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The Re-Purposeful Life

Posted by Kate on October 04 at 01:12 pm

I’m not one to go out and buy the latest and greatest. My friends are amazed I still don’t have a “smartphone” (at least not quite yet!) because my old flip phone still works, why would I need a new one? And I tend to wear the same sneakers until the sole comes apart. And I’m driving an old 1997 Honda Accord (because “Hondas can go til 250K at least!”). Using things until they don’t work any longer is something I inherited from my father (thanks, Dad!). My mother has taken my desire for usefulness to another level, however, and tapped into the other side of the coin: re-purposing.

Re-purposed items

Mom recently sent me an email with some creative ideas on how to re-purpose things that may have fallen out of use the way they were originally intended. I thought I’d share some of them with you here, since we’re of the creative “think outside the box ” type. See anything you might find re-useful? :-)

sink extender pancakes

bagel totecan opener



This will come in handy for our craft, right?!

Lima Outside-the-Box

All this re-purposing got me thinking. How can we re-purpose some of our left over beads that didn’t make it into a project? Ali took some of her odds n’ ends beads, strung them up to create a multi-layer bracelet with that new McLees clasp and she did it again using orphan beads in her leather cuff charm bracelet. What about ways to use beads in other non-jewelry ways? (Gasp?) I asked some of our warehouse packers what they would use our pave collection for, if they weren’t beaders. Here’s a few of their ideas:

  • center piece — fill a small vase as a sparkly centerpiece to come home to on your kitchen table! Buffer tea light candles with pave beads to catch more sparkle during dinner.
  • ponytail holder — tie two pave beads into an elastic (Boston way of saying hair tie/ponytail holder/rubber band) for the Punky-Brewster-style look. A chandelier-like throwback to the 80s!
  • flower pot sparkle — toss a few pave beads into your potted plants so when they catch a bit of sun for photosynthesis, they’ll also catch a little additional sparkle. Match ‘em to the bloom or pick a contrasting color for a little more zing.
  • pen topper — I’ve seen folks create beautiful flower petals out of feathers or even scrap quilting material and then adorn the top of a pen or pencil with the topper. Ever thought of using a pave bead for the “pollen center” of your flower design?
  • charm & ring set

    see, I even re-purposed the chip clip into a vice! Click to see in the Design Gallery!

    wine charms — Little charms like this have been all the rage lately. The problem I tend to experience (and several of my co-workers agree): who can remember what their charm was after all that wine drinking?! So warehouse-picker-extraordinares, Kathleen and Kat, came up with this idea… Take one of our little bezeled adjustable rings and sprinkle some matching glitter in that bezel with some resin. Volia! Just look down at your finger to remember which charmed glass matches!

I guess the famous Shamballa bracelet isn’t the only way to put those paves to work, eh? What’s your favorite “re-purposed” invention?

Read the comments (or add your own)

  1. Kat w
    Kat w says:

    A good way to use all of those seed beads that have acumulated in a bead box is to fill small glass candle holders and use as an incense holder! Looks pretty freshens everything.

  2. Kate
    Kate says:

    love it! We’ve got quite the rainbow mix over here!
    Anyone else? Ideas?

  3. NY Bella
    NY Bella says:

    I love that idea with the dustpan! Will try it!

  4. Lynn g
    Lynn g says:

    Love the ideas, especially the dust pan one..

  5. No Photo
    Mary - Sweet Chick says:

    Clever and very useful ideas!

    One of my favorite beading “tools” is an old metal dental pick that I purchased at a Flea Market. It’s curved on the end and it comes in handy for so many purposes….it’s great for getting in tiny spaces, untying knots, enlarging the hole in metal beads so my beading wire will double back through, etc…
    Be careful though, the end is sharp!

  6. Kate
    Kate says:

    My dentist friends would be horrified to hear that, Mary S, but I love it– I’d certainly rather it picking out a knot in my cord than my teeth! eek! ;-)

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