What’s Your Favourite …?


do you remember being a child and making anythingbe something else?

an old bicycle wheel could power a wheelbarrow, or navigate a pirate ship… or steer a car….

a piece of red cloth was used to taunt a bull, as a gypsy kerchief, a ships flag, a table cloth….

as a child you were not yet “tied in” to the definition of things… the purposes of items

to me re-purposing is recapturing that bit of childhood…

allowing myself to see the alternate possibilities of items

so that old half-gallon juice cartons are washed out, reused & become:

ice packs  used in mrD’s lunch cooler daily- just add water & freeze

starter trays for leeks, onions, lettuce- cut in half top to bottom

intermediate pots for tomatoes before they get planted in the garden- cut in half horizontally, holes punched in bottom

a dollhouse for clothespin dolls- one side cut open & openings in other 3 sides for ‘doors’, windows; a cardboard ‘floor’ taped in

plastic gallon milk jugs are washed out & reused:

cut in half top to bottom- used as intermediate pots

cut out the bottoms- used as tents over plants in the garden to keep frost off

cut out the top leaving handle, spout & bottom half- instant small bucket! for painting, cleaning, carrying many small items, playing in the sandbox.

by throwing out societal definitions & purposing…..

old tin cans become dollhouse furniture….


old thread spools can become footstools….


& old silver can find it’s voice & sing!


i think my favourite re-purposings have been for the kids & mrD…

making a peach basket into a babydoll bassinet with hood & liner, mattress, pillow & bedding

making leftover chunks of wood from mrD’s work into an awesome set of blocks

making a quilt out of the legs of blue jeans leftover from making cut-offs when knees bust through one too many times- i just couldn’t bear to throw away all the patchwork i’d done on the knees of those jeans!


are you in touch with your inner child?

What’s Your Favourite…. re-purposing?

& what’s for supper??


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    • RiaD on August 2, 2010 at 16:09

    • Edger on August 2, 2010 at 17:19

    Now that I’m all growed up into a big person, I still like books. 😉

  1. …. the brightly colored plastic kind cut off of hay, gets turned into whatever I don’t have.

    Braided into lead ropes, braided into dog leashes, braided into loops that are used as soft latches to keep gates shut, tying portable panels together, reinforcing gate hinges so they can not be accidentally jostled off the opening, tying gates shut in a simple knot so the more talented cannot open them willy nilly, tying up any sort of hanging chime, hanging basket, or holiday decoration, used as tie down for items in the back of the truck, used as visual sight lines flags on electric fences, used to mark or patch holes in woven wire or tie up wire where you need to come back with the pliers and a metal clip, used to hold up other things you are intending to clip or screw or nail onto and fix.

    Used as “extenders” on my saddle, I put little loops on the rings already on the saddle that are the attachments for the breast collar-  I grasp them with one hand and clip into the saddle ring with my other, then when I stop and want to loosen up the tack quickly, I unclip from the metal ring and move the strap out farther on the extender so the collar is loosened up enough that the horse can put his head down comfortably all the way to eat or drink, but the breast collar is still engaged so if the girth is also loosened slightly, the saddle can’t accidentally turn all the way around, which is dangerous.  I’ve also used soft twine as a crupper attachment extender for the same thing on a horse that is really, really long bodied, that I was using the old strap on that didn’t extend far enough.  

    • melvin on August 2, 2010 at 22:17

    When I had to deal with hay, back in the Jurassic, they were baled with wire, which was obnoxious in its own way – I have the scars – but at least rusted out and rotted pretty quickly if exposed to water.

    My dad always used it in lieu of nuts, bolts, screws, etc – which he would actually have to buy – to hold exhaust pipes on to the truck in roughly the appropriate place,say, or the screen door onto the house. My mother used to say he could fix anything as long as he had enough baling wire.

    The plastic stuff is horribly annoying when it winds up in the wrong place. Like an orchard you need to mow. Even a pretty small amount you don’t notice wraps around blades and shafts and just won’t break, making digging it out a nightmare.

  2. and with now advanced dimentia has escaped the confines of the nursing home once again.  I am in the process of throwing away a life, mine, so the term re-purposing is not merely a term but a cosmic connection.  Don’t feel bad however as even this gives me purpose, definition and a course to chart amidst the deconstruction of the American middle class and the green swimming pools the baby boomer generation is going to leave behind.  The finances are secure for perhaps another year, beyond that is a great unknown.  Such things people look upon as opportunity, if you are 20 something but at 55, it’s an old man’s bucket list, impractical by any standards.  I have gotten over the throwing away of sentimental memory inducing kids toys in the attic and basement and taken up the task of moving out of the state I spent my life in.  Forced out I say.

  3. …I don’t like to buy furniture and really can’t afford it anyway, so everything finds frequently unique usage–like the blocks I use to hold up the levels of my shrine.  They are the boxes my breathing medicine comes in, covered in nice paper.  Martha Stewart copied from me!

  4. … but when I was little, I used to play on the large mounds of snow created whenever our neighbor plowed our driveway. I used to pretend that each mound was a planet, with Mercury closest to the house, and Pluto (still a planet back then, alas) the closest to the road.

    Whaddaya mean, I can’t re-purpose apparently purposeless piles of snow? Up in Northern NY, ya gotta do something in the winter! 🙂

    • Xanthe on August 3, 2010 at 20:36

    a kid in the 40’s.  I remember hours sitting on my friends’ back porch with paper dolls, paper, (sometimes old wallpaper/repurposing) scissors and crayons, and whatever glittery she could find in her artists’ boxes.  We made our own paper clothes.  Fortunately, my friend’s mom was an artist and she gave us lots of hints and help.

    My God – hours of fun and creative fun – on a back porch in Little Italy with lemonaid, a mom nearby and my favorite crayon – Burnt Sienna.  And my mom dropping by for coffee for a short while to check on me.  

    In the background – the radio soaps as Mr. P went about her day ironing, cleaning, cooking and helping us out with ideas.

    This was one of the happiest times of my childhood – and one Christmas I got the actual 56 crayon box.  Heaven! Sometimes I think I’m pretty easy when it comes to making do.  But so what – if I’m happy.  These were good lessons.


  5. it may hold appeal for some.

    Remember the old photos, usually sepia-toned, of someone who looks like they’d just seen a ghost?  They oftentimes came in decorative oval frames.

    Have a photo of an unpleasant relative, former friend, or ex that you’ve thought of discarding?

    And are you remodeling one of your bathrooms?

    If the two preceding conditions apply, a used toilet seat can make a great frame for a photo and would definitely serve as a conversation starter.

    Disclaimer:  I haven’t tried this yet, but, at times, the thought has had irresistable appeal.

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