Thursday, May 19, 2011

Upcycling Part I

I love UPcycling. 

You know, I entered that phase of my life several years ago where I generally cared about the environment and conservation.  I had parents who were pretty environmentally-conscious, so being a rebellious teenager I tried to be the opposite.  I distinctly remember opening the door of our parked car to set my empty Route 44 Sonic beverage cup out onto the parking lot pavement, before promptly driving away... to my mother's complete horror.  "Whaaaat, Mom?  They have people who pick them up!  Geeeez."

Now a responsible adult, I always recycle where there's opportunity.  While living in DC, Hubby and I got really concerned with recycling.  The District is really wonderful about recycling, they accept almost everything you can imagine.  So, when I say we got concerned with recycling, I mean we recycled everything we could think of: I broke down cereal boxes, carried glass bottles home from work, peeled off labels, and the paper stubs of tea bags... I mean, we were pretty zealous about recycling.

But UPcycling is just a brilliant concept.  Sure, breaking stuff down to make new stuff is a great idea.  What's even better is just skipping that whole "breaking stuff down" step and using things for unusual purposes after their original purpose is over, done with, kaput.  You know that saying?  One man's trash is another man's treasure?  With a little imagination a old object can be transformed into something truly unrecognizable and very desirable.  What I also miss about DC are what I liked to call "Sidewalk Donations."  In many District neighborhoods people would dump their old crap out onto the sidewalk, sometimes with a "Free" sign stuck to it, but it was generally understood it was for the taking.  That is where I found this beautiful Victorian era imitation chair with the basket weave seat torn.  Someone had just set it out to be snagged or trashed.  I snagged, and it's been the most interesting and unique pot holder ever since.

Also in DC I found all 6 of the old window frames which were used at our wedding.  These were mostly hanging out by dumpsters in the alleyways around our neighborhood.  They were someone's trash, but a definite treasure to me, and they traveled 2,000 miles to take part in our wedding day.

copyright Greenleaf Images 2011
I've talked about a few of my own upcycling ventures.  I'd love to know if any of you have done similar things?

Check back for Part Two on UPcycling -- I'll feature some interesting projects I've found around the web.

copyright Tyler James Metcalfe Photography 2011

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