Recycling creates the gift of light

Twi-Lightes are created by Cindy Rezabeck of Ohio Township from recycled wine bottles, jewelry and other items to create a personalized gift of light. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

"…God's first miracle was to turn water into wine…When the wine is gone and Twilight is upon us, it is time to thank God for all He has given us. And we have chosen to recycle God's gift back into light…"

This message on the front page of Cindy Rezabeck's Web site for the product that she creates in her Ohio Township home has a prayer-like tone to it, almost Biblical, in fact.

"I was thinking of a catchy hook. I'm religious, but I wouldn't say that I'm over-zealous," Cindy said.

Holding on to a religious theme, Twi-Lightes, the home-based company Cindy founded two years ago, could as easily be called "Let There Be Light!" since that's just what she does: creates mood-enhancing lighting by recycling empty wine bottles into what she describes as being "…distinctive gems that will enhance the ambience of your home, office…"

Cindy said that her business started after she saw a wine bottle light that her sister, Sherrie, had gotten years before. "I always liked it but could not find one. So I looked at how it was made, and I said to myself, 'I can do that!' It was not as easy as it looked and I cracked lots of bottles before I got it right."

Cindy resorted to her creative side in getting it right.

Growing up in Emsworth, she moved to Florida after graduating from high school, and she attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, earning her BA in photography and videography and working as a photographer and videographer for South Florida Water Management for 11 years.

Her trained eye helps her to approach each step of the Twi-Lighte production with precision and originality.

There is no set time for how long it takes to make a bottle from start to finish, but each one starts the same way. Cindy explained the process."First, the bottle needs to be drilled, which my husband, Guy, does for me. Then it needs to be washed and sanitized and the labels scraped off and 'de-gunked.' Then it's ready to decorate. After that, I put the glaze on and the crushed glass glitter, which gives it a nice sparkle. I let it dry overnight and then embellish with beads, shells, wire -- whatever I find that I like."

Cindy said that she usually runs several bottles at a time through this prep phase, with each one then ready for individual decoration.

Some of the specialty bottles feature sports teams that include Steeler, Penguin and Pirate logos, as well as college teams. She filled a wedding request by creating a lighthouse-themed bottle for a couple marrying at the beach. "I included their names and the wedding date, along with the lighthouse image, and I put shells and some 'beachy stuff' on it."

And then there are bottles with peace symbols, butterfly and bird bottles, as well as the Harley-Davidson bottles. "I have something for everybody --and I can custom-make anything anyone might want."

Cindy has been making the bottles for about three years, at first just making them for friends. "But then, everyone started saying, 'Oh, you can sell them,' so I did."

As a finishing touch, Cindy adds toppings sometimes made from broken jewelry. "My mother worked at a boutique that went out of business. I take apart some of the leftover costume jewelry, and rearrange things."

She points out one that is made from a piece of an earring added to beads from a bracelet, noting, "Nearly the entire finished product is assembled from materials I've recycled. I suppose that makes me a green industry."

The only items not recycled are the 20- or 50-light strings inserted into the bottles. She said that for best lighting effects, she prefers using larger, clear-glass bottles and welcomes any donations that can be arranged by contacting her through her Web site, www.Twi-Lightes.com, where one also can view the product line.

Aside from her husband's help with the drilling, the business is, for the most part, all Cindy's.

"At Christmas time, my mom, Rose, was visiting from Florida and she helped out, as business was brisk. And my daughter, Jamie, sometimes helps."

Looking over some completed bottles and several awaiting her assembly line, Cindy states the obvious: "I enjoy doing artsy stuff!"


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