Saturday, February 26, 2011

Think About Re-Creating

Recycling is an over-used word that gets, uh, "recycled" too often, so I've been trying to think of a different word that might describe a creative way of reusing items. How about re-creating? I am particularly inspired by Sylvania's (OH) own Dragonfly Artisan Tea Cottage, one of my favorite local businesses. The crafts and artwork for sale there are the epitome of re-creations--journals made of old books, tie-dyed fabrics/clothes, jewelry made of buttons, and many other handmade items. (The food and tea are delicious there as well.)

My minimalist philosophy heartily supports re-creation. I hate to wastefully keep items that I'm not going to use, and I hate to see perfectly good items go to waste. So, I'm at it again--cleaning out my closets, sorting through books, and, essentially, getting rid of items that are not, well, essential to my life. I regularly donate my old clothes and household items to the American Cancer Society's Discovery Shop in Saxon Square in Sylvania. Other items I simply give to Goodwill. Either way, I am excited when my discarded items can be re-created in any way in which someone else can use them.

But, there are other ways to re-create. Check out Feeding Body & Mind, a place to donate books for distribution to food banks around the country. (No, people will not be eating the books; but while food nourishes the body, books nourish the mind. Both healthy bodies and minds are necessary for life.)

Get that creativity flowing and think about what new things you can do with old items. I've seen (neck)ties made into decorative pillows; I've seen t-shirts made into pillows as well. When your jeans have worn out in the knees, re-create them into shorts. When you spill on your t-shirts, re-create them by tie-dying them (I've had to do this to a number of shirts; I finally just stopped buying any clothes that were light-colored).

If you're not using any arts and crafts supplies (of any kind), support Shared Lives Studio (Toledo, OH, area) by donating the supplies to them. At Shared Lives, adults with disabilities make artwork that is available for sale.

While garage/yard sales can bring in some extra spending money, donating the items to worthy causes can feel so much better. Re-create your life by helping others re-create theirs with re-created items! (And how about we start using the word re-create instead of recycle?!)

If you have any other ideas for re-creating, please leave a comment (because I have a lot of "stuff" that needs re-creating!). Thanks!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Think About Valentine's Day

So, last week I read a blog entry titled "100 Reasons Not To Be In A Relationship" (which I arrived at via Peter Jurich's blog...thanks, Peter!). Referring to it seemed apropos for a Valentine's post.

I'm single partly by choice...because I'm picky. And partly because apparently a lot of guys out there are picky also. (In my own defense, I think some of them are picky about the wrong things; but, then again, they might think the same of me). I don't need to be in a relationship to be complete; I am defined by who I am, not by who I'm with. So, while I agree with many of Alica's 100+ reasons not to be in a relationship, I'd still prefer not to be single...but I do have some caveats to go with that statement (did I say I was picky...?).

Maybe I see relationships differently than a lot of people do. I'm not really into labels like "boyfriend" or "girlfriend"; I prefer to see a relationship as a deep friendship between two equals, perhaps something bordering on "soul-mates" (though that's probably too general of a term).

I ventured out to the...*gasp*...mall yesterday, something I usually don't do. I can pretty much see everything I dislike about relationships at the mall. I hate malls, and I dislike shopping; my main objective for going on the excursion was to visit Borders. It was as bad as the rest of the mall though. One would never guess that Borders is on the brink of bankruptcy. Since I've been using the library a lot lately, I hadn't been to Borders in a very long time. It was immediately obvious that I shouldn't have chosen a Saturday--much less the Saturday before Valentine's Day--to go there. For someone who doesn't shop (except online), the crowds were overwhelming. Everywhere I walked I saw people who appeared to have been dragged (not literally...for the most part) there by their significant others (SO's). Or, I saw men (mostly) buying inane gifts for their SO's. It seemed silly. I would never (and I never have) drag my SO shopping against his will (though it could be because I hate shopping). I might drag him to a poetry reading or other such literary event, but if he were my SO, most likely that would be the kind of event he would enjoy anyway.

I like Valentine's Day actually. I know I am loved by a number of people (and a few dogs). I don't need a significant other to feel loved. Greeting cards are nice (my dogs already gave me theirs; their handwriting looks suspiciously like my mom's...), but I'm not much into flowers or chocolates; I don't care for chick flicks, and I definitely try to avoid anything that's needlessly pink. To me, frivolity doesn't show love; sharing laughter and conversation and time together does. And since I'm trying to be a minimalist; material things don't mean a lot to me. That being said...

...I'd love an air hockey table for my basement. Now that would be the perfect Valentine's Day gift.

Happy Valentine's Day!