the right one. 
Some of the tools you're going to need.

Some of the tools you’re going to need.

Metal hoops from JoAnn Fabrics.

Metal hoops from JoAnn Fabrics.

Here's the ceiling hook I used, as well as how I made the top not.

Here’s the ceiling hook I used, as well as how I made the top not.

Directions:

The trickiest part is getting the sea glass to stay secure within the wire. This took me a while to get! I don’t happen to have any extra sea glass hanging around or I’d show you. One trick I do have is to use your hot glue gun to glue the wire to the glass on the back (don’t do it on the front- it looks pretty ghetto). Leave me a comment and let me know if you’d like me to make a little video about how to secure the pieces on the wire. Here’s a picture of the front and back of one piece. See how I created two loops on either side?

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

Front

Back!

Back!

Basically, the point is to create a string of sea glass and beads, crystals, or whatever else you choose. However you manage to do it is great! You might consider drilling holes into the glass..which might be difficult too. Let me know if you have other ideas!

Once you’ve made one link, you need to make a few more. For each strand of mine, I have 3 white sea glass pieces, 1 green piece, one green bead and a “crystal”. Make a LOT of these strands. For my large chandelier, I have about 40 strands!

Secure the top of the strand of sea glass to the hoop, working around in a circle. I didn’t like the look of the bare metal (also one of my hoops happened to be gold, and the other silver) so I wrapped them in twine. Space the strands as close or far apart as you’d like. I wanted mine to be less of a wind chime and more of a chandelier, so I made sure they didn’t touch.

Once you’ve created a basic round of sea glass strands for one or both of your hoops, it’s time to secure the mason jar and candle. Wrap the top part of the mason jar with wire really tightly with 2 different pieces of long wire. Make 2 wire “handles” (or wires sticking out) so that you can secure them to the hoop.Then, secure it onto the smallest hoop and let it hang slightly lower.

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

Your last step will be to take three or four long pieces of string (or wire) to hang up the chandelier. I picked three strings because it looks less cluttered. Make sure your chandelier is even and not lopsided!

View from the top!

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DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

Here’s the baby one! It hangs out outside.

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

View from the bottom

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

That’s all there is to it! I realllllly hope you try this project out yourself. It’s seriously one of the big reasons why I chose to start this blog in the first place. If you do try this DIY, please provide a link to my blog and send me pictures too! I’ll post them for the world to see. 😉

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I want to give a special thanks to one of my best friends, Melanie Lancon, for giving me every single piece of sea glass that I’ve used for this chandelier  She used to live in Santa Barbara and spent years collecting all of these pieces. When she moved, she gave me a sht ton of them! Thanks Mel! 😉

Please feel free to pin it, share it, and try it out yourself! To leave a comment, look on the top left corner of this post, next to the title.

-Daria

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Books and Coasters

I went to Santa Barbara this weekend, to hear the Music Academy of the West musicians perform on Saturday night. If you’re around Southern California and need an excuse to go to a beautiful place and be inspired, you should seriously hear one of their concerts. Check out their website for more info! I’ve played harp at this festival in past years and I’m so nostalgic for that place. I love it.

Anyway, I also went to hang out with friends who are working and playing there, and it was a ton of fun. I hit up my favorite Goodwill thrift store there too, and shopped in downtown on State st.

Me and a friend stumbled upon a used book store in the cute little town where the musicians stay (Carpinteria). We went in and bought used books for $2 each! Books aren’t necessarily the most environmentally friendly things ever, but I don’t think they use quite as much paper or trees as you’d think. But buying used is still better.  I love reading hard copies of books and having them around, and buying used ensures less paper production, and is a great way to justify buying superficial & trashy books without feeling guilty about the paper or the price tag.

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Anyway, I have an overhanging planter that’s filled with basil. Basil is a really easy herb to grow. It’s perfect for those starting out doing urban gardening or gardening in general. Basil doesn’t require a lot of space and it grows ferociously, so you’ll gain the confidence of thinking that your thumb turned from black to green. 😉 So with that said, I made vegan pesto last night! Here are some pictures of da babies.

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Of course, no picture of food is complete without a mason jar.

I got the pesto recipe from this really awesome book called The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet. Try it out!

Simple Pesto (recipe adapted from The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet by Joni Marie Newman)

Ingredients:

  • 14 large fresh basil leaves (No need for precision here)
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic (I wouldn’t use that much garlic though!)
  • 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon raw walnut pieces
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil

I just combine all of the ingredients in a blender. The author suggests blending all of the ingredients in a food processor except for the olive oil and then pulsing it a few more times at the end with the oil.

This should all give you about 1/2 a cup of pesto. It’s soooo good!

And lastly, here’s a new upcycling idea–I used a clay plant saucer as a coaster! I LOVE IT. It’s so simple, cheap, (environmentally friendly) & the perfect size for drinks. You can take the ones from your pots (as I did) or buy them at a hardware store. You can paint them too, but I like the clean and traditional look of the plant saucers without paint.

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I painted this mug at Color Me Mine years ago, with one of my closest childhood friends. I know it looks like I was 5 when I painted it, but I was more like, 18 years old. No judging

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And here’s another look at my water. It looks more like a fruit bowl at this point…

I should mention that I gave up Diet Coke in December, which is a miracle for me that I’ve been able to last this long. That sht is unhealthy and my addiction was using up a lot of plastic and aluminum, recycled or not. So now, I’m trying to have fun drinking water, which is really only fun when you put plants in it, and take pictures of it.

-d

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Lazy Days…for Days.

I’ve been pretttttty lazy lately. But this is some of the stuff that I’ve done in the past few days so hopefully that counts for something.

I wanted to get some new curtains to replace my plain white ones, but then realized that I shouldn’t; part of being green means working with what you have, right? Upcycling, as we say. So I decided to add tassels to them, as any logical person would do.  JK. But tassels are easy to make, fun, and trendy. I kind of jankily made each one with Sugar and Cream yarn (the cheap kind at JoAnn’s) and wrapped them with different colors of embroidery thread. Then, I hand-sewed them (again, pretty jankily) onto the curtains, about 3.5 inches apart from each other. What do you think?

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(It’s surprisingly hard to take pictures of curtains because the lighting’s behind the window… but I tried.)

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If you’d like me to explain how I made my tassels a little better, let me know. 🙂

I also got these super coool things from a thrift store in Orange County when I was down at my parents’ house (admittedly, on Fathers’ Day.. sorry dad. Although, I did make him a moss terrarium for Fathers’ Day so I hope that counts for something).

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Loooove these funky sixties/seventies grapes.  I love the drift wood/acrylic combo.

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Taking photos of mirrors are so problematic. Whatever, ferns are cool.

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I’ve started rereading one of the books that was required for one of my grad courses in Environmental Studies (and partially reading for the first time, let’s be real). I know that it’s summer and it’s weird that I’m even considering opening up a textbook, but this book is seriously awesome. I even took the time to bold that, so you should take me seriously. Anyway, it’s an especially great book if you’re into environmental politics and policy (who would have thought). I’m challenging myself to read it all the way through this summer. I’ll let you know if that actually happens.

I’ve started drilling holes to add knobs to our cabinets, as well as figured out how to attach a swivel hook from the ceiling in order to hang a DIY project. I’m finishing the final touches on this DIY project that I am SO EXCITED to show you guys. It’s amazing, if I do say so myself. I’ll show you guys once I get my hands on a better camera than my really ghetto iphone (trust me, it’s bad). Till then!

-Daria

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Decorating the Apartment. With Difficulty.

My little 2 bedroom, 2 bath rental in LA needs some work. Okay…. maybe a little more work than I’m letting on. One day I will be brave enough to show you a picture. My good friend and I live on the top floor of an apartment building in a very cute neighborhood…but–it’s difficult to decorate a rental. You know it only yours for tiny bit and there’s really only so much you can do, right? And obviously, it’s a lot more challenging to decorate on a student budget!

source: radicalpossibility.com

source: radicalpossibility.com

Let me describe my apartment to you. When you walk into the kitchen and family room, we have white walls, with white tile, with off-white cabinetry and white appliances. We have 3 off-white leather sectionals (the roommates’) and a white bookshelf. Oh–and white vertical blinds. CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW HIDEOUS THAT IS? That’s some serious drab sht right there. It needs serious help. In fact, when I was inquiring about renting this place, the manager at the time said: “I mean, I don’t think you’re going to want to rent this place if you like to spend a lot of time at home.” Whoops.

So a lot of what I’ll talk about is making my apartment truly a reflection of my life (and my roommate’s life too)!  This is difficult to do when you and your roommate bring your own furniture and have your own tastes.  Luckily, my roommate is easy-going about these things (she hasn’t yelled at me for having 30 potted plants in our apartment yet so I think we’re good).  I firmly believe that you should always make your place perfect for you.  Not in a Pottery barn kind of way, but just… you. I have so many weird things around my apartment that I’ve wondered if I should just hide when I have visitors but then I realized- who really cares? We shouldn’t have to justify our choices, in anything, really. Here are a couple of pictures of some embarrassing frames that I own:

Happiness is still Homemade. And embroidered, apparently.

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(That’s some serious embroidery, huh?)

So there! I absolutely love thrift and antique stores. I love upcycling. I refuse to buy anything at Anthropologie for full price even though I think they have some seriously good sht. Sorry bout it.

And. Ladies– we gotta get more comfortable with shopping at Home Depot. And using hammers, and screwdrivers, and tools other than the ones that come in our makeup bags. Like– if I step in Home Depot one more time and have one more dude worker ask me quizzically if I’m lost, I’m going to scream that REAL WOMEN SHOP AT HOME DEPOT, because I mean it.

Alright, getting back on track.  I also want to make my place look refined and ME. And as you’ve probably figured out, I wanna be ECOSPIRED babes!

What have you done to make your place “you”? Comment below and let’s talk!

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DIY with Glass & Mod Podge

This is a super easy DIY project!

More Jars

All you need is:

  • Mod Podge (matte or glossy)
  • glass jars
  • magazine/paper cut outs
  • foam brush or paintbrush
  • Optional:
    • glitter
    • hole puncher
    • twine/string
    • hot glue gun

If you haven’t read my longggg ordeal about how cool and recyclable glass is on my Terrarium Tutorial Time post, I’ll briefly mention it here.  Basically, glass is infinitely recyclable and a great way to package foods because glass doesn’t interact with the food in the way of giving off harmful chemicals to your food. Glass recycling is a closed-loop system that doesn’t give off waste by-products. Another bonus!

So take your empty marinara and jam jars and let’s upcycle them!

First of all, here are the basic materials you’ll need to start this project:

Materials for Mod Podge and Jars

Directions:

  • Dip your brush into some Mod Podge. I decided to use glossy Mod Podge this time around so the cutouts looked more like a part of the glass.
  • “Paint” a large portion of the glass with a thick layer of mod-podge.
  • Place your cutouts on the wet Mod Podge and try to carefully smooth out bubbles with your fingers
  • Paint over your cutouts with Mod Podge (don’t worry, it will turn out clear, I promise!)
  • Let it dry! If you’d like, you could do another coat.

I made this one by hole-punching magazine cut outs. Loooove polka dots!

Polka dot jar

This is the other side of the goldfish jar. I love goldfish. The text aptly says “Lighten Up.” I used string to hide the screwtop-jar opening for this one.

Lighten Up

I made these two a while ago. They’re a bit cheesy…

Other jars

Tips:

  • Mod Podge dries really quickly, so work fast! Don’t attempt to paint the entire thing, but work in parts.
  • Stick your hand in the jar to hold it in place as you work.
  • Let it dry in between coats
  • Mod Podge is water resistant but not water proof. AKA, it can get wet, but don’t soak it! That’s why it’s important to really clean out your jar beforehand.
  • Magazine paper is really thin, which can make the cutouts translucent in the light. If you’re not cool with this, back them with solid color paper.

Other Ideas:

  • You can print out your favorite quotes and stick them on. Also, try layering your cutouts for a cool effect.
  • You could use this to label your jars for organizing or decorations for a candle jar.
  • You can Mod-Podge the lid too!
  • If you don’t like the screw top of the open jar, try wrapping it in twine or rope with a glue.

Send me pictures of your projects! Have fun upcycling!

-D

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