Lee and a curious calico crisscross the country in a RV, living simply and sustainably.

Remember the TV show that started in ‘85 called MacGyver? Nearly everyone in the pop culture can relate to the concept of pulling a “MacGyver”. To me, it means to be able to get out of seemingly difficult situations by using the resources, tools and creativity you already have on hand. Sometimes all you’ve got is duct tape and a Swiss Army knife.

Here are a handful of quotes from the show which may help to explain the concept. No, I’m not an international spy, and live a fairly quiet and charmed life. But we can all benefit by learning to be more resourceful, mindful, and thankful.

When something’s broken, the easiest thing is to throw it away, forget about it. But if you just step back and take a look at what you’ve got, you find a totally different way for it to work.

This describes the whole idea of repurposing or upcycling. In contrast to recycling (breaking something down in order to eventually reuse it), upcycling involves incorporating the original object into a more useful or aesthetically beautiful form. My latest creations are these Mom & Me socks: new socks trimmed with repurposed yarns. It’s a bit daunting to limit myself to including found materials in my designs rather than buying what I want online or in town, but it’s better for the environment, and is building that MacGyver mentality. Things are starting to pop into my awareness throughout the day saying “Use me!” Or “What do I have that I can use instead?”

Case in point – yesterday I discovered that my newly sourced camera was broken. Yep – I dropped it. The lens refused to pop out, and nothing appeared on the menu screen. The troubleshooting guide offered no assistance, and online forums told me how to get to the reset screen. Only I couldn’t even get to the initial screen, let alone the reset screen. After messing around with it for 30 minutes, I gave up and looked up how much a replacement camera would cost, new or used.  Or how much a repair might cost. Verdict: More than I want to spend right now.

Any problem can be solved with a little ingenuity.

Having started this blog, a new website, and several product lines, I use a camera nearly every day. Then I remembered that my old Blackberry cell phone features a decent camera. I had ceased using it when the data and phone charges outpaced my budget. But, the Blackberry’s camera still works and will be ok for a while.  I’ll donate the broken camera to an electronics recycling group – maybe they can get it to work again.

How can you owe a friend? Friends stand by each other through everything.

When I told my best friend about my camera breakdown, he didn’t hesitate. “I’ve got a couple of old ones still in their boxes. They work fine. Take your pick.”  Wow! I’m so used to having to save for months, sometimes a year for bigger purchases, that it feels a bit incredulous to have things just handed over with love and ease. Thank you!

How can you feel confined when you’re in touch with the universe?

The surprises just keep coming . . . a new friend with gallery space offered to display some of my crocheted bags, providing they’re made of natural materials. Which she has on hand and will donate! Another new friend wants to share her company and shady pop-up tent at the Farmers Market on Saturdays. I’ve recently received a bouquet of wildflowers. And soap making supplies. And herbs. And onion sets. And . . . I am so grateful for this abundant universal support. MacGyver’s got nothin’ on me!


Think:  What items in your possession are ready for upcycling? How can you make use of what you already have?

Say:  Offer to share a resource, tool, or good idea with someone else.

Do:  Challenge your Self to find creative solutions to seemingly difficult problems.

Comments on: "Pulling a MacGyver" (2)

  1. We dropped our new camera when it was only a month old, resulting in the same problem as you have. I contacted Kodak, and they advised me to ship it back to them, at my expense. They replaced it with a new one, even though the drop was our fault. Might be worth contacting your camera’s maker to see if they’ll make the same offer. Hope this helps, but glad you found another one so quickly!

    • This camera was a “gift” promotion from my bank, so I don’t have a sales receipt or proof of purchase. I’m glad Kodak came through for you!


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