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Repurpose

Six over ripened bananas convert to three banana pecan bread currently baking in my oven. I have three peaches on the verge of being over-ripe that will become something later today. I think of this sourcream apple square recipe shared long ago by my sister’s friend Judy….way back when we were all young…and I think of that recipe made with small diced peaches instead. I’ll keep you posted.

I like new things. I love them in fact. I walked through the Coach store this past weekend and oogled the new handbags. I like my sons in new Izod shirts. I love new shoes. But…..I am a repurposer which is different than a recycler or a composter. I am those things too. Composting means to purposefully take living things and encourage them to die and decompose so as to return their elemental parts back into the life cycle. Recycling takes inorganic things or complex organic things and grinds them down or melts them so the elemental parts can be refashioned. A repurposer takes something meant for one thing and uses it in a way it wasn’t intended.

In quilting, scraps and left overs get recycled or repurposed into scrappy quilts. I am working on a new quilt (pictures to follow later, maybe today). But the excess fabric and the scrappy pieces set aside after the rotary cutter is through are enough to make another quilt. And that happened with my last two quilts. The scrappy quilts became the unorthodox “backs” of the intended quilt, the B side. In my kitchen, over ripe fruit gets added to bars and cakes and quick breads. Veggies get used in soup stocks. When I have The House, they will get added to the compost pile. I made the architect design the composting area. He was happy to do it; he’s that kind of architect. There is a local Italian restaurant that serve Pellagrino water in large and small bottles. When I am closer to having The House, I will ask the restauranteur to save all these bottles for a few weeks, giving me enough bottles to plant upside down as a border for my flower beds. If I make enough cosmopolitans, the square, brown Cointreau bottles would be just as beautiful. A fellow quilter posted this picture of her quilt recycled from an old, discarded American flag. I thought it was awesome. I have other ideas, too. Like glass cake covers for garden cloches, so much prettier than plastic milk jugs.

Composting, recycling and re-purposing are not just a matter of frugality. They are logical, efficient, economical habits. And by reusing something, by redirecting it from one designed intention into another allows its “energy” to be preserved. I think of the moms that make their children quilts for college from all their old t-shirts. The past is carried forward, concealed or disguised in something new. It is partly why I like canning. I like eating blueberry jam in January, orange marmalade in summer and pickles in winter. This weekend, I will put my hand at canning my own tomato sauce to avoid buying jarred spaghetti sauce. Even when I buy those store offerings, I can’t leave them alone. I doctor them up and tweak them a bit. So, I will do a trial run of my own sauce and capture some of the summer’s bounty available at my farmer’s market.

The banana bread is out of the oven. It smells lovely. The center fell slightly in all three loaves. Ugly baked goods still taste awesome.

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