Anne Sage loves all things repurposing. In her video series “5 Things With Anne Sage” on DIY’s sister network ulive, she upcycles meaningful fashion pieces into one-of-a-kind home décor. She’s funny, relatable and has great ideas that will inspire anyone to repurpose sentimental, but forgotten, pieces into their everyday life. In the interview below, Anne shares her favorite projects, explains the importance of upcycling and gives advice to fellow DIYers.
What is your personality like in relation to your projects?
“I like to be thoughtful and smart about things, but also not take myself too seriously.”
In the series “5 Things With Anne Sage,” you explain your favorite projects in an easy-to-understand way. Where did that concept come from?
“The idea came from my move from San Francisco to Los Angeles. When I moved, there were some things that I wasn’t using, but I couldn’t seem to part with them. It was because they had special stories behind them. At the same time, I had this new rule that I’d given myself: I could only have things in my house that I actually was using.”
Living her motto, Anne recreates a scarf into wall art, a table top into a magnetic table , an attaché case into a mail catch-all and a shirt into dinner napkins. Anne, you relate to your audience by telling personal narratives as reasons for upcycling certain pieces. Why is that important to you?
“Even though they might not have the exact experience that I’ve had, sharing stories helps people relate. Everybody can appreciate the detail of the story I’m telling and bring that home to their own life. Whether I’m sharing something in a video or on my blog, I’m sharing it because it’s something that has come up in my daily life that I can relate to. It helps to tell the story about why this was useful or inspirational to me. It just makes it feel more grounded in reality.”
What’s your favorite project that you shared on ulive?
“My favorite project was turning a shirt I’d never worn into special dinner napkins, because the project was inspired by my grandmother and the napkins that my family inherited from her when I was growing up. There’s a nice memory of my family, especifically my grandmother, but also of meals I would have as a kid.”
You gorgeously repurpose a Chanel scarf into wall art on ulive. Why did you decide to do this project?
“I bought that scarf on an impulse and as a present to myself after I finished a really big project at work. It has that special memory associated with it. I thought it was really beautiful at the time, but it ended up being something I never really wore because it felt almost too special. I wanted to find a way to have the scarf in my daily life, along with the memory of getting it at a special time in my life. That’s why I turned it into a piece of art on the wall. I like to think that I took a piece of wearable art and turned into actual art, and usually it’s the other way around.”
I can tell upcycling is an essential part of your life. What’s the value of repurposing?
“It’s really easy to go out to the store and buy something because it catches your eye, or because it is an easy way to satisfy a need that you have. But the way that you turn a house into a home is by having things in it that represent more than just what they do. In terms of upcycling, if you have things that have stories and you don’t know exactly how to use them, but you want to keep them around, then upcycling is a creative way to do that.”
Where do you get your inspiration for DIY projects?
“I get a lot of inspiration from history actually. I’ve always really liked going to the flea market, just looking at what stuff looked like then. If there’s a particular detail I like about something at the flea market, it might catch my eye, and inspire something totally unrelated that I do later.”
How did you learn how to sew?
“My mom taught me how to sew when I was four. We would work on projects together. My mom was always sewing stuff around our house, like curtains or bedspreads, things like that were really simple, but made a big impact in our house.”
What advice do you want to give to Made + Remade readers?
“I think my favorite piece of advice is don’t be afraid to throw something out if it’s not working and start again! A lot of times, it takes a lot of tries to get something looking like the way you see it in your head. Being patient with yourself is most important, because everything takes practice.”
It’s clear that Anne repurposes meaningful items in her home to give them new life for her to enjoy daily. Turning a house into a home is not an easy task, but through inspiration from Anne, anyone can start creating lasting pieces and memories. Anne says that ulive.com is an inspirational and relevant platform, and she’s happy to share her projects there. You can find her channel on ulive at “5 Things with Anne Sage.”
The Creative Genius series on Made + Remade features fabulous DIYers and makers who inspire us. Meet more Creative Geniuses and help us share the spirit of DIY!
Written by DIY Network Intern Hannah Mills, who says: “I am lucky to work with creative and brilliant people as I learn about upcycling, projects and design as a summer intern. On my off time, I love to explore this new area I’m calling home in search of great food and cool swimming holes.”