Green Crafting

The California Wine Club is partnering with to “Put a Cork in it” and recycle 20 million wine corks. We would like to offer a great big thank you to Kathreen for allowing us this opportunity to talk about the benefits of natural cork, our collection drive, and also – wait for it – our SWEEPSTAKES!

Natural wine cork is a fascinating resource. Unlike paper, the Cork Oak can be harvested without being felled. Instead, mature cork trees are stripped of their bark, leaving the tree ready for harvest again in about 10 years. And, with a lifespan of up to 120 years, Cork Oak trees are a truly renewable resource, right from the beginning.

Unfortunately, once the cork makes its way into our wine bottles, and subsequently our homes, it is often thrown away, despite the fact that it is renewable. Cork can be recycled, upcycled, “whipped up” and everything in between; shoes, flooring, artwork, and candleholders are just a few of the examples that we have seen.

Links to upcycled/recycled wine cork diy projects:

All these creative uses for what would otherwise be garbage have inspired us to host a contest! Just post a picture of your cork art project on our Facebook wall, and you’ll be entered to win a FREE membership to The CA Wine Club, which includes three months of home wine deliveries.

If you’re not feeling inspired, but would still like to contribute to our collection drive, simply visit the “Request an Envelope” tab on our Facebook page and fill out the form for your postage-paid envelope. Don’t forget to visit the “Sweepstakes” tab as well, because you shouldn’t have to be a great artist or craftsman/woman to win free things!

If we reach our goal of 20 million corks collected, ReCORK will plant 1,000 Cork Oak trees in the Mediterranean Cork Oak Forest. These trees provide essential income to the families that harvest them, and all you have to do to help is save your corks and send them in!

So let’s drink wine and be green! Next time you pop a cork, set it aside for recycling!

Best Wishes,
The California Wine Club.


Kirstin and Jordan are sisters who blog at kojodesigns. And while ‘creativity’ sometimes looks different for each of them – Jordan’s kitchen is the backdrop for many an experiment in crafty cooking and she is rarely without her camera while Kirstin is slowly decorating her home with Anthropologie knock-offs and using her extra minutes to whip up new J Crew-y duds for her kiddos (and her sisters), there is a whole lot of crafty overlap as well (mostly their shared love for throwing kicking parties and showers).

Hello whipup friends! I am Kirstin, half of a sister team that blogs over at kojodesigns, and I am just thrilled to be here today!

Recently, I helped hostess a “retro patchwork” baby shower. For the decor, we tried to incorporate as many vintage items as possible (vintage quilts and afghans, a retro cooler, mason jar glasses, vintage serving ware). We also used vintage sheets to make several of the decor elements, including a vintage sheet flag bunting, vintage sheet cocktail napkins and vintage sheet fabric flower corsages. But why let the vintage sheet fun stop there?

I’m here today with a darling (and super simple) vintage pillowcase skirt tutorial.

To make one yourself, you’ll need:

  • a vintage pillowcase
  • sewing supplies
  • a yard of contrasting bias tape
What to do:
  1. Cut the sewn top edge off of the pillowcase. Cut the rest of the pillowcase down to 20″ long.
  2. Measure your natural waist. Cut a length of 2″ wide elastic, the same length as your measurement. Sew the ends of the elastic together, right sides facing each other, creating a waistband. Trim the edges to look clean and top stitch them down.
  3. Pin the elastic tube to the top edge of the skirt. First turn the elastic inside out, slide on the outside of the skirt (so that the right sides are facing each other). Find the middle of the back of the skirt and pin to the middle of the back of the elastic tube. Repeat with the middle of the front of the skirt and the two edges (this ensures that your elastic is evenly spaced). Continue pinning at equal intervals. Sew the elastic to the top edge of the skirt. Pull the elastic taut as you go. Sew a zig zag stitch around the perimeter to prevent the minimize fraying.
  4. Finish off the hem with contrasting bias tape.
  5. Done! Super cute, super simple skirt with a retro vibe!


  1. Making this gnome bowling set from recycled soda bottles looks like a fun thing for the grownups and kids to make and play with together.
  2. Make this boats from corks – great all day activity for all ages (via).
  3. Weave a mat using t-shirts also (via) great project for school age kids and I am thinking grownups too will dig this.
  4. Braided headbands using fabric scraps – perfect for all ages.
  5. Printed wall hanging – using cereal boxes and found materials


For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website

  1. Pretty shoe makeover (pictured)
  2. Creative espadrilles (pictured)
  3. DIY Denim wedges (pictured)
  4. Glitter and glue
  5. Shoe refashion
  6. Create a shoe
  7. DIY Summer sandals


Guest post by Wendi Gratz: You can find Wendi online at Shiny Happy World where she is on a mission to teach beginners of all ages how to sew. All of her patterns are especially designed for beginners and include links to free video tutorials teaching every skill you’ll need to complete the project.

Today Wendi is introducing a Workshop she is running called The Shirt Off Daddy’s Back Sewing Workshop which begins 10 July. The workshop will teach participants how to make girls’ clothes out of men’s shirts, and will include skirts, dresses, and aprons using both knit and woven fabric (from T-shirts and dress shirts). All patterns are included as well as video lessons for each project, plus a few extras such as how to crochet a scalloped border, embroider a pretty hem, and sew on knit ruffles. Find more info here. Wendi is giving away a free spot in the workshop to a Whip Up reader! Just leave a comment telling me about your favorite thing to make for kids. Contest will be open for 48 hours. Congratulations Cinnamon. You have been contacted via email.

Choosing Shirts to Refashion

I love a good wardrobe refashion. It’s good for the environment; it pleases my thrifty soul; and when it involves reworking my husband’s clothes into outfits for my daughter – I find it incredibly sweet. She loves to wear her daddy’s old clothes!

When I started out refashioning, I was just cutting old garments apart to reuse the fabric. I’ve learned to go a step further and now I also work to reuse a lot of the finish and detail work from the original. It preserves some of the character of the shirt I started with, and it also gives me some great details in the finished piece – with less work! Here’s what to look for. . .

  1. A good hem. For dress shirts I love curved shirt tails – those look lovely at the bottom of a skirt or dress. Many casual button-down shirts have straight hems – but some of them have nice notches at the side seams and that’s also a nice detail. For T-shirts – make sure the hem is intact. That double-stitched hem is often the first seam to go on an inexpensive tee. But you can dress up those plain t-shirt hems in lots of cute ways.
  2. Pockets. Pockets with curved bottom corners are nice. So are nice details at the top edge.
  3. Shoulder yokes and back pleats. Both of these details add a lot to the construction time if you do them yourself. Some strategic cutting on a shirt with them already in place will add a professional finish and take you no extra time.

A word on fabric

If the fabric feels good – use it. Remember – if you’re sewing for kids, comfort is the most important thing. If it’s stiff or itchy they won’t wear it, no matter how great it looks. One of the great things about using worn clothes is that they’re already ‘broken in': t-shirts are buttery soft and dress shirts that are no longer “crisp” enough for business are perfect for a drapey skirt. Let your fingertips be your guide. Find more info here.


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