Monday, June 9, 2014

A Year of Kindness - Challenge Week 23

I was SO HAPPY last week to hear that so many of your communities are very involved with and supportive of recycling! I'm glad to know that the movement to cut down the amount of materials we dump into land fills is alive and strong and growing. It gives me hope. Thank you all for sharing your stories!

Continuing with our month of kindness to Mother Earth, this week's challenge is to UPCYCLE! According to Wikipedia "Upcycling" is the process of repurposing an old item for a new use, thereby increasing it's value.  I've "upcycled" old books into beautiful art journals. Jay and I have taken up what we call "antiquing" which is really just going out to antique shops, flea markets, and yard sales and finding beautiful old stuff to give a new life. For our first project, we turned a beat up "what not shelf" into a plant stand for our sun room. A little sanding, a little wood putty, and several coats of paint and it's better than new! This is far less expensive than buying a new mass-manufactured piece and saves on all the precious resources that get used up in making new consumer goods. We also turned a small plant stand into an end table for our family room (we needed something very small because of space considerations). We spent $12 on the little wooden stand and then sanded and stained it to fit with our decor. We have several other projects in progress. And the "hunt" gives us something fun to do together!

Around the house, I've repurposed a lot of "trash" for mixed media use (bubble wrap, toilet paper rolls, bottle caps, corrugated cardboard, to name a few) which saves me the cost of buying stencils or stamps to mimic that look.  I even cut the pattern out of some plastic microwave meal trays before recycling the rest of the plastic.

Jay and I also love to support artists and crafters who use reclaimed and upcycled materials in their art. We bought an occasional table made from reclaimed barn wood. The man who built it was able to show us photos of the barn he tore down. He left a lot of the old paint and patina in place, so the piece is definitely one of a kind.
We have a mirror for over our fireplace that is framed in old tin tiles. I can't wait to actually get it up!
And at the Eastern Market, as an early Mother's Day gift, Sarah bought me the cutest little giraffe crafted from an old Arizona Tea beverage can. The artisan calls his creations "Canimals" and says his friends now bring him their empties, so the cans are zero cost to him - his expense in this piece is the copper wire and his time. We watched him at work - he has several fingers wrapped in medical tape before he starts twisting the cut cans into shape. This little guy is tiny - about 6" tall. He has made them that are 6 feet tall! As tall, he says, as a real baby giraffe. I checked, he's right. And his work is incredible.

If you are interested in learning more about this artist, check out this article on him.  

Now I KNOW that actually upcycling something won't be a challenge at all for my blog friends. I KNOW you all upcycle already! So I'm challenging you to blog about your favorite upcycled piece (with photos if possible), or leave a comment telling us all about it - let's share some inspiration!


Melissa said...

Just posted a little about recycle & upcycling on my blog with a favorite upcycled project! :>)

My Grandma had a little table & chairs made from old beer cans, but I don't know what happened to them as they weren't in the stuff I unboxed after she passed away.

Karen said...

After reading this post, I've come across a couple more about upcycling with art journal pages and with cards. I'll give it a try when I get back from Detroit.

Maria Ontiveros said...

What an interesting challenge this week. Will have to put my thinking cap on.