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Interview with Bottle Cap Jen.

April 29, 2011

Upcycle á la Mode is back this week with a long overdue interview!
I decided to do a blurb style quote as a filler for my traditional Q&A style interview posts.
This week it’s 10-year crafter, and Phoenix dweller, BottleCapJen.

Jen makes all of her jewelry out of old bottle caps, some old, some new.

All are adorable and can easily fit into any young girl or mature woman’s wardrobe!

“I love creating new items, and new twists to using a bottle cap. It’s sometimes hard to juggle my family and trying to keep up with the shop. But it makes me feel good when people purchase my items!” -Jen

“I like using Etsy, because instead of a store, its always open. I can check my emails periodically throughout the day. I prefer online sales! I am not sure about the future, right now I am happy with how my business is running. Its just me, and I have plenty of orders to constantly keep me busy!” -Jen

Mozy on over to Jen’s Etsy page and check out her large connection of bottle cap inspired jewelry!


Upcycle huh?

April 22, 2011

As much as I am learning about this thing called upcycling, I wondered if my fellow downtown students knew about it too.
I decided to do some searching, and interviewed a few students about upcycling.
To my surprise, most had never heard of the term but knew generally what it was about.
(Yes I am aware they happened to be all girls, but gimme a break, I’m still getting my feet wet at shooting footage.)
Take a look see…

That’s not trash!

April 14, 2011

Thank God it’s almost Friday.

I came across this interesting video about an artist in New York City, courtesy of the Associated Press a few years ago.
Joshua Allen Harris, the artist behind the animal art, created a giraffe in this video but also does bag transformations of bears.
Using a plastic garbage bag, he creates animals that inflate while the subway crosses underneath the grate.
Check out the video above, and decide for yourself if the garbage bag is indeed trash, or art.

Vlog: Dumpster Upcycling

April 1, 2011


Dumpster diving, usually an term considered taboo and all-around yucky.

However, about two years ago a graduate of Goldsmiths University began to shape a whole new look on the alley dwellings, converting them into swimming pools, gardens, living rooms and even a skate ramp.

(In the vlog I mentioned it’s a whole community, nix that)

Skip Conversions, the urban project that has since ended, shows just how far you can take the idea of upcycling.

source: Web Urbanist

3 Good Reasons to Love Upcycle Living.

March 24, 2011

If you live, work, or are in downtown Phoenix regularly, it might be safe to say you have passed by the place.

If you have, you must have thought to yourself “What the heck is that.”

That, dear reader, is Upcycle Living.

Situated meekly on Roosevelt and 5th Streets, one of Upcycle Living’s model homes has bound to have caused curious motorists to take a second look.  Created by Jason Anderson (left below) and Ashton Wolfswinkel (right below) in 2008, Upcycle Living is a company aimed at providing affordable, quality, green housing options. The housing is made from repurposing used steel shipping containers into residential homes, office spaces, and disaster relief shelters among others. Mike Duffy (center below) joined Anderson and Wolfswinkel and the rest of the Upcycle team in 2009, and Upycle Living has since then offered their creation and eco-friendly designs to Haiti after the earthquake of 2010. These local boys have green inspiration and want to give everyone the opportunity to literally live green. Here’s a few reasons why you should love Upcycle Living:

1. Reuse, reuse, reuse…

Forget just recycling, upcycle! I know these terms for “living green” and “helping the environment” have been spinned every which way, but upcycling is the new recycling. If you’re a green enthusiast, why not make your home completely green, and rejoice in the fact that your dwelling has been converted into something useful.

2. Easy on your wallet…

These utterly cool containers are quite a step down from even the lowest of homes selling on today’s real estate market. With claims of producing sturdy and beautifully designed plans for about 2/3 less than that of traditional commercial homes, who wouldn’t want to take them up on it.

3. Channel your inner minimalist…

Who needs lengthy meetings about where the fireplace will go, or how many square feet it is from the bedroom to the kitchen. Upcycle Living’s simple yet effortlessly cozy floor plans will have everyone believing “less is more.” While multi-story plans are available, the second floor on top of the base container doesn’t seem to look stuffy or container-like at all. Say hello to this generation’s new ‘loft.’

Upcycle Living’s main office is in Tempe, if your not centrally located, and has model tours by appointment.

Interested? Visit their website here, or their Facebook page here.

Photo credits are either linked or courtesy of

Vlog: Upcycled Snack Bags

March 10, 2011

Meet Sticker Club Girl: Part II

March 3, 2011

This week, Upcycle á la Mode brings you Part II in Meet Sticker Club Girl, featuring a lovely Q and A style interview with the Phoenix artist, enjoy!

















Lisa Jacobs c/o The Phoenix New Times.


Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

A: I am a Phoenix based artist and a native. I grew up crafting and studied art in college. In 2001 I finished two degrees, a Bachelor of Science in Art Education and a Bachelor of Fine Arts, both from Northern Arizona University. I work as a full time art teacher as well as being an artist. My business name is  Sticker Club Girl and is all about handmade, upcycled and vintage goods, community art night, arts and crafts workshops, and events. My line of hand crafted goods are made by sewing, dying, printing, embroidery, crochet, felting, book binding, wire wrapping, collage and more. My Sticker Club Girl line of products are made from authentic vintage fabric, upcycled materials, retro notions, and found objects, along with the finest in modern arts and crafts materials. These handmade items are one-of-a-kind, due to the limited  nature of the supplies and the individual details crafted into each piece.

Q:  What got you started in “upcycling” clothes and other things?

A: Aside from my addiction to crafting, I also have a small obsession with thrift stores, vintage boutiques, and antique malls. I started by buying things for myself that needed repair, adjustment, or modernization, and eventually grew this into a business. I love the problem solving that is required to rework an old item into a completely new product. kitschy retro fabric and notions inspire me, so now as I sell my handmade goods, I mostly use upcycled materials or overstock that is vintage, yet has never been used before. I think that repurposing things is also very important in this day and age, because there is so much that is thrown away unnecessarily. Our resources are dwindling and our refuse is growing exponentially, so every little bit of reuse is important.

Q:  How would you describe your inspiration or style when making clothes?

A: Inspiration come to me from the world as it moves around me. All the colors and patterns, textures and even smells that are experienced throughout a lifetime return as new ideas. I think this is why I love finding clothing, jewelry, fabric, buttons, and trinkets from other eras, they bring back memories that are attached to ideas that become renewed.

Q:  What advice would you give for those who are looking to do the same kind of crafting but have no idea where to start?

A: Getting started in upcycled crafting is easy. There are many places in town that offer classes and workshops. I offer classes and workshops in my new space Sticker Club Girl studio/boutique at the Bragg’s Pie Factory on Grand Ave. and A.ware is a new space on Central that offers classes. There are amazing tutorials online. The web is full of learning opportunities. Websites like and all have great ideas. I have done one video tutorial on how to make paper, it was filmed by Becky Stern of Craft Magazine and can be seen on craftzine and YouTube. My favorite way to learn is through the hundreds of books and magazines that are available.

Q:  Where or how would you like to see your shop/craft expand in the future?

A: Right now, my focus is on the new space at Bragg’s Pie. My handmade, vintage, and reconstructed clothing, crafts, and supplies are available along with art night, classes, and workshops. In the near future I will have my etsy shop up and running. There will also be more events, like the Coffee, Cookies, and Crafts indie handmade festival that I have been working on with Kate Benjamin from Modern Cat and Meghan Oleson from Lucky 15.

Q:  Speaking of collaborations, what other artists inspire you?

A: There are so many artists and entrepreneurs that have influenced my thinking about art, craft, creation, and business. I think that local artists, and my peers have had the greatest affect on me, because I have been able to meet them, speak with them, and have artistic and social interaction with them.

Q:  Would you like to eventually make your clothing or upcycling into a full-time gig?

A: It would be lovely to be a full time artist.

Q:  Any last thoughts on upcycling in general, i.e. importance of re-purposing things within the creative or general community?

A: Clothing and supply swap parties are a great way to keep things circulating, instead of being disposed of. Getting together with crafty friends to trade clothing and ideas is fun. Plus, if you work on upcycling while you are there together, you can come up with ideas to fix and adorn things. You can make one of a kind signature pieces, you can leave with lots of new additions to your wardrobe, and help the environment, for free.

A big thanks goes out to Stick Club Girl herself for sharing her kinds words. Don’t forget to check out her website at or if you’re in the Phoenix area, visit the studio at Bragg’s Pie Factory, located at 1301 NW Grand Ave.