Craftsmen and women have been repurposing for hundreds of years. Earth’s first human residents used animal bones for everything from needles to weapons. American pioneers made quilts from clothing that could no longer be worn and World War II had every kid on the block looking for scrap metal for the war effort. Recycling, reusing, and repurposing is a way of life for many throughout the United States and the rest of the world.
This is just a thought, but the Christmas season is already less than five months away. Don’t get excited and break out in a cold sweat worrying over what to get Aunt Martha, who insists on only gifts made from organic materials or Cousin Ned, the computer geek that collects Scientific American magazines, just yet. There is still plenty of time to create a one-of-a-kind gift made from materials you probably already have cluttering up a closet or drawer. And if you are not the crafty type, there is always Etsy where you can buy items from people that are the crafty type.
So what if you are willing to give this handmade gift thing a try? Where do you go for ideas? Have no fear. The people that authored the following books are bound to have the answers.
Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed & Organic Materials by Betz White and photographed by John Gruen Betz White is an expert when it comes to felting and turning items like a man’s button-down shirt into an adorable apron. This eco-crafter has her own website and has appeared on the Martha Stewart show.
Big Green Book of Recycled Crafts from Leisure Arts This book has plenty of pictures and instructions to get your creative juices flowing. Leisure Arts also has a website where you can find crochet patterns, how-to videos and free projects in addition to other helpful information for the repurposing crafter.
Green Crafts for Children: 35 Step-by-Step Projects Using Natural, Recycled, And Found Materials by Emma Hardy This is a perfect book to get your kids involved in making gifts and teaching the importance of reusing items that might otherwise get tossed out.
Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures by Amanda Blake Soule This is the book if you have a distant relative’s vintage handkerchieves filling a drawer and want to turn them into something useful and pretty like nursery curtains. Amanda Blake Soule has a website full of tutorials, recipes, and much, much more.
All of these great books can be purchased online at amazon.com or at the stores listed below.
853 H Street
Arcata, California 95521
Black Oak Books
2618 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, California 94702
The Book Seller
107 Mill Street
Grass Valley, California 95945-4701
Willow Bridge Books
40044 Highway 49
Oakhurst, California 93644-8875
Laurel Book Store
4100 MacArthur Avenue
Oakland, California 94619
352 Main Street
Placerville, California 95667
625 Fourth Street
Santa Rosa, California 95404