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DIY: Upcycled snack bags

February 24, 2011

Plastic water bottles

We all drink water, we all end up with piles of these things, and we all recycle them… (right?)

To my surprise I recently read that the caps to these immortal landfill contributors are in fact a part of the plastic that is not recyclable!
In horror, I quickly opened up a Google tab in my browser and researched different uses for the seemingly harmless plastic caps. had in my opinion the most useful and practical project in upcycling plastic water bottles.

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to make your very own air-tight snack bags using the caps:

You’ll need…



































After you have filled your new snack bags (preferably with small snacks that can fit through the cap’s hole) you’re good to go!


Meet: Sticker Club Girl

February 19, 2011

Lisa Jacobs, also known as Sticker Club Girl, is a local Phoenix designer who makes handmade clothing and accessories. A teacher by day and a designer by night, Jacobs’ clothing can be found at several locally owned shops including her co-owned arts collective Conspire, a popular boutique/coffeehouse in downtown Phoenix. An upcycled component is featured in almost everything Jacobs makes.

Jacobs has been creating her own designs and bringing them to life for the past 10 years, and uses recycled materials whenever possible for her clothes.

She teaches about the arts for kindergarten through middle-school age kids, and has been a part of many arts collaborations around the state like fashion shows and arts boutiques.

Jacobs has obtained degrees in fine arts, jewelry design, and arts education from Northern Arizona University.

You could say Jacobs’ life has been immersed in the arts, and still is. She writes occasionally for Java Magazine.

Her passion for vintage styles and influences show through her designs, much with a ’60s vibe, and the recycled materials they are made of represents her deep concern for environmental issues.

If your in Phoenix, stop by Conspire at Fifth and Garfield Streets in Phoenix, or her website here to check out more of her designs and creations at her virtual gallery!

A Woman in Button Wonderland…

February 11, 2011
c/o Lopiccolo

They have a history. Each piece can tell us a different story, and might even be older than we are.

For Cary Lopiccolo, buttons aren’t just a mundane little part of her shirt, they have become the focus of her creative outlet.

Lopiccolo, owner of the heycaryann Etsy shop, handcrafts her own unique rings, necklaces and bracelets out of vintage buttons.

She started her shop on the popular marketplace site a few years ago, while in nursing school, to relieve stress.

After first being exposed to flea markets and garage sales as a young girl, her passion for vintage buttons sprouted into a part-time gig.

“The more I learn about buttons (victorian, rhinestone, mother of pearl, lucite, glass, metal), the more I am fascinated by them!” Lopiccolo said.

Lopiccolo draws her inspirations from Little Nemo comics by Windsor McCay, Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, Snow White, Camille Rose Garcia, Frida Kahlo, Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, Clara Bow and Coco Chanel.

Her vintage buttons, some of which have come from her own grandmother’s boudoir, are one-of-a-kind and range in date from the late 1800s.

“Every button has a story and I feel blessed to be able to share their stories with my customers.”

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c/o Lopiccolo

Lopiccolo’s advice for upcycling is simple:

Start with something you are passionate about.

Her father, being a traditional silversmith jeweler, “nourished (the) passion for jewelry” in her. She encourages others to let their imagination run wild.

“I like the idea of appreciating the simple little things in our environment…” Lopiccolo said.

As for the future of heycaryann? Lopiccolo playfully replied that she would not want to the fun to come to a halt if it were a full-time job.

She would however love to expand into more wholesale orders, sell in more vintage boutiques and possibly work on sending out a newsletter a few times a year.

Still, upcycling is the wave of the future according to Lopiccolo, and she deems it “exciting” to be part of this new movement.

“It makes you see your everyday life in a fresh way,” she added.

c/o Lopiccolo

To see more of Cary Lopiccolo’s work, or to buy her neat upcycled jewelry, visit her Etsy shop here.


An interview with 1/2 of Red Pajamas.

February 3, 2011

In a slight change of plans for this week’s interview, I give you one of the ladies behind the Red Pajamas Designs Etsy Shop!

c/o Klassen

Lynnette Klassen is a “30-something”, stay-at-home momma of three who is 1/2 of the design duo. Originally from Canada, Klassen came to the Valley about 5 years ago. Along with her friend and other half of Red Pajamas, Vanessa, they opened Red Pajamas on the popular online marketplace in February 2008.

“We started 3 years ago, with only basic sewing knowledge,” said Klassen.

Etsy is the perfect, risk free place to start a shop.  We decided to begin with simple projects.”

While Red Pajamas features mostly their own designs, the two have done several projects in upcycling, the first starting with this upcycled dress for Klassen’s daughter.

Made from a men’s button-down!

c/o Red Pajamas.

Klassen began upcycling clothing two years ago, when a neighbor of hers showed up at her doorstep with an “arm full” of perfectly good shirts he was not going to use anymore. Her husband suggested she take the other shirts he wasn’t going to wear, and use them for sewing.

“The idea of upcycling had been brewing in my mind for a while, so i went to work immedietly and came up with (the) dress for my daughter,” she said.

After adding the dress to their Etsy shop, Klassen said they found success and took on more challenging projects while gaining confidence and new skills.

“Repurposing is a fun and creative green choice, not to mention helpful with your budget.”

For now, the shop is their part-time creative outlet that keeps both Vanessa and Klassen comfortably busy and inspired. When asked if it could be a full-time gig in the future, Lynette answered “we’re not sure… I suppose anything is possible, but for now, we’re just enjoying it for what it is.”

“We have become such a throw-away society, when so often items can be further used,” she added.

Visit the Red Pajama Designs website to see more of their upcycling projects and a tutorial on how to give your old jeans a new life!

If you like what you see, visit their Etsy shop for handmade clothes for kiddos.


The cat’s out of the bag…

January 27, 2011

Hi there!

Welcome to Upcycle á la Mode, a new blog about local Phoenix crafters, artists, and “green” initiators.

As mentioned on every possible social media site, I will be featuring and profiling these Phoenix-area dwellers, who re-purposes everything from old clothes, vintage buttons, tire tubes, packing pallets, soda can buttons, and everything in between.

These features are in the works to include sweet video interviews, photos, and methods of their creative madness! I hope to showcase these people in varying interview style posts, being that I am an aspiring journalist, and I plan on incorporating some ways you can try their “upcycling” at home. That could include detailed tips from the artists themselves, or simple DIY instructions at the end of some posts.

Coming soon is an interview with a lovely lady by the name of Cary Ann.

You can check out her nifty things ahead of time on her Etsy shop at

Be sure to come back and comment on her interview!

I can’t wait to get this blog up and rolling, and am completely open to (friendly) comments and concerns on how to make the blog better!

Feel free to roam around,

Read some tid-bits on the “About” page, find out how to send me personal notes on the “Get in touch” page, search the blog, view past blogs in “Archives” (once I get a good amount of posts in), and check out the Twitter site!

I also have a Facebook fan page you can “Like” at

Hope to see you around here in the future,

Diana Martinez