Making Something of … Scraps

scrapsFor every gift there is a price. My creativity, for example, allows me to see a second life or third life in the most mundane odds and ends (which is just another way of saying I have a hard time throwing anything away).

For example: I keep scraps of paper. If only half of the sheet is printed on, the clean half gets cut off and added to our boys’ scrap paper stash. If the unprinted part is smaller than half a sheet, I’ll cut it up into note paper I keep beside my fridge for lists or lunch box love notes. If it’s patterned paper or card stock, leftover from a scrapbooking project, then it ends up in one of my scrap boxes.

Yes, I said “one of” and “boxes” – plural – because I have a box for large scraps, one for medium scraps, and one for small scraps. It’s the small scraps that had me shaking my head this week – all random sizes and none wider than an inch or so. I was perpetually adding to the box, but never using what I’d saved. After all, what in the world could I make out of these slivers of paper?

Fast forward to this week. I was responsible for coming up with a craft project for our youngest son’s Valentine’s Day party. His teacher asked if I’d help them make bookmarks, which sounded simple enough, so I left it until the day before (as all true artists do). I pre-cut a gazillion bookmark-sized (2″ x 6″) pieces of white cardstock and stared at them for a while. Then I pulled out my scrap boxes to see what I might already have on hand, before heading to the craft store.

scrapsI didn’t need to buy a thing and I doubt I could have purchased anything I’d like as much as what those second graders and I created. Fat strips, thin strips, plaids and polka dots, all lined up, creating what looked like little quilts. No measuring or muss – the kids just glued them onto their pre-cut piece, then trimmed whatever hung over the side. I dug out my ribbon remnants – that last few inches of ribbon on a spool, too small to wrap a gift, but too much to throw away without feeling guilty – and tied tassels on top. Done!

Some people use Sudoku to stay sharp. Others watch Jeopardy or work a crossword puzzle or read a mystery. All I need, from time to time, is a creative challenge and, suddenly, I’m McGyver (but putting something together rather than blowing it up).

I solved the class’s need for a craft. I solved my need for making good use of my scraps. I think my work here is done. Next?!


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