Upcycling 101: The Annual Garbage Gleaning

Lilo checks out the pizza oven

It’s that time of year again, when consumer goods grow on the curb and around dumpsters as if by magic, all sitting there just ripe for the picking. In other words: the leases downtown are almost up, university students suddenly realize they have no desire to move all their crap with them, and they end up throwing perfectly good stuff out as trash: … Read more

Making a recycled blank journal

To make this journal, I used things that would otherwise have been thrown away (or actually had been thrown away): the paperboard cover from a broken binder notebook odd-sized old-school computer paper with perforated edges that I found in a dumpster fabric from an upholstery sample book (the kind that fabric stores throw out on a regular basis) binder screws … Read more

Illustrated tutorial: Making basic, no-frills wrist warmers and hand warmers (fingerless gloves)

Earlier this week I was in my office typing, and as often happens when I do this in the winter, my hands felt stiff and cold. I often wear regular hand braces when typing, which doesn’t have much effect on my hands’ warmth, but I remembered seeing fancier wrist supports on Amazon that offer compression, so I looked them up. The … Read more

Bubble wrap: a cheap way to insulate drafty windows

A few weeks ago my friend Tania messaged me that her husband had gone rogue while she was out of the house and covered the living room windows with bubble wrap. She attached this photo: I snickered and asked her if this was his idea of Christmas decorating. Nope, she said. He’d read on the Internet that bubble wrap is … Read more

DIY SAD Light Therapy Box

MAKE and Instructables are treasure troves of awesome ideas, although some are more involved than others. This particular lightbox for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is pretty simple and can be made with spare and scrap parts, depending on what you and your friends have lying around the house/workshop. If you are using your light therapy box for seasonal affective disorder, check … Read more

Altering a cashmere sweater for a better fit

I picked up this wonderfully soft cashmere sweater by Banana Republic last fall while going through the piles of stuff that local university students throw out when they move to new apartments. Besides being extravagantly comfortable, it is scandalously low cut. Maybe that’s why the previous owner threw it out. I decided to create a less revealing neck line by taking in … Read more