Activities

Action #5: Create Something New from Something Old

Once a week, I will post a suggested activity for creating wonder in your life (mostly to get myself to do it, but I hope you’ll join me). I will include three different participation levels, so lack of time or money will be no excuse. Please share your experiences here to inspire others. Go forth and create wonder!

Reinvent something that has worn out. Give new life to something on its last legs. Not only is it “green” to reuse, but it gets some creative juices flowing to come up with a new purpose for an old object instead of just tossing it.

Ample Time and Money: Do a spinoff of last week’s sensory field trip and go somewhere you can buy things to repurpose. There are amazing places where you can sift through someone else’s old stuff to make it new for you. You can find treasures at garage sales and flea markets, but you can also search for places in your area that take in people’s junk and sell it for super cheap. I can think of two off the top of my head in the Bay Area: Urban Ore and SCRAP. These are two enormous spaces filled with fantastic collections of things waiting to be reused, diamonds in the rough waiting to be polished off and reborn into something glorious. Comb through with an open mind, and be inspired. My friend just went to an Urban Ore-esque place in the Sacramento area and came home with three old frames (or were they cabinet doors?) she painted over with chalkboard paint and hung on the wall for her daughter to draw on.

Limited Resources: Maybe you own something already that would take just a little sprucing up to make new. Sometimes it doesn’t take much time or money to revive an old favorite. I have had an Ikea bench seat for about seven years that they don’t even make anymore. It had this red wool upholstery with seven years worth of stains and dog hair and rather than throw it away, I reupholstered it myself. It didn’t take long at all. I ran into Discount Fabrics one day while I had an hour to spare, drooled over all the possibilities, reveled in colors and patterns and textures, and finally picked a red and white houndstooth check. I had scissors and a staple gun and within another hour, I had what looked like a brand new bench. I had fabric left over, so I replaced some old Ikea pillow covers. I don’t own a sewing machine so I made them by hand while watching TV. They aren’t as snug as the old ones, but I was pretty proud of myself considering my serious lack of domestic skills. Look around your own house. What could you make new with something simple like a fresh coat of paint or new fabric?

Busy and Broke: You really don’t have to buy anything at all to create something new. Make art out of found objects or the contents of your own trash or recycling bin. Challenge yourself to only use what you already have and see what you can come up with. This is especially fun to do with kids, but don’t think you can’t make something cool for yourself, too. There are tons of craft sites that show you how to reuse anything from newspapers to water bottles. Check this out if you need some ideas. Or Ready Made. Or Photojojo. There is no end to great DIY sites, but if you’re busy, don’t get lost searching for ideas. Just go make stuff. And come back and share it here.

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