Monday, November 28, 2011

Book Review: Upcycling: Create beautiful things with the stuff you already have

Several weeks ago I heard a segment on the radio, To the Best of our Knowledge, on NPR. It was devoted to "upcycling". When you hear the mantra "reduce, reuse, recycle", upcycling fits into the reuse category. Part of the program mentioned the book Upcycling: create beautiful things with the stuff you already have by Danny Seo. A few weeks after the radio show I got an email that the book was waiting for me at the library.

At 200 pages, it is beautifully put together with amazing photos. Released in 2011, it contains chapters with ideas for: decorating, entertaining, giving, kid projects, and the great outdoors. As I read I found myself inserting little pieces of paper to mark the projects that seemed realistic to a mother with 2 young children who also has a part-time legal practice. Time and craft skill are not an abundance in my life, but I love the idea of transforming stuff I already have into something new. It is a great way to delay something's entry to a landfill and usually costs little to nothing.

Future projects I hope to tackle include:
  • a bath mat made with wine corks;
  • Neon artwork using holiday lights;
  • cork tin can organizers;
  • string scented diffusers;
  • coffee sleeve crowns; and
  • lids to preserve botanicals.
All of the other projects seem doable, but not that practical for our household. This is a book that is certainly worth a library check-out, and if you have time for crafts, one you may want to add to your collection. I can see the potential for lovely "upcycled" gifts. At a cost of $12.99 it could pay for itself in no time...but only if you are really going to do the projects. I recommend borrowing it first, give it a try, and add it to your library if you must.

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