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Upcycling: Cell Phone Caddy June 9, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Sustainable Living.

This weekend, I upcycled a worn out t-shirt.

The t-shirt, decorated by a local artist, had seen better days but the batik design on the back still looked great.

I cut off the hem to use as a shoulder strap, folded the t-shirt so the batik shell design was front and center, and stitched the side seams.

Making the bag was a *snap* . . . except for adding the snap closure.

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Now I’ve got a “cell phone caddy” perfect for hands-free walks on the beach.

This beach . . .

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Have you repurposed or upcycled any “stuff” with good results?  Do tell.

Related post:  No Sew Valance * Upcycled Cat Tent (Upcycle That)



1. Jill Weatherholt - June 9, 2015

What a cute little caddy, Nancy. Nice job! You’re torturing me with the beach photo. How my toes would love to sink into that white powder right now. Aah….that’s better. 🙂

nrhatch - June 9, 2015

Are you close to a beach, Jill? It’s getting to be beach weather all along the Atlantic seaboard.

Maybe you need to take your Writing Desk and park it on the sand for a few days of writing en plein aire?

Jill Weatherholt - June 9, 2015

The closest beach is Myrtle Beach. It’s a little too commercialized for my taste, but I like your idea. 🙂

nrhatch - June 9, 2015

We used to go to Myrtle Beach (and Asheville) for NC Bar Association meetings & CLE seminars about 25 years ago . . . I imagine it’s more built up now.

2. L. Marie - June 9, 2015

What a great idea, Nancy! I wish I knew how to sew!
How lovely to see that beach. Ahhhhhh.
The only thing I repurpose (and it’s not exactly repurposing) is paper. I use the backs of paper I’ve printed on and either print on the other side or draw on the other side. I also cut up used paper and use it as a memo pad.

nrhatch - June 9, 2015

Thanks, Linda. My mom knew how to sew ~ she even made my sister’s wedding dress. In contrast, I know how to thread a needle and do a basic stitch or two. I folded the shirt so I would only have to stitch two side seams.

Glad you put your paper to good use. I do the same until it gets to the point that I have too many note/memo pads around.

L. Marie - June 10, 2015

That is the problem I’m running into. I have memo pads for days. And unfortunately, I have a terrible habit of hiding some of them. Whenever I go through a purge of papers, I find dozens of them.

nrhatch - June 10, 2015

We are not yet a “paperless society” ~> my shredder gets a work out each afternoon when the junk mail arrives.

3. JOriginal Muse - June 9, 2015

Love that idea, as I am not a fan of holding things that I like to have “on hand” (so to speak), especially when I’m on nature walks. That came out cute!

One of my biggest passions is sewing re-purposed items… like turning favorite fake fur throw blankets into throw pillows. I also used to make customized throw pillows from favorite worn out sweaters and shirts. I’ve turned old denim jeans into aprons and then strung more aprons together to make curtain valances.

Other items like beautiful glass bowls from thrift stores have become planters for house plants. I’ve also used old tea pots. The ideas are endless. The trick is to stare at the shape and design of any item long enough while asking yourself the question, how can this serve another function? Thanks for re-inspiring me to do that again with a phone caddy 😉

nrhatch - June 9, 2015

I met you because of your story about jeans and I’ve seen some of your FAB creations on Etsy.

You’ve got The Knack!!!

My sewing projects are few and far between, but I enjoyed this one. I took my “new” cell phone caddy for an inaugural beach walk yesterday.

4. suzicate - June 9, 2015

I love making “new things” from “old things”! The last time we visited my MIL at the nursing home, my hubby attached his old cell phone holder to her wheelchair so she could reach her phone when she got calls. We discovered this weekend not the cell phone in it but a tube of lipstick and chewing gum!

nrhatch - June 9, 2015

She repurposed her cell phone holder so she’d have gorgeous lips and fresh breath!

5. anotherday2paradise - June 9, 2015

Love your new caddy! You must be so pleased with your efforts. That shell design is much too nice to discard. 🙂

nrhatch - June 9, 2015

Thanks, Sylvia. I enjoyed transforming a favorite (i.e., very worn) t-shirt into something I could still use.

6. Patricia - June 9, 2015

Very clever of you. It looks great.

nrhatch - June 9, 2015

Thanks, Patricia. Another great way to “upcycle” clothing would be to make a quilt. That, of course, would exceed my lifetime sewing capacity. :mrgreen:

7. Pix Under the Oaks - June 9, 2015

Very nice, Nancy! Perfect for putting stuff in… we may have had a conversation about that… 😀 You sew! I can barely put thread through the needle. We recycled the wood for the teeny farm table on The Porch that a friend made for us. Good Afternoon! That beach looks wonderful… and I see tractor 😀

nrhatch - June 9, 2015

Hi Pix! I saw your comment to Kate about your tiled porch/patio and hope that you’ll share some photos on your blog. Sounds like a great project. I remember the butcher block island you repurposed in your kitchen. I can’t remember if I’ve seen the farm table on The Porch.

8. Kate Crimmins - June 9, 2015

Good idea. I have more intentions than actual finished projects.

nrhatch - June 9, 2015

Oh, same here, Kate. More than a few years ago I embroidered and framed 5 Christmas trees for gifts. The remnants from the project, enough to make another 5 Christmas trees to give the following Christmas, are still sitting in the bottom of my sewing kit, unfinished.

Not enough steam to power all the intentions. 😎

Kate Crimmins - June 10, 2015

I need a battery charger for my energy.

nrhatch - June 10, 2015

Now that’s a million $ idea!

9. diannegray - June 9, 2015

Well done, Nancy. Sewing well is a talent! I love recycling things. If I need something and can’t find something at home to make it I go to the thrift store – I’m constantly amazed at the things people throw away! 😉

nrhatch - June 9, 2015

It’s fun to transform “leftovers” into something more.

I don’t throw much away, but we donate lots of stuff to local thrift stores ~ it’s the “easiest” most immediate way to recycle, reuse, and repurpose “mathoms” we no longer want hanging around. And no sewing skills required. :mrgreen:

10. Grannymar - June 9, 2015

I love the phone caddy. I get a great kick out of upcycling stuff like that.

nrhatch - June 9, 2015

You are a true crafting champion, GM! You transform sow’s ears into silk purses!

Grannymar - June 10, 2015

I have been known to make a bag from scraps, you can read about it here: http://grannymar.com/2009/11/18/art-with-my-needle-week-13/ It includes throwing a few feathers together to top it off! 😉

nrhatch - June 10, 2015

A perfect example of your craftiness, GM.

11. Tiny - June 9, 2015

Very nice! You’re handy, Nancy! More than I can say about moi.

nrhatch - June 9, 2015

I owe it all to Midge! And Betsy McCall. They never complained when the doll’s clothes I made for them had crooked seams or ragged edges. 😛

And Midge didn’t even get mad when I left her with a bald spot after an ill conceived haircut.

12. NancyTex - June 9, 2015

I suppose I would need to own a sewing machine in order to sew. Also to actually learn how to sew. :-P~~

nrhatch - June 9, 2015

I don’t own a sewing machine either, NT ~ I wouldn’t use it enough to justify the purchase, but it would have come in handy for this project. That said, it didn’t take me long to hand stitch the sides with an inner hem that is “invisible” to passers by.

Most of my sewing skills come from making dresses for patient dolls decades ago.

NancyTex - June 9, 2015

You’ve got some skills there, missy!

nrhatch - June 9, 2015

Let’s just say I’m glad I don’t have to make a living at it! :mrgreen:

13. Barb - June 10, 2015

You put your old worn T-shirt to good use Nancy, and I bet it gave you a kick doing it….I love recycling ‘stuff’. I used the metal frame of an old table in the garden, turned it on it’s side and covered it with shade cloth’ I now have a place to protect my ferns from our hot sun! Everybody laughed at me at first – now they all want one!

nrhatch - June 10, 2015

That’s a great idea. My dad had a small greenhouse on the patio that used shade cloth to protect fragile new plants. I’m sure your ferns appreciate having a shady spot to relax.

14. Three Well Beings - June 10, 2015

What a clever use of a T-shirt! I’m impressed with that. I don’t have a good example at the moment, but I don’t let go of things too easily if I can even imagine a second purpose! This can be a problem in other ways, of course. LOL! If something I have will “make do” I don’t reach for new!

nrhatch - June 10, 2015

Thanks, Debra! It’s a balance between hanging on to things “just in case” and letting them go so we can continue to flow through life without being buried alive under mountains of stuff.

Yesterday I tackled the bathroom closets . . . reducing and recycling the contents without repurposing a thing. I always breathe lighter after a decluttering exercise.

15. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - June 10, 2015

That’s awesome! I love to upcycle things, but haven’t done it lately… you’ve inspired me!

nrhatch - June 10, 2015

Yay! Exactly why I posted this . . . to plant a seed. Hope you find a fun project to enjoy.

16. Cecilia - June 10, 2015

You have a great talent, congratulations! It looks just awesome! Thanks for sharing.

nrhatch - June 10, 2015

Thanks, Cecelia! Here’s to lessening the load on our landfills!

17. beeblu - June 10, 2015

I don’t have much talent in the making-things department, unfortunately, so my unwanted clothes go in the charity bin. That beach looks awfully inviting to a currently freezing Antipodean.

nrhatch - June 10, 2015

The vast majority of mine do the same, BB. I have the occasional creative impulse . . . without the necessary follow-through.

18. jannatwrites - September 7, 2015

I haven’t done anything like this, but I do like to find new uses for old stuff. I have to admit though, I usually just donate the stuff because I’m still working on having less 🙂 (and I’m lazy, haha)

nrhatch - September 7, 2015

I hear ya! I’m more inclined to donate than create these days.

Less is MORE.

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