Mijn eerste marktje – Ghentmade – my first craft market

This Saturday I went to my first ever craft market: Ghentmade.  There were a lot of nice handmade things, being sold by all the crafters: babyclothes, jewellery, accessories, furniture, rugs, knitted and crocheted stuffed animals, clothes, …. If you want to know more, check out the Ghentmade facebookpage. The market took place @Volmolenstraat in Ghent. The street has been transformed into a traffic free area where lots of projects and events will take place during this summer. I was kind of nervous about going, because I didn’t have the time to actually make a lot of things! A lot happened these last weeks, some good moments, some rather difficult but I told myself I had to go to this market because it would be a great opportunity to see how other crafters go about setting up a craft booth and what kind of stuff they would be selling. So as it was my first time I didn’t have as much stuff as all the others but none the less I had a really good time and actually sold some upcycled items (jeej!). This is what the craft market looked like:

Zaterdag ben ik voor het eerst naar een ‘handmade’ -marktje afgezakt: Ghentmade.  Er werden een hele boel toffe spullen verkocht:  kinderkledij, juwelen, accessoires, meubelen, tapijten, brei- en haak werkjes, …. Ga zeker eens kijken op hun facebookpagina als je meer te weten wil komen. Het marktje ging door in de Volmolenstraat in Gent. Deze straat werd onlangs getransformeerd in een verkeersvrije zone. Gedurende de zomer zullen allerhande projecten en evenementen doorgaan in deze straat. Ik was een beetje nerveus want ik had niet zoveel tijd gehad om dingen te maken. Er is de laatste weken veel gebeurd, een mix van leuke momenten en andere moeilijker. Maar ik had mezelf ervan overtuigd dat het een goed moment zou zijn om te zien hoe andere creatievelingen hun plaatsje invulden en wat voor spullen zij zouden verkopen. Ik had dus niet veel mee maar het was een super leuke dag en ik heb zelfs enkele upcycled items verkocht (jeej!). Zo zag het marktje er ongeveer uit:

And this was my table:
En zo zag mijn tafeltje eruit:

My first customer EVER bought 3  handmade leather upcycled bows, 1 big one and 2 little ones. She decided on wearing one immediately! Cool right?
Mijn eerste klant OOIT kocht 3 handgemaakte upcycled strikjes, 1 grote en 2 kleintjes. Ze deed ze al meteen aan! Tof toch?

the upcycling fashionista - upcycled leather bow pin

the upcycling fashionista – upcycled leather bow pin

I made a lot of dinosaurus plates and containers. The plates didn’t sell that well, I can now see that they are actually not that usefull :p So I won’t be making them anymore. The containers were popular! Not difficult to make but cute to keep little things in.
Ik had een hele hoop dinosaurus borden en potjes gemaakt. De borden verkochten niet zo goed, ik denk dat ze niet zo handig zijn :p dus deze maak ik niet meer. De potjes waren wel een hit. Niet moeilijk te maken maar wel een toffe opbergoplossing voor kleine spulletjes.

I also loved making key chains  out of an old fur coat and a pair of jeans. I made 10 and sold 5 of them. Overall, I learned that I prefer making bags and accessories like pins and hair ties.  And I really think they would sell well. So I will continue to sew and create those out of recycled materials.  So next post: a new upcycled bag. Can’t wait to finish and show you!
Ik maakte ook met veel plezier sleutelhangers van een oude bonte jas en een jeans. In totaal maakte ik er 10 en verkocht er 5. Conclusie van de dag? Ik heb het gevoel dat ik liever tassen en accessoires zoals pins en haarrekkers maak. Ook denk ik dat deze goed zouden verkopen. Dus ik ga verder naaien en creëren, allemaal met gerecycleerde materialen. Mijn volgende berichtje: een nieuwe upcycled tas. Hopelijk is deze snel af en kan ik ze jullie tonen!

Ben je geïnteresseerd om iets te kopen? Laat het me weten!



Big Upcycled DIY Bag

I finally finished one of my upcycling projects: From skirt to Big Bag.  For this project I used a skirt that I found at a shop in Ghent: Think Twice Nederkouter (check out their Facebook page, you’ll love it!). Every month they do what they call 4-3-2-1 euro sales.  Basically everything in the shop is super cheap during sales days! I bought a skirt for 1 euro (say whaaaat) because I loved the fabric and immediately thought it would come in handy for an upcycling project.  I also bought a different skirt (1 euro) that had a lot of buckles that I could use for finishing my new bag.

Finished result:

I put in a big zipper, an extra pocket on the back and two extra pockets on the inside with a zipper. The lining is made out of some scraps I had lying around that used to be the lining of a jacket. It’s made the bag a little bit thicker and protects the stuff I put in it. By closing or opening the buckles on the side I can adjust the size and make the bag bigger if necessary.

In the background you can see my new vintage Singer sewing machine! Isn’t she lovely 😉

Birthday present for my mom

Since september I’ve been taking sewing classes. I bought my sewing machine when I was 12 but didn’t really knew if I was doing it right. I didn’t have a relative to explain me how it worked or who showed me what to do. I’m really pleased I took the decision to take these classes cause it has helped me a lot! And the teacher is so nice! She is the most patient person I know, for sure. I know I would flip out if I had to teach 15 women how to sew :).

For my first assignment I had to make a toiletry bag. Now, I knew, by seeing the pattern, I would not use the bag. I like little bags to have a zipper otherwise my stuff keeps falling out when I put it in my purse. Sadly, we couldn’t decide which shape or closure the bag would have. But in the future I will definitely try this again and maybe rework the pattern a little bit.

For the fabric I took an old shirt and skirt from my fabric boxes I knew my mom would like. I gave it to her as a birthday present and I think she likes her new toiletry bag…

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CU soon

SECOND HAND SECOND LIFE 2013 – défilé Petits Riens/Spullenhulp

Friday I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in aaaages :p. We both share a passion for vintage, thrifting, fashion, upcycling and DIY so evidently she would be my date to SECOND HAND SECOND LIFE, a fashion show organized by Spullenhulp (otherwise known as Les petits riens). Apart from the fact that this would be a glamorous evening and we were about to see a lot of cool design, we were pleased to know that by attending we supported the mission of Spullenhulp. As all of their profit is used in the battle against poverty and exclusion in Belgium.  (So go buy or donate some stuff in their second hand shops!)

Spullenhulp organized this event for the eleventh time (!). They asked fourteen designers to go through the donated clothes, items, accessories … of Spullenhulp and create a mini-collection. During the show we got to see a live performance from ‘SOLDOUT’, I liked it very much and made me think a little bit of ‘vive la fête’. After the show they auctioned of one silhouette of each of the designers.

I found the collection of Brunel Mintona very wearable and really liked his jacket with sparkly studs. (pictures by catwalkpictures)

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Max&Lola created a unique collection for little girls. I know that when my significant other and me have a mini-mi, she would definitely like the reversible jackets they presented.

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pictures: elle belgique/catwalkpictures

Eduoard Vermeulen for Natan (no offence, mister Vermeulen) let me down a little bit. I thought his collection was nice but it didn’t have a wow-factor. The only dress I liked in his collection had a sparkly top with long sleeves and a black shiny skirt that was shorter in the front then back.


The other designers were: Black balloon, Atelier Marchal, Elvis Pompilio, Gioia Seghers, Marius Pompon, Monsieur Bul, Nuage d’Automne, Pierre-Antoine Vettorello, Team Petits Riens, Tom van der Borght, Versa Versa by Sinead Shannon-Roche. Check out the Spullenhulp Facebook page or this guys youtube page; to see the designs in action.

In addition to the fashion design there were several (interior) designers that collaborated with Spullenhulp to create some mindblowing furniture and interior accessories. These creations were also auctioned.

I personally adore the fruitbowl made by Evy Puelinckx, het vindingrijk. It is an amazing upcycling project. But she’s a pro at it. She published her first book full of upcycling projects. I bought it the day after the show. And best of all, she was so nice :).

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Other crazy designs were this lampshade by Waste’up, made out of plain magazines and iron wire (say whaaaaat!) and another lighting project from Nicolas Destino, made out of an old coffee can.


A project I am definitely going to try is the rug made by Louisa Made.line.


Other designers were: Atelier Dynamo, Camille Carpentier et Florence Beaurepaire, Couleur couleur, Dirk Wynants, Gauthier Poulain, Géraldine Calbert & Hopop Studio, Isabelle Azaïs, Ognev Vlaminck, Sidonie Panache, Tamawa, Twodesigners.

In total SECOND HAND SECOND LIFE 2013 collected over 30.000 euro by auctioning all of the designs! This year’s profit will help to finance the new Spullenhulp warehouse. Each year more than 8 ton donated items will be sorted and dispatched from this warehouse. This will create over 250 jobs for persons with disabilities.

I was super enthusiastic to see that they created an actual pop-up store during the event. I’m already addicted to normal charity shopping, so you can only imagine what this would feel like (kid + candystore and high screaming sounds). We spotted some really cool stuff! Sadly I didn’t find anything that fit me, but my friend found some fancy new boots from DKNY!

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Needless to say we had a wonderful time! It was an inspiring evening where a lot of ‘upcycling’ designers got to show off their creativity and skills!

Do you want to support Spullenhulp? You can donate the items you no longer want or need, or you can buy some new outfits in their shops. Need a shopping buddy, let me know!


The difference between recycling, upcycling and downcycling

I’ve tried to make a brief summary to let you guys learn all about waste management and the place upcycling has in the waste minimization story.
So here it goes 🙂

Waste minimization and waste management hierarchy

There is a certain hierarchy when it comes to waste management. This is a classification of waste management options in order of their environmental impact. The waste hierarchy has taken many forms over the past decade, but the basic concept has remained the cornerstone of most waste minimization strategies. The aim of the waste hierarchy is to extract the maximum practical benefits from products and to generate the minimum amount of waste. The European Union Waste Framework Directive 2008 stipulates a five step hierarchy but it is the more common know “3R’s of reduce, reuse and recycle” that have been considered to be the base of environmental awareness and a way of promoting ecological balance through conscious behavior and choices.


Reduce, reuse, recycle

The 3 R ‘s represent the Waste Hierarchy from the most to the least desirable. Many of the things we currently throw away could be reused again with just a little thought and imagination.

Reduce – to buy less and use less.

Reuse – elements of a discarded item or items are used againglobeguyWaste20Reduction

Recycle – is the process to change items considered as waste into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials and reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials. Most of the time energy and water is used to change the physical properties of the waste material.

Within recycling there is distinction between two types:

Upcycling– converting low-value materials into high-value products (more desirable)

Downcycling – converting valuable products into low-value raw materials (less desirable)


When you upcycle an item, you aren’t breaking down the materials. You may be refashioning it — like cutting a t-shirt into strips of yarn — but it’s still made of the same materials as when you started. Upcycling only requires your own creativity and elbow grease.

But what exactly is Upcyling?

Upcycling is the process of converting old or discarded materials into something useful and often beautiful. When you upcycle you are giving an item a new purpose. But why would you upcycle?

1.  in doing so, you reduce the consumption of new raw materialscradle_to_cradle

William McDonough and Michael Braungart in their 2002 book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things state that the goal of upcycling is to prevent wasting potentially useful materials by making use of existing ones. This reduces the consumption of new raw materials when creating new products. Reducing the use of new raw materials can result in a reduction of energy usage, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions,… .

2.  furthermore, you reduce the amount of waste you create

“Upcycling is designed to work in opposition to consumer culture, encouraging people to think of new and innovative ways to use things, instead of simply buying new consumer goods. It also benefits the environment, by promoting reuse over discarding whenever possible.”

Plain and simple, upcycling makes a positive impact on the environment.

From old to new, but with a twist…

Upcycling is not a new concept. Some of the best examples of modern-day upcycling come from the 1930s-40s when families had very little economic or material resources. In this age of thrift, they reused almost everything, repurposing items over and over until they were no longer useful.
Further more, upcycling is a way of life for people in developing countries as raw materials are expensive. So they use what they can find to create bowls, baskets, jewelry and other useful and beautiful items.
It has yet to earn itself mainstream popularity, but its necessity as a goal for how we should be progressing makes its definition important. Upcycling has seen an increase in use due to its current marketability and the lowered cost of reused materials. Entire communities of upcyclers arise, with people trading expertise, goods, and materials, for example Etsy.

Upcycling vs. Downcycling


Upcycling is the opposite of downcycling. Downcycling involves converting converting valuable products into low-value raw materials. For example: creating recycled papers from paper, creating rags from clothing,…
Although downcycling helps the planet because it keeps things out of landfills (for a time at least) many times it will eventually end up there. (Want to know more about Belgian waste management? Read about it here)

Want to upcycle?

There are all sorts of examples of upcycling, ranging from building houses out of entirely discarded materials to turning plastic bags into yarn for knitting. Everyone can upcycle, which is part of the appeal, and people can participate at whatever level they feel comfortable with, from delving through dumpsters to salvage useful things to re-using containers rather than tossing them or throwing them out.

There are two ways to support the upcycling movement. Create items yourself or purchase ready-made items from upcycled materials. Both make a positive impact on the environment. Both reward you with something beautiful or useful product.
Do you want to share your vision on waste management? Feel free to leave a comment!

Check out my upcycling projects…