CHRISTIE MCNEIL: From trash to treasures

By Christie McNeal

I’ll admit that in the past, I have probably been the opposite of green – I never really thought I was having that much impact on the planet by not recycling and thought recycling was something that took a lot of time and effort.
However, when my husband began doing a recycling project with his students at school and was encouraging them to recycle, we realized we were probably being hypocrites by not recycling ourselves.
We began slowly and would just take the occasional water bottle, can and newspaper out to the little green bin we had been previously using to help us pick up leaves in the yard. Slowly, we got in the habit of recycling more items and decided to have a separate container inside the house just for that purpose.
We soon realized how easy it is to recycle in Tupelo – everything just goes into one bin, and you don’t even have to sort anything. It now seems like we have more recycling than we do garbage.
Another reason for our having less trash, though, is my new obsession with If you have not heard of Pinterest, it’s a website where people ‘pin’ (or post) different interests such as workouts, recipes, craft ideas, decor, projects for kids and much more. It’s a fun site, but let me warn you, it’s more addictive than Facebook.
Most of the projects I have been making involve reusing items. My husband is probably wishing for me to find a new hobby because he comes home every day to find me collecting something new for another project. My stockpile now includes scrap wood, old cereal boxes, old picture frames, cotton, magnolia leaves, toilet paper rolls, old Christmas ornaments, can tops, an old door and paper bags. I am also on the hunt for an old window and a shutter or two.
I’ll admit, though, that I am bad about getting really excited about making too many things at one time, often gather all the supplies and leave them piled up on my craft table for weeks.
In fact, when I first began crafting, I took over our kitchen table, thinking when I finished, I would clear everything off and put the supplies in the guest room closet. Well, when we couldn’t eat at our kitchen table for a few weeks, I decided instead to move the craft table to our sunroom/laundry nook/dog room. Let’s just say, I think the craft table has become a permanent decoration for our house.
Through these projects, I always try to keep an ear and eye out for places I can find cheap, recycled supplies. I realized Tupelo has many places to find old, unwanted items that are junk to some but are like treasures to me. My coworker and friend and our business writer Carlie Kollath suggested I visit Building Blocks in Tupelo. People donate unwanted household items such as light fixtures, doors, windows and furniture, and Building Blocks gives proceeds from the sales to the Learning Skills Center that provides services to help children learn, stay in school and prepare for college. I guess that’s a good enough reason as any to keep that craft table out!
Christie McNeal is a copy editor at the Daily Journal. Contact her at

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