Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ideas for Uses for Stuff

I am a Yoder by birth, which means I  like to save, keep, rescue, and repurpose things that most people would throw away.  Right now I need some ideas.  I have some objects that seem loaded with Potential and Possibilities but the Good Uses are all hidden behind a foggy window in my head and I need someone to wipe the glass.

1. I found this fabric at a funny secondhand store in an old metal barn on the coast near Bandon, one of those quirky places run by a man with a big mustache who was relaxing out front on an old bench seat from a van.

It's a denim fabric, about two yards, with simple orange and blue stripes.  It was only a dollar and had Etsy and Pinterest and Instagram all over it, so I bought it.

But now: what would be the best use of it, and would justify that momentous no-turning-back First Cut that always terrifies me, since I am scared of commitment?

2. This is a skirt hanger made of sturdy metal bars and flimsy pink clothespins.  The pink clothespins died one by one, but the bars remain.  And I think, surely there's a creative use for this.

I tried hanging it in the kitchen for dish towels, but it got in everybody's way.

I could still use it for a skirt hanger if I used regular clothespins, but I have enough nicer hangers that I'd rather use.

I will toss this if I don't find a use for it soon, as even my Yoder repurposing has its limits.

What do you think?

3. This was another $1 find that I snatched up like only veteran garage salers can home in with bat-like radar and grab. It's an old toolbox, obviously homemade, with lots of scratches, personality, and signs of wear.


Do I fill it with flowers?  Put it up on the wall for teacups?  Take quart jars of lemonade out to the threshers next summer??

Would it have a useful and decorative purpose in my writing cabin?

Help me out here.

4. I saved the last Laughing Cow cheese box because it is just so cute.  However, I didn't tell my daughters because they would have had a fit.

But just tonight I found this on Pinterest.  Ta da!


  1. The fabric: I used red-striped fabric much like that for backing for a quilt that my students pieced in sewing class and then used in the student lounge (really just a space on the floor between the ends of desk rows--next to the wall). Some giant pillows also resided there. I also used some of it to make grilling aprons for the men in the family, using a pattern that had the ties and around-the-neck piece made from one very long strip of fabric that snaked through casing/facing that connected the top of the "bib" with the back/top of the "skirt." It looked like pillow ticking fabric to me, and it might actually make some nice sturdy floor pillows.

  2. I also had a hangar like the one you show, used it for scarves and later, camisoles, without any clothespins. It helped uncluttered a drawer. Just hand them over the bars. Even long stockings, etc.

  3. The fabric would make a great Fall tablecloth if it fits your table. Or a new apron or two. The toolbox would be a great place to organize items on your new desk in the cabin.

  4. That old toolbox you could resell to me for $2, then I'd use it to hold old milk bottles with flowers in it, or silverware and napkins at a party, or art supplies, or kitchen utensils, or...there are so many possibilities!

  5. One idea for the striped fabric is a tote/book bag. It is sturdy and would be great with an accent color for handles and a band around it.

    I was going to suggest using your toolbox as plasticware/napkin holder to take to your picnic but someone beat me to that idea :)

  6. Get some small clothespins at a craft store and use them to clip notes, pictures and cards to the hanger. The wooden box either carries flowers and picnic supplies or a pencil/ pen & little things that collect on the desk organizer. The fabric looks like curtain panels for my boys rooms but of course if you don't need curtains that's not helpful.

    1. Maybe the cabin needs curtains or a valance.

  7. Hangar for:
    holding wooden pins to hold up inspiration photos/quotes/etc and kind words from friends in your writing cabin

    Cloth for:
    a cover for your chair back with some padding underneath so you are comfortable in your writing cabin

    Box for:
    a place to put coffee and tea supplies in your writing cabin

    I am all about your writing cabin. ;)

  8. I recently saw a simple carrier for casserole dishes, etc. Your striped fabric would be perfect. Make a square 18-20", doubled. Fold down opposite corners with a large 2" ring sewn in. Hem a strip 1 1/2" X 12". Place your bowl under that narrow strip. Cross the rings over the bowl, and draw the narrow strip through the rings. There's your handle to transport your dish. You could put quilt batting between to keep it hot longer. ~Sharon Mast

  9. Wow! Your readers have great ideas!

    I had an old wooden drawer with compartments, very similar to your toolbox but sans handle, and (by happy chance) a set of three terra cotta pots that fit perfectly into the compartments. I recently planted three different herbs in them and gave the set as a birthday gift to a good friend.

    The hanger makes me think of a scarf hanger too. Just spray paint it a bright color - and with pretty scarves draped over it, it could be a splash of happy in your bedroom.

  10. The fabric would be great for a messenger bag (or two, if you found a contrasting piece for lining. The hangar could just have fabric draped over each bar, or already cut pieces that are waiting to be sewn. And the box would be great for any hobby that has multiple things to store (crochet hooks, knitting needles, scissors, measuring tapes...) I may have to go buy some cheese to make the little "box" like you showed!

  11. Maybe you could use the fabric to make back packs for CAM's school kit project.

  12. I vote the tool box stores pencils and notes etc on the desk in the writing cabin.

  13. I vote the tool box stores pencils and notes etc on the desk in the writing cabin.

  14. Dorcas, immediately under the picture of the fabric you wrote a sentence that ends with these words: " . . . that always terrifies me, since I am scared of commitment."

    Well, all I can say is this: For one who claims to be "scared of commitment" you commit to amazing goals, mostly reach them, and undertake myriad and varied projects, most of which are accomplished!!! I realize that I do not have total knowledge about this subject, but you share so much of your life with us that one cannot help but come to this conclusion. Your example is a great encouragement and challenge to the rest of us to get busy and to "keep on plugging" when the going gets a little rough.

  15. That tool caddy? It looks like a lovely centerpiece to me. Put little pots, mason jars, or vases in the compartments and tuck in the arrangements of your choice for anything from high tea to dinner party. Either leave it as is or paint a distressed white. I like that thing!

  16. My Mom has a skirt hanger in the closet with all her pretty tablecloths draped over the bars. And I would hang the toolbox upside down in the bathroom, as a towel bar with something cute sitting on the new shelf/former bottom.