Creative re-use: the Art Elements theme reveal

Welcome! This month Lesley tasked us with something a little different – she challenged us to reuse, recycle, and reinvent. While that wasn’t a new idea for some of us – it was a really fun challenge to try something new, to make new from old. It was perfect timing with Earth Day falling in the month to make use of exiting materials, in an effort to reduce waste and consumerism.

My first piece came to me filled with delicious British chocolates. Jenny Wren to be exact. They arrived perfectly intact from my Secret Santa Caroline – that tiny wren flying thousands of miles with the assistance of the Royal Mail. We ate the chocolates carefully, savoring the treat over a few days, and yes – I did share with my husband.

The box fascinated me. I loved the engineering, and the size. The colors aren’t my personal palette – so for this month’s challenge I decided to give it a make over. ( Sadly no process pix. Oops) I based my palette on paste paper I had made with my Book Arts group a while back. It was my favorite aqua greens, but with gold and burgundy. I covered the hot pink, but let the yellow peek out at the edges. I wrapped each drawer, and lined the inside. I knew I had to use thin paper, and leave certain areas alone – to as not bulk up the form and impede movement.

I am really happy with the box – it may live on my bead table, holding artist beads that are too pretty to put away, or that are in my line of vision as I contemplate what their future holds.

My second re-use project uses old wool sweaters. Unlike many of my team mates here at AE, I cannot sew. Nothing functional that it. I can embellish and embroider, but no patterns or machines for me. Old wool sweaters from the thrift store shrink and felt into lovely fabric – one simply needs to wash and dry on hot! These felted pieces I have used as the basis for tapestries, for pouches… This month I tried a goddess art doll of sorts. There are some issues – but I liked embroidering while watching tv – having something to do with my hands. The goddess shape I drew onto the felt, and did lose some definition of shape when I turned its and stuffed it – due to the thickness of the fabric. I think I will play with this idea more.

Ok – this is the big reveal. This is a thing I actually found in an antique store in Maine last October! When I saw it – I had a plan!

It is an antique mens travel grooming case, in great condition. I clean it up, threw put the brushes… and refilled it!

While it isn’t the most streamlined travel art studio – its unique and makes me happy! The soap and toiletries boxes have all been reimagined:

There are travel scissor, brushes… I need to find a plastic travel bottle that fits in one of the open loops, and I have a watercolor tray that may fit in as well. I went to find a sketchbook to fit inside – but they were all too thick. So I made a folio – to hold loose paper. It will serve as the work surface as well. It is covered in Tyvek painted with alcohol inks – so it won’t be harmed by the occasional splatter.

Before I go – a few process pix. The watercolor pans are all in place with magnets. Magnetic tape not eh bottom of the box, and a round magnet on each pan. Easy to remove, rearrange, refill. And the Tyvek? It was simply a USPS mailer envelope cut open, and painted on the clean white inside. ( Free and durable)

Thanks for stopping in – I am off to dabble with my watercolors for the #100 day project. But please – take a look at what creative re-use solution are going on on the other blogs!




Evie & Beth









AE Team






Jenny  ( you are here)




15 thoughts on “Creative re-use: the Art Elements theme reveal

  1. lesleyhw says:

    I just love what you did with the grooming case Jenny…it just has so much character and is so personal to you and your way of working. The box turned out beautifully too and embellished felt…whats not to love? Many thanks for joining us in this challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. alycat55 says:

    All 3 of your projects are so different and I truly love them all. Your being able to imagine a traveling art set out of that thrift shop find takes the cake though. Some great ideas with the magnets too. I also love the charcoal felted sweater with the blue stitching .. the colors attract my eye.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. blueberribeads says:

    I had no idea that little box was so lovely when opened, I’d have kept it too and love what you’ve done with it. You know I adore your embroidery and the travelling art case is amazing… I’m going to keep a look out for something like that for myself!


  4. karingg says:

    Your projects are all so different but all so beautiful. I love your embroidery and how you repurposed the box the grooming box. Such great ideas!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Laney says:

    Love that re-vamped box! I have some boxes that contained make up my daughter ordered, they are like little drawers, I intend to put them together and make over to look like a little drawer unit 😀 I like the paint travel case too and your felted goddess doll, I too need to keep my hands busy in the evening.. or else I eat!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. cathysmendola says:

    I love how you recovered the chocolate box-it’s so beautiful. Love your felted goddess but I am awestruck with the grooming kit! What a great find and such a perfect way to repurpose it. It will be a great traveling companion for years.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jennifer Cameron says:

    Oh my goodness! That TRAVEL CASE!!!! It is beautiful. And even if it isn’t super efficient, it is super cool, and that is definitely more important. The paste paper is gorgeous and what a great way to use it on that cool box. I love how you changed it to be something you will appreciate and use. Also, one of these days I really need to try to find old wool sweaters to shrink and play with. We only have a couple and we wear them forever. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever discarded/donated a wool sweater…the embroidery on your goddess doll is gorgeous and I look forward to seeing where it takes you. Also, if I can sew (see my repurpose post), you can DEFINITELY sew. No pattern used and I faked my way through it. LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hope Smitherman says:

    I really like the projects you were able to complete. Upcycling the men’s travel case into an art case was a great idea. I’m sure you’ll get tons of use out of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. niky sayers says:

    What lovely things you created Jenny! I really like your needle felted pieces your goddess is wonderful and I adore your travel case what a very cleaver idea!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Anita says:

    Your travel art studio is brilliant – it’s awesome how you’ve reimagined the grooming kit! The chocolate box is wonderful – I like its design too, and I love the texture in your new cover. The goddess doll looks promising, and I look forward to seeing how you’ll continue on it. And I like your embroidery on the pouches – especially the beaded one!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Tammy Adams says:

    I would have saved that very unique box and then had no idea how to re-use it. Your idea was brilliant. The portable art studio is also a brilliant repurposing idea. I wish I were more able to see things for what they could be. I think embellish and embroider definitely count as sewing. And I love where you’re headed with the doll.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Rosantia Petkova says:

    The travel case re-purposing is absolutely fabulous! I’ve got many cool and sturdy boxes but keep them for mailing parcels, I never thought about changing their appearance and putting them to good use, will have to try this! Love the embroidery on felt!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. sarajowentling says:

    What fun projects you came up with, Jenny! That box is so fabulous… it’s original colors made me happy, but your changes take it over the top. That little travel studio is adorable and ingenious!

    Liked by 1 person

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