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Second chance

Seabrook resident repurposes cherished belongings

Created date

April 26th, 2011

Colorful strands of thread and uneven scraps of material scatter the inside of Jane Finton s childhood sewing basket its brown, woven wicker slightly faded with years of use. This little sewing basket will forever remind me of a day that lives on in my memory, Finton says. I remember sitting in my aunt s kitchen on a day in 1947, sewing a little doll dress. My cousins were with me there in the kitchen, and we were listening to the radio when an announcement came on that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. I ll never forget that day, and this little sewing basket is one of those things I ll never give up, Finton adds. Like many people, Finton has kept various cherished belongings throughout her life. When she moved from her house in Wall Township to a two-bedroom apartment home at Seabrook, an Erickson Living community in Tinton Falls, N.J., she had to consider what would come with her. While moving and downsizing is a source of stress for some people, Finton says she transitioned smoothly in part due to her creativity and in part due to the spacious layout of her new home.

Purposefully repurposed

Much of Finton s decor includes repurposed objects and furniture, which enabled her to bring cherished belongings to her new home. For example, a nine-inch-tall crockery bottle holds flowers by her patio window. And a wooden game table from her childhood now acts as a side table in her living room. By repurposing, Finton was able to keep her beloved belongings. The thing about antiques is they work because we appreciate their design, says Antiques Roadshow appraiser J. Michael Flanigan.

Perfect fit

While Finton has several cherished mementos, she also simply enjoys the creativity involved with repurposing and recycling useful objects. I m your number one recycler, she says. If something has a second life, I ll use it. I don t like to throw it away. I like doing crafts; it s making something out of something, she says. As such, the two-bedroom style she chose at Seabrook perfectly fits her needs. She uses her second bedroom as a storage and work space. I call it my attic, she says. Her apartment home also features a spacious bathroom and kitchen. And while many people who live at Seabrook choose to cook less because three restaurants serve the community, Finton says, I brought all my cooking and baking equipment because I still like to cook. An open floor plan seamlessly integrates the living and dining areas, offering plenty of space for Finton to display her antiques and repurposed decor. When she s not creatively recycling objects or volunteering in Seabrook s in-house TV studio and at the Visiting Nurses Association Thrift Shop in Mannasquan, occasionally she still sews on her Sears Kenmore portable sewing machine. Some people can shed everything, but I couldn t, she says. Luckily, she didn t have to.