Monday, May 27, 2013


The last time I posted, I mentioned my friend Thais, who had said she would meet up with me and teach me how to make new things out of old things. Well, guess what. She did! 

That's what this post is about. Upcycling. Wikipedia defines it as "the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value" and that's exactly what we did. We took empty Tetra Pak boxes that would otherwise go into the rubbish bin and converted them into pretty little wallets that look fun and will give anyone who wants to buy them from her or from me instant Karma points! (wink wink, nudge nudge) 

We were supposed to meet at the Rituals coffee shop on the UWI campus in Saint Augustine today at noon, because I was going out there anyways to read at the university's library and she lives close by. Unfortunately, rainy season has kicked in now and our plans kind of got flushed. No, no. I'm not saying it's bad that it's rainy season. Not at all! I have been waiting for it to start for a long time, for two reasons: 1) the bush fires were becoming a serious problem and B) you know, I love the rain. Today, however, we got one of those torrential downpours that paralyse traffic and flood neighbourhoods, so neither Thais nor I could leave our respective homes. (I have an umbrella, but it's not industrial strength and it can't protect me and my laptop from horizontal rainfall..!)

To make up for the potentially lost creative time, I started another project. A super-secret one that I can't yet tell you anything about. Probably soon, though. But yeah, I spent quite some time working away on that front. Glasses on, [item I use for super-secret project] in hand, brain's concentration levers pushed all the way to "ultra elevated". 

Until it finally stopped raining in the early afternoon, that is. So, a little later than originally planned, we met up in the coffee shop to get started on our arts and crafts project. I had brought some empty juice boxes (I drank a lot of juice this morning, just for this), clear tape and some hair ties, and she had brought some empty milk cartons and a big apple juice carton, scissors, a Swiss Army knife and all her expertise. And patience. 

This is not going to be a tutorial for you to learn how to make those wallets and purses, if you want that, you can google it or look for tutorials on YouTube - there's a lot of really good ones! I could have done that as well. But why learn from the internet, when you can have a friend teach you and have fun and share nice conversations at the same time, right?

Instead of a tutorial, this here is just me sharing my joy and happiness with you. Because I had a great day today, despite the late start. And - who knows? - maybe this will inspire someone out there to start a little DIY creativity project of their own. Maybe YOU! 

So here's what we made today. Or rather, what she helped me make with careful instructions, patient teacher that she is. Not that I cost her a lot of patience, at least I don't think I did, but still, this young grasshopper still has a lot to learn. 

We started off with a basic purse made from a juice box, right after came the slightly more elaborate version with two compartments, made from a large carton. 

Next, we made the same two-compartment wallet from a large carton of almond milk, but we opened it on the side and turned it inside-out to make a shimmery, silver wallet. I think, this might be my personal favourite of the four I got to make today. 

Last, but most definitely not least, we tried a new thing. Thais found a tutorial online and we didn't have the patience to watch it so we only saw the beginning, but that was enough. Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you, the screw-cap wallet! 

Seriously, it's a cool thing. 

Now what I want to do is to keep making these ones I've learned today and perfect them, because I want to become better and faster at making them, and then also have a look at some more ideas in order to be able to start making more sophisticated ones. More creative, more interesting, more colourful, more intricate and more awesome. 

All in all, I must call this a very successful day. I started a super-secret project, I met my friend, learned a cool upcycling technique from her and generally just felt a lot of positive energy. Whenever I get to be tangibly productive, especially when it has to do with making/fabricating/creating something with my hands (or, almost as much, with getting a lot of 'real' work done, reviewing a lot of academic texts or spending large amounts of time outdoors), it's like my body's and my brain's batteries get re-filled to maximum levels. Not literally, of course, but while I might end up really freaking tired, depending on what I've been doing, it definitely makes me feel like I want to jump and sing and hug everyone. As in, I might be exhausted but I'll be happy as fuck. Pardon my French. 

If you are anything like me, even the tiniest little bit, you should give this a try. 

If you haven't already, that is, in which case sorry for boring you. 

If you have, share your ideas with me! 


  1. lovely, lovely coincidence! these beat my crappy DIY wallets :P they also give me some new ideas to try...

    thanks for sharing. and when next i see you i want a wallet -- the pretty pink fruta one will do! <3

  2. Replies
    1. Hi Patrice! Welcome to the blog :)
      Hope you enjoy reading!

      And hope to actually meet you soon so we can start making more cool things!

  3. sehr beeindruckend ! ich hoffe, du machst auch für mich so ein tolles oberteil :-) ich werd´ schon einmal ein leiberl suchen !!!!

  4. sorry first entry belongs to another blog :-(
    zu diesem blog: alle sammeln für dich bunte, helle,...tetrapacks, damit du dich auch in österreich so toll künsterlisch betätigen kannst :-)
    LY mami

    1. Danke, das ist toll! Ich freu mich schon aufs Weiterbasteln daheim :)

      Und wegen dem ersten Kommentar, keine Sorge, das macht gar nichts!