Tag Archives: Conservation

Making Old Things New

PJ Sharon, here with another snowy morning in the Berkshires. December is right around the corner and it’s time to put on the studded snow tires, dig out the winter duds, and hunker down for the long winter ahead. Having grown up in New England and having spent most of my youth in freezing ice skating rinks, I kind of like the winters. Although as I get older, the cold seems to seep a little deeper into my bones—incentive to get off my writer’s butt and start kicking it into high gear with some activities to get the blood moving. Tae Bo snow-shoeing anyone?

Some of you that know me have often heard me report on the constant state of chilliness in my 1840’s humble abode. She’s a drafty old place and with my husband being a bit of a polar bear and the frugal sort, we tend to keep the house anywhere from 55-65 degrees through much of the winter months. Oh, I could crank up the pellet stove and turn on the oil heat, but I like the challenge of seeing if we can get through the winter on just a tankful of oil and a couple of tons of pellets. I’ve learned to layer up, wear warm socks, and if all else fails, I have my darling husband—who is “hot” in so many ways—to snuggle up to. I’m sure that is all part of his evil plot.

Lest you think him cruel or me crazy for living in these harsh conditions, I will gladly take the blame for my plight. You see, I’m all about conservation. I shudder when I see someone throw away something that could be recycled, re-used, or re-purposed. I’m forever shutting off lights and I even take a trash bag on my walks now and again to pick up discarded cans and bottles along the side of the road.
It has taken some time, but I’ve gotten my husband on the band wagon with me, and if something can be fixed rather than thrown out, he’s your man. You have to love engineers. I’ve learned so much from living with him that I think I’m beginning to think like him—as terrifying as that is to admit. So if that means re-using zip lock bags and aluminum foil or even re-working an old scene from an unpublished manuscript to fit a current WIP, I’m in!

To show you just how deep this renew/re-use/recycle thing goes, I mentioned on face book a few weeks ago that my hands get cold after I’ve been at the computer for a while. I had several helpful suggestions. More than one person mentioned that I should buy a pair of fingerless mittens or cut the fingers off a pair of old work gloves. I happened to be shopping in Great Barington this past weekend and saw some lovely—and VERY pricey—such gloves. They were cashmere and cost more than I would spend on a good pair of shoes, so it was a no brainer to walk away, but I must have had the idea rumbling around in my head, because when I wore out the heels of my favorite pair of Smart Wool socks and was just about to begrudgingly throw them out, a brilliant plan popped into my head. I stuck my fingers down into the uber warm sock and let my thumb pop out the hole in the heel. Aha! Then all I had to do was to cut the toes out and I had an awesome pair of “hand socks.”

So with Christmas coming, I’m putting on my thinking cap for ways to give “practical” gifts from the heart. I’m thinking Smart Wool socks for everyone…with instructions for re-purposing them when they wear out.

What about you, dear readers, have you had any ingenious uses for old stuff? How about re-crafting a scene that you’ve taken from an old manuscript?