Let's Talk with Lois Winston

November 17, 2022

The Ultimate Repurposing

I’ve always been a proponent of finding other uses for items that can no longer be used for their intended purpose. I recycle as many items as I can, but more importantly, I try to repurpose as much as possible. I put this principle to good use during my decades-long career as a crafts designer. For instance, scraps of lace, assorted orphaned buttons, and a few extra mini spools, leftovers from previous projects, made their way into a Victorian Puff-Potpourri Doll I designed years ago for one crafts magazine.

Fall is a time for craft fairs in many communities. Autumn weekends will often find me enjoying the cooler temperatures while I stroll from booth to booth, sipping mulled cider or hot chocolate as I scout for holiday gifts and locally made baked goods, cheeses, and jams.

At two of these fairs recently I came across the ultimate in repurposed items. It never would have occurred to me to use unplayable musical instruments in sculptures, let alone as broom handles. Talk about a creative use for keeping items from becoming landfill!

A chance to win a free audiobook…
And speaking of repurposing, I recently decided it was time to enter the world of audiobooks. I’m working with a narrator to produce the entire Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series in audiobook format. Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series, is now available. Death by Killer Mop Doll, the second book in the series, should be out by Thanksgiving.

If you’d like the chance to win a promo code for a free download of the Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun audiobook (US or UK residents only), post a comment telling me about an item you’ve repurposed or if you’ve ever come across a unique way to repurpose an item.

While you’re here, check out our November contest. It runs from Nov 1-18, so if you hurry over, you still have time to enter. There’s a book vault with seven mysteries. Winner may select a book, with the understanding that print books will only be mailed to those with US mailing addresses. Click to enter.

If you’d like to know more about our author Lois Winston, Click over to her website.

Posted in Let's Talk, with Lois Winston • Tags: , , , |  17 Comments


17 thoughts on “The Ultimate Repurposing

  1. I love the idea of repurposing! Long before there was recycling in a community pick-up way, my family saved every bit of, well, everything. There was always a piece of string to tie packages. Newspapers were wraps for fish and fire starters. Old jars held nails, nuts, bolts, and the like. It was a way of life. Nowadays when I get something cleaned up to go in the recycling bin, it always crosses my mind that I could do something with this. And yes I have several cupboards dedicated to keeping “saved” stuff! Love the potpourri doll you made.

    1. Maggie, when my husband’s grandmother died, we found hundreds of SaraLee cake tins, a shoebox filled with used razor blades, and miles of bakery box string! She lived through two World Wars and the Great Depression. People of her generation saved everything.

  2. I’d love to repurpose many of my items but I’m not talented that way. I admire your skills with crafts. I’ll end up donating or attempting to sell my unused goods. It is fun to attend craft festivals and fall is the perfect season right before the holidays.

  3. Nice article, Lois. I don’t do a lot of repurposing, but I got tired to scattering bird seed on my deck. I found an old plate that said, “You Are Loved.” It has a picture of birds painted on it. That’s what I put the seeds in now. And the birds eat pretty from the dish.

  4. I love that beautiful little doll. Since moving to a small condo, everything we keep must serve a current purpose, so I’m limited on what I can keep just in case I need it. I have my mother’s sewing box filled with notions I’ll never use, but I’m keeping them all.

    1. Debra, have you ever used a deleted scene in another book or story or in your newsletter or on your website? That’s a writer’s form of repurposing. Hmm…come to think of it, I should have used that tidbit in my post! 😉

  5. When we moved into our house, we installed a fountain in a small atrium. The fountain was way bigger than what the space really needed. Recently, when the pump went out on it for the third time, we decided it was time to replace the fountain. The company that we used to do the work was able to turn the top section of the old fountain into a planter for the backyard, the middle section into a gorgeous zen fountain for the front yard, and took the huge basin to the trash. I was so happy when they suggested repurposing the various parts of the fountain. Not only did it feel good to do that, but the results are spectacular!

  6. Lois, you’re so crafty! My thing is thrifting–why buy new when you can get something perfectly good used and save it from the landfill? But I occasionally repurpose things, too. Right now I’m saving the little clear glass ramekins from some premade crème brulee my husband bought (a side note…that stuff is surprisingly good for being store-bought!). They will be perfect for making beeswax votive candles next time we pull some comb from our beehives.

  7. Thanks for the tips, Lois and friends! Miniaturists call this practice using “found objects” and the addenda of my 9 Miniature Mysteries have tips for this. The cap of a tube of toothpaste, e.g., can be a lampshade; a larger cap can be a wastebasket; the plastic piece that holds up the pizza box is obviously an endtable! And so on!

  8. Many of my beloved items that no longer suit the house have a second life in my garden. I had a childhood (sized) pair of chairs, which my own kids used (abused), and I eventually turned them into planters. Super whimsical.

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