Monday, May 16, 2011

Guest Post- Christan


My best friend from childhood, Christan, has always been a writer.  And a good one!  She’s going to be a guest blogger for Dayspring’s (in)courage blog in the near future, and I just have a feeling it’s only the start of good things to come for her.  If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, please do… I know you’ll be encouraged.  She just has a way of squeezing out purpose from the ordinary things in life.  She also has a flair for the creative, as evidenced below.  Give her a visit at Repurposed Heart.  Thanks for guest posting my sweet friend!

Repurposed Crabbing Baskets

It started out as an economical decision.  Pottery Barn taste on a tag sale budget…

While visiting my brother’s family in New Jersey, we had spent a day on the water.  All eight of us.  And with bodies ready to retire, he prepared his boat to rest until the next time the Delaware Bay wooed him back.  I wanted to help, but his hands were swift, his face determined, his stance confident.  I was misplaced.

We grew up in Florida and New Jersey and had even lived our youngest years in the Philippine islands.  But we never had a boat.  We swam, we became the water, but we never skimmed the surface.  Never conquered it.

After four years of college in mid-America, I married a Kansas boy and eventually settled in St. Louis.  And fifteen years later, I still miss the coast, and the salt, and my childhood home.  And my big brother.

He’s always been on a different plane than me… more common sense, more perceptive, more aware of the world.  He’s a doer – the type that puts you to shame.  Always repairing.  Always restoring.  Always starting – and completing - projects.  Reflective yet practical.  A thinker and a pragmatist.

I watched with mystery that day - my brother, three feet away yet worlds apart.  Encircling us overhead were traps – crabbing baskets – tokens of his favorite pastime.  Salty and rusted, they wore the evidence of purpose.

Do I dare ask him for one?  Do I dare ask to enter his world - the world he has claimed for himself as an adult?  It’s one of pensive solitude and purpose.  It's a world just like him.

Of courseTake two or threeTake as many as you’d like.  He tried to find the nicest one, but I insisted on charm instead.  It would be repurposed, after all.  I wanted to take the ocean – and my brother – back home with me.

Once back in Missouri, I repurposed my brother’s hobby into coveted wire baskets - worthy of holding my son’s sports magazines or my artsy daughter’s paper scraps.  Spray paint and twine – that’s all it took.  Oh, and some patience.


I opened the baskets by unwinding the string, hosed them down, and let them dry in the sun.

After a few coats of Rustoleum black spray paint, the traps were ready to be transformed into knock-off Pottery Barn wire baskets with a tad more charm.  And history.


And then the winding of jute twine began.  In and out, over and under.  Again and again and again.


I stopped every so often to make sure my tension was just right to keep the basket an even square. A simple knot in the front was the perfect final touch.



The traps are designed to open on any side, so the transformation wasn’t as easy as I imagined.  It took a ton of patience over a couple days.  But risking to open our hearts isn’t always easy either.  Originally designed to confine, the baskets served as instruments of freedom that summer day in New Jersey.  And in the weeks and months to come.  Freedom to step into his world.  Freedom to stay.


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