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Meet the Author

Hey there, can you introduce yourself?

Medium adrianne surian headshot

Hi, I'm Adrianne. I'm a crafter, artist, writer, and all-around DIY-er. I live in Grand Rapids, Michigan with my husband and two kids, and I pretty much survive on coffee and crazy ideas. (I wish I were just being clever, but that's actually true.) I started blogging craft projects in 2011 at my website,, and having that outlet really led me to craft more and write more and really pursue my creative side that I had kind of neglected for a few years.

Tell us a bit about the book?

DIY T-Shirt Crafts has 50 ways to recycle a t-shirt. Each project can be made in an hour or less (well, excluding drying time, for a few projects) and you can make them all without a sewing machine. Unlike a lot of repurposed t-shirt projects out there, these aren't t-shirt re-fashions, but home accents, gifts, and accessories. You can take one shirt and make several projects, or combine several shirts together to make others.

What was the inspiration behind it?

I love recycled crafts. I have a hard time throwing things away, and anytime I can give new life to something past its prime, it's a very satisfying feeling! One day I was trying to come up with a list of how many ways I could repurpose a t-shirt, and when I really started adding it up, I thought, "gosh, this could be a whole book." Fortunately my publisher thought so, too!

Which is your favourite project?

Oh, that's tough! I think the one I use most often is probably the floral shoe clips. They are a simple project that whips up in 20-30 minutes, and they clip onto a plain pair of flats - but they clip onto just about anything else, too. I've used them on bags, notebooks, even in my daughter's hair. It's a pretty project, it only takes a few supplies, and it's one of the most versatile ones in the book.

What is your craft space like?

I have a small studio in our basement where I keep my supplies and I have my work table and photography equipment. It's perpetually covered in works-in-progress and it seems that I can never manage to close drawers that I open, but overall, it's a bright space filled with my favorite art, props, and supplies.

I write pretty much anywhere. Coffee shops, in bed, the back deck, kitchen table - anytime I can get some quiet-ish time, I take it! I have a lot of friends who love to write, too, and when I was writing DIY T-Shirt Crafts, I met up with friends to write together at food courts, bookstores, and even the lobby of someone's office. Writing is so often a solitary task, but when you have like-minded friends, it's really just the best to have a morning of lattes and clickety-clicking of keyboards.

Have you always been creative?

I have been making my own jewelry since way back in grade school, and I always loved to cut and paste. In my early twenties, my grandmother taught me to sew (mainly to quilt) and I had another passion. About 10 years ago I really got into scrapbooking as well, so that hits most of the craft niches. And I've been writing for fun since middle school, though I took quite a long break from it until around 2007. (Don't do the math, please!)

So I had all these hobbies kind of going on in the background of my life, and then, my kids were born. I could barely leave the house anymore, and that's when I combined my love of crafts and writing together, and I started a little craft blog. It took off and became an accidental career - I was able to quit my day job to really embrace it as a business. That;s when I finally had time to dedicate to writing my first book.

When did you first start crafting?

It's always been a thing. I remember on rainy days, sorting my mom's button jar, making projects from a craft book (not unlike DIY T-Shirt Crafts). But when I first started to branch out and make my own projects, like not from art class or a book, it was all jewelry. I made my friends sooo many friendship bracelets! I got really fascinated with miniatures, and turning them into jewelry. I still remember once, when I was maybe ten, and my mom took us to a kids' science museum, and I begged her to buy me a pair of little rubber frog miniatures from the gift shop. I turned them into earrings, and I still remember not only people commenting on my... well, creative sense of style... but also that I was able to say, "thanks, I made them myself!"

Who are your crafty heroes?

It's funny, with all this writing (and two kids not yet in school), I don't have a lot of time to read. So when I do, it's fiction - and not just mainstream fiction, but fantasy and some sci-fi. The late, great Douglas Adams will always be one of my favorites, and I never get tired of reading Stephen King or Terry Goodkind. I could talk books all day because they're a huge part of my life, but I'm kind of drifting off-topic.

My crafty heroes are pretty much everyone who's out there, dreaming up new ideas and sharing them, for free, with the world. I am so thankful for the pioneers in my field, who started before it was really cool and paved the way for people like me to turn this into a career - like Laura Kelly, Amy Anderson, Amanda Formaro, Jen Hadfield, heck, even Martha Stewart. But my real awe and appreciation is for everyone who makes beautiful, original projects accessible to the masses.

Where do you find inspiration?

Oh gosh - everywhere! Inspiration is such a strange thing. It's usually based around one particular element, and I kind of obsess about it until I get the right idea (which is typically NOT on the first try). Like take my book, for example. It's not that old t-shirts are a huge source of inspiration, but they started a single idea, which led to a few ideas, which led to 50 ideas and ultimately to a book. One week I got obsessed with making things into music boxes, and I worked and worked on it until I actually created a musical piece of jewelry.

When it comes to inspiration, it's good to keep your eyes open all the time, because one little thing - another project by someone else, or a particular component like a map, or a set of knobs, or a stone, or a set of beads - could lead you not just to one idea, but to future generations of that idea. And the farther you get down your line of ideas, the truer they are to yourself.

What's next for you?

I am really happy with where crafting and writing have brought me, so my hope is to keep it up over the long term. It's not a field where everyone with a passion can make a living, and it's a market that changes really quickly, so I'm already really fortunate to be doing this full-time and to have achieved what I have. I am in the planning stages of my next book, so I'd love to be able to announce that in the not-too-distant future, and for the long-term, I'd especially love to explore more design opportunities.

Thanks for having me here today!

Publisher's Description

Transform old T-shirts into trendy accessories--in 60 minutes or fewer!

Creating something useful and stylish doesn't have to take ages or require expensive supplies. From an Easy Twisted Headband to Round Lounge Pillows, DIY T-Shirt Crafts teaches you how to repurpose old T-shirts into 50 beautiful projects worthy of showing off. Complete with step-by-step instructions and stunning photographs, each T-shirt craft is simple enough for beginners to recreate and can be finished in 60 minutes or fewer. Guided by Adrianne Surian, the crafter behind the popular blog, you'll turn this wardrobe staple into trendy, one-of-a-kind accessories, including:

  • Ruffled Rosette Hair Barrette

  • Braided Chain Statement Necklace

  • Fringed Infinity Scarf

  • Galaxy Bleached No-Sew Tote Bag

  • Aromatherapy Neck Pillow

Whether you're cleaning out your closet, want to personalize your look, or just found a hole in your favorite top, it's time to take your tees to the next level with these fashion-forward projects!