DIY fall decor using upcycled items from thrift stores

September 14, 2018 by  
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Fall is a great time to bust out new decorations, but you don’t have to break the bank to make your house stand out. Making DIY fall decor is a great way to save money and help the environment at the same time. From floating shelves to fall clothing accessories, here are eight autumn decorations you can make from common thrift store items or materials in your craft drawer. Cake Stand Pumpkin Display Nothing says fall like fresh pumpkins . You can proudly display these seasonal staples ( before you cook them up for dinner ) using an old cake stand, or you can build your own from old plates and a candlestick holder. If you are building one, simply mount the candlestick holder between two plates and paint them as desired. Glue down the plates to hold everything securely in place. You can build as many of these as you like, using different sizes holders to vary the heights. Related: Fall decorating ideas Floating Bookshelves Floating bookshelves can add a cozy and mysterious feel to a room, and you can build these imaginative holders with a few old hardcovers and a metal bracket. With a floating bookshelf, the bottom book holds everything in place while concealing the support bracket. Once completed, the shelf makes it appear like the books are floating on their own. For this project, all you need are a few metal brackets and some hardcover books. Start by attaching the bottom of the hardcover book to a metal bracket with a piece of fabric fastener. The fabric fastener should be attached so that it holds the bottom cover in place. The rest of the hardcover book should rest on top of the bracket. Then screw the bracket in place and install the bottom book. You can stack multiple books on top of the first one, just make sure the weight isn’t more than the metal bracket can handle. Stagger as many of these floating bookshelves on your wall to complete the look, and top each with your favorite knick-knacks. Sweater Pumpkins Cable knit sweaters make great DIY pumpkins that won’t rot if you forget about them. You can make these adorable fall decorations with a cable knit sweater, stuffing, yarn, twine and a sewing needle. Start by cutting the sweater in half at the armpits. Then, use the needle and yarn to create a running stitch along the bottom of the fabric, pulling it tight as you work around. With the bottom closed, fill the fabric with your stuffing material, leaving around 5 inches of sweater on top. The stuffing should turn the sweater into a rounded shape. Close the sweater with another running stitch around the top and add a piece of twine for a stem. Lastly, run some twine in sections from the top of the sweater to the bottom to create ridges, pulling tight for a more pumpkin-like appearance. Related: Front porch decorating for fall Basket Storage We could all use some extra storage around the house. Instead of buying new plastic totes, you can convert an old basket to serve as decorative storage space for all the seasonal items taking over your house, like blankets, scarves and boots. All you have to do is take an old basket and repaint it a solid color to match your existing decor. You can also paint a pattern on the basket to really make it stand out. Attach thick rope to the top of the basket to serve as handles, making a basket full of scarves, coats or blankets easier to move from the living room to the laundry room. Fall Clothing There are plenty of things around the house or at your local thrift store that you can upcycle and wear in the cooler fall weather. If you have any sweaters that are beyond repair, you can cut off the sleeves and use them as leg warmers, knit socks or tall boot socks. You can even make several pairs using just one sweater, depending on the size. If you have a blanket that has seen better days, cutting it just right can turn it into your new favorite scarf. The key is to getting the right dimensions. If you have another scarf on hand, use it as a reference point. Traditional scarves are anywhere between 55 and 82 inches long and 5 to 10 inches wide. Depending on the condition and size of the blanket, you should be able to get multiple scarves out of one piece. Seasonal Throw Pillows Take your love for fall to the next level by making throw pillow covers with old sweaters or flannel shirts. Start by cutting off the sleeves of the sweater or flannel, carefully following the seams. Then, put the pillow inside the shirt to get an idea of the best placement. Try to center the pillows with the pockets or buttons, which will lend these covers extra charm. Trim around the pillow, leaving an inch of fabric all the way around. Flip the fabric inside out and sew all of the sides together. Avoid sewing shut the buttons, as this is where you will insert the pillow. Once everything is sewed together, turn the shirt the right side out, unbutton the front, insert the pillow and re-button the cover. If your top of choice doesn’t have buttons, sew in buttons or a zipper on one side of the pillow cover. Related: Refresh your furnishings for fall Mason Jar Pumpkins You can make super cute DIY fall decor using old glass jars. All you need are the glass jars, non-toxic paint , twine and some faux leaves and corks for the stems. Start by painting the lids brown and the jars a dark orange. Once they have dried, screw the lids on the jars and use a piece of twine to tie around the jar just below the base of the lids. Add faux leaves and corks to the top of the lids, and feel free to paint on some fun Jack O’Lantern faces as well. Patio Lights Turning old tin cans into patio lights is a lot easier than you might think. All you need are some snips or shears, a hole punch, paint and tea lights. Start by removing any labels from the cans and cleaning them thoroughly. Use a strong hole punch to create patterns on the cans and paint them a warm fall color. If you do not have a hole punch on hand, you can carefully use a hammer and nail to create the same effect. Simply insert the tea light into the cans and place them around your patio, porch or even indoors. Images via Kamelia Hayati ,  John M. P. Knox , Sarah Dorweiler , Max Conrad , Shutterstock

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DIY fall decor using upcycled items from thrift stores

Buckwheat pillows offer a good night’s sleep without hurting the environment

February 23, 2018 by  
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The benefits of switching from an off-gassing synthetic pillow to buckwheat are well-documented by now: The crunchy hulls of this pseudo-cereal are densely packed into a surprisingly heavy pillow that conforms to each new owner’s unique contours, providing the kind of sleep dreams are made of. Plus, the pillows last longer than their conventional cousins (with diligent care), and when the hulls do start to flatten out with time, it’s easy to replace them. But there’s more to buckwheat than comfort. Every part of this highly nutritional, fast-growing plant has something to offer, and it is typically cultivated without herbicides or pesticides , eliminating environmental harm. It’s no wonder buckwheat has such a long, illustrious history. According to the Whole Grains Council , “Buckwheat has been providing essential nutrients, vitamins, energy, and fiber to humanity for approximately 8,000 years. Its first starring role as a cultivated crop appears circa 4000 B.C. in the Balkan region of Europe, but its thought to have truly taken hold inland in Southeast Asia and from there spread to Central Asia, Tibet, the Middle East, and Europe.” They add that the Japanese emperor Gensho reportedly ordered the entire country to cultivate buckwheat in 722 to prepare for a protracted dry spell. Ideally suited to the kind of soil most plants would reject, this smother crop helps retain water in the soil, prevents erosion, and keeps weeds at bay, which in turn makes it less necessary to use pesticides. After the flowers yield buckwheat groats, the stalks can be transformed into straw for livestock, according to the Whole Grains Council , and the rest of the plant can be tilled for further water retention. Buckwheat also “likes” northern latitudes and high altitudes, hence its popularity in Russia, China and Kazakhstan. The hulls that go into pillows are simply the outer shell of the inner groat, which provides a slew of nutritional benefits for most people. Related: Why a buckwheat pillow makes a good pillow The gluten free groats provide a rich source of protein, although the Whole Grain Council warns that digestibility may be low for some people. For others, according to Purdue University , “USDA-ARS analyses indicate that the grain has an amino acid composition nutritionally superior to all cereals, including oats. Buckwheat protein is particularly rich (6%) in the limiting amino acid lysine.” It is also rich in iron, zinc and selenium, reports New World Encyclopedia , as well as antioxidants. Given its multiple benefits, of which the above are just a few examples, it’s not hard to get behind a buckwheat pillow. And it really will provide superior sleep. According to Hullo , because buckwheat doesn’t collapse or “bottom out” like down or memory foam, their pillow provides excellent support (no more stiff neck). Also, in addition to being malleable, the pillow stays cool throughout the night since it doesn’t retain body heat. Still, the soft rustling sound, the weight and texture do take some getting used to, which is why Hullo offers a 60-day money back guarantee for their durable, breathable pillows made with a 100 percent organic cotton twill case filled with carefully-sourced buckwheat hulls. And if the filling isn’t just right, you can pour out some of the hulls until it is thanks to an elegant, zipped design. Hullo comes in three sizes, ranging in price from $59 to $149. And if that sounds steep, all you have to do is check out the glowing reviews people have left on the company’s website. Customer JP wrote, “My body feels so much better. My head feels so much better. I sleep through the night and I have energy in the morning. In short: I love, love, love this pillow.” + Hullo Pillow Images via Wikipedia , Mariluna , K.G.Kirailla , Vegan Baking , Andrey Korzun , Hullo Pillow

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Buckwheat pillows offer a good night’s sleep without hurting the environment

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