Saturday, July 23, 2011

R E P U R P O S E in the COUNTRY


heavy on recycling     I grew up doing all of these RE-RE-RE-RE’s., as did my sisters. W e didn’t have recycle bins, or high profile advertising nor was there much, if any, abundant, even wasteful government spending telling people to re-anything . We just did it. We took care of what we had, and when things became worn, we had them mended or repaired. Shoes were resoled, buttons were put back on or replaced, hems were let down, seams were let out , outgrown clothing was passed down to the younger ones or shared with the cousins .
     Today, these kinds of practices are not just for a select few . . not just underprivileged or poor people (so – called), with lots of kids and precious few resources .. not just for the 21st century hippy. Many people are getting on board. Many folks realize that new is not always better; many also understand that quite often, LESS is MORE. Perhaps torn can be mended, too long can be shortened, too small can be passed along. Plant material (potato and carrot peels etc.) can go back into the earth in the form of compost, instead of going down the garbage disposal or into the trash bins and dumpsters that feed the landfills.
     An old entertainment center can be made into a darling “kitchen” for the little princess in your life (saw this idea somewhere on the 'net, and then a dear friend actually did this for her small daughter’s birthday and it looked great - really cool)!
     Maybe a SpongeBob© lunchbox can hold your kitchen sponges. At Christmas time, I serve homemade Scottish Shortbread nestled on a green cloth napkin in my old red plaid lunch box – very pretty.
lunch box    
     I have an old “big-black-manly” lunch box that houses my hot glue gun, glue sticks, mat and holster; I labeled it GLUE GUN with white liquid paper (another repurpose). 
     My once-was-a-coal-bucket (that I put wood in when I had a fireplace) now displays some favorite house plants and a G/F has her coal bucket outside on her deck, also with plants in it. 
     For this installment, I’m going to give my sister, Eleanor, the BIG-4-R-BUTTON (Reduce, Recycle, Reuse and Repurpose). Her “item” is not new .. rather, something she accomplished a few years ago, but just the other day when I wore mine, I realized what she had done. 
     Here’s the story, as I know it. Our mother had three sets of French Havilland Bone China. When she passed away, each of us (her 3 daughters) selected her favorite set (I chose the delicate, plain white and June picked the Greek Key Pattern). Eleanor chose the set that had been in our Dad’s family; a delicate pink rose pattern. 
     Some years back, a visitor in Eleanor’s home put a piece of that china in the microwave and the dish exploded. Eleanor saved all the pieces for a long time; kudos to you, Big Sister – I probably would have cleaned it up, thrown it out and cried for days. She finally found a jeweler/craftsman who was willing and able to make pins for us from the salvaged broken pieces of our mama’s oldest-in-the-family-china. See why Eleanor gets the big 4R button?!?
     My pin even sports the ridge or curve from the side of what I assume was the edge of the plate. This was a case of fabulous repurposing. Ele she did that lemon thing .. you know the one .. when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. 
     I’ll have more 4-R’s for you next time. Perhaps you have some RE-RE-RE-RE’s you would like to pass on to us? Email them to me and I’ll use those too!
    Have a wonderful time repurposing all that stuff you have; this is a good thing whether you live in the country, or just wish you did!

© 2011 Cat Brennan © 2011 Cat’s Country Place

1 comment:

  1. Cat,

    Thanks for all of your great ideas and your china story. My "green" grandmother lived to be 94, and she was an excellent role model for me. She composted, mended, recycled and created beautiful quilts out of scraps of cloth that were left over from making all of her clothes. All of your ideas are practical and make so much sense.