Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Musing on Repurposing

"Repurposed" is a "green" term you hear a lot these days, so my latest latest article at, was on that subject, and while researching it and thinking about repurposing I realized that we've been doing this in our home for a long time.

For instance, we've made lamps out of coffee grinders, blue Ball Mason jars, and old tin milk cans:

Instead of normal desks, my husband and I use old tavern tables and kitchen tables. Actually, his desk is a 19th century hutch table, the kind that is able to alternate between a bench and a kitchen table. At our previous home in New Jersey, we used it for years as a bench; here in New Hampshire, it's been pressed into service as a desk. (I'd show you pictures, but that would require at least an hour of paper and debris cleaning, so let's just use our imaginations here....)

In our guest bathroom we store new soap inside a Ball Mason jar; a candle sits in a small red and white Staffordshire dish; a basket provides guest hand towels; a 19th century gathering basket has been hung on the wall to store bath towels:

In the kitchen I use three old ceramic flowerpots as containers for knives, forks and spoons and a painted tin bucket for serving spoons; old tin flowerpots I collect are stored with assorted kitchen tools; an old cookie tin holds wooden spoons:

In the living room and library--aside from our repurposed lamps--there's a painted mailbox I found at a flea market that corrals our newspapers; a wicker picnic basket serves as a platform on a low end table for a lamp; and a wicker and metal basket holds DVDs:

I also put fresh or dried flowers (according to the season) in big milk cans and butter crocks, and in our master bath we have assorted brushes and bottles arranged in an old tool box; jewelry in a colorful pottery bowl; toothpaste in a basket; makeup in an old rooster dish; towels rolled up into tubes and arranged inside a huge splint basket; and odds and ends of bathroom necessities--bubble bath, etc.--tucked away inside an old tin bread cabinet. I'd show you more pictures, but I think you get the idea (plus now I don't have to spiffy up my bathroom!).

The article I wrote for provides a slideshow of other repurposed antiques I found at a large antiques center in Goffstown, NH.

Since I last wrote I've added a few new items to my Etsy store, but instead of showing them to you here, I've added a new slideshow app to the sidebar that shows everything currently in my shop. Hope you'll check it out!


  1. Do you make the shades too? I'm looking for a small shade for a lamp I have with birds on it like the one you have above... Thanks. Kelly
    Zenful Goods

  2. Hi, Kelly ~ alas, I'm not a crafter--I wish I could make shades! I got that at a lamp shop years ago. It's hard to find good shades. At least, the kind we both obviously like. Good luck!