Recovery Upcycling

Welcome to Recovery Upcycling! This space is for celebrating transformation and purpose—both in ourselves and in the objects around us. Founded on the principles of renewal and second chances, Recovery Upcycling is a treasured hobby of mine.

In Recovery Upcycling, I breathe new life into old, forgotten items. From furniture that has seen better days to clothes that are no longer in style, I transform these neglected pieces into objects of beauty and utility. Whether it’s repurposing an old dresser into a chic new coffee bar or stitching together worn-out clothes into stylish, unique designs, every creation tells a story of creativity and possibility.

This hobby began as a personal project at the start of my sobriety 8 years ago, as a way to channel my energy into something positive and creative (and to keep my hands busy so they couldn’t pick up a drink.) It has grown into a movement that celebrates recovery and promotes sustainability. Each upcycled piece is a symbol of what we can achieve when we give ourselves and the things around us a second chance and new purpose.

Explore my world of innovative upcycling where each piece carries a legacy of resilience and transformation. Discover how the hopelessly damaged can breathe new life again, just as we can in recovery.

Listener Creative Expression Contribution: A Graduation Gift For My Daughter

This listener used written expression to share the complex feelings of letting go of a child upon graduation from high school as she begins making her own hard decisions that pave the way to a unique life experience. Thank you for your contribution, dear listener!


Listener Creative Expression Contribution: Honoring Mom With Purple Patchwork

“Purple was mom’s favorite color,” said our lifetime listener, Cheryl. “Her birthday was June 1. She would have been 82. This will eventually be a lap blanket in her honor. “

This is a beautiful expression of love and a unique way of creating physical comfort for one left behind after a loss. Cheryl will send me a photo of the blanket when its finished. Thanks, Cheryl! Enjoy memories of mom while you crochet.


Upcycled Elegance: Braided Basket with Floral Accent

After hemming some curtains for a friend, I found myself with extra material and a creative spark. Inspired by the chic and stylish designs of Pier One, I transformed the leftover fabric into a beautiful braided basket. This upcycled project showcases sustainability and adds a touch of elegance to any space. The basket features a delicate flower accent, making it a perfect decorative piece for storing small items or simply enhancing your home decor. Join me in turning remnants into remarkable treasures!


Brewing New Beginnings: From Baby Closet to Coffee Bar

This baby closet had been sitting out in the rain at a flea market in Charles Town, WV. This was my first project in sobriety and my most rewarding. With my fingers crossed, I sanded down the outside of the entire piece a found a beautiful wood under all the grime. Relieved, I put on a beautiful stain. Then with a little creativity and no rules, I assembled a design of shelves, drawers, and a cabinet door that worked well as a coffee bar. Inside the cabinet door are some brass tea spoons bent and attached as coffee cup hooks. As a clever finishing touch, I découpaged  the inside with newspaper headlines.


From Farmhouse to Fabulous: The Night Stand Revival

This pair of night stands was left outside of a house with a FREE sign after a neighborhood yard sale. I sanded down the hardware from a rusty appearance to shiny silver, and then painted the tables white.


Timeless Treasures: Transforming a Mantle Clock into a Jewelry Box

I found this broken mantle clock at Goodwill. After gutting it, I used some odds and ends I had laying around to create areas to hang necklaces, bracelets and rings.


Bistro Bliss: Reviving Vintage Chairs for Modern Patios

I couldn’t resist this set of chairs I found at The Big Flea Market at Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, VA. These required a simple deconstruction, new water-resistant seat cover material, rust removal, and rust-proof paint.


Reference Painting: A Beginner’s Brush with Acrylics

I wanted to try my hand at painting, so I found this image on the internet, printed it, and used it as a reference to paint my own version on a canvas. I took a Painting Foundations: Acrylic course on LinkedIn Learning before I got started. Not bad for a beginner, eh?!


Reflections in Bloom: The Poppy Mirror Makeover

This mirror was found at Goodwill stacked with all the wall art. I put several coats of sage paint over the original light yellow color. Then with burgundy and white paint markers I traced the divots in the wood to create a cool “poppy” design that became a centerpiece for the entire bedroom.


Rocking Renewal: No Rocking Chair Left Behind

This rocking chair was moved from house to house through two generations of moves, and yet nobody ever sat in it. I stopped the cycle and gave it a total makeover. The rocking chair found its forever home on a neighbors shady covered porch with new life rocked back into it every morning over coffee. True story❣️

Reclaimed Elegance: Transforming Discards into Designer Shelving

These two unique shelving pieces were constructed from recovering discarded pieces of furniture. The first was built with 3 sturdy square drawers, and the second with 5 shadow boxes from Goodwill. The second I have been particularly found of as the top makes a great plant stand with a modern geometric multi-layered shelf for displays.


From Antique to Chic: The Cheesebox Transformation

This was a fun project made from a vintage cheesebox recovered from the Rt.340 Harpers Ferry Indoor and Outdoor Fleamarket. I used decorative feet and a modern fabric to turn it from Antique to CHIC. This piece received lots of attention on Pinterest!


Stitches of Recovery: From Donation Bag to Landscape Quilts

This craft was something I tried my hand at early in stroke recovery and it lead to purchasing a new sewing machine and starting to quilt. So although it started out as a free hobby, using old clothes in our donation bag aimed for Goodwill to build these landscapes out of various fabrics, it lead to greater for rewarding hobbies and a little upgrade to my equipment. I thought it would be so fun to create a quilt out of fabric landscape squares.


From Highway to Haven: Roadside Chair Transformation

This chair appeared to have fallen out of a truck on the highway and was left and forgotten. I picked it up, with some encouragement from a friend, and took it home. I gave it new life with some extra nails, a bright blue paint job, and a sturdy colorful seat cushion.


Athletic Wear to Summer ‘Fit: The Romper Redesign

This is my first-ever handmade summer romper. I upcycled 3 workout shirts and a sports bra. I set out with two goals: for it to fit well and sport a cool design. I’m happy to report: mission accomplished (in my opinion)!

However, my romper is not without its quirks:

1. The Fit: While it accentuates the curves, the waistline turned out a bit too low, hugging the widest part of my hips. Good news? It doubles as a compression aid for my lower back pain… bad news? Sitting is a no-go. I suppose being able to sit should be a goal next time.

2. The Alignment: The top’s center seam and the pants’ seam didn’t quite find each other. A lesson learned: pin before you sew even if you just wanna finish it and move on to the next project!

Despite the mishaps, this baby could’ve strutted down a runway with its flawless drape (just don’t ask them to sit down!).


Bargain Blooms: Crafting a Clearance Rack Centerpiece

Flower arrangements are a fun and quick way to be creative. Depending on where you get your supplies, this can be very affordable. I like to browse clearance racks at craft stores. The supplies for this arrangement were purchased from clearance at Michaels and made a beautiful centerpiece for Thanksgiving. The best part…there are no rules! I love adding a little nest and a bird for a unique touch and conversation piece.


Transform an Amazon Box into a Charming Gift Box

Looking for a unique and eco-friendly way to present your Mother’s Day gift? Here I’ve transformed an ordinary Amazon box into a stunning gift box using just paint, hot glue, and floral fabric. I added charming fabric accents that make this gift truly special. It’s a simple and creative upcycling project that adds a personal touch to your Mother’s Day surprise.