Frugal people used to live by the motto, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”, and making something you needed out of something you already had or could get cheap (or free) was just considered wise use of resources. Nowadays, it’s called “Upcycling” and a lot of times, the result will cost you more than you’d expect.
Etsy [http://www.etsy.com/?ref=si_home] is notorious for upcycled stuff, including one shop I ran across whose motto was “Making broken things into beauty”. I love that! I’ve made a number of pieces of jewelry (both for local customers and for my Etsy store) that used bits and pieces of no-longer-wearable jewelry. It’s fun to have someone hand you a plastic bag full of costume jewelry they no longer want, with the comment, “If you don’t want it, toss it”, and then go on to use some of the contents to produce something beautiful and new.
My friend Linda makes gorgeous planters out of old broken-down chairs (see the attached picture). My husband has the knack, too, turning old metal election campaign sign holders into potted plant hangers for our backyard, an aluminum rod from a set of discarded vertical blinds at work into a plant hook for a high tree branch, and an old wooden bed frame into a new piece of furniture copied from an upscale home decor catalog. It’s a challenge sometimes, but I love to see things that might have ended up in the landfill turned into something of value again.
However, when I think about the phrase, “making broken things into beauty”, I also can’t help but think of what God does with His children. He finds us on the world’s discard pile, picks us up, dusts us off, and says, “Hmm, I can make something out of this”. And He washes us white as snow, gives us a new name, fills us chockfull of gifts and talents, and presents the results to a broken world, as an example of what only He can do. Thanks, Abba, for making this broken one new….