What inspired me to start?
The night my daughter turned two, we stayed up to make some 'supermarket shelves' out of cardboard boxes and cartons to match her new gift - a cash register. My first big upcycling project after that was a kitchen set made out of cardboard boxes, bottle caps and old CDs.
I had always saved scrap material and packaging since I was young. My mom used to call me a "karung-guni girl" because I would save nearly everything.
After I had my first child, I noticed my daughter would sometimes be more attracted to random items over her own toys. I thought, "Why spend money on something that she would only be interested in for five minutes? Wouldn't it be better to create my own?". Upcycling is really an outlet for my creative energy.
What kept me going?
When we began, I was the main "creative director", but now, it is my daughter who keeps asking me to make new toys. Some of her requests include a kennel for her stuffed dogs, paper shoes and owls made out of toilet rolls.
As a parent of two young children, I am always on the lookout for interactive activities and ways to spark their creativity. I share my projects on a Facebook page, Craftcycle for Kids, hoping that other parents will catch the upcycling bug.
It's really not so much about building crafts, but building my relationship with my daughter. I also want to teach her to be resourceful and to create things with her hands. Now, she too has started making crafts based on her own ideas.
What's next for me?
I recently published a series of children's books called Nature Playtime which focuses on the adventures of a little girl and her grandmother, and how they bond through nature. It harks back to the good old days when children played with whatever they could find, such as flowers, seeds and leaves.
During my storytelling sessions in schools, I teach kids how to make upcycled craft out of plastic bottles and supermarket bags. Through this, I hope to do my part in encouraging a culture where people create, and not just consume.
What eco tips would you share with fellow parents who are interested in craft-making?
Toilet rolls are the easiest to collect and can be used for everything! I've used them to make gift packaging, a marble run as well as figurines and dolls.
The best way to begin upcycling is to just try it. The sky is the limit and you never know where your creativity will take you. It's a great way to bond with your child and they will surprise you with their ideas!