Intentional Re-purposing – Part 1


I’m not sure who started it but, some time between my teenage years and today I started hearing that little phrase: “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.”

I’ve gotten pretty good at recycling.  It doesn’t hurt that, in our town, you pay for garbage pick-up by the bag but recycling is free.

I’m learning about reducing, as those of you who read this blog know.  It’s a work in progress.  I grew up in the 1980’s for goodness sake!  Conspicuous Consumption and all that rot.  But I’m learning.

I almost never reuse.  When I wrote about baby food jars it got me thinking about that and I’m vowing here, before God and you WordPress witnesses, that I’m going to do better.  I figure recycling is better than filling giant holes in the earth with trash.  But it still requires gas for the trucks to move it to the processing plant and energy to process and…. so forth.  Reusing (or re-purposing) seems to be the Holy Grail of good stewardship.  My grandparents, who raised kids around the time of the Great Depression, were MASTERS of the art of re-purposing!  Somewhere along the line we lost our way.  I gave it a shot yesterday and managed, I think, to put several scraps of string and fabric, some clothespins, a cracker box, and a large piece of styrofoam to use.  All together these items may be JUST BARELY enough to fill a garbage bag so it’s not like I single-handedly stopped rain-forest destruction or anything.  But it’s a start. And like I have said before, if we all did just a few small things, wouldn’t it add up to something huge?

First I made myself a new bulletin board.  I’ve been wanting one for a while but the cork boards are ugly and covered ones are expensive.  So this is what I did:

This was left over from last year’s Halloween display. It’s 2 inch foam board.

I took my foam board and laid it on some fabric ALMOST big enough to wrap it the same way I would wrap a present.

Then I hot-glued across the top and bottom.  And folded the ends in – again like wrapping a present.

Add a piece of twine to hang it from.

The twine is kind of hard to see, but I just tied a loop on each end and hung it from a straight pin stuck in the foam.

Flip it over and I embellished it with 2 ribbons.  I simply held them in place on the top back of the board with straight pins pushed into the foam, then stretched them across and pinned again on the bottom back.

And I was all done.  Yippee!

All done!

Project #2 = displaying a few pictures.

We are terrible about throwing pictures in boxes without any sort of order to them.  When we grow old and die our kids are going to have mountains of nameless photos to sift through.  But I wanted to display at least a few of them, so I borrowed an idea I saw freshly pressed a week or two ago.

Except I wanted to use up items headed for the landfill (or recycling plant), so I adapted  the idea of glittery clothespins and made bows from little scraps of ribbon that I never really believed I would find a use for.  I tied them in bows and hot-glued them onto the pins.

Cutie little clippies!

Then I cut some scrap paper into rectangles and used it to back my photos.  I used another, longer, piece of ribbon (well, more like fancy string) as a “clothesline” and now my pictures are displayed!

Project #3 – cute fabric boxes

I saw some cute fabric-covered boxes.  But I am so broke right now I can’t afford to change my mind.  So I need to make my own.  Here is attempt #1, which came out pretty good, I think.

I started with a Cheeze-it box with one side cut out and a piece of fabric, again, just slightly smaller than I would use if I were going to wrap it like a present.

Then I wrapped the sides, hot-glueing the fabric to the inside of the box.

And the finished product….

I’d like to make lots more of these! Maybe some with lids or closing flaps.  I have some old t-shirts that I’m thinking might be cool to use because the logos would show.

I also have some ideas for milk jugs, soup cans and old long-sleeved dress shirts.  I’ll keep you posted.  What items do you give new life to?  Do share!


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