Green Living Blog: Sentimental Upcycling

Green Living Blog: Sentimental Upcycling


My Mom's birthday is in January just after Christmas and, although it can be tough to know what to give someone who pretty much already has everything they need, I found the perfect gift – and it used to be hers.


A few years ago, my mom gave me an old leather purse of hers. It was a gift her brother brought her after a trip to Hawaii. I'm not sure exactly why she retired it, it may have been a bit small for what she needed at the time, and the strap was quite worn out. I admit that I didn't use it for those reasons right away either. But it was so cool, and reminded me so much of her and my childhood, that I knew I would put it to good use eventually.


Time went by and I bought a leather purse of my own (much larger and capable of fitting things for both me and my kids). My mom asked me about it, saying she'd like something like it, only a little smaller. Of course my mind thought of her leather purse that she had given me still sitting in my closet. "I have your old leather purse still, Mom, why don't I get it restored for you for your birthday present?" She thought it was a great idea.


I took it into the Awl Shop in Saskatoon to see what they could do to replace the worn out strap. They showed me the options they had... and honestly none of them were a good colour match, or as good quality leather as the purse. "If you want similar leather, how about we repurpose a new belt as the strap instead?" offered the sales guy; and that's when the lightbulb went off in my head. Also in my closet at home I had several leather belts I had kept from my late father's effects. The colours  were almost identical. It was meant to be!


I took the old belt and the old purse, both items with lots of life and meaning left in them, back to the Awl Shop. And here we are: one upcycled, super awesome Hawaiian leather purse and belt, ready to go back to work after about 20 years off. I can't wait to see my Mom using it.


This experience totally reconfirmed my need to keep everything useful, so that I can use it one day. How about you, what sentimental items have you kept because you know you'll use them one day? Or maybe repurposed and upcycled them like I did? Did you give them as gifts? Join the conversation below.