Friday, February 26, 2010

Repurpose and Remix

So, yesterday (during yet another snow day), I did my cleaning thing and laundry. While I was putting away Benny's clothes (or more like setting them on the top of the dresser so the drawers didn't get overstuffed--see yesterday's post), I knocked down a picture frame that Benny had given me a few years ago with some of our wedding photos in it. So, since the dresser is angled in the corner, it didn't just fall flat, but fell totally behind the dresser, crashing as it went down. Picture... shattered glass, dinged bamboo flooring, scarred walls with black scuff marks from the black finish on the frame. (I'm seriously hoping that breaking picture frame glass isn't the same as breaking a mirror... though I'm not superstitious anyway.) I cleaned up the big pieces of glass and vacuumed up the shards after moving the dresser (while keeping Lavender's curious nose out of things) and double bagged it to go in the garbage (they don't like to take broken glass at the recycling center... not sure why... it breaks when you toss it in the huge bins anyway, but I've always been one to follow the rules). I was totally bummed because we both loved that frame and pictures (pictures are not salvagable, they got scarred by the broken bits of glass... but at least we still have digital copies and can get more prints made).

Then, I discovered this post at Young House Love... and inspiration struck! As soon as I acquire enough wine corks (if you have any around that you don't have a project for, send them my way), I'll do the same thing with my busted picture frame and give it a whole new life. I think it'll look great on the small wall that leads into our bedroom... or upstairs in the office... or hanging on the basement door (if I can figure out how to make that happen without it beating up the door every time we open it). So many possibilities...

As I was brushing my teeth last night and getting ready for bed, I decided I'd had enough of the chaos that had become my side of the vanity. Take a look. Crazy, no? And look at all that unused vertical space... it's just crying out for a shelf. Well, I knew there was no way I was going to convince Benny to break out the saw and scrap wood to make one for me, so I found this shoe rack that had lived it's life in our former apartment. It doesn't work in our closet now, so it's just been hanging around waiting for a Goodwill drop off. Enter: repurposed vanity shelf! I hauled everything out of the cabinet, organized it into categories, tossed the stuff that was no longer good (and gave away the bubble bath to a family with a three year old... I never take baths), and cleaned up the shoe rack. Here is the finished product (well, not totally yet, I think I still need some low baskets to contain all those little things--razors, travel shampoo, nail polish). Not too shabby for free!

We've also repurposed some other things, which I won't picture (use your imagination) because you know what they look like. Benny decided that our compost container was too small (the original one was a Cool Whip container), so when we polished off the cookie dough I got suckered into buying from a kid at school for a fundraiser (so really, we loved the cookies... and I always tell my students I'll buy from whoever hits me up first), we turned the tub into the new compost container. I finished off one container of quick oats this morning with our oatmeal (it had blueberries, raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon... beautiful color and soooo yummy... ok, here's a picture, it was just too pretty not to share), so after I clean out the container and paint the outside, it will become the new canister for our brown sugar. (Yes, I'm going to paint it to coordinate with the colors of the house... why not? We have leftover paint.) I also discovered that this little pottery cappuccino cup a kid gave me for Christmas has a crack in it (which is a shame, because it's the perfect colors for the house), but I can't stand to part with it. So, I've decided that it will make the perfect container for an indoor collection of succulent plants. The crack will keep the plants from getting too much water, and since these plants grow to the size of their container, they'll look great on the kitchen window sill. (And indoor plants help with indoor air quality, always a plus.)

Of course, there are all kinds of things you can repurpose or remix... old table linens can be turned into window treatments by just draping them creatively over pretty curtain rods. Use stained place mats as a laptop pad, or dye them and give them a new life. A flannel shirt with a hole in it can become a foot or neck warmer, simply by cutting out a rectangle of fabric and filling it with rice and sewing it back together (then just heat in the microwave for a minute). Use pretty glass salad dressing bottles as a bud vase. Shoe boxes, painted or covered in fabric, become great gift boxes. Put Styrofoam packing peanuts in the bottom of a planting container to save on potting soil and allow for good drainage. (Didn't I tell you we reuse practically everything in our house?!) And the list goes on... What have you repurposed or remixed? Any cool ideas to share?

Sharin' the green love and savings!

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