By Mary As I type, my hands are sticky from super glue that I was working with to make a pair of earrings. Initially the earrings were a pair of cuff links that my mother’s father owned. The cuff links were later given to me as a birthday present many years ago by my mom. Grandpa died when I was a young girl, just weeks before my birthday in October. However, I still feel a connection to this man who was known for his love of farming and his deep faith. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. It was a joy and an honor to gather a few tools and turn something old into something new that I can wear in honor of him and well, just because I love horses! Recently I was reflecting on how fascinating it is to recreate things that have a past, and a story of their very own into something new, that holds meaning and is useful. Stores like Ikea and Wal-Mart don’t interest me in the least. Mass productions of things that come off an assembly line and will eventually end up in a landfill strike me as empty. That’s not to say that some of the things manufactured aren’t useful or good in their own right. It’s just that for me, I delight in turning old things into new things. This spring I have had so much fun refinishing furniture. It takes quite a lot of time to strip, sand, and add coats of new paint. I am semi addicted to using a power sander that may or may not have been confiscated from my carpenter brother. I have enjoyed the process start to finish. Power tools are a blast! I am always amazed at how ambiguous DYI projects are as they manifest. Whenever I do needle work it’s such a jumbled mess of embroidery string until eventually an entire tapestry manifests. Quilting is similar to needle work. What starts off as a mess of fabric odds and ends can really transform into something uniquely individual and that patches together beautifully. Looking back at my life, it is truthful to say that I have quilted the most when everything had seemed really hard and like nothing was coming together in my environment. All those miss-matching pieces end up coming together over time both in the quilt and in life. The end result is a special work of color and collaboration that signifies meaning. Speaking of special, look at this wreath that I made just the other day! I figured that the pages from old books didn’t need to be wasted. Really, with a hot glue gun book pages can go through some major plastic, um, I mean * paper surgery! The last endeavor that I have been working on recently is removing flesh from a stack of sheep skins and carefully salting them down before lying them out flat to dry. Last week I sent a heap of them to a tanning company to get backed in buckskin and dry cleaned. It should be interesting to see how they turn out! It’s rewarding to be able to see the beauty in things that don’t seem to have a use or make any sense. Oftentimes, the cost of doing so is very inexpensive, and the best part is that old things become new things with both a past and a future- just like you and me.