Sunday, March 19, 2017

Something Old, Something New

My latest New Thing is transforming. Literally. Last year, a friend invited me to Transformed Treasures, a luncheon and auction to benefit Salvation Army’s shelter and treatment programs. But it wasn’t just any old auction.
Artists sign up to be admitted to Salvation Army thrift shops with vouchers to purchase items, items that they’ll transform into treasures. Oh, the imagination on display at that auction! I saw a dog kennel transformed into a child’s reading nook, everything in the world transformed into beautiful lamps. You’d marvel at the artistry evident in an item – and then look at the “before” photos and be amazed.

Yes, I’ve fixed up an old chest of drawers with a great paint job, but these things at the auction were now Art. Useful art or decorative art, but really spectacular. So, of course, I wanted to try my hand at it.

On the appointed day, we all descended on the Salvation Army thrift shop with our vouchers. Some people picked up items to bring home and wait for inspiration, but my creativity needed some focus; I didn’t want to RE-clutter my house. Other people had discarded their clutter, and I was going to bring it home?

Then I discovered a batch of brown, metal, alphabet letters with broken light bulbs. I’d seen them at Michaels; they look sort of rusty even when new, and I’m not quite sure what people do with them. Ah, but the ampersand! If I weren’t looking at a tiny toy motorcycle, would it have occurred to me to think “racetrack”? That ampersand just shouted, “I could be a racetrack.”

And the rainbow-striped strap – wouldn’t that make the rusty brown prettier? Could it all be mounted on that cutting board over there? What about the little desktop toy aquarium with the magnetic wand for swishing the fish around – could that magnetic wand be a light pole? I was on my way.
With coupons in hand, I haunted Michaels for supplies for the transformation. I’d need metal paint. Oh, a black foam sheet could cover the bottom, making it smooth for the track surface. How about some little trees for landscaping?

As things took shape, I checked out NASCAR sites, painted signs for the track. The magnetic wand became the checkered flag post. When Tim and I discovered cart racing in the Valley, we managed to win points in the arcade; those were redeemed for race cars. The result:

I’m so excited! The Transformed Treasures luncheon and auction isn’t until May 6, but tickets are already on sale. I’ll be glad if someone decides a transformed racetrack is just what they need, but now that I understand the process, I want to see the other re-creations. For a recycling fanatic like myself, it’s inspirational (not to mention, a creative solution to clutter).

But then a bigger thought occurs: If an old, rusty ampersand can find new life as a rainbow racetrack, what else is awaiting “new life”? What else is possible?


  1. I could read such things forever. Really nice afternoon reading. Thanks very much!

  2. What else in your own clutter pile, not someone else's? That's why you kept it isn't? Because it would be useful one day?


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