Tags: choir, creativity, faith, inspiration, music, singing
For the past couple of years, I’ve had the privilege of being able to sing with two different choirs–my local Choral Society and my church choir. But I hadn’t really stopped to think about how differently each choir affects my life, and how differently I sing in each setting. Both provide me with uplifting experiences, as you’ll see!
Choral Society: Performing with a Community of Singers
In my local Choral Society, I sing with a variety of other people in the community–some who have trained in professional solo singing, some who just enjoy singing for its own sake, some who also perform in small ensembles, some who use their voices as part of musical theater, etc. The common thread that binds us is that we all enjoy the craft of singing, and we’re all pretty great at it.
Because of this, I feel myself lifted to a higher standard of singing when I rehearse and perform with this group. I’m in the midst of lovely voices, and I have the honor of adding my voice to this. Within Choral Society, I can use my abilities to hold up the alto part, and both hear and see how our voices blend together in graceful swirls of colorful melodies (thanks to my synesthesia).
Church Choir: Performing for God
In church, I’m still singing alto with a choir, but I’m performing with a group of people who love to use music to praise God. That is our form of worship, to use our voices to tell about God’s power and grace; that is what pulls us together as a choir.
Because of this, I am less concerned with being as perfect as possible during “rehearsal” and “performance”–those two words don’t even really fit church choir, because every time you lift your voice in church, it’s just for God and no one else. Instead, I concern myself with understanding the meaning of the text we’re singing, letting that meaning move me emotionally, and allowing that emotion to be seen and felt through my singing.
And Yes, Both Experiences Are Perfectly Valid!
The best part about being able to sing in both of these choirs is that each experience brings me joy in a different way. In Choral Society, I enjoy music for music’s sake, and enjoy the process of learning, polishing, and performing choral works with others who are just as passionate about singing as I am. In church choir, I use music as a way to speak to God, reaffirming my own salvation story and experience of God every time I sing with the choir.
I enjoy both choirs, but for different reasons, and it’s a rather unique experience to have both those experiences in my life. I love that about the arts–they are so malleable that they work into every area of your life and give it a little touch of awesome.no comments May 11th, 2013 by Robin, in Saturday with the Spark
Tags: crafting, crafts, creativity, diy, ideas, inspiration
For this week’s creativity post, I thought I’d showcase a selection of DIY projects. After all, there’s a lot of creative license–and a lot of fun!–in making useful items for your home and life. From little decorative items to organizational tools, from wall art to pieces of furniture, there’s literally nothing you can’t DIY…as the following slew of pictured tutorials show! (See the link below each picture for the tutorial!)
For More Ideas
ApartmentTherapy.com’s DIY Showcase
31 Insanely Easy and Clever DIY Projects @ Buzzfeed.com
Best DIY Projects Ever @ CasaSugar.com
Weekend Home Projects @ BHG
DIY Projects Around the House (Pinterest board)
LifeHackers’ Top 10 DIY Home Projects
TLC’s DIY Projects and Advice
DIY Home Projects (Pinterest board)
CountryLiving’s Weekend Home Decor Projects
The Daily Green’s Best DIY Projects
Tags: choir, choral music, creativity, music, synesthesia
I’ve written quite a bit on my blog about my synesthesia, and how musical notes generate color in my head (back in June 2011 and more recently in August 2012). However, it recently occurred to me that my experience of choral music, in particular, is pretty different from just perceiving specific notes and note colors.
How different, you might ask? Take a look at the following illustration, which is but a poor visual representation of what I see when I hear individual voice parts singing.
I’ve been tacitly aware of this as long as I’ve been singing in choirs (late childhood). When I listened to or sung in choirs, for instance, I would see these various metallic colors as if superimposed on my vision when the sopranos would sing alone, or when the tenors would practice their part, etc. When a group of like voices sings together, my synesthetic experience does not reflect the individual pitches they hit; instead, the single metallic color seems to represent an overall “sense” of the harmony line they are building.
Hearing an entire choir together, however, is a much different experience from hearing each voice part separately. A piece of choral music is like a sculpture being built in mid-air out of mere threads of metal, always twisting, twining, and shaping into something glittering and light. Adding my voice to this lovely object, which only exists as a flickering in my imagination and looks thin enough to pop like a soap bubble, is an amazing feeling–my voice becomes one of those thin strands of metal winding into the choral sculpture.
I haven’t tested this very often with bands or orchestras, but it seems as though this is specific to choral music. Perhaps the human voice lends a special timbre to the harmony lines, which creates this awesome mental artwork in my head. (Unfortunately, I cannot produce this artwork with my hands and do it any justice, but I can at least help others imagine it with my words.)
Does anyone else experience synesthetic events like this when listening to large ensembles of voices (or instruments, for that matter)? Tell me in the comments!no comments April 27th, 2013 by Robin, in Saturday with the Spark
Tags: art, backgrounds, creativity, images, iphone
No longer do you have to download pictures from other websites for your iPhone backgrounds, nor do you have to rely on pictures you’ve taken with your iPhone. If you’ve made an image you want to move to your iPhone, you can!
Please pardon my enthusiasm–after a few months of owning my iPhone, I finally figured out how to load self-made pictures onto my iPhone, and I’m very happy about it, as you can tell. If you’re like me and enjoy playing around in image creation programs, your iPhone provides you yet another outlet for your creative expression; it just takes a little time!
Some Visual Examples!
Here are a few (shrunken) examples of iPhone background images I either made myself or edited:
The first three images are edited from images I downloaded from the Internet; credits are at the bottom of this article. The last two are simpler abstract images I made myself.
Here are some tips and tricks I came up with while I was making, editing, and transferring these images:
|Image Styles||Technical Stuff|
Putting These Works of Art on Your iPhone
WonderShare.com has an excellent, simple tutorial to help you through transferring your images to your iPhone. If you don’t want to sync all your photos/images to your iPhone, simply make a separate folder for your created/edited iPhone backgrounds, and just sync that folder to your iPhone.
There are lots of image resources on the Internet which can provide you with beautiful pictures to use as iPhone backgrounds (and lots more). Here are some of my favorites:no comments April 20th, 2013 by Robin, in Saturday with the Spark
Tags: app, creativity, inspiration, reminders, writing
A few Tuesdays back, I wrote about how the Alarmed iPhone app has revolutionized the way I do household chores, schedule blog posts, and do a whole bunch of other things. In short, it’s made me much more organized and on-time doing things. Now I have entire days set aside for things like cleaning the kitchen, tackling cluttered areas of the house, posting all the blogs for the upcoming week, etc.
But I did not mention that this app has also revolutionized the way I write…because I simply did not think of it as a “writing app” until about two weeks ago.
How did a reminder app change my writing habits? Simple: I set aside a “Writing Day” reminder, just like I set aside a “Kitchen Day,” a “Clutter Day,” etc.
Has This Helped? YES!
This app has already helped me move ahead three pages in my novel. Though it might seem paltry, three pages is a victory, since I’ve been stuck in one place for nearly a year.
Before making a specific “writing day” reminder, I had had a hard time making time to write. It seemed I wrote all the time, either doing blog posts like these, preparing my Sunday school lessons to teach on Sunday, or writing website content…but I hadn’t really done much creative work aside from just little random bits here or there. I ended up almost burned out on writing, just not feeling like I had the energy to write anything when I had free time.
When I finally set aside a special “day” to write, boy, did that change. I’ve begun to write more on my novel, and I’ve started looking forward to Sunday afternoons as “my time,” even. Just allotting a special day of the week to writing makes me feel less anxious about accomplishing my creative writing goals, and less anxiety = more productivity. This is a HUGE change for the better. I don’t force myself to produce a certain number of words or pages when I write this way–I just relax, get rid of all my anxiety about “getting things done,” and just enjoy the process.
Making a “Writing Day” for Yourself
- Choose a day of the week which is less busy than all the others, or which has mostly non-writing tasks. This is important–you don’t want to be mentally “burned out” on writing before you even begin.
- How much time do you have during that day? According to your schedule, budget in a block of time to write. It can be 15 minutes, one hour, 3 hours–whatever time you have free.
- Create a consistent reminder for yourself, either on your phone/computer as I did, or place a paper note somewhere where you will see it every day.
- When your chosen “writing day” comes around, just write SOMETHING creative. If it’s a few words, awesome. A few lines or a paragraph? Great! A whole page, or even a bunch of pages? Amazing! Count it all as progress, because it is.
I hope this helps you get back on track with your own creative writing–it certainly has helped me!no comments April 13th, 2013 by Robin, in Saturday with the Spark
Tags: connotation, creativity, descriptive, synonyms, writing
As I’ve written about before, choosing exactly the right descriptive word when you’re writing is important–words carry not only a direct meaning, but an implied meaning as well, called a connotation.
I noticed this afresh during an impromptu “writers’ club” meeting with my guy friend; we had switched computers to read each other’s stories so far, and I saw that while he had scattered descriptive words all throughout his story, some of them didn’t quite seem to fit the tone of what he meant. Instead of saying “said” a million times, for instance, he had put in apparent synonyms for the word “said”, like “noted,” “stated,” etc. Yet these words didn’t have the right “shade” of meaning in the context of what the characters were saying, etc.
I’ve run into this same problem many times in my own writing–I call it “synonym syndrome,” when you’re trying desperately not to use the same word over and over. The problem comes in when the synonyms you’re trying to use don’t quite match your meaning; they can cause a little confusion in the reader as they try to picture the scene you’ve written.
Examples of Synonym Syndrome
“I can’t believe this is happening to me!” Sandy noted.
“Psst, look over there,” Nathan stated.
“This is my original opinion,” he cited.
“WILL YOU JUST LISTEN TO ME?!” she murmured.
All of these speaking words in these examples do have the basic meaning of speech, but the more subtle shades of meaning in each one render our mental picture of the described action a little differently. It’s hard for readers to imagine a character murmuring in all caps, for instance. When you overuse synonyms like this, which is very tempting to do, it’s almost like your writing becomes a thesaurus in and of itself–it reads in a more stilted fashion rather than flowing naturally.
Some Ideas to Fix Synonym Syndrome
- First of all, don’t be afraid to use the same word a few times in as many pages. If the right word to describe a character’s speech is “said,” then use “said,” and don’t worry about it. It will read much smoother.
- As you look at a synonym list, mentally picture the action you’re trying to describe, as if you’re watching a movie form of it. How are the “actors” in your mental scene acting or speaking? Which of the words you’re looking at describes that action the best?
- If you can’t find exactly the right synonym for an action verb, remember that you can add an adverb, which will spike the verb with a little more descriptive meaning. Just be sure to use adverbs sparingly–they’re like garlic, good in small quantities but easily overwhelming if you put in too much.
Examples (adverbs in italics):
- “She sighed tiredly“
- “Swiftly, he answered”
- “The box slid slowly down the slope”
- “Sinking down into a chair dramatically, she closed her eyes”
Additional Food for Thought: Taking Apart Synonyms’ Meanings
Really take time to dissect the words you want to use. Do they really mean what you want them to mean? This can help you determine whether your word choice is natural or whether it’s got a little synonym syndrome. As examples, let’s look at the words “said” and “moved.”
Synonyms for “Said”
- remarked – implies that the sentence spoken is either a retort/comeback or a pointed/smart reply.
- noted – implies a quiet addition to someone else’s comment
- cited – implies a quotation by the speaker rather than an original thought
- answered/replied – requires another character to have spoken before to make sense
- stated – implies a strident or resolute tone of speech, unmovable by others’ opinions
- muttered – implies a resentful tone
- murmured – implies a very quiet tone, either of a shy comment or a loving one
- whispered – implies a quiet tone, but more of passing information secretly between characters
Synonyms for “Moved”
- stomped – implies anger/frustration
- tiptoed – implies timidity or caution, possibly stealth
- glided – implies graceful movement–can be snakelike (negative/evil) or swanlike (positive/good)
- skipped – implies carefree, blissful state of mood
- sneaked – implies stealth, usually for an underhanded purpose
- strode – implies confidence, possibly arrogance or anger
- moseyed – implies an unhurried, almost lazy pace
- strolled – a casual walk
- sauntered – a casual walk with a slight shade of conceitedness/overconfidence; often used when a female character is approaching a male character she’s interested in
Tags: anxiety, creativity, important, music, perfect pitch, self-doubt
Today, I’ll confess something that’s been rolling around in my brain: At my local Choral Society practice a few weeks ago, I was called on to produce a pitch…and seemingly missed it, by a half-step. I was supposed to produce an A-flat, but I hummed a G.
Though it may seem as though I’ve lost my gift of perfect pitch, the reality is far, far more complex. In fact, the following story strikes to the heart of any artist’s worst nightmare–crippling self-criticism. It’s a cautionary tale for anybody with artistic talent of any sort.
In The Moments Afterward: Self-Accusation Galore
“Has my perfect pitch failed me at last?” was all I could think after it happened, and has been all I can think of for the past month. After all, I have lived in fear of such a moment ever since it was discovered that I even had perfect pitch when I was 13 years old. I knew it was the wrong note the second I began to hum, but I honestly couldn’t figure out quite what was wrong with it until the pianist played a real A-flat and I discovered I was humming a G instead.
God, it felt as though someone had punched me in the stomach! I missed a note?! “What do I call myself now, ‘the girl with imperfect pitch?’” I questioned myself, bitterly. Now, to some, it may sound ludicrous, but this has been a gift I’ve defined myself by, something I’ve labeled myself with. The potential loss of that designation threatened my very identity as a musician, or even as a person.
Finding the Elusive Mistake–Was It Really a Mistake?
The moment I got home, I began to quiz myself, using the keyboard down in the basement. I shut my eyes, turned around from the keyboard, and reached behind me to strike a random note; I named the note I believed it to be, then held the note down until I could turn back around and see what note I had actually struck on the keyboard.
Every time I did this, I was right on the money, no matter what octave. Then I tested myself using intervals, singing the interval between the first and sixth notes of the scale, which is considered the hardest interval to hear correctly in musical ear training. C natural to A natural? No problem. B natural to A-flat? Nailed it–I checked it with my keyboard to be sure. Every six-note interval I hummed and then tested with the keyboard was exactly correct.
Over and over again, I have tested myself, every night for the last month; it’s been one of the many reasons for my incessant insomnia. And every time, I get the notes right; it seems my perfect pitch is just fine.
…So, the maddening question remained: what happened that night at Choral Society practice?
What Could Have Caused This?
I have racked my brain for days and weeks, trying to discover the reason. I produce the correct tones and label them correctly when I test myself; why, then, would an error show up at practice? I tried to take everything into account, trying to discover the reason why I hummed a G instead of an A-flat when I KNEW it was wrong. Some of the reasons I came up with:
- That week, I had been recovering from mild laryngitis, and my voice had not been working properly most of the night
- Many people were talking and singing snatches of song around me, causing me to lose focus
- I was trying to show off and got smacked down by a prideful mistake
- I second-guessed myself too many times and ended up with the wrong note
The first two reasons were little more than excuses, to be honest; that kind of stuff has never really gotten to my ability to produce pitches before. But as I dug deep and came up with the third answer, I thought I may be onto something. And then, there was the last reason…which, as I thought of it, rang with truth, although I didn’t quite recognize it yet. I largely ignored it, and kept looking for a physical reason my pitch naming had been off.
The Answer is Staring Right at Me
Without realizing that I had already answered my question, I finally discussed this problem with my boyfriend over a late lunch one day this past week, confessing to him my perturbation and distress, my worries that I had potentially lost the ability God had so graciously gifted to me.
My boyfriend, “Logic Man” himself, attacked the problem with his calm reasoning (which is one reason I talked to him about it). He advised that the best course of action was to have someone else test me if I didn’t believe my own test results. He also said that probably no one else had worried about it like I did.
“But they all were there–they all heard the mistake!” I found myself arguing. “They all HEARD that it was wrong!”
“You heard that it was wrong,” he replied. “They may not have been able to tell, and even if they could, why would they remember such a petty thing?”
“Because I’m not supposed to miss notes,” I replied, and I was beginning to cry by this point. “It’s supposed to be PERFECT pitch, not ‘imperfect’ or ‘most-of-the-time’ pitch. If it’s gone–”
“You said yourself you’ve tested your ear over and over,” he said, in that calm but firm way of his. “It’s not gone.”
That stuck with me, as I drove home and began to work on other things. I HAD tested myself, over and over, and gotten the same results–my perfect pitch manifested itself repeatedly, correctly identifying musical notes. …But I had done so in the safe confines of my own home–i.e., not in the presence of other individuals who could hear, and who could potentially critique me.
I’ve never had stage fright, to my knowledge, and I have always been confident while performing onstage, whether I’m singing, acting, or playing the piano. But an unlikely parallel flashed into my mind as I thought about this; I remembered being called on to answer a question in math class.
In math classes, I was always terrified to answer questions aloud for fear my answer was incorrect–I knew the jeers and insults I would get from my classmates if my answer was wrong. Thus, I began to get paralyzed with anxiety about my math homework, knowing I would be called on to read out at least one of the answers in class. Some days I got the whole blasted assignment–all 30 questions–wrong because my anxiety held me hostage. Yet, when I was unhurried and doing work that would not be called out in class, I answered most problems correctly.
I began to put the pieces together. I had been doubting my perfect pitch for at least two years, afraid that I was losing it due to hearing damage or sickness or whatever else. And then I was called on suddenly to check a pitch, like checking my math homework. I remembered how I second-guessed and third-guessed and fourth-guessed myself in the seconds before I produced that fateful G…and I remembered how I KNEW WITHOUT A DOUBT it was WRONG the moment I began to sing it. Instinct was veritably screaming in my head that it was wrong wrong wrong, yet by then I lacked the confidence to trust it.
Second-Guessing, Self-Doubt, and Anxiety
Second-guessing ourselves is something many of us do, even without realizing it. But it’s a dangerous, anxiety-causing practice, which worms its way into your confidence and begins to eat it away. In my case, I had been doubting my perfect pitch ability because of my second-guessing, and it had quite honestly become a source of great anxiety–living in abject, paralyzing fear of the moment I miss a note. (That might sound stupid, but as I said, this is a large part of my identity and it means a great deal to me.)
Once I started doubting myself and losing confidence in my ability, even with no proof that it was faulty, I began second-guessing the pitch names that my brain came up with by instinct. Soon, even the easiest pitches to guess became anxiety machines–”am I SURE this is the right note? Am I ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY SURE?” I always thought.
There was the answer. Anxiety, the thing which had tormented me during all my math and some science classes, had finally attacked me on another vulnerable front: my musical ability. It had caused me to doubt things that should never have been in doubt, and in so doing had wrecked my self-confidence. “What if I’m losing my gift?” I had wondered over and over again. In that light, the fateful G seemed like a self-fulfilling prophecy, but it was really an example of anxiety holding me hostage, making me second-guess myself so much that I was kept from producing the correct answer.
The bottom line: My gift is not lost…but my self-confidence is, because of second-guessing and nothing else. Seems so little and simple, when you define it like that, but it can have a very big impact indeed, as I found out that night.
Why Do I Call This a Cautionary Tale?
I believe this kind of self-doubting anxiety can strike any artist, not just a musician, and not just people with perfect pitch like me. Self-doubt can ultimately lock away our ability to function creatively; it can make us dread making our art, or make us judge our art too harshly. We become irrationally afraid that we’ve somehow “lost our touch,” that “the Muse is gone,” that we are mere shells of the artists we once were.
My story, silly and meandering as it may sound, is a warning. If you are an artist of any sort, don’t you ever let anxious self-doubt get to you. It may seem like a small and paltry doubt at first, but if you let it grow, it will eat your confidence for breakfast and defecate depression before you know it. Soon, you’ll feel too anxious to do your creative work, to do the things you once loved…or you might find yourself making a very silly error, as I did, because you’ve second- and third-guessed yourself. If you get too anxious about your gift being gone, you might just fool yourself into believing it’s true.comment (1) March 30th, 2013 by Robin, in Saturday with the Spark
Tags: advice, creativity, inspiration, writing
After having been stuck on my novel for the better part of a year, I knew I had to do something to light the spark again. I looked at all I’d accomplished so far, and I found myself asking, “How in the world did I ever get to 50,000 words, let alone 150,000, when these days I can barely be bothered to come up with 500?”
You might feel just as stuck in your own creative writing process. It may feel as though those cogs and gears will never turn again, that they are rusted into place. But I have 3 tips that have helped my own writing engine begin to turn over, and they just might help you. It doesn’t hurt to try!
#1: Write What You Really Want To
You have to give yourself a compelling reason to write again once your engine has stalled out for a while. So, if you have an idea that’s simply bursting to come out of your head, write it down. It doesn’t matter if it has anything to do with your current projects or not; write it. If it’s a very future part of your novel, several chapters ahead of where you are now, go ahead and write it–you can connect the plot dots later. If it has nothing to do with anything you’re currently trying to write, go ahead and write it anyway; it’ll help keep those creative wheels greased.
For example, I have several ideas for future chapters of my novel–let’s say these are going to appear in Chapters 14 and 16. But right now, I’m stuck back on Chapter 7 or so. Very, very annoying! But I can go ahead and write those very far-flung chapters; who knows, it may spark an idea for how to finish Chapter 7, and how to build up chapters 8-14 to those next plot points!
#2: Don’t Make Writing a Chore, Make It an Escape
When something’s a chore, it’s not very fun, is it? We dread it, but we put it on our schedules in an attempt to make us do it. Yet many of us creative writers try to mold our writing schedule into “daily writing” programs, or try to follow those “write X number of words daily” plans…and we end up hating to write, where before we had loved it.
I don’t mean to disparage such motivational programs; if they work for you, then do them gladly. But for me, such programs create more anxiety than they solve; I end up anxious about not completing the programs or following the plans to the letter. And believe me, when writing gets associated with anxiety or boredom, you’re in deep trouble as a creative writer. That’s what I’ve run into with my own novel this last year–it’s not that my novel bores me, but that the situation I’m writing is hard to write about. I’ve become so anxious about “fixing” it that I have hobbled my writing ability. Sounds ridiculous, but it happened…and it happens to many more writers, I’d wager.
So, how to break free of this? Make your writing something you do when you need to wind down, something to reward yourself with when you’ve finished a real chore, or something you do when you want to cheer yourself up. Make it an escape, like a favorite book you can’t put down, a favorite food you look forward to eating, or a favorite place you love to visit. Make it FUN again, make it the process of discovery and creation that it ought to be, instead of hedging it about with tons of rules. If you’re like me and have problems following overly structured plans, this might just spark your engine again.
#3: Let Dreams Inspire You
Have you ever woken up from an incredibly intense dream, only to have certain scenes stick with you throughout the day? How about using these scenes as inspiration for your writing? Whenever you have dreams like this, write down the most vivid scenes from the dream in as much visual and sensory detail as you can remember–then save that scene where you can find it easily. You never know when that dream scene may become fodder for a future plot detail! (Being a pack rat is okay in this case!)
For instance, I dreamed a very powerful, evocative scene for a future subplot in my novel about a year ago–I actually woke up weeping and shaking, and it stayed with me for hours. I know it will be a very painful scene to write when I put it into my book, but it will also be a point of great character development, too. So I’ve written some quick notes about it and it’s sitting in my novel file on my computer, waiting to be used alongside a few other little scraps of dreams I’ve written down. The others may never make it into the book, but they just might!
I hope these three tips help your writing engine start again. Remember, just because it hasn’t cranked in a while doesn’t mean it won’t crank ever again. Unlike old cars, our brains are never rusted!no comments March 23rd, 2013 by Robin, in Saturday with the Spark
Tags: crafting, crafts, creativity, inspiration, links
Are you a crafter and feeling lonely or uninspired in your work? Wish you had someone to ask about how to accomplish certain pieces, how to think outside your own little box?
In that case, the Internet is your best friend. Today, I’ll showcase the websites I’ve found in my search for informative and helpful crafting sites for any and all sorts of crafters out there.
The Chocolate Muffin Tree
Tags: art, creativity, inspiration, recycling, upcycling
Plenty of artists have been doing it–making art from trash, I mean. The Web is alive with stories of it: Vivan Sundaram’s trash photography exhibits, as well as trash-to-art-object best-of lists from Noupe and WebUrbanist. Even ordinary folks are collecting pictures of amazing art being created from junk or trash via Pinterest or other such sites, like this list over on Indulgy.
What I love most about this new-old trend in art is that it encourages all of us to recycle and repurpose old things. Too often, we think of creativity springing from an eternally new source–art’s always somehow gotta be new new new and anything old is worthless. But this trash-to-art and junk-to-art movement helps us all revision items in new ways. The movement is even trickling down to children’s art projects through sites like Kid-At-Art.com, which shows kids how to recycle trash and junk and make it into something beautiful.
But how does this trash-to-art movement translate into doable creativity for the everyday crafter/artist? Simple–by saving up materials that others would likely throw away and making/decorating gifts for others, or making and decorating useful objects for your own home.
Upcycling: Recycling and Repurposing All in One
Upcycling, as this article from Shareable.net details, gives old items new purpose, or can give items bound for the trash a new lease on life. Say you’ve got a few random old items which still have some life in them, yet they need a little spiffing up. Upcycling can work for these–giving them a fresh coat of paint and revisioning them can give them a new place in your house!
Example #1: An old train case with a top handle can be cleaned out, repainted/refinished and made into a kid’s treasure box, storage for a teen’s small electronics, or even a mobile office-supplies carrier for your car.
Example #2: An old bread box can be repainted/refinished, then mounted on the wall near the front door as a family mail sorter/key holder…or you can mount it in the living room to corral all those remote controls…or you can put it in the bathroom for small toiletry items (like nail clippers) that always seem to get away!
Or, say you’ve got some items that aren’t in the best condition anymore, that used to hold stuff but don’t anymore, or that have some pieces missing. You can still upcycle these, if you allow yourself to think outside the box!
Example #1: Coffee cans (metal or plastic) can become pencil holders, mail sorters, snack transporters, trinket hiders–soak off the label, clean out the can, and you have a new storage container for just about any small objects!
Example #2: Old VHS or DVD cases can become storage for printed-out photos, important labels, bills, or anything else that needs to be kept away from sun, water, and dust till you can deal with them. Plus, you can slip a changeable label into the outside plastic clearly marking what’s inside!
Plus, what about all those used gift wrap and cards you find yourself swimming in after the holidays, or after birthdays or other special events? Instead of throwing it all away, how about taking a few of these tips:
- Save any like-new (read: not dented in/half-torn-up) gift bags, folding them up carefully and storing them away from dust and water; you’ll thank yourself when you need a gift bag next!
- Save all the tissue paper and scraps of wrapping paper, too. You can shred the wrapping paper and really torn tissue paper with a paper shredder to make basket or bag filler, and any tissue paper that is mainly crumpled rather than torn up can be used to fill out the tops of gift bags, or can even be fodder for other creative projects!
- If you like the picture on a card you’ve received, cut it out and refashion it as a gift tag, decoration for a notebook, or even frame it as art for your walls!
Summary: Upcycling is Crazily Creative!
With these ideas and more, you can make even your own junk pile transform into useful and pretty objects again. All it takes is a moment to stop and think, “Hmm…what could this become?”no comments