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day 61: reduce, reuse, repurpose

April 3, 2011

A warning before I begin: WordPress is being defiant (yesterday it changed all of my spacing, and today it keeps switching formats) so I think I will make this post brief in the event that it decides to kick me out altogether.

Day 61’s gift made itself known in a midday email, for which I was grateful.  I had spent the majority of the day with my little family, playing in the tenacious wind and digging in the red clay with sticks (well, the boys did most of the digging… I cheered them on). It was an easy, sunny day, but not one that readily revealed to me its gift.

In late afternoon, though, I received an email from my older son’s preschool teacher, Ms. C.  One of the many things I admire about Ms. C is her ability to engage her class of four year-olds creatively while still emphasizing the skills necessary to begin kindergarten.  Every day, my son comes home from school with some new project (a picture of his family, an intricately cut out robot) from which he’s learned some new skill.  Ms. C is also blessedly patient.  She doesn’t know this, but about a year ago — before she was my son’s teacher — I saw her at Target.  Her daughter in the midst of an epic tantrum in the peanut butter aisle; feet stomping the linoleum, red-faced, shouting.  I’ve never forgotten the calm, clear voice Ms. C used to address her flailing child, and it has always endeared her to me.

Anyway, on Day 61, Ms. C’s email said this:

“It’s spring and time to clean out those drawers and closets! If anyone has any scrap supplies they would like to donate, we’d be happy to take them off your hands. Fabric, ribbon, beads, buttons, pipe cleaners, scrapbooking paper, envelopes, old stationary, ink stamps, stickers or anything else you think the kids would like to make something out of, we’ll take… Recycling those unwanted materials into kid art is the best way to keep them from going to waste!”

Ms. C, as some of you know, was barking up the right tree. 

I love my collection of scrapbooking paper, ribbons, beads, and assorted doodads.  I use these materials in ugly craft-making ventures, an activity I find relaxing.  Ms. C’s email was a clear reminder, however, that my collection of crafty goodness could be put to far better use in the hands and imaginations of little children.

I am not going to give every last piece away — I am committed to (you read it here first) finally catching up on my boys’ birthday books, as well as creating another diaper cake like the one below — but I will share most of it, cheerfully, with the creative minds and chubby hands of Ms. C’s Pre-K class.

I made this slightly lopsided diaper cake for a shower. I'll be making another one soon, so will hang onto some ribbon and cellophane.

I can only imagine what potential lives in my cardboard box of art supplies.

On another note, I’ve tried and failed to give away the faux fur stole and costume jewelry from Day 54.  I’m reminded of my lesson from Day 1: “Just because I want to give it doesn’t mean you want to receive it.”  If you do you want it, speak now or forever hold your peace.  Leave me a comment in the next 24 hours with your email address… otherwise, the faux fur stole and pearl extravaganza will find a home in my donation bag.

Today, I hope you create something beautiful and unexpected.  Thank you so much for showing up.

P.S.  Happy2nd birthday to my beautiful nieces, R and T.

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