Creative reuse: Who says a jar is just a jar?

Creative reuse: Who says a jar is just a jar?

Of the three R’s – Reduce Reuse and Recycle, I think that re-use is my favorite. I'm not talking about the kinds of things you can use over and over again for what they were designed for, those are great, but for me, the real fun comes from getting creative; from reusing things for something new.

cup plantsTo illustrate, I don't have to look any further than my own office. Our team gets pretty creative around here. Here are a few examples:

We don't keep many books, but we do have neat book ends! The image at the top of this article shows the lovely book ends we have, made by our own Lisa Howse.They are simply reused mason jars filled with sand and some natural rocks and shells.

This winter, we got a few spider plants to decorate our desks. Why buy plant pots when we already have mugs in same shape?

monitor stand

Here is my monitor riser made from a plain shelf with four tomato paste cans for legs. Cheap, easy, cute and functional - much kinder to my neck! 

Joanne has made herself one as well, using a repurposed shelf  with bricks for legs. We both enjoyed making them as much as using them.

sewing table 




This is a side table in our office. We can't take a whole lot of credit for this, other than buying it, but it's very sturdy and functional. Much better throwing away an old treadle sewing machine!

All these lovingly reused and recreated items in our office definitely make me smile. It is is one of the many reasons I like working here.

At home, I recently made a suet bird feeder out of: a Styrofoam container from leftover soup, leftover seeds and grains from my cupboard that I wasn’t using, pork fat from a local farmer and a string handle from a paper shopping bag.  The birds seem to have zero interest in it (or have no idea it's there) so my recipe may need a little work, but I was pretty happy with how it turned out. We’ll call it a work in progress.

bird feederBird feeder outside

Since it is my favorite topic, I have written about it before...If you want more creative reusing ideas, check out these past articles:

Top ten things to reuse

Toilet paper tubes turned into decorative boxes

Reusing outdoors

What about you? Have you made something you are really proud of out of reused materials? Any crafty carpenters out there? Feel free to post your favorite project below.