By Brenda Boykin
Though I have heard about recycling for a long while now, it has only been in the last several years that I heard about upcycling. I was pleasantly surprised to find I have been doing it all my life. In fact, most people I know practice upcycling.
I call it not being wasteful and making the most of what you have. I don’t do crafts to make something pretty. If I go through the effort to make something and it turns out pretty, then that is a good thing but not its purpose. Anything I make has to be useful. Crafting cost money and my money should be well spent. However, my upcycling started because of no money to spend.
I had a very old upright freezer that finally quit a few years ago. I certainly was not able to move it out of the kitchen by myself and my son was too small to help. I could have tried to find some men to move it for me but I hate to ask for help and I certainly did not have the money to pay to have it moved and either hauled away or put on my porch or in the yard. If it was put outside the house, the door would have to be removed for safety reasons, thus making it look worse. Since I lack storage space in the kitchen, I turned it into a cabinet. I replaced that freezer with a small chest freezer. Whereas the old upright had worked for more than 20 years, the chest freezer quit in less than 2 years and I was faced with the same dilemma as before. I turned that into a chest for blankets and other bedding when not in use and it can also serve as a buffet. Both serve a good purpose and will outlast me.
I do a lot of cooking and had about three electric deep fryers in the past. Maybe I use them too much because none of them lasted very long. I turned my cast iron dutch oven that I rarely used into my deep fryer. I had kept a basket from one of the electric fryers that quit. My dutch oven has been going strong for a good ten years and I see no signs of it going bad.
I have found that Spam cans make great note pad and pencil holders. Granted I could paint them and make them look better and if I ever have left over paint, I may one day. Since I can’t keep up with myself and a short memory, I have one in most rooms of the house. One day I am going to read the notes and get something done, maybe. I use empty coffee cans for many purposes including canisters. If I have enough left over paint, I might paint those too. It may seem like I am not a good decorator but I know people that spend good money on items with a logo on it whereas I don’t care to pay to advertise for some big company such as Coca Cola®, Ford, etc. I’m just trying to get by. If I do that in a trendy way, so be it.