RECYCLED HOME: Crafts for grown-ups

By Elia Maqueda. November 19, 2012

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When I was a kid I was given a craft book that fascinated me for years. I would swamp my bedroom with newspapers, bowls, scissors, glue, fabric scraps, needles, wool and watercolours. My mother, with a worried look on her face, would stare at me from the door while I got dirty from head to toes making puppets, painting plaster figurines, tie-dyeing T-shirts or assembling my own notebooks. In spite of all those entertaining afternoons, I’ve never been a crafty person –I’m a bit clumsy–, but to have the possibility to make things with my own hands was enough to make me a little bit happier.

Now, after so many years, crafts are all the rage again: crochet is back, we customize our clothes so we don’t look like soldiers of a strange army, and our ovens cannot cope with so many cakes, cookies and cupcakes. On these adult afternoons fighting against the clock, filled with alarms on our phones and social notifications, DIY seems to calm us down and make us –still– happier.

To help us with these grown-up crafts, Rebecca Proctor has published Recycled Home (Laurence King, 2012), a recycled and recyclable book that teaches us how to make countless useful objects from others we don’t need any more. Divided into seven categories and preceded by the list of materials and tools we need to make our recycled armoury, each project is detailed step by step so that both the skilled and the clumsy can finish it with success. From today I intend to spend all my free time making frames for my photos, sewing a quilt and replacing the hideous ironing board cover for a handmade one. I might even build a birdhouse, although I’ll have to give it to somebody with a garden.

Guys, every day the world seems to get smaller. There is no room for more plasma televisions, football stadiums or panic attacks. So we should pack all of that and load it into a space probe that orbits around Jupiter. In the meantime, it’s time to stand in the centre of our living rooms and decide what to (re)do with everything we already have.

I’ll start right away. Good luck.

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