Archive for Repurpose and Upcycle

Holiday Shopping for Handmade Gifts

IMG_9964The best gifts (in my opinion) are handmade gifts either made by yourself (do it yourself DIY or bought locally).  To take it a step further, a gift that had been repurpose or upcycle into something unique, clever and useful.  That would be the ULTIMATE gift.  It is personal and different!

There are many ideas for a handmade gift.  What you have to ask yourself:

  1. succulents_1_resize_bWho is the gift for?
  2. What is purpose of the gift?  Holiday gifting? Birthday? Wedding? Graduation? Housewarming?
  3. How special is the person to you?

These answers will help you narrow down something personal, something unique, something one-of-a-kind gift. Here are some ideas of handmade gifts that you can make yourself or buy from a local artisan.

  1. Alibi InteriorsPicture frame made from repurposing pallet woods or old fence wood
  2. Succulents placed in a old sewing machine drawer (love this idea!)
  3. Custom engraved cutting board
  4. Handmade print poster that is framed
  5. Custom poster that you DIY (do it yourself).

Pinterest and Etsy are great websites to start when looking for ideas on either DIY gifts or handmade gifts that you want to purchase.  Remember, ask the questions and you can get a picture idea of the kind of gift you want to give.  Happy shopping and remember shop locally!

Recycling and Upcycling Fabulous Ideas

I am always blown away by the craftiness that so many people have.  The talent, the creativity, the sheer imagination that just comes to life!  Love it!  Just searching the web, I found recycling and upcycling awesome ideas that I just want to share to you.  Easy enough to do if you just put some elbow grease and maybe some sheer motivation on just doing.  LOL.  You will amaze yourself on what you can do.

Table Top with Reclaimed Leather Belts

Table Top with Reclaimed Leather Belts

Luggage Cabinet

Luggage Cabinet

1.  Reclaim leather belts – yup!  You got that right!  Old belts recycled to home decor ideas.

2. Old luggages – make them in a medicine cabinet, storage unit at the foot of your bed, drawers, end table and much more.  Check out The Soho for clever ideas!


Wall Mounted Bottle Openers

Wall Mounted Bottle Openers

3. Vintage bottle openers – wall mounted bottle openers placed on scrap hardwoods found from furniture making, cabinet making, home building really anyone who uses wood to build you can find scrap hardwoods.

4. Old liquor bottles like Jack Daniels, Stoli, Grey Goose or Crown Royale.  Make them into soap dispensers.  This is easy!  Check out Remove and Replace.  Great ideas with just what you see around your home.  Seriously clever!


Upcycle This! Scrap Hardwoods Repurposed

Scrap hardwoods

Scrap hardwoods

Scrap hardwoods?  Believe it or not, there is a whole sleuth of them out there.  United States still manufactures quite a bit of stuff.  It’s just that they are not mass produced.  Which makes the produce unique, one of kind and well, handcrafted.  A new trend for the past several years is really taking the US by storm and that is to buy handmade and buy USA.

With this much manufacturing, there is bound to be scraps.  For our purpose, let’s discover where to find scrap hardwoods.

1. Kitchen remodeling – still made with 100% hardwoods like cherry, oak, walnut or maple.  Each piece is cut to the right size depending upon the kitchen.

2. House building – some fabricated materials such as  MDF (medium density fiber board – which is cost effective) are used, but you can still find the good stuff out there.

3. Furniture making – US manufacturers are especially anal about using 100% natural woods.

Wall Mounted Bottle Openers

Wall Mounted Bottle Openers

Just these sources alone can keep you busy finding UNUSED scrap hardwoods – UPCYCLING (unused scraps repurposed).  Here are some great ideas on what to do with unused scrap hardwoods.  The list is endless.  These are just a few.

1. Wall mounted bottle openers – the backing makes the opener stand out

2. Cutting boards

3. Bread knives

4. Peppermills

Repurposing An Old Sewing Machine

Non Electric Sewing MachineThese past few months, Bart and I go out and “pick”.  I guess we are “pickers” but just on the weekend.  We do not even claim to know what we are doing when we are out there picking.  Usually, we find people’s junk that they want to throw out and determine if they are our treasures.  And we found just that … a treasure … the old non-electric sewing machine.  All in all, they are not worth much as they are in abundance.  Each garage sale we go to, you can almost always find an old non-electric sewing machine stored away.  Usually have some personal connection to them.  “It’s my grandmother’s sewing machine.”  “I remember when my mom sewed our clothes on this.”  Hence, they are still in storage.  No one wants to throw it away.  But I say, don’t throw away or sell it at a garage sale.  Instead consider repurposing it.  Here’s what Mac Cutting Boards has done.

Refurbished Non Electric Sewing Machine1. Took apart the machine and left the stands.

2. Added our custom made butcher block on top of the machine and secure it.

3. Voila!  It’s a banquet table or a cutting board or a display table.  Whatever you like!  It’s a fabulous idea to repurpose a piece of nostalgic furniture that has sentimental value and reuse it to your convenience.




Kitchen Charm Could Never Be More Simple Than This!

Custom Made Pull Out Wooden Cutting Board

Custom Made Pull Out Wooden Cutting Board



A wooden cutting board completes your kitchen.  Don’t you think?  Your kitchen’s ambience is all your style and charm for sure.  But your selection of what cutting board to use on a daily basis really says a lot about your kitchen’s decor.  It’s the bow that completes the package.  Often times, when you have a gorgeous board, it is used as a decor in itself.  Either hanging or propped up for anyone to see.

Most kitchens already came with a pull out wooden cutting board that came with the kitchen when it was first construct.  And in most cases, they are absolutely gross.  Am I right?  No matter what you do to try to clean it, it still stays icky.  Here’s a few ideas on what to do to spiff up your current pull out cutting board.

1. Use a fine grit sandpaper and sand down both sides of the board.  An electric sander can really speed up the process.  Wash the board before sanding.

2. After sanding, use mineral to coat the entire board.  Prop it up against your backsplash or against your wall with a towel underneath it to capture all the oil that may drip down.

3. Do not paint the board.  It will make it unuseable.

That’s it.  Should be like “new” again.  If you’re still not satified with your new pull out board, have it replaced.

Kiss My Old Wooden Cutting Board Goodbye

Cracked Wooden Cutting Board

Cracked Wooden Cutting Board

It is that time!  You’ve been staring at your old wooden cutting board for months and have said to yourself “it’s time to replace it” but you haven’t done it yet.  Lack of motivation? Perhaps.  But nevertheless, I want to give you 3 good reasons why you want to get rid of that old board and replace it with something fabulous.

  1. If your board shows signs of cracking.  You definitely need to get rid of it.  Although wood is a natural fighter of bacteria, it can only combat them on the surface where there is air.  Beneath the surface and into the cracks, bacteria can live.  Yuck!
  2. If your board looks like it’s wet all the time.  That is NOT good.  That means your board is not drying up naturally.  This could cause it to crack or even break at the weak points.
  3. If your board looks like it has been cut up too much.  Signs of knife marks throughout the board.  It’s time.  Although, you can still salvage it but taking a fine sand paper and just sanding off the surface area which is where the knife marks are.
Chalk board made from an old wooden cutting board

Chalk board made from an old wooden cutting board

Motivated now!  I hope so.  If your cutting board means a lot to you, repurpose it. Sometimes, making it into something else other than what is it can be appreciated more in the future.  Like a chalk board.


Another Cool Way to Use Scrap Hardwoods

Repurpose and Upcycle

Repurpose and Upcycle

Repurposing, upcycling and recycling are today’s INs!  Eco-friendly and sustainable are words you will hear a lot too.  Organic and natural … natural … who says that anymore?  LOL.  But of the description above is what I love and what sparks creativity amongst all of us when we see an old item or scrap parts and make it into something really cool.  Here are a few great ideas I came across (thank you Serena Lee from Crafty Creative Gal).

Sunburst Mirror

Sunburst Mirror

1. Sunburst mirror – OMG this looks so good!  Thank you Pepper Design Blog on this fabulous idea.  Take pieces of hardwood planks and make this.  Stain it or leave for the natural color look.  Either way, you will get the “wow” factor when you have guests over.

2. Mail Sorter – made out of used pieces of pallet woods.  Thank you DIY n Crafts for this idea.  Give your room a rustic feel by taking a pallet, break it down and build a functional item.  I love this idea!

There are tons more ideas out there.  Don’t be afraid to seek them out!  Having trouble finding scrap hardwoods?  Check out my previous blog posts on that “Eliminating the Idea of Wasting Scrap Hardwoods“.  You’ll be amaze how easy it is to find them.  Happy DIY!

Frequently Asked Questions for Mac Cutting Boards

Mac Cutting Boards

Mac Cutting Boards

Whenever Bart and I are at shows, we are asked so many frequent questions of the same topics.  I love it!  I realize we are educating our customers.  Awesome!

Here are some of those questions that are being asked.

1. What type of woods are these cutting boards made of?

  • They are made strictly from hardwoods.  We repurpose and upcycle unused scrap hardwoods we obtain from cabinet and furniture makers, hardwood flooring installers and other wood professionals.  Our criterias are: unused, untreated, unstained and hardwoods.

2. How are these cutting boards are made and where?

They are made with a wood glue called Tite Bond III – FDA approved and premium wood glue.  We cut the scrap hardwoods into strips and glue each piece together to form a shape of the board with high pressure clamps and let dry.  We then plane it and sand it down.  We finish it with beeswax and mineral oil coating.  We manufacturer our cutting boards in San Bruno, California.

3. How do I care for my wood cutting board?

Easy.  Soap and water then let dry naturally.  Every now and again, put a coat of mineral oil throughout your board to maintain consistency.  Wood is like your skin.  When it gets dry, it will crack.  Do not clean your wooden cutting board in your dish washer.  Heat and excess water are enemies to your board.  Avoid it.

Visit our website for more frequently asked questions that I have not listed.

Where to Shop in San Francisco, California

San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge

Let’s face it.  San Francisco, California is one of the most beautiful city in the world.  When you see and hear certain distinct attributes like cable cars, Golden Gate Bridge, City by the Bay, and crookedest street in the world you think San Francisco.  Ahhh, let’s not forget it’s famous neighbors Napa Valley world famous for their wines, Silicon Valley for technology and Internet Techonology haven – huh?  Think about it, there’s Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Ebay, Paypal, Google and Yahoo just to name a few.

But what about the shopping experience?  The culture, the artistry, the crafters right here in San Francisco and all throughout the Bay Area?  I bet you didn’t know they are in abundance here in town.  So where do you go to find them?  Here’s a few places you can spot them.  Timing is everything.

1. Renegade Craft Faire SF – yes!  One of the BEST craft shows when they come to town.  Over 10,000 attended this weekend event to see local artists at their finest!  It is extremely popular, that over 600 applicants last year applied for the 200+ spots that are available.  Very cool and amazing talent you will find here at this show.  Check out their website on the next date.

Treasure Island Flea Market

Treasure Island Flea Market

2. Treasure Island Flea Market – 3rd weekend of every month.  You don’t want to miss this!  Local crafters, local artists flock to this event to show their stuff.  Lots of artisans there repurposing, upcycling and recycling old parts and wood to make their products they are selling.  It’s amazing the talent that is out there!

3. De Anza Flea Market – 1st Saturday of every month rain or shine.  It’s a combination of flea market showers and talent all rolled into one.

Alameda Point Antique Faire

Alameda Point Antique Faire

4. Alameda Point Antique Faire – need I say more?  This place is huge!  Over 800 vendors and dealers with items they are selling that are over 10-20 years old.  Very cool.  If you have never been, it’s a must go.  1st Sunday of every month.

5. Alemany Flea Market – every weekend.  Here you will find the storage locker lifers!  They are there in droves!  Be careful though.  Some dealers are a bit shady with their pricing and might take advantage of someone who may not be knowledgable about antique items.  But I tell you, there is a bunch of cool stuff there.


Eliminating the Idea of Wasting Unused Scrap Hardwoods

Unused Scrap Hardwoods

Unused Scrap Hardwoods

Finding projects for salvaged lumber, old wood or unused scrap hardwoods can be challenging.  But with a little creativity (and a hammer with some nails), you can find a variety of different do it yourself (DIY) projects that can help eliminate wasting these beautiful pieces and repurposing them into something fabulously functional, shabby chic decorative or gorgeously gifty.  Check out So Crafty for DIY wood projects.  But first, here’s a few places to find scrap woods.  Keep in mind the project you want to achieve so you know what kind of scrap woods you may want to get.

Unused Scrap Hardwoods

Unused Scrap Hardwoods

1. Check out furniture and cabinet makers.  Go to the back and ask for the foreman.  9 out of 10 times (if you ask politely), they will give you their scrap woods.

2. Zero Waste Home.  Look for wood workers have excess inventory, going out of business, and/or lumber companies moving.  Craigslist is a great resource for that.  Look for scrap woods in the area you live in.  Lots of FREE wood they usually advertised under “fire wood”.

3. Warehouses that have old pallets laying around.  Talk to the warehouse manager and ask them about it.  You can get really cool looking salvaged wood that can turn your project into shabby chic.





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