Reduce, Reuse, and Decoupage?


For the record, I am not a person who is interested in crafts. Whether it’s gluing seashells onto homemade greeting cards, scrapbooking, or painting acorns for a nature-themed centerpiece – none of it appeals to me on any level. If someone handed me a hot glue gun I would use it to attach myself firmly onto my couch so I could watch an entire Top Chef marathon without pesky blood relatives trying to steal my spot in front of the TV.

But I was forced to rethink my position after reading a recent interview with Martha Stewart. In that firm and slightly scary way of hers, Martha described crafts as a way to recycle; she pointed out that a shirt used for a crafts project is a shirt that will not end up in the trash bin. After reading this eye-opening piece I decided to reconsider my stand on crafts – perhaps I could learn to look at them as part of an eco-friendly lifestlye instead of mind-numbing impediments to happiness.

I began looking for creative ways to reuse some of the items cluttering up my home, but I surprisingly found few craft projects that called for broken swim goggles, take-out menus or outdated video game systems. An exhaustive search of Martha’s website turned up absolutely nothing that would transform dead batteries, ancient underwire bras or old VHS tapes into decorative knick-knacks. In fact, it soon became clear that attempting an artsy activity of any kind would force me to become an environmentally insensitive consumer, as I would have to go out and purchase all sorts of non-biodegradable supplies: glitter and stencils and paraffin and crepe paper – even something called rick-rack, which turns out to be the frou-frou cornerstone of the arts and crafts industry.

Further consideration led me to calculate the other effects a craft project would have on my carbon footprint. Driving to the crafts store would have to be factored in, as well as the countless times I would open and close the refrigerator door as I used food to avoid actually doing anything crafty. Landfills would be directly and adversely affected by the many tissues I would use and discard, as I wept quietly from boredom and craft-induced feelings of inadequacy. The numbers began to add up, especially when weighed against the relatively minor eco-hit I would incur from turning on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. I also had to consider the very real fact that every single craft project I read about made me want to stab myself in the eye with a calligraphy pen.

In the end, I decided it would be better for the planet – and for me – to abandon this endeavor. I applaud Martha Stewart for her creative recylcling efforts, but I have come to realize that if God wanted me to do crafts, He would not have invented reality television.