Local artist Kerri Fleming is known for creating beautiful portraits, still life, landscapes and murals using what she calls her “God given talent” nurtured for years by her mother and grandmother.

Now, Fleming is creating a new kind of art, turning everyday items that would normally get tossed in the trash, into handmade gifts.

“I’ve been quite busy making Christmas gifts for my friends and family,” Fleming said, pulling out a variety of her handmade crafts from a large, green bag.

Among the many items Fleming has made in recent months are wine bags, potholders, coasters and children’s purses, made from used blue jeans.

“My boys grew out of all their jeans and I couldn’t take them to a resale shop because most of them had holes,” she said.

Rather than tossing them into the trash, Fleming decided to turn them into gifts.

More recently, she turned her attention to newspapers and magazines, transforming the newsprint into a variety of bowls in all shapes and sizes. Some are small enough to hold paper clips, while others are made for larger objects.

Last week, Fleming made a bowl using last Sunday’s edition of the Empire-Tribune. She made a smaller one using the comics.

Fleming said the creative way she is approaching the gift-giving season this year strictly has to do with economics.

“The change in the economy has made me rethink the way I do things,” she said.

For more information about Fleming and her art, visit her Web site at www.kerrifleming.com. And if turning recyclable goods into unique gifts is something you’re interested in having Fleming help you with, give her a call at 254-230-4410.