Up, up and away!

Up­grade, up­scale and up­cy­cle your house­hold goods

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Lisa Kadane

IF you thought it was cool how MacGyver could take a Swiss Army knife, door knob, cop­per wire and crushed Aspirin to jury rig an ex­plo­sive, wait un­til you see what Linda Bodo can do with a wine bot­tle, ply­wood, 20-gauge wire and hot glue sticks.

She’s not a se­cret agent try­ing to save lives; rather, Bodo is a crafty DIY-er try­ing to save the planet, one soup tin at a time. The Ed­mon­ton-based do-it-your­self guru is the au­thor of The Art of Up­cy­cle: Re­pur­pose, Re­claim & Rede­fine Leisure Time. Es­sen­tially, upcycling is the prac­tice of re­cy­cling home items with a twist: to make them bet­ter and more stylish than they were be­fore. It could be a project as sim­ple as re­uphol­ster­ing a clas­sic couch or chair, or an en­deav­our as com­pli­cated as trans­form­ing a set of old sawhorses into a funky work desk. Its ul­ti­mate goal is to res­cue fur­ni­ture and ac­ces­sories from an early grave in the lo­cal land­fill and give them new life as cool con­ver­sa­tion pieces.

“We’re not mak­ing junky things. We’re mak­ing su­per-cool stuff that we’re proud to dis­play in our homes,” says Bodo.

“It isn’t tak­ing mac­a­roni and glue­ing it on a plate any­more — we have gone so far be­yond that.”

In­deed. Bodo’s book is filled with pic­tures of eye-candy up­cy­cle projects; home items made from everyday throw­aways such as wine corks, bed springs, tin cans or old spoons. With a lit­tle el­bow grease and creative flair, Bodo has turned the first two items into a sconce vase; the sec­ond two into a retro-in­spired pen­dant light — both ac­ces­sories look up­scale enough for re­sale in a posh bou­tique.

Upcycling is not a flash-in-the-pan fad, ei­ther, says Bodo. As more peo­ple in­cor­po­rate be­ing green into the home and everyday liv­ing, the word is gain­ing a foothold in the home­style ver­nac­u­lar.

“It’s a trend that’s per­co­lat­ing right now, but it’s here to stay, be­cause we are be­com­ing more and more aware of our planet and how we have to look af­ter Mother Earth,” says Bodo.

It’s hard to ar­gue against upcycling in the­ory, but what about in prac­tice? It takes time and some level of crafts­man­ship to turn drift­wood into a rus­tic-chic deck chair, af­ter all.

“True,” says Bodo, “but that’s why I made it my man­date to make re­ally easy projects (in my book) that even DIY vir­gins could take on... so it’s not over­whelm­ing. ItGs doable.”

Bodo also re­al­izes upcycling is com­pet­ing with a dis­pos­able cul­ture, in which home­own­ers can pur­chase a new cut­ting board or throw pil­low for a 10-spot. Apart from do­ing right by the planet, why would any­one make her own?

The sense of ac­com­plish­ment, says Bodo, who thinks the best part about com­plet­ing an up­cy­cle project is stand­ing back and say­ing, “Wow, I made that.”

Be­sides, as she can at­test, upcycling is habit-form­ing, and a hoot, to boot. The whole thing about the art of up­cy­cle is it’s sup­posed to be fun, says Bodo. “We’re not af­ter per­fec­tion. We just want to cre­ate nice state­ment pieces that make us feel good.”

— Canwest News Ser­vice

Linda Bodo is an upcycling guru and au­thor of The Art of Up­cy­cle: Re­pur­pose, Re­claim & Rede­fine Leisure Time. She gives res­cued fur­ni­ture new life.

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