We’ve never been afraid of playing a little “dress-up”–either choosing our clothes or up-cycling a piece of furniture.

For our wedding, Karen Tenney, one of our B. 1802 weavers, hand-wove this beautiful fabric which was then given to Boutaugh to craft into a bow tie for Brent to wear. (Our friend, Chris Wrobleski, is the founder of Boutaugh and previously shared tips on how you can make your own tie at home.  Click here)

We had enough fabric left over that an additional tie was made, and we want to share it with you.

In the comments section below us, share your best tip for turning something old into something new.   A winner will be chosen at random from all of the comments submitted.




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  • By: Delia D.

    Walnuts in an old leather purse
    Bill & I spend hours in thrift stores in Tucson since I retired last August. The most expensive gem I found was a very old Tiffany chrystal candle stick holder. Just one, because sometimes going single is definetly the thing to do. Right, Polka Spot?
    But the best gem I found was an old buckskin colored leather purse for two dollars. I didn’t know how I’d repurpose it, I just knew I wanted it. Then I unzippered it, and It was full of them!. I wondered if I had developed a low blood sugar condition, or was my new treasure really stuffed full of walnuts? I brought it to the clerk and asked her. “Wow! You’re right, it’s filled with walnuts! How weird! Don’t worry, I won’t charge you for them!”
    I brought my pretty purse home, lined it with plastic, and planted two tiny cactus in it.
    I was a little leary of the walnuts, and threw them away. I realize now that they should have been composted.
    A photo of my walnut purse with the cactus is posted on my facebook page. There are two small flowers blooming on the cactus. One is bright orange, the othe is bright red.
    We continue to hunt for bargains at thrift stores, but nothing even comes close to the walnut purse.

  • By: Delia D.

    Congratulations to the other loving couples who are writing here to tell you about their engagements. I wish you all many years of wedded bliss.

  • By: Aiden West

    My partner and I just got engaged! He is from Cooperstown and his mother in particular loved reading about your wedding. I think there is something special for her in locating such wonderful (queer) role models right in her own community. He and I were given one of his parents’ wedding bands – quite a thick band – and have decided to split it into two for us to use for our own wedding. Sentimental up cycling! Wishing you the best of luck. Xx

  • By: Donna

    One of my favorite thing to do is to share something old with something new so I took a piece of my commuion veil and use a part of it for both daughters special occasion dresses even though they are 14 years and 6 months apart and then I use a piece for my granddaughter as well anyway it was very special thing to all of us the basement flood and it couldn’t be saved so not all is lost I still have the memories

  • By: Jennifer Barker

    My all-time favorite upcycle is using an old suitcase, propped open and filled with a soft cushion, as special dog bed for my mini Dachshund, Chloe. Her favorite toys can be storeed in the pocket on the “lid”.

  • By: Jan Moore

    I always challenge my grandchildren to see things as what they can be if we use our imaginations. We found a triangle flag piece on the ground at an outing. We brought it home and used it to fashion a sail boat using plastic bottles as the floats. We have made a train from popcorn boxes from a ball game, a marble run from packing items which were in an order we received. We make sand Zen gardens with salt and shells using a fork to decorate them. We construct all of their costumes from our garments and they are nice costumes. Win or not it is fun to share ideas. Thank you.

  • By: Cynthia

    Congrats, Guys!
    My whole house is upcycled…built around an 1835 King Post Barn with an upstairs threshing floor; stairs from the floor of a railroad car; kitchen islands from old school cafeteria stainless steel tables; pressed tin kitchen backsplash from prison in Ft. Leavenworth; ceiling tin and cabinet inlay from Nebraska department store; all bathroom cabinets and interior doors made from antique English doors; all cedar ceiling decking from local 1880’s farmstead walls and floor; antique mesquite doors made into large outside dining table, sofa table and coffee table; mesquite fireplace mantle upcycled from massive bench. Such fun finding materials.

  • By: Patrick Littel

    Such a beautiful way to remember someone, and in more than one family event. This was such a lovely story–thank you.

  • By: Patrick Littel

    I took an old desk, sanded and repainted it to use as a vanity with a vessel sink.
    Beautiful and unique, it was just what I wanted for my bathroom.

  • By: jessicalbarber

    I have multiple calendars in my house and office. Each displays my interest in pop culture, classic art, music, literature and photography. At the end of each year, I hate to toss these in the recycle bin. So, I use them for wrapping paper, scrap book backgrounds and handmade cards. Because my friends and family have interests similar to mine, they always appreciate the personalized touch.

  • By: Sarah Keeling

    I recycled an old Snow & Graham calendar, framed my favorite months in different sized frames, and hung them over my bed in lieu of a headboard.

  • By: Elise Flynn

    My grandfather was a blacksmith in Selkirk, NY in the late 1800s. I have one of his horseshoes as a door knocker and have hung some of his tools in my kitchen. I feel like having things that he made and worked with everyday keeps his spirit with me.

  • By: Lo

    I save glass jars and reuse them to store pantry goods and refrigerated leftovers. They look much prettier than tupperware and keep baggies out of the landfills.

    • By: Susan

      I do the same thing- they last longer then plastic Tupperware and clean better 🙂 (no stains)

  • By: Suzan Wisniski

    When my brother got married last year he wanted his son and stepson to be ring bearers. I used some old brides maid dresses to make a pillow for each of the boys to carry.

  • By: Suzanne Canell

    We re-purposed found wood scraps into a potting bench in our carport. The next thing I’m going to do with it is to paint it with all the leftover paint we have accumulated…I may mix (gently) all the colors together to make a swirl color for “one of a kind” painted potting bench that also makes an artistic statement as well

  • By: Ramona

    My husband is one of three sons. We married 3 months before one of his brothers: the other was already married with three daughters. My husband’s mother had passed away: we had her wedding dress, but it was in quite the state of disrepair. So we disassembled the entire dress and repurposed it. I used some satin and made roses for the comb of my veil and used a lace sleeve, complete with covered buttons as the holder for my flowers. My sister-in-law made a garter and a small handbag for her wedding. And together we made a veil for our nieces for their first communion. We divided the remaining fabric, laces, and details and each kept it for the future: I made a teddy bear for another niece when she was born and made a lace vest for it out of the dress. Grandma Mary’s dress goes on and on…
    Many happy wishes for you both: you seem rock solid and I’m sure you’ll have a lovely and loving life togther. xoxoxoxxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxo

    • By: Hillary

      Henriette, can you please provide instruction for that? I really want to be prepared this year when hurricane season hits! It was horrible not having any way to cook for almost 2 weeks last time!

  • By: Kim Bednarcyk

    I have an old wicker headboard, which I am going to spray-paint as use as a fence for the sugar snap peas to climb in my container garden!

  • By: J.P.

    We have a bench that was made by a relative about a hundred years ago that we now use to hold our flat screen TV. It’s nice to see it in use everyday.

  • By: Gayle Ridge

    I am using my old coffee creamer containers to hold rice, pasta, dog food for traveling and I am not saving them for a 1st grade teacher to use for all her students to make them into santa clause figures this Christmas. I have also took capri sun/ koolaid packs and sewed them into purses and beach bags. I took card boxes (we use 5000 cards a year at work and there is 50 in each box) that were being thrown away at work and made dividers in my sock and underwear drawer and right now I am attempting to use them to build up the shelf above my cabinets so I can display my tea pots up there. I use empty fruit cups as ice cream containers for my doggie ice cream I make. I try to think of a way to up cycle everything thrown away but unless I can think of something before the recycle trucks come they get sent out because I don’t want to hoard LOL

  • By: Kathleen Lauro

    I was raised in a house that always reused/recycled/up cycled. From hanging the tea bag to dry out so eventually ice tea can be made to cooking a chicken three time. but recently my daughter became engaged and became instant Mom to 2 little girls. Little girls with long hair have hair stuff all over the house. So she took a bread crumb container and together she and the girls decorated the can and put all of the hair stuff in it. She did 2 thing with that project, started memories (so simple the gift of time) and the hair stuff is neat and tidy. She continues to create memories with the girls as together they plan the wedding, but I think I will remember the first memory always.

  • By: Kim Kathan

    I’ve use that old refrigerator that no one knows what to do with. Lay it on its side with the door facing up, replace hardware and build a casing around it (old pallets pulled apart work well for the weathered hardwood look) and voila! Makes a great Ice chest for the porch.

  • By: Nisha

    I use old bowling pins as markers in the garden.

  • By: Hella Christensen Harper

    We got hold of an old bus stop shelter ( a half moon shape ) which is now in our garden and overgrowing with honeysuckle flowers. A beautiful little love cave. Made husband made a table to fit into it. We have sat in it during a snow storm with a hot cup of tea. Very cosy. Congrats on your wedding.

  • By: Joseph Perruccio

    Guys, I use thrift store glass candle sticks and vintage glass plates, glue them with E-6000, put a wired ribbon bow on the stem and a stamped oak tag, ” crafted with recycled glass ware”. Always make the proportions of each piece “look” right. Voila, grandma’s cake plates, cup cake plates and many food buffet serving pieces..

  • By: Queen ofthe Universe (@QofTU)

    I upcycle EVERYTHING! Right now my favorite thing is taking old pieces of furniture from my family (a cabinet my granddad made and a wooden “cubby” my grandma used in her classroom) and using them in every room. These two pieces now hold all my DVDs and entertainment equipment. The additional old soda crates hold game controllers and game pieces so my kids are using it in a similar function to the first graders some 30 years ago!

  • By: Jim Michalowski

    I reused an old wood window by replacing the broken window panes with mirrored glass and hung on an inside wall to reflect light into an otherwise dark corner.

  • By: Barbara Stewart

    I try to recycle everything I can but I really like it when I can repurpose something out of the ordinary. I recently bought a needlepoint light & I needed a cover to keep the lenses from getting scratched. So, I took a shoe bag from Johnston & Murphy & put it over the light. I now have a protective cover & saved $30.00.

  • By: Jody Obena

    I have up-cycled old ugly ornate picture frames for my daughters room…she has a collage of frames for her friends pics…I spray painted them with glossy black paint…they look very expensive now…I also get old frames from yard sales..the uglier the better….turn them into chalkboards. I always get “where did you buy that???” I then have a great gift!

  • By: northcountryrustics

    I love that the bow tie is back… especially that doctors are wearing bow ties again. But Brent is still the most dashing bow tie model!!! I upcycle everything. Everything has at least 3 uses ~ If you’ve only used it for 1 then keep looking for other ways to use it again!

  • By: KristaYates

    Congrats guys! I love to hand make our Halloween costumes every year! You can never beat handmade over store bought! Have also turned old tshirts into a big blanket:)

  • By: michygeary

    Back in my college days (feeling old now!) I used to eat Pepperidge Farm Pirouettes all the time. Then I would always turn the empty tin can into a pen/pencil holder once we were finished eating them. Or they make good vases.

    Congratulations on the nuptials! Very excited for you both. 😀

  • By: Edie

    I love the idea of having a teddy bear made from a child’s
    “Best Blanket”

  • By: Sara

    I like using old (found) bottles as vases around my apartment. I currently have an old, blue-ish coke bottle (which is extra special, because my father worked for Coca Cola) filled with peacock feathers (from my friend’s uncle’s peacock on his farm near Ithaca) sitting on the mantle of my old fireplace.

  • By: Kimberly DeLaughder

    Turn antique pillowcases into little girl smocks! There’s my tip! Congrats on the wedding. P.s. my son would love a bow tie like that!

    • By: Sara

      I like using old (found) bottles as vases around my apartment. I currently have an old, blue-ish coke bottle (which is extra special, because my father worked for Coca Cola) filled with peacock feathers (from my friend’s uncle’s peacock on his farm near Ithaca) sitting on the mantle of my old fireplace.

  • By: Sharon Hladky

    Congrates on the wedding and I love the pictures, I like to take tea cups, wine glasses, and I even found some Thomas Kincade candle and drinking cup that i will use to make soy candles with, different glass ware and make candles out of them. Also I am recyleing bottles and canning jars to make oil lamps out of them 🙂

  • By: Allan Masuda

    Congratulations. Finding old glass platters and vases, make garden bird feeders by mixing and matching gluing the vases to serve as the base stand with old platters or bowls as the feeders. Exciting colors mixed and matched give color to the garden.

  • By: TK2

    Congratulations to you both on the wedding!! After enjoying an arrangement of fresh-cut hydrangeas from the garden, I allowed them to air dry, and then made a topiary; that touch of summer brightened many a winter’s day!!

  • By: Adam Weinert

    I turn old wine bottles into hydroponic planters by slicing them in half and placing the neck upside down in the base. Works well for dirt-free window-boxes. Congratulations!

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