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Recycle StashAt first glance, someone with an untrained eye would swear that I’m a hoarder. Technically, that is not the case. I readily admit that I am the proud owner of a growing collection of bits of “stuff” dotting the landscape of my studio. But, in my own defense, I have to tell you that I only keep it because I’m going to make something with it one day.

OK, so I started collecting stuff, and repeating this same mantra, back in the days of my youth. Again, in my defense, I have actually made a lot of things with a lot of my stuff.

That being said, I can actually empathize with those on the outside who view my stashes of empty bottles, stored next to bits and pieces of paper or fabric, and my assorted lengths of ribbon peeking out from the shadows of bagged wood chips and assorted vegetation in various stages of drying, and think, “Why would anybody in their right mind hold on to trash like that? Why not put all that junk in the refuse or recycle bin where it belongs?” I understand, but there’s the rub – I AM in my right mind. While I am perfectly capable of logical (left-brain) thinking, I tend to view my world from a right-brain perspective. I see craft projects.

A self-proclaimed non-creative once asked me, “How do you get all of those ideas for making so many different projects?”

My answer to her was something along the lines of, “I see visions in my head. I don’t see things just for what they are, but for what they could also become.” She looked puzzled, so I went on to explain, “When I see a piece of paper, it’s not just a piece of paper – it could be an accent piece to something, or even a purse. When I look at the packing materials from a new dresser I see a frame for a headboard, or the foundation for a piece of wall art. An empty soda bottle isn’t destined to be a permanent place holder in a land fill, it’s a purse just waiting to happen. For me, I see craft projects in the things around me.”

And yes, I have a thing for purses, so everything gets evaluated for its “pursability”, but that’s a story for another time.

One area that I like to explore for my stash of treasures is called “functional reassignment”. This is where an item may retain most, if not all, of its original form, but is given a new purpose in my life. Examples of this would be the clock I made using an old discarded teapot; and the comfy travel pillows made from old T-shirts. In my mind, an empty container that once held an assortment of bath oils could easily become a purse, and it did.

There is a relatively new term in the craft world now called “upcycling”. Simply put, it is recycling with a flair. A nip, a tuck, and a stitch turns an old button-up shirt into a spiffy new blouse. Old cereal boxes are transformed into an elegant frame for a mirror. Pages from magazines, or the Sunday comics, give new life to old bangle bracelets. A pair of cowboy boots languishing in the back of a closet become a chic leather bag…there’s no end to the potential for creativity, and the role creativity can play in saving planet Earth.

Well, my friends, I want to do my part, so I have decided that I will continue to save my “stuff” because I AM going to make something with it one day. I am on a quest to save the planet, one creative project at a time. I’m pretty sure a lot of them will be purses.