Thursday, January 23, 2014

Costa Rica Reuse DIY and Crafts

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I went to Costa Rica in December for 2 weeks.  It was quite lovely.  I had never been to Central America and I really enjoyed it.  I had seen photos from friends' trips to Central America of crafts made of reused material and was hoping I would spot some for myself.  I certainly was successful.  This post is all about the various crafts, reused or otherwise, that I came across in my travels. 

I traveled December 10th through the 25th, so there were quite a few art pieces that were Christmas themed.  The first of which I spotted in La Fortuna near the Arenal Volcano. 
Awesome Christmas Tree in the Central Park

Yes, it's made out of plastic bottles.
The next stop was Santa Elena to check out the Monteverde Cloud Forest.  There were quite a number of repurposed and recycled crafts being sold at the gift store there, but these were a first for me.
Rubber Tire Toucan

Rubber Tire Fish and Parrot

I guess a baby or child can swing in these.  Cool.
I saw another Christmas Tree made of plastic bottles in the lobby that greeted you as you bought your pass to the cloud forest preserve.  It is my favorite.  I might try to make one of these next year or sometime down the road.

The bottoms are painted!
On the walk back from the cloud forest, we came upon this kid school and art co-op.  It served delicious food, sold cool recycled art and crafts and upstairs we came upon the workspace. 
Brandon with a hummingbird mask.

Workspace where the supplies are kept.

Papier machet toucan mask.

Brandon trying on a frog mask; doesn't quite fit.

The coop from the outside.

There were a lot of masks, maybe for a play?

Sweet sloth costume!
Next stop was San Jose where we were to catch the bus the next morning to the Osa Peninsula.

This has nothing to do with reuse crafts, but this band was really jamming out to Sound of Silence in the main square and I just had to share it with you all.
I came upon this on a street in the shopping area near the main square and I was blown away!

Yes, it's made of plastic bottles.

I couldn't help but think that might be the plastic bomb that kills us all.
On the 8 and 1/2 hour bus ride down to Puerto Jimenez, which is the only major town on the Osa Peninsula, I spied this at the rest stop/cafe.  Keep in mind that this display takes over the entire corner of a very large establishment.

Can you see all of the camels right above this caption?
There wasn't a lot to report on the Osa Peninsula.  It isn't extremely inhabited by people, but it contains 2.8% of the world's animals and plants, so I saw a lot of that.  However, on the three day guided hike we took into Corcovado Park, I decided I would bring this coconut shell home to use as a planter.  I couldn't quite get all of the coconut meat out, so I let nature clean it for me.  I went back the next morning and the crabs had definitely done their job.
Hermit crabs, their job is to clean the beach.
There was actually a little craft/farmer's market type thing at a local's surfer type bar up the road from Boca Sombrero, where we staying for relaxation, yoga and surfing.  At the market there were a number of recycled crafts.  I didn't have my camera, but they are very fond of the crocheted plastic bag craft, which is pretty cool.

We caught a plane ride back to San Jose, which only took an hour and 10 minutes, much better than the 8 plus hours down.  We spent our last night, which was Christmas Eve, in Alejuela.  The streets were really bustling.  We stopped at this indoor shopping area right by our hostel to check it out.  I then discovered where people bought those figurines for their manger scenes.  There were a couple of shops totally dedicated to it.

I know it's a bit after the fact, but I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and that things are starting to settle down.  Maybe this will provide some inspiration for next year!

Monday, January 20, 2014

New Nutcase Helmet!

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Well, I retired my DIY, upcycled, repurposed, scrappy bike helmet because it was about 6 years old and I think that's too long to have a helmet and hope for its safety.

My lovely friend, Meghan, works at Nutcase, which is an amazing bicycle helmet company, super cool designs and they are local.  I received a new helmet from her, which the design has yet to hit the stores, so I'm the first.  If you saw me ride home from Nutcase headquarters this afternoon, then you caught a glimpse of the helmet in its pristine form, but since I am still the reigning Pink Princess, I removed the pink tiara from my old helmet and affixed it to the new; voila:

Remember all you cyclists out there:  safety first, protect your assets and there's no reason you can't have fun and be creative and awesome while doing it!

Monday, January 6, 2014

My Very Own Swants!

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I caught the swants bug and was jealous of Brandon's pair, so I made my very own pair yesterday with the help of a good friend, Meghan. 

There are a couple of things I learned from making swants.

First, I am now quite good at the mattress stitch, a stitch I had not needed until now.

Second, yes, having a good friend help out on the rear shaping is pretty vital.  I would like to note, however, that it should be a "good" friend and not someone you would feel shy about since their hands are all over your rear flap. :)

Third, in his instructions he mentions folding in the flaps and making a 90 degreeish angle.  That was the key in the shaping that I missed the day before.  You should start with the outer hip point and make a line to the center of the crotch.  I also made the crotch seam in the back another inch or so because that's just how it worked out.
Here's a picture and notice how the seams kind of make a "v" from the outer hip to the crotch seam.
This is a view of the rear flap and seaming.
I hope this helps and here are some goofy pictures of me testing out the flexibility and comfort of my new swants.  I will also make a waistband and add some elastic, but that's for another day.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hilarious Swants Tip

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I just found this on youtube and it's funny because it's true.  The instructions for swants are pretty challenging.



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So my friend, Liz, sent me a swants video in the beginning of December.

I loved it, however I was leaving for Costa Rica in a few days and had to put the swants idea/project on hold till then.
Well it's the new year and time for new projects, so I tried my hand at swants today.  I followed this tutorial provided by West Knits:

I need to work on the shaping, but I think I figured out where I went wrong.  Here are a few pics.  I hope this inspires you to make your own pair! or not laugh when you see someone wearing a pair :)

Cut out neck for crotch.

Stick crotch together.

I took in the side seams to make them more form fitting.

Sew it all together, this is where I made the shaping error.

They look better on my sweetie.

He has a sweet new warm pair of swants to wear around the house and look adorable.
I think I will try again tomorrow.  I found a few good sweaters from Goodwill.
Happy Swantsing!

Happy New Year!

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January 1st is my bday and this year is my 40th.  I hosted another NYE Game Night and I have to say it was quite fun.  We played Speed Scrabble and three very heated and intense games of Catch Phrase.  We rang in the New Year and then a few of us stuck around and played Wits and Wages.  I believe fun was had by all. 
Here's a few pics:

Pre-party Pic

I had forgotten about this dress.  I got it for free!

Brandon patiently awaiting

My Martha Stewart heat shaped ice cube in this cranberry orange ginger juice I made.

Heather and myself ringing in the party

Wits and Wagers about to begin.

Happy New Year!!!

Even my decor got dressed up.

I hope the new year brings lots of inspiration and wonderful crafts to experience and share.
Much Love,
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