Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Redecorate with Recycled Materials

As summer winds down, it seems that we start to dread the chill winds of fall and winter, even though the thermometer is proving that it is still the summer season.

But the kids are back to school and many of us are taking advantage of the extra time during the day to regain possession of the house, lawn and garden and put everything to rights. Before tossing anything into the trash headed to the landfill, consider its use to bring warmth to the house by means of changing the decor with homemade crafts.

Recycled materials from closets and gardens are ideal for bringing warmth and coziness into room d├ęcor. Country, primitive and rustic styles make good use of previously used materials. Worn clothing can be cut into quilting squares for pillows, wall hangings, curtains and blankets. Nothing invites relaxation like the site of a quilt draped over a chair, sofa or bed.

The stack of crafts the kids assembled during rainy summer afternoons can be incorporated into rooms as works of art. Frame those old pictures, display the clay sculptures and painted rocks and create a welcoming display in the guest bedroom, or even on the stairway wall.

Bring the outdoors in to create a rustic look in the home. Cut and dry flowers to display during the winter months. Cut back the grapevine and create wreaths. They’re not just for Christmas display and not just for walls. Hang them from any hook or finial. Decorate them with the dried flowers and you have country charm for any room in the house.

Tie flower stems together with twine, dry them and use them as an aromatic homemade fire starter this winter.

If the fence or gate needs replacing, use the boards to create rustic shelving or picture frames. Larger pieces can be used as headboards for the bed.

Large planter pots can be cleaned and used by the entry to hold the umbrellas that will need a handy place to live during autumn showers. The picnic basket is the perfect place to store and display dried flowers and pine cones. Both will also serve as charming organizers for extra gloves, mittens, hats and scarves during the winter months. Double duty means the containers will be available for their original use when winter is over.

There is no limit to what you can do if you remember to use it well, use it up, and then find another use for it.

Photo used with permission under morgueFile Free License

Friday, August 27, 2010

Recycle Art Projects

As the kids go back to school, you know that art projects will soon be making their way from the classroom to the home. Although some of these beautiful examples of artistic talent will immediately gain prominent display on the refrigerator or family communications cork board, there are just too many pieces of creativity to be displayed.

Packing them away in boxes just invites damage, a thought the proud parent of an artist can't bear to contemplate.


Save the cardboard tubes from paper towel, aluminum foil and plastic wraps used in the kitchen. Roll up the childhood memory and tuck it in the tube. Label the tube with the child’s name, date and the subject matter and the treasured can be stored without worry of accidental damage.

Sooner or later the accumulation of drawings makes it necessary to be a bit more discriminatory when determining what to choose to save and take up valuable household storage. Even the artwork that is not chosen to be vaulted away forever can be given new life.


Consider giving the drawings another use as wrapping paper for small gifts.Not only will the kids get a lesson in recycling,  grandmothers and other close relatives may find just as much enjoyment from the artful wrapping as they do of the gift inside.

And, speaking of school art projects, many art programs are always in need of material remnants, buttons, scraps of wrapping paper and ribbon for art projects. Before tossing the scraps that have accumulated in your work basket, speak to the kindergarten teacher to see if there is a use for them at the local school. If not, contact activity directors at nursing centers and senior groups.

Like everything else, even school art projects fit into the category of use it up, then find another use for it.

photo used with permission under morgueFile free license